A lot of that have been married at Dreams started planning and got exceptions made by Ana - and then honored by Gaby after Ana left. Ana made a mess of everything, she made exceptions for everything and everyone and by the time Gaby got there, she inherited an unorganized exception nightmare - so I think she just seems a bit tougher on exceptions - but that doesn't mean she isn't flexible - it just runs smoother for everyone with less exceptions and mixing and matching with the menus etc. Have you tried asking (sweetly) for an exception from Gaby? They won't take any money off the price of the package but they'll probably let you bring an outside photographer. Be prepared - if that photographer is NOT staying at the resort, you might also need to pay for a day pass for that photographer.
It's pretty standard at all these resorts that there are more than one wedding a day - for a while Ana used to allow 3 a day, Gaby cracked down on that and only does two a day.
As far as finalizing everything - for those brides just booking now - my advice (and what I did) is to book your date, time AND locations (ceremony, reception, cocktail hour) all at the same time and right away. The rest of the details: food, flowers, decor will be done 2-3 weeks before your wedding.
When Gaby met with my husband and I the week of our wedding we really got along well and I've emailed her a few times since our wedding to chat - she really is a sweet and fabulous woman...she's just quick and to the point with her emails during the planning stages - but now I find her emails much more personal since we've met in person and we had some good laughs while we were in Mexico too.
I'm sure it's hard for her, she wants you to have confidence in her so she wants to be professional and through email that might come off as cold or short. I have a lot of respect for her because she stepped in one month before my wedding with nothing but an empty file folder with my name on it and my wedding was absolutely everything I hoped for and more. I understand there are always frustrations but I admit it - I'm a Gaby Fan and a total Gaby cheerleader.
I must admit the last few days have been a little annoying for me and my partner, Gabby seems quite abrupt and not so friendly in her emails to us. We were told it was very relaxed and things could be arranged while were there and that we are likely to be the only couple getting married that day, so there was no need to worry about finalising anything. Now were told no, no, no finalisation 3 weeks prior and also there IS another wedding and they have already booked our first choice for after drinks and canapes and reception!!! We were also told NO outside photographers and yet we read on here that people have taken or used other photographers.
Does anyone else feel that everything is quite unorganised???