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What I would and wouldn't do again...

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Originally Posted by Lydia1120 View Post


Hello there...Not married yet but thought I would mentioned that I travelled down for a last minute 3 night trip to our resort and this was by far the best thing I've done.  We received an excellent deal of $485 for 3 nights and it was well worth it.  We met with the co-ordinator for 4 hours, chose our wedding and reception site, seached the surroundings for photograph spots, yada yada yada....I figure this saved me from doing all this upon our arrival during the wedding week and now I can spend that time with my family and friends.  Hey if you were getting married at home, wouldn't you go do a site inspection for both the ceremony and reception?  Why not for a destination wedding.  As I said, definitely worth the money...if you can do, go for it!!!!  BEST thing I've done so far!

I wish this was an option for us... :( it sounds so helpful!

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My turn to contribute to this thread after reading the whole thing prior to my wedding! Got married in Antigua, March 30, 2013 to my soulmate! Best day of our lives. We made no compromises with anyone and did everything we wanted. 


What I WOULD do again:

1. Have a destination wedding- Hands down best decision. We saved a ton of money and had so much fun with our family and friends. This was extra important as my husband did not know my friends that well so he got an opportunity to really get to know them. As well all my friends and family got to know each other and are all friends now. 

2. Get the things I really wanted- Short engagement, 5 months and we still had 25 people come from overseas (we had a lot of local guests too as my husband is from Antigua)! My invitations were costly for our budget but I really wanted them and I'm glad my cousin convinced me to get them. Same thing with my dress, wish lanterns, engagement photos, videographer (leads me to my next point). 

3. Get a professional videographer- We ended up liking our video WAY more than our pictures. The videographer paid such close attention to detail and filmed the entire ceremony, picture taking and reception. We saw a lot of candid footage and understand so much more that happened on our day that we weren't even aware of. The professional quality makes it such a precious keepsake and I can't wait until we have children and we all can watch it together knowing that the audio and images are clear and the video is not shaky or blurry. Cinematography style is the way to go. I suggest showing your videographer an example of what you are looking for. 

4. Have a sweetheart table- I got wonderful private time with my new husband to just talk and reminisce on the day and our bridal party got to sit with their partners and friends. Have your maid of honour sitting close by so you can call her if needed. 

5. See the decorated reception and ceremony space early- There were things that I did not like and needed to be fixed or changed and they would have bothered me so I'm glad I was able to see the spaces before so it could really be my vision. 

6. Have a one tier wedding cake for cutting and pictures- We were not going to do a cake to save money plus we really don't care about it as our guests had a separate dessert but our wedding planner convinced us to at least have a small cake for pictures and symbolic reasons of having our first meal together. Same thing for the champagne toast, we only did it for ourselves and saved a lot of money. 

7. Use artificial flowers for the bouquets- For $200 I got a bridal bouquet, 8 bridesmaids bouquets, 3 boutonnieres and 2 corsages. They looked really nice and everyone got to keep their bouquet, mine is on my living room table :) We used lanterns and candles for centrepieces which kept with our simplistic style and was budget friendly and beach appropriate. 

8. Have my cousin do my makeup- I saved money and I felt more comfortable with her and she was able to look at a youtube video I liked beforehand and replicate the look. 

9. Create a list of songs for the dj as a guideline- Also let him know what type of music to play and not play. Everyone had such a good time dancing at our wedding

10. Extend reception to 5 hours- We had so much fun dancing it would have been a crime to end earlier plus we had time to do our wish lanterns, trivia games etc

11. Afternoon ceremony at 4pm- It was cooler and I had the whole day to relax, get things done and eat. Our ceremony was at 4pm lasted for about 45 minutes and our reception was at 6.

12. Mandatory photo list- I learned this from this thread and it was so helpful. I wrote the group shots we wanted as well as shots of items such as diy projects, program,, invitation etc. Unfortunately our photographer forgot one of the things so it would be good to have someone double check what she has done.

