So, we first started off with a DW in the Keys, and when that didnâ€™t work out (the venue we selected ended up canceling all contracts due to a combination of management change and ethical dilemmas...donâ€™t ask me to elaborate, thatâ€™s all the explanation I was given, and I was steaming mad), we looked to a more exotic locale.
We were debating hiring a DW planner, but after reading all the horror stories about them, I figured we could figure it out ourselves. What really sealed the deal for Moon palace was when my DH spoke to a TA and explained to her that we were looking at Palace Resorts and she promptly admitted defeat, saying â€œI canâ€™t compete with their packages or pricingâ€. Thatâ€™s a good sign!
We selected Moon Palace, sight unseen, because of 1) kid-friendly and 2) horse-drawn carriage and 3) because they agreed to allow a small, contained fire for the ceremony. I was a bit nervous considering that I was picking my venue from tripadvisor and reviews (this was before I found this great forum!). If you considering a site visit, use the SITE INSPECTION form.
When I found this site, I discovered a whole another world...before hand, the only STD I knew was something you definitely didnâ€™t want to receive! OOT bags, logos, all of this was news to me, so this was a great resource.
The next few steps were interesting because we were doing a fusion Indian-American wedding. I originally selected the Amber package because it was so close to a traditional Indian color scheme but after reading on here how it was impossible to swap options, I switched to the Complimentary. We also ended up doing a symbolic ceremony after deciding that the signing of the certificate sort of interrupted the ceremony, not to mention that it was cheaper to do it at home.
I had originally ordered the STD from Jean M, which had a deal for all brides that sign up for their email list to get them for free (up to 100 I think) with free S&H. However, the whole fiasco with having to cancel on the Keys led me to have to go with a different print company. Itâ€™s a good thing that it was free...otherwise, I wouldâ€™ve made those idiots at Marinerâ€™s Resort pay.
The STDs were not really all that great, no one paid attention and we had to remind them constantly to check out the site. THe only good thing was that we got everyone's mailing addresses way ahead of sending invites. Maybe it would've worked better if we hadn't sent it 10 months in advance...
My first DIY was the logo. I knew I wanted orange and blue as my colors because I loved how they were a perfect fusion between beachy and the typical, bold colors youâ€™d see at an Indian wedding. I was originally going to use Vistaprint for all my stationary needs, so I used their orange and blue seahorse design to make my logo in Word. Fairly easy and I thought it turned out well:
sorry if it's massive!!
Anyways, the whole Vistaprint invites kinda went out the window once my dad and DH got involved. It evolved into a fancy, scroll invitation that we custom-designed and had a friend bring from India. http://www.scrollweddinginvitations.com/S827.html
The company was great to work with. We customized everything, even the exact Ganesh graphic that werenâ€™t even part of their options. We had a friend pick it up in Delhi and brought it over to the States for us. I think there was an additional charge for excess baggage, but it was cheaper to go this way as opposed to paying for shipping.
I was a bit apprehensive about spending so much more money for the invites when I could already anticipate being waa-y over our budget, but it was a good call. Everyone was so excited and they kept remarking that they had never seen such a beautiful invite. They couldnâ€™t wait for the wedding!
The next step was to create our wedding website. I wanted a website mainly for the purpose of disseminating information quickly, so I had no interest in spending a lot of money. The first site was mywedding.com, which was nice but after a few months you had to pay to upgrade. The next site was weddingwire.com/ravywedding, which was great. We had the RSVP option online, but not too many people RSVPed online so we included it in our invite. The best part was posting the group link for the reservations and explaining the Vacation Dollars promotion.
This was completely last minute. I wanted to do something like a fan program, but I didn't have enough time so I just got a DIY kit from Michaels.
The black ribbon was a bit formal, so I swapped it out for blue and orange ribbons.
It worked out fine so I didn't mind too much. We also passed out glass bracelets for the women to wear, tied in our wedding colors
I knew I wanted to wear a sari but when we started going shopping, all the wedding saris were too plain. The traditional outfit is called a lengha and is a top, skirt and heavily embroidered wrap. However, when my DH saw these and immediately rejected the idea, â€œI donâ€™t want you looking like a Christmas tree!â€ he said.
