@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.
ok question!!! You mentioned the cakes... and your concerns after mixed reviews (which I noticed too)... what did you think? Were your fears put at ease? Not only am I concerned about how it tastes... but Im probably MORE concerned with how they look! HAHA... I have to admit, the ones I have seen from past bride posts have been pretty sad looking... kinda like one made by your oh so helpful but less than talented aunt who wants to bake it for you herself... they just looked so clunky and amateurish!!! When they launched the Magical Memories packages, the cakes they showed in the brochures were a BIG improvement from what I had seen, but still not sure if they are an accurate representation on what you actually get! They "say" they will do anything you want if you bring them a picture- but based on what I have seen, I just cant see them recreating some of the cakes I have fallen in love with in my zillion pinterest searches!
I was willing to forgo the cake all together, but it has become another "Must" for the FI... so I must oblige, I just dont want to be embarrassed of it sitting there at our reception!