I have decided I should start a planning thread - I figure I should share my experiences as I go. A little bit about me .. I am from Toronto, Ontario. I got engaged in August 2014 and am planning to have a Mexico (on the caribbean side) wedding in January 2016.
So far, planning has been quite a process and I haven't even booked a resort yet! Kenny (my fiance) and I knew we wanted a destination wedding from the beginning. We are avid travelers .. backpackers, living abroad, that sort of thing. Our families and wedding guests are from all over the world (literally!), which makes planning a destination wedding a bit of a hassle as far as booking through an agent.
STARTING TO PLAN
We started in November by setting out to Mexico to search for a perfect wedding venue. We went to see 5 resorts, and have narrowed down our list to 2.. The Dreams Tulum and the Azul Sensatori. We wanted to give our guests extra time to save for our wedding, so we didn't book a venue right away. We are finally ready to book now - and our TA gave us prices that are WAYYYY above our budget per guest. (budget = $1800 per guest). Our rates given this week were between $2100-$2400 per guest double occupancy from Toronto.
After visiting these resorts ourselves - we deem it outrageous to charge that much per head. (Especially when I have seen bookit.com deals for about $1500 including flights for these resorts). So, because we are now at a loss.. We are reaching out to other resorts to see what their quotes are. Unless there is a great deal - we will just continue to wait it out... see if the prices go down. Although that is really risky for us, considering we are getting married the first week of January. Its a bit stressful, because I have my invitations all designed, and ready to go ... but without a date/time/place! ARRGGHH.
In the mean time, I have started a list of things that i CAN do while I wait. (decor, dress, color schemes, etc). I really never realized how much planning goes into a wedding. I wanted someone to do it all for me ... we can only wish.
This was another process. Dress shopping was REALLY difficult for me. Im about a size 2, so I always swam in the dresses I tried on. Nothing but $14,000 designer gowns fit me. The cup sizes were all huge, the backs so high, the waists like a paper bag. I went to about 8 shops total. And went back and forth from style to style, fell in love with quite a few, but nothing was really PERFECT. I wondered what was wrong with me. Why a dress was speaking to me... why I wasn't crying. Why nothing was quite right. I was even asked to do Say Yes To The Dress Canada, and didn't find anything. So, one day I just decided. If you like it, buy it. So this search can be over and done with. I showed my maid of honor a pictures of the dress I have been looking at online, and as we walked by a small boutique we saw the EXACT dress in the store. I made an appointment for the next day, went in, tried it on, and gave my deposit. I splurged a little (about $3000 for my dress, not including alterations). BUT, I think it will be stunning when it comes in my size. The dress is Allure Couture c288. Its truly so beautiful!
Havent quite decided if I am going to have a veil or not yet.. I may get a cathedral veil for pictures, and then just have a headpiece or flowers for the ceremony/reception. What do you think?
I know even though I haven't picked a resort, we will get married on/near the beach. So I have started to plan out my color scheme, archway, chairs, that kind of stuff. The more I research, the more I realize I have expensive taste. I also realized I really like dark/deep colours, which doesnt exactly fit with a "beach" theme, but why does it have to be a beach theme? I have chosen coral for my bridesmaids dresses (the girls really wanted coral, I wanted burgundy, haha). BUT, instead of burgundy dresses, my decor colours are going to be burgundy, nude, gold. I have decided I want them to have bouquets of deep red calla lillies, about 25 in each bouquet. I think I will buy silk, or fake ones and bring them with me .. I found a website online $85 for 105 fake calla lillies - making about 4/5 bouquets.
As far as my archway - I want it to be draped in chiffon. I don't know if resorts do that .. or maybe they do for $$$$$$$$, but I am thinking of just bringing my own with pictures to set it up. I am going to go with Tiffany Chairs and have white chiffon decorations on the back row of all the chairs in the ceremony. Only the back row so they it doesn't look too busy. I will use the same decorated chairs for my head table at my reception.
I know I want those calla lillies for my bridesmaids, for myself I will probably have a mix of white/burgundy/gold flowers. I think they are usually included in the wedding packages.
I want quite a bit of flowers on my arch - two circle chunks of them on each side of the archway down halfway in the middle. I may outsource and get a florist off the resort, depending. The dreams, and other resorts charge upwards of $300 per bundle of flowers on each side.. CRAZY. They also charge $6 per tea lights.. ha, insane. I hope to bring SO much stuff with me. I will probably use my bridesmaids flowers as centerpieces for the reception, which will bring in the burgundy tones.
My overall vision is clean, white, burgundy, gold, crisp. Nothing too tacky like shells on tables, or nothing too bright. I want it very "glam" looking, not "beachy". Although, nothing against the beachy theme. I just want more of a warm winter feel. I envision a lot of lighting, a lot of white chiffon decoration, and a lot of flowers. Not much other than lighting and flowers. I think I will buy tons of tea lights, or small candles and bring them with me. I may/may not have chinese lanterns. Depending on the reception venue, they may look cheap. But I really like them!
Probably going to hire a DJ. Probably going to have to rent a sound system for the ceremony for music.. Dreams charges like $275 just to use microphones for vows. GEEZ! I'll keep you posted on how much that stuff costs at other resorts. You would think it would be included for the ceremony at least?
Not really sure about any of the food options, etc yet. I know that most venues with over 40 guests have buffet style - which I think is horrible when you are charging me about $100 per person to eat. I would prefer a plated meal for that price, but we'll see depending on where we book. How have the dinner prices worked out for you guys?
Our budget was originally $10,000 - not including rings, dress, or our trips. $10,000 just for the wedding at the resort. I don't necessarily want a cocktail hour, I would rather use that money for an extra hour in the reception. The dreams only includes 3 hours .. do other resorts include 4? That would be awesome. How much is it usually to have an extra hour?
I don't know if $10,000 is doable. It is seeming at a place like the dreams, it will be tight. Ie: $250 set up fee if you bring your own decorations. $300 fee if I use an outside florist. $870 for the DJ for 3 hours. $4 per table napkin... LIKE HONESTLY! Crazy!
I would love to hear about pricing for other resorts. Either that, or I will be bringing in ALL of my own stuff, haha - and still probably ending up paying more than $10,000.
Previous brides - is $10,000 a realistic price? Let me know. It seems like until just before the wedding you really get the pricing, which seems crazy considering we are bringing thousands of dollars into the resort.
Anyway, that is all the planning I have done so far. It gets kind of crazy, and I could literally spend hours doing research - its sooooo much work! I never knew. Maybe we should all elope, haha.
Good luck planning. I welcome any feedback, advice, comments you guys have! I attached a few photos of some of my decor ideas.