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rachiecakes

A Puerto Rican Wedding Completed! Vendor Reviews

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Hey gals!

 

The "PR Brides" thread was getting a big long, so I thought I would make my own little thread here.

 

I just got back from my wedding/honeymoon in PR and I was so happy with just about everything related to the wedding that I wanted to share some reviews and pass on recommendations for the vendors I used. It's all about web2.0 feedback these days :).

 

So I'll be making separate posts under this thread for each vendor that I used. I know that I really wanted to find a post like this while I was in my planning stages, so I figured I would give a little back to the community. Plus I get to relive my wedding memories a bit longer!

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So alright, I figured that I would have to start with the woman who made it all possible-- my wedding planner!

 

This is the basic info:

 

Name- Lisa Rodriguez

Website- PR Wedding Planner

 

When I first started searching for someone on the island to help me plan, I ran into a few hiccups. Lots of unreturned RFPs and I spent a good few weeks trying to work with one planner who just was not right for me. We didn't mesh well and the relationship felt very forced. Lots of changes to the contract without notifying me, etc, to the point where I just had to break it off and start my search all over again.

 

In despair, I thought I would try one more time and type "PR wedding planner" in google and see what I get. And then I saw it-- a blog that was titled PR Wedding Planner. One I had not seen before. I read through her blog (yes, I spent hours reading through her entire blog) and I decided that I MUST contact this woman. She had a sense of humor and she was clearly dedicated to what she does.

 

So I sent an email thinking "Well with island time, I might get a reply in a week." Wrong. I got a response the next morning. This planner spoke my language (literally!). I never had to wait more than a day, maybe two, for Lisa to respond to my queries. I also really appreciated how she would occasionally step in for me behind the scenes when working with vendors to make sure I was getting the best deal!

 

We started planning together in October, and we just saw our project come to fruition this June.

 

On the wedding day Lisa was on time and she went over the timeline with me to make sure that I knew what was going on when. She didn't waste a minute and immediately went to work and started to coordinate all of the vendors together. I didn't really have to worry about a thing, but she made sure to keep me updated. I think she sensed that I wanted to know what was going on even though I couldn't do anything!

 

She also really rolled with the punches. For example, I had totally forgotten to develop a limited menu with the restaurant, and I left that task in her hands with a few instructions (some chicken and vegetarian options were necessary). I had also forgotten to set up a refreshment table at the ceremony site for the guests (that was a big whoops!) but Lisa managed to make it happen.

 

All of my family members commented on how organized she was, and how she managed to make sure things got done without being obtrusive.

 

So I would give Lisa 5 out of 5 stars. Below is a picture of Lisa with the groom and I.

 

Click the image to open in full size.

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When Adam and I were looking for a location on the island, we didn't want something opulent. We had a budget, and we needed to try to stick within it. That meant that the Ritz Carlton, El Convento, and the El Conquistador were out, as lovely as those venues were. We just couldn't afford them.

 

We ended up deciding on having the wedding at the Caribe Hilton, specifically the Hilton Atlantic Gardens.

 

The room that we got was one of the Lagoon Villas. It had an ocean view, and it was very nice. From the other rooms of the guests that stayed at the hotel, the rooms range from very basic (and a little dingy, to be honest) to really nice.

 

The problems I had with the hotel:

 

The bedding smelled like fish when we first went into our room. That was quickly changed.

 

The maid service showed up late on the day of my wedding.

 

The hotel was very family friendly. That might be a plus for some, but it was frustrating for us. We are a young couple, and we are also night owls. Our neighbors, however, were not. They called in two noise complaints one night when it was just the groom and I in our room talking to one another. Combine this with the fact that the neighbors kids loved to wake up yelling and making a lot of noise at 6am did not help our relations to say the least.

 

They do not have laundry services on site. This means that if you need to steam your wedding dress, you will have to do it with an old fashioned iron yourself or you can use the bathroom shower to steam up the bathroom.

 

The staff switches around a lot. I had three different banquet coordinators in between October to June. No joke.

 

You pretty much need to take a taxi or drive yourself to get into the historic district of San Juan.

 

Nonetheless, there were things that I really loved about the hotel:

 

The ceremony site was absolutely.gorgeous. No ifs ands or buts. It was also just what we wanted--- something ocean side, but NOT on a beach. I have a father who is in a wheelchair, and he needed some terra firma to get around. This, really, was the most important aspect of the hotel for my purposes. I was not disappointed.

 

The fort at the location (yeah, the hotel has its own historical fort) is great for taking pictures. You cannot go inside the fort, but it makes a nice backdrop.

 

The lobby area is also really beautiful.

 

And I did not do this, but according to my new hubby the hotel has great snorkeling.

 

I loved the pool area and the staff overall was very accommodating. We sometimes tried to 'bend the rules' a little bit (like staying in the hot tub after nine pm), and our behavior was mostly tolerated by the staff. They didn't want the hotel to be held liable for anything, but they didn't want to ruin our fun either.

 

Oh-- and the hammocks on the grounds were to die for.

 

So overall, I would give the hotel a 3.5 out of 5 stars. If I were just to rate the ceremony site itself and nothing else, it would get 5 out of 5.

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So we had the planner, and the ceremony location. The next vendor we booked was the photographer.

 

Name: Glen Weisgerber

Website: Glen Weisgerber - Fotografia Distinta

 

We were lucky enough to get Glen for our wedding. Let me just say that Glen was a total pro. He was easy to communicate with online and quick to respond to emails, and he was also on time! He was also very friendly in person.

 

He would give direction when we needed it but he made sure to be unobtrusive when needed as well. I was shocked when I saw the type of images he got during the ceremony because I had no idea he moved around so much! He was also very flexible and open to different ideas for the pictures. We also just loved his photographic style. He really captured the emotion of the moment.

 

I would give Glen a 4.75 out of 5 stars.

 

Below is a link to one of my favorite photos from the wedding.

 

Picasa Web Albums - rachel.w.lilly

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Since we were having a destination wedding that many loved one would not be able to attend, Adam and I knew early on that we would need a videographer.

 

Name: Ian from Blink and Sin Pictures

Website: Blink and Sin Pictures

 

What we really loved about our wedding video was that it wasn't a traditional video. It was more a video that captured the emotion and the feel of the ceremony without simply filming it. They created what was almost like a beautiful music video. I also loved though that they made sure to preserve the wedding vows and the ring exchange as simply a straight recording, because that moment was perfect enough that it shouldn't be touched.

 

We also had an afternoon with Ian shooting what they call a "Lovebirds Story" where we walked around Historic San Juan and Ian filmed Adam and I bonding. It really was a lot of fun-- we got to fly a kite at the fort, and I got drenched in a fountain. Ian was there to capture it all. I found it helpful that Ian had some ideas ready for us to film, because I feel awkward around cameras. He helped put me at ease.

 

I was also worried that having a separate photographer and videographer would lead to 'creative differences' as I had been warned about this by other brides. But Ian and Glen got along very well, and they consulted one another to make sure that both got the shots that they felt they needed.

 

I would give Blink and Sin Pictures (despite their weird name, lol) a 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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So those were the main vendors that Adam and I were concerned with. We worked with a lot of other professionals such as a florist and a guitarist who did lovely jobs as well. If you want reviews of those vendors I will post them, but I am now at the point where I am wedding fatigued!

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