**This was a tremendous undertaking. Eighteen of our guests had never been out of the state of Oklahoma and definitely not out the country. Whew....talk about resistance! It all worked out terrific and 11 have already book a vacation for the upcoming year.
As Tom would say...Mission Accomplished. :-)
**Theme: Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much!
**Total of 30 guests – 32 including us.....
We arrived at Dreams Cancun on Monday, July 23rd and had lunch. Our room was not quite ready (check in is at 3:00 p.m.) regardless of room type. The hotel arranged for our bags to be taken to our rooms and we had Daniella Castillo paged to finalize everything for the wedding. Two weeks before, Daniella emailed with a final contract. I simply made corrections where needed and added our menu selection, etc. As it became closer to the wedding date, email correspondence was within 24 hours. Daniella handled everything while we were in Cancun. I will definitely say that handling everything in advance made life so much easier; we only met with her for 10 minutes and we were done. I couldn’t believe it! We had originally said we would get married in Cancun but later changed our minds. We were legally married in Illinois on the date that Warren actually proposed the year before. Our travel arrangements had already been made to get to Cancun the required 4 days in advance to establish residency. I was a little bummed at first because I wanted to stay after the wedding but it totally worked in our favor. If you can get there in advance, this will be very beneficial. Not only were we completely done with everything, this allowed time in case anything came up. It was really nice to relax with my hubby before everyone came knowing that there was nothing else to do but “get married”. :-) Later that evening, we met with Erick Rodriquez and his wife Citlalli of Claudia Rodriquez Photography. They were extremely nice and professional. I gave Erick a list of photos that we definitely wanted and a few sample photos that I had found on various websites to recreate. He was able to capture almost the same thing, but with a new and exciting twist. He was very professional and spoke perfect
English. We were very happy with our choice of photographer. Our wedding album and picture cd will be sent via FedEx tomorrow. I will be sure to post those when they come.
If you are not using items included in your package, be sure to negotiate other things instead. We did not utilize the photo package or the bride’s hairstyle/makeup. We were able to upgrade to a larger edited video and a manicure/pedicure at the spa. In my email correspondence in advance with Daniella, I gave her the date and time that we wanted our spa services and she arranged everything. All we had to do was show up. Bonus! :-) One less that I would have to do. The spa is beautiful, but very expensive. I’m a spa girl and I would even think twice. We took advantage of what was included in our package and what we negotiated in advance. I had my nails done before we left for Cancun (gel nails/French manicure). On the actual wedding day, I did get another pedicure just so everything looked nice for the pictures.
Meet and Greet: The night before the wedding, everyone met in the main lobby and we introduced everyone. Warren and I thanked everyone, passed out OOT bags, and we later invited everyone to join us for dinner in the World Cafe. We kept emphasizing that this is also a vacation for them and we would not be tying up their entire time. This was important too so that we could have some time to ourselves as well. All guests were very appreciative of this. Everyone mingled for about 20 minutes and took pictures. We all then headed over to the World Cafe.
OOT Bags: Hand woven bags, personalized tags, Bath and Body Works lotion, shower gel, scented room spray, welcome note created with KodakGallery, postcards. We asked all guests to send back the postcard letting us know what the highlight of the weekend was for them. Our guests think we spent a ton of money on the OOT bags, but I caught all the contents during the semi-annual clearance sale in January. All items in the bags were wrapped with coral colored tissue paper. All bags were given to guests by room.
Additional Gifts: Starfish refrigerator magnets in brown envelopes from Michael’s. They were all stamped with our theme.
Room: The junior jacuzzi suite was off the chain! :-) This simply means that is was super nice. :-) It helps that the tower overlooks the wedding gazebo. I could simply look down and see the progress of the wedding setup. When it was time for the ceremony, Daniella simply called the room and stated “It’s Showtime”. :-) I have already posted pictures for the room. Feel free to pm if you have any additional questions.
**Rooms have Sharper Image Clocks. Your Ipod can hook up to this. I was able to listen to my music as I got dressed.
*****Important for everyone – the rooms do not have bright lights. I found this to be difficult when trying to apply makeup. This is artificial lighting so your makeup will definitely look different. Luckily, I had my mom bring another vanity mirror (they have them at Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, etc.) and I placed it on the windowsill, utilizing natural light and this worked great.
