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


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#391 SheriB

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    Posted 26 November 2009 - 05:55 PM

    Karen - sounds like a great time! I have been wondering how I am going to get my FI to the TTD the next morning... I just know he will overdo it! Have you posted a review of your wedding on here? I am thinking of Punta Cana and have considered the Majestic. Question for you being from Sylvan - I am in Red Deer and was orginally pretty convinced that I wanted to go to Punta Cana but then got lookin at flights and am now thinking that Puerto Vallarta might be a better/easier option. Did you have direct flights? It seems like there are more options from Calgary & Edmonton to Mexico than DR or Jamaica.

    #392 echo2_62

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      Posted 26 November 2009 - 05:59 PM

      SheriB - have you checked with WestJet Vacations by any chance? I'm not sure if you're working with a travel agent already or not but I'm a big westjet fan and I know they usually have pretty good flight availability... just a thought!

      #393 SheriB

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        Posted 26 November 2009 - 06:37 PM

        Hey echo2 - I have looked at Westjet and from what I can see they don't offer direct flights until into Dec or maybe later Nov. Up until then you have to fly through Toronto which makes for a much longer trip. I do have a TA who I am not very happy with as she doesn't seem to know anything beyond what I can find out on the web myself. May have to change that!

        #394 Karen Aucoin

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          Posted 26 November 2009 - 08:22 PM

          Quote:
          Originally Posted by SheriB
          Karen - sounds like a great time! I have been wondering how I am going to get my FI to the TTD the next morning... I just know he will overdo it! Have you posted a review of your wedding on here? I am thinking of Punta Cana and have considered the Majestic. Question for you being from Sylvan - I am in Red Deer and was orginally pretty convinced that I wanted to go to Punta Cana but then got lookin at flights and am now thinking that Puerto Vallarta might be a better/easier option. Did you have direct flights? It seems like there are more options from Calgary & Edmonton to Mexico than DR or Jamaica.
          Good question!! I did so much research into this...let me tell you, I do a lot of traveling and have spent my time in airports but our layovers/connections on our way back were AWFUL!! I knew it was going to suck having a long layover but thought that I would be able to just go to the gate and have a nap. Well, not the case. We flew with Air Canada Vacations and while I'm not an Air Canada fan (Go WESTJET!!) I was overall happy with our trip until all this nonsense went down.

          We arrived into Pearson at 1:30am and our next flight wasn't until 8:00am. I had thought about getting a room at the Sheraton but they charge so much and I thought by the time we got our luggage, went through customs etc. there wouldn't be any point. Plus, there was a bunch of us so whatever. We did the layover last year when we flew Westjet and it wasn't so bad. Well, we arrived on time at 1:30, breezed through customs and went to where you normally take your bags and just place them back on the carasol and go to your gate. Do to the time there was no one there so we had to take our luggage outside of the secure area and go to the Air Canada counter to check it in again. They were closed...didn't open until 4:00am. Awesome...so now we look around and there's nothing open, no place to sit, nothing. There were other people waiting before us and were taking up the few seats that were there so we sat on the floor. Not a cushioned floor, just the floor where you would be if you walked up to the Air Canada counter.

          Since there was our group and another group from Red Deer they allowed us to check our bags in around 3:45am but them we still had to wait for security to open to check through the golf clubs and be able to get through the main security area. At 4:15 we're listening to the workers that work where you check the oversized stuff through chitchat and having their coffee and my now husband is pissed. I look at him and say, "What, are you in a hurry or something?". Around 4:20am we now get our clubs through and move on through security and are able to make the way to our gate to wait to board at 7:30am. And to top it all off our IPods were stolen from our room at the resort so I can't even listen to that.

          In the long run I wish I had been told that all this would take place and maybe I would have coughed up the $300 to stay at the Sheraton for that time. I went and talked to the manager at Sears Travel and just told her how I felt about the whole situation, not expecting anything, but just to make her aware.

          We had family and friends that flew with Air Transat back to Edmonton and friends that did Westjet back to Calgary and even through Toronto had much better times/layovers.

