What I would and wouldn't do again...
Posted 26 June 2009 - 10:35 AM
Posted 01 July 2009 - 11:59 AM
Posted 01 July 2009 - 03:48 PM
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.
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.
Posted 04 July 2009 - 11:06 AM
Things I would do again
Video - I actually hate watching myself on video and have yet to watch the entire video because of that. But, I'm glad I have it for those that could not attend the wedding.
Pro Photographer - I'm so glad we hired a team of local photographers to come to Jamaica. While Photoshop took some good pictures, they would not have satisfied me.
Beach Reception - This was not something we planned to do when we left for Jamaica. But, it was the only way to have a private reception as the restuarant was not available for a private reception. I'm so glad we did this. It was probably one of the best things we did besides get married on the beach.
Bouquet - I'm so glad I ordered a real touch bouquet. People did not even realize they were not real, and they were absolutely gorgeous. It was one less thing to worry about when I got to Jamaica.
OOT Bags - I spent more on the bags then we budgeted, but given how much my guests like them and thier contents, I'm really glad I did.
Steel Drum Band - I only hired them for an hour and I thought they suited the ambiance of Jamaica perfectly. They were just a nice touch.
Things I Wish I Did
Prepare a dance mix on my iPod - After we booked the beach reception I wish I would have prepared a dance mix on my iPod. We had to keep searching out dance music on my master play list. It was not that big of deal, it would have just been nice.
Given myself more time to get ready - I started getting ready around 10am for the 2pm ceremony. I wish I had started around 9am. I was really rushed at the end.
Posted 07 July 2009 - 09:13 AM
Things I should have packed:
More cash (many outside vendors including van charters don't take CC)
watch ( I rely on cell phone for time at home)
Things I'm glad I packed:
Laptop with Skype installed (US calls are way cheap than hotel!)
portable harddrive with all my data and music
receipts for guests' gifts for customs
light shawl to avoid getting my shoulders burned
hair dryer (their's is tiny)
stretch film for packing.
Banding Film W/ Handle
sharpie/scribble notes/ fabric glue/
Things I wish I did:
pack my pinata and fragile items into a box within a box, so I can check-it in at the airport (they wouldn't let me board as a carry on, so I had to pay $60 to double box)
Things I'm gald I did
Buy a scale/wii fit and distribute the weight of each suitcase so I won't be charged for overweight fee
created PDF of all the wedding details to give to the coordinator
picked my battles- I went agaist OOT bags to splurge on gifts instead, went against weding party the less I have to stress about, the better
Arrived a couple days before everyone for some R/R. Also handy if you forget something- like cash!!!
More to come!
Posted 07 July 2009 - 02:59 PM
-hire outside photographer- loved the preview pics from Sascha Gluck and am so glad I didn't use the Iberostar photographer although it sucked to pay $300 to not use them
-give small OOT bags- guests loved Spanish for Dummies, Pepto, and Advil but didn't use the small beach balls.
-not write my vows- the ceremony was great and it was one less thing to do
-do my own makeup and use Makeup Forever mist and fix- it turned out great and I felt comfortable- DO USE more blush that you normally would
-have my mom do my hair, it was important to her and made her feel like Mama Mia and it turned out great
-get married on the beach, even though it was windy, it was awesome and I am glad we didn't use the gazebo because it was so much cooler on the beach
-use Secret waterproof deodorant, it worked great and I didn't feel sweaty!!
What I Wouldn't Do
-bring so much stuff, I only used half of the clothes I brought because you end up wearing things over, especially dressier clothes
-have my nails done the day before to save time. I totally messed them up and ended up buying polish there to fix the french manicure portion and now I have white polish I will never use again. I am not a manicure kind of girl I guess. I would do it the morning of instead. Although hanging out at the pool that morning was nice.
-steam my own dress, we brought a travel steamed for my dress and his suit and I ended up spending the afternoon steaming my dress instead of going to the pool. Although I saved money, it was dumb and not worth it.
Wish I Would Have
-brought aloe vera and more suncreen and bug spray- the resort charges WAY too much and you will need more than you think
-planned optional group excursion before the wedding- people did things on their own anyway and it would have been nice to have one together. I would have picked a tour and had people sign up and pay on their own at the hotel.
-moved to another hotel after the wedding. Lots of our friends and family stayed longer and we ended up worrying about seeing them and meeting up instead of just relaxing. I loved our hotel but it probably would have been good to move for peace and quiet.
