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Lala's Ceiba del Mar Wedding Week


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#1 lalanyc

lalanyc
  • Jr. Member
  • 363 posts

    Posted 27 March 2011 - 07:27 PM

    I am so thankful for all the information I obtained from BDW that I am excited to finally provide my own review and recommendations. I hope it's helpful to future brides. Also, I understand there are separate review forums for vendors/hotels, so I will repeat certain reviews in those sections.

    _______________________________________________________________________________

     

    CdM A+++++!!!!!!!

     

    OVERALL REVIEW

     

    Of all places we scouted in the Riviera Maya, we knew immediately that Ceiba was “the one.”  Words can’t describe how well the hotel treated us and our guests!!  They well exceeded our expectations at practically every turn.  In particular, Diana was A-MAZING!!!  She is an incredibly smart, organized and great person overall, and it was a pleasure to work with her throughout the year.  Once we arrived, we coordinated w/ Javier and Miguel who were also exceedingly nice and professional.  It was wonderful working with ALL the staff and it was b/c of them that our event was so special.

     

    To be clear, getting to this point was A LOT of work (unless, of course, you pay someone else to do it for you)!!  As others may have mentioned, you need to be prepared to invest time in contractual details in order to get the best pricing and options with management.  In addition, this is not your typical all-inclusive hotel.  Unlike many hotels which provide packages and/or pre-selected vendors, everything at CdM is a la carte.  The coordinators will provide a list of preferred vendors for flowers, d©cor, music, etc. but you have the option of looking for other vendors (which is not necessarily the best route, btw!).   Thank goodness for BDW!!!  Perhaps things may have played out differently had we hired a third-party coordinator, but despite the work, it was so worth it in the end.  We love CdM and plan to go back for many years!

     

    BEFORE THE WEDDING

     

    Room Rates: We negotiated directly with the hotel on room rates and locked in 2 rates (AI and European) for all room types since we were confident we would take at least 50 rooms.  We had to place a hefty deposit to secure the rates.  Of course, AI was by far the best deal, HOWEVER, some guests simply didn’t want to have to pay the extra $$ - either b/c they traveled alone or b/c they preferred to explore nearby restaurants.  Whatever the case, we wanted to give them that option which is partly why we chose Ceiba.  Many switched plans at the last minute.  Others who stayed for many days chose a combo of AI and European which was especially nice if they planned full day excursions.   If you would like more specifics, PM me.

     

    Off Site Options:  Another big reason we chose Ceiba was the proximity of private homes and condos.  We had many families w/ kids that simply couldn’t afford to stay at Ceiba.  In particular, we had families stay at Villa Karina, Casa South Breeze and Costa Blanca Condos. These accommodations were perfect!!!  Clean, nice, close to Ceiba and (relatively) cheap!  See the attached form for information on all the houses/condos we investigated, including a map :)

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    WEDNESDAY - BONFIRE

     

    Bonfire on the beach in front of the pool bar – AWESOME. Even though we threw this together at the last minute, Ceiba executed perfectly.  Weather was chilly w/ the ocean breeze but people had their shawls/sweaters so it was tolerable. 

     

    Music:  We contracted a band on short notice and it was a great addition (unfortunately I don’t have their name but they were so fun).  I would highly recommend having music though you will definitely need speakers since the waves will drown out acoustic sound.

     

    Food/Drink:  We paid $400 for a bonfire w/ marshmallows, asked the staff to put out beer and wine (no waiter service – self serve only).  The set up worked well since this was meant to be an informal event.  People loved toasting marshmallows!

     

    D©cor:  The staff arranged tiki torches and beach lounge chairs around the bonfire area and that is all that was necessary.  Any additional d©cor would have been hard to notice since it was so dark.

     

    OOT Bags: tote bag.jpg

     

     

    THURSDAY – WELCOME DRINKS

     

    We hosted welcome drinks around the smaller pool.  I originally wanted to host the event on the pier but was happy we stuck to the pool - the pier can be unpredictably windy at night and with so many people of all ages, this location was ideal, esp b/c the beach chairs provided seating options.

     

    Music: We contracted an acoustic guitarist for 2 hrs for about $150.  He was quite good (unfortunately, I don’t have contact/name) however, acoustic music was not the best option as the music was too soft for my taste.  Wish I had paid extra for a sound system or contracted more musicians to add more energy to the event.

