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Some good things to know about coordinators and hotel coordinators here in Mexico...

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#1 Mishka Designs

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    Posted 08 June 2008 - 12:04 AM

    I've been reading through ya'all's posts re: coordinators and your hotel coordinators and, as I'm not a coordinator but work with them, I thought I would share with you some things about Mexico that you may not know. :) If you already know all of this, just skim over me :).

    1. Hotel coordinators:

    a). They get paid VERY VERY little. In fact, if you knew how little, you would be shocked (and may not believe me). And they work A LOT A LOT A LOT (I'm talking around 80 hours a week during the high season). In most hotels there are 1, maybe 2 coordinators for ALL of their events - and many of them have numerous weddings running on the same day. So, if they aren't as quick to reply to you, that's why. It's not their fault. It's the way the hotel system is set-up down here and how big corporations make their people work. Weddings, while big business, are generally not a huge priority for a hotel because, to be honest, while it may seem you're forking out the big $$, that's not generally how they (hotels) make their money.

    B). Because a majority of people down here do not make a lot of money, the city, as a whole, runs off of commissions. When you pay big $$ for something, I guarantee you it's not your hotel coordinator who is making those big $$ but the hotel. So, your coordinator, in general (because I don't want to speak for every hotel), is honestly making her/his living money off of commissions and tips.

    2. Private coordinators:

    a). Your private coordinator is not only your coordinator but also a glorified babysitter - and one you definitely need if your party starts to get even the little bit complicated. I'll tell you why.

    When I'm ordering something from a vendor that I need for a wedding design I have FOUR dates in mind before I order.
    1. FIRST DATE: This is the date I give the vendor that I HAVE TO have something by, knowing full well that I won't get it by that date. I then have to show up (phone calls DO NOT WORK hardly at all here in Vallarta - most things take a visit), be told they don't have it (surprise surprise) and then I have to tell them I need it by the-
    2. SECOND DATE: This is the date I would truly, really like something. But my heart isn't set on it because, quite honestly, I have a 50/50 chance of getting it by the date I want. I go to pick it up and, lo and behold, they don't have it. Now is when I start getting more frustrated and insist I MUST have it by the
    3. THIRD DATE: This is the date that I MUST HAVE IT BY because the last date (the FOURTH DATE) is actually the wedding. I would say 9/10 I have what I need by this date and, if it doesn't happen, I get it by the next day or the following. I always schedule this date at AT LEAST one week before the wedding, to give me a few plus dates.

    So, that's just me, the designer - now imagine your coordinator has to do that pretty much with every single vendor!! I'm not joking or stretching the truth. This is how business gets done here. Sometimes you may find one coordinator is more expensive for some items than another coordinator - chances are, she/he has a more expensive vendor but one that you don't have to visit 3 times to make sure they will get whatever or be wherever on time and that's completely worth it!

    And, while you may get increasingly frustrated, the culture down here is, for the most part, unflailingly polite - so, even though one may be frustrated because things aren't getting done the way you want them to, getting upset doesn't solve anything - so, there are still a lot of "no preocupes" (don't worry) and "gracias" and "por favor" that goes around, even when I come to visit a vendor for the 2nd time and they still don't have whatever it is I ordered. Getting upset only offends people and then you'll never get what it is you need.

    I've told the coordinators that I think they should explain to their brides how business works down here, but they mostly don't listen to me. I just think, the more you know, the more it helps to understand and make communication easier.

    I know it can be uber frustrating - I was born and grew-up in the States, so I know how business is done up there. But it's just not done that way down here and, my first few years, were super frustrating ones, until I figured out "the system" so I could fool with it and still do what I do in a fab way, while working within a system that's just not set-up that way.

    I hope this was helpful and useful - any other questions about business in Mexico (or anything else) just lemme know :).

    #2 michelle08

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      Posted 08 June 2008 - 12:20 AM

      Thanks for the insight...it is very helpful! It's ashame the hotel coordinators do not get paid more because they work their butts off !!!

      So what exactly do you do??

      #3 Mishka Designs

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        Posted 08 June 2008 - 03:49 AM

        Originally Posted by michelle08
        Thanks for the insight...it is very helpful! It's ashame the hotel coordinators do not get paid more because they work their butts off !!!

        So what exactly do you do??
        You just got married! congratulations!!! :)

        I know - they do work hard! I feel bad for brides who are trying to get a hold of them and also feel bad for the hotel coordinators because I've been with them when they are working and I know how hard their job is (I wouldn't want it FOR ANYTHING).

        I'm a designer - I just handle all things decor - sortof like a florist (we do all our own flowers) but with the added bonus that we do all the other decor as well (linens, favors, candles, etc etc) :).

        #4 Jen_S

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          Posted 08 June 2008 - 10:06 AM

          Thanks for the info it is sad the WC do not make much money they have to to dot all it i's and cross all the t's.
          Our Honeymoon In Ireland!!

          #5 rodent


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            Posted 08 June 2008 - 12:10 PM

            That is why I haven't expected much from my hotel WC. I imaigne she is super busy with weddings going on right now. From what I've heard they are not as responsive before your wedding, but once youa re there they give you so much attention. I'd rather be taken care of while I'm in mexico than have her answer every little question in advance.

            That is also another reason why I feel like they deserve a nice tip. The bulk of the money is going to the hotel & the WC is the one busting their butt to put everything together.

            My wedding is pretty simple so I didn't see a need for an outside WC.

            #6 amyh


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              Posted 08 June 2008 - 01:17 PM

              Thanks Mishka. We ended up hiring Prisar Vallarta after we were having issues with booking a date with the Church and our previous coordinator at the Mayan left. He as great and was one of the reasons why we changed venues from Dreams to the Mayan. So when he left, I freaked and begged my FI to let us hire a WC.

              #7 Jackie

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                Posted 08 June 2008 - 01:35 PM

                wow, thank you that was very very helpful info.
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                #8 Jenn6603

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                  Posted 09 June 2008 - 10:24 AM

                  Thanks for the insight! We have decided to go with a WC off-resort and I feel like no matter what the cost, it will be money well spent!!


                  #9 Celina

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                    Posted 09 June 2008 - 01:58 PM

                    Yeah - that's kind of what I figured. It is basically a culture thing. Whille I am an UBER Planner - I expect a lot of things will just wait till we get there. I am leaving a lot of the negotiating up to my dad because he speaks Spanish fluently - and hopefully that will help. If not - we'll just wait and see!

                    When people refer to "Mexico Time" - that is what it means - things are a lot slower than we are used to. At restaurants and everywhere things are much slower paced. I think right now the only thing we are waiting on is mariachis - $700 for 45 minutes! I am going to see if my dad can negotiate the price down some. Wedding cake - we are just going to have the hotel do it because we could never get in touch with anyone anywhere else. Reception Dinner - we are going to just see if they can fit our group in at Fajita Republic in Nuevo Vallarta. We have tried to contact them and got no response.

                    We are definitely going to take care of our WC! I am going to hook her up with an OOT bag filled with local stuff from here and a nice tip. She works her butt off!
                    "Love is not who you live with...it's who you can't live without"

                    #10 jajajaja

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                      Posted 09 June 2008 - 02:05 PM

                      I think that's a great insight. We often forget that things operate differently and I know it's so scary to be out of the country and rely that things are getting done. It's also a great reminder to tip your WC well for a job well done!
                      Happily married since 2008

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