Hi Girls!! I'm getting married June 3rd. I've talked on the phone with Evangelina a few times before and so had my travel agent, and this is basically what she has said about the packages:
They can only trade EQUAL things:
**a flower bouquet for more boutineers or a centerpiece
**cocktail hour (food and drinks) for more people at reception (food and drinks)
She said in the past maybe brides have traded stuff out but they do not allow that. She made a big deal that the Mexican Trio is it's own entity. If you don't want it. you don't have to have it, BUT you get nothing back for not using them.
The other thing I talked in length with her was about using outside vendors. They are really strict about this--No outside vendors--I think the way around this with photographers or hair or makeup artists is to get them a room for the night and make them "guests" at your wedding. The really hard one is the DJ--I don't know if there is a way around using the resort DJ.
She also told me there is no "credit" for the photots. It's just something you get with the package, and if you choose to purchase something more, you just get the extra photos that come with the package.
After talking to her, I decided to go with the "Love" package (the middle one) because when it all boiled down I wanted stuff outside of the Utimate Package more than the stuff in it (like music and a photo package).
I am going to "trade" the bouquet and boutineer for an extra flower arrangement on the table (I made a brooch bouquet for myself and shell bouquets and boutineers for everyone else), and I am NOT having the cocktail hour so we added 10 guests to dinner. I am paying for the $999 photo package and still deciding between the DJ or the sound equipment).
My TA told me at the beginning if you plan it a certain way, you can spend less money on a wedding, but if you go with all the "stuff" you'd have here, it's the same inflated wedding industry prices you'll find anywhere else. That was good advice, and she's right. We are trying so hard to keep our costs down, so we are making as many things as we can ourselves. Hopefully witht he "6th room free" we won't have to spend too much on our room.
I was feeling SO aggitated at first, but once I just accepted things the way they are it's been a little easier to "swallow" the pricies and find creative ways around things. I'm a total DIY/bargain hunter so I just have been trying to use those skills where I can (dress/shoes/centerpieces/OOT bags/wedding party gifts). All in all, it's still going to be so much less expensive than a big wedding in Sarasota, FL, and SO much more fun!
That all being said, if you want to try to see what you can get out of them, I'm all for that! LOL. I did try to pull the "another bride got to use..." and she basically said well that was before and this is now. But I jsut wanted to let you know my experiences and my decision to just give into "it is what it is".
GOOD LUCK!!! xoxo