          Sorry about my rant!! Anyways, if you want to get together sometime let me know and we can chat. I did post my review under Majestic Colonial and Elegance Brides post here and also on the Majestic Colonial Brides Facebook site. PM me if you'd like to get together for coffee in Red Deer.
          Karen

          #395 echo2_62

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            Posted 26 November 2009 - 09:12 PM

            Karen - what a crappy experience to start your vacation!! I was dropping my parents off at Pearson for one of those early, early flights to DR a few years ago and I totally remember sitting and waiting to see them through customs safely until that 4am time with all the staff slowly rolling in. And we sat on the floor too!

            Of the few layovers that I've had to do before, the ones with westjet have always been seamless so that's the direction that I'd lean if you can find a travel agent that will be able to help you work with them.

            SheriB - From the sound of it, finding a good travel around here takes some work but in the end is totally worth it. I'd tried a couple and was never happy so we didn't bother using a travel agent in the end, which seems to be working out fairly well for us! If you don't like the TA you have, maybe look around at a few others.

            #396 Karen Aucoin

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              Posted 27 November 2009 - 02:38 AM

              Quote:
              Originally Posted by echo2_62
              Karen - what a crappy experience to start your vacation!! I was dropping my parents off at Pearson for one of those early, early flights to DR a few years ago and I totally remember sitting and waiting to see them through customs safely until that 4am time with all the staff slowly rolling in. And we sat on the floor too!

              Of the few layovers that I've had to do before, the ones with westjet have always been seamless so that's the direction that I'd lean if you can find a travel agent that will be able to help you work with them.

              SheriB - From the sound of it, finding a good travel around here takes some work but in the end is totally worth it. I'd tried a couple and was never happy so we didn't bother using a travel agent in the end, which seems to be working out fairly well for us! If you don't like the TA you have, maybe look around at a few others.
              Luckily it was on our way home but still, it just sucked to have to go through all that. If I could do it again I would use a travel agent that specializes in Destination Weddings or none at all. We went through Sears travel and the first girl we had left so we got passed on to another...who then got pregnant. I just felt like they weren't sure of things, some things got mixed up (my husband's flights were booked under his middle name, not his first)

              The guys wanted to know if our reservation included one round of golf and when Sears they looked into it we were told it did. We had four guys bring clubs only to find out that it wasn't included and it was pretty expensive to play so they lugged their clubs there and back for nothing. Oh well, live and learn I guess.

              #397 sjmacphe

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                Posted 28 November 2009 - 04:59 PM

                That sucks Karen, I just found out our flight times (also with Air Canada Vacations) includes a layover from 12 am to 8 am in Toronto. Our TA found a deal with Sandman for $99/room I believe...and we can leave later that day for no extra charge. I am going to recommend people do this, just in case they can't check their bags etc at 12-12:30 am...I wonder what time all that stuff shuts down. It sucks that we can't get a direct flight, but I'm very glad its on the way home, I'm staying an extra week so I won't have to deal with grumpy ppl haha - just my FI/DH lol. The only good thing about ACV is that they allow 2 checked bags, which is pretty sweet. I am still hoping that miraculously they will change our flight times so we don't have an 8 hour layover...but unlikely I'm sure.

                #398 lani76

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                  Posted 29 November 2009 - 02:57 AM

                  Hi everyone! I´ve been in and out of this forum for the past year so some of you may not recognize me. I´ve been keeping up with this thread and I have to say it has been very helpful in a lot of ways, including realizing that nothing is perfect and everything will fall into place somehow. Now I can finally put in my own input now that my wedding has passed (how sad). Get ready...this is long.

                  What I would do again:

                  - have a destination wedding! I never pictured myself having a huge wedding (when I say huge, I mean with 200+ people) and didn´t want it to be where I live because I wanted something different and WARM. Having it in Puerto Vallarta was one of the best decisions we made and left everyone in awe...including us!

                  - bring my own priest from the US. Although the priest at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Puerto Vallarta spoke english and was able to communicate ok with me, I found that having our priest from back home there to officiate my wedding made things so much easier for me. He filled me in on all the different parts of the ceremony, which the priest at the church did not, and he made the ceremony more personal.

