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About MissMarissa

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  1. Hi KittyC81, Sorry for the delay in responding - I haven't logged back in much since my own wedding and I guess I don't have any notifications when someone replies to my posting. Anyway, I did have to pay the additional vendor fee for each of those vendors. The main reason that I went with outside vendors was because I had already selected them and done extensive research on all of them for when I had originally planned my wedding at the Hilton. When the Hilton let us know they wouldn't be finished it time, we set out to find another resort that would allow our vendors (even if we did have to pay the fee) so we were always planning on keeping the same vendors. I couldn't speak to the preferred Vendor selections the Grand Solmar provides only because from the beginning I let them know I'd be using my own. The cake is pricey, for sure. And while it was perfectly fine and they decorated it exactly as I wanted it, it wasn't a make or break element to the wedding and certainly was no more memorable than any other cake at any other wedding I've ever been to. To be totally honest with you, after the frustration we'd already gone through with the Hilton essentially replanning the wedding twice, I was a little more driven by keeping things as easy as possible for me, so I went ahead and did the cake through the Grand Solmar. Looking back, I think I only had one bite of our cake at all, and had we decided to forgo it completely, I don't think anyone would have been bothered if we didn't have it. Given all the dancing our guests we're doing, I'd be curious to know how much of that cake actually even was eaten. Ultimately it just depends what your priorities are and how much the little things are going to matter to you. As long as you prioritize the things that matter the most for you, you're going to have a perfect wedding! Which wedding coordinator are you working with? I'm wondering if it is Erika she may still be covering both Playa Grande and Grand Solmar weddings and might be stretched thin. During the whole process, I'll say they were a lot more involved in the months and especially weeks right before the wedding. For someone like me who likes to have everything settled well in advance, that could be a little off-putting, but trust me - they will come through and it will all be beautiful! Happy to offer any more details I can!
  2. Early photos from our wedding taken by friends
  3. Hello my fellow brides! Planning my Cabo wedding has been a lot more than I ever expected or thought I'd signed up for. Though I’d been a long time lurker on this forum, I only originally posted back in December 2014 to share my heartbreak of having my wedding cancelled as a result of Hurricane Odile and then re-cancelled due to the venue not being ready when they promised to be. http://www.bestdestinationwedding.com/topic/78505-cabo-wedding-cancelled-twice-advice-needed/ As everyone on this forum knows, having a destination wedding can be scary with so many things out of your control, and having to somewhat blindly trust whatever information you can find. I depended on many of the opinions and feedback I’d read on these forums (and a few times just blind luck) and ultimately it all worked out as the most perfect wedding I could have ever asked for. As a result, I wanted to pay it forward to all of the other brides out there in lurking mode. I based many of my decisions and choices on what other lovely brides have shared, and I couldn’t have been happier with the results. So here it is….My full reviews for my 2015 Cabo Wedding Location: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico Date: May 9th, 2015 Number of guests: 75 people Accomodations: Grand Solmar Lands End, Playa Grande and Solmar All-Inclusive Ceremony/Reception Venue: Grand Solmar Lands End, Lands End Terrace, Playa Grande Beach Flowers / Decorations: Through the Grand Solmar Lands End Wedding Coordinator: Alana Duran and Erika Quiroz through the Grand Solmar Photographers & Videographer: Enrique Morales, EM Weddings DJ, Equipment and Lighting– Victor Daniel De Alba, Teeven Technology Event Entertainment Violinist – Violetta Poletek - www.caboviolin.com Hair & Makeup: Suzanne Morel Welcome Cruise: Cabo Mar Accomodations: Grand Solmar Lands End, Playa Grande and Solmar All-Inclusive (review on location, food, rooms, etc.) Solmar collection is actually 3 different resorts in the same area which all had very different price points, and flexible all-inclusive options, which are all easily accessible from one another either by walking or taking the countless shuttles available throughout the resorts. This meant by offering the choice of any of these accommodations to our guests, we could still be all together, but not have to burden any of our guests with hotel offerings that were completely out of their