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About zillakas

Profile Information

  • Location
    Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

Wedding Information

  • Wedding Date
    April 25, 2015
  • Wedding Location
    Paradisus La Perla
  1. Dear past and future brides, Thanks for all your input along my wedding planning journey. We had our wedding at Paradisus on April 26, 2015 and it was amazing. We had 107 guests in total. My husband and I didn't want to leave! We were having such a wonderful time with all of our friends and family. After reading a lot of mishaps that brides had with their weddings, I was very nervous. However, I thoroughly planned each detail not to leave any room for error. There were a few mishaps but all very minor and didn’t ruin anything. Overall the staff was great and really helped us pull off a great wedding. I'd like review the vendors we used: I'll start with the resorts wedding department. It was stressful dealing with planning through the romance office, but everything was done. Our romance coordinator was Bianca. She was helpful and always answered me quickly. Our on-site coordinator was Lucero (and Araceli was helping also). Both of them were a pleasure to work with. They were willing to help with everything. Very sweet girls! Florist/décor: Alquimia Working with Perla was excellent! Yes, in the beginning she took a long time to respond to emails, but that's just how it works there. They deal with you in order of priority - if your wedding is in 6 months, you're not a priority. When it is closer to your wedding date, everything will get done, so don't worry! Perla created exactly what I envisioned, and she worked with the budget we gave her. On the day of the wedding, everything looked 10 times more beautiful than I expected. The resort now switched to another vendor, Planner 1, but I requested to continue working with Perla and I highly recommend you request to work with her as well. She's the best! Audio/DJ/lighting: JSAV We used JSAV for audio equipment rental, TV rental and lighting. Steve was very quick to reply to emails and very fair in his pricing as well. We flew down our DJ/musicians so we didn’t need those services from Steve. Our musicians brought their own laptops and wireless microphones, and Steve provided the speakers and some other things. Steve helped our musicians set up their equipment for the welcome party and wedding. One of our musicians later complained to us that they were having a sound issue and Steve wasn’t helpful. I wish I knew this at the wedding so that I would approach him myself and have it fixed. Overall he was easy to work with and I'd recommend him. Photo/video: Sweet Caribbean Photo We used an outside vendor – Sweet Caribbean Photo. One word – AMAZING! We were going to use Blue Lens at first (now called Wedding Day Story), but we switched to Sweet Caribbean about 3 months ago. The main photographer is Dani, she is super friendly and talented. The rest of her team consists of her husband Guillermo and his brother and best friend. They are all extremely creative. They flew a drone with a camera attached to it over our ceremony and recorded the whole thing. They used GoPro's to get some really cool images as well. I'm waiting to receive all pictures and videos from them (should get it by the end of the month), but I'm confident that it will all be amazing. I'll update my review when I receive everything. Their prices are very reasonable as well. With the vendor fee, we spent the same amount we would have spent on Blue Lens. Highly recommend!!! Hair/makeup: Tania Tagle This was super important to me. I wasn’t completely happy with the hair & makeup I had done for our engagement photos during our site visit at YHI Spa, so I searched for a different option. Tania Tagle does amazing work! She has a studio in Cancun but I didn't want to travel so far, and the resort charges a huge vendor fee, so Tania gave me a great idea – we booked a room in a nearby hotel (City Express Playa del Carmen). It was a 10 min ride from the resort. Tania and her team met us there. She uses high quality products and provides airbrush makeup. My hair and makeup were just perfect and lasted all day! Rabbi: Steve Spiegel Rabbi Steve was great! We had a Jewish interfaith ceremony incorporating Christian and Muslim prayers. Our guests loved how he was so spiritual and open minded. The ceremony was truly beautfiful thanks to him. He's funny and charismatic and we highly recommend him. He also took some time to respond in the beginning, but like I mentioned before, everything gets done closer to the wedding so don't worry. YHI Spa I used the spa for a manicure and we also had massages at the spa. A lot of our guests had their hair & makeup done there and they were happy as well. If you're not too picky with makeup and don't need airbrush, then I think YHI should be fine. If I think of anything else I'll add on! Good luck with future planning I'll be happy to help!
  2. Dear former or future brides, I need some immediate help! My wedding at Paradisus is in a week. We have 100 guests coming & we bought items to create welcome bags for the guests - these items include tic tacs, sun block, aloe Vera gel, gum, Advil, and vodka shots. All items are mini sized bottles. Can I pack all of this into one suitcase without having a problem at customs? PLEASE ADVISE! Thank you
  3. Previous brides -- I have a question about the cake. Wedding planner told me that regardless of group size, cake will be 2 tier. We are having 100 guests so I imagine this needs to be a large 2 tier cake. Can someone else who had a large group tell me about their cake? Was it enough for your group? They told me bottom tier will be about 15 inches and top tier will be about 12 inches, tier height will be around 4 inches. Sounds a little small for 100 people. What do you think?
