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Brenners Planning Thread


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#1 Brenners

Brenners
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    Posted 17 February 2012 - 11:13 AM

    1.  Choosing a resort.  We got engaged in Cancun February 6, 2011.  We were lucky to be able to perform site visits across the area – from Cancun to south of Playa del Carmen.  We even did site visits at Isla Mujeres.  Our final two resorts came down to Barcel³ Maya Palace and Ceiba del Mar.  Ceiba was our favorite, however, they would not negotiate a group rate for us and in fact, the prices they gave us were more expensive than ones we found online that included airfare.  Even with the reduced prices online, however, their prices were still more than what we wanted our guests to pay.  Barcel³ Maya Palace gave us very competitive rates and even when our group dwindled to 7 rooms, they still honored our group rate.  Some of our guests ventured out on their own which was unfortunate but it still worked out in the end.
    2. Choosing a date.  Even though prices are more expensive in the winter, we live in MN and wanted to escape the cold.  Some friends of ours married near Playa del Carmen in May 2010 and the heat and humidity was overwhelming making the trip less fun.  My FI wanted a date near the full moon and we also wanted a Saturday wedding to accommodate any guests wanting to arrive Thursday or Friday and leaving Sunday or Monday.  We finally decided on Saturday, February 11, 2012.  We also wanted a ceremony near sunset for the photos as well as having the last wedding of the day at Barcel³ since they have many each day.  The date and time worked out perfectly.
    3. Choosing a ceremony and reception locations.  Our friends who married in Mexico before us had their wedding at Sandos Playacar which had no private locations for ceremonies or receptions.  There were beach-goers and topless gawkers everywhere.  We knew that we would want private locations for both our ceremony and reception.  Based on our site visit, we chose Coral Beach for our ceremony and Playa Azul for our reception.  Both locations were private, intimate and gorgeous.  I started to doubt our locations until the day of the wedding and realized how silly those doubts were.  We chose perfectly!
    4. Choosing wedding colors.  My FI was very hesitant when I mentioned hot pink and orange.  Then I showed him pictures I found online of bridesmaid dresses and flowers with those colors and he agreed that they looked good together.  Most go with turquoise to match the Caribbean and it is lovely but I think it blends too much into the water and doesn’t really stand out.  Pink and orange are in so many of the flowers and plants in the Riviera Maya and I think it really pops and stands out well in the beach setting.
    5. Choosing the STD’s and invitations.  Our STD’s (I have to be honest here) were chosen because they were free through Vistaprint.  They were of a gorgeous beach with a palm tree but we did not want to spend a ton of money on STD’s then turn around and spend tons on invitations.  For our invitations, we ordered samples from Wedding Paper Divas and Invitations by Dawn.  I highly recommend that you order samples as the pictures look far different than what you see in person.  We chose our invitations through Invitations by Dawn and I went to Anchor Paper and Archivers to get background paper and ribbon to add more color and depth to them.  All of our guests loved them and they were far more simple than the passport invitations which are very popular.  If you have the time for the passport invitations, then go for it but our time was too limited for it.
    6. Choosing a wedding dress.  Oh this was painful.  My girlfriends made it less painful but it was still 6 bridal shops before I found “the one.”  I researched online and loved Jim Hjelm, only Jim Hjelm did not love me.  It was heartbreaking but I had to let it go.  I finally went to Dena Marie Bridal in Roseville, MN where I found the dress that was right for me.  It was a Casablanca Bridal gown and it suited me perfectly.  It was a strapless lace and I think the definition of knowing that it is the one should be that you don’t want to take it off!  I also did not want a veil until I tried one on with the sample gown and decided I had to have one!  Both were perfect for me and I realized that you need to keep going until you find the dress that makes you feel beautiful and special!
    7. Choosing wedding shoes.  Ugh.  It took a while to find shoes that did not cost the same or more than my wedding dress!  I wanted beautiful shoes even though it was a beach wedding and knew they would need to be wedges.  Wedges that are elegant are challenging to find but I finally found what I liked in Coloriffics and I highly recommend checking them out.  Zappos, DSW, Amazon, pretty much every store and online source has them.
    8. Choosing the groom’s attire.  Ladies, as much as you may like the look of a dark suit, be kind to your groom and don’t do it.  We saw some grooms who looked as though they would pass out from the heat and while dark suits are nice, they actually look out of place in such a tropical location.  My FI and I went to Men’s Warehouse where we found a gorgeous linen suit and we got another suit for free.  My FI was handsome in his gorgeous suit and looked like he belonged on the beach as it fit the setting so perfectly.
    9. Choosing the bridesmaids’ attire.  As I mentioned, my FI and chose hot pink and tangerine orange for our colors as most flowers and plants seem to have these colors in them.  I originally had four bridesmaids so we decided that two would wear orange and two would wear pink.  I let them choose the style they liked best and felt the most comfortable in and went with them to help them pick out their choices.  Each bridesmaid was grateful to make their own choices and was very happy with the way they looked.  They each looked gorgeous!
    10. Choosing the groomsmen/lady attire.  We asked our groomspeople (one was a female) to wear khaki pants and white long-sleeved shirts.  The lone female wore a khaki dress.  They looked perfect and again matched the tropical setting and complimented my FI perfectly.
