Jump to content

Joanne’s After the Fact Planning Thread & Review In One -> Long with tons of photos & info

Recommended Posts


Thank You!

Now I understand why it takes a bride so long to post a planning thread or review ..… 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 – “WOW, 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!



Our engagement

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 ….. 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!!






Engagement Ring

Mike got  my engagement ring from Barmakianâ€s Jewelers†in Boston - http://www.barmakian.com and I think he did an absolutely amazing job! Itâ€s a 1.25 round brilliant solitaire surrounded by .55 carats of smaller diamonds on the halo and band.





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 http://ring-ninja.com/

I asked him if I could get something engraved on the inside but not tell him what until the wedding day and he said yes. I was born and bred in Ireland so I really wanted to say something in my native language and thus I had the ring engraved saying “Tá Grá Agam Duit, Joanne 11/17/11â€, which literally word for word translation says “I Have Love For Youâ€, which translates to “I Love youâ€. Makes me so proud that he will wear this with me telling him I love him in Gaelic, to me it makes the ring so much more special.


Band Joanne.jpeg Band Mike.jpeg

Bands both.jpeg







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 etc…. 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 - http://cgi.ebay.com/2-PC-White-Gold-Plated-CZ-WEDDING-Ring-Set-size-4-/330577934495?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4cf7faf89f

Fake Rings.jpeg


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 :

Fake Ring Mike .jpg








Our Wedding Resort -> Barceló 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 Barceló 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! www.Barceló mayapalace.com. What was so ideal that it is 5 hotels in one resort, so it allowed more budget options for our guests, some who stayed at the Palace with us, and some of whom wanted to budget a bit and stayed in the other hotels on the resort, which worked out ideally.

ArielViewOfHotel.jpg x


beach.jpg beautiful-beach.jpg


Hotel.jpg LifeguardChair.jpg




view.jpg sunbed.jpg






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 ....


HotelRoom3.jpg HotelRoom2.jpg

bathroom.jpg bath.jpg





Wedding Coordinator

Our resort w/c was Lillian Vargas at the Barceló 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 Barceló Maya Brides! A piece of advice to all future destination wedding brides – 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!






Wedding Package

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 -> http://www.Barceló weddings.com/mexico/maya-beach-resort/strawberry-passion-wedding-package.html

Add Onâ€s to package : Some extraâ€s we added to the package included a HUPPA ($400), Mariachi Band ($400), aisle runner ($200), extra hour extended on the reception (price per person), flower petals, upgraded wedding cake …… etc ….





Our Wedding Website

The first thing we did was set up a “wedsite†so we could keep updating with any fresh information. There are so many free ones out there and they are such a great idea! We chose Wedding Wire and this is the site we created  www.weddingwire.com/mikejoanne









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.





Save the Date Magnet Front -

Save the Date Magnet.jpg


Enclosed Save the Date Postcard FRONT -

Save the Date Postcard Front.jpg



Enclosed Save the Date Postcard BACK-

Save the Date Postcard Back.jpg





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.

















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 …… 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 (http://www.usa-transfers.com/) and highly recommend. They have the best prices, were there on time, had a baby seat as requested, were super nice and friendly, and were willing to make any stops if we wanted (he asked if we wanted to stop for beer!).





Morning Of Wedding Outfits

My sister had personalized outfits made for us for the morning of the wedding. She had matching tanks for myself, MOH and flowergirl, plus matching hoodies. My parents and future in-laws also had customized T-Shirts. I got my husband a T-Shirt on Ebay saying “Game Over†and one saying “Groom Under New Managementâ€.

Morning Outfit 3.JPG Morning Outfit 2.JPG

Morning Outfit 4.jpg Morning Outfit 1.JPG



MORE TO COME .........



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


.... Continued .........




Groomâ€s Wedding Suit


When my FI at the time first told me he wanted to wear a full suit my reaction was “ARE YOU MAD??!!†I mean a BLACK  full suit, paired with flipflops? In hot sweaty Mexico? I really thought it would look awful but I think it worked out wonderfully and he looked smoking hot!

The suit was purchased from JC Penny and the white shirt, tie and handkerchief from Menâ€s Warehouse.