price range. My husband and I only stayed at the Playa Grande and the Grand Solmar, so I can only speak directly about those two, however our guests that stayed in the Solmar All-Inclusive said it was perfectly lovely, the rooms were large, the beds were clean and the food and alcohol was good. A few mentioned the bathrooms being a bit dated, but they certainly didn’t consider this a reason to not stay there. Also, anyone staying here was completely permitted on the other properties, so it didn’t prevent them from being able to spend time with all of our other guests. The vast majority of our guests stayed at the Playa Grande, and that tended to be the default meet up / hang out spot for everyone regardless of resort. It was an active, young and fun resort, with tequila volleyball among other poolside activities and music playing, though not so loud you couldn’t hear yourself think. It proved to be the best option for most of our guests so they could socialize by the pool without worrying being disruptive. The Playa Grande also offered an all-inclusive option that about half the guests took advantage of, though my sense is you probably end up breaking even either way you do it. They offer 2-for-1 happy hours by the pool starting at 2PM. The beds were incredible comfortable, the rooms were super clean and each room contained a full fridge, microwave, etc. so you were also able to buy your own groceries and prepare your own meals, if that’s what you wanted. I mainly only ate at the pool bar and at breakfast but the food at both was excellent. The drinks were delicious (I heard a few complaints of not enough alcohol but the staff was happy to remedy this if brought to their attention). There are also signs that explicitly prohibit ‘seat claiming’ by coming down and dropping towels on the chairs first thing in the morning, which I very much appreciated have been to so many other resorts where that is an on-going frustration. Even in May, there seemed to be an abundance of seating available, and so this was a non-issue. The Grand Solmar is most exclusive of the three, and the much more elegant. It was perfect for my bridesmaids and I to get ready in the day of and stay over our wedding night, the grounds are beautiful, it feels very private and quiet (despite ongoing construction to build a new lobby and fix some hurricane damage). The staff was excellent, so friendly, so helpful and just an absolute pleasure. In my opinion, all of the resorts would be worthy of 5 stars within the price points they are in. The kicker above all else that made this collection of resorts even better was that it is right next to downtown. A 5-minute walk from the Playa Grande puts you right in the Marina next to Senor Frogs. Our guests were extremely grateful for this, as it made Cabo much more accessible than it would have been had we had our wedding somewhere in the Corridor like where we original planned. Ceremony / Reception Venue: Grand Solmar Lands End, Lands End Terrace, Playa Grande Beach Possibly one of the greatest blessings in disguise in replanning this wedding was discovering the Grand Solmar Lands End as our venue. The Lands End Terrace where the ocean meets the lands end rocks jutting out of the sea is so unique and breathtaking. The location of it relative to the resort also is somewhat remote and extremely private, so you don’t run the risk of random resorts guests wandering through your wedding or voyeuristically sneaking a peak. The lighting, sound equipment and general set up are all critical to maximizing this amazing space (all of which was executed flawlessly, but I’ll get to that in later parts of the review) but there is so much natural beauty here, and along with the gazebo, there is very little that needs to be added to make this perfect. All catering, drinks and the wedding cake were handled through the resort, and it was all better than I expected. When the guests arrived at the cocktail hour on the stunning Don Luis terrace, servers were waiting with trays of drinks and hors d’oeurves and giant smiles on their faces. The one limitation of this space was you cannot play music after 10PM, which effectively meant our dance party / reception was over at 10PM. I knew we wouldn’t be ready to call it a night at that point, so I asked if we could possibly have a bonfire on the Playa Grande beach. Though I’m not sure if this was something they had done before or not, they were super amenable to making it happen, and the end result was one that blew my expectations completely out of the water. The resorts organized the shuttles to get our guests back over to where the bonfire was happening on the beach. They had laid out beach chairs in a perfect circle around the fire, with Mexican blankets to help people stay warm. There was a small s’mores station where people could pick up their marshmallows and the chocolate was pre-melted onto the graham crackers so once the toasted