Now I understand why it takes a bride so long to post a planning thread or review ..â€¦ things are chaotic when you return home!! Sorry for the delay in posting but better late than never!
First off, like every bride whoâ€™s gone before me I am going to say â€“ â€œWOW, I canâ€™t believe itâ€™s my turn!!â€
Secondly, thank you to all the brides on this forum for the wonderful advice and ideas, I canâ€™t imagine what I would have done had I not found this website! It really was a life saver, and all the ladies on here seem like truly warm and wonderful people. Thank you to all of you for your advice, guidance, comments and for freely sharing your amazing ideas! I wish all of you long and happy marriages!! CHEERS GIRLS!! Thanks as well to our host Tammy and all the mods.
A big shout out in particular to my fellow November 2011 brides, especially Courtney, Eun-sil, Taryn, Sarah, Janine and Carrie. Iâ€™ll miss you girls but hope we will continue to stay in touch!
In March 2010 we took a holiday to the Riviera Maya in Mexico. On our second night Mike had the hotel staff deliver a dozen red roses to the room :-) I wasnâ€™t suspicious of this at all as he had promised before we left to try and make it a romantic holiday for the two of us. We then went for a lovely meal and all the time I had no idea that a beautiful engagement ring was burning a hole in his pocket! After dinner Mike suggested a romantic walk on the beach (where he planned to pop the big question!), but I kind of spoiled his plans by insisting on going back to the room to change into sweats before going to the beach. When we walked into the hotel room, we found it covered in flower petals, candles, red heart balloons and chilled champagne (Mike had been in touch with the resort before we even left to arrange all this!) ..... and then Mike took me by the hand and walked me to the balcony where he proceeded to get down on one knee and told me he loved me and wanted to spend the rest of his life with me â€¦.. aw!!
All I remember is Mike going down on one knee and then not hearing a thing after that!! All Mike remembers is wondering "UUUmmm is she going to say "YES??" .... it seems that all I said for a long time was "Oh My God, Oh My God, etc .... etc ...." !!
Once I eventually said YES and smothered Mike in kisses, I then proceeded to spend the rest of the night calling family (despite the time difference to Ireland by the way) to share our happy news!! That was one big phone bill, LOL, but totally worth it!!
We decided to keep the news a secret beyond immediate family until we returned home and could share the news with friends in person. Man was that hard! We both kept our phones switched off, so we wouldnâ€™t have to talk to anyone at home, but proceeded to tell almost every stranger in Mexico that we just got engaged!!
Mike got my engagement ring from Barmakianâ€™s Jewelersâ€™ in Boston -
Our Wedding Bands
My wedding band was made by Barmakianâ€™s to match my E-Ring. I LOVE IT!
Mike works in construction and decided from the start that he didnâ€™t want an expensive ring as he already believes he will be replacing it many times (LOL) so he picked his ring from
My FAKE wedding ring set J
Before we left for Mexico I had my engagement ring cleaned. I didnâ€™t want to wear it on the beach, in the pools, with sunscreen etcâ€¦. and get it all dirty before the wedding so we kept our rings in the safe until the wedding and I purchased a fake set on Ebay to wear until we were married! I donâ€™t wear my ring going to bed, in shower, doing housework, going to beach, etc so I actually even used this fake set during the daytime AFTER we were married on her honeymoon, haha!!
Purchased from RingsOfBeauty on Ebay -
Mike also has a backup ring because his fingers swell at work so we wanted a second one in a bigger size, lol. We got this on Ebay :
Our Wedding Resort -> Barcel³ Maya Palace, Puerto Aventuras, Riviera Maya, MEXICO
Iâ€™m from Ireland and Mike is American, so the first question was where do we have this wedding? One family is going to have to travel so how do we decide???? Answer : DESTINATION WEDDING and make everyone travel!! We chose The Riviera Maya in Mexico because it will always be close to our hearts as itâ€™s where Mike proposed. During that visit we stayed at the Gran Bahia Principe Coba which we totally loved, but during excursions we stopped at the Barcel³ Maya Palace Deluxe to pick up guests and we really liked the look of it. Googled it when we got home and decided this was the place for us! x
As mentioned, the resort consists of 5 sections, we along with most of our guests stayed at the Palace, all in the Oaxaca building. The rooms are beautiful, very new, modern and clean.
