Hi Jenn963! I've never been to the resort, so I'd love to hear how your trip goes next month!
We sent out email invitations in October and then paper invitations at the beginning of December. In total, i think we invited around 150 people. A few people booked before Christmas, but the majority only booked during the last couple of weeks. It was quite stressful because we had to guestimate the number of guests we thought would come and put down a non-refundable $250 dollar deposit for each. With regards to using Luxe, there are so many things that we're discovering after the fact that are frustrating. For instance, they negotiated our rate with Transat before the rates were even posted online for anybody else, but we trusted that we would get a good deal since we were putting down deposits for 20 rooms. Low and behold, when the public rates actually came out about a month later, they were $14 less than what our contract was. After asking our travel agent if there was an opportunity to price match, she came back and said that we have one opportunity up to 100 days prior to departure, and we have to find the exact same trip (i.e. has to be from Transat for the same room type, same dates, same EVERYTHING) and there has to be available (still not quite sure what that means). Basically, we have to keep an eye on the rates, and once we see one that we want to attempt to challenge, they will go back to Transat and request a price reduction, but it's not guaranteed that we'll get it. So needless to say, it's been frustrating. We have also signed on for Wedding Planning services from Luxe. They will negotiate rates with the resort for things like the reception and guarantee to save you at least what you paid for the wedding planning. We haven't started that part yet because we wanted to wait and see how many guests we have. Hopefully that is more fun and less stressful than the travel arrangements.
When you go in November, are you only going for one week? We've decided to fly down on Wednesday, October 30, whereas the rest of our group will be coming on the saturday. That way we have time to relax before everyone gets there and we can get the OOT bags ready and greet all of our guests once they arrive. (on that note, we ended up booking our additional flight on our own rather than with Luxe because they couldn't get us any deals. in the end, we have to pay for the regular one week trip - november 2-9, as well as the extra flight on the oct. 30).
Do you know what you're doing for a photographer? There's a photographer in Whitby who we used for our engagement pics, my fiance did family pics with her in the past and the family of a friend of ours uses her all the time, so we're going to try to get her to come down with us. It might end up being a little pricey because her fee will probably be the trip plus an actual fee for her services, but we'll start getting that set up soon.
Are you making OOT bags? i've seen so many great ideas on these forums... i can't wait to get started on them!