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Nylalany's Reviews Part 3 - Al Cielo Wedding - Vendors & Wedding (Riviera Maya)

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#1 nylalany

  • Member
  • 625 posts

    Posted 30 May 2008 - 01:38 PM

    Ok, before I start part 3, I just want to say I LOVE LOVE LOVED my wedding at Al Cielo. It was everything I dreamed of and more, and I’m a highly critical person so that is saying a lot. I thought it was more beautiful than I had hoped for, and more fun! I had worried about keeping my guests captive at Al Cielo from 4:30 to 11 PM, because we were shuttling them there, and feared they’d get bored, but the party lasted past 12 PM (an hour longer than scheduled!

    My guests kept telling me repeatedly during and after the wedding how it was the most amazing wedding they’d ever been to. I've been to a zillion weddings and have said many nice things, but I don't usually say that unless I mean it, right? Many said it was the best. Some said it was the most fun. Others, the most “cool”. One of my cousins, who treats me like a sister (meaning, he treats me like crap and expects me to still love him), told me, while at the wedding, that it was better than his own wedding (which is saying a lot).

    I kept thanking my wedding coordinator, Donaji, for helping make everything perfect, but she just told me, its all about your people – which is largely true – I had great guests. That, coupled with a couple in love, is supposedly the key to success – though the beautiful setting, great food, plentiful alcohol, and rockin’ music didn’t hurt.

    I had SO much fun at my own wedding, and that, I believe, is an accomplishment. I think part of it was that I wasn’t that stressed out about spending time with people, because we had already spent time together, and would continue to spend time together afterwards, due to the wonders of a destination wedding. I’m not trying to boast about my wedding, I’m just trying to tell you guys that if you choose a great venue and vendors after doing your research, and of course with the help of BDW, add some unique (to your guests) touches, inspired by the BDW gals, and invite your favorite people, your wedding will be amazing, and you’ll have the best time ever too!

    Ok, onwards.

    This was kind of how the day worked out:
    3:15 (was supposed to be 2:45) Wedding Party shuttle to Al Cielo
    3:45 Guest Shuttle to Al Cielo, 2 more shuttles at 4:15
    3:50-4:50 Rehearsal and Photos
    4:50-5:10 Sign Ketubah
    4:30-5:15 Welcome lemonades with Live Mexican Folk Trio
    5:25-5:55 Ceremony
    5:55-6:40 Cocktail Hour with DJ Lounge Music, More Photos
    6:40-6:55 Jewish Hora Dancing to CD
    6:55-7 Take Seats in Palapa
    7-8:30 Dinner with Live Jazz Band, FOB toast
    8:35 First Dance
    8:40-9:35 Dancing to DJ
    9:30 Early Shuttle w/some parents w/babies leaves
    9:40 Dessert, MOH and BM toasts
    9:50 Greek Dancing
    10 -12 Dancing to DJ, Cake served on dance floor at 10:30ish

    Paradise Transport and Tours: A

    Lyrebard – Thanks for recommending this company to me!

    Stuart, who is maybe Australian something, not sure, offered me significantly lower rates than the company Al Cielo planned on using for transportation from the Grand Riviera Princess to Al Cielo. He had 2 early shuttles waiting at the lobby on time for the wedding party, did not make a fuss when we stuffed 30 people into 28 seats, and the drivers were safe and patient with our crowd.

    There were supposed to be 6 vans to get the remaining guests, and 2 of the 6 were late because they were the early shuttles that dropped the wedding party off, and the wedding party left late. Since we had to wait for the last 2 shuttles of wedding guests, the whole wedding started ½ hour late.. I lowered the score from A+ to A b/c if I paid for 8 shuttles total, they should have had 6 vans available that weren’t dependent on the earlier vans, or they should have simply let us use 3 for the early shuttles, since we had to sit on laps with the 2. However, some claim that the later start time was good because it cooled down a bit, and we did get more photos while we waited.

    On the return, he had the 1 early shuttle departing at 9:30 as planned, and the rest ready to leave around 11:15. Many of us didn’t leave until after 12 (the wedding was fun!!) and there were no complaints from the shuttles, which waited patiently.

    Elizabeth Medina (+ her daughter Lindsay, and guest photographer Grace Kim)

    No score or elaborate review yet as I haven’t seen the photos, but I can give a preliminary A+ for Elizabeth being so super sweet, enthusiastic, genuine, flexible and generous with her time, and so on.