Posted 07 July 2009 - 06:08 PM
-Go to Isla Mujeres Palace Resort. The WC, staff, location, wedding ceremony site was perfect. Wish we would have stayed on Isla the whole time instead of going to Cancun for honeymoon.
-Do the legal ceremony at home first. We had our two best friends as witnesses and didn't advertise that we got married beforehad to anyone else since we didn't want there to be hurt feelings - not even our parents knew! We didn't wear wedding rings until the DW and consider that our real anniversary. It was much more simple this way.
-Fly first class. I hate flying and this made it so much better.
-Carefully plan out what I was packing. I laid out outfits for each day and ended up pretty much wearing everything I brought. It was probably the first time in my life I didn't overpack.
-Make the flower canopy backdrop for the ceremony. This was last minute idea we did before we left with dollar store flowers and ended up looking amazing.
-Used lots of sunscreen before the wedding. I was so happy I didn't have bad tan lines in my strapless dress.
-Paid the extra $10 per person to have the dinner reception set up on the beach - so fun.
-Stayed an extra night at the hotel after the wedding. We were so beat the next day that is was great we didn't have to pack up and travel.
-Have my SIL do my makeup. We went to MAC counter couple days before we left and ended up great.
-Have 2 days off work before I went back. Gave some time to unpack, do laundry, etc.
-Do the little cake that came with the package. It was plenty big enough and everyone said it was really tasty.
-Do the Welcome Cocktail Party and Sunset Catamaran cruise. We planned these two events the nights before the wedding. Really fun to hang out all day then people went back to their rooms, changed and got ready for the evening.
-Get in good shape before the wedding. i lost 15lbs and felt great.
-Made tip envelopes ahead of time for WC (gave her $100 and well worth it), photographer, justice of peace, harpist, etc.
-I put a little frame up for my DH's mom who passed away that at the guestbook table. His dad and sister told me how much it meant to them.
-Marry my DH!
WISH I DID DIFFERENT:
-Have someone during the night take me aside and have me take a few deep breaths! It was all so overwhelming I wish I would have just had a couple moments to really take it all in.
-I wasn't 100% on my dress. I'd bought it years before and since I had it I didn't feel like I should buy a new one. I wish I would have at least gone and tried some on. My dress was great but probably not 'the one'
-Used clips to secure my veil - it blew off during the ceremony!
-Spent the extra money on the bouquet. I just did the one that came with the package of a dozen roses and it looked pretty skimpy : (
-Drank more water and less champagne!!! Have someone be your designated water lady for sure and give you water throughout the night.
-Spent the extra money for photographer. So glad we went with outside photographer but 3 hours wasn't enough
-Practiced my toast ahead of time. When a microphone was hanged to me all I could get out was a lame "thanks". Wish I would have thought of what I was going to say.
-Got to the hotel one day before all my guests. It ended up working out okay but I think I would have been a lot less stressed if we had one day to get our bearings and set things up.
-Not plan any day activities. People were happy just hanging at the pool. I planned a swimming with the dolphins excursion and people who rsvp'd before we left ended up not wanting to go and it was non-refundable. Only time I cried on whole trip was over dang dolphins!
-Got a photo of the whole group. This is only photo I wanted and didn't get and still bums me out. Make sure you write down the absolute 3 must have photos on a sticky note and give to photographer.
-Made a point to have 1 on 1 time with each of my guests. Sounds silly but you get so busy that afterwards I wish I would have had more time - you should make a list and just check off that you've had a few special words. We had 35 people and it would have been doable.
-Getting the harpist is still debatable. I didn't hear it at all but some of my guests did and enjoyed the music - not sure it was worth the $400.
-Told someone that the parasols were not just for decoration! The WC set them up but the guests didn't know they could use and it was HOT! Would have kept the beating sun off of them.
-Worried about everyone else so much. We had 6 kids including 2 infants in Mexico and I worried myself sick before we left - they all ended up having a great time, no one got sick and it was a blast.
-Did the ceremony barefoot. I just forgot to take off my flipflops.
-Shortened the ceremony. It was REALLY hot out and people were just dying in that sun instead of listening - would have cut it to 15 minutes.
-Packed my iphone charger, Woolite (washing swimsuits in sink), safety pins, scissors.
-Brought more cash. Ended up taking it out of ATM at hotel a few times for a $15 fee.
Good luck to everyone!
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