marshmallow was placed on it, you had a perfect, non-messy s’more. They also set up a small tiki bar to continue the drinks flowing until Midnight. It was the perfect way to wind down and end the night Flowers / Decorations: Through the Grand Solmar Lands End As I mentioned, the natural beauty of the space is so great, we needed very little in terms of decoration to complement the space. Something worth mentioning is the Grand Solmar is generally more restrictive about working with outside vendors that aren’t part of their approved set. Due to the extenuating circumstances I had faced, they were much more flexible with me, but when it came to flowers they insisted we go through them. For what it is worth, I don’t think this is as much them trying to maximize their profits, as it is them wanting to provide a truly immaculate wedding, and feeling more confident in their ability to do it versus a 3rd party vendor they have less control over. I gave them the proposal that I had from an earlier florist and they were able to replicate it completely to my vision at the exact same cost. As part of their standard set up, they provide beautiful tiffany chairs for the ceremony, white table linens were pinwheel table cloths (I believe that’s what they are called) which added a nice, understated touch of elegance and white draped material and a white runner for the gazebo. I brought light teal cloth napkins from home, and the look was perfect. As far as the bouquets and boutonnieres, they also arrived just as expected and were absolutely stunning. Wedding Coordinator: Alana Duran and Erika Quiroz through the Grand Solmar The vast majority of my experience was with Alana, who had helped me out through the beginning always, answering my emails thoroughly and promptly and giving me honest and direct answers so properly set my expectations. She never said “We can’t do that” or “That’s not allowed”. She always took time to develop some thoughtful alternatives and would talk them through with me. She was very professional and just truly lovely. Given we planned our wedding at the Grand Solmar, sight unseen, she had to work to make me feel very comfortable and confident that things would work out, and she successfully did that every step of the way. A few weeks before the actual wedding, she got another wedding coordinator role that offered her more international opportunities that was something she was interested in perusing. She seamlessly handed everything off to Erika, who I immediately felt at ease with, and who executed my entire vision to a tee. I think I hugged her about 15 times the night of our wedding. Photographers & Videographer: Enrique Morales, EM Weddings Since I’m writing this only days after our wedding I haven’t yet seen any of the photos or video Enrique shot, but I have no doubt the pictures are going to be amazing! Picking a photographer is always challenging and I looked at tons of online portfolios before selecting Enrique. Not only did his style of capturing candid moments really appeal to me, his videography samples had me getting emotional over strangers wedding videos. I also appreciated his super-quick response times and professionalism. His dedication to his work and creating a quality product is immediately apparent when you read other reviews of him on this site. And I experienced it firsthand in working with him. Months ago I created a pinterest board of some of my favorite wedding shots that I shared with Enrique to give him an idea of some things I’d like to capture. In the days before my wedding and on my wedding day, I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to hear him referencing those photos from my Pinterest board and how we were recreating them. Not only did he review that collection which I’d carefully curated but he had actively and thoughtfully considered how he could recreate each of them. He obviously takes his job of giving the bride exactly what she is after very seriously. The team we had included 2 photographers and 3 videographers, all mic’ed up to each other to ensure they are in the proper locations and capturing the most important moments. The fact that they are all in contact like that also worked well for coordinating our wedding party and getting everyone where they needed to be. Even though they were everywhere, I never even noticed them. They camouflaged right in! For the posed photos, Enrique gave great and explicit directions on body positioning to take the best photos and was incredibly efficient. He knew the exact time that we’d get the best light for some beach photos, which ended up allowing me to spend even more time with my guests during the cocktail hour and the reception. One thing I really learned from all of this is that all of the clichés are true – It is really the best day / weekend of your life and it goes by way too fast , like blink of an eye fast, so I am so excited I’ll soon be able to relive it through