Mikeâ€s flip flops are from Old Navy. As I had something on the bottom of my shoes, I felt Mike should have the same so I got him “HE†for one flip flop, and “LP!†for the other (HELP!), got good laughs from this!!

Mikes Suit 2.jpg








Wedding Party Attire

  • Best Man, Father of Groom, and Father of Bride wore the same as groom without the jacket (again from JC Penny) but with yellow ties to match bridesmaid (purchased from Menâ€s Warehouse), and I think they all look so handsome. We picked up all the guys flip flops at Old Navy and the belts from Perry Ellis.


  • Maid of honor :  My beautiful Maid of Honorâ€s (my sister) dress was purchased from Davidâ€s Bridal, style number F12732 in color Canary for $150. Purchased the matching flip flops for $15.50 also from Davidâ€s Bridal. I absolutely adore everything about how she looked, and was so proud of my little sis, she looked so gorgeous!!


  • Flower Girl : For our flowergirl, our 2 year old niece Belle, we purchased this white dress from Target. Can you believe this was only $20???? It was by far the best deal of our entire wedding!! We then added a matching canary yellow sash from Davidâ€s Bridal for $10. Belleâ€s shoes were also purchased from Davidâ€s Bridal (sorry, canâ€t remember how much they cost, but think they were $30) and I added 2 canary yellow flowers also from Davidâ€s bridal ($11 for the two).

Mike & Matt 1.jpg


Mike and Matt 2.jpg


The Dads.jpg


Belle's Dress.jpg


Michelle & Belle 2.jpeg Belle.jpg

Michelle & Belle 2.jpeg Michelle & Belle Back.jpeg








Mother of the Bride

My mum got her dress from Macyâ€s and her Vera Wang sandals from Kohlâ€s (which matched exactly!). I think she looks fabulous! Her jewelry was also purchased from Macyâ€s (Monet), and again matched the dress coloring perfectly.

700 mum 2.JPG






Mother of the Groom


Mikeâ€s mum got her outfit from a Massachusetts boutique. Sorry no idea on which store or designer, but she looked so lovely!




Wedding Gown


Now down to the serious talk – THE WEDDING DRESS!

My dress is Jasmine Couture Style Number T440, but I had it made with a sweetheart top and added a bridal belt also from the Jasmine line.

On the model :

Jasmine Couture T440.jpg

And on me :

Dress 1.jpg 700



Dress 2.jpg

Dress 3.jpgx






Veil is a one tier angel dust finger tip veil. It sparkled so much in the sun but you canâ€t really see in these photos.

Veil 3.JPG Veil_1.jpg








Shoes and Flip Flops

My shoes are Caparroâ€s Sarina pump in white satin. Purchased from www.endless.com (LOVE this online store!).

I also purchased the blue rhinestone “I Do†stickers for the soles of the shoes online, but sorry I canâ€t remember which website I used, think I spend less than $10 on these. Google it, plenty of places sell them!

My flip flops are white wedges by Carbonneau and were purchased new from a seller on Ebay.


Shoes (1).jpg


Shoes (2).jpg




Shoes 4.jpg






Wedding Clutch

My sister bought me my clutch, which I love. Matches my dress so well! I swear this is my favorite accessory of the day!!



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites




.... Continued .........



Guest OOT Bags


For our guests we ordered the totes from Vistaprint and inside we put mouse pads, magnet calendars, note books, pen, sticky pads, Tshirts, do not disturb signs, welcome card, welcome brochure (all from Vistaprint), pashmenaâ€s, sunglasses, key rings, face clothes,  lip balm, survival kits (nail file, gum, mints, shout wipes, moisture wipes, etc), first aid kits, beach balls, candle, candy, etc …….

