By Janjin, · 1,233 Views · 1 Comment
Wedding Date: 11/20/2015
Dates at resort: 11/17/2015 – 11/24/2015
Ceremony & Cocktail hour location: Sky Deck
Reception location: Plaza Zavas
Guests: 75 (71 adults, 2 infants and 2 children)
Travel Agent: Danialle at BeachBum Vacations
Photographers: FineArt Studio Photography (specifically Diego Pedernera and Jorge Rodriguez)
Photobooth: Quiroo Entertainment
Décor: Katy (Love & Lace Wedding Décor)
Pre-wedding: Until you arrive onsite, you communicate with the wedding dept in Miami. They are slow to respond until you are about 3 months from your wedding. At that point, emails were responded to quickly and we scheduled weekly calls to catch up on everything. I recommend all brides to be very organized and review their wedding builder very carefully. I found mistake often but they were cleared up right away.
We arrived on a Tuesday for our symbolic ceremony on Friday. A handful of guests arrived with us on Tuesday and the rest arrived either on Wednesday or Thursday. It was a lot of fun watching and being on the lookout for everyone to arrive. The check in process went pretty smooth. Hubby and I were in reserved a premium room so after being handed some sparkling wine we were whisked away to our private check in. We didn’t hear any complaints from our guests about the check in process. 90% of our guests were in the same building which was great!
That Tuesday night I had my hair and make-up trial at the Spa. My MOH came with me. This went great and got rid of a lot of my nerves. They use Mac products. I brought with me the foundation and concealer I liked and had pictures of how I wanted my hair and make-up done. The lady at the spa (I don’t remember her name) was able to recreate the look and I was happy. Once we were done, she changed my hair so that no one would see exactly what I was going to look like.
We had our meeting with the onsite wedding coordinator on Wednesday at 11am. We brought a lot of stuff from home and rented items from Katy. Working with Katy was so easy. Her colleague delivered the rented décor on Wednesday morning and picked up the following Tuesday morning before we left. It was all very seamless. I completely recommend using her. We had about 4 suitcases of wedding items to bring to our meeting, which included maracas, guest book, centerpieces, photobooth frames, framed signs, candles, and a whole bunch of other stuff I’m sure I’m forgetting. The only décor items I paid for from Lomas were 4 flower arrangements for the ceremony (that were also moved to the reception), 3 bouquets (mine, MOH and 1 bridesmaid), 3 boutonnieres, and table overlays.
We also had our welcome bags delivered by the hotel. We assembled the bags the night before (Hubby did most of it while I was at my hair/make-up trial) and chose to have the hotel deliver them at $4 a room because it was just 1 less thing to think about that week and I’m so happy we did! The meeting last about 2 hours. We went through EVERYTHING here. They were very thorough and we had the ability to make changes to the decisions/selections we made with Miami very easily. After going through the timing and details of all our events, we went through all the décor we brought. They noticed that I didn’t have any sheers for the gazebo and they threw them in for us for free! I had hand drawn pictures of what I wanted our guest tables, place card and guest tables and the sweetheart tables to look like and they loved it. They said it made it very easy to follow. And they executed it perfectly! The ceremony, cocktail hour and reception looked exactly how I envisioned!
Our first wedding event was on Thursday night – our welcome party. It was supposed to be a s’mores bonfire on the beach. But around 1pm, the wedding coordinators came to find us and told us that there was a 55% chance of rain and they recommended we move it inside. The backup plan was a ballroom and I did not want that. After some back and forth, they agreed to have it under one of the outdoor gazebos, which was the backup location I really wanted. They removed the tables and chairs and set up the fondue and fruit, etc in the center but they left the bed swings. It ended up not raining at all but moving it turned out for the best. The gazebo was a lot more comfy and we had a great time. We didn’t bring or use any décor for this event. We figured the location would be enough.
Wedding day! Hubby was given his own room to get ready in. My mom, bridesmaid, MOH, and I all got had our make-up and hair done at the spa. We all looked great! My hair and make-up were exactly what I wanted and they served us champagne during – can’t beat that. I can’t recommend using the spa enough! We finished getting ready in my room and had room service delivered there.
From day 1 we knew that our wedding pictures were top priority. We decided to use FineArt Studio as our photographers and pay the vendor fee. We loved their portfolio and they sure didn’t disappoint! They were great at getting back to us with any questions we had before AND after the wedding. On the day, Diego and Jorge were great to work with and really put us at ease. You can tell that they really enjoy what they do and had tons of great ideas for poses, lighting, etc. They also captured so many candid moments with us and our guests. They fit in with our group so well that I don’t even remember them taking pictures during the reception but they got some really great ones. We received our pictures a week ahead of schedule and received more than double the expected number of pictures. We LOVE our pictures and would use them again and again if we could.
We also had a photobooth at the reception and it was a huge hit!!! We used Quiroo Entertainment and Martin and Wendy were amazing to work with. They were very responsive before the wedding and everything was set up great. They provided the videos and digital pictures only a few days after wedding – great timing! They have photobooth that also lets guest record video messages to us. This feature was AMAZING!!! It’s so much fun to look back and look at the pictures and the watch the videos. The photobooth printed 2 copies – 1 for the guests and 1 for them to add with a note to a book and we also got all of the pictures digitally. There props were great and honestly there were always people at the photobooth – which I loved! All guests had nothing but great things to say about Martin and Wendy. If you’re looking for a photobooth, definitely book with Quiroo Entertainment!
We didn’t have much more room in the budget for a video but wanted to capture at least the ceremony and since we got a huge discount with the Lomas videographer, we decided to use them. The video is fine but I am very very happy I didn’t pay full price for it. The video quality was just ok – I could have had a guest video tape the ceremony and have gotten a very similar result. Also, their service wasn’t very good. We only hired them for an hour. When his hour was up, he literally came up to me while I was taking pictures and told me that since they needed 3 business days to prep video it would have to be mailed to me (which I knew and was ok with) and that I needed to pay him $30 for that right then. I looked at him like he was crazy and told him that it was completely inappropriate to ask us for that (come on I’m in my wedding dress!). And that I would go and see/pay his manager the next day, which I did. Then not only was my video not mailed out for a month after my wedding once I got it, it had the wrong date at the end. They did correct it and send me a new video very quickly though. In the end, I wouldn’t really recommend them.
The sky deck ceremony was amazing! Everyone should use it. It was beautiful and private and with the ocean as the backdrop, you can't ask for anything more! Being a U.S. couple and having a total of 32 rooms booked in our block, we qualified for a number of free events. But the catch was that we couldn't pick the locations before arrival. That wasn't acceptable to us because we didn't want any of our events on the beach (I'm not a beach person - hate sand haha and I wanted to wear heels). So we chose to pay for it all. We hosted a full cocktail hour on the sky deck and hired a mariachi band. Guests loved it. We used DJ All music with a MC for the reception, who did a great job. Our dance floor was packed the entire time. We got the 4-tier cake which was very yummy but way too much cake. It should have fed 50-60 people but there was so much left over and we had 75 people at the reception (and some people had seconds). The decor of the cake was ok. They got my vision correct but the fondant was cracking.
Overall the day was great! Everything went off as we planned. The weather was great and there were amazing clouds in the sky. The ceremony was fun and light-hearted – we had so many laughs and loved looking out and seeing everyone crying and laughing at the same time. Please let me know if you have any questions!