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


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#671 TATrisha

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 09:30 AM

This really is a great thread!  Come on recent brides, have an opinions on what you would or wouldn't do again?


~Trisha~

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#672 katie2012

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    Posted 14 January 2012 - 03:36 PM

    Thanks for sharing all your experiences. I was on the fence about video, but now I'm sure about having it for an hour at the beach ceremony. Reading about your would/wouldn'ts is helpful for planning a wedding in 7 months!



    #673 karyan

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    • 184 posts

      Posted 21 January 2012 - 01:34 AM

      As Per Request :)

       

      I got married on October 5th, 2011 so am a bit late in posting......I think I needed this much time to fully think about things again! Please note that this is my personal opinion, and what my priorities were for the day. All I wanted was to look good, have the photos look good, and have a fun reception......

       

      What I Would Do Again......

       

      1. I would make the effort to DIY again. The invitations took me a bloody long time to do, but I really loved them in the end, and so did the guests (the females anyways!).

       

      2. The cake! Yes it is an expense, and yes no one eats it, but it's really nice to open your photo book and see a proper wedding cake there. I asked the restaurant to set up a "self serving" cake stand in order to eliminate the mandatory cake cutting fee, but also it meant that people had to make the effort to cut themselves a piece. Everyone was having a rocking time at the wedding that no one actually took any! We just took the cake back to the hotel, and the next night we met everyone at the pool and served up pristine wedding cake....it was delish!! We got a small two tier cake, so it was easy for 40 some people to finish it the next day.

       

      3. OOT bags......I vowed not to do this, but a found some cheap, decent sized reusable eco-friendly bags for under $1. I also had a friend who was willing to screen print them at home for me as our wedding present. Since this minimized the OOT bag costs, I decided to do it. I really put a minimal amount in them as I just didn't see the need to spend money on small versions of sunscreen, crosswords..etc..etc. So all they had were a small cookie from a local Hawaiian company, a small chocolate bar, and a half page with the schedule of events, time and a google maps of how to get around the Kihei area. My husband photocopied and laminated these at work, so very minimal costs to us (other than time). To be honest, the guests loved them. 

       

      4. If you actually want people to dance......then get the DJ. Another expense but I wanted people to be up and dancing, and a good DJ gets the party going. He worked really well with our MC, played all the music I wanted, as well as read the crowd perfectly. Unless you have someone you trust  to manage the ipod doc for you, it's worth the money to just hire a DJ. If you don't care about dancing, save the $$$ and just charge up your ipod.

       

      5. Spend the money for the best hairdresser and make up artist in town. I can promise you I will never look as good as I did on my wedding day :P

       

      6. The destination wedding in Hawaii. As most guests were coming from Australia or Canada Hawaii was a great middle ground. The islands are all beautiful, so all the guests got a holiday out of it and could Island hop if they wanted to. Neither of my grandmothers could make it (nor my husbands grandmother) so that was disappointing, but something we were willing to live with to have the wedding we wanted.

       

      7. No videographer.....it ended up being such a windy day, and the venue wouldn't let us have microphones so it wouldn't have picked up any sound. Saved some $$ there!

       

      8. The Welcome Drinks party. People got to mingle two and get to know each other by the pool BBQs.....also gave my family members a chance to catch up with each other.

       

      9. Pick a venue that is a one stop shop......ceremony, beach photos and great reception all in one location.

       

      10. The AHR...grudgingly I would do this again. We live in Australia, and due to financial reasons many members of my husband's family couldn't make it to Hawaii. So the AHR was for them, and then we included those to came to Hawaii as well as Aussie friends who didn't come, co-workers..and the list goes on. This party ended up being 120 people, and an extra $3000 BUT I got to wear the dress again and everyone loved seeing the professional photos (we had a slide show) and get a chance to be included. It was also the FINAL wedding event so I got to relax and have fun.

       

      11. Get married to my husband....almost 4 months on and getting happier everyday :)

       

      What I Wouldn't Do Again......

       

      1. Plan as many group activities. In addition to Welcome Drinks, there was a golf activity, Ladies Lunch and a Luau. I would keep the WD and the Luau, but not bother with anything else. It just stressed me out too much and was extra stuff to plan when I really didn't have too.

       

      2. Invite 200 people on the premise that "not everyone will come". Though this is true, we still ended up with 50 people attending the wedding, which meant I had to try and "mingle" with 50 people everyday for a week. It was hard work and a barely got any sleep the whole time (hence why you need the best that you can get for make up....she hid all the bags under my eyes!). 