This is a full post I placed on BDW on our OOT bags with lots of photos - http://www.bestdestinationwedding.com/t/75900/joanne-s-oot-town-bags-with-lots-of-pics


OOT Bag_1.jpg


OOT Bag_2.jpg


OOT Bag_3.jpg




OOT Bag_Flipflops.JPG









DIY Wedding Weekend Survival Kits


Survival Kit.jpg





DIY First Aid Kits

First Aid Kit.jpg

First Aid & Survival Kits.JPG






Wedding Favor for OOT Bag

Along with all the other items above, we wanted to leave a favor in each bag so we purchased wine stoppers that had a blue ceramic flip flop on top, which we picked up at The Christmas Tree Shop. I purchased a pack of 50 blue organza favor bags from Ebay to put them in and added a note that said “Thank you for joining us in Mexico. Please pour a glass and toast to the new Mr. & Mrs.!â€



OOT Bag Wedding Favor.jpg


OOT Bag Wedding Favor 1.JPG







Welcome Brochure

We used VistaPrint to make Welcome Brochures for each guest. We made a list of each guest with space to add their room number, we had information about the day/time/location of the welcome dinner, wedding day itinerary, and some funny Spanish phrases. In my rush to do this last minute before we left for Mexico, I forgot to add some guests (including the best man!!) and we had the wrong ceremony time. Oh well, it was a good conversation topic!

Brochure Outside.jpg


Brochure Inside.jpg






Wedding Party OOT Bags


For our MOH, Best man, parents, and flowergirl we had the following bags personalized by a seller on EBay


Wedding Party OOT Bags.JPG


Bride and Groom Bags.JPG








Gifts for Wedding Party



 - We paid for all the outfits for the wedding party (black pants & vest, white dress shirt, yellow tie, flip flops and belts for both fathers and the best man, for MOH we bought the dress, matching flip flops and bag, along with her jewelry, and for our flower girl we also bought her dress, shoes and accessories.

- We also paid for mumâ€s and MOH hair and makeup on the big day.

- Now that we have our professional photos we will be making wedding photobooks for both sets of parents, which they know about already, so thatâ€s something for them to look forward to.

- Canvas wrap frame for both sets of parents with their favorite wedding photo.

- For our best man we gave him a customized tote and inside put Dolce & Gabbana “The One†cologne and matching shower gel, flip flops, drink cooler, and a toiletry bag with some menâ€s products.

- For our Maid Of Honor we gave a customized tote and inside we put pink Uggs (she has been talking about wanting these for FOREVER so it was my special surprise to her), pink bikini, red bikini, black bikini with Maid Of Honor bling, MOH tank, pink drink cooler, Bridesmaid accessories/makeup bag, personalized flip flops, silver glitzy luggage tag that says “Upgrade Me†in pink, waterproof mascara, and 2 tubs of the face cream she uses. I also got personalized embroidered flip flops and travel cosmetic bag from Exclusive Weddings.

- For our flower girl we gave a personalized tote and filled it with everything and anything from Disney Princess! Loads of bubbles (her favorite), crayons, sunglasses, beach ball, bucket and spade, sunhat, personalized t-shirts, clothing, personalized clothes hangar, photo frames, etc ……..
We also got Belle her first suitcase (Disney Princess of course), from the Disney Store.

- For Mother of the Bride we purchased earrings and bracelet from Macyâ€s (Monet brand) that were a perfect match to her dress.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites




.... Continued .........



Flowers, bouquet, boutonnieres, bouquet jewelry, etc ……


I ordered my starfish bouquet jewelry (got a blue one and a white one because I couldnâ€t decide) from http://bouquetjewels.com/ and they were awesome to deal with. Highly recommended! Great prices and quick shipping.

I also ordered a jeweled “M†for my MOH Michelle, plus a pink and a blue flip flop insert from bouquetjewels.

I got my bouquet wrap from a seller on Etsy, and I couldnâ€t be happier with it. Even nicer in person, pictures donâ€t do it justice!

For my bouquet I knew I wanted an all white rose one, easy to explain but took along an inspiration picture as well, unfortunately the florist in Playa Del Carmen did not deliver what I wanted. The bouquet itself was beautiful but instead of white roses as requested they were very off-white creamy and looked awful against my white dress. In a last minute rush the florist put together a bouquet of lilies, mostly white with some orange for color. Not at all what I wanted or would have picked, but hey beggars canâ€t be choosers and if this was the only glitch for the whole day then I wasnâ€t going to complain!!

