Hi girls!! I see lots of new brides-to-be We have just returned a few days ago (ended up lengthening our honeymoon) so I have been catching up on everything:)
I promised I would come back on and say hello, and give details of our wedding, which was May 8th at the Grand Palladium. (I've missed you ladies). Thank you for the well wishes for our wedding day, I just saw them! Note: this will be long and detailed!!
Our wedding was absolutely beautiful All the times I had played it out in my head, didn't even compare to the actual wedding we had. I can't tell you of one thing that went wrong. If you don't read another word of this review...please relax, and know that Vanessa has everything under control. She even remembered things that I forgot (petals for our flower girl to toss down the aisle). Vanessa is such a lovely lady, young, and very efficient and polite I was a very relaxed, calm bride, (it's why I chose a destination wedding in the first place...to have a beautiful, tropical wedding without all the typical, cookie cutter craziness) and Vanessa is just as calm. The resort handles weddings almost daily- and they are very good at what they do. After I got there, I realized how crazy I must have drove her with my incessant e-mails. There was no need to show her my sheet I typed up, she had it all right there herself.
We ended up with 30 guests, and while I had originally had decided on the Punta Emilia wedding arch, (the beach gazebo), even though I had always wanted a toes in the sand wedding. However, when we got there, Michael and I took some time and walked the beach to both locations several times and stood there. For us, once we stood there by the water, we knew it was where we wanted to say our vows. There is an actual "aisle" created by palm trees. We saw it undressed (no wedding was going on at the time) and there is a little sailboard stand to the left, so we walked up and asked the man attending the stand what happens to the boats when there is a wedding going on. He said that they move everything out of the way. This location has it's own little thatched roof bar, and is just so beautiful. If you prefer the very white sand, and being close to the water- this is your spot. I have pictures I will attach (probably lots of them! It helps to see the actual location). The arch is also very beautiful- although the beach is more rocky and there are more trees and shrubbery blocking the view of the water. The water also has lots of rocks and seagrass in this area. Again, still very beautiful, just the water is not as clear as you are at the wedding site. You simply can't go wrong either way. I would highly suggest walking them both, standing at both, and seeing how you feel. Me heart knew immediately that I wanted to switch locations. I called Vanessa and as there is only one wedding at a time, it was not a problem.
The hotel offered us one of the Mayan Suites as it was our 2nd time visiting this resort. (We stayed in the Kantenah, bldg 33) It was really pretty. About 5 steps from the beach! These have an outdoor shower, and a porch with a hammock. The ceilings are cathedral and the rooms are very pretty. All of us girls got ready here, while my groom and his groomsmen got ready in his brothers suite. The day we arrived, we settled in, and received a few envelopes included in our paperwork. Dont forget to open these!! We did, and one of them was our "Special Honeymoon Dinner" for the two of us, with the day and time we were to go. We didn't see it until the day we were packing to go home two weeks later, lol. Oh well! We flew in our two photographers from New York, where we live, but we did hire the Palladiums videographer (hotel shops-photo pro). We paid the deposit via Paypal a month before we left. The videographer came to our room, and shot for 2 hours (us getting ready, the ceremony, and the little time in between). We did not have him shoot the reception as the time must be consecutive and we had hours in between our ceremony and reception. This video is really a great thing to have! Please, if you can, I recommend getting one- he was only $500 for the 2 hours, and it was really, really worth it! I will try to post a link later this week so you can see it- it shows the rooms, and the walk to the beach, it really takes you through it so beautifully!! The videos are 20 minutes total. The getting ready part is to a song you choose, the ceremony is live, and the 2nd song you choose is another highlight reel of immediately after the wedding. I love it!!
We did not partake in the new Karen Busson packages, as we had booked last year. We could have, but opted to keep what we had as it allowed us to make things personal. We chose white chairs, no color, but I asked Vanessa for flowers that were extremely tropical and had greenery as well. The only request I ever gave her that I was really adamant about was, no roses, no carnations, no babies breath, and very bright, happy and tropical. Flowers I didn't see everyday back home in New York. And not too big!! I am small, and I don't like when the bride is covered up by a monstrous bouquet. The bridal party went to the spa for eyelashes to be put on. We all did our own hair and makeup, but wanted false eyelashes. Mine peeled off on the golf cart ride back to my room from the SPA. The poor driver turned around and looked at me and said "Oh Senorita! Your eyelash!"...it was so funny. I pulled them off and said oh well! Mascara it is!! Everyone elses looked amazing though:) When I came back to the room, my dress was hanging freshly steamed, my veil, which is Cathedral length, was hanging, and also steamed beautifully. My bouquet took my breath away. It was exactly what I had asked for. It was wrapped in satin, with pearl push pins. We had champagne delivered, and took pics. When it was time to go...Vanessa came to get me, and she had in her ear/headset and was in communication with the other coordinator who was on site. Since we were steps from the beach location, I didn't need to ride in a golf cart, but was "snuck" through the beach and the palm trees...it was so, so romantic...many people stopped us on the way to say Congratulations, and everyone was whispering, it was really funny. Vanessa snuck us girls through the Royal Suites' [private beach area (beds with canopies) and we waited. I could see partial glimpes of my fiance through the palm trees, and I could hear the music (we hired the Spanish Trio to play and they made the wedding so amazing- I just told them to play whatever sounded beautiful- they played Canon in D, Spanish Guitar, while I walked the aisle). People were standing near, and watching, I saw in the video- I really didn't notice them at the time! Everyone was very nice though, and happy. Vanessa had me wait, while my father walked to greet me behind the trees so he could walk me. Vanessa had everything timed perfectly. The day was super bright and sunny, the sand looked pure white and the water was sparkling. The boats were all moved, the bar was set up and the Spanish Trio was near the pergola and the guests. My bridesmaids wore coral and the color against the turquoise water and the white sand was just so beautiful! Our minister was eloquent and had a beautiful accent, he spoke such a lovely ceremony. We did a sand ceremony with my daughters and Mike's son and daughter. We had our rings tied to a starfish with ribbon and we asked the starfish and rings to be passed to each guest for a blessing of happiness, which we would then pass on to our guests in return. When we kissed, as if on cue, a couple in bathing suits walked by and smiled...it was perfect, and the epitome of a beach wedding. All caught on video, I loved it!! The sound of the water crashing as we were getting married was simply perfect. The Trio played love songs while we signed our paperwork, and as we put our rings on each other. We repeated some of the traditional vows as we did the rings, but then we spoke our own personally written vows as well. It was simply perfect. The happiest day of my life.