13. Not have a cocktail hour- The cost wasn't justified and us nor our bridal party would have been able to enjoy it anyways. We did have a welcome drink that was included in our package that was served but there was no music or h'orderves. Everyone seemed to enjoy taking their own pictures on the beach or just talking to each other.

14. Have wedding the day before everyone leaves- Everyone had time to get to know each other leading up to the wedding. We got to have a nice group breakfast the morning after the wedding to say goodbye to everyone which they really appreciated. We *almost* had the resort to ourselves but 5 guests ended up staying later in to the week which was fine because....(next point)

14. Go to a different resort for our honeymoon- We actually spent two days at the resort after our wedding and we ended up hanging out with guests that were still there (though most people left the day after the wedding) which was fine for us though we would have preferred if everyone had left that day. We then went to a different resort which was good as we were rested and able private time together without running into our friends and then feeling obligated to hang out with them. We would have gone to the other resort right away but we waited to long to book and they were full at that time. 

15. Have a back up plan for rain- It rained the day of our wedding and instead of on the beach, we had our wedding in the beach gazebo lounge. It was a great back up as we could see the beach in the background and was better than being completely indoors. 

16. Bring my own decorations- I knew exactly what everything would look like and the colours were perfect. Unfortunately the resort's wedding decor is imo tacky and I didn't want that. 

17. Choose the bridesmaids dresses myself- They were what I wanted, they flattered everybody and they were cheap (less than $30 on ebay) and I didn't have any drama. I let them wear there own silver jewelry (bracelet and earrings) and their own silver sandals. Worked out well and no stress for me!

18. No oot bags- Everyone brought everything they needed and brought what I would have put in the bags anyways so I saved a ton of money and time. I really wanted to do custom cups or travel mugs for everyone but ran out of money. If I had the money I would have done the cups though just as a nice gesture and because the resort cusp are teeny. 

19. Arrange a a taxi transfer from airport- We arranged it but they paid for it. They appreciated all being able to travel to the resort together. 


What I WOULDN'T have done:

1. Allowed people to stay off the resort- I tried not for this to happen but eight guests did not stay at the resort (two of them stayed outside for two days and then came to the resort) and it was definitely inconvenient and stressful for me. With that said, they probably would not have been able to come if they stayed at the resort due to finances so in the end I was okay with it because I was glad they came but it was just not ideal. 

2. Trust coordinator so much- There were a few small things that weren't done that I was hoping would have been done. I should have designated someone to keep an eye on things throughout the day and explained my vision to both the coordinator and that person. I was supposed to do a balloon release but the balloons weren't brought outside. We forgot the boutonnieres and corsages and my bouquet charm. I really needed a day of coordinator to be by my side with me from the time I started getting ready so she could help me remember everything. With that said our coordinator was still great, I think I was just unclear of what her services would be on the day of which was my fault. 

3. Greet people at the airport- I should have greeted people at the resort only instead as it was extra stress for me but they did appreciate the greeting. The ones I did greet at the resort (people came on different days), it worked out a lot better. 

4. Worry about people's travel arrangements-  This was really stressful because my guests took long to book, didn't use the travel agent but rather used their own or booked on their own, and asked me a million questions even though I had a website which laid out everything clearly. My guests took too long to book so the package prices went up so they booked their airfare and hotel separately which was cheaper but stressful. Try to insist your guests book a package so their airport transfer is included and everything is paid upfront and not at the hotel (check in had a few problems because of this). The travel agency we worked with wasn't getting us a great deal and they wouldn't allow deposits which definitely did not help. 