    11.  Choosing the reception menu.  This was challenging.  BDW was so helpful but Unofficial Barcel³ was helpful as well.  If you have not registered and reviewed their forums, I highly recommend you do so.  Our final decision for our menu was the shrimp cocktail with avocado slices and cilantro, lobster bisque, surf and turf, white chocolate and raspberry tiramisu and the pineapple wedding cake.  I highly recommend all of it.  All of our guests loved the food and were amazed when one course after another was brought out.  We had one vegetarian option and though I did not see it, I was told by our guest that it was quite good.  We chose this menu after reading many reviews and seeing many photos by other brides on Unofficial Barcel³.  I have to say that it is a ton of food and I could not finish my main course and only had a bite of the tiramisu and cake.
    12. Choosing ceremony/reception d©cor.  There are so many beautiful ideas on this site and we thought of so many different decorations and tablescapes.  Ultimately, we decided on simple and using what was already available in nature and at the resort for two reasons:  First, the natural setting is gorgeous on its own.  Second, we had zero interest in lugging tons of decorations to and from Mexico.  We knew our guests would not know if anything was “missing” and we didn’t think that anything would be missing.  The only additional decorations we added were additional string lights on the poles at Playa Azul and centerpieces for our two guest tables (the head table uses the flowers from the reception).  We also decided against a huppa or flower arch and I am so glad we did not add that.  I think it would have detracted from the scenery and our ceremony rather than adding to it.  We did have place settings that were small frames with our guest’s name and the frame itself had little starfish and shells on them.  Our guests loved them and planned to place a photo from their trip inside once they got home.
    13. Choosing ceremony music.  This was challenging as there are so many fantastic songs.  In the end, we chose to go traditional with our processional music:  Groom’s entrance was Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, Brides entrance was Canon in D.  Our recessional was less traditional as we chose “All You Need Is Love” by the Beatles.  We chose the violinist and she did an amazing job!  We had a song for our sand ceremony and I honestly do not know what it was!  I will need to watch the video when we get that back!
    14. Choosing a photographer and videographer.  Even more challenging than a dress!  We loved Del Sol but not their prices.  Their sister company La Luna was not much of a bargain either.  We chose Claudia Rodriguez, however, she was booked on our wedding day.  Citlalli and Erick were available and we decided to go with Erick.  So glad we did as he was so sweet and made us feel so comfortable.  Our guests loved him and his assistant Omar (who also happens to be his cousin) and thought they did an amazing job.  We cannot wait to see the photos!  We also used a videographer through Claudia – Alex.  He was great and very attentive.  Again, we cannot wait to see his video!
    15. Choosing ceremony format.  We knew we wanted to add some special touches to the ceremony but we were not sure what we wanted that to be.  After a great deal of research, we decided on two additions to the ceremony:  a reading by my FI’s aunt and a sand ceremony.  The reading we chose was “Union” by Robert Fulghum. It spoke perfectly about our relationship and my FI’s aunt was near tears reading it as were my FI and I.  For the sand ceremony, we chose a lovely frame which was engraved with our names and wedding date.  We did not finish the frame during the ceremony, instead my FI finished it in our room later as it took a while to pour the sand.  Our JOP was great!  Claudia Rodriguez warned us when preparing for our pictures that the JOP would ask us if we wanted to say anything special to one another so we would not be caught off guard.  It was a nice touch and we were prepared which was even better!
    16. Choosing a travel agent.  While some of our guests went off on our own, my FI’s dad needed much hand holding so we are eternally grateful to Wendy Hicks from Wright Travel for all of her assistance.  She dealt with Barcel³â€™s group booking people and assisted many of our guests with their travel arrangements.  It was so much easier to have Wendy deal with all of that and it made our lives so much better having her take charge of the travel arrangements for those guests in need.  Thank you Wendy!
    17. OOT bags.  Oh I had grand ideas for these but ultimately knowing that we would have to lug these down made them less grand than I originally imagined.  In the end it did not matter though as everyone was just excited to have a bag that they could use for the beach and getting around the resort!  We put a welcome letter inside a two pocket folder, pen, notebook, and a postcard in each bag as well as a starfish bookmark, deck of cards, hand sanitizer and lip balm with spf.  The deck of cards and the lip balm had our wedding date on it and the hand sanitizer was from Bath and Body Works with different scents such as Pina Colada.  Our bags had Mexico 2012 on them and everyone thought they were great – especially those who forgot to bring a beach bag.  It was wonderful seeing everyone running around the resort with their bags!
    18. Choosing hair and makeup.  I was worried as I heard mixed reviews of the spa at Barcel³.  I had my hair cut and colored the week before our wedding and had a hair trial that same day with my veil.  I took pictures and showed them to the stylist Karla at the spa.  She did even better than my hairstylist!  It was gorgeous and stayed in place all day!  I went to a MAC store in the Twin Cities prior to leaving and took pictures as well to show Karla.  I told her brown and instead she went with pink and plum and she was right!  The colors were perfect and matched my coloring and skin tone perfectly.  My FI prefers me without makeup but even he said that my hair and makeup were perfect.  He was in awe.  Karla did a fabulous job.  I recommend having an idea and pictures when you go to the spa and you will not go wrong.  I know many want to use Adrian and a bride who got married the day before me used him but I do not think her makeup was any better than mine and I saved myself $600.
    19. Choosing welcome dinner location.  Again, Unofficial Barcel³ was a great help here.  We chose the French restaurant for a welcome dinner we had the night before our wedding.  Since we had so many people, we had a set menu but it was divine!  Everyone loved the restaurant and had a great time.  My FI’s mom, aunt and uncle informed the manager that we were getting married so he and the servers all sang to us.  They had great voices and ensured that we kissed before they walked away.  At least they placed the sombreros in front of us so we had a little privacy!