       

      3. Be as on top of things as I was (i.e micro manage). I learned that you have to accept the fact that on the day, something  will not go as planned and you just have to roll with it. The only thing I can suggest is chin up, walk away and let someone else deal with it. For me there was a hiccup at the start of the reception which involved 50-60 km/h wind, cocktails on the lawn being frantically moved inside, open windows, wind swept place cards....needless to say the restaurant staff were a bit frazzled. No amount of planning could have prevented this, and after a fantastic ceremony I was so disappointed with the start of the reception and how chaotic it seemed. Once the wait staff got their bearings, everything went smoothly again, and the dinner service was great. But lessoned learned, chin up and walk away!

       

      4. Question the wedding planner as much. I did have a good one, and everything she suggested was spot on. I prob should have let her do more (see above about micro managing) but I perhaps didn't communicate with her as much as I should have....though I guess this goes both ways. I didn't know where her role ended and what things I had to initiate, so I ended up getting a bit frustrated. 

       

       

      So all in all, there are more things I would do again than not do....I must have done something right!

       

       

       

       



      #674 atalanta

      atalanta
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      • 326 posts

        Posted 21 January 2012 - 06:37 AM

        Thanks for taking the time to really think about this before posting. I loved reading your reflections.
         

        Originally Posted by karyan 

        As Per Request :)

         

        I got married on October 5th, 2011 so am a bit late in posting......I think I needed this much time to fully think about things again! Please note that this is my personal opinion, and what my priorities were for the day. All I wanted was to look good, have the photos look good, and have a fun reception......

         

        What I Would Do Again......

         

        1. I would make the effort to DIY again. The invitations took me a bloody long time to do, but I really loved them in the end, and so did the guests (the females anyways!).

         

        2. The cake! Yes it is an expense, and yes no one eats it, but it's really nice to open your photo book and see a proper wedding cake there. I asked the restaurant to set up a "self serving" cake stand in order to eliminate the mandatory cake cutting fee, but also it meant that people had to make the effort to cut themselves a piece. Everyone was having a rocking time at the wedding that no one actually took any! We just took the cake back to the hotel, and the next night we met everyone at the pool and served up pristine wedding cake....it was delish!! We got a small two tier cake, so it was easy for 40 some people to finish it the next day.

         

        3. OOT bags......I vowed not to do this, but a found some cheap, decent sized reusable eco-friendly bags for under $1. I also had a friend who was willing to screen print them at home for me as our wedding present. Since this minimized the OOT bag costs, I decided to do it. I really put a minimal amount in them as I just didn't see the need to spend money on small versions of sunscreen, crosswords..etc..etc. So all they had were a small cookie from a local Hawaiian company, a small chocolate bar, and a half page with the schedule of events, time and a google maps of how to get around the Kihei area. My husband photocopied and laminated these at work, so very minimal costs to us (other than time). To be honest, the guests loved them. 

         

        4. If you actually want people to dance......then get the DJ. Another expense but I wanted people to be up and dancing, and a good DJ gets the party going. He worked really well with our MC, played all the music I wanted, as well as read the crowd perfectly. Unless you have someone you trust  to manage the ipod doc for you, it's worth the money to just hire a DJ. If you don't care about dancing, save the $$$ and just charge up your ipod.

         

        5. Spend the money for the best hairdresser and make up artist in town. I can promise you I will never look as good as I did on my wedding day :P

         

        6. The destination wedding in Hawaii. As most guests were coming from Australia or Canada Hawaii was a great middle ground. The islands are all beautiful, so all the guests got a holiday out of it and could Island hop if they wanted to. Neither of my grandmothers could make it (nor my husbands grandmother) so that was disappointing, but something we were willing to live with to have the wedding we wanted.

         

        7. No videographer.....it ended up being such a windy day, and the venue wouldn't let us have microphones so it wouldn't have picked up any sound. Saved some $$ there!

         

        8. The Welcome Drinks party. People got to mingle two and get to know each other by the pool BBQs.....also gave my family members a chance to catch up with each other.

         

        9. Pick a venue that is a one stop shop......ceremony, beach photos and great reception all in one location.

         

        10. The AHR...grudgingly I would do this again. We live in Australia, and due to financial reasons many members of my husband's family couldn't make it to Hawaii. So the AHR was for them, and then we included those to came to Hawaii as well as Aussie friends who didn't come, co-workers..and the list goes on. This party ended up being 120 people, and an extra $3000 BUT I got to wear the dress again and everyone loved seeing the professional photos (we had a slide show) and get a chance to be included. It was also the FINAL wedding event so I got to relax and have fun.

         

        11. Get married to my husband....almost 4 months on and getting happier everyday :)

         

        What I Wouldn't Do Again......

         

        1. Plan as many group activities. In addition to Welcome Drinks, there was a golf activity, Ladies Lunch and a Luau. I would keep the WD and the Luau, but not bother with anything else. It just stressed me out too much and was extra stuff to plan when I really didn't have too.

