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


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#701 katman

katman
  • Jr. Member
  • 170 posts

    Posted 10 May 2012 - 02:41 AM

    This is quite possibly the best thread I've read yet!! Thank you so so much to all the brides who have posted such thoughtful, informative and insightful reviews. The time you have put into your advice is very much appreciated :) Cheers!

    #702 deniden

    deniden
    • Site Supporter
    • 355 posts
    • Wedding Date:April 20, 2012
    • Wedding Location:The Royal Playa del Carmen

    Posted 15 May 2012 - 05:39 AM

    So, I'm back from my wedding and honeymoon and have had some time to gather my thoughts.

     

    What I Would Do Again

    1. Marry my husband - no-brainer!
    2. Use my travel agent, she was so organized and dealt with my crazy lady emails everyday. She helped us find the resort of our dreams and in the price range that we were comfortable with for our guests. Everything was so well thought-out and organized by her, and she arranged everything so well with the hotel for check-in - all of my guests except for 2 got early check-in.
    3. Get married at The Royal Playa del Carmen - I'm waiting for my professional pictures to post a review, but really, this place has it ALL!
    4. Use the forums on this site - seriously, the tips on here are amazing!
    5. Vistaprint - what a life saver! I made so many things for free on Vistaprint and the quality is amazing!
    6. Bring down my own chair sashes - it added a perfect pop of color to our ceremony and reception and the price was nil compared to what the resort wanted to charge
    7. Videographer - I initially had no interest in a videographer, but am glad we hired one (Cancun Wedding Video) - at the end of the day, all you have left are pictures and video
    8. Trash the Dress - we did a TTD session with our photographer (Juan Navarro) in the ocean. It was very tiring (make sure you eat a good breakfast!) but from the pictures we've seen so far, worth every single penny. No one we know will have pictures like this, and we even wore our actual wedding clothes in the water. So fun!
    9. OOT Bags - everyone loved them, and I'm glad we gave them out BEFORE the trip. Less for us to take to Mexico and people got to pick and choose exactly what they wanted to bring down. We did a "travel document pickup" meeting and gave everyone their OOT bags and travel documents then. So easy!
    10. Cocktail Hour - for cocktail hour, I made an iPod playlist of all of the couples' wedding songs who were in attendance, what a hit!
    11. Reception - We did all of "formal" stuff at the beginning (first dances, parent dances, cake cutting, speeches, toasts, blessings) so that once dinner was done being served, it was party time! No interruptions, no slow songs, just a ton of dancing!
    12. Photograph List - I emailed my photographer a list of "must have" pictures (formal shots with family, etc) so that we didn't miss anyone - worked out perfectly.
    13. Separate honeymoon - we honeymooned for a week in Jamaica after our wedding. We had 2 days after the wedding with our guests and then finally got some private time. It was nice to unwind after dealing with 50 people and the pressures of the wedding.
    14. Do the legal thing at home/write our own ceremony script - it made it so much easier for us with DH's divorce and paperwork-wise. We also got to have a friend officiate our ceremony (both at home and in Mexico) which meant writing our own ceremony script, which I loved. No one will ever have the same wedding script as us, ever.
    15. Photo Guestbook - everyone loved the props and the FujiFilm instant camera. The guestbook is totally personal and our friends' personalities shine through. Plus, we plan on reusing the camera for at-home parties.
    16. Wear a veil - this is a big "to do"/"not to do" for destination brides... and I, myself, wasn't convinced I wanted one until I saw myself in one in my dress. Do it! It makes for great pictures, you really feel like a bride, and when else are you going to be able to wear one?! LOL. I kept mine on the entire night!

     

    What I Wouldn't Do Again

    1. Program Fans - I made them, they were pretty cheap to make, but still I'm not sure the effort was worth it. Even though it was hot, not many people used them and even fewer kept them. We had an entire pile of them after the ceremony.
    2. Weather - I let myself stress about the weather every single day from when we arrived in Mexico up until our wedding. Our reception had to be moved inside, which turned out to be better for us, but I should've never let it stress me. The resorts always have back up plans!
    3. Schedule an AHR - We had one scheduled for next month, but are having to cancel it due to closing on the house we are building. I had no desire for one from the start, but started planning it mostly for my parents' benefit, even though they were not paying for it. If I could do it all over again, I would've never even mentioned the possibility of having one. I just never wanted an "at home" affair.