  4. @@ljoseph26 Hi, our wedding is in about 2 months so I can't give reviews yet but I can share our planning experience so far. Steve at JSAV is very reasonable and he is the easiest vendor to work with. We are flying in our own performers from NYC and using JSAV's equipment as well. Also using equipment for welcome party too, so yes, you can have your dj at the party. I'm not sure they can do a party on the beach for 100 people. We are also having 100 and they suggested we don't do beach so we're doing poolside instead. Decor/floral arrangements can range anywhere from 150-450, all depending on your flower choice and taste. You can definitely bargain with them. You should for sure do tailor made package if you want a welcome party, but as you already know, there still will be many additional costs such as equipment rental, flowers, decor, photo/video, venue upgrade (optional) and time extension (optional).
  5. @@Catfoxinabox Hi! I was just reading all your tips again and I have a question regarding JSAV. We want to do the same thing as you regarding a continuos slideshow throughout the evening. Steve recommended we do a flat screen due to wind that can be in the Gabi Club. Were you happy with the projector? How did you play your pictures -- through a laptop or USB device? We aren't sure if we should go with flat screen or projector so hopefully your response will help! Also, were you happy with the quality of your BlueLens photos and videos? And can you give the names of the photographers they provided you with (if you were happy with them). I was told that they have some good photographers and some amateurs that aren't so good, so you have to request who you want. Thank you !!!! Do any brides have experience with this company http://www.cancun-discounts.com/ ? We want to book a private catamaran for our guests and I've looked on tons of sites and cancun-discounts seems to have the best options and prices, but can't find too many reviews. Any used them or heard of them? Thanks!!
  6. Hey former brides! I have an important question for you. For those of you who had the tailor made package- did you feel like you had enough food at the reception? We have to pick 5 appetizers for cocktail hour, and then for dinner we have to pick 1 appetizer (same choice for all the guests), the guests can pick 1 entree, and then desserts. We have a feeling that this isn't enough food... how was your experience with the tailor made reception? Should we request additional items? Thank you!
  7. Hi everyone! We just returned from the LAFS visit and we got to meet with Perla from Alquimia. I showed her what I liked (@@asabatino ivory roses with hydrangeas as well) and gave her our budget but she didn't give me any definite info. She suggested we use Mums to keep the cost down and get the look of hydrangea but I'm not sure how that would look. Hydrangeas are not that expensive here in NYC, so I assume they cost more down in Mexico. We have the tailor made package so we are getting a lot of decor from Alquimia, but I'm also open to using another florist for centerpieces if you girls find a good one that's less expensive. I don't like that she works with brides so close to the wedding because it doesn't give any time to find another florist in case it's needed. I'm going to try to get a hold of her soon and get some definite quotes in order to decide if we should work with her or find someone else. On another note, did you know that for a plated dinner, we have to tell them exactly how many of each entree we need a MONTH before? For example if I'm putting chicken, fish, and steak on the menu, I have to ask all my 100 guests what they would like and tell the resort a month before, so that the chef knows how much he needs. This is RIDIC !!! I've never been to a wedding where I was asked what I wanted to eat beforehand. As an "all-inclusive" resort, they should have more than enough of each option for their guests. My fiance is very annoyed with this policy, as am I. Maybe if more brides complain about it, they'll change this policy. Also, many things in the resort are not included - like coconut drinks on the beach, or lobster at any restaurant is an additional cost. Even RIU hotels (far cheaper) offer tons of lobster at their resorts. I think for the price they charge, they need to provide this to their all inclusive guests and not charge them extra for everything. Overall, the resort is pretty and service is good but if you want to have your wedding here, be prepared to go over budget. p.s. we had great experiences so far with BlueLens and JSAV. We had an engagement shoot with bluelens and have a package picked out for our wedding already. We are using JSAV for equipment rental because we're bringing our own musicians, and Steve from jsav already sent us our invoice and is very helpful and detailed. I also met Itzel from YHI spa and had a trail hair and makeup -- it went well but not perfect. She knows what she's doing but I think I just showed her the wrong picture of what I wanted. If you're clear with her about what you want, I think she can do it. I have a ton of guests who want hair & makeup done so if anyone can recommend salons in Playa del carmen, I would greatly appreciate it. Everyone won't be able to get taken care of at YHI so we need some outside options as well. Thank you!!!