         

        2. Invite 200 people on the premise that "not everyone will come". Though this is true, we still ended up with 50 people attending the wedding, which meant I had to try and "mingle" with 50 people everyday for a week. It was hard work and a barely got any sleep the whole time (hence why you need the best that you can get for make up....she hid all the bags under my eyes!). 

         

        3. Be as on top of things as I was (i.e micro manage). I learned that you have to accept the fact that on the day, something  will not go as planned and you just have to roll with it. The only thing I can suggest is chin up, walk away and let someone else deal with it. For me there was a hiccup at the start of the reception which involved 50-60 km/h wind, cocktails on the lawn being frantically moved inside, open windows, wind swept place cards....needless to say the restaurant staff were a bit frazzled. No amount of planning could have prevented this, and after a fantastic ceremony I was so disappointed with the start of the reception and how chaotic it seemed. Once the wait staff got their bearings, everything went smoothly again, and the dinner service was great. But lessoned learned, chin up and walk away!

         

        4. Question the wedding planner as much. I did have a good one, and everything she suggested was spot on. I prob should have let her do more (see above about micro managing) but I perhaps didn't communicate with her as much as I should have....though I guess this goes both ways. I didn't know where her role ended and what things I had to initiate, so I ended up getting a bit frustrated. 

         

         

        So all in all, there are more things I would do again than not do....I must have done something right!

         

         

         

         



         



        #675 kellygrrrl

        kellygrrrl
        • Member
        • 614 posts

          Posted 21 January 2012 - 07:21 AM

          thanks so much for your thoughts, karyan. I've only recently decided that a proper wedding cake is something I really want, and because my resort makes a pretty affordable one, I think we're going for it!! I'm glad to hear that someone else appreciated having it, and it looking nice in the photos.

           

          and you've also reminded me to check in with my hairdresser/makup artist to make sure we're good. thanks!! : )

           

           

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          #676 karyan

          karyan
          • Jr. Member
          • 184 posts

            Posted 21 January 2012 - 02:28 PM

            ps

             

            I guess the only other thing I might add is that all the guest's loved their time in Hawaii, and it really is the only time I'll have all my friend's and family in one place. The great part of a DW is EVERYONE is on holiday, relaxed and up for a good time. I have never laughed so much in one week, and the unexpected bonus was my new Aussie friends/family got to meet my Canadian friends/family, and they are all connected now on FB, and comment on what each other are doing.

             

            In the end it's great to have everyone there for your special day, and it made the ceremony really hit home for me. I'm not religious so it was just a civil union, but it actually was wonderful to share all that with everyone....which is something I wasn't expecting! It made all the effort worth it, and hit home that I was marrying my sweetheart.

             

            Re hair: The only other (and LAST!) thing I'll say is really suss out what the typical weather is for where you are getting married. I didn't have a specific hairstyle in mind, and asked my hairdresser to make it "wind proof" as I heard it could be very windy on that side of the island. She did a great, simple up do, and they day was sooooooo calm up until 5 min before I walked down the aisle. My hair held up beautifully, and a hair moustache only should up in a few of my photos :) If people say it can get a "little windy" where you are getting married/having photos, listen to them. Do you really want to be fluffing about getting rid of your hair moustache in all the photos???

             



            #677 Brenners

            Brenners
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              Posted 22 January 2012 - 01:04 PM

              Lol.  I love the term hair mustache and I can picture it in my mind!  Thank you for the review.  I have really taken to heart what other brides have posted on this thread and appreciate when more brides post here.  I think it is extremely helpful.  Congratulations!
               

              Originally Posted by karyan 

              ps

               

              I guess the only other thing I might add is that all the guest's loved their time in Hawaii, and it really is the only time I'll have all my friend's and family in one place. The great part of a DW is EVERYONE is on holiday, relaxed and up for a good time. I have never laughed so much in one week, and the unexpected bonus was my new Aussie friends/family got to meet my Canadian friends/family, and they are all connected now on FB, and comment on what each other are doing.

               

              In the end it's great to have everyone there for your special day, and it made the ceremony really hit home for me. I'm not religious so it was just a civil union, but it actually was wonderful to share all that with everyone....which is something I wasn't expecting! It made all the effort worth it, and hit home that I was marrying my sweetheart.

               

              Re hair: The only other (and LAST!) thing I'll say is really suss out what the typical weather is for where you are getting married. I didn't have a specific hairstyle in mind, and asked my hairdresser to make it "wind proof" as I heard it could be very windy on that side of the island. She did a great, simple up do, and they day was sooooooo calm up until 5 min before I walked down the aisle. My hair held up beautifully, and a hair moustache only should up in a few of my photos :) If people say it can get a "little windy" where you are getting married/having photos, listen to them. Do you really want to be fluffing about getting rid of your hair moustache in all the photos???

