Now that I have had some time to digest, I wanted to give a proper review of the wedding events/trip (picture heavy):
LOMAS TRAVEL/TRANSPORTATION FROM AIRPORT:
On a previous trip to EDR using Lomas, they sent large vans to the airport to pick us up and take us to our destination. This time they did that for the guests we traveled with, but they had a special leather interior, "souped" up navigator with wifi and a dvd player for my fianc© and I's exclusive trip to the resort! We felt like royalty! (Side note tip: DO NOT let anyone inside the terminal help you with your bags!!! 5 guys approached our group and basically ripped our bags out of our hands and wheeled them approximately 30 feet to the Lomas Travel guy, then proceeded to stand on top of us saying "we work for tips" over and over again until we gave them each a dollar. It was very awkward, but they literally wouldnâ€™t go away!) The guests that traveled down with us really lucked out because they were the only people being picked up by Lomas at that particular time. Other guests that arrived later in the week said the trip to the resort took over an hour because Lomas was picking up other guests that were staying at other properties so they stopped at 3 different resorts along the way!
We were greeted with champagne and the process went fairly smoothly, though Lomas travels insists that you meet with them ASAP to confirm your transportation back to the airport at the end of your stay. Kinda annoying, but whatever, I had champagne so I was happy. I highly recommend bringing a bathing suit and cover up to change into in your carry on or purse because we did not have access to our luggage for a couple of hours, as we arrived around noon and couldnâ€™t get into our room until 2. Friends of ours that did not do this were stuck in jeans waiting for their luggage to get to their rooms! If you are staying in the casitas, which I think most brides and grooms are, they whisk you away from the other guests that are not staying in the casitas section so make sure before you leave the main lobby, you decide on plans for lunch so you know when and where to meet back up.
GORGEOUS! Having stayed in the junior suites previously, the casitas are huge, smell better, and have so many wonderful amenities i.e. in & outdoor shower, private beach bed on your balcony, bigger indoor tub, better a/c, and amazing concierge service! We actually got to pick our nightly turndown scent and what pillows we both personally liked! They have 5 options to choose from and you can pick a different one than your fianc©! It was also really nice to have the option to book a reservation even though we couldnâ€™t make it for more than 2 people. We ended up making reservations for later in the night for ourselves, then we told people where we were headed and because it wasnâ€™t during the prime dinner time, we generally got to sit in larger groups (though we found La Isla to be less accommodating).
AMAZING! I donâ€™t recall having one thing I didnâ€™t particularly like and even if I did, it was nice to know I could easily order something else! Our favorite spot for breakfast was either Cocotal or Fuentes. For lunch, I went to the Health Bar and got their chicken wrap I think 5 out of the 7 days we were there. For dinner, our favorite spots were Dâ€™Italia Casitas and Kampai, though the wait at Kampei was over an hour and a half and their reservation list was booked solid over 5 days out! Definitely try the drinks of the day which they have displayed at all of the bars. Pic below of the candelight beach dinner dessert:
We did our couples massage in the sky massage area the morning of our wedding. It was so nice having the sound of the ocean and the breeze. My fianc© is used to intense sports massages so I was afraid he wouldnâ€™t like the Swedish massage, but the first thing he said when we put our robes back on was â€œThat was so amazing! Letâ€™s do it again!â€ As for the hair and makeup, I suggest doing a trial day. It put my mind at ease just to be able to meet the woman doing my hair and makeup for the big day and also I liked knowing that we wouldnâ€™t be figuring out what I wanted in a time crunch on the day of. Rafa was fantastic! I showed her a couple of pictures of hair styles I liked and said I wasnâ€™t set on any of them, but if she could do something similar, thatâ€™d be great! She literally combined all of the aspects of styles I showed her and I couldnâ€™t have been happier! She was very responsive to my makeup preferences and easily and gladly changed anything I wasnâ€™t crazy about. I didnâ€™t want my fianc© to see my actual wedding look so she took my hair down (I felt so bad because it took her a while to do it!) and put it in an entirely different up do (which was a hit with everyone at the rehearsal dinner). The day of the wedding, she took me into a separate bridal suit room at the spa at at first I was upset that I wouldnâ€™t be able to hang out with my BMs while getting ready. I was later very relieved that I got my own area because the main salon was PACKED with BMs from other weddings climbing over top of everyone getting ready. It was pure chaos! My little room was complete with beverages, soothing music, and I think a relaxing aroma therapy scent as well. She started the appointment by giving me a mini-facial and shoulder rub. I donâ€™t know if that is standard for the bride or if she sensed how nervous I was and wanted to get me to relax, but it worked! I actually had hives all over my chest before the appointment and midway through and after some chamomile tea, I actually fell asleep when she was doing my hair!
