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Wow, it looks like I finally found the right post! Thanks Chrestena, Claire, and Lauren for all your helpful info. I'm getting married at the Grand Palladium April 11, 2013 and I'm starting to freak out a bit it's coming so soon!


Our ceremony is scheduled at 2pm....yet I thought there was only one wedding per day at GP, so I'm wondering if you have any advice to score the 4pm time slot? I was hoping to have a cocktail reception with hot appetizers from 7:30-9:30, so this way the guests (and photographer!) won't be sitting around for hours and hours after the ceremony.


Also wondering how you booked the rehersal dinner the night before? I'd love to book the Portofino for my group. Do you have Vanessa's email address? I've been dealing with Rocio up to this point but it sounds like Vanessa is super helpful!


I'm hoping to have a Welcome Reception the Monday night after everyone arrives so it would be sweet if there was a party happening that night too. How did you organize that? And the brunch?


When it comes to the private cocktail reception, what are the pros and cons choosing between Las Rocas (salt water pool), La Laguna, and Gran Azul? Any favorites from those who have been?


Thanks for any suggestions from current/past GP brides! I feel like time is ticking down and I need all the help I can get :)

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Originally Posted by 87shayla View Post


I love reading the posts from you girls, 


We are 10 days from flying out to get married at the palladium, and its fantastic to see how excited you guys are, all the details and planning. Doesn't seem like very long ago that's what we were doing, and now the day is nearly here! Very excited, and will have to log back on here when I get home to give a review of the wedding :)

 Hi Shayla! It's sooo exciting that you'll be in Mexico soon! It'll be beautiful and so memorable because you have your nearest and dearest celebrating along with you. Have a safe and wonderful trip. I look forward to your posts!

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Originally Posted by kmmathes View Post


Wow, it looks like I finally found the right post! Thanks Chrestena, Claire, and Lauren for all your helpful info. I'm getting married at the Grand Palladium April 11, 2013 and I'm starting to freak out a bit it's coming so soon!


Our ceremony is scheduled at 2pm....yet I thought there was only one wedding per day at GP, so I'm wondering if you have any advice to score the 4pm time slot? I was hoping to have a cocktail reception with hot appetizers from 7:30-9:30, so this way the guests (and photographer!) won't be sitting around for hours and hours after the ceremony.


Also wondering how you booked the rehersal dinner the night before? I'd love to book the Portofino for my group. Do you have Vanessa's email address? I've been dealing with Rocio up to this point but it sounds like Vanessa is super helpful!


I'm hoping to have a Welcome Reception the Monday night after everyone arrives so it would be sweet if there was a party happening that night too. How did you organize that? And the brunch?


When it comes to the private cocktail reception, what are the pros and cons choosing between Las Rocas (salt water pool), La Laguna, and Gran Azul? Any favorites from those who have been?


Thanks for any suggestions from current/past GP brides! I feel like time is ticking down and I need all the help I can get :)

 Hi kmmathes!  I'm getting married after you! I'm getting married on April 19, 2013 at the Catholic church Nuestra Senora de Las Nieves.I have been to Grand Palladium last year in April and it really is the perfect time of year! It's not too hot and it's before the rainy season. You'll be getting married after Spring Break so the place won't be like a college campus.

I have a large wedding party so I'm having my rehearsal dinner at Kabah ( buffet in Colonial) Portofino is wonderful!! You should do dinner there with your guests.

My guests will be coming in in different days of the week so I won't have a Welcome Reception.

The Welcome Reception at Las Rocas Bar will be awesome. Everyone has to wear white at the White Party which happens every Monday (weather permitting).


Private Cocktail Reception: Las Rocas could get windy. It is by the Salt Water Pool and surrounded by loungers and bali beds (perfect for photo-ops!)What will you do about music in the area? I'm having my cocktail hour at Las Rocas from 6-7 ( drinks only since they only serve appetizers after 7 PM) with a Mariachi Band. Vanessa is setting up our escort seating cards at the bar.


Gran Azul is an open air buffet restaurant with a palapas roof which has a jungle view and near crocodile pen. I've seen it decorated for a wedding when I visited and it was just sooo pretty! They had the ceiling decoration and candles on the ramp floor leading up to the restaurant. It's very private. One thing to think about is bugs! You can have a toiletry basket in the bathroom with OFF spray, mints, mouthwash, hairspray, Rolaids, Tylenol, etc.



