I am also from Canada and have booked through a wedding TA. We found the same thing that it is not any cheaper to book room and flight separate so reserved the package. I do know that it was a couple hundred cheaper for guests who only wanted to go for half the week - so that might be an option for some of your family. We ended up getting a great deal for SMB but it still has out priced some guests but having a destination wedding is going to out price people no matter which resort you choose. One thing to bear in mind though (as an example) initially my grandpa and his wife were looking at staying at other properties to save money but in the end they decided to just go for it and booked.
Another thing to mention is that we ended up changing the time of year to save guests money. Originally we were planning for March 2012 but the TA found a smokin' deal for December 2011 and we went for it - so changing the time of year might help too. Only downside with that move is a few people had already used all the holiday time for the year so despite the more affordable price won't be able to come for other reasons.
So many things to consider but just remember, no matter what you end up deciding you sadly won't be able to please everyone.
Hope that helps
Originally Posted by cole379
I was hoping you guys could offer your advice on the cheapest way to book Secrets Maroma Beach. We got a travel agent in Canada who looked up packages for us with the Airlines (hotel and flight included) and it looks like she found a great deal for a week stay. However, the price still came back to high for some of our guests (immediate family who we want to accommodate so they can attend) so right now Secrets is out. I am racking my brain trying to think of a way to get everything cheaper for them since I LOVE the resort. What is the best way you found to get a great deal for Secrets for your flights and accommodations for the wedding? Booking flight and hotel separate? Packages? It is hard because a year out things as it is still so pricey! Someone suggested they come for less than a week, but when we got a quote it was very close in price since we lost the â€˜week package dealâ€™ with the airline so it made no sense! Any advice?