    Elizabeth checked into the Princess and went above and beyond our agreement by coming straight to my room for some “getting ready” shots (I waited to put my dress on until she got there). Ok, so this was why we left ½ hour late, but hopefully it was worth it.

    Also, Elizabeth brought a guest photographer, Grace Kim, along to shoot my wedding with her. What an amazing treat for me to get 2 perspectives (3 if you also count Lindsay's of course)! I'm so excited for the photos!!

    Jennifer Anne Video

    No score or elaborate review yet as I haven’t seen the video. Jennifer Anne is videographer from SoCal (Orange County I believe?), and I paid for her and an assistant to fly down, stay a few nights, and shoot in HD for 6 hours, and she’ll provide me with an edited video and the original HD tapes (in case I hate her version and want to re-edit later haha). This was still cheaper – NOT CHEAP – but cheaper, than hiring the few local videographers who shoot in HD in Mexico to shoot my wedding. Ok, I would have paid more for Paul Shrank, but he was getting married on the same day as me, so I was out of luck! Maybe I’m dumb to go for HD, but oh well, weddings are a money-suck, right? I watched my parents silent black and white wedding film several times, and I edited my sister’s video (my family told me to go into the biz) and I feel the videos help the viewer really remember the day, so I’m hoping her video will be good!

    Jennifer arrived a little early (before us at least), to get some set-up shots, and left at 10 PM sharp, right after the Greek dancing. So no cake cutting on the video.

    Euforia Flowers: A+

    After trying to decide between bringing my own materials and centerpieces down, which seemed difficult for a wedding my size, working with the choices Al Cielo offered, that were limited and not my taste, and working with other florists, who didn’t quite get my vision, I was referred to Euforia Flowers in Cancun, by another florist, Vanessa Jaimes, who was too busy for my business herself.

    I explained my vision of turquoise vases and flame red flowers to Hector at Euforia. I sent over my photo of the turquoise vase with red pincushion proteas, which are unfortunately unavailable in the area, and told him I wanted something modern, but also soft-beachy-organic. Hector emailed regularly and even called me in the US to discuss my needs. Hector graciously offered to do a mock-up arrangement inspired by my inspiration, using turquoise water and red tulips, and his vision was amazing.

    My inspiration photo (NOT AT WEDDING):

    Click the image to open in full size.

    Hector’s mockup (NOT AT WEDDING):

    Click the image to open in full size.

    Although Euforia was quite pricey, I felt that if I was going to pay for a florist, paying for complicated and beautiful arrangements that I could not make myself, which took my vision to a whole new level, made it worth it. When I arrived at Al Cielo on my wedding day, I found the arrangements were much larger than what my mom and I had imagined from the original photo Hector sent. My only regret is not asking for some sort of lighting inside the vase so that the turquoise water would still appear turquoise after it got dark (when people were eating).

    The actual arrangements (YES AT WEDDING):

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    We paid for 13 table arrangements, 1 sweetheart table arrangement (which we just left up to him to create, and it turned out great),

    Click the image to open in full size.

    And 2 bar arrangements, 2 lounge table arrangements, 5 bridesmaid bouquets (flame red tulips), and 1 bridal bouquet. Well, apparently the flowers we discussed using for my bridal bouquet were no longer available, so Hector went ahead and upgrade my bouquet to red peonies. The red wasn’t exactly the same red as the tulips – it was more of a dark pinkish-red. However, the flowers were beautiful, and the darker pinkish-red probably went better with my dress, and in many photographs, they actually look more red than they did in real life, more like the red I actually love, so it turned out well. He wrapped them beautifully in a natural mesh material over turquoise ribbon, per our discussion about it. You can kind of see it in my Part 2 review with the photo of my hubby & I going down the aisle. I assume my photographer will have better photos of it than I do, but maybe you’ll see it later in my review in more photos.

    Hector, because he felt bad about the bouquet, also threw in arrangements for the bathrooms (which I didn’t get to see b/c I never went – my endorphins put my bladder on hold!), as well as for the table under the chuppah. I was so happy with the arrangements under the chuppah, as it added the splash of color I wanted without taking away from the setting, and was really perfect.

    Click the image to open in full size.

    Ok, I am SO late for work...I'll continue with this later!

