Hello! I wanted to put a post on here because I know when I started planning my destination wedding last year, I had so many questions and concerns and I found it so helpful to read reviews on here. I just got married on November 11, 2014 in Cabo, and I am still in Cabo San Lucas enjoying our mini honeymoon now. It was such a scare for everyone when hurricane Odile hit Cabo, especially for bride to be's and the uncertainty of flying here, but the saying is true that Cabo is unstoppable and you would never know it happened other than some cosmetic damage. Here is all of our vendors that we used, our budget, guest count, etc. I cannot wait to receive all of my photos so that I can post just how beautiful everything was. Cabo wedding Budget: $30,000 USD Wedding Size: 55 people
Wedding Coordinator: Illeana Reyes at Romantic Cabo Weddings – 10/10 A+ Our first and foremost, and most important review goes to our wedding coordinator Illeana Reyes at Romantic Cabo Weddings. We researched a lot of coordinators and her website was not the most up to date, but she was quick to respond, she was very detail oriented, and she makes you feel very comfortable so I knew right away she was the one, do not let the website fool you! She recommended every single one of our vendors, and the team she brought together for our day was absolutely OUTSTANDING. I cannot give her enough credit for how unbelievably attentive she was from day one and how she made all of our dreams become a reality. I must start by saying, I am a very A type personality, so it was very hard for me to just leave things up to chance. I needed constant assurance and I would (annoyingly I know lol) send endless emails and photos as to what I wanted. We planned for just under one year and she was always available via email, she phoned to check in constantly, she offered many different options to choose from, and closer to the date she kept solidifying plans, getting vendor contracts, etc, she thought of every last detail. Illeana also assured us that she only recommends vendors that she has worked with in the past, and I am so glad we put all our faith in her because not a single thing went wrong, every vendor was on time, made it to rehearsals, kept in contact, no issues with payment, and the whole day went as planned with ZERO glitches! I hope everyone can use her out of all of the vendors because she was just a blessing.
Jack & Jill/Bachelor & Bachelorette/Stag & Stagette Party: Pirate Cruise Ship: 9/10 A-
Illeana even helped put together our jack & jill/bachelor & bachelorette party when we super last minute asked her when we arrived to Cabo. It was a sunset cruise open bar on a pirate ship, and it was such a hilarious and great time, our guests really enjoyed this and she made it all happen and confirmed in one hour for only $50USD per person! Talk about above and beyond service. We bought those Cabo San Lucas bandanas on the beach for everyone to wear, plus glow sticks, and it was a ball! This is the only picture I have so far that I attached. It was definately a fun experience for our whole group to bond together on night one and there were so many costumes that made for great photos.
Venue: Cabo Del Sol: 10/10 A+ The photos do not do the venue justice; it is even more stunning in person and I cried as soon as we went to visit the venue and saw the beach and another wedding was being set up it was so beautiful. The wedding coordinator there, Luzma, is so welcoming and makes you feel so special and as if you are the only person she is concentrating on at all times. We did our ceremony on the beach, cocktail hour on the golf greens, and the reception in the clubhouse. I highly recommend this. There was a huge bridal lounge and a groom’s lounge to get ready in for the daytime, with our own personal waiter. Everyone had their own lockers and Luzma set up all of our dresses, suits, and accessories for photos. Our guests were shuttled straight to the ocean golf course greens when they initially arrived, and greeted with special flavored water. We did a sunset ceremony at 4pm, it was not too hot and not too windy either because the beach is privately enclosed in a semi circle space by the rocks, the waves were crashing down and it was such a romantic setting. Our guests had a shoe valet to remove their shoes before walking on the beach, and brushes to brush of the sand when they were coming off. The cocktail hour on the golf greens was set up with our signature drinks, open bar started, and popsicles were being handed out to cool off our guests and was such a nice touch. All of our guests were then shuttled to the clubhouse via their golf cart limos! So cute! The dance floor overlooked the ocean, had an open ceiling, and it was right next to the bar. The dinner service was in their clubhouse. All of our guests were floored at how many servers there were and how the staff was at everyone’s side at any given moment. We did a plated dinner service and every course was absolutely delicious. For example, between courses there was a raspberry sorbet that was served on a large ice block to keep the sorbet cold. Very impressed! We did 7 hours of open bar, which is charged per person, and it was definitely worth doing so we knew upfront how much we were paying. This venue is definitely a must!
