you should consider asking them to do a fondant icing so the cake won't look as sloppy as the first one. While it's thicker than a buttercream, it holds up against the heat/humidity better. They had some very nice ones on display during the cake tasting at the Rehearsal event. I was actually impressed because I had heard a lot of negatives.
Tina's Peacock Wedding Planning Blog
Posted 06 February 2014 - 07:32 AM
Karisma Present & Future Brides Beware
Up to this point I've been trying to keep this blog totally positive but I think its come to the point that I should put in writing all the problems I have encountered in the planning process. I chose Azul beach because a travel agent friend of mine recommended either the Azul resorts or Palace. I chose Azul bc of the 2 Azul was a smidge cheaper. I wish I had done research on forums such as this before locking myself in at Azul Beach.
I am currently on my third Florida coordinator. There have been times I've sent questions to the coordinator only to hear back a week or so later that "that person is no longer with the company. So and So will now be taking over the account." Every time I've been traded to another coordinator, I'm told that all previous information would be reviewed...however, that has not been the case. I have had to start from scratch with each person.
Lets start with the nickel and diming that goes on at this resort.
I have purchased one of the wedding packages- I do not qualify for the free package bc I am only staying 6 nights instead of 7. Included in the package is white lines (chair covers, sashes, napkins, etc) I do not want everything in white. I would like some color. Lomas charges a $4 rental fee per sash. I have found the sashes online for .81cents & purple napkins for very cheap too. I have read on the forum that they charge to decorate for you. I inquired into it with my FL Coor. and she told me that she couldn't give me a definite price and I could be charged up to $5 per guest. Now... I am not trying to be cheap...but I am trying to keep costs as low as possible. We chose destination bc it should be cheaper than home. My issue is that I'm paying $950 for my wedding package (which many other resorts offer for free) included in the 950 is decorating with the included white items. I do not want white...I would like my color items. I am not asking them to do any more work than they would already be doing. Why should I have to pay additional money??? I would understand if they were hanging lanterns or draping the walls...but setting the table and tying the sashes...Really?
I also intend to do a private banquet, which is an additional cost per guest. The resorts reason behind the charge is they need extra staff on hand. That's fine...I totally understand that. I feel like the resort is making out pretty well off my wedding. $3000 for my room for the week, $950 for the wedding package & about $700 for the private banquet. Not to mention the people that are coming to the wedding who wouldn't normally consider Azul. My wedding package also includes a dinner reservation in one of the hotel restaurants. I have told them that if they would like to keep nickel and diming me for things that they would already be doing...I will cancel the banquet and just do the dinner reservation (no extra cost) That would save me $700 that I could then put toward the AHR. I have received no response as of yet from either corporate or my FL coor- its been 2 weeks since the original email.
More on Lomas Travel- before settling on the resort...check out Lomas travel. The options are slim. I personally find their flowers to be boring and overpriced. A friend of mine is also planning a wedding...but doing it here at home. She is paying $1200 for her flower package which included 12 centerpieces, 5 bridesmaid bouquets, 5 bouts, flower girl, parents corsages, and her bouquet. The average centerpiece on Lomas is about $110 (roses, lilies, carnations & gerber daisies seem to be the most popular) all of which are common/ filler flowers- the cheapest flower choices out there. I sent a photo of a centerpiece I liked...I was quoted $400! The centerpiece uses the same flower as what a friend had used in her wedding last year. Hers were only $90! When I asked her to negotiate a better price I was basically told to pick different flowers- something tropical...which according to Azul is roses, lilies (I agree with this one), carnations, and gerber daisies. The pic I sent included orchids...that's what I consider tropical.
Hair and Makeup Issues- These are also tops on my priority list. I have very tempermental hair. it takes a real professional to tame this mane. When I inquired into the salon services here my FL coor. sent me a list of services and prices, no description. For example: bridal package 1- $239...well what does bridal package 1 include. when I asked her to send me descriptions she sent me info on other items...that weren't even on the first list. I asked again for info on the list she sent me...she then sent me a link to the spa brochure online (which was the same as her first response) the third email response she sent me was the exact same as the first. My final email was a fill in the blank type. I would like to know:
Bridal pkg 1- (includes)_________________
She finally copied me to the salon who sent me the brochure online!!!! I responded yet again...and was finally told the info I had (bridal packages) were no longer available!!! You have got to be kidding me. With the slow email response time it took me about a month to get that answer. While all the back and forth with the email was going on I looked for reviews on the salon there. Basically what I came across was that the makeup is not worth it. They don't do anything special. As for hair, if you don't speak Spanish it will be difficult to get your point across. So I will continue to fight this.
Outside Vendor Fees- Brides beware! it is an $800 outside vendor fee charge to bring in photographers/ videographers, etc that are not approved by Azul. The photographer was my top priority. I researched Matias Cano and Caribe (the approved vendors) and found them to be unimpressive. Compare them to other mexico photogs out there- Del Sol, Elizabeth Medina...to name a few. The options out there are so much better! but they are expensive...and that coupled with the outside vendor fee just puts them out of reach! Some wont even work at Azul...even if you are willing to pay the fee. That really gave me a red flag on the resort. The other option is to have the vendor stay at the hotel for the minimum 3 nights. I ended up going this route. I have an amazing photographer...that I have dreamed of doing my wedding. She cut her package price in half since I would be paying room and air. I am thrilled to have her!
So basically...planning this wedding has not been a pleasant experience. I do not feel like I have a wedding planner looking out for my best interests. Her response time is horrible. She offers no unsolicited information and all past decisions made with other planners pretty much don't exist (if they were even completed in the first place). Many things are completely unanswered. I have gone over her head to corporate who also hasn't responded and I contacted one of the onsite planners...no response. I am totally shocked and appalled by this kind of treatment...from all ends of the business. Is this how you treat brides who are paying good money to have their wedding there?
