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

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This thread is soooo helpful! I'm so glad that I came across it and I feel really good about the decisions I've made and things I'm going to change! Thank you so much to every bride that's posted! Keep them comin, I want to hear more!

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Originally Posted by MJKH View Post


Yes...I sure do!!!


Things I would do again (besides marrying my best friend and true love!):


1) Stay a second week at the resort on our own.  

OHHHH YES, DO IT!!!  That first week with everyone was so busy...if I had had to leave with everyone else I would have been miserable.  Honestly, that first week was no holiday for me! 


2) Get a bit of a "base" before I left for the tropics.

I had never tried a tanning bed before, but after seeing a friend's wedding pics (she's fair like me...and had some bad tan lines which I also knew I had...eeeep...no thanks!!!) I decided it was time to try it out.  I started three months before the wedding...didn't do it to "tan" but just to get a hint of colour and even everything out.  It was slow and controlled...never a burn...just 2 or 3 times a week.  No one ever commented before I left or asked "have you been tanning???" which was good.  I got a tiny bit more colour before the wedding when we were on the resort, but I'm super happy with my skin colour (i.e., lack of tan lines in my strapless dress!) in our photos.  


3) Beg my FI and his daughter to NOT get sunburned before the wedding.  They listened...enough said.


4) Hand out the wedding week survival (OOT) bags ahead of time, but save a few special things to give out at the resort.  We had so much stuff to take with us, there was NO WAY I was dragging all of that other stuff down.



5) Use 3 large (72L) Rubbermaid containers (sealed well with packing tape!) to transport our wedding stuff down to Mexico.  The airline didn't charge us for the excess luggage...the totes were super sturdy and cheap ($3.99 on sale) and we just left them behind.


6) Arrive at the airport well before everyone else (almost 3 hours) to get rid of all the luggage and be free and breezy to greet and help our guests as they arrived!


7) My FI was happy that we spent a bit of extra money for private vans (USA Transfers) to transfer us from the airport to the resort, rather than using the transfers included with our Sunquest packages.  We got to the resort quickly and didn't have to make X-number of stops on the way down to drop people off at other resorts.


8) Have a Mexican trio or Mariachi play during the cocktail hour when we returned from our photos. One of our favourite memories of the wedding day is making our way back to the reception after photos and finding three large Mexican men all dressed up, getting out of their 20 year old white Chrysler sedan in the parking lot, straightening themselves out and putting on their hats.  They actually played us back on to the beach...their timing was perfect!!!  It was sooooo fun and festive!!!


9) We decided, at our photographer's encouragement, to see each other before the wedding and take photos.  That was, HANDS DOWN, the best moment of the entire day...it was just us and the photographers.  I can tell you all that if it was up to us, we would have just eloped...we wanted to be married but we didn't want to have a wedding.  In the end, we had this wedding for our parents.  But...when we were alone to see each other for the first time...that moment was just for us...it was so emotional and spectacular!  I can't wait to see the photos : )


10) NOT wear a veil!  It was quite windy the day of the wedding and that thing would have been whipping everyone in the face had I worn it.  I did have a really inexpensive one that we used for the TTD the next morning.


Things I wouldn't do again:


1) Order maracas from a certain etsy seller.  That was a waste of $300.  They're still in my basement...smudged, wrong colour...soon to be thrown in the garbage.  Order from Amols!!!  The same maracas on Amols were available in Playa del Carmen, but were really roughed up in these huge baskets the shops keep them in and customers rummage through.  Amols has excellent customer service...one of my biggest regrets was not ordering through them.


2) Stress about what people think/do/say...I actually had certain people (who shall remain nameless) e-mailing news reports to my parents about things happening in Mexico (two thousand kilometers away from the resort that we would all be staying at).  Shame on them!  I wish I had had the guts to say, "If you have hang ups about your own personal safety, and your desire to never travel to X, keep it to yourself.  Don't ruin this experience for the rest of us!!!"  I am happy to report that all 32 of our guests left Mexico LOVING it and wishing they could have stayed the second week with us! 


3) Not sit with my FI on the flight down.  Yes, if you can believe it, the airline actually had us sitting 7 rows apart and the flight was totally full.  Saaaaad...I felt like an idiot when the flight attendant announced "So, where are our brides and grooms to be?  Hands up!!!" and the two of us weren't sitting together.


Things I wish I had done:


1) Spent time at Sephora (or a major department store) finding my perfect wedding lip colour.  The girl that did my makeup didn't have a whole lot of options and we had to try 4 different colours before I found one that I kinda liked.  But then I didn't have it for re-applying the rest of the day!!!  I also wish I would have asked the girl if I could have applied my own mascara.  I'm SUPER picky about my mascara and I HATE when it's clumpy (which it was...so I had to waste time working it out).  Actually, I wish I had done a hair and makeup trial at the resort spa before the wedding...I think it would have been money well spent, especially when "glamour/updos/etc" is not my day to day look!


2) We hired Elizabeth Medina to take our photos for 8 hours on the wedding day and for a TTD the next morning.  I only wish we had asked Elizabeth to shoot for 10 hours the day of the wedding and start earlier.  As hard as I tried for the day not to feel rushed, it did...and I think more time with a photographer before the ceremony would have helped that.