La Laguna is a buffet restaurant like Gran Azul but overlooks the Riviera/White Sands pool. It's soo pretty in the evening when the pool lights up. Perfect for phot-ops! For some reason I felt that this buffet is a little bigger than Gran Azul. Perhaps because it overlooks the pool.

I'm having my sitdown dinner reception here. We're expecting 75 guests! 

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Originally Posted by Chrestena View Post


Hi Lauren :)


Yes, Vanessa has been really wonderful...I was worried planning from so far away, but she is really good at getting back to me as soon as possible, and on the few occasions where she hasn't been able to, she had someone else let me know she was on vacation. Very nice!


Congratulations to you too!! Very happy for you and your fiance!!  :) We had the "lull' in between too, there was a flurry of activity when we became engaged a year and a half ago...then there was really nothing to do for all these months, besides order my dress and the bridesmaids dresses...now all of a sudden there is another flurry of things to get done. Favors ( fun maracas or luggage tags...I don't know!) , shoes, veil (or no veil!...flower??) , gifts for the bridal party, the actual invitations (we sent out save-the-dates months ago with our wedding website on The Knot), Welcome Bags, my fiance's suit, the sand ceremony jars, candles for the tables, the videographer, putting together our music playlist, photographs for our entrance table, our chair signs (Senor and Senora!), I am decorating our Champagne flutes with flowers, our vows, starfish for the chairs lining the aisle, a basket of cigars to pass out before directly before the ceremony for the gents, and hankies for the ladies, etc...ahhh! I thought I was pretty calm, but I think we are down to about 125 days now, and I can't believe it's that close! It seemed so far away for so long, lol!


I wanted to get married on the beach, but my fiance Michael, really liked the Punta Emilia wedding arch...we saw it on one of our walks on the beach, and he mentioned it then too. I think he just wants some cover from the sun! ha!  I love them both, so I'm fine either way- but I think because he really thinks the arch is beautiful, I will go that way. The good news is, they don't make you decide 'til you get there- the bad news is- I need to decide so I can have it printed on the itinerary that will be in our guests Welcome Bags. I think the arch it is :) 


As for the 2 1/2 hours in between (5 pm - 7:30 pm) I'm still debating exactly the locations... I dont know!! The wedding is at 4, the reception at 7:30 ( I asked Vanessa to push it a half hour later so it will be getting darker and I can use candles). We are only doing a 2 hour h'ors d'ouvre reception. We can still have a DJ by doing it this way. We are at La Laguna from 7:30 - 9:30...then we will move to the disco, or to Las Rocas...really anywhere. We opted to do this because we are having a cocktail hour after the reception, with food too. We just don't know where!  


I am SO GLAD you liked the idea of the Spanish Trio doing the first dance right there beachside...I love the idea too! Champagne, and a little bit of dancing with the Spanish music sounds so nice- with the sea right there. I love that idea. They play for 45 minutes, so Vanessa suggested using them as the music to walk down the aisle (15 min), then the remaining half hour at the cocktail hour, but I didn't really like the video she sent me of their music as "walking down the aisle" music! I love it, (when we were originally getting married in our homestate of New York, we hired a Spanish guitarist for the cocktail hour- we love that music- so romantic!) but I am not sure they will get it quite that way that I envisioned for walking down the aisle, so we figured we would have our music on iPod for the processional, then switch to a fun first dance song with the Trio. I don't know...:/ That actually seems really complicated so I may have Spanish-y music all the way. As long as it's soft, sexy, and romantic, and not, La Cucaracha or something...haha!


After the first dance at the ceremony site, Vanessa gave some suggestions for a "cocktail hour". One was the Sports Bar, which sounds terrible, but after looking through this thread, there is another couple that had the same fear, but had no choice but to book it (it was all that was left), and it looks really pretty. There is a fountain outside, and it looks nothing like a sports bar. I think it is near the church. They had their first dance there, with the Spanish Trio. This is $14 pp, hand passed apps and a bartender. It will be one hour only. The other alternative, is to not pay anything, and have guests go directly to the lobby bar or any of the other bars- there won't be food, but they could go anywhere on the resort really, and get food. I think I will do the actual cocktail hour with our own personal service. Seems a bit nicer for our guests to enjoy this while we are taking our photos.


