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Has anyone done the Family Dinner Option? I think that's what we are leaning towards for our reception. Pick & Choose Dinner Option sounds great but there are more choices on the Family Dinner Option. Any thoughts?

Chong

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Hey everyone! Lurker here - back and married! Just missed Wendy by ONE DAY at the Azul Beach!!! And thank you for the sweet note - it made my day!

 

Wedding was wonderful - I really do love the resort and it was absolutely perfect for my family (we only had 16 guests - all immediate family) - it was their first AI experience and well, you really can do nothing better than the service at AB, in part due to its size. My Mom was so in awe that she could just sit on the beach and someone would bring her glass after glass of champagne. I just wish that the Lomas people in Miami were not so frustrating to work with - we had a big issue with our reception location (which was finally fixed after MUCH fighting by my TA) where I would have moved the wedding - despite the fact that I loved the resort (we did a site visit in October, which is when we fell in love with the resort).

 

To answer lots of questions that have come up in the last few days - yup, there's a free kids menu for the reception. I just assumed that it was free and dealt with Tiffany in that way - my niece is 3 and two others were both 5, so their rate to stay was minimal, so I wasn't randomly paying for them to have dinner. The people there are also amazing. We had the flan as the dessert, which none of the kids were too excited about, so they brought them all brownies and ice cream and brought my niece who doesn't like chocolate something completely different - without being asked or prompted, they just did. (and I will echo Wendy's comment about the cake - it was REALLY good - and I figured it was worth the fight to bring it to the room - damn, I would have!)

 

Photographer issue - I agree, it's super annoying, but I also understand a bit where they are coming from and I think even charging people the $500 fee was not helping in trying to maintain their relationships with their preferred vendors. I know that some places (I think some of the Sandals, but I could be wrong) do not allow ANY outside vendors, so you have to pay a game that they are part of your family, which would make me very uncomfortable. We flew someone in who rocked, but she's a little expensive. There are some photogs that have fairly reasonable rates and do not charge much more than the cost of having them come down. I am more active on theknot destination weddings board and I know that several recent brides used Jaye Reilly (Jaye Reilly Photography San Diego, Minnesota, and Destination Wedding, Boudoir, Birth Photographer) who is a former destination wedding bride herself and I think she is reasonable. You may also want to pop over there and look at people's planning bios for names of other photographers that they are flying in from the U.S. to various destinations for weddings to see your options. I really do think you can do it for $2000.

 

Oh - our pics in case you want to see a small AB wedding - just some teasers are at Leah Stafford Photography

 

Oh and for the person having 90 people, they can do it, but I would check on the location of the actual ceremony. We got married on a Tuesday and there were weddings on Thursday, Friday and Saturday (so of course, we left to the honeymoon resort on Thursday and missed them all!) but Mayra, the on-site person mentioned that one of them was for 80 people and the ceremony was in the Blue Terrace.

 

Okay, that was just WAY too long! Just happy that I finally have time to get to check in with you guys!

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Originally Posted by thefuturemrslutz View Post
Hey some photographers will not charge you for the actual "package" if you fly them down and put them up at the resort. It may cost you $2000 to pay for their travel but they won't charge for anything else. Also, I remember Kittenheart's photographer had a special going on at one point (he may still have it). He didn't charge you to travel. He said as long as you purchased a package, he would not charge for travel. ALSO, email every photographer you like. A lot of photographers are trying to get into the destination wedding market, so they may give you a good deal, just to get some exposure. Just do your research!
The whole photographer thing freaked me out for awhile too. I was also frustrated with the rules of the resort and thought their photographers weren't worth their price. So, I just started emailing photographers in my home town, all of the ones who I thought did awesome work. I said I was interested in flying them and an assistant down for an all inclusive three night stay (which is what the resort requires), in exchange for all day wedding coverage and a TTD shoot. And I had several get back to me that they would be willing to do all that in exchange for the cost of their trip. So, I was actually able to be kind of choosy and pick which potographer's work I liked best. I then negotiated in an engagement shoot in my home town and he wants to do another engagement shoot on the beach! So, needless to say I ended up spending under 2,000, and am getting a ton more coverage. Our wedding will be his first destination wedding, even though he has been shooting weddings for over 10 years, so he was excited about the prospect. He has also been looking at some of the work done by his favorite photographers who have done destination weddings and TTD shoots and is getting some great ideas! Will let you know how it all turns out, we leave for Mexico on Sunday!

