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Christina's Las Caletas Review, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - 10-18-08


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#1 ChristinaH

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    Posted 06 November 2008 - 12:58 AM

    This is very long, and I got tired towards the end, so I apologize if my detailing trails off. After the review, I've included a link to my other post which has pics from Puerto Vallarta before/after the wedding (still trying to get wedding pics up) as well as honeymoon pics in Puerto Rico.
    *****
    Las Caletas was everything I expected and more. We couldn’t have asked for a better wedding day for us or our guests.

    On Friday morning, Nicole came to the Marriott to meet with me & my fiancĀ©, Chris to go over all the last details as well as to hand over to her all of the stuff in a large suitcase – toasting glasses, votive holders, program fans, guest book, Polaroid camera for guest book, table seating, place cards, favors, Terrible Towels, etc. Everything went smooth in our meeting and I even included an inventory of everything I was giving to her. I had also given a copy to my pregnant sister-in-law (because I knew she’d be sober) so that she could help at the end of the night to make sure we got everything back that we had wanted to keep.

    My day started off leaving the Marriott with my girls: my 15-year-old daughter, Audrey, and girlfriends, Amanda, Danielle and Jackie. When we arrived at the marina, we waited merely minutes outside the gate before I saw Nicole. (I was fortunate enough to have done my site visit with her in April and had an idea of what to expect at the marina.) Nicole helped us through the turnstile since she already had our tickets and then got us through security. No issues there fortunately, and we had a lot of bags amongst us. Nicole helped me carry my dress and bags over to the waiting area while some of the girls grabbed some coffee. We then worked our way over to the main area to wait for the Vallarta Adventures boat to head to Las Caletas. Nicole had told me on Friday that she would not be coming over in the morning, but that Kelley would be on the boat with us and Nicole would come over later during the day.

    Kelley helped us with all of our stuff and once on the boat, we got settled in and had a lovely, light breakfast of drinks and pastries. The boat ride was smooth and delightful – but I don’t get seasick – no idea what that feels like, but none of the girls felt bad either. Got some great pictures and site-seeing along the way; went along the coast and went through Los Arcos.

    Once we arrived at Las Caletas, Kelley took us straight away to the bridal suite. For some reason, I thought it had been air conditioned – obviously not the case, but was very warm from just walking up the hill to get there. It really wasn’t that bad once I had calmed down from the excitement in me and the walk. However, because the boat was slightly late coming from NV to pick us up in the PV marina, I almost had to leave immediately to get my massage at 11 am.

    Now I should have known better not to get a massage. I don’t find them to be relaxing at all and this one was no exception. I got into the room, took off my cover-up and bikini top and as I was going to lie down (topless, of course) on the massage table, I noticed a man had been watching me the whole time. The same guy I had sat next to on the boat ride. I was mortified! I remember his wife making her massage appointment on the boat, and he must have been waiting for her. Wasn’t expecting that. Anyway, the massage was just like any other massage. While, yes they are good for you and relaxing – they stress me out. I’m not big on people touching my body, let alone use oil and get it in my hair. I had asked Nicole earlier if I could wash my hair before the hair dresser, Fernando, came to do my hair and make-up; which I knew her answer would be to not wash it. Well, with all that oil everywhere which got in my hair and then she gave me a head rub with the oil, I knew I had to wash my hair. Which of course stressed me out thinking my hair would turn out a mess. The most relaxing part of the massage was the music – which basically sounded like a sound machine of the ocean waves – that I liked. I tried to relax, but I think I would rather have been spending time on the beach with the girls. The morning seemed to be really rushed.

    After the massage, I stopped off at the bridal suite which I had to myself for a moment. I took a shower to get all the oil off of me before heading down to the beach to see the girls. Not long after that we were called to lunch and the five of us were seated right by the water. On the way to lunch, however, we ran into Fernando & his assistant being lead up to the bridal suite to get set-up for my hair and make-up. In order to try to relax a little more, I started with a little cerveza at lunch. The food was fantastic, but being a vegetarian is sometimes difficult – especially on a buffet. The veggie lasagna was particularly good and the potatoes were good enough for seconds. I think the whole time in PV, I lived off cheese and potato dishes.

    After lunch, we all started to head back up to the bridal suite to relax but took a side trip to see the little monkey and the birds. The girls loved this – I, on the other hand, had no desire to hold either of them. They’re absolutely beautiful birds and the monkey was super cute, so I just took pictures. We were warned that the monkey does not like sunglasses – which my daughter witnessed when we were leaving, he reached for her and then he freaked out because o fher sunglasses. Kinda funny actually. So once we reached the bridal suite, I thought I’d be able to relax and we’d hit the little hot tub (which we filled with cold water in an effort to cool off), however, there really wasn’t much time for that because I had to get started on my hair and make-up – I think it was already after 2 o’clock. So off I went for another shower just to freshen up. The girls just hung out in the water and my daughter took a nap in the hammock.