MEETING WITH THE ONSITE WC:
Onsite coordinator: Martha
Meeting time: Monday evening (We liked that we got to meet with them so early because we could hand off all of our OTB stuff and d©cor and we didnâ€™t have to take time out from being with our guests)
Make sure you print out any papers/email in which your coordinator said they needed to check with the hotel or if you have any last minute changes. Our onsite coordinator Martha did not have our most up to date spreadsheet, so I had to correct a couple of things. About 2 days prior to our departure, I had spoken with our WC Valeria about using a credit we had (due to guests bailing out last minute we had already paid Lomas for their food, so they let us use the credit towards other things). Valeria told us we could use our credit towards getting our wedding day outfits steamed and pressed. The onsite WC told us she would have to check with the hotel but she didnâ€™t think that we could use those services with our credit. Luckily, I had printed that one email out of all of them and handed it over. Martha looked a little upset that I could produce the documentation that Valeria okayed it, so she reluctantly said that we could use the credit. My fianc© then proceeded to give me a fist pump for having that paper with us! LOL
Because I am such a planner and knew exactly how I envisioned everything, I also made sure that I printed out pictures of the set up for our place cards, center pieces, ceremony set up, reception table set up etc, so I am not suite sure how many of those items came out looking completely different, but I will get into that below.
SEMI-PRIVATE DINNER AT COCOTAL:
So we wanted to use this dinner as a wedding party and their dates only (so the traditional rehearsal dinner crew) to hand out the wedding day schedules and just as a little extra group time/thank you to them. Unfortunate, much to Jeff and my trying to keep it between the wedding party, a few other guests showed upâ€¦ VERY awkward. Since it was the semi-private dinner at Cocotal, we just spoke with the â€œparty crashersâ€ and they were seated pretty close to our group and all was well. It appeared as if we had our own wait staff, which was nice, but it didnâ€™t seem like the kitchen was as in sync as it could have been. We were spread out over 3 tables and the served the table myself and my groom was at last. Which would have been fine if the food would have come out at once. The first table served was completely done eating their main meal before we had even received ours. I called the waiter over to get our dessert served immediately because we had our B&W party to get too, so our table felt a little rushed with our meals unfortunately.
BLACK & WHITE PARTY AT THE MARTINI BAR:
We wanted to have a welcome cocktail party for all of our guests but didnâ€™t have it in budget to do another private event, so I notified the hotel that a large group would be showing up at the Martini Bar at a certain time and they made sure they had extra staff to accommodate the bar. To make sure our group stood out a little and to make it feel a bit more like an event, we asked all of our guests to wear only black and white. I think people had some fun with the idea and it definitely made us stand out. I also handed out black cocktail napkins with the words â€œEat, Drink, and Be Marriedâ€ in white.
We held our rehearsal dinner at 7pm at Tucanes. We brought down blue and white paper lanterns, which we had hung around the edges of the palapas roof. We also didnâ€™t want to spend a lot of money on centerpieces so we brought down white finger starfish and the resort staff scatter a few of these on each table along with 3 votive candles which we rented from the resort. I know other brides said it was pretty breezy and the candles kept blowing out, but our candles were fine and I was actually grateful to have a little more light under the roof since it started to get a little dark. We had the passed Italian family style dinner and I think it may have been a couple peopleâ€™s favorite meal all week! The wait staff was AMAZING! Any questions they had about when to start serving the politely came up and said â€œExcuse me Mrs Nicoleâ€¦â€ it was so cute! When my fianc© wanted a few more shrimp, they made a fresh batch of grilled shrimp and served them piping hot. One thing that was odd though was that since itâ€™s essentially a pool bar, the bar was actually at pool level so you could swim up, so when ordering drinks on land, you had to tip over the edge of the bar and bend over to get your drink. I could definitely see it being an issue with an intoxicated wedding guest, but luckily we didnâ€™t have any issues.
I donâ€™t feel like wanting a rehearsal ceremony is a weird thing to request, but I got the opinion from the Lomas onsite staff that it seemed like a big hassle to them. With our rehearsal dinner on Friday evening, I had requested and thought they could do it then, but Martha said the only times she could do a rehearsal at our location was Friday at 1pm, which I could not see me gathering everyone up in the middle of the day to do, or Thursday at 5. So we went with Thursday at 5, but Martha could only stay for 30 minutes and we took about an hour so I wished that she could have stayed longer because I was very nervous that something would go wrong with the timing of walking down the isle or the music since the person that would actually be playing our ipod was not at the rehearsal.