    #2 nylalany

    • Member
    • 625 posts

      Posted 30 May 2008 - 04:19 PM

      AL CIELO

      The breakdown below for more details:

      Donaji: A+

      Donaji is Al Cielo's wedding coordinator, so you can hire her through them and she works exclusively for them

      I first met Donaji in late November during my site visits with my mom. We went for a tasting, and she sat down to discuss possibilities for the wedding. While driving down the unpaved dirt road to Al Cielo, my mom said, “There is no way we are bringing our guests here.” The minute we walked through the path to the beach and main palapa, she said, “Ok, this is the place.” – pretty much at the same time as I said, “This is it, I love it.” However, one of the major elements that helped cement the decision was Donaji. She is the sweetest, warmest, most genuine, nicest, loveliest person. I would want her as my friend. She felt and still feels like family. She is very, very patient. She has good taste. Best of all, she understood my taste and was able to work with my vision as well. We communicated constantly over email between December and May, and she always wrote back detailed emails, often initiating discussions when she’d find something new I might like to use for the wedding, and she was always very warm and wonderful in the emails. She makes you feel special and like a real person with a relationship with her, rather than just another bride with a contract.

      Ok some examples of Donaji’s work:

      When I expressed my interest in a live band, Donaji held out until she found one that she felt was good enough to be worthwhile. We only had them for dinner – I’ll explain why later – but she was right – they were worthwhile!

      Donaji researched and found out that it was going to be a new moon (no moon) on my wedding night, so she suggested and handled renting lights for the dance floor to supplement the candles, tiki torches, and Al Cielo’s palapa lighting. She researched and found 3 different options, crane lighting, LED lighting, and large globe lighting. I went with the LED, as it was the in-between option price wise, but she definitely pushed me towards that because of the better look and vibe it would create over the crane, and she was right.

      When I was struggling with the options Al Cielo had with flowers, Donaji went out and contacted a few different florists in search of turquoise vases for me and emailed me photos. None of them ended up being what I wanted, but she encouraged me to use an outside florist, rather than her florist options, to get what I wanted, and she did make an effort.

      Knowing that I was having a big wedding (for a destination wedding), and that Al Cielo had only so many loungers that could be used as lounge furniture on the beach, and thinking ahead that some guests might to get out of the palapa and sit next to the dance floor after dinner (and also during cocktail hour), Donaji suggested and handled renting this inexpensive mod white lounge furniture.. Closer to the wedding, Al Cielo bought some more on the ground Indian style lounge mats that she offered as a cheaper (free) option, but I stuck to her original vision, and she actually managed to incorporate both well.

      At the last minute, way after I was trying to decide btwn brown tiffany chairs, which would look better for dinner with the tables, and bamboo chairs, which would look better for the ceremony, and I had decided on the tiffany, Donaji got me the bamboo chairs complimentary (just sharing in shipping costs), in addition to the tiffany chairs, because she convinced the rental company to let them keep them from the wedding the day before for one more day.

      She also bought new bamboo napkin rings and cool globe candles in the few weeks before my wedding, which she included as part of my original package pricing, instead of using their older less cool tea lights in glass voltives and no napkin rings.

      I had dropped off all my home-made stuff on Friday, and gave her some quick instructions. When I arrived on Sunday, Donaji had found great solutions for everything:

      Donaji put the fans in alternating colors on the chairs, per my request:

      Click the image to open in full size.

      Donaji put my programs in a basket for my ushers to hold when handing them out:

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      Donaji had created a separate area for our Ketubah signing last minute, which was great since I hadn’t thought of this (I was going to just go into a corner somewhere and do it):

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      (that’s my mom)

      Donaji arranged the sand dollars on a tray of sand near the entrance to the palapa, as I asked her to, and she put the pashminas in a basket on the ground near the entrance to the palapa. It was getting dark as people went in, so not everyone noticed them, yet other people 2 one of each color (some men and kids took them too) - so brides you may want to bring some extras in case people are greedy!

      There were a few VERY MINOR details that weren’t perfect, hardly worth mentioning, but just so you don’t think she’s a infallible:

      Donaji had a chuppah built to be taller than my hubby (who is 6’6”), per my request. I had asked for flowy fabric on the top, and it wasn’t exactly flowy, but maybe she had our best interest in mind, thinking of sound and the wind?

      Click the image to open in full size.

      She added a floral type lace covering to the table under the chuppah which isn’t exactly my style:

      Click the image to open in full size.

