My wife and I got married at EPM on 7/14/12 so I thought I'd give you all a little feedback because this site helped us a lot when we were preparing. We had 16 guests, the X-lounge for the welcome cocktail hour, Toscana for the rehearsal dinner (not private), the gazebo for the ceremony (a must if you are having your wedding in the summer), X-lounge for the cocktail hour, and the inside of the Ceco Lounge for the reception (I'll explain more later). For starters, Llenny is the best! Even if she is a little slow to respond she will have everything in order when you get there. The flowers were exactly what Tabitha wanted. We sent her our songs for the ceremony (MP3 version) and they were all played at all the correct times. We really didn't have any problems with her and she was extremely helpful and accommodating. They were a little late to get Tabitha from the room and it is a long walk so be prepared for that. Also, make sure the guys know the quickest way to get to the gazebo from where ever they will be beforehand because it is a long walk in the sun with a suit on!
A little bit about our events:
§ Welcome cocktail hour had a signature drink and was really fun. We had ours at 7. This will not be the last time that I tell you to be prepared for mosquito attacks anywhere from 6:30ish on. They are really bad at 7 and get progressively worse. Most of our guests went running for Toscana right when the cocktail hour was finished. I would plan accordingly and maybe have yours set up for an earlier time if you can or at least have everyone put on bug spray.
§ Toscana rehearsal dinner was great. We had a reservation for 18 at 8:00 and they just pushed some tables together in the back. Just keep in mind that you can only fit about 10 per table so everyone won't be sitting in one long table (which was fine). As with every restaurant they were extremely accommodating. One of my guests couldn't decide with meal option he wanted and they said "just get both"! We had developed a set menu which consisted of soup, salad, appetizer, dinner, and dessert. It was really nice and I would recommend it.
We had Herrara (see below) for our ceremony photos so we decided to use VIP photos for a photo shoot prior to our rehearsal dinner. They were awesome! We had Leno as the photographer and he had us do all sorts of different poses in different locations. He really knew the area well, spoke perfect English and was directing us what to do which is really important. We had a lot of fun with him and if I could go back I would have used them for our ceremony.
We used Adrian Herrara. While he is a good photographer but we had many problems. For starters, he doesnâ€™t speak much English and the person he had with him never spoke. He had us posing in practically the same way for every photo, Iâ€™m not sure why, and never really directed us. Biggest problem of all was that he took us to the jungle (Balam Ha) for our photos after the ceremony. We didnâ€™t have shoes on and it was a rocky walk to the building he wanted to take photos which sucked. What was even worse was that once we got out there Tabitha was attacked by mosquitos in a big time way. They were all over her, so much so that the assistant made a comment that see had four on her one arm at the same time. She went running out of the jungle, through the broken shards of rock, and back to the room. We missed our hour of portraits. Thereâ€™s so much more that goes along with this but Iâ€™ll keep it short. He took multiple pictures of our whole group. After several requests, they donâ€™t have them and we canâ€™t get them. The pictures we received were really nice, but there were many that were missing and because we missed that hour we didnâ€™t have nearly as many of us as we wanted.. My recommendation if you are using him is this: understand EXACTLY what you want pictures of and make sure they get taken and donâ€™t go in the jungle!!!! Good people just a bad experience.
§ We had the ceremony at the gazebo. Everything was great. We paid extra money for the minister ($400) as I had developed a long ceremony script and incorporated a sand ceremony so I wanted to be sure that it was read clearly. I would recommend this, but to be honest with you, the minister didnâ€™t read that clearly either. I would have had Llenny do it if she agreed or even if she wanted some extra money. I donâ€™t want it to seem like the minister did a bad job because you could understand her for the most part. The ceremony really was beautiful. The music was correct, the flowers were just as Tabitha wanted, and it went off without a hitch. Llenny did a really great job in having our guests seated as we wanted them and having the sand ceremony set up. She was the best through the whole process and such a sweet woman. She really did cater to everything we needed.
§ Video â€“ VIP Photos did the video. It was so much nicer than I ever expected. We noticed a few things that we wanted done differently after we got home so I emailed Juan Carlos. Within a very short period of time he made the changes and mailed it to me! Iâ€™m telling you, if I could do it all over I would use VIP Photos for the rehearsal and ceremony photos, and I even would have hired them for probably 4 hours of video. They said they had a tough time doing the ceremony video because they had to work around Adrian. The other benefit is that they are right in the hotel so you have an open line of communication at all times prior to the wedding.
§ Reception â€“ They were all set up for our reception at Ceco Terrace. After the â€œmosquito eventâ€ and Tabitha running back to the room to apply benedryl, I quickly found Llenny and told her the situation. I explained that I couldnâ€™t take the chance of having mosquito attacks at the reception and have the night ruined. I told her if I had to pay a little extra I would do it. I went back to the room and she called me right away and said I would need to give her and extra hour to move everything inside. She gathered workers from all over to get this done. Everything was moved inside and it was awesome! We used DJ Mannia and it was totally worth it even for the small group. We didnâ€™t have to worry about an Ipod and he did a great job and stayed the entire time. I sent him all of the songs we wanted and he played them all. They were great people and it was a great time! I wouldnâ€™t think twice about having DJ Mannia again. Itâ€™s worth $900 to not have one more thing to worry about.
Hope this helps. Good luck to you all!