Ive read that once you're there you are in good hands...but that's not how it should be. I should be taken care of prior to getting there. I should have to stress til days before the wedding to finally feel like everything will be okay. Planners at home would never do that! David Tutera would have a heart attack.
There are so many other issues I've encountered along the way...ive only touched on what I feel are the most important. So if you are considering Azul...my advice is to look elsewhere. I wish I had known better.
Edited by talicea7812, 06 February 2014 - 07:49 AM.
Posted 11 February 2014 - 06:50 AM
Well planning is at a standstill and I really don't know where to go from here. I have this idea in my head of how I want everything to look...but going through Lomas will make that dream turn into debt after the wedding.
Part of this stress is probably just me but I am seriously trying to keep costs down while creating a wedding I will be proud of. If I were to bring my own items I could save sooo much money...but Karisma is intent on making me spend every little dollar.
I don't know what to do. I originally wanted to do the private reception, which on top of everything would be an additional $700. However, with all the nickel and diming Im considering just going with the included dinner reservation. Why should I pay $950 for a ceremony and $700 for the reception then an additional per person fee to put out decorations that they would have been putting out anyway?
But then theres part of me that wants the sit down dinner. If I opt not to do the private reception I forfeit the other parts of a wedding that make it special- ex: the first dance
what I really need is to win the lottery so I don't have to stress over little charges and can just enjoy the experience. I'm not a big worrier. I tell my fiancé I just don't have the "worry gene," but the exception to that is money. I always worry over money...because we don't have much.
Posted 12 February 2014 - 06:14 AM
Well up until this point I thought I knew what my daughter would wear. I previously talked with an Etsy designer who was going to custom make a dress. The plan was a lace top with a feather bottom. Cost $140- Not bad in my opinion. However, within the past couple days I came across a really cute dress on a facebook shop for only $25!!! Its definitely not as pretty as the custom dress...however it is really cute and after seeing it, I cant justify spending so much on a dress that will get destroyed in the sand never be worn again.
The sash is detachable so I will be taking that off and adding a turquoise one...then a little peacock feather embellishment. Then some kind of headband- still searching. I like the one pictured but not 100% on it
Posted 13 February 2014 - 03:10 AM
Interesting wedding details! Thanks for sharing them to us here! We are looking forward for more posts from you. I hope you'll have your dream wedding without any inconvenience and have it according to all that was planned. Good Luck!
- talicea7812 likes this
Posted 13 February 2014 - 08:28 AM
Wow this does seem a bit frustrating! I hope everything turns out exactly as you hoped and that afterwards you'll feel like it was all worth it! Everything looks very beautiful that you are planning so I am sure it will! I guess the best you can do is just go with the flow!
Posted 17 February 2014 - 09:35 AM
Well my bachelorette and Bridal shower are quickly approaching. Of course the first thing my friends wanted to know was...what was I wearing. I used to love shopping but now that I'm a little older it actually makes anxious to think about it. I go in a million stores look at the same items over and over again. Once I try something on I usually hate it or it doesn't fit and they don't have the next size. It just stresses me out.
Now, I really took a gamble and decided to try out this website...rent the runway. You rent designer dresses at a fraction of the cost and return when finished. I decided to give it a try. I order 2 dresses and paid $80. They are supposed to be delivered a couple days before each even and come with a backup size.
I like the dresses and a bonus is the website posts reviews by real women who have worn the dress and you get to see what it looks like on a real person...opposed to a 6' slim model.
I've attached the pics. Hopefully this works out... if it does I will feel fabulous telling people im wearing Versace!
Blue & green for bach party
Black for shower
- csho likes this
Posted 17 February 2014 - 04:50 PM
Hi Talicea, I found your blog very interesting to read as I too am experiencing many of the same problems as you are. My wedding is the following weekend on April 19. I am on my 4th planner in FL with Karisma. Our 1st planner had been great but left the company to pursue her education. The remaining 3 have been horrible. I experience the same issues with the emails going unanswered or not at all. I know all will work out in the end but this has not been a positive planning experience for us. I feel your pain.
Posted 18 February 2014 - 10:54 AM
Keeping my options open...
If you've been following my blog, you know this hasn't been a very positive planning experience. I've been exploring my options and came across an adorable restaurant called Hacienda Sisal. I've been emailing back and forth with the planners there and really like them. They are helpful and responsive. The restaurant small group menu is the same price as what I would have paid at Azul but will give my guests an authentic Mexican experience off the resort.
The positive to moving off the resort- Freedom to chose my own vendors. Let's do the math on what ive been quoted so far
Cake- $150 (Azul quoted $300)
DJ- $850 (Azul $1000-2000)
Flowers- $350 (includes brides bouquet, 2 bridemaids, and 4 centerpieces-I attached pics I sent in)
Karla-the wedding planner is in the process of drawing me up her own proposals. I have given her the same pics I sent out and got my pricing from. Who knows? She may have connections and get better prices or be able to work out a package deal. I'm excited to see what she comes up with. When I initially emailed her I sent the same pic I've attached here. Those are rented tables...the restaurant normally has square. She has even stated that she maybe she could get the tables at no additional cost! What? That's the first time I've been offered anything for free since beginning this planning process. The quote she's going to send me will also cover linens similar to what is pictured.
the only downside I see so far is transportation. Since the restaurant is about 25-30 minutes away I would need to arrange a bus or something to get everyone there. I think that's the only area that would make it out to be more than Azul.
Well at this point im keeping my fingers crossed that something will work out. I was beginning to feel the excitement again when it felt like I could get the wedding I want without putting myself in debt.
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