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Elissae's RPRM Planning Thread for April 2, 2013 - PIC HEAVY!

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Hi Fellow BDW Brides!





Well, tomorrow it will be 6 months until my April 2013 wedding in Playa del Carmen & I think itâ€s about time I start my planning thread.  I finally have a slight breather here since I feel I have made great progress so far in the last 9 months of being engaged!  (and it's all because of this wonderful website!)  I have really loved reading all the wonderful threads left here from those brides who walked the aisle before me.  I figure while I have a moment of sanity, I will try to document everything to date that I have accomplished and then add as I complete my upcoming tasks for the next 5-6 months!


First & foremost I would like to begin by saying a big THANK YOU to Tammy for having the vision to put together this amazing resource for Destination Wedding Brides EVERYWHERE.  I honestly do not know where I would be without this forum…when I went to Google wedding reviews at the Riu Palace Riviera Maya I was lucky enough to find this jewel of a website with a number of reviews on my resort of choice.  THANK GOODNESS!  It was a TRUE GOD SEND!


I also want to thank all the amazing BDW brides out there that have been so fabulous with their information, posts and most importantly their “sharing†over the last 9 months that I have been here.  It has been so great getting to know everyone and hearing about their planning, their lovely ideas and seeing their spectacular wedding dresses!!!  I do have a few special shout outs:  Thank you sweet BDW Brides, Venus909 & Torrilynnsmith!!!  You fabulous ladies are the ones who got me motivated and awakened the inner Martha Stewart in me who had been sleeping for nearly 15 years.  Thank you Kellygrrrl for befriending me and listening and offering advice when needed.  Most importantly, to Wendy Hicks, my lovely TA from Wright Travel.  After reading so many glorious reviews about you on this website– I knew I had to work with you.  You have been such a pleasure & I love our biweekly Friday chats about bookings and our fun weekend plans!  YOU ARE THE BEST!


Engagement – December 25th 2011


My FI Bill & I had been together for a little over 6.5 years, living together for the last 2 years of that time.  We actually had been talking about getting married since June 2011.  We even started to “discuss†the month and year we would wed since we had a number of friends getting married this past summer of 2012.  We all joked & knew we had to wait until at least 2013 so people could save their money for a vacation.  You see, we have always said if & when we tied the knot it would be a DW – and we would plan a weekâ€s vacation around it…many of our friends were excited since we normally vacationed with them to the Caribbean every year anyway!


Early December of 2011 Bill & I went ring shopping.  It was super exciting.  I had never done that before.  It was then that it hit me, WOW, we are going to do this!!  Together we picked out the most beautiful setting.  I expressed that  I knew I wanted a princess cut.  All Bill had expressed was that whatever stone he chose, he wanted the actual stone to be by itself, no other stones right on top of it or around it – he did not want any “busy-ness†around the actual stone.  We left the jewelry store and we never spoke of it again.  I had a feeling that more than likely my proposal would come either on my birthday (which is the day after Christmas) or perhaps New Years Eve.  Never in a million years did I think it would be Christmas morning.  He always said that was for amateurs, getting engaged on Christmas.  Well he fooled me!  Christmas morning, under our tree, Bill proposed.  It was the most wonderful day of my life.  It made for a great holiday season & my birthday!




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Engagement Photos

Since we have been engaged, I have wanted to have engagement photos taken.  My FI feels it is a waste of money.  Well, after a little (or maybe a lot of) nudging, I think I have talked him into it.  I have a friend who has started a photography business and she is going to take some of us soon.  So…to be continued...


The Resort

We had decided on a destination wedding at an all inclusive resort before we were even engaged!  We knew we wanted to have it at The Riu Palace Riviera Maya in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.  We had vacationed there back in April 2010 with 4 other couples and absolutely LOVED IT.  It was a no brainer to go back!  






