Hello ladies (and the one gent that is on here now),
I've just returned from my eleven day wedding bonanza and have got to say we all panic for nothing! Calm down! Your wedding that is in eight weeks, plan away. And if you're planning on DIYing anything - go right ahead and know that the team there will make everything work. This is something you're going to have to trust me (and Sarah) on. There were a few weeks ago where I wanted to reach into the computer and choke Claribel (who isn't there anymore) for not answering my emails. But then I had to let it go because there was nothing I could do. So please, let it go. Save yourself the stress. As long as you have the confirmation - you're golden!!!
Now, the WC team is made up of three people currently - Cristina (my WC), Mercy and Leonardo. They are all smiles and pleasantries once you're there and are active in making it the wedding that you want! Now, because I like things how I like things, I brought a LOT of stuff with me (pics to come shortly). I had our large center pieces, nine boxes of t-light holders, yards of table runners, napkin rings, unity candle, cake toppers, seating name charts, bubble wands, glow sticks (bracklets and necklaces) and pinwheels. We traveled with six cases (sorry no pics on how I packed, was far to gone in panic mode for that) plus carried the vases and the lighted tree branches by hand (for fear they'd break). We had an appointment on our second day there with Cristina (which was still five days away from the wedding) and walked her through everything. Mind you we had pictures drawn of EXACTLY how we envisioned it but had to give a little to practicalness.
Sitting at my kitchen table in London, we had planned on getting married at the fountain and reception on the beach. However, when we landed it was rainy and at night the beach was extremely windy. We did a resort walk through with Cristina and decided to change our reception to the quiet pool instead. It looks beautiful at night all lit up. Of course, this one change altered 'our vision' and you'll have to go with the changes. Why? On the beach it would have been one long table (similar to pics you've seen). I knew it total we had 56 people and ordered my table runner to match that. But at the quiet pool, though a long (curved) table was used, guests couldn't sit across from each other. Rather everyone sat on one side of the table, looking out on to the pool and dance floor. Which meant that my table runners weren't long enough but Cristina made it work!!! And in the end, we loved the few (very few) changes she had to make on our behalf.
For those of us who booked or researched Now Larimar when it was first reopening versus those who are new to it should note: a few items or prices have changed. You better know the prices that you intially were quoted for things. This isn't Cristina or any of the planners fault since some of us were dealing with Claribel first. When Cristina was getting my bill ready there were a few pricing issues because somethings are a bit more (for instance - extra flowers) but I had my price list and it was easily sorted. Then a few things, that I thought I'd have to pay for were just given. Cristina is really, really, accommodating! You'll see in my pics that usually, for the gazebo, you'd only get white decor inclued but I wanted some color and it was given to me plus the tropical flowers on top - which had declined to have. We also had a signature drink of caribbean lemonade (with rum) for the adults and regular lemonade for the kids before the ceremony which was also given free. All of these things, I couldn't have planned from my apartment in London and once I suggested it, Cristina made it happen!
As some of you know I was very against a buffet at the reception. But because I chose the quiet pool, it had to be so (reception on the beach you can have plated dinner - but it's the one dish for everyone) and it was perfect! Largely because I was hell bent on have island food NOT European cuisine. With my mom's help we got regular Dominican food and such a vast selection plus a carving station with roasted pork and a full grilled fish! AT NO EXTRA COST!!!! We just swapped out salmon and beef for them. It was all soooooooo YUMMY!!!
Everything went just as I had hoped!!!
Now for the outside vendors. Pastor Rick is wonderful! But he is tightly booked and cannot be kept. Due to a misunderstanding with the bellboy who was suppose to pick me up, I was late to my own wedding - lol! Because of that, we didn't do the commitment candle because he had another wedding to get to. In the end, we did it at the reception, but still. It sucks to be rushed at your own wedding. Music - We went with Mannia for DJs and Blue Lagoon for pics. This is one important note - the photographer we had in the divine package (which have a station on the resort) took some AMAZING portraits. I highly recommend using them. I had asked Claribel to send me there portfolio which never happened so I hired outside the resort but they were incredible good. And I'm thrilled that we had two set of photographers. Blue Lagoons pictures are also so beautiful but he took more wide shots where the picture takers at Now did close portrait shots. You get 24 in the package but we could have easily brought ten more from them (if it wasn't $15 each extra picture out of the package - ouch!) We're uploading all our pics onto our wedding website rather than having a url similar to Sarah's. Once it's up, I'll send the link for you all to see but I've attached pics from Blue Lagoon here only.
