lol I've been stalking @girlinthecity97 on ig too! So happy for her. I also have so many questions!
Generations Riviera Maya 2015 Weddings (And 2014 Too)generations riviera maya grm karisma el dorado royale 2015 Brides
Posted 19 February 2015 - 10:21 AM
Ladies - I just want to scream!!! I started sharing details and it did NOT GO THROUGH! I will start again.
I cannot thank you all enough for your support and encouragement! Thank you @rtscent & @lauralane for the kind compliments! Before my update gets deleted I will start again. I may break it up so nothing gets lost.
@rtscent - LOVE the cake topper!
The most important details: Guests love, Love, LOVED the both EDR and Generations!!! So much so many are already talking about going back and joked that we should invite everyone down to do it all over again for our 1 year anniversary! They also raved about my OOT bags and the contents (which I will get into later).
The less than stellar - the wedding team onsite needs a bit of work. While all of my reception decor (guestbook poster, placecard frames, table number frames) flowers etc were placed as agreed, there were some issues with the ceremony - NOTHING HORRIBLE, just awkward!
If there is anything I left off please PLEASE do not hesitate to ask or bring to my attention.
Edited by girlinthecity97, 19 February 2015 - 10:34 AM.
Posted 19 February 2015 - 10:53 AM
ok I have officially had it with this site. The rest of my post is completely gone!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am going to just type it elsewhere and try pasting it in.
Posted 19 February 2015 - 11:36 AM
Ok so I will try to cover things from a day by day perspective and start with things I would do differently:
· Arrival – I would get there 2-3 days before guests are due to arrive. I THOUGHT we were getting there 2 days but a good number changed their arrival dates based on flight pricing etc. so I really only had 1 day before our phone started blowing up with “hey! We are here! What are dinner and party plans?!!?” This will also allow you to get the bags out for delivery if you go that route – which we did. Some guests received their bags late that evening after returning from dinner/drinks with us on Friday night while others DF personally delivered because he left me working on things so I sent him to greet folks with bags for those he met. Once there, your fiancé will most likely be in full vacay mode while you are in GO/Command Central mode. This was a major battle with us because he didn’t understand why I was instantly in go go go mode once we got to our room (more on why later). This also gives you a bit of time to just breathe & stop and have quality time with your Boo Schnap before everyone gets there and you are going in several directions.
· Packing Prep (Getting it There) – so SO glad he talked me out of bringing a ton of stuff and did a price comparison to help me realize it was actually cheaper and less stress to just go with Lomas for things like linens etc. No disrespect or shade to anyone planning to bring most of their décor but you have SO MUCH stuff to keep track off when coming down there, less is truly more!!! For example, I only brought down contents for my Recovery Kits (e.g., advil packets, alka seltzer packets, Dramamine for the catamaran, bandaids), spa cosmetic bags, Totes, frames for 9 tables, mini place card frames, my wedding binder and printed paper items for the welcome notes, itinerary cards etc…and then our clothes, my dresses (ceremony & reception) and his tux. This amounted to 6 pieces of luggage total with 3 carry ons (dress, tux, my purse/tote bag of things I cannot check)!!!! It wasn’t cheap! As you saw from my earlier note, DF got confused and left 2 out of the 6 suitcases in baggage claim. THANKFULLY I caught it while we were waiting for Lomas to transport us but still!!!! You get the idea. I cannot imagine doing this either with a connecting flight. Thankfully we were flying non-stop. As I mentioned, take an inventory of everything you are bringing and checking so you don’t run into issues or confusion later. If you are anything like us, you WILL be exhausted and excited and anxious all rolled up into one and keep feeling like you are forgetting something. Having that inventory would have helped!
· Guest Prep (Once you got everything there) – This is moot if you are doing a less detail-oriented OOT bag. In theory, my ideas were HOT but in execution a TON of work especially if it is just you and your fiancé and doing it for more than 25-30 people. Anyway, I unfortunately listened to DF’s advice and did NOT start assembling things that would not increase bulk ahead of our trip down. For instance, after immediately unpacking and setting up Command Central, I went to work putting the table numbers in the silver frames I purchased for them to go in, inserting the welcome notes into the welcome cards, trying to stuff the Recovery Kits with their contents and tie “Live Love Laugh” ribbons on cosmetic bag zippers so they’d match/tie into the same phrase that’s on the OOT bags etc…. The Wedding Office scheduled my appointment for the next day at 1pm so I was literally trying to stay up all night (again) to get things ready to hand off to them. I didn’t and had to jump back on it early the next morning and again in the early evening/late afternoon after meeting with the Wedding Team. As mentioned, between meeting with them more than you may anticipate, guests arriving earlier than you recall/expected or just having to answer questions from the staff constantly checking in to introduce themselves and see if this or that is ok, things can get chaotic. In hindsight, I wish I hired a planner to handle the Welcome items so I could relax more.
