Okay brides, I am going to try to give you my review. I am going to try to talk about different things than the other brides reviews so that you can get another review. First of all, let me tell all of you to stop sweating the small stuff -I did not believe the other brides that said the same thing but it is so true! After the first day, I totally relaxed and everything worked out perfect and even better than I imagined.
So by now, we all know that you meet with Pilar or Ana when you. get there and we set everything in detail. Pilar was Awesome! We sat together and put together a model of the table decorations that I brought and she even had more ideas and finishing touches that I had not even thought of. I ended up changing my reception location from the Bamboo room to Castaways. Don't worry, the Bamboo room is beautiful and great location but I decided to change it for two reasons: I felt like the bamboo room was actually too much like a wedding reception room that I could have gotten at home and I really liked the outside/open feel of Castaways. the other reason was that I have big drinkers in my family and it is so close to the Blue Bar that I feared that if we did not get the service quick enough from the waiters that my guests would end up hanging at the blue bar (I actually saw that happen to one wedding and there was only about 5 people dancing in the bamboo room and the rest of the brides party was at the bar). I liked Castaways because you had the servers for the wedding or if you wanted a drink fast, there is a bar right there too. Once I post some pics of all the dancing that went on, you will see how much fun we like to having dancing and why it was a concern for me.
The ceremony was perfect. I had mine on the Pergola and I loved that you could see and hear the ocean in the background. My only advice on that would be to review with the WC and/or your father about when he gives you away. I am the first daughter in my family to get married so we did not know really what to do. and Pilar told my FI to stand on the wrong side so there was a shuffle there between me and FI and I ended up just standing on the wrong side during the ceremony....not sure if he misunderstood or what but oh well. Oh and I wore a veil and the wind had it blowing in my face and all around -totally annoying and I do not recommend it if you are on the Pergola or the beach (unless you could do the small half face one..it prob wouldn't move). And Tiffany's video showed that her veil was perfect at the garden location so I guess it depends on where you are.
The cocktail hour was at the Blue Beach bar. I missed most of it getting pictures taken. Two complaints about it: one -I believe that the wedding book said that the appetizers feed 7-8 pieces per person between the 4 apps that you choose. I had 31 adults and the since so many of us were doing pics during this period, I did not order any extra apps besides the 25 people that come with the package thinking it would be fine. My mom was upset because each person only got about 2-4 pieces each so they were hungry. the 2nd complaint was really about the photgrapher I guess, the pics too so long that it extended the cocktail hour for about 3 hrs and without enough apps, people were getting ansy. The bartender at the beach bar is great and we were able to hook up our Ipod to the bar speakers so that was nice to not have to pay extra for music.
About the decorations: I got all 36 vases down there unharmed and I think only 4 broke during the set-up/breakdown. I left all of them there for any of you guys to use so you don't have to cart them. I am not sure which 4 broke but I originally had 12 vases that were 9 inches tall (cylinder with a small lip on the top), 12 vases that were 7 inches tall (tall cylinder and slimmer) and 12 vases that were 4 inches (looked like a juice glass). You might be able to see them in some of the pictures. I had wrapped some of them in eyelet fabric and placed candles in those ones. The other ones I had water in with starfish and gems on the bottom with waterproof lights to illuminate them -those were the best and came out great. The fabric that I put on the other ones are on there with double sided sticky tape so it can be easily removed for future use. By far the crystal curtains were the stars of the show! I was feeling guilty bring that huge box down there and spending all that money but in the restaurant, they flowed in the breeze and sparkled and shimmered. Castaways have sort of a "water/fish" theme and the curtains looked like sparkle seaweed or something. It was awesome!.
We had the divine package and the entrees were good. the tuna was a bit over cooked but still tasted good. my FI order the beef carpacio for the first course and I am not sure what it normally is like but it was not very good and most people did not eat it. 2nd course was the raviolis and it was with a pesto sauce which scared me at first by the green color but it was really good. The package comes with a dessert which I don't think anybody ate. I would suggest seeing if you could substitute a salad or something instead of the dessert because you have the cake anyways... The cake was pretty, I had emailed pictures of the styles that I liked to Pilar and it was simple and pretty. The taste on the other hand is only ok -definitely not something that I would have ordered at home but I didn't really care about it.
The DJ was great! I gave him a play list before we got there and I brought an extra one with us -which we needed and gave to him the day before. The DJ contacted us the day before we left to set up a meeting to discuss. We had some flight difficulties so we missed the first appt and I was busy so I sent my FI to meet with him and everything was great. He did not play all of the songs that we listed but I was more trying to get an idea for him of the types of music that I wanted which he totally got spot on. They also have lights that they use so it gave the dance party a different feel. We had an MC that announced us, the wedding party, first dances, speeches, cake cutting etc. Pilar gave us an extra DJ hour for free so we danced the night away.
The photgraphers: I used an outside photographer, Octavio Montales for the wedding and used the resort photographer for my welcome dinner. I was definitly impressed with the resort photographer and the quality of his work. Tiffany also posted her pictures of the wedding and I think that she used the same guy and hers came out great! Don't be nervous about using the resort photographer if you don't have the money to an outside photographer. My photographer was great and I like almost all of the pictures. The only thing that was hard for me was that it took so long for all the pictures to be taken. we were so sick of pictures that by the end, you could see that our smiles were fake and that we were no longer into it. Because it was February and daylight was not as long, he had to use special lighting to make some of the pics work and I was totally impressed by his knowledge and the pictures during that time. We ended up with over 400 pictures on a CD to take home which is great because we have the rights and can print them out anywhere.
Oh, the videographer was great! It really captures the moment and the ceremony and the feeling even better than the pictures and actually the disk is my current favorite. I will post the video and some pics soon. Let me know what questions that you have for me...