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Happy New Year All:

 

We are gearing up to attend the January Karisma Bride's Dress Rehearsal to check out some of the properties and taste the food.  Has anyone else gone to one? If so, do you have any tips or advice?  Also we plan to use this as a scouting trip to also check out other non-Karisma properties and vendors such as photogs/videographers. 

 

All tips are greatly appreciated! 

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Hi Girlinthecity97,

Hope to find you well. I just read the message regarding your recent visit to the Karisma bride dress rehearsal, how was it?

My fiancee and I are planning to go in May, but I am concerned that the commitment with their schedules to see the vendors and what they offer wont allow us time to visit another resorts, would you recommend?

 

Thank you

 

Lina

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@@linaco80 - Congrats & Welcome!  You will definitely have time to visit other resorts and vendors if you do not opt to visit a lot of Karisma's properties.  I was able to work in non-Lomas/Karisma vendor visits (they came to me) while I was there & swing down to Cancun to visit the JW Marriott.  I recommend renting a car if you plan to visit non-Karisma resorts & vendors. It makes it much more convenient then having to get a cab from where you are to bring you back to your Karisma property. 

 

Also, I wish we flew in on an early morning flight rather than a midday one that arrived late in the afternoon/early evening. This would have given me even more time to do whatever I needed to get accomplished. Limiting myself to just the Dress Rehearsal dates really made for an exhausting trip. I was in "GO" mode nonstop, which wore us both out, especially my laid back fiance. He wished we had more time to chill (this was his first time visiting Mexico).  I've been to Mexico before so I didn't care about chilling. I was a woman on a mission. 

 

Here's a rundown of the Dress Rehearsal Weekend. 

 

Thursday (totally free)- arrive (nothing scheduled). However, the gentleman at Azul Beach's (where we chose to stay) front desk was super nice and took us on an impromptu tour of some of the wedding spaces and the resort once he checked us in. 

 

Friday (8ish am until 1:30pm) - around 8 or 9 am you leave to visit your 1st site. We picked 2 other properties so we were out on a tours from 8:15am until 1:30ish.  After that, I had already arranged to meet my front runner photographer & videographer teams at 2:30 and 3:30pm.  Each meeting only took about 30, no more than 40 minutes. You just have to tell the front desk you are expecting someone & do your meeting in the lobby, otherwise they'll want to charge you a day pass for them. 

 

Saturday (8ish am until 1:00/1:30 pm) - Dress Rehearsal Event (tour of El Dorado Royale & Generations Riviera Maya, followed by a presentation and lunch).  You are picked up at your resort (unless you are staying at EDR or Generations) around 8/8:15 am and the tours start at 9 am.  It concludes around 11:00 and there is a "cocktail party" where you are offered some of the food & signature cocktails offered on the wedding/event menus.  Then they move everyone inside for a 20 min presentation on why you should choose Karisma followed by time to look at the various decor set ups.  The pastry chef is there, as is someone from Kendall Jackson so you can do a cake & wine tasting.  Then they have lunch, which those who wanted to meet other vendors or do other things opted out of.  We stayed for the lunch because you are sampling some of the entrees, salads, etc..that are on the wedding/banquet dinner menu. The event wraps up around 1:00pm. We didn't get out of there until 1:30ish because we were chatting with other couples and people from Lomas to help get a better understanding of the costs associated with choosing your decor vs the Memorable Moments packages.   If you choose to skip lunch and leave, just let someone know so they don't hold up the shuttle back to your resort looking for you. 

 

Sunday (nothing) - depart.  We had a mid-morning flight so no work was done that day LOL.  We just ordered room service for breakfast and dashed. 

 

Here are some tips I learned from other couples we met at the Dress Rehearsal that I wish I had thought of/done:

 

1) Add a day or 2 - Some arrived a day earlier, added an extra night at the Karisma resort or did both, which allowed for more time to visit non-Karisma properties without feeling rushed. 

