I just returned from 10 days at SMB for my wedding/ honeymoon and it was beyond PERFECT!! I know I read all of your posts leading up to my big day so I wanted to be sure to write my thoughts when I got home.
Cecilia: she was a pleasure to work with. I started emailing her about a year out and then we met with her the day we arrived and again the day my photographer arrived (we brought our own). I also called her a few times while we were there and was helpful each time. Some people have stated she is hard to reach etc however you have to remember things work differently there and the urgency to respond is not the same. There are days when she is in her office only in the morning and then out meeting brides and doing site inspections. I believe a little patience and care with how you write your emails can go a long way. Overall, we loved her and she and her team did a great job.
Rehearsal: we were supposed to have a bonfire the night before as a welcome however it had rained the previous 5 days and had no sign of letting up so we chose to cancel it. She knew it was tough for us and offered us the Desires night club for two hours private. This was so much fun and our group really enjoyed it. We paid for music and bar service. I read about bringing a music system but my husband and I didnt want to have to worry about it. ( We also received credit for the photography and video so we put that towards this)
Ceremony: was on the beach. I wanted to keep it simple and clean so all we added was the navy chair bows (which they also used at the reception) and two extra floral arrangements. It was breathtaking. I asked them to not have the runner in the aisle because I was worried about someone tripping on it so they just added the shells on both sides of the aisle. I went barefoot...sort of.. I ordered on Etsy foot jewelry. It looks like a flip flop but has no bottom. It gave me that little bit of bling. I brought heels to wear at the reception as I wanted the height with my dress to dance. We put our music on an Ipod and they did a great job of cuing it properly.
Cocktail reception: we had the Mariachi band which was fun. I cant speak to food/drink as we were only there the last 10 minutes as we were doing pictures at the mansion however as soon as we returned servers were asking what we wanted to drink. Speaking with our guests they said the food was great and drink service too. They had a lot of fun.
Reception: was at the gazebo and again breathtaking. I brought my own centerpieces and votives and then Cecilia had the florist put flowers with them. (as soon as I have pictures I send to you or post). The food was one of the best meals we had and the evening was perfect. I really cant say enough good about it.
Spa: I did a hair and makeup trial when I got there and requested it be with the same person who would do it on my wedding day. I had Blanca and she was awesome. We had to tweak my hair and makeup on the trial day but that's what a trial is for right?! On the day of the wedding, it was perfect and she was quick. They only have 3 hair stations, 3 pedicure and 3 manicure so keep this in mind when booking and try to arrange to everyone moves from one to the next. You cannot bring food in though so make sure there is time for everyone to get some lunch. (makeup products are MAC)
*They pressed my dress and husbands suit with no problems or questions.
*I did not work with the florist directly, rather I had sent Cecilia pictures of what I liked. When I arrived to meet with her she had the pictures printed in color in her folder. On the morning of the wedding she sought me out in the spa when I was getting my hair done and showed them to me to make sure I was happy. Everyone started crying when they saw them.
* I brought a photographer from home- best decision we made. We went to the mansion and at first we were told to leave. We offered the guy $20 and he told us we could stay for 10 minutes-- we stayed for 40 and he never came back. His English was really bad and I think thats all he knew how to say. The pictures from there are beautiful- make sure you check it out prior to and see if it fits you. If you go, ask ahead of time for an old bed sheet from housekeeping. We did this so we could lay it under my dress during pictures.
I know I wrote a lot here but I hope it helps...If you have any questions, please ask. My only advice is to not get hung up on the details. I'm a detail driven gal but I truly believe we enjoyed our day as much as we did because we let Cecilia and her team do what they do best and help plan our wedding. Take her advice when she offers it and know she has seen a lot of weddings.