I have been told I am a bit wordy so I’ll try to sum up quickly but there is so much to review!!! Here goes…
Location-Dreams, Cabo San Lucas-Can’t say enough about the hotel. The guests raved. Everyone thought it was the perfect location. You can’t swim on the beach but a 20 minutes walk to the Hilton and you can. I think an AI is the way to go. It made the wedding so much more affordable. We had 60 guests and got a rate of 175 per person with double occupancy. At first this rate sounds high but when you realize you don’t pay for any food and drink at all the guests thought this was quite cheap. We are big drinkers though and I think that really adds to value for the money. I wasn’t sure if all my guests would stay there but my one friend said you tell people where to stay and they will stay there. Act like there isn’t another option. Sure enough, every guest stayed there and I think this is what makes a destination wedding. We did not have to coordinate where to meet every day. You knew where people would be for breakfast and you could find people by the pools and at the bar for cocktail hour. Several of my friends commented on this being the best part of the wedding.
Rooms-The rooms are quite nice but some are still being refurbished and I felt you could tell the difference. The kitchens were a bit old in some but the beds were lovely and nice linens, which I find very important. Our room was up on the top floor overlooking the main pool and I thought it was great! I got married on a Sunday and many of my guests who checked in on Wednesday and Thursday weren’t thrilled with their rooms. Many of the couples got double beds and had rooms in less then desirable locations. Funny though all the guests who came in Friday got a big upgrade and had fab rooms. I would have thought that the longer you were there the better your room but maybe that isn’t how the availability worked. One Big complaint-I told Mariana that the only guest I wanted to have a good room was my parents. When I saw their room I was quite upset as it was one of the smallest and kitchen was disgusting with rust all over the fridge. They had two beds as well and the view wasn’t all that. I did complain to Erika and she was so sweet and told me to speak with Oscar (room master) at the front desk and he would take care of it but my mom didn’t want to move and said it was fine. Tip: If you don’t like your room upon arrival just ask for another before you unpack.
Time of the Year-I got married on July 29th, 2007. I was a little concerned about rain as reports say it is the rainy season and weather.com showed rain every day. If it rains on my big day-oh well but if guests come down for five days and it rains the whole time I think that could ruin a trip so that was my concern. Everyone told me do NOT worry about rain in Cabo and they were right. We had a tropical storm one day and it rained hard twice but blew out and was sunny the rest of the time. Still got burned that day. Great there was no rain but it was HOT. Close to 100 every day. The side pool was almost too warm and you have to get in the water every 30 minutes if you are in the sun but there is a swim up bar in the shade where the pale people hung out. I did think we got a cool breeze at night, not cool like you need a sweater but cool like you aren’t sweating eating dinner. The night of my wedding we danced up a storm and I felt it was hotter on the Oceana side as you don’t get a direct ocean breeze. I was dripping in my wedding dress but maybe it was just the dress after dancing for an hour. My brothers changed out of their shirts as they were soaked too but my party was crazy dancing and drinking. This might be the only reason I would choose Cascade over Oceana if it was very hot as I think it would be cooler. I also brought a dress to change into after and changed after an hour of dancing. Highly recommend that. For July brides, I had a few people from Cabo tell me it was unusually cool for July. I thought my weather was great but if it was any hotter then it could be unbearable.
Day of the Wedding-I got married on a Sunday and thought this was ideal. Everyone is going to be travelling and taking at least one day off anyway so a Sunday or Friday wedding are fine. I especially liked Sunday because you want guests before the wedding not after so people came in Friday and got to meet Friday and Saturday for the wedding on Sunday. Many of my guests even came in on Wednesday and Thursday and most people left Sunday but the wedding party stayed Monday to recoup.
Rehearsal Dinner- I decided last minute to set up a private Mexican buffet on the beach. The cost is 22 per person and well worth it. They do great decorations at no charge for this so the tables had Mexican blankets and Mexican hats were all over. The Baracuda bar is right there and it is so cute with the swings. We also sprung extra for a sound system and played nice background music on the IPOD. This was nice and added to the atmosphere. You could also do guitar trio. That is all you need. The best part of this is the night before all your guests are there and they all know where they need to eat so it made coordination easy. The buffet was delicious. Everyone loved the ceviche bar and the carne asada.