  8. @@asabatino we are doing the tailor made package as well. as of now, the extra costs seem to be -- flowers & decor, photography/videography, venue upgrade & time extension (if you choose to do it), audio equipment rental (lighting too, depending on which room) and dj/musicians. i'm hoping that's it! are you going to visit the resort before your wedding? so far my experience with blue lens is good. i only spoke to them through email but you can negotiate with them and they are reasonable. we are excited to meet with them for our visit. the audio company JSAV is also very on point with answering emails. i dont have a final quote from them yet but we also dont need too much from them (only equipment) since we're bringing our own musicians. but i like that they answer emails quickly! can anyone share your experience will alquimia? i got some unreasonable prices for sample photos that they sent me. i sent them some photos with centerpieces that i would be interested in and am waiting for a quote. i hope that they give us some reasonable options or else we'll have to look for an outside vendor.
  9. @@Catfoxinabox thank you SO much for your quick and amazing input. I will tell them that we refuse to sign a contract that doesn't offer us the release of rooms with zero penalty by a certain date. I felt like this contract would be a trap for me if people wouldn't book through it. I don't understand why the hotel doesn't give everyone the same contract. If they don't agree, we simply will book without a room block. Once again, thank you thank you thank you !
  10. Dear brides, i need your help!! our wedding date is reserved at the paradisus playa del carmen. i'd like to know how some past brides and future brides go about with booking rooms. for a few months now, we have been working with travel agents who are preparing a room block for us. the resort provided them with room rates, and the flights need to be purchased separately. when i look at expedia prices, they are significantly cheaper because expedia offers "package deals." My mom's friend who is also a travel agent, is telling me that she can match expedia prices and offer me the protection that a travel agent offers, all without having a room block. The agents who are working on our room block said that we can get 1 free room for every 10 rooms booked, or some room upgrades. However, I'm starting to question if this makes sense financially. I have doubts that our guests will book through our room block if they can find cheaper prices else where. Then i'll be left liable for those rooms. Any advice??? I'm seriously considering not to sign the contract and not do a room block. People can book themselves through expedia or through an agent who matches expedia prices. Please answer asap because this contract needs to be signed (or not) soon. Any input is appreciated. Thank you !!!! @@asabatino & @@KimmyA & @@Catfoxinabox --- you all seem to have a wedding date reserved already. please take a look at my above post & share how you guys are booking rooms. thank you!!!
  11. hey everyone! we booked our love at first site visit, we'll be going september 13-17. we want to meet with vendors when we go. we're interested in booking blue lens for photography... can anyone share their experience with them? we also saw some bad reviews for JSAV so i'm scared to use their dj. our good friend is a dj so we are thinking to have him be the dj but we would need to rent all the equipment from JSAV. did any upcoming brides choose their reception location yet?
  12. @@asabatino yes we got a comfirmation April 26 2015 we will have our ceremony on gabi bridge at 6 pm and haven't decided about reception yet until we see the rooms in person. We are trying to go there in September for the love at first site visit. As for the access, I was given the same information as posted above - adults can access both sides regardless of which side they stay on, and kids can only be on la esmeralda side (other than when they are at a private function).
  13. @@aferr15 I didn't visit any but I was also very interested in dreams riviera cancun. The ceremony location overlooking the cliff looks amazing. However, our travel agent found out that their rooms are old and in need of a renovation so we didn't look further into it. Dreams has some good packages though. As far as the tailor made package, it just includes more. It has the welcome party the day before and I think some more decor included. If you feel like you don't need those things then you probably don't need the tailor made package. But it wouldn't be smarter to add those options a la carte because you would then have to pay some ridiculous taxes. I would also worry about the date being booked. We sent in our paperwork last week and are still waiting for a confirmation of the date (fingers crossed). I hope there won't be more than one wedding on that date!
  14. @@asabatino Alquimia has a Facebook page with a ton of pictures of what they've done. Also, I'm pretty sure that all the pictures sent to us by Paradisus feature the work of Alquimia as well. The decor looks great - it looks like they know what they're doing! @@aferr15 yes the additional per person cost covers everything. From what I was told, the packages include tax already but the additions are subject to a high tax. That's why we also are going with a package (tailor made) rather than a la carte. We are hoping to go there for a visit this summer. I'm having difficulty choosing a reception space. Have you ladies chose your space? I picked gabi bridge for ceremony but it's tough for me to pick the reception location based on pictures.
  15. Hey Paradisus brides! We sent in our paperwork and are waiting for our confirmation (April 2015). We are planning to go visit this summer and pick a reception space after seeing the rooms in real life
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