We finally found a beautiful, white chiffon sari with rich embroidery in red and gold on the border. The top was custom-designed halter (not too bad in terms of price because 1. we negotiated EVERYTHING and 2. outfits are normally purchased with just the cloth and you design your own top). The price was originally $1100 and we were able to negotiate it down to $800!
The veil or duppatta was also custom, and was a bigger headache. The red portion was far too dark, but having it be all white was too light, so we designed it to be half-and-half with embroidery that matched. The store owner sent it to India with detailed specs and told us he had to return the first one because he couldnâ€™t allow us to see it, it was that awful. When he sent us the second one, it was awful...which makes me kinda glad I didnâ€™t see the first one. We sent it back and he said heâ€™d personally accompany the veil to India to ensure it was done properly. When we finally got it back it in January, it was perfect!! He did such as great job, I couldnâ€™t be happier!
My DHâ€™s outfit was originally purchased in India, but he didnâ€™t like it because it wasnâ€™t a jacket, more like a tunic. So, we went to NJ and found the perfect outfit...it was just blue and white. We had it redone in red and white and mailed to us. They did an excellent job, they even threw in custom shoes that matched the fabric used in his suit. Unfortunately, they were too small so we will go back to the original ones.
We got them from a costume jewelry store in Iselin, NJ. The set cost $95 and included earrings, necklace and a maangtikka (the part that goes in the part and usually rests on top of your forehead). The earrings were oh-my-god heavy so I literally had to train my ears to get used to the weight.
For the hair flower, I used a fabric rose from Claireâ€™s and added a small brooch.
I wore bangles that my mom had purchased in India. My shoes were gold Stuart Weitzmans that I got from Ebay for about $50! They were brand new samples that had some damage to the heel and logo, but I didnâ€™t care because there was no way I could justify paying so much for shoes and not feeling a little bit guilty.
I also got a white, fabric flower from Nordstrom Rack. It was super cute for lounging and for the civil ceremony.
This company deserves their own section!
We werenâ€™t going to do OOT bags because it was going to be a headache to transport them along with everything else and no one really knew what they were, so they wouldnâ€™t miss them. However, I got a email deal from Vistaprint for free shipping and combining that with all the free items:
- 1 Free T-shirt (these were a huge hit! People loved wearing them on the flight and being a part of the group...it was like we were rock stars and they were our groupies!!)
- 1 Free Keychain
- 1 Free Notebook
- 1 Free Hat, the images were silk screened on. They were very popular and well-used:
- 1 Free Address Stamp (we used it for our RSVP and holiday cards)
- 250 Free Business cards (I used these as bag tags and for the back of the luggage tags)
- 10 Free Letterheads for our welcome letters. Didn't actually use these because I didn't have time.
- 100 Free Postcards (I used them as Photoshare cards)
- 1 Free Sticky Note
- 1 Free Coffee Mug
- 1 Free 4x6 Photo Album (these are tiny, so I put our engagement photos and gave them as gifts to our parents. I also used these as Welcome Books for the OOT bags)
- 1 Free Bumper Sticker
Okay, so this was a bit corny and I donâ€™t think Iâ€™ll see cars with this on the bumper...but how could I resist?
I didnâ€™t even have to put in a Credit Card number but I had to manually enter each item in my shopping cart, one item type at a time and I had to go through the Secret Bridal Sale link to qualify for free shipping. I started off making certain items for free through other links for free and then saving it in my portfolio to access through the link for free shipping. Basically, you can get everything free through some link or other, but only these â€œperpetuallyâ€ free items will remain free through the free shipping link. The only downside is if you want to upload your own pictures, it costs a small fee, not much, but its no longer free.
I also used business cards for lots of different things: escort cards, luggage and bag tags. I also got free address labels and ink stamper to address all the envelopes.
The only things we paid for was thank-you magnets (they say: â€œLove is a journey, not a destination. - Ralph Waldo Emerson Thank you for being a part of our journey.)
and pre-travel brochures...but even that we got a really good deal...I canâ€™t remember the link I used, I just googled free brochures and got one that was 90% off.
Spanish Dictionary (pocket-sized)
Including all the items above, we also added a few items. We bought:
First-Aid Kits - $1 each
Body Poufs - $1 each
Hand Sanitizer - $1 each
Wedding Survival Kit - included immodium, Tylenol, etc. - free at work
I used scrapbook materials and plastic bags to create â€œcommercialâ€ looking packets with out wedding colors.