After being so nervous about the ceremony that I broke into hives the morning of our wedding, there ceremony was pretty close to perfect! We spring for the wooden walk way to the alter, which could have been a bit longer as I had to wade through the sand for a good ways to get to the wooden runner, but oh well. It also did not look as pictured. Instead of it looking like a dock with slats running side to side, the slates were running lengthwise to the isle and the whole runner was comprised of 5 pieces of wooden planks lined up next to each other. Not a big deal, just not nearly as pretty as the pictures they show you. I was determined to have a vail and I am glad I did for pics, but it was blowing all over the place coming down the isle. I almost wanted to stop and start over without the vail. Also, I was so hot at this point that my first step onto the wooden walkway from the sand, my dress stuck to my leg and tripped me up a bit Thanks to my dad I did not eat it and I kept a smile on my face so I donâ€™t know if anyone else noticed LOL. Back to the vail, one minute into the ceremony, my vail was hitting my groom in the face so my MOH took it out and tossed it to my mom and then we proceeded haha. The music guy was great! He got all of our songs in order and got the note we passed along to crank up my music because it starts out really softly. We did our own vows and used their mic, which worked pretty well, yet my fianc© still did a â€œtesting testingâ€ which I didnâ€™t think was as funny as he did.
setup before decorations
veil going crazy!!!
So this is where it stars to go downhill a bitâ€¦ we had 38 guests plus ourselves and had paid for 40 people to have 2 hours of cocktails and each person to have 7 pieces of appetizers which we had preselected with the white glove cocktail party. Before paying, I spoke with Valeria about having the wedding partyâ€™s food set aside, so that we could have some food after our pictures were finished. Valeria assured me this would not be a problem, so we paid for 40 people to have appetizers (there were 13 people taking pictures from our total 40). At our onsite meeting with Martha, I asked her the same thing and she said â€œoh of course! That will be no problem!â€ We had spoken with our photographer and she said she would finish our pictures to give us some time to come back and enjoy our happy hour. We finished our pictures with 30 minutes to spare before our reception. While the wedding party was walking back to our cocktail party, Martha stopped us and told me that everyone had already left the cocktail hour and was at the reception already. I thought that seemed odd and told her that was fine, but could we have the food that she had promised us. She said that they had already put everything up so we couldnâ€™t have any food. Then she made us wait at the beach bar, right next to JoJo until she came back to get us. So we were all standing there next to people eating dinner and the bartender kept ignoring us (not sure why) and we were hungryâ€¦ no bueno. Martha did end up coming back with a small tray of appetizers, but Iâ€™d say she only brought maybe 25 pieces of food, not even close the amount we had paid for. While standing there waiting for her to come back, I saw our guests walking towards the reception hall (20-25 minutes after she told me they were all in the reception hall already). Over a week later, this still makes my husband and I very angry that we were essentially not allowed back to our own cocktail party and then paid about $800 for no cocktails and 2 pieces of food.
decorations on cocktail party tables
our customized napkins!
Gazebo55 cocktail hour setup
I didnâ€™t not like the bouquets, but I didnâ€™t love them. My bouquet was pretty close to the picture (I selected one off the lomas site), but the white Iris seemed almost yellow and plastic-like. The BMs bouquets were not like the picture I sent in other than the fact they used white lilies. The ended up using that cheapy green leafy stuff that you would find in a cheap grocery store bouquet, rather than the ferns I had asked them to use. My alter bouquets were great, though I paid extra to have them use more flowers, than greenery, which is what comes with the $60 per hanging corsage.