 

2) Split your stay - some stayed at more than one Karisma resort (e.g., 1 night at Azul Sensatori, 2 nights at EDR; or 1 night split across 3 different resorts).  Some also spent the extra day/night ahead and/or after the Dress Rehearsal weekend at other non-Karisma resorts for comparison. I think this is especially helpful if you are torn between a Karisma resort and another brand.  They said it helped them make the final decision with greater confidence.

 

I knew I was going Karisma based on price comparison & food  but still felt the trip was invaluable.  I went into it thinking Azul Beach or Azul Sensatori would be where we'd get married but quickly realized on the tours that Generations/EDR was the better fit for what we wanted. We wouldn't have come to that conclusion had we not visited.  

 

This is probably WAY more info than you wanted to know, so apologies for the novel. :)

Edited by girlinthecity97
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Girlinthecity97,

 

Thank you so much for the information, I absolutely value every single word you wrote and no it is not a novel, I completely understand all that it takes to plan a wedding and trust me I love details  :)

I was concerned to be tied to them and unable to visit other resort. I will visit the Moon Palace also because I have heard amazing things about it. I will book today my Bride Dress Rehearsal for May. We plan to fly early Thursday or even Wed night.

We are only interested in Azul beach as the others might be less affordable/inconvenient to our guests and also we need a family friendly resort. I have a few to visit and would like to feel them.

I am in a "GO" mode non stop as well lol and my fiance is way too laid back so he will suffer a bit.

a few questions for you:

Are you able to work with a different vendor (non-Lomas)? is the resort charging you a fee for that? I know they always refer to Lomas when booking anything else.

Did you arrange to meet with the photographer while being there or did you arrange prior to visit? thank on the tip about meeting them in the lobby and avoid the fee

I am not sure if my fiancee would be super happy moving to all the resorts, what other would you consider for us to split (family friendly)?

 

That is amazing that you were able to make the best decision by experiencing!

 

Thank you so much, truly appreciate your help.

I am going to send the confirmation to book my BDR today...I am so happy and thanks again :)

 

Lina

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@@linaco80 - glad the info helps and is what you were looking for. 

 

Vendor Fee: We LOVED the photog so we have to pay the $800 vendor fee for him because he is not a Lomas vendor. Pictures are something we both agree is a "MUST" so my fiance is ok with paying the vendor fee for this.  However, he is NOT ok with paying another fee for video so we'll be going with a Lomas vendor. Some of the Lomas vendors (1 or 2 DJs, a photog and videographer I think) were at the Dress Rehearsal but I didn't make it over there because I was focused on getting decor info and tasting the cake since I'd read mixed reviews about the Karisma cakes. 

 

Family-Friendly Karisma:  We too are restricted to family friendly resorts because my 9 year old niece will be in the wedding. So we picked the Azuls, opting to stay at Azul Beach based on the reviews & pics. While we LOVED the sky deck, we didn't like that the size & fact that it was dominated by families with really small children.  We are getting married over a holiday weekend and know many if not all of our guests will be coming without their children (excluding my sister & brother-in-law who'll be bringing my niece) as a nice long weekend getaway.  Also, we know many (including our moms will want unobstructed views of the ocean).  Azul didn't have many rooms with such views because of the way it is set up.  We wanted a resort that would give guests the option of not being surrounded by kids.  We also learned it was actually the most expensive of the Karisma family-friendly resorts. 

 

Based on this, Azul Sensatori moved up on our list as did Generations. We were really torn but decided to go with Generations once we confirmed we could lock in at 2014 discounted rates.  We also felt Generations was truly the best fit for what we wanted because it offers oceanfront rooms (a huge "must" for our mother's want/would be expecting true oceanfront) and allows guests to have an all-adult experience at El Dorado Royale. Adult guests at Generations can also go over to El Dorado so we felt this gave us the maximum bang not only for us but our guests. 