     

    I think that's it for now! Will post more if it comes to me! :)D

     

     

    Denielle



    #703 MJKH

    MJKH
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    • 654 posts

      Posted 15 May 2012 - 06:18 AM

      Hey Denielle! Congratulations!!! Those are some great tips to share with brides still in the planning process. I'm totally with you and the AHR thing as well...the LAST thing I felt like doing when we got back from Mexico was getting back into wedding mode...our AHR is this coming weekend and I wish we had just kept it simple, like a bbq in my parent's backyard or something. Oh, and plus, we ended up moving the date for the AHR up one week to appease certain people, which means the engraved information on our cake knife (which we had done for both events before we left for Mexico) is wrong!!! : (  

       

      Ughhhhh....

       

      I did have a thought to add to my "what to do again" list. Not that I asked for it specifically (I think most photographers do it), but I love that we have pics of the grounds, waves, sand, rocks, vegetation, close ups of flowers, etc. with no one in them. They came in really handy while we've been working on our wedding photobooks and our slide show...to serve as visual transitions from one event (me getting ready) to another (my FI getting ready)...or to break up/accentuate certain photos. We used every single one our photographer sent us...of palms, flowers, the ocean, the resort as a backdrop, etc. It certainly wouldn't hurt to mention to your photographer that you'd like to have these kinds of shots in your portfolio to work with. For example, in our photobook, I did a full page of these photos side by side and it looks awesome!

       

      734_0464_3.jpg

       

      734_0449.jpg



      #704 Vanessa56

      Vanessa56
      • Newbie
      • 72 posts

        Posted 15 May 2012 - 06:44 AM

        I got back from my wedding and honeymoon a couple of weeks ago and I just wanted to share some thoughts.

         

        Things I would do again:

         

        1. Trust the wedding coordinator. I have a demanding schedule with work, and one of the benefits of doing a destination wedding was the fact that the wedding coordinator helped plan a majority of the wedding. I let go and trusted the wedding coordinator entirely. I knew generally the things that I had to do on my own, and which things she could arrange. Honestly, by the time I got the Mexico, my stomache was in knots and I had so many questions.  As with many brides before, the communication isn't always the best in the months leading to the wedding.  When I got to the resort, I met with the wedding coordinator every day leading up to the wedding.  We spent hours going through details and everything that I wanted was possible.  I had ideas, I brought pictures, and she made everything happen. It is absolutely amazing what they can pull together in a couple of days.

         

        2. Mariachi Band. They were amazing and the highlight of the night.  My husband and I kept it a secret from everyone, so after we finished dinner, when the Mariachi walked in, it was the last thing anyone was expecting! All of our guests were asking us if we knew the Mariachi were coming.  We had arranged with the wedding coordinator for the Mariachi's to play a song during the cake cutting, and then we also requested for them to play a slow song/"seranade" us as we danced our first song. It was absolutely perfect!

         

        3. Get legally married at home. Getting legally married by ourselves was actually very special to us. We had no one there, and we got married by a judge.  Initially I just thought that we could do the paperwork at home (thinking more along the lines of "it's a business transaction") and thought that the ceremony would be more meaningful. While I really enjoyed our wedding ceremony and would do it again in a heartbeat, the wedding ceremony is really more for the family. The days leading up to the ceremony at the hotel were very busy, figuring out details with the wedding coordinator, hosting, greeting guests, etc.  Having the legal ceremony at home really meant that we could enjoy it ourselves without the stress of worrying about anyone but ourselves.

         

        4. OOT Bags.  These were a hit with all of our guests.  I included a handwritten thank you card in each guest's welcome bag. The most popular item was the survival kit with all of the medicine.

         

        5. Seperate Honeymoon.  By the time the wedding was over, I was exhausted.  Who knew that entertaining was so exhausting.  The first week really was more work than a vacation. We stayed at our wedding hotel for 2 days after the ceremony.  Then, we switched to another hotel down the road for our "honey moon." The second week was when I was actually able to relax, and enjoy my time with my husband.

         

        6. Tip the wedding coordinators/wait staff beforehand.  After the ceremony, my husband tipped the wedding coordinator and the head server (asked him to distribute the tip appropriately within the ranks).  I am sure that regardless, we would have received good service. However, since we tipped before hand, I think our service was even better.  The servers coordinated groups drinks, and group activities. When the Mariachi's came, the servers brought out a mexican hats for everyone to wear. They even coordinated the limbo! My understanding is that is not standard.

         

        Things I would not do again:

         

        1.Worry so much about the opinions of others.  Knowing that it was a destination wedding and that some would object, I did everything possible to cater to my guests (including in choosing my wedding hotel). I love the hotel we ended up choosing, but along the way I realized that the people who were attending would attend regardless (and that $100 wasn't going to make or break the decision). It's impossible to please everyone.

         

        I will let you know if I can think of anything else to add.



