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Emily11386

*Emily's after the fact Gran Caribe Real wedding journal 5/10/2013*

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 Emilyâ€s Planning Thread

I canâ€t believe Iâ€m here finally writing my planning thread!  I discovered this site shortly before I got engaged and was so intrigued by the idea of a destination wedding. It just seemed to be “our type of thingâ€.  Joe and I love to travel and try to go on at least one vacation a year. I was so inspired by all the beautiful weddings I saw on here that I immediately knew this was what I wanted for our wedding when the time came. 

Our Engagement:

Joe and I started talking a lot about marriage and had started looking at rings so he could get an idea of what I liked, so our engagement wasn't a total surprise, but I didnâ€t see it coming the day he proposed.  We have known people who got engaged while on vacation, and Joe had always said he would always be too nervous to do this because the ring wouldnâ€t be insured yet and something could happen to it while away, so when he proposed on our first night of a cruise I wasn't expecting it!

We were doing a 7 night Caribbean cruise leaving out of Miami in December 2010, and flew down to Miami the day before the cruise started.  We relaxed and explored Miami the day before, then boarded the ship on December 5th.  This was our third cruise, but the first cruise that we had taken just the two of us.  We boarded the ship and spent the day exploring the ship and watching Miami fade into the distance as we headed off for our first port (and of course who could forget the wonderful lifeboat drill!).  After dinner I was tired and just wanted to relax in the room, while Joe was trying to convince me to go down to the lobby bar for a drink.  I was lying on the bed and he asked me to come over and give him a hug (which shouldâ€ve put me on alert since thatâ€s not really like him).  When I finally got up he got on one knee and asked me to marry him!

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The Planning Begins:

Joe was completely on board with a destination wedding from the moment I suggested it.  We started looking online at different location and eventually decided on Mexico.  After sorting through tons and tons of resorts on trip advisor, on this site, and the resort sites themselves we eventually settled on The Chapel at the Gran Caribe Real. We knew we were going to have a slightly longer engagement than is typical for a few reasons: 1) we wanted to give people as much time as possible to save up so we could have as many people joining us as possible, 2) we knew we would be paying for the wedding and wanted to be able to save to have the wedding we want to have, and 3) we really wanted to buy a house first.  About 6 months after we got engaged we did a site visit that we split between The Gran Caribe and The Royal (their adults only sister resort) and we loved it!  During our planning process we bought our house and are so happy we had a longer engagement so we were able to do that first!

Stationary:

We got both our save the dates, invitations, programs, and menus from Vistaprint. (We also sent our travel brochures but I can't seem to find a picture of those.)   

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Wedding Attire:

My dress is WTOO Natalia by Watters.

This is me at my first fitting!

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My MOH bought me this beautiful hair accessory that also can be a pin that I can wear on a nice black dress to celebrate an anniversary or something special, which I really loved!

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I bought my jewelry at Kay.

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These are my sash and hair flower laid out at one of my fittings.

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I found a pink pair of Christian Louboutins that I fell in love with for my wedding shoes!

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My garter from Victoria's Secret

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And of course Bride underwear from VS:

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And a VS Bride robe to get ready in.

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For my bridesmaids we order Bill Levkoff dresses in Glacier.

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I got my MOH this pin for her dress from Etsy.

 

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I got the flower girl dress at Old Navy

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Groomsmen's ties which they wore with Khaki pants adn white button down shirts.

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Grooms's tie which he wore with a khaki suit.

 

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©cor/Accessories:

 

*For colors we chose Tiffany Blue and pink* 

I purchased table linens and chair sashes that we brought with us in Tiffany Blue.

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I purchased Table numbers on Etsy.  She made this one special for our sweatheart table.  The rest looked like this but were tables 1-4.

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Also purchased these escort card holders, an insulated Bride cup, and my Mrs. Durant hanger on Etsy.

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Bridal Party Gifts:

For my girls I got them:

  • A beach bag with their initial on it
  • A silver cuff bracelet with their name on it
  • A light gray shawl (not pictured)
  • A travel cup from Etsy that had their name, Bridesmaid, and a cute dress (got myself and Joe one as well)
  • An oversized Coach wristlet
  • A bathrobe with their name embroidered

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For the guys Joe got them:

  • A travel cup from Etsy with their name, groomsman, and a tux on it
  • A football cup with their name on it
  • A flask with their initial on it
  • A bottle opener
  • A Sam Adams cup
  • He put it all together in a tin beer bucket
  • We bought them their ties for the wedding

 

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Flowers:

 

 

We decided to hire an outside florist and found Marvin from Maya Florals throught this site.  After much emailing back and forth here are the flowers we decided on (the picture from the email followed by the actual one ont he day of)

Bridal Bouquet.  Somehow my actual bouquet ended up with some purple flowers in it, which was not one of my colors.

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(this is the best picture I have of my flowers for now)- We won't get our professional pictures back for a few months

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Bridesmaids Bouquet.  These turned out perfect.

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For every other pew in the Chapel (but with a bigger bow).  The flowers on these turned our very nice, but they had no bows at all.
 

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This is the inspirtation piucture I gave him for the rose petals in the aisle.  I told him we didn't want it in that design, but that thickness with white and pink petals.  I don't think it was anywhere near that thick.  He did throw in the aisle runner for free so we wouldn't worry about slipping on the petals which was very nice.