                  -have a seamstress make my gown. When I was searching for gowns, I fell in love with the Amsale Vienna gown but unfortunately the cost was way over my budget. I ended up looking for an experienced seamstress to replicate the gown and was able to have it made for $2000 total rather than the original $7000. It required a lot of leg work on my part, looking for just the right lace and materials at the right price but it was all worth it to have the dress that I loved.

                  -have the reception at the villa we were staying in. This made things so much easier for my family, especially my sister with 2 young kids. It allowed them to sneak away and take a nap whenever they needed to. Plus my family didn´t have to worry about going back to a separate hotel late at night.

                  -hire a DJ with and MC and provide a categorized play list. Having a DJ and MC as opposed to having an iPod with my play list really paid off. It kept the party going and made the reception feel put together. Also having a complete play list categorized by different parts of the reception allowed the DJ to have a feel of what I wanted for the reception. If they couldn´t find some of the songs I listed, they were able to replace them with songs that fit my style based on what I already gave them.

                  -minimize the amount of flowers at the church and reception site. The church we had our ceremony in was already beautiful with gold detailing at the alter and very well lit so it required little to no flowers. I was able to have a glimpse of some of the shots that a few of our guests took and they looked beautiful with minimal decoration. We ordered more flowers for the reception but really relied on candles for decoration and it was perfect.

                  - not spend too much on the cake. We ended up not doing the cake cutting in front of all our guests...people were having so much fun dancing that we almost forgot about it! We ended up just doing the cake cutting in front of our photographer since she had to leave.

                  - have a slide show of the two of us growing up. my sister thoughtfully put together a beautiful slideshow of my husband and I growing up with our family. It had our family and friends hugging each other and cheering throughout the video.

                  - have fireworks! This was a last minute addition. We were so worried about our small budget that we weren´t sure about this until the last day before the permit could be obtained. So glad we decided on it! It really wowed our guests and really made it a night to remember. Plus, since we didn´t have hired performers to help entertain our guests, this filled in nicely and actually cost us less than hiring a mariachi!

                  -have a rehearsal dinner. I wasn´t planning on having a major rehearsal dinner due to our budget but my sister and brother in law pulled one together for me last minute at our villa. It really kicked everything off and gave our families a chance to get to know each other and loosen up before the big day.

                  -have an open bar where we supplied our own alcohol. This really kept the party going and our costs under control. We limited our alcohol to tequila (and lots of it), beer, wine, and mixers for the tequila. This turned out to be plenty and satisfying to our guests.

                  -order more red wine than white. I originally thought that with the heat, our guests would opt for chilled white wine more than the red but we decided to go with what people would prefer if we had the reception back home. Turns out that red was still preferred over the white, although our guests did a pretty good job with the white!

                  -spend a little more on a great photographer. Despite the fact that we had a small budget and my husband really pushed back on hiring our photographer because of her rate, I have no regrets so far about hiring her. Paulina Ulloa was professional and made me feel at ease when I posed for my shots. Her portfolio on her website is absolutely gorgeous and I have faith that mine will turn out similarily. Plus, she blended in with our guests and wasn´t too obvious so it seemed like she was able to take a lot of great candid shots. I don´t expect to see the photos until sometime next month but I have high hopes :)

                  -buy all our candles back home. We had such a hard time finding floating candles in PV without having to leave the city. Luckily, one of my sisters wasn´t flying in until 2 days before the wedding so she was able to pick some up for us.

                  -have my bridesmaids order their dresses at David´s Bridal. I wasn´t sure that I would find styles that I would like there but we actually found some very elegant looking dresses there. One of the styles that some of my bridesmaids chose was orginally a long gown but we ended up hemming it short and it turned out great. They ended up spending 1/3 of what they would have spent at Priscilla of Boston and they looked beautiful.