· Video – I total regret listening to DF on this one and wish I had gotten a videographer. Saying the day flew is an understatement! I feel so robbed and want a do-over LOLOL. Also, if you are nosey and picky like me, you will want to “SEE” everything. My dad and I were a bit awkward and off beat when we started to walk the aisle due in part to us starting on opposite feet but also because I was distracted. I was trying to quickly take everything in and make sure everything was perfect and as I envisioned. If you can afford this or have a truly trustworthy friend who likes to do this type of thing, definitely get a videographer or have someone make videos.
· Extended Departure – hopefully you ladies have booked a few days for either your honeymoon or to just decompress after the wedding. Again, didn’t think this through and trust my gut over DF’s feedback so we only had 2 days after the ceremony but really that became 1 because we did a catamaran cruise w/ snorkeling the day after our wedding. So after having breakfast in our room around 9am I went to find Generations guests to chit chat and the next thing I knew it was 12noon and time to get ready to meet up for the cruise transfer which arrived at 1:15pm. We then had to make sure all guests who said they were coming were present and accounted for. I felt like a kindergarten teacher – it was like herding cats, complete with taking head count so we could be sure no one was left behind once at the marina etc. I am greedy so we will be honeymooning in a couple of months but definitely regret not staying through the end of this week and coming home over the weekend!
Posted 19 February 2015 - 01:07 PM
The things I WOULD do again:
- Have my wedding at Generations with split block between there and EDR - anyone who is worried about this or that family or guest not being able to make fret not! I truly mean it when I say we had the PERFECT group make it down to celebrate. Everyone got along, was super excited and supportive and entertained themselves. My mom made me feel like we should have done more in terms of group events/meals etc... but my guests confirmed otherwise. We only did a welcome cocktail party on Saturday when most guests had arrived and we weren't really waiting for more to get there, followed by the rehearsal dinner, then the Wedding late afternoon/early evening and a Catamaran Cruise/Snorkeling trip as a "Thank You" (aka "The Send Off") with open bar and snacks. We met up with guests on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening at the Martini Bar at EDR. Guests loved this because they were able to enjoy the resort and restaurants and kept thanking us for not planning their entire free time. It was fun to see instagram and facebook posts of what they were getting into (everything from resort activities/contests, to jet skiing, spa going etc..) They really appreciated that we respected this was their vacation too. Sometimes I felt I was neglecting them but they assured me they liked having something to do in the evening post-dinner like meet up for drinks and laughs at the bar each evening.
- Rehearsal Dinner at Chef Market Family Style - They tried to tell us this was buffet only but I pushed for Family style. It was perfect because my group got pretty loud pretty fast (wine and liquor don't help) so I was thankful we had the restaurant to ourselves. I know the thought of not having a plated dinner threw some of us on here off (self included) but it was perfect. As my bestie said, that's the beauty of a beach wedding in a tropical location. You can be as casual and or elegant as you want to be. The food was delicious and there was something for everyone. You don't get to pick a menu, the resort pre-determines but trust me all will be pleased. The desserts are decent and again are a variety so there's something for everyone and if they like more of something than something else, just tell the staff. They are eager to accommodate.
- Reception Dinner International Family Style - again, this worried me and as you guys know, I wasn't sure if this was the right way to go or not because we were going for "Resort Chic" and I thought family style might take away from that. NOT. TRUE. Guests were raving about how delish everything was and the fact we had everything from Lobster Tails to Chicken to Shrimp!!! I would however order a bigger cake. It was delish and the desserts that came with the International Family start are "meh" (according to guests, I didn't get to eat it).
