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Puerto Vallarta wedding review

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Hi ladies,


I thought I'd write a little review of my wedding so future brides can get some other ideas with planning their weddings. :) I'm mainly writing this review for brides who are on a tight budget and want a something a little bit different from other destination weddings. :)


We experienced some snags at both the ceremony and reception, but in the end, everyone had a really amazing time. I didn't want a wedding at a hotel, so we found a great restaurant on the beach just blocks from the church that turned out to be beautiful and affordable.


We got married at Our Lady of Guadalupe, which is downtown. Father Esteban Salazar Gonzalez, who is bilingual, married us and the ceremony was bilingual. I was pretty nervous about the logistics of it all, because my fiance was the one who communicated with the church (in Spanish) months preceding the wedding, and he didn't know exactly how everything would be either, but it was beautiful. The fee was $150 USD for organ music and a full mass.


For makeup, I went to Facetas Agencia, a modeling agency. They're located in Colinia Versalles, address is Milan 285 (Facetas :: Modelos • Escuela • Marketing :: Agencia Lider en Puerto Vallarta) Mari Trini did my makeup, but I don't remember the girl's name who did my hair. They both did a beautiful job! My mom & aunt also had their hair & makeup done, and they were both very happy with the results. :) The makeup felt light, and it lasted all day (appointment was at 10 am, ceremony was at 2 pm, and the reception ended at 11 pm). Mari Trini doesn't speak English, but the hair girl did a little bit. They were extremely nice,and very professional. The price was really affordable (800 pesos for hair + makeup, per person). With me being Filipino, I wasn't sure how the makeup and hair would look, but they did a really amazing job. :) They often work with international clients, so they really know what they're doing. :) I checked about 6 other places before I decided to go with them, and Mari Trini regularly works with my photographer.


Speaking of the photographer, the photography was done by Photo Shoots Vallarta, a bother and sister team from Latvia who live and work in Puerto Vallarta. Toms Cirksis, my photographer, photographed for 6 hours (2 hrs at the church, and then 4 hrs at the reception, with a 2 hr break in between), and did a beautiful job! He and his sister Eva Sica speak English, Spanish (Eva speaks & writes Spanish, and Toms can understand some Spanish), Russian, and Latvian. Their portfolio is here: Photo Shoots in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and you can view some of our wedding pictures under the folder "Nelma and Rene Boda." To view the photos, put the mouse over to the right-hand side of the picture, and then click the arrow to view the next slide. Their price was extremely reasonable (less than 7000 pesos for digital copies, and they have other packages with different hour coverage and for prints so contact them for rates).


Flowers were done by Frissia, which I decided to use based on this forum. We purchased 2 bouquets, 1 boutonniere, 1 dozen red roses, 1 dozen white roses, and 3 decorated flower baskets, and the total cost was 1330 pesos. I don't know if they were the most affordable or not, because I didn't have time to visit other florists, but if you search for them here, there are a lot of good reviews. We just took the bus to the mercado, asked someone where the florist was, took a look at their photo album of past bouquets, made the order, and had them deliver everything to our hotel by 12 pm for the day of the wedding. We did this 2 days before the wedding, and everything worked out great! They're info is:

Mercado Palmar De Aramara Local 83

Col. Palmar De Aramara

C.P. 48314, Puerto Vallarta,

Teléfono: (322)225-3221, (322)227-831


I didn't have the church or reception site decorated with flowers, because they are just beautiful as they originally are.


The reception was at Amapa Sunset Beach Club (main). My husband communicated with Lilibeth months before the wedding, but the person who helped us the day of the wedding was one of the managers, Carla. She speaks English, and did a fabulous job. The owners of the restaurant also happened to be there, and we had a nice time talking to them during the reception. Most taxi drivers don't know where Amapa Sunset is located, but if you tell them it's at the Hotel Emperador, next to La Palapa, they will know where to take you. The restaurant has seating half on the beach and half "indoors," in a patio-type setting. It was just beautiful, and they were very accommodating with our budget, and even helped us change the menu & drinks option after 20 extra people (we had invited but didn't know were coming) actually came!


No one really likes to talk about this taboo money subject, but here's the thing - if you don't know what your options are, it makes it really hard to plan for a wedding. We had 109 people, the reception was from 6 pm to 11 pm, they served chicken, fish, beef, and hamburgers and unlimited beer for 4 hours, handled all of the busing of the tables, and seated all of our guests according to their assigned tables, and the total cost was around 60000-70000 pesos. They did a really fantastic job!


Bakery... hmm... well, this is where one of the many bad things that happened comes in with our wedding story. I counted at least 12 things that went wrong with our wedding, where months of planning for things didn't happen, so just remember - even when your wedding ends up being the one that you didn't originally plan for, make the best of it anyway! No one will know what you planned for (if you don't have a printed program haha), so they will just go with the flow anyway. :) The day after the wedding, my husband and I were laughing about all the things that went wrong, but in the moment, it was a really stressful day for us (and only us! the guests had a blast!).


