Married in Cabo last weekend!!! long review
Posted 23 January 2010 - 01:24 PM
January 16, 2010
Wedding in Cabo San Lucas
I guess it is time to introduce myselfâ€”since I spent the last six months (quietly) reading the message boards from brides and brides-to-be on this forum, getting helpful hints as I put together a destination wedding for my daughter and her fiancÃ©eâ€”who are now--as of one week-- husband and wife!!
My daughter is a school principal (with over 800 kids) and is so busy with students, teachers and every-day school issues, that she did not have time to participate in this part of the process. I am an experienced party planner (including--drum roll, please--a sensational wedding overlooking the Pacific in La Jolla, for another daughter, only 8 months ago!) so it was a happy and comfortable division of labor for both of us, since both A&J (the bridal couple) were happy for me to make these decisions.
With that brief intro, I am thrilled to be able to give the highest praise and compliment our outstanding vendorsâ€”and even though we havenâ€™t received any professional photos or videos at this time (the wedding was only last weekend!) I do not want to delay our positive feedback, if it helps others in making important decisions.
As you may have gathered, I enjoy the creative process of putting together an event with my own visionâ€¦so first I needed to find a coordinator who was easy to work with, was enthusiastic and talentedâ€”and who was OK with me making the executive decisions. I needed someone to help me navigate the unknown, because although I am familiar with Cabo from many visits, I did not have experience in event planning long-distance. Most of all, I wanted someone to allow me to enjoy the wedding celebration as Mother-of-the-Bride, without any worry of being â€œon call.â€ I found Mandy Clough (via this forum) to fit the bill.
Everything came together beautifully--she was lovely when we met for the first time, at our site visit in November (*she had been hired immediately after our email correspondence in July) and we ran around together for tastings (with A&J) and for meeting vendors. I was also happy with our working relationship when we returned for the week of the wedding, and she helped me finalize the details that needed to be put into place. I know it must have been a challenge for her not to be in charge of coordinating the wedding decisions, but she was gracious in allowing me that honor.
(*I do need to mention one minor distractionâ€”I was not always able to reach her as quickly for answersâ€”her cell phone and computer are older and not up-to-speed in our high-tech world, but when she would eventually receive my message, she would contact me and the follow-up was good.) So, Mandy was an excellent choice--and although I didnâ€™t really stop worrying about every detail (it is my nature!) I was able to have fun once the ceremony began and thoroughly enjoy the celebration.
Our venue, the Sunset da Mona Lisa (a buyout) was selected last summerâ€¦right after the couple made the decision to have a destination wedding. My husband and I had eaten dinner at this beautiful restaurant on an earlier visit to Caboâ€”even before A &J were engaged--and we both knew that this would be the ultimate setting for a destination weddingâ€”if any of our 4 daughters would prefer this style. After the engagement was official, A&J both trusted our excitement and enthusiastic raves to book the location, sight unseen, except by website. They were not disappointed. Sunset da Mona Lisa is ABSOLUTELY SPECTACULAR in every way!
David was the new catering manager in charge of events (he replaced Emma, who left in November, after working at SML for many years.) You can imagine my surprise, 2 months before the wedding when Emma called to tell me about the change. It was very sweet of her to make that personal callâ€”and when we did eventually meet during our site visit with A&J--she even offered to be there for the wedding if I felt that I needed her support. But after the baton was handed to David, and we started going over our plansâ€”I knew that all was going to work out well. David was extraordinary in helping the details come together, and making sure we were delighted with every decision. He was easy to reach, immediate in his responses, caring in his decisions, and very respectful of my choices. A++ for wedding site AND for catering managementâ€¦prior and current! Plus our menu was AMAZING and the food deliciousâ€”we received so many compliments.
We also knew Mi Casa (a place we always enjoy) was the perfect spot for our rehearsal dinnerâ€”as it is tried and true. Colorful and festive, with walls covered in folk art, this Mexican restaurant was a super fun place to meet and greet our 60(!!) guests. Food was served family style--with raves--incredible margaritaâ€™s that really packed a punch, plus a mariachi band that added so much to the evening. A terrific video presentation with music (put together by A&J) was shown on their wide screen. Perfecto!
I needed to select a photographer immediately, and I knew that there are so MANY fantastic professionals in this area. I had appointments to meet several of these noted photographers during our site visitâ€”and they all seem to be very talented and quite knowledgeable. My first meeting when I arrived from the airport was with Dino Gomez, as he was heading to the airport to shoot a wedding in Cancun. I immediately liked his personality and I liked his artistic style. Five interviews later with other outstanding photographers, Dino was still my first choice. And although it is too soon to have any proof (literally and figuratively)â€”I have no doubt we will be thrilled with the results. He has a warm personality and he seemed to be everywhere. I selected a plan that offers â€œunlimitedâ€ coverage for 2 eventsâ€”and he met us at Mi Casa as wellâ€”what a nice option. Once we have photos in hand, I can certainly update my summary, but without a doubt, Dino is on my A++ list! He is professional and wonderful to work with (and that was before I saw his amazing photo shoot for Cosmopolitan!)
Dino also helped me select 2 other vendors (when I asked if he had referrals for me)â€”2 of his good friends working in special eventsâ€”Lola, owner and fabulous floral designer from Florenta and DJ Ricardo. Both were outstanding and added significantly to the wedding celebration.
