Sheraton Hacienda Del Mar Wedding Review –Long
Hi everyone! It’s been almost two months since our wedding and we are still on cloud nine! I can honestly say that I can’t think of anything I would do differently if I had to do it all over again. Before the details start to fade I wanted to share our experience at the resort and with vendors with everyone.
Looking back, there are a few decisions we made that we felt were key in making the day be everything we dreamed of. First, hiring a WC-though I love planning things, it was just too much to do from long distance and I was grateful for her insight because the little touches we added here and there made things so much more special; i.e. hand blown shot glass favors from a local shop!
Second, getting a suite at the hotel the week before the wedding was a wise decision. We stocked up on alcohol, liquor, breakfast foods and snacks and opened our doors to all the guests to come get a drink, snack and visit with us during the day. It saved money on booze for everyone and allowed guests to meet each other when they may not have otherwise.
Finally, not over planning events. Initially, I wanted to have a welcome party, rehearsal dinner, and a farewell brunch because I was eager to show my appreciation to everyone for traveling so far to be with us but, one friend reminded me that they hadn’t been to Cabo and wanted to have time to do things on their own rather than feel required to be somewhere every day-that was a great point! So, rather than a welcome party, James and I decided to take a dinner cruise to El Arco then let our guests know the price and time and invited them to join us. Turns out that most of the guests came and we had a blast in a very informal setting.
We have pictures of almost everything if someone would like to see them-just PM me. J
Wedding Coordinator-April Bonds of Baja Wedding
Initially, I thought I wouldn’t need a wedding coordinator because I’d found some nay resources like this site to help me make plans, choose vendors, etc. but it didn’t take long before I became overwhelmed with all the choices, opinions, decisions that needed to be made. Through this site I found Baja Weddings and hiring them was the BEST money we spent! If you have the money in your budget I highly recommend getting wedding coordinator-and totally recommend April and Baja Weddings.
April was great! From our first conversation we had, I knew I didn’t need to check any other coordinators. She was so friendly and really took the time to get know our personalities and figure out what we wanted. All of her experience gave her a huge pool of vendors and recommendations to us that fit into our vision of our wedding day. April is very direct and to-the-point, which I really appreciate because I’m a very indecisive person. The few things I did know that I wanted for sure-she made happen!
James and I are a silly, funky kind of couple and some of our ideas were a bit wacky and had I planned the wedding myself I know that things could have turned out cheesy but April was able to take my ideas and turn them into something beautiful and tasteful but still fun and silly; like us! April also had great relationships with so many vendors that she was able to make sure the vendors were professional and reliable-which they were.
Without April, I wouldn’t have known about many of the finer details of the day which, as turns out, produced some of the most memorable moments and made the day go as smoothly as it did. She was able to reserve spaces on the dinner cruise for us, arrange for cars to pick up guests complete with coolers of water and beer and even helped us find a glass blowing shop to buy shot glasses for guests for tequila toast at the reception. Above all I was thankful that the wedding day was stress-free because we were confident that she was on top of everything!
Because Baja Weddings had relationships, apart from hair/make-up, photographer, and hotel, we weren’t require to put deposits down with anyone until two months before the wedding which helped us save a little more money so we could splurge on photog!
Location: Sheraton Hacienda del Mar
Service: The service at the hotel was incredible! Everyone, from the receptionists to the bell hops, were professional and accommodating. All of our guests commented on how gorgeous the resort was and how incredible the service was as well. Whatever we needed we knew we could ask and it would be taken care of.
Room: We stayed in a suite with a kitchenette which served as the hospitality suite and it was fantastic but even the standard rooms are huge and very comfortable. Not one complaint from any of our guests was heard. Just and FYI: there are 3 and 5 bedroom suites that are beautiful; complete with kitchenette and spiral staircases should have a group people who want to share a room.
The Ceremony: Took place at the Palapa Fiesta which is a gorgeous, rustic-looking, “gazebo-like” area with a natural stone walkway. When we picked the Sheraton I thought the Palapa was much more secluded so I was little disappointed that it was right in the middle of all the action. The two main pools were on either side and some villas were directly behind. However, April put my mind at ease that the clientele at this hotel was a high standard than some other resorts and would keep a respectful distance-which they did. Guests commented on how much they liked seeing people get out of the pools to watch the ceremony and clap for us.
The Reception: After the ceremony, we moved to the Tequila Terrace for a cocktail hour while the staff set up the Palapa area for the reception. I told April we wanted to get the reception started as quickly as possible and she made sure the staff worked fast; I don’t think our cocktail hour was a full hour before we moved back down to the Palapa which was set up for dinner.