               



               



              #678 Brenners

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                Posted 19 February 2012 - 04:03 PM

                My turn finally!  The list is long so bear with me!

                 

                What I Would Do Again:

                 

                1. Marry my best friend.  I am so lucky to have found someone so amazing and to spend the rest of my life with him.  Hands down the best decision I ever made!
                2. Get married at Barcelo Maya Palace.  We got engaged in Cancun in February 2011 so we were lucky enough to do a site visit at several resorts.  It was down to Barcelo and Ceiba del Mar.  Ceiba was our favorite but they refused to come down on their prices.  We could not expect a couple to pay $6000 for airfare and to stay at that resort so we chose Barcelo instead.  We were not disappointed.  Our guests raved about the resort, the restaurants, the beaches, the pools, lack of smoking, the cleanliness of everything, our wedding and reception…everything!  If you are debating about a resort, I cannot recommend Barcelo enough!
                3. Have Lillian Vargas as our wedding coordinator.  Lillian was so on top of everything and had it all organized exactly as we discussed.  Lillian was quick to respond to my emails and answer all of my questions.  If she didn’t know the answer, she would check with the florist, violinist, etc…then get back to us very quickly.  Lillian was awesome, sweet and a great person to work with during this whole experience.  Also, listen to your wedding coordinators.  This is their job and they are professionals.  They know what they are talking about so take their advice and recommendations into consideration.  Lillian made some great suggestions and we did not regret any decisions based on her recommendations.
                4. Choose Erick Rodriguez from Claudia Rodriguez Studio as our photographer.  Erick was very patient and fun to work with as my husband and I do not enjoy having our photos taken.  Erick arrived promptly at 1:30 and took some amazing photos throughout the day and night.  We saw a few as he was taking them but we are anxious to see them all!  We also did a trash the dress with Erick a few days later that was so fun.  We hung out afterward and swam with Erick and his assistant/cousin Omar.  They were awesome people and so great to get to know them.  Cannot wait to see our professional pics and will post some later once we get them back.
                5. Choose Red{i} by Chelsea to design my barefoot jewelry, bridal bouquet jewelry and bridesmaid’s hair flowers.  They turned out beautifully and Chelsea kept me up to speed on her progress by sending me emails and photos to ensure that she was on track with what I wanted.  She did an awesome job and will have her continue to design jewelry for me in the future as it is fun, gorgeous and one-of-a-kind pieces.  Thanks Chelsea!
                6. Wear my beautiful Casablanca bridal gown.  Though it took several stores (six to be exact) and umpteen gowns, I finally found the one and never regretted my choice.  The look on my husband’s face when he first saw me in it was priceless (thank you Erick for capturing it!) and well worth the wait!
                7. Wear a veil.  I originally decided against a veil and was just going to have a simple flower in my hair, however, after I tried on a veil with the sample gown in the store, I fell in love with the look.  There was a light breeze the day of our wedding which was perfect.  The beading on the edging perfectly complimented my dress.  It made the look complete.
                8. Wear wedges.  I walked around on rocky areas of the beach and the beach itself without a problem.  I do not think we could have gotten some of the photos we did had I worn flip flops or heels.  The wedge gave me great stability and balance.
                9. Wear my hair down with partially up on the sides.  Many brides are posting that they are afraid of their hair being wild in the wind but my hair stayed in place perfectly. 
                10. Have the Barcelo spa do my hair and makeup. Karla was fantastic.  Many women hire Adrian and his team at $600 + for his services and I think his work seems great, however, the Barcelo Strawberry Passion package comes with the hair and makeup as a part of it so I decided to go with the spa.  I had a hair trial in MN and brought photos with me.  Karla did better than my hairstylist and my hair stayed in place for 12 + hours.  My makeup was fantastic as well and everyone commented on how nice my hair and makeup were done. The few photos that I have seen I think it turned out well.  Basically, don’t sell the Barcelo spa short.  Bring in pictures and communicate with the staff.  They really do want to please you.
                11. Choose our reception menu.  Everyone loved all the courses:  shrimp cocktail, lobster bisque, surf and turf, white chocolate and raspberry tiramisu.  The food was excellent and the service from Victor and his staff was astounding.
                12. Have only one layer for our cake.  The cake servings says 20 but it will feed much more than that.  The cake was delicious, however, after 4 courses and a dessert tray that was given to each table (we did not know that we got a dessert tray after our tiramisu and before the cake!) no one could each much.  Lillian told us not to get the extra layer and we listened to her advice. 
                13. Have Coral Beach for our wedding ceremony and Playa Azul for our reception.  Coral Beach was quiet and private for our wedding and Playa Azul was deserted when we arrived for our reception at 6:30.  So happy with both location choices.