     

    Food/Drink:  We specifically started the event around 8 PM so people would have time for dinner, however, we ordered tacos at the last minute (specifically, the “trompo de pastor”) for guests who arrived on late flights.  HOLY&*%$!  Everyone ate the tacos, including guests who had just finished 3 course dinners!!!  Waiters also walked around w/ a signature drink and there was an open bar.

     

    D©cor:  Lounge chairs were placed along far edges of the pavement and high tables were also placed closer to the pool.  I gave Diana tea candle light covers and paper star lanterns for added decor.  The staff did an awesome job putting them up.  They knew exactly what to do and it was great not to have to worry about it.

     



    #2 lalanyc

    lalanyc
    • Jr. Member
    • 363 posts

      Posted 27 March 2011 - 07:38 PM

       

      A few additional thoughts:

       

      • I was having cold sweats in the weeks before when I realized I hadn’t planned much d©cor for the non-wedding events.  In retrospect, the staff did such an amazing job (and Ceiba is so naturally beautiful) that the small touches I added were not worth so much stress!

       

      •  I cannot stress enough how much people love tacos.

       

      • While I didn’t go into the ocean much, some people noted there are rocky sections.  I wish I had alerted avid swimmers to bring water shoes.

       

       

       

      wow, that's a LOOONG review, oops..! hope you find something in there that's useful!!



      #3 lalanyc

      lalanyc
      • Jr. Member
      • 363 posts

        Posted 27 March 2011 - 09:24 PM

        Ack, ok final FINAL thoughts.

         

        • Forgot to mention that the wedding was in November 2010 and we had a little under 160 guests!

         

        • I also posted my list of "wish I had..." on the separate thread, but of particular note:
        1. I would have gotten a tequila donkey if I could do it over.
        2. I wish I had taken pictures of and thanked the staff on the wedding day
        3. I wish I had ignored my FI's objections and warned guests to bring bug spray and anti-itch cream

         

        I have a few more but I thought CdM brides might appreciate these the most! :)

        http://www.bestdesti...10#post_1572806

         



        #4 tweets.13

        tweets.13
        • Site Supporter
        • 103 posts

          Posted 28 March 2011 - 10:30 AM

          Lala~

           

          Thank you sooooo much!!!!!!  It sounds like you had an incredible week!!!  I leave one week from tomorrow, and get married in less than two... so the crunch time is on! :)  Your review/summary is sooo helpful and giving me last minute ideas! 

           

          Congrats again!

           

           



          #5 LisaandJeff

          LisaandJeff
          • Jr. Member
          • 296 posts

            Posted 28 March 2011 - 11:35 AM

            This is an amazing post-- one of the best I've read yet!  Thank you!


            June 18, 2011 * Cabo Azul Resort

            #6 Brenners

            Brenners
            • Member
            • 807 posts

              Posted 28 March 2011 - 02:36 PM

              This is a great thorough review Lala.  You have answered some of my questions.  Good luck Tweets!  Will be thinking of you!  Have a great time!



              #7 KPSouthie

              KPSouthie
              • Newbie
              • 31 posts

                Posted 28 March 2011 - 09:15 PM

                Great review Lala!!  I love the honest feedback you provided on each of the vendors as well as an overview of the events you had throughout the week.

                 

                Brenners -have you made a decision yet?

                 

                 



                #8 tracysf

                tracysf
                • Newbie
                • 61 posts

                  Posted 29 March 2011 - 04:30 PM

                  Hi Lala!!   Thank you so much for your thorough review!! I can’t tell you how much relief it gives me to hear that everything went great and Ceiba treated you and all your guests well!!   Congrats again on you marriage and planning a successful wedding (I had no idea how hard it would be to plan…eeek!). I have a few follow up questions I was hoping you don’t mind answering.  My wedding at Ceiba is coming up-- 6 more weeks  J

                   

                  1)      Do you have more pictures that you would be willing to share? I would love to see more of the d©cor from the other nights, etc

                  2)      I love the idea of the bonfire!    Were you able to just plug your ipods into the speakers after the band stopped? 