3) Get after the DJ to JUST play our playlist that we had spent hours compiling on our iPad (as it was I had to get after him twice!).  Instead, he chose some HORRIBLE tunes and seemed to lack the intelligence/intuition that a DJ requires to look out at the dance floor and say to himself, "Huhhh, well that song isn't really working for anyone!".  We should have sent him home and just played tunes off our iPad.


4) Trusted my gut more...when I did, things worked out great!  When I left it to someone else, notsomuch!!!  


5) Taken time one night before leaving for Mexico when I was by myself to compose a really nice letter to my husband to be.  But I ran short on time and had to write him a sweet little note instead.  It's amazing how people and events eat up your time once you get to the resort!


6) Hopped on to BDW earlier to see all of the amazing resorts in the Riviera Maya and read all of the reviews before making a decision...we likely would have chosen another resort rather than going back to a resort we had already been to.


Here's hoping these little tidbits will help some of you out with your destination wedding!








I have question about your rubbermaid containers, What Airline did you fly?  And did they open your containers to search them??

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Hi - we flew with Westjet and used roughly the 72L (no name, non see-thru) containers that often go on sale for dirt cheap at Home Depot...like around $4 - 5, making sure that the dimensions of the bins did not exceed the maximum dimensions allowed for luggage/suitcases. We called the airline twice to confirm that these bins would be allowed and that it was okay for us to tape them shut. We fully expected to have to pay excess baggage costs, but lucked out with our airline and didn't have to pay. We were asked to take the bins to the screening area where oversize/odd size baggage is screened next to the ticket counter. The customs agent did not open any of the bins, just pointed to an area on the x-ray for confirmation of what was at the bottom of one of the bins (tins of nuts). When he heard that, he sent them thru. Had the bins been opened by customs/security, we probably would have regretted not having a roll of packing tape in our carry-on luggage to seal them up again.


When we arrived in Mexico and our bags went thru the x-ray machine again in Cancun, the customs official flagged the same bin and this time insisted that it be opened to examine what was at the bottom. No big deal, we just quickly repacked it and we were on our way. That was our experience...

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I just got married in October at the Paradisus Palma Real in Punta Cana and here is my list. :-)


Some things I would do again:


1. Hire the vendors that I did.  Allurements by Rebecca, HDC photo, and DJ Mannia were all amazing.  I have no regrets with any of them.


2. Get down there a day before everyone and stay for a week after everyone leaves.  We flew down on a Tuesday (the wedding was on Saturday). Some of our guests flew in Wednesday and everyone else flew in Thursday.  I was SO happy that we decided to do this.  It was a little busy just unpacking all of our stuff, getting a feel for the resort (its HUGE) and meeting with our wedding planner before everyone got there.  It takes a day to get settled plus you are exhausted from traveling - we were all finally relaxed and able to enjoy everyone once they started showing up.  My sister (MOH) flew in Tuesday  night and she helped us put all the welcome bags together.  We then met everyone at the lobby when they arrived and passed them out, this was a nice touch and some people think its a pain to go back and forth to the lobby but trust me, you are so excited to see everyone you won't mind.  All of our guests including us stayed in the Reserve Section of the hotel for a week.  A lot of our family stayed for a week so after everyone left we went to the Royal Service section for another week for our honeymoon.  We ended up staying for there for 2 weeks total and we definitely needed the week after to recover! You are SO tired by the time everyone leaves that you need the week to yourself.  This is a long time to take off work, and a little more money but it's your wedding and definitely the best thing we did.


4. Write our own vows.  We got so many complements on this and it was such a nice touch.


3. Relax and enjoy! We really had the best time, there were a few small issues but we just enjoyed ourselves, our friends and family had so much fun and that is the most important thing.


Some things I wouldn't do again.

1. If you are getting married in October, I would get married around 4:00pm.  The sunset is beautiful at that time of the day.  We got married at 6:00pm thinking it would give people time to enjoy the beach all day and had to push our wedding back to 5:30pm b/c it ended up getting dark at 6pm.  By the time the ceremony was over it was too dark to take pictures on the beach.  Luckily we did a TTD session a few days later but if we didn't we would have no pictures on the beach.


2.  Schedule an early hair appointment.  My appointment was at 2:00pm for a 5:30 ceremony, i was so rushed!! I thought I would like to go to the beach all day but I was too ancy and couldn't sit still.  I wish I had my appointment earlier b/c she took 1.5 hrs to do my hair (they're all on island time)... I felt a little rushed when I got back to my room and showed up at the ceremony at 5:35pm.


3. Ladies - wear your hair up!!! This is my biggest regret, trust me, I HATE my hair up but it's soooooo hot down there. I wore my hair down and by the time the ceremony is over I was a sweaty mess and my hair looked awful.  Plus it's a little windy on the beach.  You can always wear your hair down for the TTD pictures..  My hair was in a ponytail by the end of the night.


4. It is SO hot down there, all of our guests had to go back to their rooms and changed bc they sweated through their clothes.  I don't regret having the reception outside, but this is something to think about, might want to have it inside where there is AC.


The Paradisus Palma Real was amazing, I would definitely get married there again!!! 

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