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2014 Bride: Caribbean Carnaval but where??


brownsugarbride
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Hi all: I've been reading this forum for a couple of weeks. There is such fantastic information on here and I am so grateful! A little about me: my wonderful hubby to be asked me to marry him at the end of January. We hope to marry in May of 2014. We thought about marrying in my hometown or our current city, but we're likely opting out of them for different reasons (the biggest one being cost)! We are strongly leaning toward a destination wedding, but my sweet man is begging me to narrow it down to a country! LOL We are both of Caribbean heritage, and it's important for us to have that reflected in our wedding. I also think that a destination wedding will allow us to share our love of travel with family and friends, and also cut down on the guest list (I don't care what anyone says about budget weddings, guest count is where the costs really start adding up)! Also, May is the shoulder season for the Caribbean, and it would allow me to get married outside and save on some of the costs. It's also warm, and I do NOT like the cold! Here is my dilemma: where do I choose?? Jamaica is a no-go for us. I would love, love, love to do St. Lucia and there appear to be a couple of well-regarded wedding planning services (e.g. Dreamy Weddings and Awesome Caribbean Weddings) that would allow me to have a beautiful, personalized wedding at a fraction of the cost that it would be in the United States. However, the ticket costs seem like they could be really exorbitant for our guests and the flight would be long. Also, it seems that the choice of resorts in various price points is a bit more limited. On the other hand, Riviera Maya seems like a nice alternative---Caribbean Sea, a variety of properties, and we both love Mexico. On the other hand, I worry about having a cookie-cutter wedding with little privacy and hassle about bringing in my photographer (for example). We LOVE good food, and I haven't been reading the best things about AI resorts and their food. I also would want a DJ that would keep the party going with fun line dances, salsa, and soul music. I fear that getting what I want would end up being very pricey, and I don't have the time to plan a wedding piece by piece. Another huge issue is my makeup and hair. I'm African American and I have locs, and worry that no one would be able to handle my hair at a Mexican resort. I don't know---perhaps the Bahamas would be a better compromise (though those tickets seem crazy expensive sometimes too)! Well, I'm sure that I sound all over the place, but I've found that sometimes getting a new perspective can really help clarify things. At the end of the day, I'll be married to the love of my life! And isn't that all that really counts? :)

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Congrats on your engagement brownsugarbride!!! and welcome to our forum community :) as you've already seen, there's tons of great info, advice + support here from all your fellow brides and vendor members - so you're already off to a great start :)

 

Wishing you all the best with reaching the right decision for you + your wonderful hubby!!! Cheers :)

 

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team MTM asst, Lynda :)

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hi there! congratulations on your engagement, and welcome to BDW! 

 

My husband & I are self-proclaimed foodies, and we were really concerned about the food quality at all inclusive resorts. I've been on enough cruises to know that mass prepared food is edible, but rarely rave-worthy. Thus, good (GREAT) food was a priority for us in choosing a resort. We'd heard good things about the Karisma Resorts (El Dorado's - adults only, Azul's - family), and we were not disappointed. We really enjoyed the food, and never were bored with choices. Half of our (personal) photos are of the food!! 

 

I felt that at EDR I could plan an intimate but personal wedding, and do it my way without breaking the bank. And happily I did that! Privacy was one of my concerns too. While we did have additional guests watching our ceremony, it wasn't as intrusive as I feared it would be. Everyone wished us well, and respected our space throughout the day. 

 

We used one of the resort's recommended/approved DJ's, and they played the music that we requested, and nothing we didn't. I was really pleased with the way they kept the party going. 

 

We also brought our photographer in as one of our guests, and that was another fantastic decision (with no outside vendor fee, since she was a guest at the resort for 3 nights). 

 

I'm definitely biased towards EDR (and can't wait to go back to celebrate our 1st anniversary this fall)! 

 

Do you have a travel agent? I found that to be a HUGE help when looking at resorts. If not, can I suggest Wright Travel? They have DW specialists who know the resorts and wedding packages, and can take a huge load off your shoulders for planning. 

 

There are links to EDR info and Wright Travel info below in my signature. Even if you don't choose EDR for your DW, if you go to RM, definitely look at EDR for your honeymoon!! 

 

Good luck, and happy planning! 

 

 

Originally Posted by brownsugarbride View Post

Thanks so much Lynda!  There is so much to choose from, but I feel confident that I'll make a great decision with the help of my friends and the great participants on this forum.  I'm so glad I found this place!

 

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Thanks for all of your great suggestions! I did get into contact with someone at Wright Travel and they had some great insights into cost and accessibility issues across countries/areas. Among the several suggestions, the Karisma resorts came up. I think the resorts are absolutely beautiful and I've heard that the food is great. My issue is that Karisma and a couple of the other suggestions have exorbitant, unreasonable restrictions when it comes to outside vendors---a huge turnoff for me. I had hoped to have some entertainment like guitarists and fire dancers (of my choosing). If I don't pay for my photographer to stay for 3 days, I also have to pay a huge fee. Also, I have some serious doubts as to whether the stylists on resort can actually handle my hair, which would add even more to my bill. I don't mean to sound so negative, I am just starting to panic a bit about finding the right place for our wedding without tearing my hair out! LOL One of the awesome travel planners on here suggested that I check out Hacienda Tres Rios, and I've also been looking at NOW Jade.

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Totally understand your concerns! Their outside vendor fee (and strict adherence to it) is certainly something to think about in the planning process. I do think that their vendors are pretty good from everything I've seen. There are so many lovely resorts down there, I hope you find the perfect one for you! 

 

Originally Posted by brownsugarbride View Post

Thanks for all of your great suggestions! I did get into contact with someone at Wright Travel and they had some great insights into cost and accessibility issues across countries/areas. Among the several suggestions, the Karisma resorts came up. I think the resorts are absolutely beautiful and I've heard that the food is great. My issue is that Karisma and a couple of the other suggestions have exorbitant, unreasonable restrictions when it comes to outside vendors---a huge turnoff for me. I had hoped to have some entertainment like guitarists and fire dancers (of my choosing). If I don't pay for my photographer to stay for 3 days, I also have to pay a huge fee. Also, I have some serious doubts as to whether the stylists on resort can actually handle my hair, which would add even more to my bill. I don't mean to sound so negative, I am just starting to panic a bit about finding the right place for our wedding without tearing my hair out! LOL One of the awesome travel planners on here suggested that I check out Hacienda Tres Rios, and I've also been looking at NOW Jade.

 

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Originally Posted by AllieH View Post

 

Totally understand your concerns! Their outside vendor fee (and strict adherence to it) is certainly something to think about in the planning process. I do think that their vendors are pretty good from everything I've seen. There are so many lovely resorts down there, I hope you find the perfect one for you! 

 

 

 

 

Thanks so much!  As I told you, I probably will have to go to another resort...but that Gourmet Inclusive sure is calling me! LOL

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Being of Caribbean decent myself, I totally get the need for you to share the island culture and experience with your guests. Food  & music are high on my list of important things. I think you should select an island you haven't been to yet, so it will be like an adventure for you and your fiancée, but makes you think of "your island home". You going to probably have to personalize it a lot so that it won't be cookie cutter. 

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