del Sol Photography and Al Cielo Hotel Wedding Review
Posted 25 January 2009 - 07:11 PM
We have been back to reality for about a month now, and it is time for me to thank and give back to the community! I have not been very active in the forum, but I learned more here than from any other source. Without this forum, I don't know how I would have been able to plan a wedding from far away.
We had a 40 person wedding at Al Cielo hotel in Xpu-ha Bay (between Tulum and Playa). We stayed in Tulum at the beach, a 30 minute drive away. This wasn't our ideal situation (stay in the same place as the wedding), but it worked out great.
Al Cielo Hotel: A+
Al Cielo is a small rustic place, exactly what we were looking for in Tulum and could not find. It was small enough for our group to have the place to ourselves, and very well staffed and professional. The WC, Donaji, made the whole experience a joy. She is super sweet, truly professional, capable, reasonable and calm. Donaji and I emailed on average every 2-3 days for 3 months prior to the wedding. She is very attentive to details and will entertain any suggestions or questions. It is obvious that she has extensive experience in putting weddings together and can deal with any issues that come up. I put my faith in her and she really came through. The only outside vendors I hired were photographers, everyone else was organized through her. The food was excellent and beautiful, the staff was fun, friendly and extremely helpful. The dessert was to die for (semi-frozen chocolate parfait), and we chose not to have a cake. The drinks were delicious and strong. The folk trio was amazing. Everyone loved them and wouldn't stop talking about them. We also had a guitar soloist during dinner, who was also great. The DJ was excellent (one friend said he was the best DJ he's ever heard at a wedding!).
The ceremony went off without a hitch. Donaji was always on top of everything and if something was about to go wrong or happen too late, she would step in quietly and fix it. We forgot to order a corsage for my aunt, and she was able to add one to the order 24 hours before the wedding. Also, I found out a guest wanted to sit at a different table just before the reception. I let her know, and it was done in less than a minute. We had a Chinese tea ceremony right after our ceremony, and Donaji set up a beautiful separate area complete with red decor. I hadn't imagined anything so beautiful.
If there is anything negative about this setup, it would be that you cannot micromanage every last detail. Donaji gives you every last choice and option you desire to make and more. There were a couple of tiny details that I noticed weren't exactly as I had imagined them (a certain shade of flower color or the type of grass outlining the aisle in the sand). No one but me could have noticed. To everyone else, everything looked perfect. And, when I got there, I didn't care. It was gorgeous.
del Sol Photography: A+ (slide shows below)
I fell in love with Sol and Matt's work immediately. I felt that their photos conveyed emotion and captured moments in a way that I didn't see in others' work. I stalked them and when I found out they weren't available for our chosen date, I changed my wedding date to fit their schedule -- it was more than worth it. Sol and Matt are not only adorable individually as well as in a pair, they are an excellent photographic dynamic duo! Energetic, talented, always surveying for the best shots. I loved watching them work! And I loved working with them. They are fun and serious at the same time. And the results! It seems like they captured just about every moment that (for me) went by in a blur and was over way too quickly. They were everywhere and I don't know how they did it.
A couple of days after the wedding we met them for a stress relieving and super fun TTD. Since they live in the area, they know amazing spots and are highly skilled at making it look completely secluded even when it's not. The cenote we went to was kind of crowded on the day we were there. They were great and professional and as other people around us were watching, they unobtrusively but effectively cleared people out of the camera's way. I am not the most natural person when a camera is pointing at me, but I felt so at ease with them, and very comfortable. And not just at ease - it was a blast!! We had so much fun and if there was anything we felt like doing, they would take the idea and add to it, so it was a creative, dynamic pretty much amazing experience. I had such a fun time swimming in my dress - I didn't want to leave! My hubby agreed that it was really fun and the perfect antidote to the stress of wedding planning. And the photos - I have never looked so good
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