                  3)      Another question on music—does Ceiba generally play music during the day?   Since you had such a large group, I was wondering if they would let you play your own music or request?

                  4)      OOT Bags—did you include a list of “things to do” for your guests. I know Ceiba already gives some info, so wasn’t sure how much to include.   I definitely want to do the books—where did you make them or was it all DIY?

                  5)      Welcome Drinks—we were planning to do this at the sushi lounge so that we don’t really have to pay for anything (our guest are almost all AI)  .. do you think around the pool is better?  Did they make you pay to set up tables?   What was your signature drink---I can’t decide on one for the wedding but don’t want to do margaritas because we are doing that for the rehearsal.

                  6)      I LOVE the idea of Kareokee—so did DJ Mannia arrange that all for you?   Do you mind if I ask how much it was?  We are using them for our wedding to, so we might want to do this after the rehearsal or welcome.

                  7)      Wedding—did you use LED candles? I can’t tell from the pics. I really want to use real ones but heard that they will just blow out.

                  8)      Food- did you have any apps passed out during the cocktail? If so, any recommendations

                  9)      Did you plan any excursions. I haven’t and am starting to feel bad. Should I be?

                  10)   Did you ship anything (the welcome bags, etc)> I have heard they can get lost of stuck at customs, but can’t imagine having to cart all this stuff with me on the plane!

                   

                  Thanks again for taking the time to write your review!

                  Tracy



                  #9 Brenners

                  Brenners
                  • Member
                  • 807 posts

                    Posted 29 March 2011 - 06:44 PM

                    Hey KP!  No, we haven't decided yet but some info that I got from Ceiba helps make the pricing less than we originally thought.  Also, with Lala's review, it helps with the decision that less is more with decorations - something Diana said to us as well when we did our site visit. 



                    #10 lalanyc

                    lalanyc
                    • Jr. Member
                    • 363 posts

                      Posted 29 March 2011 - 09:14 PM

                      Hi Tracy,

                       

                      Happy to help!

                       

                      1. Unfortunately I did a TERRIBLE job of taking pictures throughout the week so I am totally dependent on other people's pics.  I found a few and will keep adding as I come across more.

                       

                      REHEARSAL DINNER

                      setting up



                      Hi Lala!!   Thank you so much for your thorough review!! I can’t tell you how much relief it gives me to hear that everything went great and Ceiba treated you and all your guests well!!   Congrats again on you marriage and planning a successful wedding (I had no idea how hard it would be to plan…eeek!). I have a few follow up questions I was hoping you don’t mind answering.  My wedding at Ceiba is coming up-- 6 more weeks  J

                       

                      1)      Do you have more pictures that you would be willing to share? I would love to see more of the d©cor from the other nights, etc

                      2)      I love the idea of the bonfire!    Were you able to just plug your ipods into the speakers after the band stopped? 

                      3)      Another question on music—does Ceiba generally play music during the day?   Since you had such a large group, I was wondering if they would let you play your own music or request?

                      4)      OOT Bags—did you include a list of “things to do” for your guests. I know Ceiba already gives some info, so wasn’t sure how much to include.   I definitely want to do the books—where did you make them or was it all DIY?

                      5)      Welcome Drinks—we were planning to do this at the sushi lounge so that we don’t really have to pay for anything (our guest are almost all AI)  .. do you think around the pool is better?  Did they make you pay to set up tables?   What was your signature drink---I can’t decide on one for the wedding but don’t want to do margaritas because we are doing that for the rehearsal.

                      6)      I LOVE the idea of Kareokee—so did DJ Mannia arrange that all for you?   Do you mind if I ask how much it was?  We are using them for our wedding to, so we might want to do this after the rehearsal or welcome.

                      7)      Wedding—did you use LED candles? I can’t tell from the pics. I really want to use real ones but heard that they will just blow out.

                      8)      Food- did you have any apps passed out during the cocktail? If so, any recommendations

                      9)      Did you plan any excursions. I haven’t and am starting to feel bad. Should I be?

                      10)   Did you ship anything (the welcome bags, etc)> I have heard they can get lost of stuck at customs, but can’t imagine having to cart all this stuff with me on the plane!

                       

                      Thanks again for taking the time to write your review!

                      Tracy



                       




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