      As I said, super minor!

      More (Food, Music, Site, Cake, etc.) later…

      #3 nylalany

      • Member
      • 625 posts

        Posted 30 May 2008 - 05:51 PM

        Al Cielo: A

        A few things keeping it from an A+ are:

        1) The bathrooms (which I didn’t actually go to during the wedding, but remember from the site visit) are a little odd in that the toilets are pretty low.

        2) There is a large extra site fee for Sunday, in addition to an increase of the service charge from the normal 10% to a Sunday 15% on pretty much everything, which seems like double billing to me.

        However, on the day of, they let the open bar go an hour longer than we paid for, and let us stay at the site an hour longer than planned, so I guess that made up for it somewhat – they were flexible and generous in that respect!

        And they threw in some things for free, as I mentioned previously, here and there, which also made up for it. Additionally the employees all seemed very happy to be working and were all super nice and attentive and friendly. The managers even checked in on me a few times to make sure everything was going ok.

        3) We had to rent a lot of stuff separately, largely because I was having a wedding over 50 guests, and also because they simply lacked in all the necessary things you need for a wedding – the tables, chairs, linens, white mod lounge furniture, dance floor, exterior lighting (LEDs), extra speakers, electric generator back-up. When picking the place, I wasn’t immediately made aware of any of these needs besides the tables and chairs, so it got a little frustrating to keep spending and spending as the months went on.

        However, the rentals were all handled through Al Cielo, the wedding coordinator there, and their recommendations (which were generally great). Also, some things made up for it…The perfect location, which felt like you were really getting away from the world on this mostly private-seeming beach, the way the extra rentals perfected the vibe of the wedding, and the little things Al Cielo included in the wedding package price – turquoise and white palapa hangings, turquoise seat covers at the bar, new globe candles on the tables, new bamboo napkin ring, the bamboo ceremony chairs, winding aisle of rose petals, ketubah area, etc. that were perfect. My guests raved about what a perfect spot it was. I loved that it was a perfect rustic-elegant mix.

        Al Cielo’s Restaurant: A

        All the guests raved about the food – really, both at the wedding, and for the days afterwards, the still talked about.. I had done a tasting in November and was pleased with the food, which is part of the reason I picked the venue.

        Unfortunately, my hubby and I missed the cocktail hour b/c we were taking photos – brides-to-be - don’t forget to ask someone to make you a plate! People are still raving about the goat-cheese filled roasted peppers, so I’m pretty sad I missed them at the actual wedding.

        Our Hors d'oeuvres were:
        Goat-Cheese filled Peppers
        Coconut Crusted Prawns
        Duck Mini-Quesadillas in Black Mole Sauce
        Mushroom and Caramelized Onion Empanadas
        Mexican Chicken Brochetas.

        We came up with the empanada option, which they accommodated, and the peppers were moved from the 1st course option to the hors d’oeuvres, so they were very flexible with the menu. Plus we had the duck without cheese for the pseudo-kosher folks (the shrimp was our one exception, for my hubby, who never got to try them, sadly).

        We had a sit down dinner. For 1st course, we served Vegetable Ceviche with a Squash Tamale.

        Click the image to open in full size.

        The main course options were:
        Seared Tuna with Sesame Seeds and Orange-Soy Sake Sauce
        Angus New York steak with non-dairy pepper sauce
        Vegetarian Paella.

        Seared Tuna:

        Click the image to open in full size.

        Kids meals were fish sticks (which according to the parents were delicious, guess they stole some bites!) with veggies, and ice cream.

        Dessert was Tropical Fruit Brochetas drizzled in Dark Chocolate.

        I thought the orange-soy-sake sauce for the fish was a little on the salty side and not complex enough (didn't taste the orange), but everyone else loved it and I liked it a lot. I’m just a food snob! The fish itself was delicious. Oh, and we loved the bread (I think we were starving by that point).

        Cake - from Walter Lubcke ( not open to public) - but very good, just too much of it!: B+

        I didn’t really care too much about the cake (had to give up control somewhere!), so I just said fine order whatever you usually order, as Al Cielo orders from Walter Lubcke, a local cake operation.