Photographer: Gilda Badillo: 10/10 A+
We met Gilda before the wedding at Cabo Del Sol so she could take us around and go over all the shots she recommended, and she wrote down all of the pictures we wanted. We did the first look and also did our family photos first before the ceremony. She was a total professional, nailed every shot and kept us on time. She also was not afraid to break a sweat! She would get on her elbows and knees to get the perfect picture and she would show us some photos as the night went on and I am so excited to see the final results. Her assistant was always where she could not be, to assure they both got every photo together. Our guests said the two of them were taking photos of our set up before we got there, and also of all our guests interacting. We could not be more thankful of those moments we did not see!
Videographer: Jorge Ibarra: 10/10 A+
Gilda recommended Jorge, and she said they always work together on weddings. When we looked at Jorge’s website and saw his vimeos, we were sold! We also met him before the wedding at Cabo Del Sol and he went over the timeline and filmed our first look, all the way to our dinner service speeches. We could tell his team and Gilda’s team had worked together often because their communication and chemistry worked so great together and they made us feel so relaxed. The video cameras were never in the way, and Jorge would remove the microphones whenever Gilda was taking photos and he remembered the little details that we would not know about. We can’t wait to see our video!
Floral: Sergio Ferras at Flowers & Events Décor: 10/10 A+
We sent Illeana our photos of exactly everything we wanted and she passed on a message to her floral recommendation. I wanted all white flowers, the white urn pedestals with pomanders at the entrance, the aisle chairs to be lined with bouquets and rose petals down the aisle, as well as the ribbon tied off at the entrance, a bamboo chuppah with white fabric and bouquets tied to all 4 corners; I sent a photo of the bride bouquet and the maids bouquet and grooms boutonnières, and I am not kidding when I say, they matched the floral IDENTICALLY. Everything was as planned and as pictured. They did not miss a single thing! Our cocktail hour had the floral bouquets, and our dinner service we reused a lot of our bouquets at centerpieces and table displays, and they supplied vases and cylinders, votives with tons of candles. It was stunning.
Dj, sound & lighting: Victor and Teevan Entertainment: 10/10 A
We sent Victor a list of songs that we wanted for the ceremony, wedding party entrance, first dances, etc. He got all of our songs except for the one that our wedding party walked down to, but it was okay because he played a good back up song. He supplied a sound system, the lighting for the dance floor, and one thing I really recommend for a beach wedding, is the white acrylic aisle board to walk down. This is because it was very difficult to walk on the beach even in bare feet, we looked like penguins during rehearsal ha ha, so it was a last minute splurge but well worth the incurred cost and just made the setting even that much more beautiful. The reason why we were so impressed was because for the actual dancing dj hours, we just told him a genre we liked and did not send him a list of songs, we just put our faith in him and it was as if he had our iPod playlist! They were all current up to date songs, and he kept the party going all night long.
Minister: Rev Diego A Vidal: 10/10 A
Illeana recommended Diego. He sent us an email with options for the ceremony, he checked in with us before the wedding to see if there was anything else we wanted to be said, he took our vows, and he said a special message to our guests and us. He was humorous, yet professional and kept the ceremony personal to us. He gave our coordinator our marriage certificate when he was done and it was easy as pie.
Transportation: Leticia with Impala Cabo: 10/10 A
Our transportation was perfect! They had shuttle service for our guests all night long and picked us up all day because we were all leaving the Riu at different times. They were all very professional, timely, and they had very nice vehicles. They also had a special private vehicle for us at the very end of the night. One of our guests became "sick" at the end of the night and they happily took her home and we were very grateful.