My husband had a white rose to match me, and the bestman and both fatherâ€s had yellow rose boutonnieres.


For the ceremony, I just asked for yellow flowers with a touch of orange. After the ceremony they moved these flowers to the reception and used them on our tables.


Bouquet Jewelry.JPG


Bouquet.JPG Bouquet Michelle.JPG




Ceremony Flowers.jpg


Ceremony Flowers 1 (2).jpg








Ceremony items for guests (fans, tissues, and bubble wands)


On each ceremony seat we left a raffia fan, tissue pack and bubble wand for each guest.

Fans : I ordered raffia fans from Oriental Trading and like others on here have said, they come in varying sizes, but not a big deal. I wrapped the handle with yellow ribbon and added a starfish charm to each.

Tissues : For the tissues I ordered velum bar 4 envelopes from Paper N More, and printed out the verse on sticky paper from Staples, cut and stuck one to each envelope and inserted two Kleenex to each. The verse says “If you shed a tear or two, Hereâ€s a tissue just for you. So wipe away that happy tear, We are thankful you are here!â€.

Bubbles : I purchased the bubble wands from Walmart and through the heart shaped top I made and attached a tag that says “Bubble of good wishes for the new Mr. & Mrs.!â€




Ceremony Items.JPG




Bubble Wands.JPG








Ceremony readings and Sand Ceremony


We purchased our sand ceremony kit on Etsy - http://www.etsy.com/listing/76024206/unity-sand-ceremony-frame-set  ($80 with shipping) and Mikeâ€s sister read the following sand ceremony script :

“Joanne & Mike, before you met, your lives were on separate roads, each going in different directions and seemingly leading to different destinations. But somewhere along the way you met, fell in love, and today you find yourselves standing together at the entrance of a new path that will forever join your once separate journeys into one.

Before each of you there is a container of sand. Each represents the separate journeys you once were on, as well as your own sets of friends and families that once were apart. In a moment I will ask that you both blend your individual containers of sand together .... representing the coming together of your friends and family, through your marriage, into one. And as the sand is blended into one container, your once solitary journeys will now be one of companionship, as you walk a single path together into your future.

I now ask that you blend your containers of sand together.  (the sand is now poured) As the sand has blended together, your lives are now joined. Your separate journeys through life are now one. Your friends and family are as one as well, for now you will share those who are in your lives and will walk hand-in-hand along the path of your marriage - united and strong as husband and wife, as inseparable as these grains of sand.

Just as these grains of sand can never be separated and poured again into the individually container, so will your marriage be a molding of two individual personalities, bonded together forming one heart, one live..â€


Sand Ceremony (1).jpg


Sand Ceremony (2).jpg








Ring Holder

We actually made this ourselves, LOL!! We just glued a starfish from the Christmas Tree Shop onto a shell from a stuffed clam Mike had for dinner, haha!! We were going to fill it with sand and stand the rings in it but with my pave settings on my ring I was worried the sand would have gotten stuck in there pretty good. If you have a smooth band though Iâ€d suggest that option as think it looks really cool!

Ring Holder.JPG






Live Musician at Ceremony

We had a saxophonist play at the ceremony on the beach. I canâ€t say that I heard him, but was told he was very good!

We used our iPod to play ‘Over The Rainbow†when my mum walked down the aisle with my flowergirl/niece, followed by my sister/MOH. Then when I walked down with my dad the iPod played Canon in D.

The saxophonist played again immediately when the ceremony ended but I must have been in my own little world because I donâ€t remember hearing him, LOL!






Something Old, Something New ….

Something old – Hair pin (used one old hair pin)

Something new – my wedding dress!

Something borrowed – borrowed diamonte hair pins from my colleagues wife who used them for her own wedding

Something blue – Embroidered handkerchief (date in European format)


Something Blue.JPG








Reception Location

As soon as we choose the Barceló  Maya for our wedding, I started researching previous weddings at the resort and fell in love with Playa Azul for the reception. We had to have an upgraded wedding package (Strawberry) to book this location but it was totally worth it!