        #705 kellygrrrl

        kellygrrrl
        • Member
        • 614 posts

          Posted 15 May 2012 - 11:26 AM

          yes!! we're back as well, and as others have mentioned recently YOU WILL BE ENTERTAINING WHEN YOUR GUESTS ARE THERE. we didn't even give ourselves time to unpack, it was turn and burn from the moment the plane touched down. the really crazy part is we only had 10 people, but maybe that's the cutoff. more than that, and you let everyone fend for themselves. ; ) after a few days, I took a shower and realized it was the longest I'd been in our room awake since we arrived. if you're saving any little tasks for your destination, DO THEM NOW! we didn't have time to do ANYTHING when we were there, except throw (literally THROW) the things into the OOT bags. I'm not trying to scare those of you who haven't left yet, but just know if it's not done at home, it likely won't happen at your destination. it was absolutely great to see everyone, but if we hadn't taken an extra week at the resort just for us, the 'vacation' element would have been absent. I have absolutely no regrets, but I want to make sure all those brides who are planning now know that they need to make time for themselves - to unpack, to enjoy the room, to enjoy your FI. do whatever it takes - plan an outside excursion, switch hotels after the wedding - just make sure you have that time because if you're a type-A planner like me, you're going to be worried about everyone else the entire time they're there (PS - don't forget the Xanax. it can be crazy running around like that!!)

           

          all that said, we were a little sad to see my parents and brother go. it was fun to just see what they were up to. even weirder when someone new moved into their rooms - imposters!! ; ) I would've liked to keep them around, but it was good that now-husband and I had time. to fill with scuba diving and jet skis and everything else. ; ) the good part is that it was our decision and it really allowed me to relax.

           

          I'm currently working on a much more comprehensive review to add here, but I wanted to emphasize what the past few brides have been saying about how busy you are in the destination and how critical it is to take some time for yourselves. : ) best of luck!!

           

           

          Originally Posted by Vanessa56 

          I got back from my wedding and honeymoon a couple of weeks ago and I just wanted to share some thoughts.

           

          Things I would do again:

           

          1. Trust the wedding coordinator. I have a demanding schedule with work, and one of the benefits of doing a destination wedding was the fact that the wedding coordinator helped plan a majority of the wedding. I let go and trusted the wedding coordinator entirely. I knew generally the things that I had to do on my own, and which things she could arrange. Honestly, by the time I got the Mexico, my stomache was in knots and I had so many questions.  As with many brides before, the communication isn't always the best in the months leading to the wedding.  When I got to the resort, I met with the wedding coordinator every day leading up to the wedding.  We spent hours going through details and everything that I wanted was possible.  I had ideas, I brought pictures, and she made everything happen. It is absolutely amazing what they can pull together in a couple of days.

           

          2. Mariachi Band. They were amazing and the highlight of the night.  My husband and I kept it a secret from everyone, so after we finished dinner, when the Mariachi walked in, it was the last thing anyone was expecting! All of our guests were asking us if we knew the Mariachi were coming.  We had arranged with the wedding coordinator for the Mariachi's to play a song during the cake cutting, and then we also requested for them to play a slow song/"seranade" us as we danced our first song. It was absolutely perfect!

           

          3. Get legally married at home. Getting legally married by ourselves was actually very special to us. We had no one there, and we got married by a judge.  Initially I just thought that we could do the paperwork at home (thinking more along the lines of "it's a business transaction") and thought that the ceremony would be more meaningful. While I really enjoyed our wedding ceremony and would do it again in a heartbeat, the wedding ceremony is really more for the family. The days leading up to the ceremony at the hotel were very busy, figuring out details with the wedding coordinator, hosting, greeting guests, etc.  Having the legal ceremony at home really meant that we could enjoy it ourselves without the stress of worrying about anyone but ourselves.

           

          4. OOT Bags.  These were a hit with all of our guests.  I included a handwritten thank you card in each guest's welcome bag. The most popular item was the survival kit with all of the medicine.

           

          5. Seperate Honeymoon.  By the time the wedding was over, I was exhausted.  Who knew that entertaining was so exhausting.  The first week really was more work than a vacation. We stayed at our wedding hotel for 2 days after the ceremony.  Then, we switched to another hotel down the road for our "honey moon." The second week was when I was actually able to relax, and enjoy my time with my husband.

           

          6. Tip the wedding coordinators/wait staff beforehand.  After the ceremony, my husband tipped the wedding coordinator and the head server (asked him to distribute the tip appropriately within the ranks).  I am sure that regardless, we would have received good service. However, since we tipped before hand, I think our service was even better.  The servers coordinated groups drinks, and group activities. When the Mariachi's came, the servers brought out a mexican hats for everyone to wear. They even coordinated the limbo! My understanding is that is not standard.

