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Carina's (Csho) Iberostar Laguna Azul Planning Journal (05.05.14)

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CSho’s Iberostar Laguna Azul

Planning Thread

May 5th, 2014


I can’t believe it’s my time to be writing this thread. I remember finding this website and thinking what a godsend the site was. I discovered reviews of the resorts I was looking at and then I found the planning journals which were my favourite part and I remember thinking my turn would never come up! But lo and behold here I am, ready to head off for my wedding in a short few months!


I want to thank everyone at BDW and all of its members, especially Tammy who started the website and my ladies on the Iberostar Laguna Azul Brides 2013/2014 thread!! BDW, along with pinterest, has helped me become in tune with my crafty side. I would never have thought I could have a DIY wedding! I don’t know where or what my wedding would be like without all the wonderful ideas and friends I found on here! So thank you everyone!


The Engagement:


My FI and I had talked about getting married and he joked with me about the proposal all the time. So when he proposed I couldn’t believe he was actually doing it! He’s not always the most romantic but he really exceeded my expectations with his proposal.

If you’d like to read the whole story click here:



Engagement Photos:


My FI and I had already planned on a trip to Europe to visit my sister prior to our engagement. We were spending a week in Berlin visiting my sister and her family and then a week to ourselves in Dubrovnik Croatia. I didn’t want to do your typical engagement photos and thought since we’re having a destination wedding, why not do destination engagement photos. Once I was able to convince my FI that this was the best idea ever, I began my search for a photographer in Dubrovnik.  Luckily it was much easier then I had anticipated. I found Svadbas Photography. I loved their work and they specialized in wedding/engagement photography. I quickly booked with Nora Novak of Svadbas Photography and I couldn’t be happier with my decision.


Here’s the link to our photos:




The Ring:


I knew I wanted something plain and simple, but beautiful of course! My FI did a fantastic job picking out my ring… I couldn’t have chosen a better one myself! It’s a 0.70 ct round diamond solitaire! This photo also shows my wedding band. I love them together! My fiancé purchased a plain yellow gold comfort fit band.




Choosing the Destination/Resort/TA:


My FI and I were friends for years before we actually started dating so he was well aware that I always dreamed of marrying on a tropical island. I have been to a number of Caribbean islands but we quickly decided on Cuba for a few reasons: it’s reasonably priced and we love the culture and friendly people. This part was an easy decision for us!


Choosing the resort wasn’t as easy, but after a ton of research using trip advisor, BDW, and the resort wedding Facebook groups we finally decided on the Iberostar Laguna Azul in Varadero, Cuba. Ultimately we chose this resort because of its 5 star rating, proximity to Havana, the great all-inclusive rates, and the ceremony venue.




Price was a huge factor for us as we wanted as many of our friends and family as possible to be able to attend, so making the trip affordable was really important to us.  


The second reason we choose this resort was the ceremony venue. We will be using their 5th floor Spa Terrace as a wedding ceremony venue , it overlooks the resort and ocean. It just looks so amazing! I cannot wait to be married here! I honestly couldn’t picture myself being married anywhere else!


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                       Ceremony Space                                                                                  View from the terrace




Our wedding colours are coral and theme is starfish. So you’ll these themes and colours throughout my projects. I have purchased coral organza chair sashes for our chairs and will be tying starfish around them.








We chose not to make STD’s and go right ahead with our invitations. This was my first DIY project and I was beyond happy with how they turned out! A lot of love and hard work went into the invitations (about 12 hours of cutting – Thank you to my amazing FI for this part!), but we have received so many compliments on them that it was totally worth it! Everyone says they are the best invitations they have ever received!


I used Aylee Bites design template. They ended up being a lot easier than I thought it would be. With that said, it took many tries to get exactly what I was looking for.


Here’s the link to the template: http://www.ayleebits.com/2006/06/10/diy-boarding-pass-save-the-date/


Thank you so much Aylee for allowing us to use your template!





Once our guests booked we sent them a postcard (made on Vistaprint) that thanked them for booking.





MOH and Bridesmaids:

In tune with my inner crafter I made my own cards to ask my Sister and FSIL to be in my bridal party.








I had the inside printed at Staples…. The quality wasn’t the greatest, I wish I had of had them re-do the printing and the colours didn’t turn out quite as I had anticipated, but overall they served their purpose.  I “borrowed” the poem on the inside from another BDW member – I am sooo sorry I can’t remember who I took it from, but thank you so much!


I also made them a pair of barefoot sandals. When I made them I thought we might have our ceremony on the beach, but now with our ceremony on the terrace I don’t know if they will have any use. Either way, they both loved the sandals and the card and of course both said Yes!


The Dress:




It’s an Impression Bridals dress that I found in a small bridal shop called Alyssa’s Formals in Sackville, NS. Their service was amazing and I love my dress sooo much, I can’t wait to wear it down the aisle!


I purchased a second shorter reception dress that I plan on wearing for the dance part of our reception. I will wear the wedding gown through dinner and such, but we have choreographed a salsa dance for our first dance, so I needed something else to wear for the dance portion, not to mention it’s probably going to be hot! I purchased this dress online at Modcloth.





