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Snswedding2016 Planning Thread - Jan 9 2016 (Azul Fives)

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@@Wafflesmom Lol - I think a Target trip may be in your future. perianjay has a picture of it on her planning thread. I haven't taken one yet - sorry! It's a white robe with the "Bride" on the back and I also got the matching white tank top (it also has "Bride" on the front). I got both of them for $22.78!!

Edited by snswedding2016
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Sorry for all the back to back posts. Just trying to get caught up to date with all the planning decisions so far!


Guest Count

After 2 reminder messages through paperless post, most of our guests put down deposits one month prior to our deposit deadline. We were shocked…including our TA! As soon as our rooms started to go, our TA allowed us to hold rooms under certain names without a deposit if we knew they were coming for sure. She held them until a week before the deposit deadline but everyone paid prior to that. 


Initially we held 15 rooms/30 seats from Toronto only (to maximize our inventory) with a $300 deposit from the bride and groom + an extra 6 land only rooms (for our East coast guests) for an additional $300. Our TA suggested that since we only had a few coming from Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver -that if they could commit right away and put down a deposit than we didn't need to hold inventory. I messaged my guests coming from those cities to see if that was possible as well as offering to put down their deposit for them if they could commit. 


Currently we have 45 adults 4 children and 4 babies! Our deposit deadline is over and our final payment is due at the end of October. I suspect we'll have a couple more bookings.


Venue choices at Azul Fives




Despite all of the comments we have still decided to go ahead with our vision for our beach ceremony. The beach location is quite close to the pool and does get quite busy but we're hoping with the time of day for our ceremony, that it might help (4:30pm). There is also going to be a new beach location option opening up at Azul Fives - so far there hasn't been a date set for its opening but rumour has it, it will be this summer! I'm really hoping for this option for our wedding!






After seeing all of the venue options, we really loved the Garden area for the reception. It looks gorgeous especially with extra lighting set up. Plus we thought it would be nice to have a change of venue from the ceremony to reception. Of course the Sky Deck is pretty spectacular for either ceremony or reception but does cost extra. We decided to use that money somewhere else in our wedding budget (sky deck cost $1700). 




Colour Palette


I started with wanting an ocean blue palette and then started narrowing down my range of blues from there. I ended up decided on the palette below with grey accents. 






As I mentioned in my first post, the food is really important to us. We love good food and we have a bunch of foodies that will be coming to the wedding. From the beginning we were definitely leaning more towards a plated meal than a buffet. We actually found a menu option we really liked for a great price. Our reception menu is:


Appetizer: Beef Carpaccio 

Entree: Pork Rib Eye

Dessert: Chocolate Mousse & Passion Fruit Creme Brûlé with Mango Coulis


Note about dessert: This was not the option listed for this menu choice but we loved the app & entree option but the dessert was supposed to be Mexican Flan and neither of us are really a big fan of flan. I asked my WC if we could substitute it without an additional cost and she suggested these two options and we were so happy with both!


I'm probably one of the very few brides on here not doing a cake. Sean and I talked about it and we both agreed that wedding cake often goes to waste as people don't see it or they are too full from the meal that comes with dessert already. Also we prefer dessert (like the options we've picked) over traditional wedding cake. Again allocating the money we would have spent on a cake to a different area.  :)


I'm not worried about it being not enough food. We'll be stuffing our faces all week with good food plus there is always 24 hr room service and late night snacks at the lounge!


Our basic wedding package also comes with a semi-private dinner at one of the restaurants. We're using it as our rehearsal dinner. The menu for that is:


Appetizer: Smoked Salmon

Entree: Nut Crusted Chicken Breast

Dessert: Apple Crisp 


We're inviting our entire guest list but asking people to RSVP on our website. The semi-private dinner is complimentary up to 40 people (children eat for free if they order off of the children's menu). While we are more than happy to pay for any additional guests ($25 per person), we completely understand if some guests would prefer to have an evening alone..after all it is their vacation too! Hopefully with an RSVP list we won't be paying for guests who are not there (it has to be paid prior to arrival through the resort).




Most of Sean's family are string musicians (mom, step dad, sister, nieces) and I originally wanted them to play live but once I started looking into it, it became a logistical nightmare. Flying with violins and violas are one thing but trying to get a cello down there is pricey (it needs its own seat)! Plus I didn't want them to be worried about their instruments on vacation and the humidity etc. We decided having them record it and playing their version would be the best compromise.


So far we've decided on them playing the bridal party entrance (Wonderful Tonight - Vitamin String Quartet arrangement) and the processional (Hoppipolla - by Sigur Ros but the Erskine Quartet arrangement). My good friends will be singing and recording their versions of our recessional (Little Romance by Ingrid Michaelson) and our first dance (Forever by Ben Harper). We really wanted to include all of our artistic family and friends!

Edited by snswedding2016
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I totally get your decision not to go with the cake.. if our's wasn't complimentary and I had to pay extra for it, I also wouldn't bother with it. With a wedding and the way that the cost adds up so quickly I can understand how a cake isn't the most useful way to spend your wedding budget.. especially when your meals already include dessert.