    Fernando was fantastic! He was truly a professional and very good at what he does. I had brought a picture of what I had envisioned for my hair – which was inspired by Heidi Klum at the Oscars with her huge bun. Not knowing how to accomplish this feat, I had brought a big clip with hair attached as well as Jessica Simpson hair extensions. I had previously had a trial with the hair clip, but my hairdresser in Dallas thought that the extensions would work better, so he even went with me to Ulta to pick out the right color and length. Unfortunately, Fernando felt that the clip would work best – and it did. It took some time getting it right and honestly, I didn’t watch the process. I just couldn’t – I know myself too well and would probably be trying to tell him what to do. The girls kept coming over and checking on me and got me another beer while I just sit and listened to all of them getting ready. Now, I was just listening and not really sure what was going down, but a few of them headed over to the spa area to get showered there while another of them showered in the bridal suite. They also were doing their hair and makeup over there too since Fernando, his assistant and I took over the whole area designated with mirrors and counterspace. There was make-up and hair stuff everywhere – just for me. You’d think he was doing a whole slew of models with all that stuff. Anyway, once my hair got done, (which was just perfect!) I had to take a break – just stand up and breathe.

    I think during this time, the other girls were getting ready and were helping Audrey (my daughter) get ready, too. I really wanted to do her hair, but ended up not having time. Fernando was kind enough to do her make-up too – very light for a teen – looked pretty. Also, had him put eyelashes on my friend, Jackie. She loved every time I would go to MAC and get them done, so it was a little surprise for her that day. Fernando uses a lot of MAC make-up and I had brought some of the colors I wanted to use and he had no problem mixing uses.

    Here’s where it gets a little fuzzy because everything felt so rushed. The photographer arrived and we started to get some pics – one in particular was great of the dress hanging in the doorway with the girls, including me, peaking around the sides. My photographer, Roberto Aeceves, was fantastic! He was everywhere to get the shots – I had given him a list of must-have shots and he fulfilled my list through the whole evening. He was so energetic and so much fun! Even that morning, he had gone over to Vista Vallarta to get pics of the guys at their golf tournament, as well as did my trash the dress on Monday night at the hotel pool and beach.

    Once the boat arrived and the guests were filtering onto the beach, the girls started to leave to join their respective husbands with the rest of the group. I was beginning to feel a little flustered having them leave me and I wasn’t even dressed yet. Fortunately, Amanda was tuned into my feeling (which I hadn’t even truly recognized) and offered to stay to help me & Audrey – even if it was just for a little while. I’m really glad she did – it was an odd feeling of abandonment leaving me in the bridal suite undressed. Now, I didn’t have bridesmaids for a reason – small wedding and all – but having my girlfriends spend the day with me was just what I needed and was grateful to have such good friends to help.

    And then there were two… and Nicole. Audrey and I were the last ones to head down. Nicole kept tabs on what was going on down on the beach and then sent Audrey down. My bustle was having a few issues in which Nicole remedied rather quickly. I could barely hear the music from up on the stairs, but a faint sound of the bagpipes were playing Amazing Grace – my processional song. By the time I got to the bottom of the stairs to meet my dad, he was in tears. The ceremony itself is somewhat of a blur. Started off with Brad handing over the microphone to Audrey after the welcome. Audrey immediately started to cry and had difficulty making it through her poem. It was a surprise for me, and I am still not sure what she read because of all the tears. The rest of the ceremony was beautiful – but went by so fast. We laughed a little, I cried a little. By the time it was over, I was ready to have some fun, however, that got cut short when he went into picture-taking mode. My new husband stepped on the bustle of my dress and it broke a few of the ties/buttons. A couple of the girls did their best to try to re-secure them, but it would never be the same. Four months of visits to the seamstress, busted in a matter of seconds. Got some great photos of us on the rocks, sand, and then went into having the group shots.

    Now the theme of our wedding was the fleur-de-lis – a classic French symbol, as well as the symbol for the Saints football team, which my husband is from New Orleans, therefore, very appropriate. I, on the other hand, am from Pittsburgh and a die-hard Steelers fan. The group shots went smooth, however, when Nicole came down the stairs with a pile of Terrible Towels, the group went crazy (minus the few Cowboys fans in the bunch). Pictures went pretty well from there out. I did have to spend some time attempting to get the bustle fixed after that, but eventually Nicole just grabbed the fleur-de-lis pin from my bouquet and pinned up my dress to my butt. Worked for me.