- Cake, Cake Cake - To cut down on costs, Marisol suggested I go with one of the signature Memorable Moments cakes instead of a custom one. Thankful for the advice. I opted for a 2 tier (feeds 20-30 people) Pure Glamour cake but requested a black ribbon instead of a pink one since our wedding was classic black & white. Our flavors were Carrot Cake on top layer and Vanilla Rum on the bottom. Because I know fondant can be a bit tough and less than yummy, I requested buttercream icing on both layers under the fondant. THE.CAKE.WAS.YUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!! I am NOT a cake or sweets person but everyone from my cake snobs to non-sweet lovers raved about how moist and delish the cake was but also how soft and tasty the fondant was. They kept saying they've never had fondant that was so tasty. The buttercream made the difference. You might be asking why didn't I go with just buttercream but I am a bit of a bug freak and was concerned bugs would find their way onto the icing. With fondant, no one would be wiser if a visitor came to investigate the cake prior to it being served.
- Flowers - VANESSA JAIME did an amazing job making my floral vision a reality. I cannot recommend her or our photographer enough. All of my flowers were GORGEOUS and exactly as we discussed. We had a mini-adventure finding her but it wasn't difficult and I ended up being the one to go with DF on the morning of our wedding to find her studio and pick the flowers up out of fear he and his best man would get lost. Neither speak spanish and he has a terrible sense of direction. He never leaves our house w/out Google maps on. I am glad I went because we missed it on the drive down but I found it and all was well.
- Hurricane Votives -Decor Splurge #1 - once down there, I really could not go with the LED votives I requested. I just.didn't.like.them.at.all!!!!!! Luckily DF felt the same so we splurged to have real flame votives in glass hurricanes. I was nervous about the hurricanes being too big or bulky but they were PERFECTION they really helped set the ambiance and added to the decor. I lost the battle of having the lantern candles switched from LED to real flame instead but it was fine b/c the hurricanes off-set the hated orange glow.
- Cigar Roller - Decor Splurge #2 - DF asked about a cigar roller as he really wanted this. We coughed up the cash and are glad we did. Our beach photo session ran a bit over but guests were fascinated and entertained by the ability to sit and make their own cigars! We even have pics of our flower girls getting in on the action. Guests thought this was really cool and liked that they got to take them home. The roller put each one in a glass travel case that was sealed at one end.
- Mega DJ - for all my obsessing over music, I am so, So SOOOO glad I listened to Marisol and hired Mega DJ and then took the time to put together a playlist for him. I was bad and didn't really pay attention to his list except to get ideas of what to dance with my dad to or play for the garter grab and bouquet toss. He had great suggested songs for these. For the rest of the reception (dinner and party), I just listed every song we really liked and wanted noting "CLEAN VERSION" or "RADIO EDIT" thanks to the help of Itunes to confirm those songs existed. He created a mix based on the songs and everyone had a blast. It flowed perfectly and we all danced so much our feet hurt! Anyone worried about the Lomas DJs, don't be. I wasted $300 having a backup mix made by a DJ here and ended up doing a better job of just listing what I wanted and letting Mega DJ do the rest. The one note is he does NOT emcee so be sure to have a trustworthy friend agree to do your announcements. Ours was missing in action at first (at the bar) but was quickly found by the onsite Wedding team.
Posted 19 February 2015 - 01:21 PM
@girlinthecity ahhh! Seems like everything went overall, that's good news.
* Our wedding is on a Saturday and we arrive Tuesday. I was definitely thinking this is enough lead time. Some of our immediate family members are arriving as early as Wednesday, which is crucial because I'll rely on them for help assembling the OOT bags (I plan to distribute them at the welcome cocktail hour Thursday night, and again at the rehearsal dinner Friday). I will try not to stress although I definitely anticipate being a nervous Nelly. But I'm grateful to have help a few days prior. A friend of mine who got married over the summer gave me a good piece of advice as well; have a point person who knows all the details for the weekend and have all guests direct questions and concerns to them so that you are not stressed with that in the middle of getting things together. We appointed DF's mom for that.
I am so happy and relieved the guests enjoyed the resort!
* Packing Prep - I am kind of nervous about it because I have a feeling I may end up bringing more than expected but my goal is to travel with no more than 5 suitcases between us. I am going with the full memorable moments package décor and only adding candles and table numbers, so aside from that just escort cards, our guestbook poster, favors, OOT bags and items. I was hoping with some crafty packing I could just use one HUGE suitcase for all of that, that's probably unrealistic though lol.
* I REALLY want a videographer but it's so expensive! I need to figure out how to work this in the budget.
- I saw that you used an outside vendor for flowers. Was it just for your bouquet? Did it seem worth it? I am waiting on our WC to get back to me with prices on the bouquets and boutonnieres, but I think I should get a backup option. Was your person good to work with?