Immediately following the walk back down the aisle- the trio continued to play- they play for 45 minutes continually. They were awesome! Happy and funny and really good! They were singing, all the girls were kissing them (me too!) lol. There is a table set up with champagne which was passed around, some people went and got drinks at our little bar, and Vanessa moved the ministers table from under the pergola and we had our first dance right at the waters edge with the music by the trio. There were lots of bystanders, but they stayed at a distance, and never interfered, and they all were happy for us so it was all good.
Our wedding was at 4, it lasted til about 5 as we had our dance, some drinks and a little partying right there at the wedding site. Since I didn't schedule our reception until 8 pm (this was intentional as I wanted time in between for photos and for people to change, or freshen up or get cocktails etc), Mike and I asked for some private time alone (no photographers either) and we walked together to one of the little bars and sat and had a glass of champage (me!) and a Cerveza (him!) and just took it all in. I put my legs and big skirt in his lap and we just had a half hour to ourselves to laugh, some kisses, and relax for our first bit as husband and wife. It has been a long road of planning! We deserved a little quiet time
After that- pics and then the reception at La Laguna at 8. At our meeting I had dropped off SO much stuff to Vanessa for decorating. She had it all set up amazingly. We had a sweetheart table with a banner in front. Our cake was on it's own table with coral rose petals. We had a table set up for Mike's cigar bar, we had a table of photos and cards etc. The maracas were at every setting (our favors) and the food was off the the side (we did an h'ors d'ouvre reception). There was so much food! We had signature drinks made and signs to show what they were ("The Goombah Smash" for my Italian groom, and "The Mamacita Margarita" for me - it was blue lol). Since we opted against a sit down dinner, everyone was mingling and eating, and the dancing started right away. La Laguna is beautiful and overlooks the pool which had lights in the water. The room was decorated very pretty. The sound system worked perfectly. After our 2 hours were up at 10, we planned on going to the disco, however walking through the lobby back, there was a live band playing great music, and someone grabbed me to dance, and other people grabbed the bridesmaids and we all ended up staying there and dancing til about 2 am with more people we didn't even know...it was really funny. The next morning we had a brunch set up-and then a trash the dress session in the sea. We stayed for 2 weeks after the wedding. Vanessa put the bill together, and it is all paid at checkout.
All in all, it was a perfect wedding that far exceeded our expectations and year and a half of (over) planning. I wish everyone on here, a wedding that also is more beautiful than you can imagine!! In hindsight, I think the key is to just not worry too much and realize why you're there. I kept worrying for weeks about how I was going to wear my hair...would it be too windy, should I wear it up or down, (I went with down) do I wear a veil, or flowers ( I did both!) ...which location...will I forget something...etc. When I stopped worrying, it all came together. Even the flowers I forgot to order for my hair, and the rose petals I forgot to order for my flower girl. They were there waiting for me anyways. Vanessa knows her stuff.
Perhaps the funniest thing that happened, that maybe scarred me for life, was the humongous bug that flew into our room on our wedding night...haha! We spent about an hour trying to get it outside because I begged my husband not to kill it. (He didnt... We finally got the gigantic flying thing out. It was then that we really noticed that our entire room and bed were covered with rose petals. Even the floor and bathtub. They made an elephant out of towels and put my hubby's sunglasses and underwear on it!! Very funny!! however...we both had to grab a garbage pail and clean up about 2000 rose petals from our bed and floor. Everywhere! Not only that...but the petals had tiny bugs on them so those were everywhere. We actually couldnt stop laughing at how we had just spent the last hour and a half. Chasing and cleaning bugs!
God Bless everyone- and I wish you all beautiful weddings!!! XOXO Chrestena
I will post pics in the next post. Im afraid this one will be too long!