        I picked coconut as the flavor. I looked like a big version of the photo she sent, but I can’t totally remember – it was white, with white pearl icing dot d©cor, and red flower petals I think? You can check it out at the end of Elizabeth Medina's slideshow of my wedding (link in siggy), but I don't have any digital photos to upload here, since my guests stopped clicking shortly after dinner. It was square or rectangle with some layers, and it was really, really huge. It tasted good, like light yummy fluffy cake with a light frosting, nothing spectacular, but definitely yummy, which is saying a lot for wedding cake! Very good.

        Brides, my advice to you is to order for less people than you are having attending. We had way too much cake, which really was overpriced and a huge chunk of money, and what did we do? We forgot to bring back the leftovers to the resort. My hubby was so sad, as he loves cake and would have spent the rest of the week eating it. Maybe if you are having a wedding at home, it is different, but at a destination wedding, when maybe everyone won’t have a piece, it seems silly. The pieces were huge, and I’m pretty sure we had leftovers that didn’t get eaten.

        The best part of my cake is that it was served ON the dance floor. Donaji, the sweetie, didn’t want to stop the flow of my party, and since everyone was having a ton of fun dancing, she somehow got the cake across the sand onto the dance floor, where we did the obligatory cut and smoosh the cake into each other’s face deal (of course, I got smooshed, and he opened wide enough). Then, everyone continued dancing with plates of cake in their hands!!!

        Al Cielo’ Bar: A+

        Our guests made full use of the bars. We had one on the beach and one in the palapa.

        The wine was very very good (someone asked me to find out what it was so they could buy some in the future) – which is saying a lot, as most of the Mexican resorts I tried wine at had pretty undrinkable wine. We tasted it during the tasting and that helped seal the deal a little – I think I got buzzed after trying the red and the white haha.

        Champagne was extra (and very overpriced), in addition to the open bar fees, so we just ordered enough bottles for demi-glass toasts, although for some reason people were able to order it at the bar all night with no problem? Odd.

        There was top shelf tequila which everyone enjoyed for shots, and other top shelf liquor, and lots of mixed drinks, frozen drinks, etc. The open bar was supposed to close around 10:30 or 10:45 and they kept it open until we left around 12 without charging us, which was SO nice (of course, less people were drinking at the end, but still so nice of them!)

        More coming (music) in a little bit...

        #4 nylalany

        • Member
        • 625 posts

          Posted 30 May 2008 - 06:44 PM

          Al Cielo reviews con't

          Mexican Folk Trio from Al Cielo: A-

          The trio was included in the wedding package we paid for (the pkg itself was pretty pricey, but included some nice things, and would have been more if I did everything separately). So they were hired by Al Cielo. I can find out who they are and what their cost is if anyone is interested.

          I was so busy taking photos that I didn’t actually get to hear the mariachi trio. I just saw them – the trio included a harpist and 2 guitarists (or like instrument). They were supposed to play for 20 minutes before the ceremony and during the cocktail hour after the ceremony, but since we ran ½ hour late before the ceremony, and they played that whole time, they didn’t stay for the cocktail hour. Luckily, our DJ was there early (and stayed late!) However, everyone got a kick out of Mexican folk trio – they really set the vibe, and when I received photos from various guests, they all included pics of the trio! Here's one from my friend with the best camera (he got many amazing shots throughout the day):

          Click the image to open in full size.

          Acoustic Project - DJ hired through Al Cielo – Score: A or A+

          My package included EITHER 4 hours of DJ or 2 45-minute sets of a Jazz band. I wanted both, especially since our wedding reception was going to last longer than 4 hours, so the more economical way to do it was to go with 2 sets of Jazz band, and pay extra for the DJ. I believe we paid $600 for 4 hours of DJ, including his services and equipment, and I swear he worked for more (he was there the whole time we were, though the Jazz band and Mariachi trio played during that time too). We fed him and tipped him well though. I should really find out his name from Donaji because he was excellent and WELL worth the cost. I had fretted about whether I should just bring an ipod and believe me, the party wouldn't have been groovin' the way it was with OUR ipods!

          The DJ played really perfect ambient lounge music during the cocktail hour (which I didn’t get to enjoy much since we ended up taking photos the whole time due to running late beforehand). He set the vibe SO well.

          I had asked the DJ in advance to play the Jewish Hora music and told him which tracks and which order, and he did not play the right 1st track, so while trying to manage a family photo and wanting to dance the hora (and wondering where my family was for the dancing, since we were all kind of scattered at this point), I ran up to him to correct him. Stressful! He ended up playing the right track 2x in a row instead of once, which was a bit much, but he got the other 2 songs correct. People had fun dancing I think, but this was a little bit of a stressful part of the evening for me, b/c it didn’t feel so smooth, and the only reason I lowered the score from an A+. Maybe it isn’t a fair reason and I should probably move it back up to A+?