My FI has a 16 year old son (Jake) who will be his BM.  We scheduled our wedding during the week of Spring/Easter break 2013 so he would not miss any school.  I was so stressed the first few months of our engagement for I had to “patiently wait†for the School Board to approve the recess schedule for the 2013 calendar.  It seemed like forever!  It was finally approved in April of 2012 and that is when we booked our wedding date of Tuesday, April 2, 2013.  A random Tuesday in Mexico!  Actually it is a Tuesday because we have decided on a civil/legal ceremony.  In order to do this we needed to be in Mexico 3 business days prior to our ceremony (arrival day not included).  So, my FI, soon to be stepson & I are heading to Mexico on Wed., March 27th and will be there 10 days.  The majority of our guests are coming Sat., March 30 – Sat., April 6.








We are booked in their 2 story Jacuzzi suite – I cannot wait!  We also have 59 guests coming so far (not including myself, FI & Stepson).


The Travel Agent

I love our TA!!!  I did not have to look too far.  I happened upon this website when Googling reviews for weddings at The Riu Palace Riviera Maya.  Numerous reviews came up posted by brides from this forum.  Two of them sang one TAâ€s praises.  Her name is Wendy Hicks.  As soon as I read about her, I knew she was the one to work with!  She works for Wright Travel.  All my guests have loved working with her so far.  She already got us a price drop since our initial booking - definitely an incentive for people to come celebrate with us!


Wendy is so responsive, patient and most importantly there for you.  I can send her an email and she is back to me within the same day.  xoxo


Our Colors

For our wedding I wanted something classic and clean.  We are boaters and spend our summers on Lake George in the Adirondacks.  It was only natural for me to lean toward a nautical/beach theme since we would be surrounded by water & sand.  I feel in love with this preppy nautical color palette and the rest is history!



Here are a few things that got me started.









As my planning process began to unfold I realized that a lot of the items included in our package would be white (chair covers, linens etc.).  I decided to embrace the white and I am really excited about it!  It gives it a splash of nautical preppiness that I absolutely love & I think the navy and green will just add a nice “pop†of color!  Watch out, I may even throw in hints of coral, too!!



After much thought, I opted to send an electronic EVITE / SAVE THE DATE (WEEK) to our guests and indicated that a formal invitation would soon follow.


DIY Boarding Pass Invites

This was the first project I took on, even before we booked the resort and travel.  I spent hours searching BDW for inspiration and ideas.  I knew I either wanted to do a boarding pass or passport invitation, but was not sure…until I happened upon BDW bride Torilynnsmithâ€s Boarding Pass Invite thread.  She is MY HERO or should I say HEROINESS!


I absolutely fell in love with her starfish design/layout as well as all her materials used.  I sent her a PM and asked if I could use her template/design.  I did not feel right to just copy without permission.  She was gracious to say yes. 


This boarding pass invitation idea awakened the inner crafter in me and I am thankful for she has been gone for quite some time!  These invites were definitely a lot of work but they were so worth it in the end.  I am happy with the final product AND the price per invite! As brides before me have, I will break down the materials, tools and costs and then tell you how I made them.


Microsoft Office PowerPoint Template (Torilynn BDW Bride) – Papyrus & Bradley Hand ITC fonts â€“ colors Blue & Emerald Green




- Southworth Fine Parchment Cover Stock, 65 lb, Ivory

   ($16.99 for 100 sheets - from Staples) bought 2 boxes 

- Southworth Fine parchment Envelopes, 24 lb, Ivory

  ($11.99 for 50 envelopes - from Staples) bought 3 boxes

- Blue letter size sheets ($1.99 for 10 sheets - from Staples) bought 12 packages

- Green letter size sheets (no cost – my Mom had them at her office) used 10 sheets

- Clear Labels ($7.44 for 300 – Avery 5160 from Walmart) Bought one package (still 

   using them for other projects!)

- Crystal Fasteners ($1.79 for 42 - from Michaels) on sale from $2.99, needed 3 packages

- Scrapbook paper for envelope liners ($0.59 per 12x12 sheet from Michaels) used 22


- Raffia ($3.59 for a 8 oz long package - from Michaels) Regular $5.99 but I used a 40%

   off coupon to buy it!!