Enriques beautiful work. A consummate professional through and through, I’d recommend Enrique and his team to all Cabo brides. DJ, Equipment and Lighting– Victor Daniel De Alba, Teeven Technology Event Entertainment Victor and his team were excellent. And really on top of everything. When I mentioned the rocks at Grand Solmar and how Alana said they might need special lighting, he immediately set up an appointment with her to go visit the site and discuss their options, which he then followed up with me on. Besides just the lighting and the DJ equipment, he also provided the equipment for our ceremony and our violinist, asking us all the details we hadn’t even thought of, like if we needed a free standing mike, so our officiant wasn’t holding too many things during the ceremony. And the music at the reception was so good! Perhaps even a little too good! During dinner, one table got up and started dancing before we’d even been able to do speeches, because the music was so good. However Victor quickly corralled them back, and soon enough they were able to break it down for real. When I gave him our Play / Don’t Play list I explained that the ‘To Play’ list wasn’t an explicit ‘Must Play’ but more directional to help him get an idea of what we wanted, and he did just that. He was playing songs that I wouldn’t have even thought to add to the list or had never even heard of before, but they were just perfect and the dance floor was packed all night long. He did an excellent job of mashing up one song into another to transition them. Just really exceeded my expectations in every way. Violinist – Violetta Poletek - www.caboviolin.com Just lovely. We only had her for an hour for the ceremony and immediately before and following it, but she was a complete breeze to work with. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when I walked out to her version of 1000 years. Hair & Makeup: Suzanne Morel My decision to use Suzanne Morel was an easy one based on tons of excellent reviews, and photos upon photos of the beautiful brides and bridesmaids she or her team had worked on. I originally contacted her months in advance and she set up a phone call, asked for photos of what I had in mind, photos of my dress, etc. to get an idea of what would work the best. She was very through with scheduled check-in calls planned in the months and weeks leading up to the wedding. I worked primarily with Jennifer on her team, and she was great to work with. They were extremely flexible, accommodating new requests from my bridesmaids to also get their hair done only days before the wedding. They were also incredibly efficient. They planned start time was 9:30AM with the plan to be completely done by 3PM, and even with a few extra services thrown in, they were completely out of there by 2:30PM. All of my bridesmaids commented on the quality of their work as well as their speed. They asked how I was able to find them and I told them it was from these forums. J Welcome Cruise: Cabo Mar Many guests, including my husband, said this cruise was the best part of the weekend. We had a 3 hour dinner / sunset cruise with an open bar for all of our guests, and it was outstanding. The DJ was playing great music and had everyone dancing all night, the drinks were delicious as was the food. Several times the boat would stop and point out some of the landmarks, like the Arc de Cabo, and give the guests an opportunity to take photos in front of it. Even better, they kept a head count of how many people had gotten on so we knew we weren’t leaving anyone behind. This was also one of my favorite parts of the entire weekend because we got to spend even more time with all of our closest family and friends, and it required virtually no additional work on our part. Besides booking and paying for it, CaboMar handled absolutely everything else, and they did so exquisitely. The boat is a catamaran, so it was a very smooth ride, but I’d still recommend having some Dramamine on hand for the one or two folks that just might not do well on the water. If any brides-to-be have any specific questions about any of these vendors, feel free to ask! Best of luck with your planning!
  4. Any former Hacienda Encantada Brides on here? Of even anyone who has done a site visit (and if you didn't decide to have your wedding here, why? Now that our wedding has been displaced twice from the Hilton, they are bringing us some options, and the Hacienda was one of them. Reading through the TripAdvisor reviews I had some concerns, and so I wanted to hear anyone elses experience with their wedding or their decision to book or not book this place. Unfortunately I won't have the luxury of going on a site visit like I did before prior to our wedding, so any place I actually haven't stayed at makes me nervous. I'm also looking at some of the Pueblo Bonito properties, so if you have any thoughts or experiences from there, please pass them along! Thank you!