     

    I will add more as well as pictures once I get into my camera!  Happy planning ladies!



    #2 Brenners

    Brenners
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      Posted 17 February 2012 - 12:20 PM

      Adding a bit more for today!

       

      20.  Choosing bridesmaid and groomspeople gifts.  I went to Things Remembered and got each bridesmaid a necklace that fit her style and had them engraved with her name.  The jewelry boxes were free when you paid for engraving so I had each one engraved with something special from me to them.  My FI bought one groomsmen cuff links from Things Remembered as he wears a suit and tie everyday to work and the other an engraved flask as he used to be a bar manager.  My FI bought his female groomsperson an amber necklace that was lovely as she was looking fro jewelry to bring a little color to her khaki dress.

       

      21.  Choosing jewelry for me and the bridesmaids.  My FI had me covered with diamond earrings he gave me for my birthday, a diamond necklace he gave me for Christmas 2010, and a diamond bracelet he gave me for our wedding day.  I also wore a pearl bracelet that I purchased for myself.  For my bridesmaids, I gave them the aforementioned necklaces as well as hair flowers created by Red {i} by Chelsea.  Chelsea also made beautiful barefoot jewels for me that I wore for the reception as the wedges were too difficult to wear on the deep sand at Playa Azul.  I also wore them for my trash the dress session.  The females guests loved them and all wanted to know where I got them.  Check out Chelsea's great jewels as you will not be disappointed!



      #3 Brenners

      Brenners
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        Posted 17 February 2012 - 12:24 PM

        21.  Choosing bouquet jewelry.  I got myself added to the clear starfish passing thread and had the little guy in my bouquet for my special day.  That was my something borrowed and I felt like I had all those brides with me on the beach.  It meant so much to me!  I also asked Chelsea to create bouquet jewelry for me and she did not disappoint!  They were lovely pink, white and clear crystals and pearls.  They added a little sparkle to my flowers and even my FI commented on how nice my bouquet looked!



        #4 MsBlissMpls

        MsBlissMpls
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          Posted 06 March 2012 - 12:05 PM

          Hey Brenner,

           

          Thank you for sharing your planning thread. As a fellow Minneapolis bride heading to Mexico, I'm so excited to hear that things went well for you! When you get photos to share I can't wait to see them!

           

          Congratulations!

           



          #5 Brenners

          Brenners
          • Member
          • 807 posts

            Posted 06 March 2012 - 06:42 PM

            Hey MsBlissMpls!


             

            You will be so happy you did a DW!  One word of advice that Delta employees gave me was do not wait to be last to board your plane.  Board as soon as your zone is called so you can have room in the first class closets for your bridal gown.  They flight attendants were always very nice and accomodating.  Worked out great! 