Tools (prices rounded): 


- Cutterpede - craft cutting board ($14.99 from Michaelâ€s – Used 40% coupon

- Cutterpede attachments - perforator and scorer ($5.31 & $4.99 respectively from


-Cutterbee Scissors ($5.39 at Michaelâ€s – used 40% coupon) I heard they were great for

  precise cutting in small spots – thanks Venus909, you were sure right on that!!!

- Glue Sticks ($2.47 for 3 at Walmart)

- 1/16 Hole Punch ($3.29 at Michaelâ€s)

- Corner rounder ($4.79 from Michaels – used 40% coupon)

- Envelope liner stencil (I made per instructions of bride, Torrilynnsmith)

   Here is the link:  http://gluegunannie.com/?p=109

Cost Per invite worked out to $1.37 excluding postage! 

I included the cost of purchasing all the craft supplies since I had nothing to work with.





The tools:  The purple attachment did the perforating; the white did the cutting, the blue is the corner rounder, the pink the scorer (helped folding the jackets) and I used crystal fasteners shown here.  These Cutterbee yellow scissors ARE THE BEST – a must have!






The 5 pieces of the boarding pass











Front and back of the front page of our boarding passes










Front and back of our RSVP cards (detach and send back)









  Finished Boarding Passes!!





Finished boarding passes and inside of jacket







Finished product in envelopes





I love the gingham/preppy envelope liners!!!









Thanks for Booking Gift

I made these for the guests as they booked their trip.  I just started distributing them in September month since the trip is 6 months away.  I figured people could put them away with their trip information .


Itâ€s a Vista Print oversized postcard with luggage tags (2 per guest)

I bought the luggage tags & their plastic strips from www.idcardgroup.com

I removed the inserts they came with and used Vista Print business cards I designed.  The original inserts I clipped with a paperclip & put them behind all the luggage tags in the gift bag so they could be used at a later date.


The blue clear gift bags I found at the Dollar General and I used the Rafia left over from our invitations.  I bought more fasteners from Michaelâ€s and used them to attach the gift bag to envelope.  Envelopes I bought at Walmart to fit postcards.











OTT Bags

I usually hit up my local Walmart a few times a week - I always need something.  Well I had been obsessing over OOT Bags since finding this website and was looking at numerous websites and forums on here....


Well, finally, in April 2011, I was walking through the Walmart  Accessories Department where they keep their Tote Bags & Purses & I found these tote bags!  They were only $.88 a piece!!!!!!  They only had 4 at the store I was in, but then I went on a "BAG HUNT" with my BFF - calling local stores & sending friends to them.  We now have a total of 46 bags!  I only needed potentially 40, but figured the extras would be great for groceries!    They are a non-woven 80 polypropylene recyclable bag.






They are perfect for our wedding since our colors are Navy and Emerald Green and we are doing a nautical/beach theme with starfish, anchors, etc.


I had already bought acrylic tumblers with straws from the Christmas Tree Shop the previous month (March 2011) for $2.99 a piece & they too are blue with green and other fun colorful anchors/nautical steering wheels/palm trees, etc.  






I have also been using a Vista Print anchor template (shown above on Bienvenidos – Welcome tag) on a lot of their items...so these bags were it!  I think it was fate since I had found a lucky penny that day in another aisle at Walmart and then proceeded to this department where I found the bags!


I also had some free small totes offers from Vista Print which I made.  I have 4 which I will give to family members.







 And with some Vista Print Groupon deals I got the following 2 Large Tote Bags for my mother & my FMIL






Some other goodies included in the bags so far are pictured below.  Vista Print has become my BFF!


Welcome Bag Tags





I used Vista Print gift tags for these.  They are 2 separate gift tags I ordered since I found the poem on BDW AFTER ordering the first batch of gift tags that said Bienvenidos!  I laminated them back to back last week.  The plan is to hole punch them in the left top corner, string with left over invitation Rafia and tie to the Welcome Bags for the Front Desk to hand out as guests check in.


Welcome Family & Friends Postcard - (Vista Print Over-Sized Postcards)





Do Not Disturb – Vista Print Rack Card

I used my Martha Stewart starfish punch for the green square in the left corner and tied left over Rafia from my invitations through it to form a loop to hang on door.






