Ok... wow what a couple of weeks. Sorry it's taken me so long to give an update.... and I apologize, since this is going to be a long post... but it'll be full of useful advice. This was such a learning experience for me, if I had to do this again it'd be perfect... not that I ever want to get married again, this one can last. The resort is amazing, the food is great, they do a great job of catering to your likes and dislikes, they were too strict about dress clothes, everyone was always so happy to serve you... it was great. That being said, I had a LIST of complaints after my wedding. The Monday after the wedding we met back again with the wedding department, and they did upgrade our Casita to a Presidential Studio to make up for some of it, which did make a big difference since that room is amazing. But, the things that didn't work and taught me a lesson, so that I can pass on the knowledge to you brides.... then I'll tell you the stuff that was amazing and totally worth the money.
The Not Good Stuff:
1. I tried way too hard to dress the place up, and it was perfect and gorgeous to begin with. The beach was so windy that my hair hangers blew away and the runner didn't lay flat... plus, forget the bubbles.. and the gazebo, well that gets a bullet of it's own.
2. My organza fabric to drape the gazebo looked awful and cheap, so don't go with the organza if you plan on bringing your own. The purple looked, Ok..but only Ok, and the teal just disappeared against the look of the water. In retrospect the plain white sheers that were draped on the gazebo next door looked elegant and beautiful, I should have just gone with that. I thought that white would look too plain, but it was really very beautiful. That being said, that's a mistake on my part-not theirs, since they hung them the way I asked. I still feel that if it doesn't look good, which it obviously didn't, the on-site coordinator should bring that to my attention and ask me what I want to do about it. I also think that they should know the runners blow to the side in the wind and should know to weigh them down, especially when you pay $40 for something that looked trashy by the time I got to the aisle.
3. My flowers were awful. I paid $300 for a cascading bouquet of purple lisianthus and blue dendrobium orchids. These orchids are supposed to teal in the center and fade to purple on the outside. The flowers I got had been painted royal blue, not the colors I gave them pictures and close ups of. Not only that, but they had this awful evergreen filler underneath, that shed needles all over me... not to mention the blue paint on the orchid kept flaking off on me also. Also, the flowers kept falling out of the holder, by the end of the ceremony I had lost all of the trailing flowers that made it cascading.. my bouquet just felt like a huge waste.... DO NOT order blue dendrobiums and think you're getting what you see online or buy here in the states. On the other hand my MOH's bouquet which was only $60 was gorgeous. It was a variety of purple lisianthus and looked amazing. Again, simpler was better.. I tried too hard to be too complicated and extravagant... instead I should have kept it simple.
4... this one is a mistake on Lomas's part. The officiant changed our ceremony from the script we gave her. It started off great, then asked us to add in a decorative contract to sign. We said ok- this got added in, but after we signed the contract she closed the binder and ad-libbed the entire ending of the ceremony. She actually said a section that we had deleted from our original copy. She didn't ask permission or anything for this. Because the script was different the song cues no longer lined up and the music never played at the end. At the time I was happy and just went with it, but this was something that really really bothered me as the next couple days went by. The part that gets me the worst is that, all this happened to add in the certificate signing, and it was just a print out-nothing special and it wasn't even centered on the paper... the ceremony was changed for something that I won't even keep.
5. A mistake on EDR's part: Before the ceremony, and after we did our reveal photos, I went back to the room with my MOH and the bridal attendant. Nobody came to transport Todd, the groom, to the ceremony. He had to walk, until he hitched a ride with some groomsmen with another wedding. The photographer also didn't have a ride to get there and had to walk. .. after the ceremony when we finished our pictures, nobody had waited to transport us to Tucanes. So Todd, my MOH and I walked... I mean the bride and groom shouldn't have to walk anywhere. We asked two carts to pick us up and they refused, saying they had somewhere else to be, the third cart about half way there finally let us hop on. But, this really irritated me. When we asked the Wedding attendant at Tucanes she said she called for someone to pick us up, they just never came... or maybe that's one of the carts that refused saying they had someone else to get.
6. The DJ... when we booked the DJ we did so on the recommendation of the coordinator that the DJ would motivate the crowd and keep things interesting. They had said that with a small group a DJ would make things better. instead, the DJ was as inconspicuous as possible. The only time she emerged from behind the booth was to make formal announcements. It was boring, the music she played was all music we had approved-but she did very little to gage the group and pick things that would keep things fun... instead we ended up dictating every song as it came up. I see no reason why the DJ was needed, we could have done just as well with an IPOD. Not only that, but the thing I feared-forcing a dance party on a small group-happened... the first part of the reception sucked... it took the return of one friend and some 90's throwbacks to get us up and moving... but we still ended things an hour early and sent everyone home.
7. The food at the reception was cold, because the timing for the reception was off the food was not warm when it was put in front of us... also don't order the cheese turnovers.. they were awful, something extra we added on to our menu. The steak we had was ok, but really the food at the rest of the resort was so much better.