As premium guests of the Palace we had free WIFI, free room service, access to club lounge, unlimited amount of beach towels, etc ....
Our resort w/c was Lillian Vargas at the Barcel³ Maya whom I canâ€™t say enough good things about!! Love her! I have heard so many horror stories about brides going weeks and weeks without contact from their w/c. I was so lucky and never waited longer than 24 hours for a reply, and she always answered all my questions. Her English was perfect and we had no problems communicating with her. I highly recommend Lillian to any future Barcel³ Maya Brides! A piece of advice to all future destination wedding brides â€“ have faith and trust in your w/c! Had I been able to give up control, the whole planning process would have been so much easier for me. Remember these wonderful w/câ€™s plan and work on so many weddings, they are pros and have the whole process nailed down. On top of that, when you feel like there are so many details to be ironed out, remember that so long as you know what you want all of the final details will be finalized in your onsite meeting with your w/c when you arrive, so all that stressing ahead of time was totally wasted!
In order to have our reception on the beach we had to go for at least the Strawberry Package, otherwise the reception would be indoors. We didnâ€™t want to travel all that far to have our dinner in a restaurant and thus went with this package as it also included lots of extras we would have booked anyways ->
Our Save The Date Postcards And Magnets
We made our own Save The Dates using VistaPrint. We sent a magnet so people could keep a reminder in view, and also a postcard that had more detailed information on the back. Below is a picture of the main magnet, but attached is the link to the complete DIY Project I previously posted on BDW.
Tip : Sign us for emails on Vistaprint to receive promo links.
CLICK HERE FOR FULL DETAILS AND PHOTOS ->
Enclosed Save the Date Postcard FRONT -
Enclosed Save the Date Postcard BACK-
Our DIY Boarding Pass Invitations
We made our own Boarding Pass Invitations. Below are a couple of pics but attached is my full review with step by step instructions and the template.
CLICK HERE FOR FULL DETAILS AND PHOTOS ->
Travel Agent or Going it Alone?
On our invitations and website we listed a local Travel Agent who we knew via a friend. Only a few people used her though. When booking our own package I got prices from the TA and also compared with every single online travel site including Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, Apple Vacations, TNT Vacations etc â€¦â€¦ Expedia was by far the better price so we booked round trip flights and 19 nights accommodation for me and hubby for almost $2,000 cheaper than our TA so it was a no-brainer to just go with this option even though I know it would have been nice and would have had perks to having a TA, but the $$ saving was just too good.
Airline, Check-In, Customs and Hotel Transfer
Check In : Flew JetBlue from Boston to Cancun. Flight included one bag per person weighing no more than 50lbs. An extra bag under 50 lbs is $35. If you go over 50lbs (literally if you are at 50.5) the charge is $50. If you are between 50-70lbs itâ€™s $75, if you are over 70lbs it is a $100 fee. We had 6 people on same flight with 7 bags so we moved things between bags to have 6 bags under the 50lbs (thus free) and paid $35 for the 7th extra bag. ITâ€™S CHEAPER TO CHECK TWO LIGHTER BAGS RATHER THAN LET ONE BAG GO A POUND OVER!! The night before we weighed all our bags on the bathroom scales so we were well organized before the airport! We also loaded our carry on with the heaviest items. I would suggest using duffel bags that you can pack into each other for the return trip home.
JetBlue Flight : JetBlue is an all coach cabin, so there was no closet to hang the wedding dress, only option was an overhead compartment. We were traveling with my sisterâ€™s 2 year old daughter so were able to board early to get space in overhead compartment. The crew couldnâ€™t care less that we were on our way to our wedding, but it didnâ€™t matter much to us. The nice thing about JetBlue was the free satellite TV and movies, but remember to bring earphones otherwise you have to buy them!
Mexico Customs : Make sure you have a pen onboard to fill out your paperwork. You will need one tourist card per person and one customs declaration form per family which are handed out by the crew onboard. Once you pick up your baggage you then have to go through customs where every piece of luggage has to go through a scanner. We were carrying suit bags and my wedding dress and the staff there were lovely and asking questions about the wedding, they are obviously used to seeing brides pass through on a regular basis. Once you get past customs walk really FAST and keep your head down until you get outside and find your transfer.
Airport Transfers : We used USA-Transfers (
MORE TO COME .........