Reception Location (1).jpg


Reception Location (2).jpg


Reception Location (3).JPG


Reception Location (4).JPG








Dinner Menu

Another of our DIY projects, got this idea from a magazine. We put together our own menu cards using cardstock, vellum paper and raffia ribbon.


Choosing the menu was incredibly hard as we made the stupid decision of asking people for their input and of course everyone had different opinions!! In the end I donâ€t think you could make a bad decision as every option sounded so yummy! We went with the following :

Appetizer :        Marinated Curried Chicken and Tomato Salad

Soup :              Onion Soup with Gruyere Cheese Crostini

Main :               Surf and Turf (Beef Tenderloin and Lobster Tail) with baked potato and vegetables

Dessert :           White Chocolate and Raspberry Tiramisu



Menus (1).JPG


Menus (2).JPG










Place Cards

We used starfish that we got at The Christmas Tree Shop, and just used twine to add the DIY name tag. Cute and beachy, and again inspired from other brides on this forum.

Place Cards (1).jpg


Place Cards (2).jpg







Reception Table Decorations (chair sashes, table runners, vases, candles, flower petals)


Barceló provided the chair sashes and I provided the table runners and yellow candle vases. The center pieces are the same from the ceremony that were used on the huppa and ceremony table, our w/c moved them to the reception after the ceremony. I also bought freeze dried petal flowers with me but ended up buying more from the resort when we got there. 


Table Decor.JPG







Reception Favors


At each place setting we placed a yellow maraca with “Mexico†written on it, and attached a tag that said :

“"Instead of tapping on your glass,

here's a system with Mexican class..

Stand and shake with all your might,

to see the groom kiss his bride tonight!"




Maraca 2.JPG









Wedding Cake, Topper and Decorations

We upgraded to a 2 tier cake and sent an inspiration picture ahead of time to our w/c who gave us a quote.

We chose different fillings for each tier, one was vanilla cake filled with fresh strawberries and the other was chocolate. It was absolutely divine but everyone was so stuffed I donâ€t think much was eaten!

The inspiration pic and the real cake were nowhere near exact but I still think the resort did a great job and we loved our cake.


This is our inspiration picture :




And this is what we actually got :

Cake Real.JPG



The yellow sun chair napkin holders were purchased from The Christmas Tree Shop. We ordered the yellow personalized napkins from a seller on Ebay.


For the cake topper we purchased two small Adirondack beach chairs on E-bay, and from a dolls house seller on Ebay we got a mini white wine glass and mini corona beer bottle (our signature drinks, haha) and glued to the arm of each chair. We printed out little signs that say “Reserved for the Bride†and “Reserved for the Groom†and glued to the chairs.



Cake Topper (1).jpg


Cake Topper (2).jpg








MORE TO COME .........









Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites



.... Continued .........




Music Choices for Dinner, Reception, First Dance ……

We used our iPod connected to the resort stereo system, and the w/c provided a microphone and one of our guests acted as Emcee. Here are our music playlists :


First Dance

“When You Say Nothing At All†– Ronan Keating


Dinner Music

Dinner music.jpg


Reception Music

Reception Music.jpg


Cake Cutting

“Sugar Sugar†– The Archies

“Candyman†– Christina Aguilera


Garter Removal

“Sexual Healing†– Marvin Gaye


*Amount of time for reception -> Welcome cocktails, seated for dinner, Best Man and MOH speeches, dinner is served and dinner music played (playlist was 1.6 hours total), Mariachi band (hired for 45 minutes), reception music (playlist was 1.7 hours), switched music for cake cutting, garter toss, and last dance.






Mariachi Band

At almost $9 a MINUTE  (yup you read that right, it cost $400 for 45 minutes), I have to admit it was worth every penny to have the mariachi band come play at our reception and I highly recommend it to any of you who may be having doubts. It was a great transition from dinner to party mode. We arranged for them to come right after the main course finished and they got people going and doing shots with dessert. When the 45 minutes were done, we were all up and dancing and ready to start on our dancing playlist! They really played the part well of transitioning from sitting for dinner into full on party mode.