Key Card Holders - Got them free from work, however, we bought our last 12 at Office Depot. I found a few sites that sell them cheap for bulk, but S&H plus a minimum order made it not such a good deal for us.
Aviator Sunglasses - Pioneer Group in NYCâ€™s wholesale district...it was a dozen for $12.99 (no tax) including leather cases. The guys will wear theirs on the beach for a group shot :-)...I think I got this idea from another bride...
I used the MASTER LIST OF CONTENTS.xls posted by a BDW bride, I am so sorry I canâ€™t give credit where its due!
Lables for First-Aid Kits and Hand Sanitizer (I donâ€™t remember the price)
I used templates from this site, super-cute, for the first-aid kits. For the hand-sanitizers, I just used our logo with the â€œShare love...not germsâ€ line.
About three months before the wedding, I sent out pre-travel brochures along with a luggage tag.
A few of the attachments I didn't end up using but were so helpful in terms of wording and information to include. Thank you to all the previous brides!
If any one needs wording for their pre-travel brochures, let me know! In general, I talked about: Navigating the Cancun Airport, What to Expect, Restaurant Options, Spa Options, What to Bring, Vacation Dollars Promotion, What does All-Inclusive Mean and Activities & Excursions.
The luggage tags were originally going to be from the $1 bin aisle at Michaelâ€™s but it was kinda pricey. So, I ended up returning them and using gift tags with a orange Moroccan tile print and blue Vistaprint business cards on the other side. They were much cuter and in our wedding colors! Plus, I laminated them so they were a bit sturdier.
Along with the brochures, I sent a flyer about the Vacation Dollars, a flyer about the resort and the resort map. This is all available online through the resortâ€™s site, except for the Vacation Dollars flyer, my WC sent that
I started doing a bridal boot camp at my gym, which was nice but considering that I was working out for 3 hours everyday and I didnâ€™t need to lose weight, just tone up, it was too much work, and I quit that after 3 months. I did the P90X workout along with my DH but all that happened was we lost a ton of body fat...which is good, but not our goal. I finally switched to a combination of P90X without cardio and the Perricone Prescription. My main grip was maintaining clear skin and I swear, Perricone is a god-send. I felt more energetic, not to mention that I was glowing. Itâ€™s expensive, but it beats trying to cover up acne and scars with makeup. I also invested in the Clarisonic Mia brush. I was tried of spending money on face washes which never worked. The Mia definitely helped get my skin under control, especially when used in combination with Imageâ€™s Ageless Total Facial Cleanser. My skin became pretty dry (not sure if it was the cleanser or the winter air) so I used Jojoba oil as a moisturizer. I also used Ageless Total Skin Lightening Serum to address the acne scarring I already had, only the second product to work (the first was Neutrogenaâ€™s Acne Fade Mask which is discontinued, waah!).
I also got the OPI Axxium Soak-off Gel Mani in French Manicure. I had a Groupon coupon and tried it out...amazing! Three weeks and it looked as good as it did on day one. It looks like gel nails but is on your natural nail so it doesnâ€™t hurt it. The only way you could tell it was old was when your nails grew. Find more info here: http://imabeautygeek.com/2010/05/10/4-weeks-opi-axxium-soak-off-gel-mani/. You are supposed to go back to the nail salon to remove it, but I just picked it off. Probably not the best option, but I was too impatient.
I also got eyelash extensions from Bellaluxe from a Buywithme.com coupon.
It was a big, dramatic difference but I didnâ€™t have to do any eye makeup at all! It was great and better than false eyelashes.
The only issue was that they fell out much quicker than I was expecting. In all fairness, the aesthetician did say Iâ€™d probably have to come in for a refill. The first day after, one fell out and every day since, a few have fallen out. I can only assume that those lashes were at the end of their lash cycle, but I thought theyâ€™d last 30-60 days. I was super careful, didnâ€™t wear any makeup, avoided touching them, sleeping on my face and everything. The only steam exposure they had was my hot showers...I hope that didnâ€™t accelerate them falling out.
However, I wouldnâ€™t get them again. The results were similar to what I would achieve with mascara and you have to be so careful, it wasnâ€™t really worth it. Plus, its very expensive, especially to make it a regular habit.
HAIR & MAKEUP INSPIRATION
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