The Food and Drink: We chose the Ranchero Buffett and the food was AMAZING!!! Though the buffet was a bit pricey everyone raved about it and there was so much of it that we hardly put a dent in it. Because the food was more than we anticipated we decided to have a reduced open bar which was actually very good. It was beer, wine and domestic beer which, to my pleasant surprise, was all of our favorite Mexican beers!
Wedding Cake: At the time we signed our contract the Sheraton allowed outside cakes to be brought in and charged a cutting fee but since then I think April said the contracts changed-we were lucky to have the option. The Sheraton had only been doing pastries/cakes for about a year when we did our site visit and tasting and the two cakes we tasted were TERRIBLE! I have never said that about a cake before but I even spit one piece of cake out. So, we decided to pay for a cake and the cutting fee to get a fantastic cake. I don’t have the name of the bakery on our final bill from our WC but I can find out if you want. The outside wedding cake was so good, it was a shame I was so full from dinner I couldn’t eat more than one piece!
Overall, we had an extremely positive experience and I would recommend the Sheraton with confidence.
Photographer: Alec & T
AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Alec & T are pricey, and more than what we budgeted, but James and I really love photography so we decided to bite the bullet and THANK GOODNESS WE DID! Alec & T (T especially) were so energetic and fun that they added an element of excitement to the day that everyone felt. Though they were great fun, they were extremely professional and creative. They understood our personality as a couple and their photography captured that. We’ve only gotten a few sample pictures thus far so I’m chomping at the bit to see them all. Our guests have even asked to see them because they loved just watching them take pictures of the wedding party on the beach. They are so personable and warm that we wanted them to stay after they were off the clock just so they could hang out with us. If your budget allows Alec & T should be your first choice! If you’d like to see pictures of our wedding you can visit their website; www.alecandt.com, and look at their blog history; our wedding blog is the one with all the different colored shoes.
DJ: Alex (can’t find his last name but if you’d like to know I can find out)
DJ Alex was awesome and reasonably priced!! April gave us 2 names of DJ’s she’s confident with and after hearing the kind of music we like she though Alex would be the right fit for us and she was right. Before the wedding he sent us a questionnaire that helped him understand our musical taste. Alex set up well before the ceremony(he did the sound for the ceremony), put up lights all on the inside of the Palapa so it looked “cluby”, and played all the favorites on our questionnaire. I hate it when DJ’s play entire songs all the way through and don’t mash or mix them but Alex did-we were thrilled because it kept the energy up all night. Alex also did a great job reading the crowd-he could see what types of songs were getting the most reaction and would roll with it. We could even request music on the spot and, because he had a wireless laptop connected to his equipment, he could download a song immediately and mix into the music within a few minutes. He followed all of our requests to a “t”. There were even guests of the hotel standing by the pools and rooms dancing too; several guests even commented on the great music.
Hair and Make-Up: Suzanne Morel
Suzanne Morel was pretty pricey as far I was concerned but she and her staff were fantastic and if there’s ever a time to splurge on hair and make up this is it, right? I decided to have the staff come to our suite instead of going to her salon to the hair and make-up for all the BM’s, me and MOB/MOG. The 3 stylists and 1 translator arrived right on time and got to work immediately. We were actually ready almost an hour early! I don’t have a great complexion and was very worried because I don’t usually like how my make-up looks when I have done; there’s never enough coverage. However, I have never felt more flawless in my life; they even managed to cover the massive zit that appeared on the end of my nose the day before the wedding-the first time that’s happened since high school! I showed them a picture of what hair and make-up I wanted us all to have and they executed it to perfection! The hair and make-up stayed perfect all day long, even in the heat and sweat!
Flowers: Cabo Flowers
Because April works with this florist all the time and really understand their style and how they work it, they easily collaborated to take my ideas and make them work within our budget. I wanted to different colored bouquets to match the BM’s shoes so I sent fabric swatches to April and they dyed the flowers to match but you would have never guessed they were dyed. They turned out exactly how I had hoped-the flowers were fresh and beautiful and I loved my bouquet too.
Rehearsal Dinner: Puerta Vieja
Another April suggestion which turned out to be great. The dinner and bar was incredibly reasonable (about $45.00 a head for 3 course dinner and a reduced open bar for 2.5 hours). The food wasn’t off the charts but it was yummy-no complaints. However, the restaurant itself and the views are unbelievable. We were supposed to have a private dinner on the second floor open air part of the restaurant but the wind was so insane that we were only able to have cocktails upstairs then we went to the main dining room to eat. The manager was kind enough to seat other customers as far from us as possible so it still felt like a private dinner which I thought was very nice. The service was pretty good but I think the bartenders freaked out when they realized the amount of wine we were consuming and tried to regulate our intake-that didn’t go over well with us