Mariachi 1.JPG


Mariachi 2.JPG


Mariachi 3.JPG






Our Sequence of Events (approximate times)


Note : Sunset on November 17th 2011 was around 5pm

7:00-8:00AM       Bride breakfast with her family

8:00-9:00AM       Groom breakfast with his best man and guests

10:30-1:15AM     Hair and makeup artists arrive to room to do bridal party

12:30PM             Photographer and his assistant arrive and split time between bride and groomâ€s rooms

1:15PM              All guests meet in Palace lobby

1:30PM              Shuttle takes guests to ceremony site

1:45PM              W/C picks bridal party up in golf cart to go to ceremony

2:00-2:30PM       Ceremony

2:30-2:50PM       Champagne Reception on beach with guests

2:50-3:30PM       Professional photos with guests and wedding party

3:30-5:30PM       Bride & Groom professional photos. Guests went to Palace lobby bar, some took a nap

5:50-6:10PM       Champagne gathering at Playa Azul

6:10-6:15PM       Guests seated

6:10-6:6:20PM    Bride & Groom first dance, and dance with parents

6:20-6:30PM       Best man and MOH speeches (they were eager to get it out of the way!!)

6:30-7:15PM       Appetizer, Soup and Main Course

7:15-8:00PM       Mariachi Band and dessert

8:00-8:30PM       Dancing & Drinking!

8:30-8:40PM       Cake Cutting

8:40-8:50PM       Garter removal and toss

8:50-10:00PM     More dancing & drinking!

10:00-10:30PM   Lighting and releasing sky lanterns on the beach

10:30- ????        Jaguars Nightclub





For our “guestbook†we ordered a personalized wedding autograph frame. Knowing our wedding was going to be smaller and more intimate it just seemed like the perfect choice! Iâ€m so glad we did this so we have hung the picture in our home and see the happy wedding wishes every time we walk past it. Such a better decision I think than a guest book.












DIY Just Married Umbrella

From advice from other brides on BDW I printed out “Just Married†in large letters, taped to the inside of the umbrella, held it up to sunlight and traced the outline with a pencil, and then used black acrylic paint to fill in.


Umbrella 1.jpg


Umbrella 2.jpg








We used Ivan Luckie for both our wedding day and TTD session the following day (www.luckiephotography.com).

Note : The Barceló resort has a policy if not using the resort photographer. If bringing in an outside photographer you must pay the onsite photographer $300 to compensate their loss of business. This was the 2011 charge, but I believe this has recently been increased to $500. The other option is to book your photographer as a guest at the resort. We stayed at the Palace but booked Ivan into the Tropical as it was cheaper than the Palace, and this ended up being a better option for us as we were doing our TTD the next day anyways.


Here are some sample pictures :


Ivan (1).jpg


Ivan (2).jpg


Ivan (3).jpg


Ivan (4).jpg











Make Up and Hair by Adrian Guerra

After reading wonderful reviews on BDW I booked Adrian Guerra (www.StylingTrioRivieraMaya.com) to do hair and makeup for myself, my mum and my sister. His cost to do airbrush makeup and false eyelashes for myself on the day of the wedding and also a trial run a few days earlier for our rehearsal dinner,  plus regular hair and makeup for my mum and my sister on the day came to a total of $550 with $150 payable at booking time (paid via Paypal). The balance had to be paid in cash or there would be an extra charge. So a bit on the pricey side but like everyone who uses Adrian says – it was totally worth it!

Adrian came to the hotel with hair stylist Christian and his girlfriend, and all 3 of them were so nice and fun to be around. You will love them. Christian is amazing with hair, we actually paid separate for him to come back the night before the wedding to put highlights in my sisterâ€s hair and he did an A+ job.

A note on a new policy at the Barcelo : When bringing in outside vendors, 30% of to total has to be paid to the resort and 70% to the vendor, in this case Adrian. This policy was just introduced the week we got married, and as a result Adrian will be raising his 2012 prices to compensate for his 30% loss to the hotel.



Adrian (1).jpg


Adrian (2).jpg





Barceló Spa

The evening before the wedding I used the resort spa for a French manicure and pedicure which was included in my package. They did a decent enough job, not the best Iâ€ve ever had, but not bad either. 

