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Newb intro & questions

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Hey guys,


I have found myself ending up on this forum when searching for certain things wedding related for the last few months, so I finally decided to join. I'm Jen, getting married in Varadero Cuba on May 5th 2014 at the Iberostar Laguna Azul. Despite getting married at an AL, we're trying very hard to make it as unbeachy/"resorty" as absolutely possible. We picked cuba to get married, because I am half Cuban, and aside from the fact that this option is a lot more budget friendly than the huge euro bash my FMIL wanted to throw, it is also for ease of travel for our Cuban relatives. We leave for Cuba (for the fourth time this year) again on Monday and will be staying at the Riu (which is conveniently located next to the Laguna) so I'm going to take advantage of that and try to sit down with the coordinator. 

I do have a few questions for those of you who have already gone through this process and I am fully aware that there are other places within the forum I can find the answers, but I'll post them here anyways in case you want to chime in and make my life easier ;)

Most of them have to do with hiring a photographer, baker, and florist(or potentially recommend a good silk florist), and also about how to manage the flow of the day... did you have a cocktail hour? did you have to share your dinner space with other hotel guests(we have about 80 people confirmed already and still have RSVPs floating around, so we aren't a small group. What about guests coming from other hotels for the day? Any tips on how to rent a private spot for the reception party after the ceremony? And does any one have any experience hiring a cigar roller? 


I'm looking forward to hopefully adding some value to those of you getting married in cuba too after this trip, as I'll be doing some investigating with some relatives that live there so let me know if I can help with anything too!



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