Flowers: As a result of being at Dreams 4 days in advance, I saw a wedding everyday. Everyone had the prettiest flowers I have ever seen! I was stressing big time about the flowers because I did not know what flowers were native to that part of the country. Originally I wanted calla lilies, but I remember Claudia saying that if Cancun did not have a true rainy season, they would not look healthy. I found a picture of a bouquet I really liked on a website and emailed it to Daniella. She said it would be no problem to recreate at no additional charge. I opted for a bouquet of bright pink and orange roses (wedding color was coral). I had a starfish in my bouquet as well. Absolutely beautiful! Roses are plentiful in Cancun.....I also saw a bride with fuscia pink calla lilies....I have never seen these before in the states.
Signature Drink: Coral Chill
Ceremony: Everything went better than I ever imagined. We went with an all white wedding; simply put...all guests wore white. I can honestly say that this was amazing! So many people complimented us on our choice to ask everyone to wear white. In Chicago, “all white parties” are popular so most of our guests already had something to wear. Everyone dressed in all attire white against the turquoise water looks amazing on our photographs.
Ceremony Time: Please make sure you are aware of sunset for the particular time of year you are getting married. If you are getting married in July, anything after 5:30 p.m. is too late if you want sunset pictures. Anything before 4:00 pm. is too hot.
Centerpieces: We took coral colored candles, candle holders, white fingered starfish, and custom printed napkins with us to decorate the tables. I told Daniella how I wanted everything decorated and it was perfect. Instead of a head table, she sat us with our guests which worked out better for us. The centerpiece that was used for the ceremony was simply moved to the table, so we actually had two centerpieces on the table for dinner. If you decide to sit with your guests, you will not need to purchase centerpieces. This can help save you money.
*Be very specific with what decor you want on the gazebo. We chose the white organza without the flowers on the post. If you are choosing to have the ivy as well, be sure they use fresh ivy. Two wedding before us used ivy and organza and the ivy was not replaced. When you look at it carefully, some of it started to wilt. Honestly, the white organza alone is the most elegant. (Just my opinion) The flowers on the post move with the wind.
*I cannot state this enough...it is extremely breezy at the wedding gazebo. I am so glad that I did not wear a veil. When you get to the resort, I would advice everyone to stand in the gazebo in advance and see what I am describing. Food for thought...you may want to have a backup plan.
*You definitely need the stereo equipment for the ceremony. I believe it was $180 to rent. We barely heard the ceremony because of the waves crashing against the rocks.
***If you are planning on having music during dinner/reception (this is probably everyone), you must also rent the stereo equipment for this as well. Yes, that’s right...another $180 fee for that as well.
Cocktail reception: We chose the Caribbean Trio....very good. This was held in the garden area. Everyone thought this was a very nice touch. We simply went with the appetizers that came with our package - $2400 package.
Reception: We partied like we were ROCK STARS! LOL...Simply stated, it was awesome. We held the reception in the terrace and danced there as well. Plenty of room. Do not rent the dance floor if you do not have to because you can use the terrace and part of the lobby area. The dance floor is not very big. I have already posted two pictures of this as well.
We chose surf and turf as our option and it was tasty. All our guests like the food chosen. We opted not to have the dessert that came with the meal and simply have cake as dessert. As a result of this, Daniella did not charge us extra for the cake to feed more people; she just gave us a dessert credit.
Bill: The day after the wedding, we received a call that simply asked us to close out our bill for the wedding....additional charges – sound equipment, etc. No problem.
Wedding Coordinators: I cannot say enough about what a pleasant experience it was to work with Daniella and Claudia. Our wedding was truly a “Dream”! I couldn’t be more pleased with their hard work and effort. We were very fortunate to have perfect weather. I actually saw 2 weddings get rained out....the staff at the resort moved promptly to get everything secured. Both couples were able to get married at the gazebo, but had to delay an hour or so. It was amazing to see the attention that was given to every couple throughout the week. I know it gets frustrating when we want answers like “Now”...but, the closer it gets to your special day, you will get the undivided attention that you definitely deserve.
This will end my rather lengthy review...I hope this will help someone.....
Dreams is Awesome and it is my hope that everyone has such a blessed day as we did! Remember, during this journey, if you do things with the right spirit...everything will work out for you.
Peace and many blessings...