The reception is going to be for 2 hours at La Laguna, beginning at 7:30 p.m. with hand passed h'ors d'ouvres that we were able to choose, and cocktails, music, and dancing and toasts. Guests will have time in between the cocktail hour and the reception to go for a walk on the beach, go back to their rooms and have a siesta, or continue cocktailing it!  We are having a sit down dinner at Portofino for our rehearsal dinner the night prior, which includes all of our approx 40 guests anyways.  My thinking was, for the rehearsal dinner, all of our guests, as they are from out of town, will be there, it will be more quiet, and probably be a slower service. We won't have music there, or dancing, but we can have toasts, and a nice longer dinner. For the reception, I want everyone up, dancing, grazing on food and cocktails, and having a party! Plus, it saved us money to not have a sit down dinner, so we can have the cocktail hour too! I hope I made the right decision! After the 2 hour reception, we will head to Las Rocas, or the dance club...really anywhere and continue :)


That is great news about your family members expanding their families, lots of beautiful babies! but yes- that does put the pressure on to find a photographer! We are actually flying in our photographer and her assistant from NY. She has done our engagement photos, and she is great. I really wanted her to come, and she finally agreed to, so we are footing the bill for her and her second photographer's  trip. In return, she is shooting us at the rehearsal dinner, the entire day of the wedding (one photog for Mike and the guys getting ready, one photog for us girls getting ready), the reception, and the next day's brunch. She is also doing the day after Trash The Dress shoot in the water on the beach, early morning. 


I am still, however, looking to book a videographer- I have looked at a few local ones. I have to pick one this week. I've been lazy about that!


We have invited 75 guests (and they may bring a guest),  but we know many of them won't attend. At this point, we have 30 confirmed, and we are guessing about another 10 for a total of around 40, so we have $14 pp for the cocktail hour, and another $14 pp for the reception. Not bad! We are paying $1,900 to fly in our photographer and her second shooter, but that is in lieu of the photography charge. There is no charge from the Palladium to have them shoot our wedding, as they are not really outside vendors, but our wedding guests who are staying for a week on the resort. Keep in mind, that the price of the actual "wedding", is only for, I think 8 guests (maybe 10? I can't remember). Any number of guests over that is an additional charge- kinda stinks- but I think it's $20 per additional person over the allocated 8. (this includes you and your groom and your wedding party). Also, the chair set up is an additional $4 to have the white chair covers- I like this look so we opted for it). I have heard that they really are good at the planning of the weddings, and the actual orchestration of the day. Good to know!! That way, brides can relax :)


The flowers we can pick when we have our meeting, and the table set up etc as well. I know Vanessa said we can arrange for golf cart transportation for the wedding events- we are having a Welcome Party at Las Rocas 2 days before the wedding, the rehearsal dinner at Portofino on the terrace the day before, Wedding Day, then a brunch the following morning. She said the golf carts can't pick up everyone individually, but if everyone meets at a central location (lobby etc), they will pick up and transport everyone. I think that is so nice!  


And now i just forgot I need a "Just Married" sign on the golf cart! 


Let me know the timeline of your wedding...maybe Im doing this all wrong! LOL :) Sorry so lengthy - I need help figuring this all out! :)





 Hi Crestena!

I love your ideas regarding the cute signs on the golf cart!  I'm getting married April 19, 2013 at 4 PM.

 I got my bridesmaids personalized wire hangers for their dresses. I got them red lace dresses from Asos.com. I thought it would be a cute photo op to hang up their dresses on the window with my gown.


I have a big party coming too! 75 guests and counting! Most of them will be staying at the Colonial or Kantenah. I have to have their Out Of Town Bags delivered to their rooms so I need to get their itinieraries and room numbers. Most of us are from NY others are from the Philippines, Cali, Missouri, Oregon and Hawaii.


We've stretched our budget big time for this wedding! Yet it is still less than half the cost of what it would be in Long Island.