                14. Make OOT bags. This was a bit of a pain to be honest, but ultimately worth it in the end.  Our guests loved them and used the bag for the beach everyday.  We decided from the beginning to keep them simple.  Some brides really put time and effort into their bags and they were lovely, but we just did not have the time to do this.  I found bags online for about $1.50 per bag including the personalization on the bag with “Mexico 2012” on them – we decided against putting our names on them as we wanted guests to actually use them again!  We put inside them the following items:
                  1. Deck of cards with “Mexico 2012” on the case.
                  2. Starfish bookmarks for about $1.50 each.
                  3. Lip balm with SPF 15 with “Mexico 2012” on them for 99 cents each.
                  4. Hand sanitizers from Bath and Body Works that had tropical scents such as “Mojito” or “Pina Colada” that were on sale for around 99 cents each.
                  5. Welcome letter thanking everyone for coming and providing a run down of events that we had planned as well as our room number in case anyone needed to get a hold of us.
                  6. Two pocket folder that held the welcome letter.
                  7. Notebook with a Mexico 2012 sticker on it. 
                  8. Pen
                  9. Postcard from Mexico if they wanted to send one home to family and/or friends.
                15. Have the bellboys distribute the OOT bags.  It cost $3 per room for a total of $18 which was great since we had each guest getting a bag.  One room held three guests so this was pretty inexpensive and saved us time from running down each guest to give them their bag.
                16. Do a sand ceremony.  We wanted to add something special to our ceremony and this was perfect.  We purchased a beautiful frame and only added a little sand during the ceremony and finished it later in our room.  We now have a gorgeous reminder of our wedding.
                17. Keep the decorations simple.  The only decoration we brought with us were place setting frames that had our guests’ names on them.  We gave Lillian our guest list seating chart for each table and the staff set up the frames at each table.  Guests could take them home and put a picture of their trip inside as a reminder.  We had thought about bringing LED candles, vases, sand, shells, starfish, etc…then decided against it and we are so glad we did.  Our guests thought the reception was decorated beautifully and we could not agree more.  When we drove up with Lillian, my breath was taken away at how gorgeous everything was.  Any other decorations would not have made it anymore beautiful.  So glad that we did not do anything more.
                18. Not stress about the wedding.  I actually enjoyed my wedding day as I had complete faith in Lillian and Barcelo to make our day special.  Did things go perfectly?  No.  Our JOP either forgot or was never told that we were having my husband’s aunt do a reading so we had to tell him during the ceremony.  No big deal as the reading was done (superbly by my husband’s aunt!) and the world did not come crashing to a blazing end.  I knew that there would be little missteps along the way and knowing that made it easier to deal with them when they happened.  It added to the day actually and made it that much more special.
                19. Go to a florist prior to finalizing our flowers.  We struggled with choosing flowers so we went to a local florist, found flowers in our colors, arranged them then sent Lillian pictures.  She sent them to the florist and voila!  Our flowers were exactly what we wanted.  Having pictures of what you want helps quite a bit with the language barrier and makes communication that much smoother.
                20. Do an all-inclusive.  Our guests were impressed with the food and top shelp booze at the resort.  There were so many restaurant options and the drinks were made perfectly. 
                21. Limit my alcohol intake.  I never had a hangover and felt great everyday.  I took advantage of the all-inclusive and certainly drank more than I typically do, however, I wanted to enjoy each day so I drank a glass of water with each drink to limit the amount I consumed.
                22. Wear sunscreen!  I never burned which is more than I can say for some of our guests.  They forgot to reapply after swimming or did not do a very thorough job so some were lobsters for all or part of the trip.  Remember to be careful in the sun!
                23. Use our iPod for our reception music.  We chose not go with a DJ and we are so glad!  We created an event on FB and had our guests make song requests.  We downloaded them onto our iPod and played the music during dinner and our dance.  Everyone loved the music and had fun.  One of our groomsmen was in charge and he loved playing DJ.  Saved tons of money and no one missed the DJ.
                24. Have a game for getting us to kiss.  I stole this one from Avens.  We drew hearts in the sand, had Lillian get us some bocce balls and we had our guests try to make it inside one of the hearts.  If they hit the target, then we kissed.  If they missed, then they had one of three choices:  kiss someone themselves, sing a song with the word love in it or take a shot of tequila.  Our guests got so into this game and had so much fun!  It was a blast and everyone got involved.  Thanks Avens for the idea!
                25. Do a trash the dress.  I had no desire to do a trash the dress but Erick said he was free the Tuesday after our wedding and he would love to photograph us at the cenote across the road.  We took him up on the offer and loved every minute of it!  Cannot wait to see the photos.  The photos were fun to shoot and swimming afterward was a blast!