-by the end of the 8pm I was terribly disappointed and felt like everything I had added on was a waste of money and I hated it. I had to fake excitement... and no bride should have to do that. In retrospect with such a small group, only 11 guests, we should have just done the free wedding package and left it at that. Our welcome dinner was great and we all had a great time at that dinner, our reception the following night was awkward and felt forced. The plain gazebos looked so much prettier and more elegant than my expensive set up that I chose and brought with me. I feel like I would have been so much happier if we had just gone with the "sweet wedding" package instead.
-EDR for the mistakes with the transportation and the food they gave me the upgrade...but I still need to talk with Lomas to see what is being done about the problems with the flowers and the DJ.
The Good Stuff:.... enough complaining.. now let me gush a little.
1. I loved my stylist!!! I had my hair and make up done at the Casita Spa, and my stylists name was Vicky. If you can ask for her. I feel like I had the best service out of everyone in the spa that day. I also did a trial the day before with her. We did a couple of hair styles and make up versions and we found a knock out look for me. The next day when we did the final look she gave me a mini facial with my make up, shoulder massages and therapeutic heating pads for my neck to keep me relaxed. It was great! I am so glad I did the rehearsal and even happier that I did my hair and make up the day of at the spa... not a penny wasted there.
2. I loved my photographer, Sarani. She was so fun to hang out with and she took a ton of photos. One irritating thing from EDR was that she actually came early to throw in a few extra getting ready at the spa shots, and the spa told her I had already left. Sarani actually spent 40 minutes trying to locate me, when she could have been shooting my getting ready photos. Again, not her mistake but the resorts. I'm sure it was just miscommunication, but it still irks me a little. She was great with working with the room while we were trying to get everything ready to go. I wish I had paid for to be with us for longer... and I can't wait for my photos.. I have to wait for those still... another couple of weeks due to peak wedding season.
3. The wedding concierge, Urania, was also my wedding attendant. She was great, helpful, fun and even helped my MOH strap me into my dress. I would never have made it through that day alone. She even rode on the hood of the golf cart so that my MOH could ride along with us to the beach. I actually felt bad complaining to her the next day about all the things I was unhappy with, especially since she was on my "things that went well" list.
4. Reception table set up. My table set ups looked awesome and beautiful. They more than exceeded my expectations... the only complaint we had from the tables was that they were just far enough apart that no one could talk between tables, and so everyone seemed a bit bored.... but they looked stunning.
I feel like I'm an unusual case though. For the past two years on here, I feel like most people only have good things to say about their wedding day... I guess I just got a weird set of misfortune... maybe it was the full moon that night. So, I don't want this to dishearten anyone... instead I just want to pass on some wisdom... which is. Keep it simple... everything is gorgeous already so you don't need to dress it up with more stuff.
I'll make another post with some photos for y'all.
OOT Bag stuff what did/didnot work:
1. people loved:
- the insulated cups-they were perfect for drinking in the pool,
- waterproof disposable cameras,
- zip-ID badges on stretchy bracelets for room keys- these were perfect for holding tip money too;
- Imodium AD, Midol, Advil, Pepto
2. Not necessary:
- bottle openers,
- bath salts and soaps (they already have all of that there)
Non-Wedding Good Stuff:
1. The food is awesome... our favorite spot to eat was La Isla (try the spicy chicken fingers and the apple bbq ribs, amazingly delicious) and our favorite pool was also Isla. We also really liked the burgers at JoJos and breakfast at Cocotal can't be beat. The portion sizes were smallish, so we often would go for 2nd dinner at a few places... or just order double orders of things... which they didn't seem to really care about. We did the candlelight dinner, which I have to agree with some of the other brides before, isn't worth the money... but we got it for free so it's ok... but the Steak with the chocolate drizzle and truffle sauce was AMAZING... I definitely had a foodgasm while eating it. That was the best dish by far of the trip.
2. Champagne with the strawberry flavoring is awesome, and I didn't have it until my last night... wish I had discovered it sooner.
3. Xplor for an excursion is wickedly good fun... worth every penny. The food there is tasty and the activities can't be beat... the boats where hard to maneuver, but the underground river swim, amphibious carts, and zip-lining was AWESOME!!! If you're looking for a good trip to take, try this one...also pack water-shoes if you go, you'll want them. A waterproof camera would be great too.
4. We tried the Lupita Tri-maran trip, which seemed basically the same as the Albatros catamaran... and they were ok, but could definitely be better. On a scale of 1-5... I'd probably only give it a 3, so you might want to look around for a different trip if you want to go snorkeling. We just didn't see much on our trip, but as a group the day after the wedding we had fun just hanging out with each other.
5. For people who are worried about dress codes for guys, Todd wore a very casual polo at night with capri length shorts and dress sandals almost every night, I'll try to see if I can find a pic of him to put up for reference. At lunch you have to have sleeves, which I thought was a bit hypocritical since I wore a see through swim cover up and they let me in, but they wouldn't let him in with a tank top on. So, if you're headed to the pool and plan on hitting lunch near by through a t-shirt in your bag to bring with you. He also wore his Converse Chucks to dinner a bunch and nobody seemed to care.
Wedding mishaps aside, we had a blast and I'm glad we went destination wedding here. We can't wait to go back!