Okay, so back to the bakery... I was communicating with Charme Reposteria about making Mexican wedding cookies, and the last email I sent them was about 3 weeks before the wedding. They were going to have us stop by a few days before the wedding to do a taste test, and then we were going to make the order. We arrived at the address... but it was a furniture store! The guy there looked at us funny and said he had been there since February. Thankfully, Pie in the Sky was just a block or two away, and we talked to them, and looked at their photo album. They said they were the only bakery in that area (downtown), and that Charme wasn't there anymore but they didn't know if they moved or not. They gave us a phone number for their wedding coordinator, and said since we were only 3 days before the wedding, they would probably charge a little more.


Hmm... we didn't know what to do, so we just grabbed lunch and took a bus back to our hotel. The next day, we were taking a walk and came across a bakery just 2 blocks from our hotel! We went inside and explained our dilemma, but they said they had not heard about Charme closing, so now I wonder if maybe they just moved without updating their website. Anyway, we ordered 100 cookies, 50 yellow cake cupcakes and 50 chocolate cupcakes with pink frosting. The total came to 1800 pesos, and we decided that we would pick up the cookies the next day (1 day before the wedding so that I could set them up as part of the escort cards) and have the cupcakes delivered to the reception site. Everything worked out! The cookies ended up being like shortbread cookies with white sugar, and the guests loved them even though they weren't what I originally was expecting to receive (Mexican wedding cookies). The cupcakes were delicious and moist. :)


As for entertainment, we had (unexpectedly) a lot of that. :) My husband was communicating with 1 mariachi group (we were walking along the Malecon one day, and he just asked a guitar player if he knew any mariachis), but somehow we ended up with 2 AND a trio group. When the first trio showed up, we didn't really think anything of it, but some of our guests ended up paying for songs, about $5 USD each (I think the group was there for 20-30 minutes). Then, the first mariachi group came and we started to dance... but then, 15 minutes later, the REAL mariachi group we hired came and money had to be handled. smile03.gif In the end, it worked out and the 2nd real mariachi group was really great, and the 1st one left happily with some extra money in their pockets.


As for other entertainment... this is where it gets pretty funny. A group of guys threw my husband in the air a few times, and then they ended up throwing him in the water. I got thrown in the air a few times (at first I resisted, because I thought they were throwing me in the water! but then they told me there were just going to throw me in the air)... but then my husband picked me up and walked me into the water! The bottom of my dress got wet and sandy, but oh well - that's what the cleaners are for. wink.gif


As I mentioned earlier, we had a lot of mishaps, but there were quite a few perfect things that occurred, the most important one being that we got married. :) Originally, I wanted just a nice event for friends and family to enjoy themselves and reunite with each other, and when we started making specific plans on how and where and when to do things, it started feeling like it would end up being "just another beach wedding." But what it ended up being was a really different, memorable, and (most important for me), reasonably priced wedding. Our original budget was $10K, and that's about what we spent.


Oh, and finally - my dress. I contacted a Chinese dressmaker on eBay (yes, I'm one of those types of budget brides!), and even though there is a lot of hesitation with these types of dresses, mine came out extremely close to the inspiration dress. I emailed her my measurements and a photo of the dress I wanted, and her total price was under $200 USD, and it arrived in 5 weeks. The dress didn't fit exactly right, so I had some alterations done. Overall, it was under $300 for a customized dress, which I think is really great. I was never one of those girls who grew up dreaming and planning for her wedding, so the dress was never a big deal to me. I never wanted to spend more than $350 on a dress I would only wear a few hours, and now that it's had a lot of fun in the ocean, I'm really glad I didn't spend a lot on it! :) I had a lot of compliments on the dress. :)


Thanks for reading, and I hope you all have as much fun with your wedding as I did with mine. :) Feel free to contact me if you have any questions!


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Beautiful review .... three "local" notes .... Frissia does a great job of flowers - but if you want something that has to be ordered (like orchids or peonies) they probably won't be able to do what it is you want on such short notice.


Two - Charme DID relocate and are not in that area anymore and, honestly, I'm pretty sure both of those bakeries know it. It's a small town, we all know each other. Most of us are friends and friendly. But I'm pretty sure there was no way they were going to give up your businesses (and/or the people working there hadn't been there for very long and might not even had known who Charme is). So, Charme IS VERY MUCH still in business and have moved to a bigger location which they built themselves which is out of the way (bad for taste testers to find - but they explain everything so not so terrible) but GREAT because they needed more space.


Finally, it would not surprise me if, in actuality, at least one of those extra musicians were not there specifically for your wedding but just doing rounds, like many of the musicians do - and took advantage of the fact that there was a wedding there. It's extremely common practice for musicians to do rounds at restaurants in the area and, yep, each song costs $50 pesos - so highly doubt that any accidents happen - pretty sure it was just another night of rounds and you just happened to be there wink.gif.

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Thanks Mishka! I'm glad to know Charme is still in business since there were very receptive in my emails. At least everything worked out with the bakery we ended up using. :)


I figured the trio was probably one that was making their rounds since I've seen groups like them before. :)


And to edit the price on the photography - it was under 8000 pesos.


Thanks to all for reading! I hope you all have a wonderful time in Puerto Vallarta or wherever your destination wedding may be.

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Thanks for the review! I'm sure it will help a lot of other PV brides. I looked through your pics and you looked gorgeous! One of my faves is the picture with the confetti outside of the church. It's so fun to read about other PV weddings, I just love that town. Congrats and best wishes on your new marriage :o)

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