I'm so excited to find this board! I'm getting married at Barcelo Maya Nov 21, 2014, and I would appreciate any advice you all have! I am planning to bring most of my decorations from home, as there seems to be an added fee for everything!
*Is it "worth it" to have a cocktail hour and/or mariachi band? We would love to do this but our budget has gotten a little out of control and we are trying to cut back.. already eliminating the dance floor (we are having the reception poolside).
*Has anyone brought lights to hang/string above? I asked our WC about the length needed..and all she told me was that I could rent them for approx $300 (set up/rental fee). We would also have to hire someone to do this if we bring them ourselves, apparently.
*Is the hair/makeup team okay? Once I started reading the posts on Barcelo, I quickly found that many people hire external hair/makeup artists (styling trio, best moments?). I wasn't planning to do this before b/c with the Strawberry Package it is included..but I'm wondering if it might be the way to go. Anyone that has used the spa at Barcelo- I'd love to hear how your hair and makeup turned out.
Thanks so much, and really looking forward to the wedding, despite setbacks with communication and budget concerns. I want it to be personal and for everyone to have a wonderful time!
Here are my two cents on some of your questions. Paying for a cocktail hour is so not worth it. It's pretty expensive and guests can walk from the ceremony to the lobby bar in under two minutes. There they can lounge, drink for free, enjoy the air conditioning, and munch on the snacks there. No one had an issue with this at my wedding, it worked out perfect and saved a ton of money! I also wanted a mariachi band but they were, I believe, $500 to rent for 30 minutes! CRAZY! If your guests go to the hotel lobby they will be just fine without the added cost and entertainment until the reception starts. I didn't bring lights for decor but I did bring puff ball that I made out of tissue paper. They put those up through the palm trees for the ceremony and reception and it looked AMAZING and added a great pop of color that I wanted. They charged me $40 to just set it up, a steal I think! The lights would be trickier, trying to find electric outlets etc...and sounds like way more expensive. With the other resort lights around, the reception was very bright and we definitely did not need more lighting. If you're trying to save money I would recommend just going with the puff balls or paper lanterns (without lights), they looked adorable for a good price. I gave a review earlier about the salon...not impressed. My mani/pedi was pretty awful and I gave my hair/makeup package to my Mom since I also hired Styling Trio. My Mom's hair turned out O.K. but she ended up taking all her make up off...she said she looked like a clown. I haven't heard very many good things about the salon, not to mention it's VERY hard to communicate with most of the workers there. I would HIGHLY recommend hiring Styling Trio...they were so fun and absolutely amazing.
Some other questions people have asked...I'm not sure about the welcome dinner. If your group isn't too large (under 20 or so) tell everyone to make a reservation when they check in for the same restaurant same day/time. If the group gets over a certain number I do believe they charge you more, but I can't tell you how much.
The DJ I used was Disco Movil (firstname.lastname@example.org). They were pretty decent. I was able to rent a generator with them so they ended up being cheaper than the resort DJ but I heard you can no longer do that. However, their light up dance floor, which was awesome, was cheaper than the resorts. So something to check into. My photographer was Ivan Luckie. We had a great time with him and so far, I've gotten three pictures back (for thank you cards), and they are really beautiful. HOWEVER, per his last email, I may have to wait 6 months from the time of my wedding to get all my pictures. That is something to consider...he takes a REALLY long time to get photos back which is really disappointing. I’ve been emailing a couple other girls and they are finding the same thing. So if you are a REALLY patient person you might not mind…but I’m starting to get a little frustrated.
Let me know if anyone has any additional questions!