Your colour pallette is really nice.. I love the grey accents with the pastel blues - it will look really pretty!

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Music Continued


We've decided not to hire and DJ and just rent the sound system with an iPod hook up with a microphone for speeches. I've started creating our playlists by separating them into categories (pre-ceremony, ceremony, dinner, dance). 


I will also be using a program called QLab which is a free program you can download. It is a playback and cue based system used for theatre and live entertainment. I used this quite a bit when I was working in production and a friend of mine (who is also a sound designer) has offered to help me program all my music into the system before we leave for Mexico. This program is really easy to use once it has all been programmed, it's the programming that takes a lot of work. You can build the fade in and out times of songs and the cross fading from one to another. It allows for seamless transitions. I first thought about using this when I was thinking about the ceremony. One of my wedding pet peeves is when there are big gaps between songs (ie. bridal party entrance to the processional) or when a song cuts out abruptly. QLab solves all of that with the simple touch of a key on the keyboard (usually the space bar but you can designate any key for this). Essentially all the cues get programmed and the 'operator' (the dude at the resort who will be in charge of the music) just has to press one key when he has a visual cue. I hope I'm explaining this enough to understand…haha I will give the guy a list of cues like "when you see bridesmaid & groomsman #1" or "when you see the flower girl at the end of the aisle" press the spacebar. I feel like it will make it easier and hopefully a smoother transition into each song.  :)



My Dress


I went custom! I had a great time choosing the fabric and working with my designer to create my dress. I got a gift certificate for this boutique from my bridesmaids for my birthday, then she was having a fall promo so I received an additional 15% off and she included alterations. The total I spent on my dress all in - $735!!


Since I have my dress at home with me and we made it so far in advance, it is REALLY big on me. I'm going in a month before I leave and she will do the alterations. The designer said that she's had brides in past insist on making it form fitting off the top, saying they are going to wear 4 layers of spanx, then they decide right before the wedding they don't want to wear the spanx and they have to start from scratch. Eek! I was kicking myself because I was doing my fittings right around the holidays and I was saying how I really should have been watching my Christmas cookie intake more and she was like "no, no - if it looks good with the Christmas cookies, it will look that much better without" ;) - Love her! 


My entire custom made dress journey can be found here http://www.bestdestinationwedding.com/topic/78731-custom-made-wedding-dress/


Here is the dress (keep in mind it is oversized so I'm trying to push back the extra fabric in the pics haha)






Groom's Attire 


Sean did not want a full suit (I don't blame him) or shorts. He also didn't want anything tan coloured, it really washes him out and he loves grey which works perfectly for the wedding colour palette (partly why I chose it too). We decided on a grey vest and pants with a white dress shirt. Simple and classic! 


We were going to go the custom route for him as well and I found this great company that makes a custom suit by taking 35 measurements and for a great price. It sounds too good to be true right - well it kinda was. I had a great experience getting quotes and their customer service was great but then I found over 25 negative reviews and 0 positive reviews. We decided we just didn't want to take the risk. A week or two later I got a call from Moore's following up from the bridal show. They offered us 40% off purchasing. The great thing about Moores is that they have one on PEI so some of our groomsmen will have a much easier time coordinating ordering and fittings. 





For the groomsmen we're going with the white dress shirt and grey pants (no vest). This was the inspiration photo.






The girls will all be wearing a dress of their choice in one of the blues from our colour palette. I created a private pinterest board to help with ideas and inspiration. My two maids of honour will be in the same shade of blue. 


Here are some of the pins:








Flower Girl & Ring Bearer


Our flower girl is on of my maids of honour's daughter - she'll be 3 1/2 and I love her like my own child. I was there when she was born, taught her how to high five and fist bump (at 6 months LOL!) and love babysitting the little monkey. I'm so excited to have her part of our day! She was also born on our first anniversary!


This is her dress, although I must admit that I'm wavering way more on her dress than my own. haha! There are just so many cute options, especially with all the spring lines out now! I keep wanting to buy a new dress every day. I wanted something simple, nothing too puffy. I'm thinking of adding a blue ribbon around the waist. The dress is from the Gap.




Our ring bearer is my cousin's (who is like my brother) son. They live in Calgary unfortunately and I haven't seen them since he was born. He's 7 months old now and I can't wait to meet him in person! Gotta love the iPhone photo sharing - I feel like I sort of get to see him grow up this way. He'll be a year and a half for the wedding. 


I LOVE his outfit - the hat is my favourite! I purchased the bow tie and suspenders from another Toronto bride from this site. The rest of his outfit is from Children's Place that had some awesome sales!





Decor Package


I wanted to keep my decor pretty simple and bring most of it with me for the reception but we ended up deciding to book a decor package for the ceremony through the resort. After combing through the Lomas site (the vendor used by Karisma) comparing all the different options we chose the "Passion Ocean Decor Package". 


It includes:

-Bridal bouquet

-Groom's boutonniere

-Sand Ceremony

-Aisle runner

-Rose petal line aisle

-2 sheers (for the gazebo)

-6 hanging metal baskets with flowers (along the aisle)

-2 hanging corsages

-Tiffany chairs or lounge furniture for 20 guests


We got this mainly for all the floral decor and my bouquet.