Day of the event timing- We set the event for 5pm. Mariana suggested later but we were very concerned with music being shut off at 10:30. I was right and honestly I would have started even earlier. I told my guests to be there at 4:30 and that was good because the last guests came down at 4:50. Judge was there right at 5 and off we went. The ceremony only takes 20 minutes max then one hour of cocktails. Then the guests make their way to the reception and I would guess we didn’t get our first course till 7. We had 3 long speeches (The English take their speeches seriously) and we did them throughout dinner as to not waste time. This was nice and broke up the dinner. I believe they were serving all during the speeches and after 4 courses we weren’t finished till close to 8:30. As soon as dessert was served, a little after 8, we did our first dance, then father daughter dance then fun dancing. This only allowed two hours and my guests were not ready to quit. Actually, we didn’t turn the music off right at 10:30 and think we got to even past 11 till they pulled the plug. Again, not enough time. Maybe it was due to my amazing dance tunes. I will attach my play list to share. I would start the wedding earlier if you are doing a sit down meal and people like to dance. As a side note, I went to the salon at 12 and got mani, pedi and hair done. Was finished about 2:45. Up the room and did make up and put on dress. More than enough time and was a little bored waiting around in my dress but good to have extra time. Have champagne in the room for waiting.
Ceremony Details- We had two different readings at the ceremony and I’d recommend this cause it makes it personal and adds a bit of length. (I’ll attach readings. The Luckiest is the lyrics to our first dance) Erika recommended we have one of a friend translate for the judge and I’d suggest this as well. Though my friend decided to change the translation a bit and I believe my husband promised to always do the dishes. Hysterical! We just had a best man and matron of honor up there with us and that was nice. My two brothers ushered and they gave all the ladies fans. (bought on oriental trading company) Fans were a huge hit as you will see in photos. Also great for cooling. Highly recommend. We had a stereo set up over there for music to walk down the aisle to and I loved this. I think it is important to announce the bride. I had a nice instrumental from Little Miss Sunshine, “The winner is” playing while the mother of the bride and groom sat and my matron of honor walked up and then I walked down the aisle to Rufus Wainwright’s “Hallelujah.” My fianc© chose this and it brought the house down. Tears I tell you. Download it on iTunes. It is on the playlist attached.
Flowers-I kept the flowers at a minimum at the ceremony. I had Dreams take care of them which was fine but they were late. I think my MOH didn’t get it till 5 minutes before. Worked out fine but a little worrying and there was an extra bouquet that I didn’t ask for. If you are doing the gazebo then I’d keep the flowers minimal, honestly, you don’t need them. I saw several brides set up giant stands and put ivy on the gazebo and I think the gazebo is pretty enough as it is because when they take the photos the ocean is in the background. What more do you need? I had rose petals on the aisle which I thought was nice. I might suggest giving petals out to your guests on the end of the aisle to throw. I got married back in London (yes again) and I like having things thrown at you and great photo opps. I liked my bouquet but wasn’t exactly what I expected. Be a little more specific if you know what you want. Mine was fine. I gave them ribbon to tie around the bouquet that was the color theme and that was nice. The Groomsman boutiners died quickly. Maybe because it was hot but they were droopy after one hour so not very impressed. We then had bouquets on each table at dinner which looked nice. The whole setting is so pretty that I wasn’t too fussed about the flowers.
Cocktail Hour-I had a mariachi band for cocktail hour and loved it. Fiance was so anti. Hated the music etc. He agreed in the end it was quite fun and people loved it. The waiters passed champagne and the bar was there for other drinks too. We had hot canap©s set up and I thought they were quite good. Loved the japalpeno poppers. Remember good breadstick with proscuito, little beef kebabs. And some cold apps. I liked the cocktail hour right after cause guests mingled, listened to the band and you have time to shoot all your family photos on the gazebo. The band was suppose to lead the guests to the reception but that got messed up. This was a bit of a problem as nobody knew they had to move then I told Erika that was suppose to happen ( I was a bit psycho-sorry about that Erika) and she was a saint and brought them back. I liked this because they led the whole party through the beach to the other reception and everyone clapped and congratulated us. Nice touch.