What I WISH I had done:

1. Have someone be an assistant to the photographer- To ensure that the photographer took all the mandatory photos (I wrote her a list which she did follow but forgot one important item), gather everyone for group pictures, fix things such as crooked jewelry, straighten clothing etc. We were disappointed with our photographer as she should have been able to do these things or at least point them out. 
2. Gotten a few more pictures of myself alone from different angles- I did not have a picture of the back of my dress nor do I have a single shot by myself in full length where you can see my whole dress. I should have written these on the photo list because though I thought it would've been common sense for these shots, it was not and on the day of in all the hustle and bustle I did not remember. My pictures are almost all with somebody else in them.  3. Taken pictures of myself and the bridal party outside the room before the wedding- The room was a bit messy as we were all getting ready in there and it did not have the nicest colours so our getting ready pictures were not as nice as they could have been plus we were really cramped. There was also nowhere nice in the room to hand my dress so I did not get a good picture of it on the camera.  4. Waited until the last minute to move our wedding due to rain- We decided at 12pm to move our ceremony to the gazebo but our ceremony was at 4pm and the rain did stop, but by then but it was too much of a hassle to move all the chairs and decorations at that point. In hindsight we should have made the decision around 3:30pm.  5. Insisted on a bamboo arch- Because the wedding was moved we were told we could not have the bamboo arch as there was no sand to anchor it. I suggested they use  buckets of sand but the coordinator said they had no buckets. I wish I had been more firm about them finding buckets (this was 4 hours before the ceremony) or that I had sent someone to buy buckets as the arch was a huge part of my dream that I did not get.  6. Remembered to write down the partners for the bridal party- Our program did not have the bridesmaids and groomsmen listed in order or partners so when it was time to announce them at the reception the emcee was not able to as we were already running a bit late and did not want to take the time to write down 16 names! 7. Had a checklist for day of coordinator- We wouldn't have forgotten somethings if I had this. 8. Room list for guests- This was a biggie and I had read about it before but just didn't get a chance to do it. Having a list with all the guests room numbers/phone extensions and giving this to all the guests upon check in wouldve been really helpful as many times I didn't know what room someone was in and couldn't always get in touch with the front desk and this was the same experience for everyone else so we spent a lot of time walking around looking for people. 

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Originally Posted by gkashmira View Post


I just thought it might be helpful to know what i thought was worth doing and what was a waste of time/money/efforts. I think if I had known these ahead of time I could have saved money in some areas to spend on things that were more important...





Writing our own ceremony - this made it really special and I truly loved every minute of it!


Bouquet - I didn't think it would be important but I loved it. It was so bright and beautiful and it gave me something to hold onto for dear life when I thought I was going to burst into tears (of joy).


Video - Even though I don't have the whole thing yet I love watching the teaser video that Marci sent me. Plus it's great for those friends who weren't able to make it.


Welcome Dinner - Everyone had such a great time at Baja Cantina for our welcome dinner that I wasn't sure we were going to be able to top it for the wedding.


Bus for Welcome Dinner - the best decision ever. I have no idea how people would have found it or gotten there if we didn't have the bus.


DJ for our iPod - thank god we also hired a DJ to run our ipod. When the iPod froze half way through the reception he had music up and running off his system in less than a minute.


Chuppah w/ fake flower garlands - I loved the way this looked. Plus it provided us some shade on a very hot and sunny day.


Getting Married in Cabo - Ok, maybe this was the best decision I made (but the bus is 2nd!). Everyone had the best time and a number of people told me it was honestly the most fun they have ever had at a wedding.


Maye Cortinas - was awesome and she was able to hire vendors who were much more affordable than the ones the hotel provided.


Polaroid Guestbook




Cupcakes/Cake - no one ate them they were too full or drunk.


Beach bonfire - it was pretty unnecessary and people only sat down there for about an hour.


Believe it or not... My gorgeous (and expensive) dress. I ended up stressing so much over how it would look. Plus in order to afford it I am selling it so I don't have it as a keepsake. I loved how it looked and I felt beautiful... but there was so much time, money and stress involved in getting it and having it look perfect that if I had to do it all over again I might skip it. Don't get me wrong - if I could have kept it then my feelings may be different.


Mariachi Trio for ceremony and cocktail hour. I don't know if anyone could really hear them - they were really soft and in retrospect it would have been cheaper to just have music played through the sound system.


fabulous thread, these are such good tips, thank you for starting one.