                 

                What I Would Not Do Again:

                 

                1. Let my family stress me out before the wedding.  We had talked to everyone about a destination wedding after we got engaged and everyone said they were on board and would for sure be there.  Then many people in my family told me I was selfish after we booked and said they could never afford to go to Mexico.  They said many nasty things to me and no one in my family wound up attending our wedding.  In the end, I did not think about my family once during the wedding or reception and I had a total blast!  My family loves to create drama so I would not have had fun if they were there so it worked out for the best that they chose not to go.  If anyone else is experiencing family drama, please do not let it get to you or ruin or change your plans.  The people who truly matter will actually be there and that is all that you need.  Trust me.
                2. Have my FIL come down on Wednesday and leave Sunday.  He needed a lot of guidance and help and it did not allow us to spend much time with other guests since we basically did a lot of babysitting for one person who had no interest in beach, ocean or pools. He just wanted to sit in the lobby all day.  My husband was able to go with him to Coba on Friday and they both had fun but really, he should have come down Thursday and left Sunday. 
                3. Have our stay the same length as our guests. We arrived a day before our guests, however, that was spent organizing our OOT bags and meeting with the wedding coordinator.  We left the same day as most of our guests.  We had very little down time and wanted to spend more time together before and after the wedding.  The resort is huge so we were able to get away from our guests, but there was always someone wanting to join us for dinner, lunch, breakfast, drinks, etc…which is why we wanted a DW but some extra time alone would have been great.
                4. Missed the opportunity to thank the violinist and JOP after the wedding.  They both left quickly and I honestly have no idea what the violinist even looked like!  We had to give their tips to Lillian as we did not see them after the wedding.
                5. I could go either way on this but maybe a little extra time with the videographer as he recorded the ceremony and immediately after but we only have photos and no video of our reception.  I only wish we had video of the toasts as they were lovely but not sure it would be worth the extra cost for just capturing those moments.  Maybe bringing our videocamera and having someone in charge of it would have been a better option but we had no room in our luggage!
                6. Have only the three hour reception.  It went by so fast.  We wish we would have added another hour or two but the cost was pretty high so we decided against it.

                 



                #679 shan0487

                shan0487
                • Sr. Member
                • 1,393 posts
                • Wedding Date:November 23, 2012
                • Wedding Location:Sun Palace & Moon Palace- Cancun, MX
                • LocationSt Louis, MO

                Posted 29 February 2012 - 12:27 PM


                Thank you for your post!!!

                 

                I was wondering if wedges were a good choice for the sand and you have confirmed my decision!

                 

                We are also planning on an Ipod reception and having someone videotape our ceremony- but maybe we can have my sister's finace record the speeches and our first dance as well! I never really thought about that!

                 

                Thank you again and I hope more recent brides will post their thoughts! :)
                 

                Originally Posted by Brenners 

                My turn finally!  The list is long so bear with me!

                 

                What I Would Do Again:

                 