    Dinner was a blur. It went so fast and I was still kind of stressed out over the bustle incident and couldn’t relax for some reason. So I had a beer brought to me and immediately felt better; things were much more easier to deal with after getting a few drinks into me. Now I had previously requested on a couple of occasions to have my dad do a prayer before dinner, unfortunately, that never happened. I brought this to Nicole’s attention and she apologized because she had forgotten. My dad seemed disappointed, so she asked him if he would like to say anything when it was time for the toasts. I still think he was really disappointed because he didn’t want to say anything. Unfortunately, that left my father-in-law to do a toast after dinner. It was horrible – it was the longest, most pointless toast. I honestly think he never did a toast to the bride and groom. Just kept mentioning some random stuff – really irritated me, to be honest.

    Anyway, after that it was time for the cake cutting. I was all about the cake, which Nicole picked up on. To the point, that she had to outsource the cake. It was well worth it! I even had sent in advance some almond flavoring to make sure they could put it in the cake and the icing. It was so good – the cake itself had finely chopped almonds throughout and the butter ream icing was just bursting with almond flavoring. I had hand-drawn a picture of what I envisioned for the look of the cake and it was even better than I could have imagined. However, after the cutting of the cake, I noticed an odd smell in the air – almost like burnt hair. I turned around looking for the culprit and noticed that there was something on the train of my dress, something that looked like leaves. However, there were no leaves in the area. They were burn marks – my dress had caught on fire in several spots, some as big as an apple! Oh well… I was one hot bride that spontaneously burst into flames.

    While everyone was enjoying their cake, I noticed the fire dancers off to the side and mentioned it to Nicole. She had suggested getting everyone down to the dance floor, skip the first dance and move right into the show. At the time, I thought this was a great idea, but later when we did have our first dance, we had to follow the fire dancers – quite a downer following that act. Anyway, the fire dancers were a fantastic surprise for our guests. They all loved it and were in awe of the show. Fortunately I didn’t catch on fire. No, that would happen again later in the evening. So once the little show ended, we went into our first dance, Better When We’re Together by Jack Johnson – really love the song and all, but kind of was a downer after the high beat of the fire dancers. Dancing was great – everyone had a good time, however, I started to notice that none of the songs playing were from our iPod playlist. Chris and I both went up to the guy running the sound board and mentioned this to him, he said he would play from it. Few songs later, same thing – they weren’t our songs. We spent several hours and many dollars on iTunes getting just the right mix of songs we wanted and the guy kept playing Mexican music. So we went over again and he said he was playing from the iPod. Then why was it on Pause So he immediately hit play from the iPod. A few songs later, noticed again, NOT our music. I was livid at this point. I picked up the skirt of my dress and marched over to the guy and started yelling at him. He tried to convince me that he was playing from the iPod, which I had to point out again that it was on Pause. Finally said, “What is the matter? Is there a problem?” He had no response and never had another issue with the music the rest of the night. However, when I marched over to yell at him, I apparently put my dress down over another candle and caught on fire again. The same smell permeated the air and I noticed the burn mark on the bottom of my dress. It was only a small hole this time though. I did tell Nicole that I had yelled at the sound-guy - I felt bad. However, she was glad I said something to him. Why did I spend all that time downloading songs, just to have him play his own playlist??

    Dancing continued until we were called up for our piĀ±ata. It turned out great! Nicole had a local lady make it in the shape of a fleur de lis in purple and gold. Only four people got a chance to hit it – Audrey went first, Danielle, then Jackie. I was the last to give a whack at it until it broke. Apparently I was hitting the thing really hard, too! Definitely was a fun time and a good way to end the evening.

    Of course, I had lost track of time, but it was time to make it back to the boat. By the time we all made it there, I was exhausted from a long day and laid down for a minute. Couldn’t see anything though because of the wind (and alcohol) had dried out my contacts. But trusty Nicole came through with eye drops that rocked my world at that moment. Everyone was chilling out on the boat ride back, a few more drinks and a few more dances.

    Overall, everything was spectacular. A few glitches, but nothing that was going to get in my way of a beautiful wedding day and marrying my best friend.
    ********
    Here's the link from my post that includes pics:
    http://bestdestinati....121#post593743

    #2 Yari

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      Posted 06 November 2008 - 01:33 AM

      Sounds just perfect!!

      My dress almost caught on fire a few times...LOL! Those candles are so pretty though, it is worth it.

      #3 twixygrl

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        Posted 06 November 2008 - 01:29 PM

        It soungs like an amazing time! Congrats and thanks for sharing all the details!
        Twixygrl

        #4 Mel

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          Posted 06 November 2008 - 02:15 PM

          I'm glad you had a great time. My dress "caught" on fire too. Actually, we were taking pictures and the photog went to rearrange my dress and she accidentally put in right on top of a candle. I thought she was going to die when she saw what she did. I just laughed and said well it made it through the ceremony and most of the pictures that was all I cared about.

