I just returned from Cabo and had an amazing time. I wanted to give you (soon to be brides) a summary of my experience.
WC - Jatziri sucked at e-mails and I was very apprehensive, nervous, scared...well, let me tell you...she was great to work with once I arrived at the resort. I arrived on Tuesday at 1:30 and met her at 4:00. My wedding wasn't until Friday but I spoke to her in person every day leading up to my wedding day. I gave her all of my decorations, menus, ipod for music, etc...she took care of everything! She did not miss a beat.
Welcome - I asked Jatziri to have a welcome sign for my guest since I had 25 people arriving all on one flight. They had a table set up with welcome drinks and sign. This was only up for an hour.
Meet and Greet - I had my meet and greet at the piano bar. There is an area where we sectioned off on our own. I did not pay for a private event. The bar is located in same room so it was very convenient. I had a signature drink for the weekend so they (bartenders) made 25 - 30 drinks and had them ready for guests.
Photographer and videographer - I paid for my photographer to fly down. I paid for an all-inclusive package for him. It was way cheaper than any of the photographers in Cabo. He shot my meet and greet, preparation for the wedding, the wedding, recpetion, photo shoot in between the wedding and reception...when he left Cabo, he had over 900 shots! Since we are from Indiana, this gave him an opportunity to shoot a beach scene which he had not done before. I got this idea from another bride. Far as video, I asked my sister to bring her camcorder and I bought the tape/discs. I asked one of my friend's husband to shoot the wedding ceremony. He shot the wedding ceremony and the reception! All for FREE!!
Music - I had detailed playlists on my ipod and the the music guy was on point with all of my music. I had the following playlists...processional, bridemaid processional, Bride's entrance, Mr. & Mrs. Story (which they played as soon as they anounced us as Mr. & Mrs. Story). For the reception I had the following playlists...Dinner music, Dance music, entrance of bridal party. Again, the music man was on it. I did not pay for this service.
For the reception (dancing), I had my ipod plugged up and had the dance playlist set up. The music man again watched over my music. I paid for the music and microphone service...did not spend money on a DJ.
Flowers - AMAZING!!! I will try to post pictures. I never met Alina but I spoke with her for 2 months prior to the wedding. I forgot my "bling" ribbon for my bouquet and when my bouquet arrived, she had it on there. I ordered a huppah because I did not like the arch the Riu had and it was beautiful. I advise anyone who is getting married on the beach to spend extra $200 for a huppah from Alina. The arch that the Riu has is very ugly on picture but worse in person. I stayed for 4 days after my wedding and the flowers were still alive and pretty the day I left. They used some of them to decorate the room on our wedding night with the help of my husband.
Minister - he had a great personality and worked with my program. I e-mailed my program to Jatziri couple weeks prior to my wedding day so the minister would have the program and knew the order of events.
Reception dinner - I had it at the steakhouse. I read few brides who didn't like the idea of having it in a plce where other guests were, but I paid $500 for the Terrace which is located on ground level looking out to the beach/ocean. Resort guests who were there for dinner were upstairs. I chose menu 1 which included a choice of chicken or surf and turf. The night of my wedding, the surf and turf included filet mignon and shrimp. On my last day it included lobster. I did not receive one complaint about the food. It was excellent! The dinner was served with ceasar salad, rolls, mixed veggies (broccoli, squash, carrots) and a cold plate of shrimp, crab legs, smoked salmon, and mussels. Some people asked for extra and they were more than willing to give you as much as you wanted. Of course, this was all included with the all-inclusive plan so I did not have to pay per plate.
Cake - I had a 3 tier cake with my own decorations. I gave those to Jatziri in our initial meeting and the cake looked exactly the way I visioned it to. I had a slice of the chocolate cake but did not get a chance to taste the yellow or strawberry. I heard my friends say that the cake was delicious.
Dance floor - I paid extra ($500) to have the dance floor on the beach which is right off the terrace. I gae Jatziri paper lanterns to hang on the string lights that are connected to the palm trees. Initially she said it would cost $3 per lantern to hang but I just gave them to her in our initial meeting along with the other decorations and she did not charge me.
Entertainment - I had fire dancers perform on the beach after dinner and dancing (at 10:40 - 20 minutes prior to the end time). I paid for 2 dancers ($200 each dancer for 20 minutes) and ended up with 3. The show was AMAZING!!! Again, the Steakhouse Terrace is right off the beach so they set up seating for us to enjoy the show. I splurged and paid for the 1:30 minutes of fireworks. Words cannot describe the fireworks. I still have people talking about it. It felt like the fireworks lasted for 5 minutes. That is how I ended the night.
I read where some people did not want the restaurants but rather the pool areas. Remember, the pools are open until 6:00 and people are still hanging out at the pools even after 6. There aren't people in your actual designated area, but the chairs are still out there and people are out there. It is in an open area so people can stand over on the bridges or up top see everything going on. The steakhouse really offered a private setting because the restaurant was upstairs and the only people who could come down the stairs were the waiters and staff memebers.
I hope this helps some of you...