Originally Posted by 1stmarriage
My wedding is on the May 31st. I will have about 50 guests. 99% of them are staying at the suites hotel. I wanted to make things affordable as much as possible. I originally was signed up with destination weddings.com but later decided that they would be too stressful with the contracts and deadlines. Just as I was to make a decision, I found a travel agent here in NY that allows payments for both hotel and air (I'd be happy to share her info, if anyone is interested). We were able to get group rates thru delta airlines and she was able to block out rooms for my group. She has been WONDERFUL!!! No contracts..no minimums..no real deadlines. I was also able to negotiate the same incentives that destination weddings offered. My FI and I were even bumped up to first class for free! The downside of having everyone stay at the suites is I have to pay a day pass fee for them to come over for my wedding and reception. I was able to negotiate 20pp with the resort. I am having a beach ceremony at 430-500pm and reception at Port Maria from 7-10. I want to be able to take pics after the ceremony before the sunsets also. I decided against paying the extras money for a cocktail hour because everyone will be coming over from an all inclusive resort to a 45 minute ceremony...Hopefully they will not come starved (I will let them know, there is no cocktail hour). I opted for the buffet which has a huge menu!! I chose merrick Cousley for photography. I have seen his work and loved them. He is also less expensive than the others that comes highly recommended. I chose Kevan Stewart for my DJ. He is the number one DJ for those that has married at Iberostar. I've only heard great things about him. I heard the hotels videographer isn't bad. I chose him because the other highly recommended videographer (roxroy) is a pretty penny. He delivers a cinema like video. He takes your day and turns it into a 6min video. His work is phenomenal but I didn't want to miss anything from the day so I chose to get the traditional video. I chose real touch flowers by angels accents.com. I LOVE there work. I wasn't too impressed by the resorts recommended florist. I chose Loni Jones for makeup. I haven't seen to many Iberostar brides use her but she is on the next level. Her page shows that she has worked on the set of Americas top model. She is definitely more expensive than Rachel Edwards (the other highly recommended makeup artist) but I decided on her because of her creativity. I am going to go with the resort for hair. I've heard great reviews about them for hair. I've seen pics of the resorts custom cakes and they look just fine. I heard that the cheesecake is to die for. I'm ordering a custom cake, 1/2 red velvet and 1/2 cheesecake for an additional 250.00.
I've ordered all of my decorations already mostly thru amazon. The hotel has basic deco but if want anything with a specific color or theme you have to bring it yourself. Some brides has been lucky enough to use deco that was left by past brides. I have purchased sashes, runners, vases to create my own centerpieces (using the bridesmaids bouquets), shells to scatter on the tables, votives, and I also purchased my own aisle runner (I've heard that some brides have said there's was dirty or torn..although that was at the Beach resort). I've also booked a thank you gift for my guests. I booked an excursion to Negril for the day after the ceremony with Jamaica tours. I Don't remember exactly how much that was pp but if you're interested I'll look into my emails. Oh I am also having a welcome "all white party" the evening before the wedding which just involves booking one of the restaurants (at the suites, if it's available) for my guests as a meet and greet. I am also creating welcome bags for everyone. Sorry if I'm all over the place with this message. Any questions..feel free to ask!!
WOW! Lots of information! You've gotten lots done so far! I envy you!!
Is the resort making you pay the extra fee of one nights stay per each outside vendor you are having?
For your welcome party....did it cost your to book for a large group at the suites?
How many extra bags do you plan to take for your extra decor?
I really don't want to pay the extra 3,000 for the port maria, is the food choices THAT much better than the regular included receptions at the restaurants? Do you know what kind of a buffet you could have on the beach? I've read about some brides doing that. I would rather pay the extra money for a party after since we can already eat at any of the restaurants.
*Your cake of half red-velvet, half cheesecake sounds AMAZING! *
How much does the DJ cost if I did decide to have a bonfire on the beach?
Are the prices a lot different for the guests to stay at the suites? I am planning on letting them have that as an option because my finance's parents will spending a big chunk of money on helping his sisters and brother pay for their stay as well, but I don't want to have to pay for my whole party to come to our resort for the wedding. i think most of the other guests would rather stay at an adults only resort, thought, I'm guessing.
I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to do about flowers, kind of just thinking I will use what the resort includes, then maybe make some of my own to take down. Not fresh, but also LOTS cheaper. then I can bring them back and use them again at my reception. Can't take the fresh flowers back with you...I guess I'd rather pay for the photographer and have something I can return with than pay for the flowers I won't be able to keep, per-say!
Do most TA's get flight discounts for you as well? My FI and I will be going down, I'm guessing, 2-3 days before most of the other guests, do you all have to fly together for the discounts? Did she get better rates for you than DW.com? I've been debating on if I would like to check rates with other agents just to make sure I'm getting the best rates with Virgilia at Wright.
I'm sure I will come up with more questions for you! Thanks so much for all your information and help!