I think the reception was when it first hit me that we were having a very small wedding. I didnâ€™t think that our space was that large and it seemed that we filled out Tucanes for our rehearsal, but it just looked very sparse in the Salon Dorado. Our DJ, DJ Doremixx, got all of our wedding partyâ€™s songs correct, but ours was a bit messed up. Added to the fact that we didnâ€™t think about what we wanted to do when we walked in, the whole thing was just soooo awkward. Anywho, we cut the cake immediately and that was weird too. I donâ€™t know if its just the fact of cutting cake in front of people, but something was just weird about it. Our cake was carrot cake, very tasty! The design was sorta close to what we had sent them a picture of, but I donâ€™t know that I would spend money on a big cake though. We had given them our cake topper at our onsite meeting and not knowing how tall our cake would be, I asked that the baker cut the cake topper tongs down to whatever height he needed so that the cake topper would not be strangely sticking out of the topâ€¦ which it was (see pics below). We sat down at our tables that were not arranged as to how Valeria and I discussed nor was it close to the diagram I gave Martha. I had designed the layout so that the head table would be closest to the dance floor. We ended up sitting closest to the front door, furthest from the dance floor. I had given the inspiration picture to Valeria and Martha (I found the centerpiece on the Lomas site) and I thought it was very basic and not too hard to set upâ€¦ instead of light delicate flowers scattered on the center of the table, they put an inch thick coating of flowers piled up around the entire center of the table. Also, I am not sure if they picked the petals off too soon, but they were all starting to yellow and brown. I did love the blue glasses and our menus we made!
Our table set up
hanging corsages from ceremony with our lefot over fans and our place cards in the sandbox
up close of our menu and place cards
Throughout the reception, wedding coordinator staff kept coming up asking me a lot of questions of when we wanted to do things, which was very frustrating because I gave them a spreadsheet with the schedule and I expected someone other than myself to keep track of the time and run things.
We also had a few hiccups with the DJ. We had asked him to play Sinatra-esque music during dinner, which he started with, but then Jason Mraz came on. Then Jack Johnsonâ€¦ Donâ€™t get me wrong, I love both of them, but I was not happy. Our best man sensed I wasnâ€™t happy so he ran up to tell the DJ, so the DJ then told him that he did play a Sinatra songâ€¦ ok, so I guess maybe there was a language barrier issue?? Once we got that switched over I was a much happier brideâ€¦ until the speeches. We had spoken with the DJ to have the dry fireworks go off as a surprise at the end of our first dance. They accidentally ended up going off in the middle of the best manâ€™s speechâ€¦ thus spoiling the surprise. Luckily, I guess he had spare so he loaded them back up for our first dance, but the surprise was sorta gone at that point. L During the main dancing, we had asked that he play a mix of top 40s but also sprinkle in some stuff our parents might like. The first half of the reception was all top 40, which I liked but I noticed that our relatvies were sitting down talk, so I asked the DJ to work in a few older songs too. He switched over to playing some older songsâ€¦ and then never switched backâ€¦ so mot so much of a mix LOL.
Because I had left the scheduling of the event in the hands of the DJ and Martha and left my watch in the room LOL, I had no idea what time it was until the videographer came over and told me his time was upâ€¦ we hadnâ€™t tossed the bouquet or garterâ€¦ after I begged him to stay, we immediately ran over to get that in before he left.
We opted to not get a large cake, only a small cutting cake, because we selected the dessert plate that gave a small sampling of 3 different desserts. When dessert was served, it was definitely NOT what we had ordered/confirmed with Valeria and the onsite WC. The different dessert would have not been a huge deal if my husband didnâ€™t despise chocolate and the served some large chocolate pudding thing. He was upset that he didnâ€™t even get to eat dessert at his own wedding. We had also put the correct dessert on the menu, so guests knew they incorrect dessert was served.
Inspiration cake (we wanted something similar to the middle tier):
Obviously, our wedding was about marrying each other and starting our lives together and it was an amazing week/day, but there were so many little things that added up that I think took away from the magic just a little but unfortunately. I am hoping that in time, we will forget about all of the things that didnâ€™t turned out as planned and I am hoping once we get pictures and our video back we can remember the happy things that went better than planned! If I had to pass on any advice to future EDR brides, it would be to not stress out too much. I am a control freak and I think because I had such control over the planning, I didnâ€™t account for anything going wrong and I donâ€™t think you can expect that in a DW, whether it be a language barrier issue or the wedding coordinator staff just being too busy with other weddings. I am the type of person that expects 150% out of everyone and my fiance warned me to lower my expectations a bit, which I am not very good at, but I think has kinda contributed to my being a bit sad that so many things werenâ€™t as I expected. I did get to walk away married to the love of my life and we had a great week with our friends and family. When I think about the entire time we were at EDR, it was an experience of a lifetime. I cant say enough how great it was to see my grandma let lose on the dance floor or friends of ours enjoying such a luxury resort. My husband and I kept commenting all week long how cool it was that we were â€œmakingâ€ people treat themselves to such a nice place and great experience because they probably would never had gone to EDR if we wouldnâ€™t have gotten married there. We had a lot of guests telling us it was the best vacation they have ever gone on!