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

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#121 michelle08

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    Posted 11 June 2008 - 02:11 AM

    Here is what I have for now...


    •Destination Wedding in Cabo – I had my doubts throughout the planning and we had some let down with guests not coming but looking back this was the best decision ever! It’s the best wedding I have been to and it’s not because it was mine. Just having everyone you are close to share not only the day but 3 or 4 days or more with you during this special time is amazing and vacationing with a bunch of people is always a fun time!

    •Staying at an all-inclusive (Dreams) – Again…I must be a negative nelly but I questioned this too mostly because of the price and I hadn’t yet experienced the value. However this was by far the best way to go. Especially for our group…most of them had to really scrape to make the trip there, so by having it all paid prior and not “having” to spend additional money while there unless they wanted to was nice! Plus you could eat and drink all you wanted and the quality of the food was actually pretty good!

    •Getting Married at the Fiesta Americana Imperial Suite – Again…questioned this too because of price (see a pattern?) but it was number one priority to make sure our wedding was very private. I don’t know how to explain it but we are just private people and I didn’t want to be the center of attention at the resort. The Imperial Suite offered exactly what we wanted and for us it was worth going over budget. This place is on the ball and their facilities are so beautiful! Most importantly it was nice for our guests to go off resort to another one for the wedding day and eat a different meal. A lot of them commented on that aspect.

    •Change resorts for our “Honeymoon” – The only reason we did this was because we stayed at my mom’s timeshare so it was free for us to stay there the last two days. This really was nice because although most of our guests left on Wednesday also there were 3 couples still there for 2 days and we would have felt obligated to hang out with them since Dreams is such a small resort. By being at the Sheraton we were able to sleep all of Wednesday away and then spend all day Thursday alone downtown going to lands end and stuff. The only downfall was it was no longer all-inclusive but we still saved money.

    •Hire an outside wedding coordinator – I really think this varies by situation. If I was having my wedding at Dreams then I would NOT have hired an outside coordinator because their wedding coordinators there handle everything and there is no need. Plus I had the opportunity to meet Mariana and email with her a couple times before leaving and she was so sweet and efficient.

    Since I was married at the Fiesta Americana they have the onsite event coordinator but they really only take care of things concerning their facility. They didn’t want to get involved in booking vendors or any wedding detail. So since my main concerns were booking vendors in mexico and having someone to coordinate for the day of then it was necessary for me to go this route.
    •Hire Maye Cortinas – I know in my review I mentioned that I was unhappy with the way she handled (or didn’t) handle some things but I also noted that it was all relative to what I paid. I really did like Maye and she was great to have to book all my vendors and give a few ideas here and there and provide my centerpieces and other little things. Although I thought she could have “coordinated” better it was still good to have her there to set up the tables and translate the ceremony, etc…and my budget only allowed for a certain amount so it worked out good. I just know what to expect from her now and I may have been a little more assertive if I did it over but I would still hire her again because for what I needed her price was right.

    •Hire Tomas Barron – This may end up on the what I wouldn’t do again side but hopefully not…I have to get my pics back first. Until then it’s based on him and his direction the day of the wedding and I thought he was great! At first he was a late and he didn’t seem to take charge during the family photos as far as placing people, etc…but when it was s on the beach alone he was all about telling us where to be and what to do. He stayed 2 hours later than he was paid for and that was awesome because we got a couple sunset pics and he got the salsa dancers.

    •Salsa Dancers – This was awesome! Our group likes to dance but not all of them and we went back and forth on this but I wanted to add something different then most weddings have so we went with it. They were amazing! Every single person was up participating and they just made it so fun and entertaining that everyone was trying all night to salsa. Plus I kept it a surprise from everyone so it was a real treat!

    •IPOD – Again…I was skeptical but I just didn’t want to pay for a DJ because we had such a small group (26). I still barely know how to use the thing so my husband was in charge of this but it went well. We rented the speakers from the FA and they even gave us a guy to control it for us.

    •Suzanne Morel – Her company was awesome from start to finish. Very professional and efficient. I never did a trial because I didn’t want to spend the money and I didn’t need to…it turned out great…both hair and make-up.

