Needless to say, I had my share of things happen to us... but all I kept thinking the entire time was 2 pieces of advice you gals gave me
(1) Live in the moment because everything will go by so fast. Just be in the moment!
(2) Roll with the punches and don't let the little things get you down!Travel:
Casey and I (along with my Matron of Honor and her husband) flew out the day before all of our guests. We flew to Chicago and then direct to Cancun. Like others, I highly recommend finding the direct flight to eliminate much of the hassle!
Also, I did get the advice to carry-on my dress and Casey's suit in garment bags. I am going to go against the grain and tell you that it is just as easy to pack it carefully in some sort of suitcase or something to carry it on in. The garment bags of clothes were so much hassle! And the airlines (United) didn't have anywhere for it to go, so I did end up stuffing it in the overhead compartment anyhow. Thankfully, it didn't really wrinkle so it didn't even need to be steamed.
Transportation to Resort:
When arriving in Cancun, the airport wasn't really busy. We flew through security and customs in less than 30 minutes and were waiting for our transportation to pick us up. We used Lomas Travel (and have in the past), because they are easy to find and get things done.
We were loaded into the van and on our way to the resort (we did splurge for the non-stop transfer). However, about 5 minutes down the road we were in a vehicle accident! Ugh! After sitting in the van for about 10 minutes waiting to see what we had to do, they sent another van to come and get us. It felt like a scene straight out of a horror flick... moving everything we had to an unmarked white van and climbing in!
By the way - We booked the entire trip through Fare Deals and FunJet Vacations. FYI
Allegro Playacar Resort & Spa:
The resort looked lovely as we were driving in! To be honest, my hopes going in were not very high, so I was pleasantly surprised!
Check-in was chaotic and unorganized. I left VERY frusturated after than, not to mention our rooms were not yet ready. They wanted us to leave all of our things with the bus boys, who would then bring everything up for us. I, for one, was not about to leave our wedding clothes! So, we carried them around until our room was ready 2 hours later.
The grounds were beautiful and I loved the little "houses" spaces (rather than the hotel feel)! The hammocks on the decks were wonderful! We spent alot of time on them over the week!
The rooms on the other hand left alot to be desired! They were much smaller than I anticipated. We had the upgraded room, which was the exact same room with a better view and a mini frig. The bathroom shower was icky (dirty and grungy) and the room had a distinct spell. Our air conditioner didn't work very well. However, it seemed that all of the rooms were a bit different - some better than others in a variety of ways.
The beach is indeed gone. It is filled with sandbags, as well as many of the resorts nearby. We were able to go to the neighboring beach (couldn't use their chairs or anything), but we could frolick in the ocean.
Wedding Coordinator (On-Site):
Difficult to communicate with Karina via email. There were several times that I had to ask my travel agent to call her (thank goodness she did!) to see what was going on. About 2-3 months prior to the wedding, she finally started to pay attention to me.
She did arrange all of the blood tests and paperwork we needed to do the first day we were there. She came to the wedding and helped with whatever needed to be done. In the end, she was fine (I wouldn't have paid any more for her though!)
Out of Town Bags:
Everyone loved them! I did real simple things like meds, lotions, bandaids, aloe, air fresheners, kleenex, and a note thanking them for being there. I also wrote a little note with everyone's room numbers and stuck that in there as well. I heard tons of good things about this!
Dress(es) and Suit(s):
I loved our outfits even more in Mexico than I did here! My dress didn't wrinkle at all from the flights and travel and was perfect! I did get heals to wear and immediately sunk into the sand - didn't feel real good on my calfs, but it worked.
My matron of honor and I actually changed after the ceremony into formal dresses. Because we had the at home reception the weekend after we returned home, I didn't want to chance spilling or sitting in something. This worked fine other than the waiters and staff didn't know we were the ones who got married.
The suits were perfect. They didn't get too hot and actually ended up wearing them the entire evening.
Private Lobster Dinner:
The night before the ceremony, Casey and I had a 5 course Lobster dinner on our balcony. This was also part of our package. Very romantic, but the food sucked. We ended up hitting the buffet after the dinner! HA!
Spa Appointments (On-Site):
The afternoon of the wedding, Casey and I both had massages, manicures and pedicures at the on-site spa. This was part of our package, and we both loved it! It was something we would have never done if we would have had the traditional wedding back home.
Then my Matron of Honor and I had our hair done. Depsite the lack of communication, I liked my style there better than the one I had done back home! They really did a nice job!
I forgot to ask anyone to be an usher, so everyone just kind of sat when they wanted to. Didn't work real well, but we made the best of it!
I really didn't like the hotel staff person reading the ceremony (after the Spanish judge said it). Nothing meant the same thing and she read it so no emotion and wasn't very loud. I wish I would have just had someone from our family read it or made sure the judge could do it in English.
Oh - I couldn't justify the cost for the videographer, so I asked two of our guests to bring along their cameras. We set up those two plus mine, and ended up with some great footage that we'll cut together!
We also used a CD for music - no band. We didn't have a dance or anything either. After dinner, we headed for some more cocktails and then the nighttime show.
Everything else went really well! I loved the whole thing! We did have to rush through photos before we lost daylight, though. I wish the wedding would have been at 4 instead of 5 p.m. to make the most out of the daylight.
Cocktail Hour and Dinner:
We just made reservations for our group at the on-site Mexican restaurant. I didn't get the "private service" because I wasn't about to pay the extra money at an all inclusive resort. Can me cheap, but it worked just fine!
We were all able to eat at the same time, but for the benefit of the staff - I had to choose the menu prior to going. People didn't like that they didn't have the choice, but most were fine with my choices.
I loved my flowers in the end! It was alot of hassle to get to that point though! I had white lillies and stargazer lillies in our bouquets. We also had two detachable pink roses that I gave to the mothers as I walked down the isle. SO glad I did this!!!!!!!
The flowers at the ceremony site were chosen a few months prior to the wedding. She gave us 4 or 5 choices to choose from.
Again, we just did what came with the wedding package. When we had our meeting with the WC when we got to Mexico, we had the choice of filling and cake. I chose my husband's favorite - white with strawberry filling and it was absolutely wonderful!
I really hated the fact that she wore jeans and a slightly see-through white shirt. There are some points in the video and on other photos where she's in the background, and it just looks aweful!
She did take some good photos, and I was very pleased in the end. We received a very cool album, 24 or so 4 x 6 photos and 1 8 x 10. We also got the negatives back, which are in getting reprints as I type right now!
I have more photos in my profile! Take a look!
Also, remember that we did have an at home reception when we returned. So, we decided to forgo things like favors and decorations in Mexico (because we did that back home).