I purchased my jewelry online from different etsy vendors. I purchased a starfish bracelet  (dreamsbythesea) that I am absolutely in love with and a pair of gorgeous earring that match it (Snobishdesigns).  I also will be wearing a hair flower I got on sale at Michaels for 4.99$ by David Tutera. I had originally purchased one on Etsy which I loved but it was too heavy looking for my dress. The new one I got was much cheaper and it matched perfectly with my dress and is much lighter and breezier looking! I will also wear a short two tiered veil that a friend gave to me. Sorry no pics of those items.  







Grooms Attire:


My FI bought his suit from Le Chateau. We were pretty set on the idea of linen, but he tried on the linen suit and I just didn’t love it. Then he tried on this suit, and it looked sooo good! I had a smile from ear to ear so we knew it was the one for him. His groomsmen will be wearing the same pants with a white dress shirt.




Bridesmaid Dresses:

I wanted flowy, beachy dresses, and somehow I found the dresses I wanted on Kijiji! The exact colour and style I liked- and they were only 75$ each!  They are Alfred Angelo.




Bridesmaids Gifts:


I purchased the girls dresses, but I also made the girls BM and MOH tank tops (and myself a Bride one!). I will be placing those along with lipsyl, coral Havaiana flipflops, and a personalized tumbler into a beach bag!


post-261965-0-29121100-1392233949_thumb.jpg  post-261965-0-32035700-1392233935_thumb.jpg   post-261965-0-45494900-1392233920.jpg





I am planning on using the resorts bouquet that is included in our package. I know Cuba has a limited supply on flowers, so I am going to ask for white calla lilies and regular lilies and then bring my own ribbon to wrap the handle.


I purchased the guys bouts from an Etsy shop. Details by Jlynn. They are amazing I love them so much!



I have purchased faux coral flowers from Homesense and Michaels which I am going to use to make my centerpieces.




We will be purchasing bottles of rum as favours for our guests. I have these tags that I will attach to them that say Thank you for joining us! I am replacing the white thread with raffia for a more beachy feel! I purchased these on etsy from a Canadian vendor Kiwitinicreations. She was great to work with!



Dinner and Reception:


Another reason we chose this resort is the dinner venue. They have four palapas that you can use for your dinner.  I didn’t want to have my dinner in a regular restaurant or ballroom. So I am super excited to be able to use the palapas for our dinner.



post-261965-0-04396600-1392234122_thumb.jpg       post-261965-0-59543000-1392235633_thumb.jpg        


We have purchased a bunch of coral paper lanterns that I plan on hanging from the roof and I have made my own centerpieces for the tables.  We will also be using the same chairs from the ceremony with the coral sashes and starfish. Here is how we are planning on setting up the tables (keep in mind these are rough set ups – they aren’t exactly how it will look but you get the idea!)


post-261965-0-01462800-1392234207_thumb.jpg                  post-261965-0-94956700-1392234227_thumb.jpg

          Head Table                                                                  Guest Tables


After the dinner we will be moving into the disco to do our first dance and party the rest of the night away!




Here are two photo of our cake inspiration. We’re hoping they’ll be able to use these two photos and make them into one! We plan on having a two tiered cake, plain white with coral ribbon around the cake layers, and then have the two starfish on it like the second photo.


post-261965-0-87564700-1392234333.jpg    post-261965-0-67380300-1392234345_thumb.jpg




I was originally toying with the idea of bringing a photographer from home with us, but then decided it just wasn’t in our budget. There are limited selections in Cuba; however, we were able to find Alex Delgado of Cuban Wedding Photographer. He is a very popular photographer in Cuba and has done a ton of weddings. I keep checking his new images and they just keep getting better and better. I am so excited to be using him and have heard wonderful reviews from other brides.


Here’s a link to his Facebook page if you’re interested in checking out his work:



DIY Projects:






I made myself, my BM and, my MOH hangers for our dresses! Can’t wait to have them all hanging together! I used a tutorial on the website – I can’t remember who wrote it, but if you search it on BDW you should be able to find it!


Twine wrapped votive holder:


I wrapped about 30 of my clear votive holders with twine. I love how it looks, but it was so tedious. I am happy to see this project finished! We’ll be using these with the centerpieces.





Burlap Guestbook Sign:


I made this sign using burlap and coral and white paint. I printed off the letters and placed the paper behind the burlap and traced them with the coral paint. I was able to see the letter outline through the burlap. I sprayed it with hairspray to make it more durable and then sprayed with a gold shimmer spray paint to add some dimension. I also weaved twine through the top so we’ll be able to hang it. Sorry its not a great photo.





This inspired my next projects.


“Please Sign” sign:


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This will sit on top of the table with the guest book sign along with our guestbook, which we created on Shutterfly. We made a photobook guestbook with some of our engagement photos.


Please find your Seat sign with sand box and escort cards:




Please ignore the junk behind the photo!                                                                               



Lastly, I made our Menu’s for our dinner. Every guest will have one of these at their place setting.





I think that’s all! I plan on adding more photos once we have returned from the wedding so you can see how everything came together!

Edited by TammyWright
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Well done! You've done a beautiful job!


Glad to hear this site was such a big help! Congrats!

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Can't wait to see how it all comes together.  You've done an excellent job so far =)  

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@@diadiamond Thanks! I also can't wait to see how it all looks together! I found that the hardest thing - to kind of get my vision to come together. but I think it will nicely once its all set up!

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I hear ya on the getting the vision to come together. Its hard! Everything looks great so far! Your venue is awesome...I especially love the palapas for the reception. so perfect :)

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