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Originally Posted by Cherina View Post


I have read all #737 posts here and they realness and honesty was more helpful then all 40 bride/wedding exc magazines and books that I own. I can't wait until I can give back.


you read all of them!!! there are hundreds of pages, but definitely very useful!

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Originally Posted by calchik View Post


yay i'm married i can join in the fun


would do again:

- have a destination wedding. spending the week with my family and closest friends was the best decision ever

- get married in the gazebo. the beach location was seriously in the middle of hundreds of beach chairs. besides we went to the beach to take pics after the ceremony

- get legally married at home first it really simplified things to not do it legally there

- not upgrade our suite we didn't bother so we could be in the same complex our guests were. we were barely in our room anyways

- spend the money on a good photographer

- have a wedding video done! we didn't actually want this but it came with our package. it far exceeded our expectations, was funny, entertaining, captured our wedding ceremony and all the picture taking time. it had all our guests say something to us about our wedding. we provided songs for the video and they were used very appropriately and you can tell our personalities from the music used

- do OOT bags. our guests loved them and was totally surprised that we did this for them. the travel mugs were used daily by almost everyone. fully worth the time and effort putting them together

- completely trust the wedding coordinators they are experts at their job and it shows. they had every detail under control and surprised us with another walk down the aisle with our guests on both sides throwing flower petals for us while dominican music was playing. the pictures and video of this were fantastic

- not have kids for the trip lots of our guests have kids but we requested that no kids come, we only had a baby because well it's a baby. the parents really enjoyed their time for themselves. it was all inclusive so everyone could drink without worry. several couples said it was the honeymoon they never had

- assign one of my friends as my reception photographer after our professional photographers left she had my camera and specific instructions to capture all the reception events. she did a fabulous job and then i didn't have to worry about whether i was going to have pics of everything that happened

- not bring decorations i didn't need them, everything was well decorated, i didn't need centerpieces or bows or fabric or anything. depends on your resort i guess

- not worry about my guests and how much fun they were having i focused on my trip, my fun and whoever happened to be around me. sure i didn't spend a lot of time with DH's cousins but they were never in the same place we were. they still told me they had a fantastic trip

- not plan meeting points and dinners, and drinks and etc. we didn't want to restrict anyone's trip to meeting our schedule of events. so we didn't have any. everyone ended up going to dinner at about the same time anyways. then meeting in the lobby bar after. everyone always found each other somehow

- wash my wedding dress in my bathtub with Zero instead of paying $150 to have it done professionally i had to wear my dress again for my AHR but it was dirty at the bottom. i had no issues washing it in the tub, then lying it flat to dry. then hanging it up to dry once it was practically dry. best $150 i ever saved. lol


wouldn't do again:

- use Marlin Travel as my travel agent they were terrible. see my wedding review for my rant about them

- try to plan every single little detail over email with the wedding coordinator this may only work if you're easy going and don't demand perfection. this was actually not by choice since our very well planned mexico wedding got cancelled because of swine flu and we went to punta cana with just our wedding date picked, nothing else planned. wedding was planned in 2 hours once we were there. we could physically see everything and it's much easier to make decisions. again, the WC were pros so we had nothing to worry about and the exceeded our expectations

- get way too drunk on the snorkeling trip the day of my girls night i missed my own girls night because i was sick in the room. i felt really bad about that. if you're having a girls night, make sure you're in good shape to actually go out. lol

- forget about my glow in the dark ice cubes for the reception until 20 mins before it ended oops. then it took us another 5 mins to figure out how to make them glow