          The time does fly by so quickly, but hopefully you got a video because it is a great way to relive the experience and see things that you didn't even know was going on.

          #5 brittbrodin

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            Posted 06 November 2008 - 02:40 PM

            The whole experience sounds amazing...well except for the whole dress on fire thing!! I never even thought about the possibility with the candels! :)

            Did you do a trial with Fernando for hair? I'm also using him and debating on whether or not to do a trial since I think it costs like $200 more! But I think I'll be really nervous about it if I don't

            Also, we are looking at Barcelona Tapas for the rehearsal dinner. Do you know what options they have? How far in advace did you book with them?

            It really looks like you guys had a great time and I can't wait to see your LC pictures!!
            March Siggy Challenge Wedding Review
            http://bestdestinati....-review-40270/
            Slideshow by Beth Lloyd
            http://bestdestinati....-mexico-45184/

            #6 Andi

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              Posted 06 November 2008 - 02:41 PM

              what a great review! Thank you for all of the details!

              I too do not have any bridesmaids and have been debating who I am going to invite to go over to LC with me to spend the day! what a great idea to bring some girlfriends!

              I will have to keep an eye on those candles! and I love the Pinata idea too!

              Congrats on the wedding!

              #7 TA Lindsay

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                Posted 06 November 2008 - 04:17 PM

                Thanks for the great review! It sure brings back a lot of memories!!!

                My dress never caught fire from the candles, but I did manage to knock two or three of the candle holders down the staris on my way down to the beach at the start of the ceremony - I had a grand entrance, complete with breaking glass!!!

                Can't wait to see your photos - we used Roberto as well - isn't he the greatest to work with!!??

                Lindsay

                #8 ChristinaH

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                  Posted 06 November 2008 - 04:23 PM

                  Quote:
                  Originally Posted by brittbrodin
                  The whole experience sounds amazing...well except for the whole dress on fire thing!! I never even thought about the possibility with the candels! :)

                  Did you do a trial with Fernando for hair? I'm also using him and debating on whether or not to do a trial since I think it costs like $200 more! But I think I'll be really nervous about it if I don't

                  Also, we are looking at Barcelona Tapas for the rehearsal dinner. Do you know what options they have? How far in advace did you book with them?

                  It really looks like you guys had a great time and I can't wait to see your LC pictures!!
                  It was an amazing day for me. I never thought about the candles - but at that point in the night, I didn't care either. So what if I caught on fire ; )

                  I did not do a trial with Fernando. My trial had been back in April when LC was using L'occocco. So I was slightly nervous, but Nicole reassured me that Fernando was fantastic - and he was! I brought plenty of pictures of hair and make-up of what I envisioned and he got it just right. The make-up was heavier than I like it, but it worked out for photos.

                  Barcelona was fantastic! We booked a few months in advance, just to make sure we had seating on the top level. For large groups, they do the Tasting Menu (see their website: Puerto Vallarta Restaurant - Barcelona Tapas). You get included in one flat price: soup, salad, choice of 5-8 of the tapas offerings, and 3 choices of the desserts. The food was brought out 2 choices at a time. There was so much food and everyone loved it - no ordering off menus, and everyone got to taste everything.

                  I'm trying really hard to get some non-pro pics posted.

                  #9 ChristinaH

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                    Posted 06 November 2008 - 07:02 PM

                    I have pics!

                    Non-pro pics from friends: Kodakgallery.com*Join now and receive beautiful photographic prints from your camera

                    #10 brittbrodin

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                      Posted 07 November 2008 - 12:41 PM

                      Exactly...as long as you and your guests had a great time who cares about anything else - even a little fire! :)

                      Thanks for all the details on Fernando and Barcelona Tapas! We are definitley going to try and book our rehearsal dinner there.

                      I was talking w/ my FI last night about your incident with the DJ! I can't believe you had to go over there like 4 times just to get him to play from your playlist. This is something we've put a lot of work into and spent several hours and $$ on itunes so I hope he finally got the point. Maybe since you mentioned it to Nicole she'll make sure it doesn't happen in the future. Also, aren't the fire dancers always supposed to come out and suprise everyone at the end of the night?? I thought that's what Kelley told me during our visit.

                      Anyways, great review and you definitely started getting me excited!!
                      March Siggy Challenge Wedding Review
                      http://bestdestinati....-review-40270/
                      Slideshow by Beth Lloyd
                      http://bestdestinati....-mexico-45184/




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