Reception-Oceana- We had 7 round tables and we created a special London seating chart which was fun. The waiters were there waiting with drinks including margaritas and rum punch.
Here is the menu:
Crabcake with avocado-Great!
Spinach and warm goats cheese salad-Good-not sure about goat’s cheese in Mexico its different.
Main Course-Double plated beef wellington and seabass* with asparagus-I thought this was quite impressive. The Beef Wellington pastry looks lovely. I would just ask for whatever fish is fresh and it came with a nice set of veggies.
Peach Cheesecake-This was OK. If you have a nice cake coming I would almost skip this or just have a sorbet. Two cakes was too much and then my good cake came and people were too full.
Wedding Cake-Ordered from The Cake Diva. Jennifer Hatton "The Dessert Diva" · The Fantasy Wedding Cake Specialist of Los Cabos Did chocolate Kahlua cake with chocolate icing and it was divine. Photos of it on Flikr.
Had music playing on the IPOD during dinner and a microphone for speeches.
Photos: I was lucky as I have a friend who is a photographer so I agreed to pay for his room and we got him to shoot the wedding for a reduced fee. I found the photographers in Cabo quite expensive or equal to that of the US so this was good. If anyone knows anyone getting married in Chicago or the area I cannot recommend enough Dave Turner! Dave does an amazing job of taking candid shots and capturing your guests expressions. He also alters the photos he thinks look best to black and white and I love the B&Ws. Dave did some before shots getting ready and then the ceremony and reception. I know a lot of you plan the wedding around sunset. I asked Dave if he thought we should go on the beach and he agreed you can only shoot on the beach right at sunset and at 6:30pm in July it was too early. What he did was wait until the light was just right and then he grabbed Matt and me and we snuck down to the beach in-between the salad and dinner. This worked perfect. No one noticed we were gone and I think we have amazing shots of the two of us. You can view all 700 photos here:
Matt & Lee's Wedding Mexico - 29th July 2007 - a photoset on Flickr
David Turner Photography
Here is a link to my wedding dress which was a big hit: David's Bridal - Bridal Gowns V9178 Georgette sheath with beaded and embroidered illusion back and ruffle.
Still can’t believe how cheap it was.
We ordered some bags online-just regular gift bags that said Lee & Matt. I ordered match books and golf tees on theknot. Very cute. I ordered our own M&Ms at an M&M online thing and put them in tins they didn’t melt. Then I put little ibuprophen in bags and pepto bismal too. The best gift was the beer cozy ordered at Kustom Kozys. Personalized Koozies Wedding Koozies Custom Wedding Favors
The said-“To have and to Hold and to Keep your Beer Cold” They do serve cans and you have cans in your fridge so people used them and loved them. We also made a CD.
Tip on Bringing Gifts into the country: We did get stopped by customs on the way in. We got the green light but we had all the gift stuff in one bag so they saw a bag with giant rubber things and 35 small tins and were like-Uh what is this? And they really didn’t like the bags of tiny pills. Honestly, what was I thinking? Matt was quite sure we were going to Mexican jail but I played I’m the dumb bride and got away with it. I would just spread the bag stuff throughout your suitcases as to not draw attention. In the bag we included a letter that gave details of the events, common and uncommon Spanish Phrases and my favorite the Cast of Characters. As I said the best part is all the people getting to mingle but if you have over 20 people it is hard to keep everyone straight so I left a list of everyone in the room so that after the first night you could go back up to the room and check the list and say, “Oh that is the name of Lee’s Uncle or Bridesmaid.” People loved this and after the wedding everyone asked me to send it back out with emails so people could keep in touch. Love it!
OK I really have to stop. I think I have given all the tips I can think of so why don’t I just open the floor for questions.