- make a hard fast rule that no friends of guests were allowed to come to the wedding stuff again this depends on how many friends of guests are coming. we made the rule in the beginning with zero exceptions. ended up only 2 friends came and i felt bad that i excluded one of them because we spent a lot of time together before the wedding. and she helped do my MOH's hair on the wedding day...then she had to hang out by herself while we were all at the wedding. frown.gif


not sure:

guest excursion - i had one planned in mexico but then didn't have one planned for the dominican when it got moved. we all still went on a snorkeling trip together which was loads of fun. nobody seemed to care that they had to pay for the trip themselves and we didn't provide it. i'm all for the group excursion with all your guests, we had a blast. i'm on the fence about the time, effort and money planning it for everyone. since i did all that planning for mexico and it didn't happen. then i did zero planning for the dominican and it still happened, kind of made it seem like planning it wasn't necessary. i'm sure my guests would have appreciated our planning it if we did and if we paid for it or part of it. but they didn't seem put out that we didn't plan anything or front the cost for it.


I totally agree not using Marline Travel, they tried charging $200 before they even do anything!!! outrageous... i used Flight center at the end, they have excellent customer service, and the girl who helped me even though she never done group wedding package before, she replied my emails quickly and responded to whatever i asked her. I love her

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What I would do again at first thought:

-order two bouquets and choose the day of. One real touch flowers from bloom bridal and then fresh flowers from the resort. I was able to use both bouquets, one for the ceremony and one for the TTD

- spring for the mariachi trio! It made great pics too!

- having my reception on the beach- best TIME EVER and so intimate

- Paying for a DJ and light up dance floor on the beach with only 21 guests. We had the time of our lives and these items helped make the party! It would not have been the same without the DJ and dance floor!! No way! DJ Doremixx was AWESOME!! It's worth it ladies!

- ditching the $3,000 dress for the $450 dress that I loved so much more. It's not the price tag its how it makes you feel

- Trash the Dress!!

-customize your ceremony and reception- make it memorable. My guests said it was hands down the best wedding they had ever been to! All the planning and preparation, and some may say obsession, pays off.

-go for the custom cake with at least two tiers. Don't settle for the free cake if you don't get what you want.

- I'm happy I was married in the gazebo and then had reception on the beach. Since I'm short this allowed me to wear heels. Plus the beach was still busy at 5:30pm.

- so happy that I got my butt in gear and lost as much weight as possible pre wedding. Then happy that I continued to eat healthy until the day of my wedding. Couldn't risk the dress not fitting! Then I got busy eating the next week!

 - happy that we upgraded to the swim up suite for our honeymoon. Made it so much more romantic plus we got a cabana!

- if your events are outside, and rain is a possibility- hold out as long as you can. That morning our coordinator said 95% chance of rain. We held out and the rain moved away and not a drop fell until after the entire event was over. I would have been SICK to go inside.

- have your man wear a tux if this is your vision even if he doesn't want to! It was worth it!

 - have your family match their attire to your wedding colors. It made the pictures so much better!! Have them follow a color scheme, they don't have to match exactly of course. Try to get all guests to do this, but especially the family.


What not do to:

-schedule the TTD AFTER the majority of your guests leave. I lost time with my guests :( I had to get my hair done again and get in the dress all over again and then  3 hours of shooting. Do the TTD, just choose the time more carefully.

- don't choose a dress too early. Especially if you plan to loose weight. Places like Davids Bridal make it easy to order from the rack. Your tastes will changes as you lose weight. I went from a dress that showed little of my form to one which hugged my curves and I'm so happy with it. Take your time and take it into consideration how your body will change.

- DONT GO TO Wickys in Playa Del Carmen. It was horrible service and I had to keep apologizing to my guests.

- don't choose a room next to the elevator we were woke up all early hours of the morning

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This is good stuff to read.  I'm keeping my July 1st 2013 wedding in Jamaica simple and inexpensive.  After reading all these DIY postings and seeing such beautiful outcomes had me thinking am I shorting myself by not going all out.  I think what it really comes down to is you and your partner that day.  Reading your posts made me realize I am going the correct route. Thank you!! :)  So excited July is right around the corner!!!!!!!!!!!!

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OMG I've only skimmed through this thread but I can already tell it's going to save my life!!! I have two months left until my wedding and it's time for details details details! THANK YOU LADIES!

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