Also included in my wedding package was my hair and makeup but as I hired Adrian for my big day, I used the this for my TTD session instead to get my hair and makeup done. I was pleasantly surprised at how well they did it. They use MAC makeup and I have to admit it pretty much lasted all day. Hereâ€s my hair and makeup the spa did :


Barcelo Spa.jpg


Barcelo Spa 2_2.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Amazing job thus far!! You're wedding looks amazing and you looked beautiful! Congrats!!! :)

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


.... Continued .........



Trash The Dress Outfits

TTD (or suit!) For My Hubby –

I picked up Mikeâ€s natural color 100% linen pants at Macyâ€s for $29.98 and I found his 100% white linen shirt at TJMaxx for $24.99, another great deal.


TTD Mike.jpg


TTD For Me –

Ordered online from Babyonline via DHGate :

TTD Joanne.JPG


TTD Photo Shoot –

We did our Trash The Dress shoot the day after our wedding on the public beaches of Tulum. It was so beautiful! We used Ivan Luckie photography again. Here are some photos from the shoot :

TTD (1).jpg


TTD (5).jpg


TTD (6).jpg


TTD (2)_2.jpg


TTD (3)_3.jpg


TTD (4)_2.jpg


TTD (7)_7.jpg


TTD (8).jpg


TTD (9).jpg


TTD (10).jpg







DIY T-Shirts and Bikiniâ€s

I was dying to have a bikini that said “Bride†in rhinestones on it, but after looking online and finding that they are almost $100 I thought NO WAY! So thanks to ideas from other brides on BDW I purchased $5 bling iron on transfers from Michaels and $12 bikiniâ€s at Walmart and made my own BRIDE and MAID OF HONOR blinging bikinis!! I also purchased more rhinestone iron onâ€s to make tank tops for myself MOH, and flower girl.  Also used regular iron on transfer paper to make t-shirts for immediate family members. My sister had some tank tops embroidered for myself, herself, and flower girl.


DIY Bikini.JPG



DIY Bikini 2.JPG



DIY Romper.JPG


Tanks (1).JPG Tanks (4).JPG Tanks (5).JPG Tanks (3).JPG Tanks (6).JPG IMG_4063.JPG










More DIY Projects

  1. Mint Matchbooks -> Template came from this website, printed on cardstock, used zots to stick the mints, and added raffia ribbon.
  2. Just Married Parasol –> Purchased plain parasol on E-bay, printed letters, taped behind and then held up to sunlight to trace the edge outline. Then painted with black acrylic paint. Very easy.
  3. Wedding Week Survival Kit -> Created in lunch bags and added mints,
  4. First Aid Kits -> Included headache pills, band aids,
  5. Personalized Lip Balm


Mint Matchbooks (1).JPG


Mint Matchbooks (2).JPG


Umbrella 3.JPG




Welcome Dinner Outfit

Rehearsal Dinner/Welcome Dinner dress was purchased in Ireland


Rehearsal Dinner Dress.JPG






Welcome Dinner

We reserved our Welcome Dinner for 2 nights before the wedding (I did not want to be boozing the night before!) at restaurant Rodizo, which is the Brazilian restaurant at the Palace. For any guest that was not staying at the Palace we had to pay a $15 surcharge per person. The Brazilian was a great idea, everyone loved it!

Appetizer was a buffet, which was awesome. Main course was a 7 course meat dinner!! Everyone practically had to be rolled away from the table afterwards and were suffering from the meat sweats, LOL!!


Welcome Dinner (1).JPG


Welcome Dinner (2).JPG




Sky Lanterns


We purchased bio-degradable sky lanterns online and bought one for each guest. Check with your w/c first if your resort allows them as some donâ€t. I also packed a bunch of lighters, but the waiters supplied burners which made it much easier. At the very end of the night we all went down by the water and lit and made wishes, and set off the lanterns. It was super cool and a huge hit!! Our photographer had already left so we donâ€t have any great pictures but Iâ€ll remember it forever in my mind.


Lantern 1 (1).JPG



Lantern 1 (3).JPG


Lantern 1 (2).JPG









These are some of the tips I remember we paid :

Wedding Coordinator                $150

JOP                                           $50

Mariachi band                             $100

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now