We got a string quartet with Soprano for the Church ceremony- Musicancun

Mariachi Band for cocktail hour

DJ Doremixx with light up dance floor for 5 hours ( 7-12)

Sparklers for grand entrance

Benchwerk Photography ( friends from NY)

Cinematic Riviera Maya- Agustin Lira and 2 assistants to capture the day

Wedding flowers and  tall centerpieces by Vanessa Jaimes- I wanted the best orchids and roses, I'm such an ultra romantic!

3 tier cake by Dolcet Cakes( I hear her specialty Pink champagne cake with strawberries are to die for!)

Cenote shoot by Del Sol Photography ( our wedding gift to each other)

Sitdown dinner- 5 courses for 75 guests including our 3 videographer,2 photographers and 1 DJ.


I just need to pick out songs for the ceremony and reception and print out our wedding programs. And send the parish priest our Nihil Obstat! Which s a requirement for the Church. It's a letter from our parish granting permission to get married at another parish Church.

Gonna do the civil ceremony next month where I legally take his name! Still so much to do! I hope everything goes accordingly!

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Originally Posted by MyTye2B View Post


Shayla how awesome!!  I see you're in Alberta too.  :)  Where abouts?  I wish you ALL the best at your wedding!!!  Please come back and share your experience with us!!  :)


Claire, I'm at work now but I owe you another long response tonight.  :)  Like you said I want the time to comment on all of the amazing things you've shared. 


I leave to Punta Cana this weekend for another wedding at Dreams this weekend.  Very excited to see how it all goes!


We live out by Drumheller, so we will by flying out of YYC. Got our tickets in the mail today!!!!      :c)


Have a great time in Punta Cana!

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Thanks for the info Mikeycelle, that is super helpful! We've booked La Laguna for a cocktail and appetizer reception from 7:30-9:30pm, although I'm still a bit worried about the gap between the 2pm ceremony and the reception. Any suggestions? I guess people can always have a siesta or enjoy the pool :)


For previous GP brides, did you use the make up and hair services at the spa? Any reviews??



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Hi Ladies :)


Oh my gosh- I have missed a ton on here in the last few days! First off-


87shayla- Congratulations!!  I'm so excited for you that your wedding day is just a few sleeps away :) Please don't forget about us and come back and let us know how beautiful your wedding day was!! I feel like we have had so much time to prepare, and all of a sudden we are down to 102 days...it seems like there is so much yet to accomplish. All little things, but still so much!


Mikeycelle- Congratulations to you too!! Mike and I are from New York too, although Upstate -on the lake, and we are saving so much money by having this destination wedding! We always wanted one, so luckily it worked in our favor :) Even with paying for 9 people to go on the trip (we have 5 children between us, and we are paying for our 2 photographers) and staying for 10 days, it is coming in well, well under. Good news! And your wedding is coming up so quickly too- the church is beautiful, I am thinking of having some photos taken there as well. I found some really cute hangars on Etsy- cute idea for all the bridesmaids. My bridesmaids are all my daughters and my soon to be stepdaughter( I have 3 beautiful girls, and my fiance has one beauty). I think I may call Del Sol for the videography. We are flying out our 2 photographers from  NY, I didn't want to go with anyone else. Here are some of the Engagement pics she took...























It will be nice to have the next group of photos she takes being somewhere nice and hot!!  We are doing a TTD on the beach the day after the wedding. 


Lauren- your engagement pics are beautiful! ( I see no roots- lol!) And I saw your note on my wedding website:) Very sweet!! Thank you, and I did pop over to visit you on yours as well- and sign in too. You did such a great job on it! I love all the pictures, and you have such pretty eyes!  .And thank you for the compliment regarding the children. All I can say is I work out like crazy person and eat very clean. That helps :) I did ask Vanessa about a microphone, but now I can't remember what she said...I do want one, because I personally love hearing the vows at weddings...we especially want to make sure our children hear everything. The only thing is, I have seen photos where the Bride and Groom are holding the microphone...I really don't want to do that. I want to hold Mike's hands- I'm going to ask Vanessa if we can arrange for a stand or for the officiant to hold the microphone. I just made a note of it. I went back through my FB pics of our vacation at The Grand Palladium and not one pic of a door handle! lol!  I don't remember what they were...(was that you or Claire that asked that question?)  I do want to tell you that the candle ceremony for your daughter sounds so beautiful, I know that will be such a poignant moment in your day:) Regarding the fans to keep cool...I was thinking of ordering some little hand fans that we print with something (maybe just the details of the day) for guests to use...not sure how much they will cool someone down, and I know I will probably be all sweaty! 