    •Mexican Trio – I didn’t get to hear them but our guests said they were good and apparently my husband’s grandpa was requesting songs? Whatever! The price was cheap and it added a nice touch to the cocktail hour.

    •OOT Bags – I think this was a good idea and our guests did comment on them and use some of the stuff…but it was a hassle to bring the stuff over (more because of space) and I think maybe something simpler would have been just fine. I’m torn on this one but the thought is still good so it’s going until would do again.

    •No Welcome Dinner – We didn’t do one and it worked out good for us. Most of our guests were only staying 3 nights and so we didn’t want to bombard them with planned activities. Plus although I understood why Dreams charges the additional $25 fee to have a group dinner I just didn’t want to pay that extra. We just got a group of us together and went to whatever restaurant we wanted. We did have some issues like waiting 1.5 hours to be seated at one place but the other place gave us 2 tables for 9 right next to each other and it worked great!

    •Cake – I know a lot of people had this on their wouldn’t do list but I loved my cupcakes and it was important for me for pictures for some reason and my guests at it…but a lot of it did go to waste…but for $288 in the scheme of things…for me it worked.

    •Paper Fans – They weren’t used during the ceremony but they were used during dancing because we got hot. I only spent $.50 each though.

    •Have a small wedding party – I would have been okay with no wedding party. We had a MOH and a Best Man and it was great but because it was so small we didn’t get wrapped up in all the technicalities. We didn’t even have a rehearsal.


    •Get Legally Married in Mexico – I’m torn on this one…I didn’t like the idea of getting married here first and not telling anyone…and the mexico legal wedding seemed fine and was up until we got home and I guess there are two mistakes on the license that the judge’s assistant made accidently and now Maye wants me to send her back the license so they can correct it. I feel weird not having something and I really don’t think I should have to pay to mail this to mexico…I don’t even know if these two mistakes are worth the hassle to correct.

    •Videographer – I really don’t remember much…mostly the ceremony is a blur…having it on professional video would have been nice…but I now two family members videoed parts of it but we haven’t seen it yet so I don’t know if it’s enough.

    •Having a Microphone for the ceremony – I don’t know why we didn’t do this because we had it for the reception…but it would have been nice because I could barely hear so I don’t see how the guests did.

    •Trip Schedule – We arrived Thursday and our wedding was Monday and we left the following Friday. We had guests there Friday through Wednesday. I would have liked maybe 2 full days before guests arrived and then maybe 2-3 full days after instead of 1…

    #122 Alyssa

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      Posted 11 June 2008 - 08:29 AM

      i love this thread! thanks for sharing your experienes girls!

      #123 rodent


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        Posted 11 June 2008 - 08:31 AM

        Originally Posted by Alyssa
        i love this thread! thanks for sharing your experienes girls!
        me too! I love seeing a new review in this thread. So helpful!

        #124 rodent


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          Posted 26 June 2008 - 01:41 AM

          Would do again

          1. Hire an awesome photographer. I can not describe how happy the pictures make me. I was so full of joy all week & looking at the pictures just brings it all back to me. Also, everyone enjoyed having Kristie & boy Morgan around. The guests can not get over how amazing the pictures are. I'm even blown away & I already knew how talented Kristie is. It's 1:20am and I spent 10 hours traveling, but I'm online looking at my pictures again so full of energy like it is my wedding day again.

          2. Get a video. I really went back & forth on this. My biggest concern was that the video would make us uncomfortable. It did not at all. As soon as the ceremony was over, I could tell how bad i'd want the video. I am excited to watch the guests during the ceremony. I also want to see it from their perspective. I know I'm going to cherish this video. Cancun Wedding Videos | Mayan Riviera Wedding Videographer | Miguel Cantarell - Home

          3. Mexico & Riviera Maya
          I was trying to avoid this area because I wanted to go some place new. But, it was the best price for our guests coming from Texas. I'm so glad we went with this area. It was a completely different experience from my previous trip. I also love Mexico. The people are awesome, the colors are bright & the food is the best. There were so many great things to do in Riviera Maya. I could go back so many times & still not get tired of it.