  5. @@Lissie88 Thank you so much! I will definitely look into that resort and if they're available and in our consideration set, I'll reach out to you. I'd love to see photos to get an idea of what it would be like, if that's the route we end up going. Thank you so much for offering! To answer your question, many of our guests have booked their rooms already and they will be fully refunded. We specifically requested that the Hilton wait to inform our guests of the change in venue until we have a new one secured, because last time when it was cancelled, they notified our guests that their rooms were cancelled and so we found out through our guests that the wedding was cancelled! What really adds to our frustration is the fact that when we were planning to reschedule the wedding with the Hilton, we went back and forth with them so many times to get 100% reassurance that they would be open by May to host our wedding. We didn't want there to be any chance things could change again once we informed our guests of our new plans. They assured us it would be, and so we made all of the vendor changes and let all of our guests know. This was back in October. If they had even told us there was a 20% chance they wouldn't be able to host our wedding, we would have found another venue at that time. And we potentially could have had the wedding earlier! (We only wanted to push it out until May to ensure that the Hilton had adequate time to be fixed). I had followed the news of the hurricane closely and was really blown away by the generosity and selflessness of the staff at the Hilton and so, if possible, wanted to keep our wedding there to support them. Overall, this has been hugely unprofessional on the part of the Hilton. I understand they have a business to run and if they think there's a chance they can host a large event like a wedding, then they'd rather potentially get that money and risk having to cancel, but this is 100 of our closest friends and families time and this is our wedding, what is supposed to be the best time of our lives which has become a complete nightmare. The hurricane was tragic, and no one could have predicted that. A huge part of our reason of wanting to keep everything the same was to be able to invest that money in the community there. Their handling of it by alerting our guests before us of the cancellation was upsetting but forgivable. What has happened since has been demoralizing. Though I truly believe this property was amazing and had so many good staff, the way the situations have been handled has made me question ever staying at one of their properties again, and alerting all of my friends and family to considering doing the same. Anyway, rant over! Sorry to write a novel. I am still somewhat in shock and can't believe this is actually happening. Thank you again for your concern and I'll follow up with you when I find out more about the availability of the Secrets property!
  6. My fiance and I were originally scheduled to have our wedding of ~100 guests at the Hilton Los Cabos on October 25, 2014. Unfortunately Hurricane Odile hit 5 weeks before our wedding date, and we were forced to cancel it. As added insult to injury, we found out our wedding was officially cancelled from our guests who had received cancellation emails from the Hilton, before we were even notified. After much deliberation, we decided to keep everything the same and just push out the date. We did this both to ease the burden on us as well as the people of Cabo who were displaced and their livelihoods largely compromised from the impact of the hurricane. We worked with the Hilton to schedule a new date: May 9th, 2015. We had all of our vendors switch the dates, informed our guests and had a new reservations site for them to book their stay, which many of them already have along with their flights. Today, we just received an email that now the reopening of the hotel won't be until June 1st, 2015, meaning they can not host our wedding. We're beyond devastated and heartbroken, a second time around. What was supposed to be a lovely, quiet Christmas is now a somber scramble to figure out how to put the pieces back together. I'm still reeling from shock and completely at a loss for what to do next, so I wanted to post here to hopefully get some feedback and advice from others who can probably think more clearly right now. Our thinking is we have to keep the same date and location of Cabo, since so many guests have already booked their flights, and unlike previously with the Hurricane, will not be able to get refunds for their tickets, and many of our wedding party also has had to make huge sacrifices to be available on these dates. Also, we expect now that this cancellation is the result of the resort and not a natural disaster, people are going to be much less flexible in terms of moving things around. I'm hoping for the advice of all / any of you on some of the following: We had chosen the Hilton because it was elegant, but the cost / room was still reasonable for our guests. We had a group rate of $169/night. Does anyone have any advice for other resorts that are of a similar standard? Looking online it seems that any other resort that is on par with the Hilton as far as quality and and beauty costs at least $300/night. (We're also very aware that many of the Cabo resorts will likely be booked already for a Spring wedding, which only adds to our complication) We have all of the vendors booked (and rebooked) but I'm concerned that alternative resorts may not allow us to keep the same vendors because they have 'vendor lists'. Has anyone had a similar experience as this? Are resorts willing to waive these types of constraints in the face of extenuating circumstances? I'm concerned a lot of the money we've put down for deposits may be lost for good, but am hoping that's not the case Though previously I wasn't planning on using one, I'm entertaining the thought of hiring a wedding planner to help us navigate some of the ambiguity. Any thoughts / experiences with this? If you think it's a good idea, any recommendations? Any alternative thoughts / ideas / etc. of what we can or should do? Any ideas are welcome Thank you in advance for any advice you can offer, and my apologies for any typos as my eyes are swollen half shut from all the crying :-(
  7. @@DVon18 I appreciate the support, and of course know you weren't trying to upset me. If anything I've been trying to find out more about what is really going on and get a more realistic picture for myself. I've been following enough twitter and instagram photos to have a good sense of how bad things were anyway. Definitely a disappointing and stressful time, especially when the resort hasn't reached out at all and we've been calling their corporate line daily asking for updates, and have gotten virtually nothing. (In fact, I only learned from a guest who only just got out of the hotel and home that the resort wasn't planning on opening until months after my planned wedding). I'm so glad to hear you were able to switch everything and it all seems to be relatively smooth. It gives me hope You mentioned reaching out to a few airlines and they waived all of the fees. Were all of your guests coming from the same place on the same airlines or were they from all over the place? We have guests coming in from Israel and Singapore (among many other locations) and so I'm hoping to be able to mitigate any extra expense or frustration with their airlines for them as well, but I'm worried that not sure every airline (or every travel aggregator) will honor the situation and waive their fees.