We are going to do the couples massages and we are going off to Cozumel for 2 days alone (my parents and brother and sister in law will be at the resort for a week, so they will be with our children). Other than that- since we travel alone so much, we really wanted this to be about the 7 of us blending our family. I am so, so excited for us to be married! Mike's kids and my daughters have wanted this for a long time :)  Thanks for the cheaptotes info- and I LOVE your bridesmaids dresses! Great choice!!


Claire-The church is so, so beautiful! I love it! I don't know what to do about my hair or makeup either...I'm like you- I have it done somewhere and I always end up "fixing" it. I would love to wear it down, as my fiance is partial to that, but with the wind- I dont know. Im small, and sometimes my hair being down makes me feel like less of a little pin-head. lol. I think I will book something for the wedding day, and also for one of the days we first arrive for a trial session. If I dont like how they do it, I can cancel the wedding day hair appt. I'm actually kind of stressed about the hair! My makeup will be ok if I do it. ( I hope). I will definitely check out the Vista Print info for the banners for the golf carts! Thank you!


kmmanthes- Yes- you found the right post! Everyone on here has been so helpful to me! I feel the same way you do :) So nice to talk to girls getting married at the same place and hear your ideas and suggestions. I feel your pain..I'm slightly freaking out a bit myself- and I am getting married 4 weeks after you! I will go look up Vanessa's e-mail and write another post on here. I cant see it while I'm on this site, but I promise I will get it for you- she has been really wonderful to work with. I think you were asking about the 2 pm ceremony time. I'm not certain if Palladium only does one wedding per day- I thought it was one per time frame, therefore, if you chose the 4 pm ceremony time, another bride could not as the first bride would have her pick of ceremony location, photo opportunities and staff members at her service. I think that is why they tell you that you can choose your ceremony location when you arrive. If the 4 pm was already spoken for, the 2 pm would be the other alternative. I wouldnt worry too much about it though- 2 pm will be gorgeous, and you won't be rushed for photos, plus your guests can freshen up- it will be hot!! We booked La Laguna for a cocktail and appetizer reception as well from 7:30 - 9:30 :) FUN!


Someone else asked about the White Party at Las Rocas, and I can't go back and look at a previous page or it wil wipe out all I've written here, but the White Party is, according to Vanessa, each Monday night. It is at Las Rocas which is an outdoor cocktail lounge at the saltwater pool at the beach. When we were looking for some place to have our Welcome Cocktail Party for our guests on the Monday before our wedding (Wednesday May 8th), Canessa suggested having it here as the White Party would be going on. Everyone wears white and there is music and drinks. I thought it sounded great so she put it on the books even though we aren't really paying anything extra- she just made note that we will need a golf cart or two to pick us up at the lobby and take us all there together and she reserved a table and a bed/cabana for us.  I thought it sounded great! And someone else asked about the rehearsal dinner- and that too, we booked with Vanessa. Our rehearsal dinner will have less than 40 people so she said we could have the terrace of the Portofino for our group. 


Thanks for all the great convo and ideas!  It's after midnight so I'm off to bed...I get lost in time when I log on here!!  :)


Very glad I found you all, and I am looking forward to seeing the photos of you ladies getting married very soon! 


XOXO Christina (Chrestena Uliana) Russian spelling for anyone who is wondering what that crazy spelling is all about in my screen name!