          4. All inclusive hotel
          Our guests loved the hotel & all the included food/ drinks. Mike & I barely drank, but we got our money worth. it was also so nice to be able to easily meet up with everyone without having to plan anything. When we went to the buffet we'd get a big table & just see who showed up. We also had some fun times in the specialty restaurants, especially the japanese steakhouse. The included activities were also great. There were kayaks, bikes, catermerans, snorkeling, tennis, a disco, nightly shows, karaoke, and so much more included. Staying at an AI really made for a relaxed group trip. Also, it was so much fun to watch the people who have never stayed at an AI respond to it. They were so surprised at all the stuff included.

          5. no bridal party
          it was so much simplier this way. also, i was happy the would-have-been bridesmaids were able to play instead of being my maids. They ran in just in time to zip up my dress. The pictures will be so cute. They are in swimsuits zipping me & we are dancing to "gasolina." That song plays everywhere we go.

          6. the group trip to Coba
          We had a great time & Sinal tours were awesome. I will be posting all of their info soon.

          7. No private reception
          We just had dinner in a hotel restaurant. Afterwards guests did their own thing. We had the busy day in coba the day before & everyone had been active the day of the wedding so several people went to bed. Another group hung out at the beach bar. Then another group had a blast dancing in the disco. Mike & I went in to the ocean for our TTD pics & called it a night early.

          8. OOT bags
          No one expected them so I would say it's totally optional. But, it made me really happy to put them together & hand them out. I saw people using the stuff so often. It also made me happy everytime I saw someone wearing the silly little hair flower. The keycard holders were a hit too.

          9. Making it legal in the US
          Legal day was wonderful & it was nice not to have that extra stuff to take care of. I was also very happy to get to personalize our ceremony.

          10. going with the hotel standard package.
          We paid $350 & got so much! I did pay an extra $10 to add birds of paradise to my bouquet. But, other than that the hotel package was all we needed and was beyond my expectations. They set up the ceremony site so beautifully. I loved the flowers. I still can not get over how much they did for us.

          11. A non-wedding dress, wedding dress
          I bought a long, white dress from Macy's. It was so comfortable & lightweight. I was able to pack it in my carry-on easily. I also saved a lot of money. Only $220 for the dress & $25 for alterations. I love how the top layer blew in the wind & it wasn't hard to swim in.

          12. No seperate honeymoon
          I think the main reason why it worked for us is that our guests only came for a long weekend. We had plenty of alone time during our week stay. By the time we got home we were completely worn out. I would prefer to take an anniversary trip.


          1. I wish I didn't worry so much when we first started planning. I worried that people were upset we were having a DW. I worried I had to have an AHR. I wasn't even enjoying planning at first because I felt so guilty. Finally I stopped worrying & realized that no one was mad at us for having a DW. The comments in our guests book were things like, "thank you for including us" and "we had the best time ever." I also felt guilty to have a DW thinking that my dad couldn't make it. He made it & loved it.

          2. There were little mishaps like me forgetting my veil. but, these are not really regrets. Everything was too wonderful to worry about little things like that.

          3. I bought a book/ CD set for learning spanish, but I never got around to opening it. It's not really a regret, because I know it would have been hard to find the time, but I really wish I knew some spanish before the trip. Mike knows some & I wish we were able to practice together & talk to the staff. I still plan on learning someday for a future trip. You can get by fine with English, but people really appreciated when he could speak some Spanish.

          #125 rodent


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            Posted 26 June 2008 - 01:52 AM

            Originally Posted by melglnh2o
            I guess it all depends. We had 70 people who came and people stayed anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 days. I loved spending all our time with everyone but I felt like we just needed some more time. I guess if we would have had 10 days there we would have probably still wanted more. Wednesay was pretty much a travel day. Tuesday was really the only day we had for ourselves and we did a day trip to Isla Mujeres but we were so exhausted from all the other activities that it would have been nice to have a day to do nothing! It will be fine for you I am sure. You are going to have a blast Morgan!
            7 days turned out to be plenty for us. I think the main thing is to have a few days alone once the guests leave. We were lucky all of ours were gone by monday. it was great having them around, but also nice to be alone. We were still having fun, but are excited to be home. We are both worn out & don't need to be in the sun anymore.

            #126 BlissfulMsMiranda

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              Posted 03 July 2008 - 02:58 PM

              This thread is the BEST.

              Thank-you all SO much for the information. Really. It's helping me in the beginning stages SO much.