             

            Once my professional pics arrive, then I will definitely post!  Cannot wait.

             

            Who is your photographer?

             

            Happy planning!

            Originally Posted by MsBlissMpls 

            Hey Brenner,

             

            Thank you for sharing your planning thread. As a fellow Minneapolis bride heading to Mexico, I'm so excited to hear that things went well for you! When you get photos to share I can't wait to see them!

             

            Congratulations!

             



             



            #6 MsBlissMpls

            MsBlissMpls
            • Jr. Member
            • 253 posts

              Posted 07 March 2012 - 06:57 AM

              Thanks Brenners! My FMIL offered to take the dress on board with her (She acted like it was no big deal and had a ton of confience so I feel good about it). I'll make sure to tell her to get on right away & talk to the attendants. She already called the TA and the airline asking details of what she should do. She is flying on a direct Sun Country flight. We are staying 10 nights and could not get a direct flight, so it's nice that she offered to take care of the dress!

               

              We have hired Adrian Herrera for our wedding day and we are lucky enough to have booked Del Sol for a TTD 2 days after the wedding (we did this cute Honeyfund site asking that if anyone wanted to gift us something that it be a contribution to Del Sol Photos). I still haven't practiced going under water without plugging my nose. Yikes. Wish me luck :)

               

              Originally Posted by Brenners 

              Hey MsBlissMpls!


               

              You will be so happy you did a DW!  One word of advice that Delta employees gave me was do not wait to be last to board your plane.  Board as soon as your zone is called so you can have room in the first class closets for your bridal gown.  They flight attendants were always very nice and accomodating.  Worked out great! 

               

              Once my professional pics arrive, then I will definitely post!  Cannot wait.

               

              Who is your photographer?

               

              Happy planning!



               



               



              #7 Brenners

              Brenners
              • Member
              • 807 posts

                Posted 01 April 2012 - 08:13 AM

                IMG_1883.JPG

                Bridesmaids in our watermelon and tangerine colors.  They are look lovely!

                 

                IMG_1895.JPG

                My bridesmaids and me where you can see our bouquets.  They had pink Asiatic lilies, green Fuji mums, pinnk daisy poms and orange alstroemeria.  Very pleased with how these turned out!

                 

                IMG_1922.JPG

                Stole a game from another BDW bride.  Had our guests throw bocce balls into hearts and if they made, then we kissed.  If they missed, then they had a choice to kiss someone, sing a song with the word love in it or take a shot of tequila. Our guests had poor aim as this kiss was us showing our guests how it was done!



                #8 chrisdior

                chrisdior
                • Jr. Member
                • 286 posts

                  Posted 05 April 2012 - 08:53 AM

                  Thanks for sharing Brenners sounds like everything went great! I have to email the WC and get started on my planning. I was wondering exactly how many people you had? I want to have my reception at Playa Azul, one of the main reasons I fell in love with this resort. I was just wondering if its extra to hold the reception there? If you had to have a certain amount of people in order for them to hold that location for you? Did all your guests stay at the Palace? 



                  #9 chrisdior

                  chrisdior
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                    Posted 05 April 2012 - 08:54 AM

                    PS the Union poem was amazing!! thanks for sharing!



                    #10 bondgirl0072010

                    bondgirl0072010
                    • Member
                    • 789 posts

                      Posted 07 April 2012 - 03:33 AM

                      Brenners! Thank you so much for including

                      Adding a bit more for today!

                       

                      20.  Choosing bridesmaid and groomspeople gifts.  I went to Things Remembered and got each bridesmaid a necklace that fit her style and had them engraved with her name.  The jewelry boxes were free when you paid for engraving so I had each one engraved with something special from me to them.  My FI bought one groomsmen cuff links from Things Remembered as he wears a suit and tie everyday to work and the other an engraved flask as he used to be a bar manager.  My FI bought his female groomsperson an amber necklace that was lovely as she was looking fro jewelry to bring a little color to her khaki dress.

                       

                      21.  Choosing jewelry for me and the bridesmaids.  My FI had me covered with diamond earrings he gave me for my birthday, a diamond necklace he gave me for Christmas 2010, and a diamond bracelet he gave me for our wedding day.  I also wore a pearl bracelet that I purchased for myself.  For my bridesmaids, I gave them the aforementioned necklaces as well as hair flowers created by Red {i} by Chelsea.  Chelsea also made beautiful barefoot jewels for me that I wore for the reception as the wedges were too difficult to wear on the deep sand at Playa Azul.  I also wore them for my trash the dress session.  The females guests loved them and all wanted to know where I got them.  Check out Chelsea's great jewels as you will not be disappointed!



                       






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