Thanks for the CONGRATS!!! The same to you and your FI...
Yes, I have booked my ceremony dare and got group rates. Since I'm doing a medium size party (60 people), I opted to use a travel agent here in Maryland and she handled the room bookings and negotiations with the Riu Palace P.C. I didnâ€™t want to have to deal with questions and/or booking travel for folks...
It's totally up to you and your budget on what you wish to forgo and what you are willing to pay extra for. There are so many extra add on's which drove the increase in my budget so I weighed the pros and cons of what was most important for us.
Things I did to keep my cost low:
~ Stayed with the house minister, it's free in the package. At first I was looking into an outside minister but the fee was $300 + $200 resort fee for the day pass.
~ Purchased my bridesmaid bouquets, Mom's corsages, and mest man/dad's boutonni¨res on my own from a silk touch florist instead of purchasing from the resort. Approx $200 savings!
~ Purchased my own satin chair sashes (approx $60) instead of paying the $200-$300 fee for the upgraded decoration package.
~ I'm purchasing my own cake topper and table decorations and not doing any upgrades to the cake.
Areas I decided to splurge and pay for add-onâ€™s:
~ My group is a live party group so we decided on the private reception (approx $600) and the DJ (approx $400).
~ Using an outside photographer instead of the house photographer. Cost will be approx $1000 - $1200 + $200 resort fee for the day pass - BUT the pics will be the only tangible item I have (besides the wonderful memories) so this is an area I didn't want to skimp on.
Things we're on the fence about:
~ Doing a private happy hour (approx $10-20 per person) only to keep the wedding guests all together and not bored while the wedding party is taking pics.
~ A fellow BD user who recently got married in Oct added on a private bar to the reception (not sure of cost) as she stated that the nearest bar where guest could get drinks wasn't to close.
These will be last minute decisions based on if we are under budget closer to the wedding.
Just as a reminder, the prices mentioned are for 2011. There will be an increase for 2012. In 2010, the resort fee for a day pass was $100 in 2011 it's $200.
Again, let me know if you have additional questions! I'm more than happy to assist if I can )