                1. Marry my best friend.  I am so lucky to have found someone so amazing and to spend the rest of my life with him.  Hands down the best decision I ever made!
                2. Get married at Barcelo Maya Palace.  We got engaged in Cancun in February 2011 so we were lucky enough to do a site visit at several resorts.  It was down to Barcelo and Ceiba del Mar.  Ceiba was our favorite but they refused to come down on their prices.  We could not expect a couple to pay $6000 for airfare and to stay at that resort so we chose Barcelo instead.  We were not disappointed.  Our guests raved about the resort, the restaurants, the beaches, the pools, lack of smoking, the cleanliness of everything, our wedding and reception…everything!  If you are debating about a resort, I cannot recommend Barcelo enough!
                3. Have Lillian Vargas as our wedding coordinator.  Lillian was so on top of everything and had it all organized exactly as we discussed.  Lillian was quick to respond to my emails and answer all of my questions.  If she didn’t know the answer, she would check with the florist, violinist, etc…then get back to us very quickly.  Lillian was awesome, sweet and a great person to work with during this whole experience.  Also, listen to your wedding coordinators.  This is their job and they are professionals.  They know what they are talking about so take their advice and recommendations into consideration.  Lillian made some great suggestions and we did not regret any decisions based on her recommendations.
                4. Choose Erick Rodriguez from Claudia Rodriguez Studio as our photographer.  Erick was very patient and fun to work with as my husband and I do not enjoy having our photos taken.  Erick arrived promptly at 1:30 and took some amazing photos throughout the day and night.  We saw a few as he was taking them but we are anxious to see them all!  We also did a trash the dress with Erick a few days later that was so fun.  We hung out afterward and swam with Erick and his assistant/cousin Omar.  They were awesome people and so great to get to know them.  Cannot wait to see our professional pics and will post some later once we get them back.
                5. Choose Red{i} by Chelsea to design my barefoot jewelry, bridal bouquet jewelry and bridesmaid’s hair flowers.  They turned out beautifully and Chelsea kept me up to speed on her progress by sending me emails and photos to ensure that she was on track with what I wanted.  She did an awesome job and will have her continue to design jewelry for me in the future as it is fun, gorgeous and one-of-a-kind pieces.  Thanks Chelsea!
                6. Wear my beautiful Casablanca bridal gown.  Though it took several stores (six to be exact) and umpteen gowns, I finally found the one and never regretted my choice.  The look on my husband’s face when he first saw me in it was priceless (thank you Erick for capturing it!) and well worth the wait!
                7. Wear a veil.  I originally decided against a veil and was just going to have a simple flower in my hair, however, after I tried on a veil with the sample gown in the store, I fell in love with the look.  There was a light breeze the day of our wedding which was perfect.  The beading on the edging perfectly complimented my dress.  It made the look complete.
                8. Wear wedges.  I walked around on rocky areas of the beach and the beach itself without a problem.  I do not think we could have gotten some of the photos we did had I worn flip flops or heels.  The wedge gave me great stability and balance.
                9. Wear my hair down with partially up on the sides.  Many brides are posting that they are afraid of their hair being wild in the wind but my hair stayed in place perfectly. 
                10. Have the Barcelo spa do my hair and makeup. Karla was fantastic.  Many women hire Adrian and his team at $600 + for his services and I think his work seems great, however, the Barcelo Strawberry Passion package comes with the hair and makeup as a part of it so I decided to go with the spa.  I had a hair trial in MN and brought photos with me.  Karla did better than my hairstylist and my hair stayed in place for 12 + hours.  My makeup was fantastic as well and everyone commented on how nice my hair and makeup were done. The few photos that I have seen I think it turned out well.  Basically, don’t sell the Barcelo spa short.  Bring in pictures and communicate with the staff.  They really do want to please you.
                11. Choose our reception menu.  Everyone loved all the courses:  shrimp cocktail, lobster bisque, surf and turf, white chocolate and raspberry tiramisu.  The food was excellent and the service from Victor and his staff was astounding.
                12. Have only one layer for our cake.  The cake servings says 20 but it will feed much more than that.  The cake was delicious, however, after 4 courses and a dessert tray that was given to each table (we did not know that we got a dessert tray after our tiramisu and before the cake!) no one could each much.  Lillian told us not to get the extra layer and we listened to her advice. 
                13. Have Coral Beach for our wedding ceremony and Playa Azul for our reception.  Coral Beach was quiet and private for our wedding and Playa Azul was deserted when we arrived for our reception at 6:30.  So happy with both location choices.
                14. Make OOT bags. This was a bit of a pain to be honest, but ultimately worth it in the end.  Our guests loved them and used the bag for the beach everyday.  We decided from the beginning to keep them simple.  Some brides really put time and effort into their bags and they were lovely, but we just did not have the time to do this.  I found bags online for about $1.50 per bag including the personalization on the bag with “Mexico 2012” on them – we decided against putting our names on them as we wanted guests to actually use them again!  We put inside them the following items:
                  1. Deck of cards with “Mexico 2012” on the case.
                  2. Starfish bookmarks for about $1.50 each.
                  3. Lip balm with SPF 15 with “Mexico 2012” on them for 99 cents each.
                  4. Hand sanitizers from Bath and Body Works that had tropical scents such as “Mojito” or “Pina Colada” that were on sale for around 99 cents each.
                  5. Welcome letter thanking everyone for coming and providing a run down of events that we had planned as well as our room number in case anyone needed to get a hold of us.
                  6. Two pocket folder that held the welcome letter.
                  7. Notebook with a Mexico 2012 sticker on it. 
                  8. Pen
                  9. Postcard from Mexico if they wanted to send one home to family and/or friends.
                15. Have the bellboys distribute the OOT bags.  It cost $3 per room for a total of $18 which was great since we had each guest getting a bag.  One room held three guests so this was pretty inexpensive and saved us time from running down each guest to give them their bag.
                16. Do a sand ceremony.  We wanted to add something special to our ceremony and this was perfect.  We purchased a beautiful frame and only added a little sand during the ceremony and finished it later in our room.  We now have a gorgeous reminder of our wedding.
                17. Keep the decorations simple.  The only decoration we brought with us were place setting frames that had our guests’ names on them.  We gave Lillian our guest list seating chart for each table and the staff set up the frames at each table.  Guests could take them home and put a picture of their trip inside as a reminder.  We had thought about bringing LED candles, vases, sand, shells, starfish, etc…then decided against it and we are so glad we did.  Our guests thought the reception was decorated beautifully and we could not agree more.  When we drove up with Lillian, my breath was taken away at how gorgeous everything was.  Any other decorations would not have made it anymore beautiful.  So glad that we did not do anything more.
                18. Not stress about the wedding.  I actually enjoyed my wedding day as I had complete faith in Lillian and Barcelo to make our day special.  Did things go perfectly?  No.  Our JOP either forgot or was never told that we were having my husband’s aunt do a reading so we had to tell him during the ceremony.  No big deal as the reading was done (superbly by my husband’s aunt!) and the world did not come crashing to a blazing end.  I knew that there would be little missteps along the way and knowing that made it easier to deal with them when they happened.  It added to the day actually and made it that much more special.
                19. Go to a florist prior to finalizing our flowers.  We struggled with choosing flowers so we went to a local florist, found flowers in our colors, arranged them then sent Lillian pictures.  She sent them to the florist and voila!  Our flowers were exactly what we wanted.  Having pictures of what you want helps quite a bit with the language barrier and makes communication that much smoother.
                20. Do an all-inclusive.  Our guests were impressed with the food and top shelp booze at the resort.  There were so many restaurant options and the drinks were made perfectly. 
                21. Limit my alcohol intake.  I never had a hangover and felt great everyday.  I took advantage of the all-inclusive and certainly drank more than I typically do, however, I wanted to enjoy each day so I drank a glass of water with each drink to limit the amount I consumed.
                22. Wear sunscreen!  I never burned which is more than I can say for some of our guests.  They forgot to reapply after swimming or did not do a very thorough job so some were lobsters for all or part of the trip.  Remember to be careful in the sun!
                23. Use our iPod for our reception music.  We chose not go with a DJ and we are so glad!  We created an event on FB and had our guests make song requests.  We downloaded them onto our iPod and played the music during dinner and our dance.  Everyone loved the music and had fun.  One of our groomsmen was in charge and he loved playing DJ.  Saved tons of money and no one missed the DJ.
                24. Have a game for getting us to kiss.  I stole this one from Avens.  We drew hearts in the sand, had Lillian get us some bocce balls and we had our guests try to make it inside one of the hearts.  If they hit the target, then we kissed.  If they missed, then they had one of three choices:  kiss someone themselves, sing a song with the word love in it or take a shot of tequila.  Our guests got so into this game and had so much fun!  It was a blast and everyone got involved.  Thanks Avens for the idea!
                25. Do a trash the dress.  I had no desire to do a trash the dress but Erick said he was free the Tuesday after our wedding and he would love to photograph us at the cenote across the road.  We took him up on the offer and loved every minute of it!  Cannot wait to see the photos.  The photos were fun to shoot and swimming afterward was a blast!