          I told the DJ to play our 1st song after dinner, and he kindly waited until we walked down there to play it. Unfortunately, the other people already slow-dancing on the dance floor didn’t organically realize it was our first dance, and I didn’t actually announce that it was our first dance, even though he obviously faded out the prior song as we came onto the dance floor, so we weren’t alone on the dance floor. In fact, my uncle and aunt were making out on the dance floor beside us – lovely huh! My videographer said she got us in mostly close-up. I’m glad people were enjoying themselves, but I should have thought ahead and announced something so that we could have had better photo ops. So if you want a DJ who announces things (which I didn’t think I did, but now realize is a little helpful), you should plan ahead better than I did and have someone else announce. I didn’’t have a father daughter dance b/c I ran out of time and didn’t pick one – and the DJ didn't play many slow songs so I couldn't just improvise - so this is something you shouldn’t leave to the last minute! We finally settled on our 1st dance song the night before and picked a very depressing (but beautifully emotional) song, Jeff Buckley’s “Lover, You Should Have Come Over”, so that is what happens when you leave things to the last minute! Maybe that is why I’ve gone a little crazy with numerous music suggestions to my videographer and photographer now .

          After dessert the DJ played the Greek music per my request (I’m a rare Greek Jew), and then stopped when I told him I thought it was enough, so that was perfect.

          Otherwise, the music was SUPER great dance music. The DJ did not play anything on our do not play list, which is a rare quality in a DJ. We got lots of compliments on his music choices. In fact, everyone asked where we found such a great DJ and they all said he was awesome. My cousin (the guy I mentioned before) hypothesized that the DJ’s methodology to keep the party going strong was to play the beginnings and best parts of songs and then fade into the next song, so that no whole songs are played. I’ll have to go back a listen to the original footage and see if that is true! We had given him some cds with numerous dance tracks in case his music was bad, but he didn’t play anything from them, because he didn’t really need to! People danced all night, an hour past when our wedding was supposed to end, so I see that as a success. We even served cake on the dance floor so that people could dance and eat cake at the same time, since we didn’t want to break the mood! I was so psyched! I love my guests!

          Click the image to open in full size.

          Chivo Azul - Jazz Band hired through Al Cielo: A

          Donaji found this Jazz Band through a new music contact she made a few months before my wedding. I’ll try to find their name if anyone is interested. The Jazz Band plays in bars in Playa del Carmen, in addition to weddings, but they refused to send me a music sample. Luckily, Donaji put me in contact with a recent Al Cielo groom from Chicago who claimed to be a “music head” and vouched for the band. The Jazz Band played for 1.5 hours during dinner. I’m only giving them an A instead of an A+ because when I had asked in advance if they could play one Jewish hora song instead of us having to use a CD, they refused to play anything not in their “style”, so as not to ruin their reputation. They were talented enough that they totally could have played anything. They were really really good – people were dancing in the palapa and on the dance floor during dinner because the music was so good – and I got lots of compliments while they were playing. I didn’t actually see them because they were on the deck behind the bar and I was so scattered trying to talk to everyone and eat a little – crazy!

          Click the image to open in full size.

          I'll do one more post with some of my friends and family photos.

          I will be posting a Part 4 eventually, about our group outing that we treated our guests to the day after our wedding, but I'm going to take a little break now.

          I'll leave you with this - if you want a private, intimate, rustic-elegant, beautiful, fun, delicious, groovin', perfect wedding - get married at Al Cielo!

          #5 Jenn3878

          • Sr. Member
          • 5,681 posts

            Posted 30 May 2008 - 11:43 PM

            Wow great review! Sounds like an awesome place!! I cannot wait to see your pics!!

            #6 nylalany

            • Member
            • 625 posts

              Posted 31 May 2008 - 02:02 PM

              Ok, so here are some of my friends and family photos. I hope you'll still be interested in my professional shots when I get them and post them (or at least my slideshow?) - but these are some good shots I believe, and hopefully not too much crossover.

              My cousins playing my wedding ceremony song -
              An interpretation of Dick Dale's surf guitar version of "Miserlou" (honoring my Greek-Jewish heritage, and our shared love of surfing & rock).