           

          Things I would not do again:

           

          1.Worry so much about the opinions of others.  Knowing that it was a destination wedding and that some would object, I did everything possible to cater to my guests (including in choosing my wedding hotel). I love the hotel we ended up choosing, but along the way I realized that the people who were attending would attend regardless (and that $100 wasn't going to make or break the decision). It's impossible to please everyone.

           

          I will let you know if I can think of anything else to add.



          #706 MJKH

          MJKH
          • Site Supporter
          • 654 posts

            Posted 15 May 2012 - 11:45 AM

            Yaaaay kellygrrrl...welcome back! Can't wait to see more of your photos : )

             

            Yeah, I don't know...is there a word stronger than "entertaining" to describe what the wedding week is like??? We joke that at times it felt like we were taking 32 four-year olds on a week-long field trip!!! None of our guests had been to Mexico before and we really had no idea what it was going to be like to be holiday-ing together...who would hang out and the beach/pool and who would want to get off the resort during the day. I wish we had more time together...like just to make sand castles on the beach with my niece and nephews or whatever...but when I think back to what we could have done differently, I don't know HOW we could have even made time for more of that!!! 

             

            But you are absolutely right...do EVERYTHING you can before you leave that is important...cards, letters, notes, speeches, ceremony script, etc. as it is so hard to get time to focus on stuff like that when you get to the resort!!!



            #707 katman

            katman
            • Jr. Member
            • 170 posts

              Posted 15 May 2012 - 12:01 PM

              MJKH, I love the tip about taking pictures of the scenery....I mean, that's part of most peoples reason for a DW anyway, so why not make a point of highlighting it in your photo albums!? Especially for use as transition pieces and simply to draw attention to the beauty of your destination!
              Thanks for this wonderful tip :)

               

              Originally Posted by MJKH 

              Hey Denielle! Congratulations!!! Those are some great tips to share with brides still in the planning process. I'm totally with you and the AHR thing as well...the LAST thing I felt like doing when we got back from Mexico was getting back into wedding mode...our AHR is this coming weekend and I wish we had just kept it simple, like a bbq in my parent's backyard or something. Oh, and plus, we ended up moving the date for the AHR up one week to appease certain people, which means the engraved information on our cake knife (which we had done for both events before we left for Mexico) is wrong!!! : (  

               

              Ughhhhh....

               

              I did have a thought to add to my "what to do again" list. Not that I asked for it specifically (I think most photographers do it), but I love that we have pics of the grounds, waves, sand, rocks, vegetation, close ups of flowers, etc. with no one in them. They came in really handy while we've been working on our wedding photobooks and our slide show...to serve as visual transitions from one event (me getting ready) to another (my FI getting ready)...or to break up/accentuate certain photos. We used every single one our photographer sent us...of palms, flowers, the ocean, the resort as a backdrop, etc. It certainly wouldn't hurt to mention to your photographer that you'd like to have these kinds of shots in your portfolio to work with. For example, in our photobook, I did a full page of these photos side by side and it looks awesome!

               

              734_0464_3.jpg

               

              734_0449.jpg



              #708 katman

              katman
              • Jr. Member
              • 170 posts

                Posted 15 May 2012 - 12:03 PM

                This is such a cute idea!! How did you collect everyones songs beforehand? Just through word of mouth or did you include a section for this on your website/RSVP card?

                 

                 

                Originally Posted by deniden 

                So, I'm back from my wedding and honeymoon and have had some time to gather my thoughts.

                 

                What I Would Do Again
                 

                10. Cocktail Hour - for cocktail hour, I made an iPod playlist of all of the couples' wedding songs who were in attendance, what a hit!

                 

                 

                Denielle



                #709 deniden

                deniden
                • Site Supporter
                • 355 posts
                • Wedding Date:April 20, 2012
                • Wedding Location:The Royal Playa del Carmen

                Posted 15 May 2012 - 04:34 PM

                Originally Posted by katman 

                This is such a cute idea!! How did you collect everyones songs beforehand? Just through word of mouth or did you include a section for this on your website/RSVP card?

                 

                 

                 

                We had a Facebook group, so the ones I didn't know, I asked there or asked them via text message.



                #710 katman

                katman
                • Jr. Member
                • 170 posts

                  Posted 16 May 2012 - 05:58 PM

                  Facebook! Of course....the answer to all life problems! lol Thanks for the tip :)

                   

                  Originally Posted by deniden 

                   

                  We had a Facebook group, so the ones I didn't know, I asked there or asked them via text message.






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