Personalized Pens 






Kleenex packs – Vista Print Stickers





Shutterfly postcards:  FRONT/BACK

(Vista Print Post Cards)













Postcards for the guests to use:








Our Wedding Week Survival Kits (front & back view):




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 All the loot that when inside the kits.






Personalized Chapstick Labels – thanks to BDW Bride Coconoir1908â€s template!!





Koozies – www.totallypromotional.com



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Starfish Bottle Openers 





These were originally my wedding favors, but now part of OOT bags.  I may have 20+ leftover to sell.


Keycard/Money/Credit Card Holders:


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I bought the navy blue lanyards and plastic badge holders from www.idcardgroup.com

I got the template from this infamous BDW site.




Sudoku/Crossword Puzzles/Word Search Books






I found these green folders at Staples on sale for $0.20 each & decided to use them for the loose paper items in the OOT bags.  I used my Martha Stewart Star fish punch for the corner.

The folder had a business card holder on left pocket – this was a great place for the magnet!  I bought the Spanish for Dummies books from Staples in their $1 Bins.  The Mexico Maps I got from a friend of ours that works at Triple A.  I also placed our Welcome Family & Friends Postcard in here with the Shutterfly Postcard, the Do Not Disturb Door Hanger, postcards for mailing, a wedding puzzle & I am in the process of creating a Wedding Day Timeline to add to this as well.



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Wedding Puzzle






Spanish for Dummies:

Found in Staples $1 Bins





I found these cute journals at Michaelâ€s in the $1 Bins as well





This is all for now....TO BE CONTINUED!

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Thank you mrsnova!  


Here is the chapstick template you asked for.  I used Avery #18863 2" x 4" Clear Shipping Labels.   

You are able to get 2 chapstick labels on 1 sticker.  You will have to cut these though.

I then purchased shrink wrap clear bands on ebay.  I got 100 for $6.00 with S&H.  I did not want the ink to smudge on the label.  Especially if using them on the beach or by the pool with wet/suntan lotion hands!!  Good luck!





Freyer Fiesta Chapstick Clear label.doc

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OOT Bags  - Additional Vista Print items continued...


I ordered these baseball caps for my  mother & future MIL 



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  These T Shirts for my FI, stepson & myself


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My Dress

I found my dress the 2nd time out shopping.  It's a Paloma Blanca Style #4115.  I did not have that O-M-G, O-M-G, O-M-G jumping up & down experience when I realized it was THE ONE.  Although I became very emotional in this dress that my mom picked, perhaps it was the first one that made me FEEL like a bride.  It was like it hit me and I was like "I am getting married."  That is when my eyes began to water because as I looked in the mirror, I could see myself in the moment in this dress...it was so beautiful... and I did not want to take it off right away!  Ironically it was nothing I originally had in mind.






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The belt was an addition to the dress which I love.  I may not sew it into the dress.  I like the option of possible wearing it again!  A veil was included for free with the dress (promotion), however, I think I may not wear one and do a fresh tropical flower in the side of my hair.


My Shoes & my “Something Blueâ€







Caparros - Zorro


My Potential Jewelry

I have had my eyes on these Stella & Dot Petra pieces (bracelet & earrings)...not definite as of yet, but so in love with them.  They look like they may match my belt on my dress perfectly.



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MOH – Maid of Honor Dress & Shoes

My Mom is my Matron of Honor.  She found this gorgeous Lily Pulitzer Dress & Shoes

Dress Style:  Moss /Color: Bomber Blue About Face Lace

Shoes Style:  Resort Chic  / Color:  Bomber Blue


They go with my vision perfectly!



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We are in the process of picking out jewlery to accent her look as well.  Any suggestions welcome! :-)


Grooms Attire & BM

My FIâ€s 16 year old son is his Best Man.  We are trying to narrow it down between this shirts.


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My FI is leaning more toward shirt #1 with a linen Ralph Lauren light khaki colored pant.  


I love these shoes for them, but only saw a picture - not sure who makes them.  On the hunt now.






More to come...

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