  8. @@jjordang So sorry for the late response. Prices per person vary on the food and drink options you select for your guests. I believe open bar for 4 hours was ~$90 and then they have different buffets (starting at ~$95/person) or plated options, which would depend on the guests selection, and of course any canapes, cocktail hour stations, etc. are priced per station as well.
  9. DVon18, what date was your wedding scheduled for? Mine is October 25 at the Hilton and we haven't heard anything back from them yet, so we don't know what to do right now +1 to that. I have my wedding scheduled Oct 25th at the Hilton with 90 guests attending and I don't know what to tell anyone I've also been checking http://www.itravel-cabo.com/ for general updates in the area. My heart goes out to every one of you. This is such a sad, devastating time for Cabo, one of my favorite places in the world, and I hope they are able to rebuild and restore it fast. I also very much hope this Tropical Storm Polo doesn't hit, because I don't think the town is an a good position to bunker down again, with all of the debris all over the place.
  10. Thanks for all the welcome and well wishes all! And to my other October Mexico brides, congratulations as well!!!
  11. The wedding is happening this month? Did it already happen? What did you decide and how was it?
  12. Any other Hilton brides out there? When I search this site for people who are doing their weddings or have done their weddings at the Hilton, there doesn't seem to be a ton of postings and most of the are several years ago, with different WCs than current work there. Our wedding is planned for the Hilton Los Cabos on October 25th, 2014, and I'm very eager to talk to anyone about their experiences, costs, negotiating, vendors, suggestions, etc. etc. While the WC's have been very polite, there are often large lags between email responses, or I'll have to send reminders to them to please respond to my emails. Also, I've had to ask specifically multiple times before I've found out if I could get a thing or service through the hotel. I'd like to know what options are available through the hotel at a cost and what I need to provide or get a vendor to provide (such as decorations, lighting, sound systems, dance floors, etc.) but it seems I can only get an answer if I ask if they provide something very specific. If I give too open of a question like "What types of decorations does the hotel have on hand that they can provide, either free or for a cost", I end up getting a general answer regarding 'standard set up'. Anyone have any experiences like this? Any sage words of wisdom in how to improve communication?
  13. I'm also potentially planning for a bonfire after the dancing reception. The venue won't allow music after 10:30 and I didn't want the party to end so soon, so we are going to do a beach bonfire, chinese lanterns and mini burritos, along with still serving drinks
  14. Date: October 25, 2014 # of guests: 100 Ceremony: Hilton Los Cabos Reception: Hilton Los Cabos Wedding Planner: Cristina Vaca and Juan Carlos Romero from the Hilton DJ: DJ Ricardo Photographer: Enrique Morales Videographer: Enrique Morales Hair/Makeup: Suzanne Morales
  15. Any updates on how peoples experiences with Suzanne Morel went? I'm currently planning on using her, though her services seemed quite pricey, and I wanted to see if peoples experiences were that it is worth it. Thanks!
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