We are getting married here Jan 2015 so only 2.5 months to go. We're a very large destination wedding of about 100 people.
We had originally chosen a package and then realized it was cheaper to just go the a la carte method for us. We have hired a local rabbi to perform our ceremony, are doing a private reception dinner in the Tropical restuarant (its the only one we fit in) and a coctail hour on the beach with the mariachi band. I didn't want a hair trial, I'll be fine with just getting my hair done for the wedding day, and there were other things in the package we can do without.
At some point Connie will introduce you by email to Alejandra who will be your day of wedding coordinator. She is great at answering questions. I would number them and make them simple and put a bunch of questions in one email with space, she copies your email and responds to each question in red right under what you wrote, and attaches any photos you may have requested. I recently asked her for photos of the Tropical restuarant all set up for a wedding and she did just that, providing me with photos from three different set ups.
We are hiring the internal DJ for the reception. I have to admit I'm nervous about this. We had two options: Internal for $100/hour or external for over $1000 for 4 hours. We were informed that the internal DJ does not speak any english, so if we wanted an MC, the external is our only option. Don't be fooled though, we still need to provide a full song list to the internal DJ (not looking forward to putting that together), and I'm slightly nervous about communication, but we have a bridesmaid who is fluent in spanish and promised to help. I've heard no review on the internal DJ so you can understand where my nervousness comes from, but we really don't have a choice, the external DJ pricing was too high.
As for taking things with you, we're taking everything with us. I've got two bags already packed of favors, welcome bags, and wedding party gifts. My mom is bringing a trunk full of plastic cups and maracas for all of our guests. So yes, its a lot, and good to plan in advanced how your getting everything to Mexico.
For decorations, we are making tablerunners (Alejandra has provided me with lengths for the 8, 10, and 12 people tables). And bringing water beads and color changing lights with us for centerpieces. We're hoping the resort will allow us to use two or three extra glasses per table to make our center pieces with, and a large bucket to hydrate the water beads. The lights last for 14 hours (we tested them) and change colors slowly between 7 colors. looks neat.
My advice, start planning early. Ask all your questions and don't hold back. If you don't hear back from Connie in a week, send her a followup email. Alejandra will provide you with a planning worksheet when you start working with her about 2-3 months before the wedding date. This is where you select your cake flavor/shape, and how many bouquets you need and what type of flowers you want, and how many people you have total, things like that. And ask her lots of questions, she has all the answers! She has been great to work with.
Oh, I should also mention what I learned about rehersal/rehearsal dinner. We have a large family/wedding party. So we will be doing a rehearsal dinner the day before. While we can't book a table, Alejandra said that they will put together a table for 40 people at the buffet for us for 6:30pm, right when they open. This is good enough for us as we don't want to pay another $990 to reserve a private restaurant for 4 hours. As for the rehearsal, that depends on if they have another wedding the day before, timing, and availability of staff. They will let us know when we arrive what time we can do that the day before the ceremony. So just be aware, you probably won't be able to do it exactly when you want it.
Please feel free to ask me more questions ,and I would love to provide more information after our wedding in Jan as well.
Congratulations and good luck.