Lola is very sweet, very artistic and really talented. Even though I knew exactly what I wanted, it doesnâ€™t always translate into the finished product, especially when you are in another country and speaking another language. Lola created EXACTLY what I wanted, with her own flair--and she was a delight to work with. The vibrant colors for bouquets, the flower girl basket and ceremony arrangements were perfect, even floating flowers in the water added so much to the beauty and drama of the day. Lola always emailed immediately, asked questions when she wasnâ€™t sure of what I wanted (my artistic background makes me very specific about things that I do and do not want) and I was absolutely delighted with everything she created. A++
DJ Ricardo is another wonderful vendor we hired via Dinoâ€™s referral (and of course, this forum.) He has worked in music for 25 yearsâ€”you can tell it is his passion, not just a sideline. He KNOWS music intimately and has his own extensive library of vinyl recordings (reminded me of the movie, High Fidelity, where music was the absolute source of the main actors true happiness.) We met him, along with his lovely wife (who works with him) 3 days before the wedding, after we had sent our specified list of songs the prior week. I was a bit nervous, since most of my events are with live bandsâ€”and working with a DJ was new for me. He listened carefully to our requests, and knowing we all had different styles of music that we wanted, as well as songs we did NOT want-- somehow he managed to make us happy. The party was absolutely energized by his styleâ€”many, many compliments from everyone, highlighted by non-stop dancing the entire evening. DJ Ricardo was a delightful person to work with, he also set up the AV for the ceremony--and it was obvious that he wanted us to enjoy the celebrationâ€”and we did! A++
We had another terrific vendorâ€”Leonardo, who normally works with Angel Zapienâ€”however Angel was already booked for another event. Since I really wanted the high quality and artistic style of this studio, I met Leonardo during our site visit, and then hired him right away as our premier videographer. I could tell he was artistic, and I also knew that he must be very talented if he worked directly with Angel. Best of all, Leonardo was thrilled to be involved in our creative endeavor, and very eager to have this opportunity. Again, it is too early to have any of the footage, but I am certain that the video will be wonderful! Somehow, the artistic name of Leonardo, who works with Angel and had an assistant for the evening named Jesus assures me that we were in good hands--another A+ vendor for our dream team.
There is still another professional who was a delight to work with--who added so much to the ceremony and cocktail hour--David Flores, on classical guitar. David sent us a list of songs (all classical titles we were not familiar with by name) and I dutifully listened to everything on YouTube, trying to match the music with the title. There were several nice selections, but not necessarily what we (thought) we wanted. I asked David to bring his guitar for our first meetingâ€”only 3 days before the wedding, and suddenly, as he strummed his guitar-- everything came together. We listened to the selections I had highlighted on my list, and we quickly found the perfect music for each part of the ceremony, and his natural talent added depth and excitement to the cocktail hour. David is a wonderful musician, a very lovely person, and very, very humble. Another A+.
We used Neysa Berman from Blanc Salon for hair and make-up. Neysa came to our villa with one assistant who was nice, but Neysa was definitely the VIP in both make-up and hairstyling. Since we were not interested in up-doâ€™s or fancy curls, and the wedding site was windy, we could have eliminated hairstyles completely for the wedding party (and saved a lot of money). Nevertheless, Neysa worked diligently (from 8am-1pm) to make us appear glamorous for the wedding. (Hopefully, the photos and videos will confirm this!) For me, make-up was the real plus, and our hairstyles seemed to hold fairly well throughout the evening.
I do want to mention that my daughter organized transportation shuttles for most of our events, since we had guests staying in many different hotels in Cabo San Lucas and the Corridor. She hired Brownâ€™s Private Services (a name I found on this board) and the company put together a transportation schedule with specific times and locations for guest pick up and return, and they were absolutely terrific! This service really made a big impression on everyone: the shuttles were clean, drivers were considerate, and they were always on time. Transportation added so much to the weekend, and I was very glad this was arranged. A++
We offered a Welcome Fiesta at our villas @ Esperanza on Friday afternoon, BEFORE the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, and also a no-host golf@Palmilla, early Saturday morning, with the father of the brideâ€”before the wedding at sunset!
I also want to mention our very capable â€œday afterâ€ vendors:
Martha @7Seas Restaurant (Cabo Surf Hotel) was fabulous to work with for our Sunday brunchâ€”good email response at all times, not only was the buffet delicious, she provided beautiful floral centerpieces, as a lovely surpriseâ€¦and 7Seas Restaurant is fun spot, under a Palapa roof, facing the water. Martha was terrific.
Nicole@Palmilla Tennis Club was also very sweet, very efficient and always good with follow-up email. We reserved 3 courts at this very lovely tennis club for a Sunday afternoon Round Robin (the bride and groom are avid players, and actually met at a Mixed Doubles match!) and it was wonderful.
Yolanda@ Pez Gato was my contact person in securing our Sunset Cruise for our final event. She always returned emails promptly, was helpful in many waysâ€”and very good on follow-through.
Well, that is just about everyone who helped create our sensational weekend wedding celebration! I figured it was payback time, since I really did pick up some good tips from this forum and I wanted to be helpful, as well.
Good luck to everyone with wedding decisions--Cabo is indeed a spectacular wedding destination. For my family, it was absolutely magical--with picture-perfect weather and a never-to be forgotten wedding celebration at sunset.
But now it is time for me to get some rest.
Mandy Clough firstname.lastname@example.org
David, Sunset da Mona Lisa email@example.com
DJ Ricardo firstname.lastname@example.org
David Flores, Guitar email@example.com
Lola, Florist firstname.lastname@example.org
Neysa Berman, Blanc Salon email@example.com
Dino Gomez, photographer firstname.lastname@example.org
Leonardo, videographer email@example.com
Martha, 7Seas Restaurant, brunch Martha@cabosurfhotel.com
Pez Gato Sailing Sunset Cruises with Pez Gato
Brownâ€™s Private Services www.brownsprivateservices
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