-Where was your private white party? We don't get to find out where our rehearsal dinner is until we get there which I'm cool with but I was just curious how that turned out.
-Cruise - I really want to do this Sunday after the wedding. Would you mind sharing the details of which one you booked?
@girlinthecity I think we posted at the same time as you answered a few of my questions, lol. We hired a DJ of our own (a friend of ours) but thanks to your advice I may have to go back and do a cost/benefit analysis. Also the cigar roller sound great! I think my DF would love that.
Edited by CnBWedding, 19 February 2015 - 01:19 PM.
Posted 19 February 2015 - 01:30 PM
@CnBWedding - Thanks! Arriving Tuesday with help and going with the memorable moments package in almost totality will save you HUGE on time and suitcase packing. Unfortunately, my friends all offered to help but none arrived early enough to do so which I'm ok with given how expensive flights were. SO JEALOUS you are heading there! Can't wait to see pics!!!
Your friend gave you awesome advice. I wish someone on my side had been to help. That would have taken a lot of stress off of answering the phone and having to go to some of the meetings.
Welcome Reception - was the deck area right in front of the pool bar. It is semi-private. They set it up with high tables and I asked for white bows and hurricane votives. It was perfect and made it easy for guests coming on shuttles from EDR to spot us and join the party. Most hotel guests were respectful but a few TRIED IT & went to the bar during the party. They knocked it off after a few nasty looks from me.
I listened to my bestie (glad I did) and edited the flowers. Vanessa did my bouquet, sister and nieces bouquet, 4 boutonnieres and 2 wrist corsages and 8 blossom stems for the vases at the reception. For me, she was WAY cheaper (slightly more than half) than Lomas because as you saw in my pics, I had white phalenopsis orchids in a cascading bouquet. Lomas quoted $420 to her $250 for that bouquet alone. Vanessa is very responsive and awesome to work with! Tell her I said hi if you go that route.
Cruise - we actually earned this through our TA. We got to take up to 40 people and had a $1200 food/beverage credit. My TA said it would be $1000 if we needed to book another catamaran when I asked what the cost is flat out. I was afraid we would have more than 40 but didn't. It left out of Maroma and was with Maroma Adventures I think. Lomas works with them and I had to provide my confirmation info to David the uber eager Lomas rep at Generations. He will hound you and your guests to be sure to turn in your transfer vouchers and anything else he needs from you.
Not sure how much you are packing for OOT bags and what your bags are like but I will give you an idea of our breakdown - my bags were pretty large:
- 2 large suitcases for the OOT bags and all OOT bag contents.
- 1 smaller suitcase that was a carry-on for my laptop with all my special fonts downloaded in case of emergency (which came in handy for "place card gate"), mini place card frames, my planning binder, table number frames, and guestbook poster. SO cool you are doing one of those too! Which style are you getting?
- 2 large and 1 small carry on sized suitcase - for DF and I's respective clothes for the week. The carry-on was for shoes and his tux accessories.
Edited by girlinthecity97, 19 February 2015 - 01:35 PM.
Posted 19 February 2015 - 01:58 PM
First - well done! Everything looked amazing, you looked gorgeous, and I'm so happy for you! I had some questions that maybe you can answer... so sorry for the onslaught, it looks like we're going to harrass you!
How many guests did you have? We're at 60, which is kind of big for a DW.
Officiant - did you use one of the officiants that came with the package? What were they like? Were you happy with it?
Reception - Did you have your reception AND ceremony on the Sky Deck? Was there good lighting on the sky deck at night? I am a wee worried it's going to be too dark, since our ceremony is at sunset. Anything interesting about the Sky Deck location?
Welcome Cocktail Party - Did you feel that any decor needed to be added to this event? I am trying not to stress myself out about this (especially because ours if free), but I just want to make sure it's not too plain on it's own.
Rehearsal - Were you able to do a rehearsal of the wedding?
Sorry I'm so all over the place and asking so many questions! Your wedding looked so amazing!
Posted 19 February 2015 - 02:04 PM
@girlinthecity97 Vanessa definitely seems like a good option. We have 7 each in our wedding party and I want to get corsages for the moms. Soooo I can see the potential savings based on what you are saying lol. Your bouquet was absolutely gorgeous!
I found this poster on etsy (etsy is everything). Each guest would sign a branch. I like this and the finger print ones.
Congratulations again! I'm happy everything turned out nicely and I don't want to keep bugging you with questions. You have been very helpful :-)
Edited by CnBWedding, 19 February 2015 - 02:05 PM.