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Hi ladies,


I thought I'd write a quick (or lets be honest, long) message before I leave for Punta Cana in the morning.  Really looking forward to my friend's wedding at Dreams!  My parents will be there too so I'm super happy to get to see them.  I hate living so far away.  :) 


Kmmathes, I am wondering the same thing about the spa.  I was thinking of bringing my own makeup and I hope my friend Alison is able to do it because she's super talented at that stuff.  I did find a price list for the spa on Palladium Addict - I think bridal hair ranged from 80 something for short to 137 for long.  Trials were $50.  Makeup application was $60 I think?  I'm not sure how outdated the list is and I haven't heard any reviews.  I had hoped to wear my hair half up half down and wavy but I just got my roots done today and my stylist really, really advises against it due to the humidity in August so I have a trial with her next month just to try out a few updos.  I really don't like my hair up but it might be necessary in that heat!  I still think I'll try half and half with the understanding that it will probably go up for the reception.  I'd really like to hear some reviews on the spa since my hair is super thick!  It does what you want, but once it's out in the heat it goes very Monica on Friends when they went to Barbados!  Lol. 


As for your 2pm ceremony I don't think that's a huge deal - like you said people can really rest up for the evening!  From what I've heard you don't need to make any last minute decisions until you get there.  You can even try emailing Rocio or Vanessa to ask about changing the time of the ceremony if you really do want it to be later.  I still have a gap of a couple of hours between our ceremony and reception too.  I'm not sure what to do with it but my fiance says it's a resort!  People will entertain themselves.  I remember going to a wedding at Grand Palladium about 5 years ago and there was a gap too while the wedding party went and did their pictures and things before dinner and honestly we all just hit up a bar and had a blast!  It's no biggie, don't worry too much.  :)


Shayla I am so excited for you that you got your tickets in the mail today!!!  Only 2 weeks away, omg!  Any last minute things you need help with/advice on?  Do you feel pretty relaxed and prepared?  I hope so!  YYC is my home so I do hope you have a wonderful experience flying out.  Do you have lots of people with you on your flight or are you leaving ahead of the group?  You'll likely be gone when I get back from DR so I am wishing you such an amazing wedding!!


Mikeycelle I wanted to ask you about the sparklers.  Are you bringing them with you or getting them there?  That's one thing I desperately want but since they're considered a dangerous good I can't bring them on the plane with me.  Vanessa said unfortunately they sell for like $5 a sparker there which is way too much for me to justify since I imagine we'll be having a big group as well.  If you found them in Mexico for cheaper than that I'd love to know!  Thanks!  Also I am wondering about your cocktail hour for those of you who are having one.  Is this something separate from guests just doing as they want for the hour or two break?  Where are you having it?  Is this an extra charge on top of the $20pp for the ceremony and then the additional $50-$60pp for the reception?  I'd love to set something up for the inbetween but things are starting to really add up. I hear you on the still so much to do thing!  It sounds like you're super organized even with your large group and your cake sounds incredible!  I am worried about getting a playlist together too.  I have soooo much music I like, and I want it to be upbeat and danceable - just a lot to think about lol, but so much fun!  Oh and thank you so much for the reminder about the baskets in the bathrooms with the toiletries in them.  I totally would have forgotten about those because I was doing the OOT bags but of course people aren't going to be bringing those with them to the wedding, lol! 


I have now asked to have a rehearsal/welcome dinner the night before the wedding (our guests come in just the day before) at Portofino.  I guess we'll have to have a set dinner.  Do you guys have to do a set menu too?  I am also thinking of a dinner another night just to have the whole group together but I'm not sure I feel comfortable choosing a set menu at the steakhouse for everyone either.  What do you think the chances are that we'd all be sat near each other if we just waited it out?  I definitely like the idea of the restaurant having the head's up that we're coming and being ready for us. 


I have to say that I feel sooo lucky to be working with Vanessa.  She has been so responsive and helpful the entire time.  What are you all doing about tipping?  I'm also starting to try to think about bugeting for that too.  Vanessa is definitely getting something good!  I know there are threads about this but there's the photographers, the mariachi band, the bartenders and wait staff for dinner, the officiant - sp many people to think about!  I'm kind of confused.   Also what are you all doing for escort/place cards if you're having any?  I'm not sure how our reception dinner will be set up.  I've seen pictures iwth long, rectangular tables and also with round tables.  Do any of you know what you're having?  I guess it will probably end up depending on how many guests we have.  I'd like to bring table numbers and table runners with me so I kind of want to know.  Do you know if they will have a table available for a memorial candle, guest book, etc? 

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