              #127 yamille

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                Posted 03 July 2008 - 07:01 PM

                Awesome thread. Thanks so much for the input. It really helps!

                #128 endlesslove

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                  Posted 06 July 2008 - 09:47 PM

                  I have to admit, this thread is really helpful with deciding what we should splurge for and what we should consider setting aside.

                  #129 Jtds2713

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                    Posted 09 July 2008 - 10:06 AM

                    Glad I did:

                    Found BDW - I found all my vendors here. I would not have done this without BDW. I will always be grateful to Tammy and to all of you!

                    DW - Even after the wedding I was mulling over this. But now I truly believe this was THE BEST decision we made about our wedding.

                    SUNSET DA MONA LISA - My family and guests agreed that it was such a beautiful location.

                    VIDEOGRAPHER - Sam Perches was awesome! Also one of our best decisions. Most of the wedding was a blur so I am just so grateful we had him.

                    PRE-CEREMONY PICTURES WITH FAMILY - Most of my family flew in from the PHilippines and it is rare that we are all together. I also loved that we had pre-ceremony pictures of both my groom and me.

                    FIREDANCERS - It made our wedding unique and special.

                    SPARKLERS DURING CAKE CUTTING - We couldn't afford fireworks but the sparklers were great nevertheless!

                    PICTURES AT SHERATON - What a beautiful property and backdrop for pictures. Sunset was spectacular for a wedding, but for pictures, Sheraton was superb.

                    STAYING AT RIU SANTA FE - I wished all of our guests had stayed at the Santa FE. Some stayed at the RIU Palace. Santa Fe had just opened and we got an awesome deal. STill if we could afford it, I wished we all had stayed at Dreams.

                    DJ Ricardo - he was very professional and great to work with!

                    FLOWERS- Although I wished we had fresh flowers for myself and the bridesmaids, no one really cared about the flowers. It was nice also that we got to use the bridesmaids' flowers again as centerpieces. It is also nice that I see my flowers now in my living room and it keeps reminding me of our wedding.

                    RHIANNA ROYALE WEDDING GOWN - I purchased another wedding gown and I so love my wedding gown! I know I will love it forever. We plan to have vow renewals so I can wear it again and again and again! I also love that it is Maggie Sottero so it has a corset back. I dont' have to stress about not fitting into my gown.

                    legal wedding in Hawaii - I am so excited for our upcoming legal wedding in Hawaii!

                    Wedding Coordinator - She was great during the wedding planning process and during the wedding!

                    Should Have Done but Didn't Do:

                    Paid per drink and not per person at Sunset da Mona Lisa - Future brides and grooms beware! I truly believe they ripped us off. Our party only consisted of 28 adults. They charged us $ 600.00 in water alone and that is not in pesos but US dollars! I disputed it with my credit card but we still got charged anyway since my husband signed the bill.

                    wedding rehearsal - Another big regret. I thought things would go well since we had a mini-rehearsal at the resort. We should have had one at Sunset da Mona Lisa because my WC had put the table in the wrong place and they put us in the smaller terrace. The ceremony went fine but there were a few glitches. Also all the kids were sat too close to the altar and they were becoming quite restless during the ceremony.

                    ocular inspection of SML - They placed us in the smaller terrace for the wedding ceremony. I wanted the bigger terrace. For the money that we paid we should have had the bigger terrace. Also I could have made suggestions to Juan CArlos on where we want pictures taken at SML.

                    have a list of must-take wedding pictures for Juan Carlos - I think he missed a lot of the wedding details. I also did not have a bridal portrait in the room, no picture near the window. I also wanted more pictures inside the Sheraton since it was such a great resort. I think if I gave him more direction it would have worked out better.

                    Musician during Ceremony - I regretted not having a live musician like a harpist play during the ceremony. We had DJ Ricardo play the processional and recessional and cocktail music and he did a good job.

                    I am probably forgetting a few things so I will add later. Overall we had a beautiful wedding. And as a wise man told me, "Remember, now it is about your marriage!"

                    TAke care ladies!


                    #130 MickiBee

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                      Posted 09 July 2008 - 10:30 AM

                      What a cool thread this is, so many tips and ideas!!!

                      I will post here after my wedding ;-)

                      Curacao, 11.7.2008

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