Posted 19 February 2015 - 02:21 PM
@ChiTiff - thanks so much for your kind words and compliments! Bring on the questions, I am here to help get you ladies through just as you all have been here to deal with my pre-wedding cray!
Guests - 60 on the money! This ended up being perfect! It doesn't feel very overwhelming because they were split between EDR and Generations. The folks at Generations were parents, sister (because of my 10 year old niece) elder cousins, college besties because they brought their babies and the one set were my flower girls), my NYC bestie b/c she loves oceanfront views and my hair stylist b/c i wanted her close by - SO glad I did that instead of having to get to and from EDR. Everyone else stayed at EDR and had a "weekend in paradise". This was a mostly couples but a few singletons (as I call them). They all ended up being clustered together in the same building or close by so they made fast friends. The singletons even ventured out one night to check out Playa Del Carmen night life.
Since you have 60, I cannot stress enough doing as much work as you can on your OOT bags etc ahead of time. If it doesn't add bulk or work to disassemble once you are there do it now! it is a LOT for a group that size! I was a crazed sleep deprived woman for 2.5 days.
Officiant - that's an interesting one. The short is no. Against judgement, I agreed to let a cousin who is a minister do this but she couldn't make at the very last minute. They were supposed to fly down on Saturday but instead I woke up to an email from her hubby saying they tried to reach us at the resort with no luck on Friday night and she'd been admitted to the hospital for emergency bowel blockage surgery. Luckily another friend who was there is ordained and was able to step right in. It was perfect. The ceremony was funny and perfect. The resort said if he hadn't been there they would have brought one of theirs. My friend isn't ordained by the church. He took one of those online courses so he could do another friend's wedding who wanted someone who knew them to provide a personal touch.
Sky Deck - so we had our Romantic "Candlelight" dinner the first night we arrived. I am so glad I pushed for that because we had NO time to do it once guests arrived. While out there, we had a few bugs roll up on us which made us consider moving things to the Sky Deck instead. We ended up keeping the Reception and Dinner on the Pier as initially planned because of the wind and night chill that comes with. Since your wedding is in April, I think you will be fine having everything on the sky deck but I would consider having fans for guests. It gets really hot up there. We only had our Ceremony and Cocktail Hour there. I thought about having a basket for fans that guests could take but thought "nah, I don't need them." I kinda wish I had b/c the wedding day it was warm up there and less of a breeze than days before when I took the tour to see the space. It was in the 80s and sunny with a breeze each day then dipped to the 60s with more of a breeze at night making it chilly when we were there. The Wedding staff warned that people will be cold and I'm glad I listened. The pier was less windy and had just the right amount of breeze once we were all dancing etc.
You might want to consider having your cocktail hour some place else if you are having your ceremony up there too unless you don't care about guests seeing the set up etc during your ceremony. One side closer to the beginning of the ceremony aisle is smaller than the side they use for dinner. I was lucky and they let me use the larger side for my cocktail hour b/c I didn't want guests walking through the set up to get to their seats for the ceremony. The side they do for dinners/receptions up there is just to the right of the gazebo (if you are facing it for the ceremony) and extends pretty far back. Guests will LOVE the view and love it!
Rehearsal - nope, they told me they didn't have time for one and that we didn't need it. That would be true if we had a more experienced and ON IT wedding coordinator. She was WAY too laid back and her inexperience showed. I will post my thoughts on the team so you all know what to expect but you can access the deck any time as long as another wedding isn't happening so I would figure out a time to do a quick walk through with your party. Thankfully mine was small so the slip ups weren't really noticeable or a big deal. Also, my bestie's hubby (flower girls dad) was smart and took them up there the morning of the wedding to practice!
@CnBWedding - no thanks needed and do not be afraid to ask questions. Seriously ladies, ask as many as you like. I am here to help, especially since I am now the veteran out of the group!!! I LOVE your poster!!! That is a hot idea!
Vanessa - yeah, DF wasn't thrilled about the pick up idea but was glad we went that route when I gave him a price comparison. She also gives you options to help make your bouquets more affordable. For instance, she quoted me a $150, $75 and $60 option for my sisters and suggested I spend no more than $50 on my nieces (Jr. Bridesmaid). I was thinking about pomanders but then decided to do little rosette purses for the flower girls. I will try to get pics of those up as I just saw their mom posted some on FB.
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