                 

                What I Would Not Do Again:

                 

                1. Let my family stress me out before the wedding.  We had talked to everyone about a destination wedding after we got engaged and everyone said they were on board and would for sure be there.  Then many people in my family told me I was selfish after we booked and said they could never afford to go to Mexico.  They said many nasty things to me and no one in my family wound up attending our wedding.  In the end, I did not think about my family once during the wedding or reception and I had a total blast!  My family loves to create drama so I would not have had fun if they were there so it worked out for the best that they chose not to go.  If anyone else is experiencing family drama, please do not let it get to you or ruin or change your plans.  The people who truly matter will actually be there and that is all that you need.  Trust me.
                2. Have my FIL come down on Wednesday and leave Sunday.  He needed a lot of guidance and help and it did not allow us to spend much time with other guests since we basically did a lot of babysitting for one person who had no interest in beach, ocean or pools. He just wanted to sit in the lobby all day.  My husband was able to go with him to Coba on Friday and they both had fun but really, he should have come down Thursday and left Sunday. 
                3. Have our stay the same length as our guests. We arrived a day before our guests, however, that was spent organizing our OOT bags and meeting with the wedding coordinator.  We left the same day as most of our guests.  We had very little down time and wanted to spend more time together before and after the wedding.  The resort is huge so we were able to get away from our guests, but there was always someone wanting to join us for dinner, lunch, breakfast, drinks, etc…which is why we wanted a DW but some extra time alone would have been great.
                4. Missed the opportunity to thank the violinist and JOP after the wedding.  They both left quickly and I honestly have no idea what the violinist even looked like!  We had to give their tips to Lillian as we did not see them after the wedding.
                5. I could go either way on this but maybe a little extra time with the videographer as he recorded the ceremony and immediately after but we only have photos and no video of our reception.  I only wish we had video of the toasts as they were lovely but not sure it would be worth the extra cost for just capturing those moments.  Maybe bringing our videocamera and having someone in charge of it would have been a better option but we had no room in our luggage!
                6. Have only the three hour reception.  It went by so fast.  We wish we would have added another hour or two but the cost was pretty high so we decided against it.

                 



                 



                #680 Rachelg717

                Rachelg717
                • Newbie
                • 40 posts

                  Posted 29 February 2012 - 03:23 PM

                  This is very helpful. :) thanks for sharing






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