Hi there my fellow Canadian bride! (There are lots of us on here
) I certainly sympathize with you are far as our exchange rate goes. I should have bought a large chunk last December when I had the chance!
Mayan ceremony - we looked at this initially, but since it's not a legal ceremony we felt that was a "waste" to do given that we still wouldn't be married! We thought of combining the two ceremonies to make it legal and spiritual, but that meant a ceremony would be over an hour long. Not really enjoyable for our guests in the heat, etc. So we are having a civil ceremony with a judge, and we are also having a shamin come in his full makeup and "costume" (I can't think of what to refer to it as right that this moment - no disrespect to their beautiful traditions!) and to be there during the ceremony, blow the conch to symbolize the start of it, and be there for pictures and just as something very cool and different outside of the civil ceremony. It's not cheap to do that, but it was a way to honour where we are getting married, give us and our guests something cool to remember about the day, and to capture it in pictures!
Photographer - I was also very drawn to Del sol's work when I saw their pics online, but they were on the pricey side, and since they have many different photographers and I wasn't 100% sure who I'd get at the end of the day. Then I came across playa weddings.com, and I saw similar styles in her work, and there is only one main photographer! She also offers one free hour with the larger packages to help offset the cost of having an outside company come in, and reading more about them I just really got a great feel about them. (Husband and wife couple) (hint - for the vendor fee- we booked a room for two nights for our photographer and her assistant, which turned out to be 75.00 cheaper than paying the 500.00 vendor fee. Barcelo accepts that as an option as well, and all they need is the wristbands. That gives you an extra room to utilize for 2 nights as well to use for people to get ready or whatever! . Go online and book just a room right now at no cost because you can cancel it within a week ?? of the wedding date without any penalty ... No need to pay til you get there! The sooner you book it the better as the prices go up! You may not find its cheaper, but it was for us. ) Anyhow check out playa weddings as an photographer option.
Your 10 kids are not included in the head count as long as they eat off the kids menu. There are three different food options for them if I recall correctly. If you give me your email address I can send along the menu I received last summer. It may or may not still be the same, and it may be different for you as we are going with the Strawberry package.... But I bet it's pretty similar.
Makeup - after all the price checking and communication I had with several companies, I am going with Yucatan hair / Beso brides. Martina is the makeup artist and Michael (her husband) is the hair stylist. They have been wonderful to communicate with, reasonable prices compared to many and very accommodating to my situation! They live 5 min from the resort so if you were set on going offsite for a trial run before your wedding, they are close by! They also book on the honour system. No money down. They ask for payment on the day of the wedding. How refreshing!
I'm also not doing a lot for welcome bags. We are providing everyone with a map with key wedding places marked, an itinerary of the wedding day (this is everyone else's vacation as well so I don't want to organize events outside of the dinner the night before and the wedding either .... We will wing it when we get down there and probably hang out together anyhow! ) I also purchased some nylon reusable bags to use as beach or shopping bags, and some stretch wrist key chains and plastic card holders for everyone's door keys. I figured they'd be the items most used! We decided to put the extra money into an extra hour of reception time, something I continue to read that it goes by too fast. So an extra hour is money better spent for us rather than stuff they may not need, although I love all the cool things I've seen brides put together for their guests as well!!
Anyhow I hope some of this helps with your plans!!
Edited by TaraW, 22 January 2016 - 10:30 PM.