DJ Mannia was good! We had filled out a form and he listened to what we requested. My parents and family had a great time dancing to Haitian music and they got lots of it. Then it switched and we young people boogied to 80s classics which is what I requested! The only down side was that the reception in only 3 hours. We had to cut it short just as the dancing was kicking off! You can make it longer - at a price - but not at the quiet pool which is in the middle of the resort.
There's so much more to tell you all, I'm sure, but my hands are cramping and I'm still incredibly jetlagged after our 11 hour flight back home. Here are a few random points to be made:
-Cristina is (I know I've said it loads) OUTSTANDING!!! She helped sort out my hair appointment, massage, our private dinner on the beach (which we almost didn't get because they only do it on certain days) which we had alone rather than being one of several couples on the beach for your private dinner (which actually took place up in a cabana because of the wind). If you can try to get her!! Mercy is also lovely but her english is still a work in progress and I found it difficult to understand her. Leonardo is quite nice but I didn't work with him much.
-Do not pay them to deliver your gift bags, hand them out yourself. It's $2 a room. And, at first, I was delivering them but my guests were coming at different days/times which made it tiresome. So the FI (now hubby) decided we'd have them deliver it for us to cut on the stress. IT WAS MORE STRESSFUL!! They'd only deliver the bags after 7pm on the day that people checked in which meant they wouldn't know what was happening until they got the bag. Then guests would also change rooms so we had a few bags go missing and it took forever to get them back. But my guests were impatient and kept wondering where the bags were. Just do it yourself.
-It's still too windy for floating lanterns. We brought them and at the end of the reception walked to the beach to light them up. But it didn't work. We've now returned with said lanterns and plan on lighting them up during the AHR.
-One regret not having a photographer during our reception. I know loads of my guests took pics but now, I'd love to see more pics at the reception. You may want to have one booked for at least an hour into it.
-The videographer in the Divine package is such a nice guy but make sure to tell him to move around a bit during the ceremony. We got it all from one angle. ONE ANGLE! And that Angle is behind me. Sure my hubby looked good in his kilt but still...LOL! Also tell your WC to evenly distribute guests when seating for the ceremony. Somehow, everyone seems to be sitting on one side (which may have had to do with the fact that there wasn't A CLOUD IN THE SKY on our wedding day. In pics, you can see the sweat just dripping down my face.
-Sitting in a large group at the restaurants is NOT EASY! You'll want to try to get even a group of ten together - good luck! The only place it was easy is at the restaurant in Garden view section called Windows. So if you're planning stuff now, that's the way to go. They have golf carts to take you there and the food is lovely. (PS make sure you and all your guests book similar rooms either Ocean & Tropical OR Garden view because garden view is a bit far feeling). Oh, and make a reservation at the chef's table at Spice once you get there. That way your guests will get to partake in the show. Use your butler for that one! Hello...upgrade!!! ;-)
-The pics that you've seen with the lovely roses on the back of the seats is called Mercure. And it is an adults only restaurant. Should be noted because my step-daughter was bummed that they wouldn't let her in.
-Do an activity off the resort. We took all of our (young) guests horse back riding. We got picked up and got to see some of DR which was nice and another beach too. Everyone who came loved it!!! The older ladies did a tour of a local church (which from the pics look beautiful) and then hit a local shopping center. Everyone loved getting off the resort for a couple of hours. I can give you my contact for the tour we did (though had I known none of the older people would have gone horseback riding, I would have done dune buggies instead).
Any questions, please send away!!! here are more pics...