Hotel Accommodations: Riu Sante Fe & Palace: 7/10 C+
We picked the Riu Sante Fe & the Palace because it was a very affordable option for such a large wedding party, and it was central to downtown Cabo. I will say, we were the very first group to arrive since Hurricane Odile on the grand opening on November 6, which we did not know, we thought it had been opened since October 9 for the Palace and October 16 for Sante Fe, and the Sante Fe was not yet ready to be open. The Palace was much better. We have stayed at both the Riu Sante Fe and the Palace before and have never had any problems, which is why we had our party stay here. It was really unfortunate the hurricane hit them so hard, but it was great that they had repaired the Riu to almost the exact same condition as before and the day-to-day staff really was trying their best. Our rooms were definitely very musty smelling, we all stayed in building 7, others at the Palace who could not stay at the Sante Fe, the first night was so unbearable we had to lay towels down to cover all the sheets and the smell, and we switched our room 3 times until one was decent enough to sleep in. A lot of our guests never received the opportunity to switch their rooms and had to sleep in the smell. Most of the safes were not working as of yet. And unfortunately, the staff that was never helpful was the front desk staff and several complaints were made. We had a group of 55 people, and they did not have any suite upgrades for the bride and groom and told us it was because they were still under maintenance. One of our groomsmen also paid a fee of $100USD to have our room filled with flowers, champagne and candles on the wedding night when we came home, and they forgot the champagne and candles. They also tried to charge all of us 630 pesos each for cutting off our wristbands on our wedding day, which we had to wait 1 hour to speak to a manager to get that sorted out and showed proof that we all still had our wristbands. It is an affordable option for what it is worth, but if you are looking for top notch quality this is not the place to be.
Mini honeymoon hotel accomodation: Sandos Finisterra: 9/10 A-
After our wedding and one week stay, all of our guests returned home and we transferred to the Sandos Finisterra. This place is 5 star and beautiful. They got hit really hard and they were still under maintenance and repairs, which is the only reason why we did not give them A+! We were immediately greeted with champagne, top notch service, upgraded to the honeymoon jacuzzi suite that over looked the entire beach and marina on the top floor, and they had premium liquor. It was very modern, a boutique style hotel, and all the staff were great.
We did a lot of DIY projects for our day that we brought to Cabo with us and Illeana and Luzma set up for us.
-We had the dinner menus printed on doilies for everyone’s individual plate and stamped in our wedding color (seafoam green) and gray (our other wedding color) table runners. -Instead of place cards, we had maracas made in our wedding color, with our guests name on the handle. We loved the maracas because it was multipurpose: it was a place card, a wedding favor, and our guests would shake their maracas if they wanted us to kiss instead of clinking glasses. -We placed disposable cameras on everyone’s table for party photos. -We brought down fans in our wedding colors, which were placed on everyone’s chair during the ceremony. -We printed reserved cards with the names for family members to sit at during the ceremony and Illeana taped them to their chairs. -We had a Go Pro on a selfie stick for people to pass around and take videos with wedding advice. -Our table numbers were in white picture frames with seafoam green centers. -At the entrance of our reception, Illeana and Luzma had a table set up. It had our seating chart, which was also in a large white picture frame with seafoam green centers, we had the letters L O V E in white wood blocks, we had the game JENGA as our guest book, and we used SCRABBLE to spell out “Please sign our Jenga guest book”. -We also made welcome out of town bags which consisted of a thank you card, invitations to rehearsals or parties, an itinerary for the week plus our wedding program on the other side, Advil, Pepto-Bismol, mints, chapstick, lubricant (for the single guests ha ha), Band-Aids, alcohol swabs, Emergen-C with a stir stick, sunglasses, and a Do Not Disturb door hanger.
It was hard for me to settle on a destination wedding because it is an incurred cost for all of our family members and friends to have to pay for their flights and take vacation time. But ALL of our guests thanked us over and over again for having a destination wedding and said they woul love if we did this every year ha ha, and if you are from Canada like we are, November is the the best time of year to get away from the gloomy weather and get some sun! Aside from hurricane season. It is very rare for Cabo to experience such a hit like that. It was so much fun and we created memories to last a life time, so if you are unsure of whether or not a destination is a good idea, I would say it definately 1000% is!