 

Vendor Meetings - once I received confirmation from Karisma to attend the Dress Rehearsal, I reached out to the photo & video teams that were my front runners to set up meetings. I explained that I may need some flexibility because I wasn't sure about the timeline and they were ok with that.  We agreed that I would confirm the times once I arrived. I set up those appointments based on guestimates and info from another bride who attended the Dress Rehearsal and thankfully it worked out. I confirmed the appointment times with them via email once I got to the resort and saw the weekend itinerary.  When notifying the front desk (who informs security of your guests so they can come on property), I didn't get into details regarding who they were etc. It's none of their business LOL.  I just said I was expecting the following guests at the "x" and "y" times for a meeting in the lobby.  I then hung out in the lobby to greet them & assure anyone who asked that we were only meeting in the lobby. 

Edited by girlinthecity97

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Awesome information!!!! We are attending the June event... but were unable to add additional days, which I would have liked- but work/kid scheduled didnt permit it! In fact my FI cant take the time off work, so my MOH and I are attending. Your info was invaluable thank you!!! One extra question... how may people are in the group? Was it packed or fairly relaxed? And will we be the only non bride/FI attending? I dont want to get a bunch of weird looks from people who are shocked to see two girls at the event! Were there anyone else at your event that you noticed was missing a FI??


 

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Hi @@kmk2016 - no thanks needed! I'm happy to help and be able to share info!  You will be just fine. While a good number were couples, there were also a good number of other planning pairs.  We met a lot of mother of the bride/bride pairs as well as bride/moh or bestfriend pairs.  

 

These pairs mainly had fiances who wanted nothing to do with the trip. I was prepared to take my mom or a good friend with me until I mentioned the food tasting part. My fiance is BEYOND particular about food and didn't want to risk not being able to make an informed food choice on our menu so he got over himself and came along. In the end he was glad he did. 

 

In terms of size, the event is pretty large. There were easily 20-30 other couples/planning pairs in attendance.  We stayed at Azul Beach & here were only 2 other couples. There were more who got on the shuttle at Azul Sensatori (about 5-6 couples) and countless others when we got to El Dorado Royale. I think this is because fewer couples were factoring in kids. Those of us staying at the Azuls did so because we have kids who'll be attending our weddings.  

 

CONGRATS & Happy Planning! 

Edited by girlinthecity97

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Awesome!

 

Yeah my FI was pretty upset about not being able to come (he too is a foodie and wanted to taste all the option and especially the cake), but work is crazy busy- and at the end of the day he knows I would just veto stuff if push came to shove giving me the ultimate decision!

 

Sounds like it's a busy itinerary but still doable and will still allow for some relaxing poolside with a couple cocktails! I have booked 2 other sites (fives and beach in addition to sensatori where we are staying), but I may cancel the others since ultimately price and variety of activities for our guests trumps other options and so there is no real need to confuse myself by seeing the other venues! We have kids as well, and so do many of our friends... So we needed a kid friendly resort that wasn't going to completely bankrupt friends who are planning on bringing their kids along for the festivities!

Edited by kmk2016

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@@kmk2016 - LOL I hear you re your fiance.  Mine is the same way.  My fiance was in love with Sensatori's teen club room because they had video games like xbox and play station but also a pool table.  The planner Paola was awesome and mad the mistake of telling him that adult guests could use the teen club if there were no teens staying at the resort.  Since our wedding is in February, he was super excited about him and his friends being able to take advantage of this.  I honestly think you cannot go wrong.  

 

I look forward to hearing what you ultimately decide.  Some dishes we (but he especially) loved were the Chiliquiles (sp?) breakfast dish (nachos with chicken, cheese, a creamy tomato sauce topped with an semi-over easy egg), Lobster Ravioli (at the Italian restaurant), and the Lemon Pie (had a cheesecake texture but lemony taste).  He hates cheesecake but oddly LOVED the lemon pie. 

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I have decided to go to the July dress rehearsal!!  Is there anyone else out there planning to go in July?

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