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For the reception:

Centerpieces. The ones we got we pretty, but didn't quite look like this.  

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He also threw these in for the sweatheart table and cake table free of charge which was, again, very nice.

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Thank you so much for sharing, love the bridesmaids and groomsmen bags, very thoughtful

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The Resorts:

 

As I previously mentioned we had done a site visit to both resorts, so we knew how beautiful they were.  We got the Presidential suite our first week, then changed over to a swim up suite for our second week (our honeymoon week). 

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And the Bad.......

And this is where my fun week ended.  Wednesday night going into Thursday (our rehearsal dinner was on Thurs and our wedding on Fri) I woke up very sick. I was in bed all day Thursday.  I got up to attend our rehearsal dinner in a space we rented out for 3 hours and could only stay for half of it and wasn't able to eat at all.  They sent the resort Dr up to see me and I was diagnosed with salmonella and was given an antibiotic along with some other meds.  Out of 8 of us who ate together 6 of us got sick to varying degress.  Of course I seemed to get the sickest and it lastest the longest with me as well. I woke up Friday feeling sick and weak.  I got my hair and make up done in silence trying not to get sick the whole time.  Normally I would've asked someone to take pictures of us getting our hair and make up done but I wasn't thinking straight.  They brought around champage for everyone while they got ready, and I couldn't even thinking of drinking it.  During our ceremony I had to hold onto the pew many times because I felt as though I might pass out. 

We were about 15 minutes late starting the ceremony because the wedding coordinator forgot that she was supposed to meet me in my parents room at the Gran Caribe.  She ran up to my groom panicked saying that she couldn't find me and did he know where I was?  He reminded her about where she was supposed to meet me and we started.  Because of the delay cocktail hour only ended up being 45 mins instead of an hour, which cut short the amount of time our photographer had to take pictures.  Because of this we are going to have very few formal pictures with our bridal party. 

During the reception I couldn't eat.  I just drank my gatorade.  I got up danced, smiled, and tried to have fun and make the best of it.  I hope when we get our pictures back I look like I'm having fun.  We went right back to our room after the reception instead of hanging out with everyone as we planned to.  I was in bed the next two days.  I ended up seeing the Dr again and getting another antibiotic.  Because of this we missed out on spending time with really any of my bridesmaids in the days they were there, and a lot of my family.  A huge part of a destination wedding for us was getting to spend time with everyone, not just having one day.  We lost out on this.  I was unable to eat anything other than toast for 4 days.  Even after I started eating it was a week before I could think about trying any alcohol.  It's been about 3 weeks and my stomach still isn't quite right, but I'm getting there. 

I emailed our travel agent, Wendy Hicks from Wright Travel Agency, during this whole mess and she jumped right on getting a hold of the resort.  After she got in touch with them the management seemed a lot more concern and checked in on me daily.  At the end of our stay our wedding coordinator Elizabeth came to our room and gave us a letter from the GM staying that they would like to give us a complimentary week stay next year.  We of course had to sign saying we wouldn't pursue legal action, but it's a nice gesture anyways.  We have stayed here before and not had any issues, so we will be crossing our fingers (and reading reviews first) and heading back for our 1 year anniversary. Hopefully I can make some better memories to try to take some of the sting out of not really getting to enjoy my wedding day and the days surrounding it.

 

On more positive notes....

 

We would like to give a huge thank you to Wendy Hicks.  She was great to work with throughout the entire process and was really a huge help with the resort when I got sick.  I think that the resort was trying to brush me off, but she didn't allow that to happen. I would highly recommend her!  Thank you Wendy!

 

We used Ivan Luckie of Luckie Photography.  We won't get the pictures back for a little while, but he was great to work with!  We also did a cenote TTD session with him which was so much fun!  Him and his assistant Elvis make such a great team.  Joe was especially nervous about the TTD because he's not a great swimmer.  To be honest he was really dreading it and only doing it because I really, really wanted to.  From the moment they picked us up they made us feel totally at ease.  We stopped off to get some real Mexican beer, which helped loosen Joe up a little.  Sinking underwater and posing while fixing your hair and your dress is hard work!! 

Once we get our pictures back from Ivan I will post them on here, but for now I will end with some pictures from my guests, and a few from the resort photographer (ceremony only, from the pictures we had included in our package.) Feel free to ask me any questions :)

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oh Emily, I'm so sorry to hear that you got sick on your wedding-moon!!! Your photos look beautiful though, and I really hope you're feeling 100% again very soon. 

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You look stunning and happy!! Yeah!! And I'll second your shout out to Wendy Hicks!! She is the ONLY reason I still have a shred in this planning process! When I couldn't get through to my resort she's been with me every step of the way!! When I was about to pull our entire wedding two weeks ago (a month before the wedding) and move it elsewhere she jumped into action and made some calls (which I didn't ask her to do) and the resort called me in about 2 minutes! Talk about going above and beyond!! I want to squeeze that woman and thank you every time she helps me!!

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Your wedding and all of the pics are beautiful,,, Congrats!!!! That's a real bummer that you got sick like that though... I hope you feel better.

 

We are also thinking of using Marvin, how did you find his prices compared to the resorts? Did you just email him pictures of what you wanted and he came back with pricing, or did he give you a price list on flowers/bouquets?

 

Liz

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