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You do need to be careful, I wouldn't recommend just picking anyone from anywhere off of the internet, this is why I researched the photographers in my home town and met with them in person and had a full written contract about the agreement beforehand. Better be safe than sorry, I even had our photographer pay for travel insurance, that way if there is any reason he cannot go, I am not out the price of his trip.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GroomsArePeopleToo View Post
Valid points and that may be the case sometimes, but with anything buyer beware. Be careful with someone who is willing to do it on the cheap for a "free vacation". It will likely be fine, but you never know. Not trying to hate on anyone or scare anyone.

 

I am one of those photographers trying to break into the specific area around Puerto Morelos. I am a full time photographer for the past 6 years and shoot 25+ weddings a year. I have a handful of DWs and hope to do more soon.

While I am "working with" my first few clients on pricing, I am also sensitive to my peers in the area and those coming down to do the same work. There is no point in undercutting the locals and having them not happy with us. With that in mind I have taken the time to meet with one local team while down on vacation. I think communication among peers is important. I want to have someone I can possibly turn to in the event of an emergency. We are guests on their turf and should act accordingly.

 

 

While I enjoy coming down to paradise to do what I love to do, I am also a full time photographer and traveling for weddings is still work. I also think it is important to be legit with the authorities and the resorts. I have heard of plenty of photographers that fly under the radar as another "guest". That may work almost every time, but I'd hate to see what happens if something goes wrong. I listened to my peers and took the time to get my FM3, it was very easy and worth the peace of mind for me and my clients.

My intention is to book in Mexico where my family has a home, during the slow season here in Cleveland, November to April.

 

Speaking of breaking into the area, I want to thank Wendy for giving me my first MX DW and I am looking forward to photographing Merideth's wedding in November.

 

Please excuse any perceived harsh tone or negativity, it is not intended at all. I LOVE what I get to do! I am just laying out my personal opinions. Sometimes tone can not come across in writing.

 

Congratulations and Best Wishes! I hope to get to work with more of you soon.

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Originally Posted by rkf1046 View Post
Thanks for the info on the kids! YOu may have said this before, but where are you having the cocktail reception and where are you having the dinner reception? Kiara just sent me my options and I am trying to get a sense of what the best places are - we are doing the Donkey cocktail hour and the surf and turf dinner. I did hear that Zavas Plaza was good to block the wind for the chillier nights and since we our wedding is in December that may be the way to go but we will have around 25-30 people and I am not sure if that area is too big? Is it better to have them in two different spots? Thanks!
I know one thing for sure, if all of your guests are staying at the resort, do not mention this to your WC, I had it all set up to have our reception at plaza zavas and made the mistake of telling her our guests were all hotel guests (I was inquiring about what they could do between the wedding and reception, i.e. where they could have "all-inclusive" cocktails without me paying for a coctail hour) and suddenly that location is off limits for a wedding party of all hotel guests. Does this make any sense? So, with the help of my TA we got set up in the Zocallo al Fresco terrace which is suppose to be for groups over 50 only, we have 30 people. But we put our foot down and made them honor one of the two places. I am just nervous about using the terrace cuz I heard they have a mariachi band that plays in the restaurant at nights and am worried that might interfere with our music. I just thought I would address this concern with the onsite team when we get there. I hear they are VERY accomodating onsite. As they should be all the business us brides give them!

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Originally Posted by cjb0arder13 View Post
Yeah, some of the photogs in the area are ridiculously expensive. Our budget for photography is $2k, max, and that's even pushing it...it just doesn't seem like with a $500 plane ticket, plus $500 hotel cost (and honestly, I'm estimating there...it could very well be more with the rates out now) that only leaves $1k for the photography package, and I don't think I'd be able to get a very good package for that.

Sigh. I know I'm kind of being a baby about this. I think the thing that galls me the most is that I feel rail-roaded into using their photographers, who really aren't that great. Plus I just got done reading the "Boycott El Dorado" thread which got me fired up all over again.

I really don't want to switch resorts. I love Azul Beach and it sounds like everything else is exceptional, it's just this one rule that's totally bumming me out.

I'll start looking around for US photogs who may be willing to fly there and work with me on the package options...wish me luck!
Interview photographers in your home town, look at their work and shoot them a note, you will be surprised what you will find. By staying local you can meet them and get a contract sign and feel more assured with what you will be paying for. Also, I didn't think you could bring in a photographer from Mexico anymore? I think they changed their rules, otherwise I probably would have looked at doing a photographer from Mexico and just paying the 500 vendor fee. I was told you can only bring in outside photographers if they are not from Mexico. Why? I dunno? But, it worked out in my favor.