              Click the image to open in full size.

              2 of my 4 bridesmaids (my cousins) with flame red tulip bouquets -

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              My sister, barefoot and 6 month pregnant MOH -

              Click the image to open in full size.

              My 2 and 1/2 year old flower girl who was too scared to throw petals. Luckily there were petals already in the aisle (thanks Donaji), but she started picking them up instead!

              Click the image to open in full size.

              The groom's tall family (and my groom and officiant) waiting for the rest of us to come up the aisle -

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              With my parents. You can see my bouquet well in this one -

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              I forgot to switch my engagement ring from left to right hand! -

              Click the image to open in full size.

              We got 2 kisses during the ceremony - one after the ring, and one after the glass. We received a zillion kissing shots from friends and family too! My friend with the nice camera had that take 5 in a row type function and it looks like a movie when you click quickly. Here's just one -

              Click the image to open in full size.

              You can see how short I am, and how tall hubby is, in this photo - I'm wearing 3" wedges too! -

              Click the image to open in full size.

              A few more coming up...

              #7 nylalany

              • Member
              • 625 posts

                Posted 31 May 2008 - 02:16 PM

                A few more of my friends & family's photos:

                We had a bar in the palapa and a bar on the beach. This is the beach bar:

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                Virgin drinks for some (hopefully):

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                You'll see the white lounge area furniture photos in my professional photos, but this is an example of additional lounge area furniture set up Donaji and Al Cielo threw in for free:

                Click the image to open in full size.

                My photographer, Elizabeth, was trying to get us to do the jumping brides and bridesmaid shot. My friend with the great camera used the 5 click in a row to hijack Elizabeth's set up, and although I'll leave the real shots to her slideshow, I think this shot my friend got is really funny. Slam dunk!!

                Click the image to open in full size.

                Ok, and one more funny one with my pregnant sister 2 feet off the ground. I'm not so sure this was so safe...

                Click the image to open in full size.

                Grace, our guest photographer, was setting up some cool shots with the groom and groomsmen. One of my friends also hijacked that shoot, and I love this shot he got of my hubby:

                Click the image to open in full size.

                I love this photo of 2 of my bridesmaids with their babies:

                Click the image to open in full size.

                And I love this shot:

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                A shot with my niece - I love her so much. And she's in love with my hubby!!
                You can also see the tiffany chairs we rented in this shot a bit.

                Click the image to open in full size.

                And since I'm probably overwhelming you, this is the end of the night -

                Click the image to open in full size.

                #8 riviera

                • Newbie
                • 108 posts

                  Posted 31 May 2008 - 03:11 PM


                  Thank you so much for the review. This is awesome! You are not being overwhelming at all!

                  I was wondering if I could find out the name of the DJ and the Jazz band you had..... It sounds like they did a great job and it sounds like the price you paid for the DJ are quite a bit less than what other resorts are offering! Did it include all the equipment needed and etc..etc..?? Are the dance floor lights from the DJ or Al Cielo?

                  THANKS in advance and CONGRATULATIONS again!
                  Cancun beach at Le Meridien~*

                  #9 nylalany

                  • Member
                  • 625 posts

                    Posted 31 May 2008 - 04:49 PM

                    I'll ask Donaji about the names of the DJ and the Jazz Band.

                    The DJ included his equipment, but not the speakers. 2 of the speakers we paid for as part of the wedding package at Al Cielo (you can find their prices and what the package includes online - it does not include dinner, open bar, the various rentals I mentioned in my review, nor a bunch of other things it turns out I needed, especially for my size wedding).

                    The extra 2 speakers cost us: $150 each, so $300
                    The electric backup generator was: $450
                    The LED lighting around the dance floor was: $700
                    The dance floor itself was: $1000 (including set up/breakdown/shipping)

                    I'm not sure if the DJ's cost was specific to Al Cielo due to a deal or not.

                    The Jazz band's cost, if not part of the package, would have been a lot more than what we paid for the DJ, and they only played 2 45 minute sets. I'll try to find the quote but it was pricier, so it made sense to choose that as part of the package (which included either 2 sets of Jazz band or 4 hours of DJ).

                    #10 Yari

                    • VIP Member
                    • 10,928 posts

                      Posted 01 June 2008 - 01:31 AM

                      Wow, your review was amazing!

                      I love all of your photos. You made a beautiful bride.

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