                  What I wouldn´t do again:

                  -Leave most of our details in the hands of the wedding coordinator that worked for our villa. Although this woman was very sweet and did her best to make me happy, I felt like she underestimated how complicated a party our size could be. We had 90 guests and I had 12 people in our bridal party, not including our parents and sponsors/witnesses. When our bouquets and boutonneires arrived, she brought them up to my room when i was getting ready instead of bringing them to the church. By the time I was done getting ready, I realized everyone but a few of my bridesmaids had already left and we had to carry all of the flowers and ceremony items with us....very hectic. Plus, I had to remind her about bringing out the cake during the reception. It almost wasn´t served! Given we almost forgot about it ourselves, it was her job to remember and make sure that everything happened as scheduled. She had the best of intentions but given that she only did weddings on the side, I should have at least paid more attention to the logistics and not relied on her completely, despite her reassurances that everything would turn out perfectly. She saved us a lot of money with her connections and was very honest with us but overall, I think the organization of everything could have been better.


                  -not spoken up about the shots I wanted. My photographer was very willing to take any shots we wanted but I was feeling a lot of pressure from my sweet but very impatient husband to hurry up and get out of the church so we could take other pictures. If it hadn´t been for my mom who is controlling when she needs to be, we wouldn´t have gotten some of the shots of our family that we got at the church. I also wished I provided my photographer a list of shots I wanted her to take in addition to her candid shots. I didn´t get many formal shots with my bridesmaids and family other than at the church. Although I am all about the modern candid shots, it´s nice to have a few posed shots with family. My fault though...should have been more assertive with this.

                  -wouldn´t leave it up to my husband to relay rehearsal information to his side of the family. This one is a major one. My husband has been very helpful throughout the planning process and I wouldn´t trade him for anything but when it comes to moments of pressure, like the DAYS before the wedding, I should have taken it upon myself to relay information to his family---he´s not so good with pressure. He didn´t relay the rehearsal time and day to his family and when the day came to rehearse, it was my side of the family and only one of his brothers and his godparents that showed up and they only knew about it because they decided to drop by our villa to see how we were doing. It led to a lot of confusion during the processional on the day of the wedding but it worked out in the end. Everyone made it to the rehearsal dinner though...at least we had that.

                  - Let my husband go fishing the morning of the rehearsal. With our rehearsal scheduled at 5pm, he promised he would return from his ocean fishing trip by 12pm. He ended up getting to our rehearsal at 6:15pm! He was so wrapped up with catching all the great fish he caught, he completely lost track of time and had me so worried that I couldn´t concentrate on anything but on whether he was safe. I am incredibly grateful that he came home safely, but my mind was so occupied with his safety that I couldn´t make my final plans to organize our ceremony and reception.

                  -overall, not be assertive enough. As much as I tried to control the planning process, the fact that I did not speak Spanish and that I was working with a WC that communicated better in Spanish (although my husband was able to translate), it was very difficult to do so, and very frustrating. Still, if I had put my foot down about how everything needed to be, despite the frustrations, I think I would have been a little happier with the organization of everything.

                  Overall, our wedding turned out beautifully and I think all the turmoil that I felt was happening during the planning was not at all visible to our guests. A message to everyone with their big day coming up: Over plan ahead of time, so you can relax a bit on your big day. Not everything will happen as planned but as long as you keep your cool and take things in stride, you´ll have a great wedding.

                  Happy planning everyone!
                  ~ Marie-Laine

                  #399 futuremrsgoodrich

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                    Posted 29 November 2009 - 11:52 AM

                    thank you for sharing!

                    #400 northernflasher

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                      Posted 30 November 2009 - 04:05 PM

                      Thanks Marie-Laine for such a detailed post.

                      You raise lots of good points which I'd not come across before. This thread will be a blessing to us all!

                      Many Thanks
                      Michelle X

                      PLANNING THREAD:http://bestdestinati....-thread-58694/DREAMS TULUM REVIEW: MARCH 2010:http://bestdestinati....-2010-a-59147/EXCURSIONS AND SIGHTSEEING REVIEW IN RIVIERA MAYA: MARCH 2010:http://bestdestinati...com/fo...ra-...




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