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Originally Posted by cjb0arder13 View Post
I totally understand you freaking out about this (I would be too!) BUT I've heard that even if the weather says 90% or 100% of anything, it could mean it does that for, like, 10 minutes during the day. It's kind of like Florida...you'll have beautiful sunshine allll day, and then for 20 minutes in the afternoon it rains like the dickens, and then is beautiful sunshine again for the rest of the day. Just enough to break up the crazy heat and make everything smell fresh and rainy, and then sunshine again!

Either way, I'm sure your trip and wedding will be amazing! Think positive!
Thank you for the reassuring words. I have been telling myself it will be like florida, thought I have had some trips to Florida where it has been a monsoon. As long as our wedding isn't rained out. I don't really want to travel all the way to Mexico to have an indoor wedding...Sigh...I will just keep my fingers crossed. I don't mind a quick storm, actually makes for some neat pictures, just no monsoons please....

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Originally Posted by chong View Post
Has anyone done the Family Dinner Option? I think that's what we are leaning towards for our reception. Pick & Choose Dinner Option sounds great but there are more choices on the Family Dinner Option. Any thoughts?
Chong
I have not even heard of this option...

Quote:
Originally Posted by suzannepdc View Post
Hey everyone! Lurker here - back and married! Just missed Wendy by ONE DAY at the Azul Beach!!! And thank you for the sweet note - it made my day!

Wedding was wonderful - I really do love the resort and it was absolutely perfect for my family (we only had 16 guests - all immediate family) - it was their first AI experience and well, you really can do nothing better than the service at AB, in part due to its size. My Mom was so in awe that she could just sit on the beach and someone would bring her glass after glass of champagne. I just wish that the Lomas people in Miami were not so frustrating to work with - we had a big issue with our reception location (which was finally fixed after MUCH fighting by my TA) where I would have moved the wedding - despite the fact that I loved the resort (we did a site visit in October, which is when we fell in love with the resort).

To answer lots of questions that have come up in the last few days - yup, there's a free kids menu for the reception. I just assumed that it was free and dealt with Tiffany in that way - my niece is 3 and two others were both 5, so their rate to stay was minimal, so I wasn't randomly paying for them to have dinner. The people there are also amazing. We had the flan as the dessert, which none of the kids were too excited about, so they brought them all brownies and ice cream and brought my niece who doesn't like chocolate something completely different - without being asked or prompted, they just did. (and I will echo Wendy's comment about the cake - it was REALLY good - and I figured it was worth the fight to bring it to the room - damn, I would have!)

Photographer issue - I agree, it's super annoying, but I also understand a bit where they are coming from and I think even charging people the $500 fee was not helping in trying to maintain their relationships with their preferred vendors. I know that some places (I think some of the Sandals, but I could be wrong) do not allow ANY outside vendors, so you have to pay a game that they are part of your family, which would make me very uncomfortable. We flew someone in who rocked, but she's a little expensive. There are some photogs that have fairly reasonable rates and do not charge much more than the cost of having them come down. I am more active on theknot destination weddings board and I know that several recent brides used Jaye Reilly (Jaye Reilly Photography San Diego, Minnesota, and Destination Wedding, Boudoir, Birth Photographer) who is a former destination wedding bride herself and I think she is reasonable. You may also want to pop over there and look at people's planning bios for names of other photographers that they are flying in from the U.S. to various destinations for weddings to see your options. I really do think you can do it for $2000.

Oh - our pics in case you want to see a small AB wedding - just some teasers are at Leah Stafford Photography

Oh and for the person having 90 people, they can do it, but I would check on the location of the actual ceremony. We got married on a Tuesday and there were weddings on Thursday, Friday and Saturday (so of course, we left to the honeymoon resort on Thursday and missed them all!) but Mayra, the on-site person mentioned that one of them was for 80 people and the ceremony was in the Blue Terrace.

Okay, that was just WAY too long! Just happy that I finally have time to get to check in with you guys!

Thanks for giving us that review and your pictures are beautiful! What an awesome photographer!

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btw, I just saw that someone posted a couple pics of Amy's wedding on facebook! She looks gorgeous and looks like they had a beautiful blue sky!

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