Speaking of flowers…here are my inspiration pics for my bridal bouquet:


This one is my favourite but replace the purple flowers with blue :)








My WC at AF has the photos and will be creating something similar.


The hanging baskets along the aisle and the two hanging corsages will have ivory & pink roses with light blue delphinium flowers.


My bridesmaids will not be carrying bouquets. I'm ordering custom made clutches in grey from etsy. I wanted something a little different and something they could use after. This will be one of my gifts to them. 


Like this but in grey.



They will each have a different pattern and will be personalized on the inside with their names.



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I love how this is all coming together. Your dress is super pretty!! The bridesmaid clutch is a really cute and unique idea :)

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I went to a warehouse bridal sale back at the start of winter. They had crazy sales on dresses but I already had my dress but they did have lots of accessories on sale too!


I picked up both my hair pin and bracelet. I'm still debating on the whole veil situation. Since my dress is all lace I thought it would be nice to add a little sparkle. I've also recently decided to add a half belt to my dress (I can't go all the way around due to the low back of the dress ;)). I emailed my designer this weekend and she said it would be no problem to add it to the dress when I come in for my final fitting.  








Maid(s) of Honour


Although I'm not having traditional bouquets for my bridesmaids and they will all be in different shades of blue I wanted to distinguish my TWO maids of honour somehow. I started really liking the idea of wrist corsages. Here are my inspiration photos:






I have chosen to go with Bloom Bridal - a company that makes real touch flowers. I got the contact from another bride on here. I will be ordering two double bloom wrist corsages for my maids of honour and two double bloom pin on corsages for our moms!


Peonies for the Maids of Honour:






Roses for our Moms:




I've toyed with the idea of getting a bouquet for myself even though I have one through the resort. I thought this way I can get some flowers that wouldn't be in season and readily available in my bouquet and be able to take it home and keep it but I'm not sure if it is worth the extra expense.



"Love Story" Reception Theme


Early on in the design phase, I started researching the idea of adding elements of a "Love Story" theme to the reception. I starting gathering ideas and it kept growing and now I'm loving all the different elements coming together.




I wanted to avoid bringing breakables and flowers through Lomas are crazy expensive so started thinking about other ways to have creative centrepieces that were non-floral and didn't require bringing any glass vases. I came up with doing a lot of candles (LEDs) wrapped in vellum with our favourite love quotes (from movies, books, poems) printed on them surrounded by paper flowers made from love stories.


I ordered my candles from the Paper Lantern Store in votive and pillar sizes. They come with a remote control to dim them or set them to flicker or be still. Sean LOVES lighting (he's always complaining about the lack of ambiance in restaurants) so I knew he would be on board with this idea.


Here are my inspiration pics:






I still have to experiment with this DIY project - stay tuned!


I ordered my paper roses from a great Etsy vendor in two different sizes. I asked if she could use a classic romantic novel to make the roses out of and she made them all from Jane Austen novels! They have already arrived and I LOVE them!!




Table Numbers:


I'm using scrabble tiles for the table numbers. I would also love to add books to our decor like in the photo but I'm worried about the weight for the amount of tables we have. If I have extra space and can convince some family and friends to bring a book or two for me, I might add that to it.






We will be doing OOT bags (I'll get to that in a later post) but also wanted to do something small for favours at the wedding. To keep with our theme and since we have so much music being arranged by family and friends we're going to do a "Soundtrack to our Love Story" with the music that Sean's parents are recording for the ceremony and the two songs my friends are singing (recessional and first dance). I'm also thinking of attempting another DIY project here for book page bookmarks.






I also got a custom made stamp from Stampanda with a groupon for 50% off the original price (it cost me $26 including shipping). I will be stamping the CD covers with this:






"Guest Book"


My boss is lending me the office video camera which I'm so thankful for. The idea is that we're going to set up a video "guest book" where we'll ask our guests to tell us their love stories or their favourite love stories sort of like "When Harry Met Sally" (my favourite movie!).  I'm still trying to figure out the logistics of getting this set up but I really would like to make this happen. Since we're not doing a wedding video this would be a nice alternative for memories of the day. 


Other Decor


In addition to the LED candles from the Paper Lantern Store I also bought a couple of strands of string lights (25 sockets) and blue paper lanterns to hang in the garden. Although we're having this "Love Story" theme at the reception I would like to maintain the blue elements from our ceremony decor and attire. 


My cousin's wife's sister in law (wow that's sort of confusing now that I see it typed out) runs a local wedding decor company in Toronto. She has offered to lend me samples for my table linens if I want (I'll only need about 6). I'm debating between table runners or sheer overlays for the table (all in shades of blue). I still need to go and see them in person to decide. 


Escort Cards - I'm using paint chips in our palette - hopefully it looks nice and not cheesy! lol! I plan on trimming the edges off so that the paint names aren't on them. 



Edited by snswedding2016
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I think everything looks great!!


What are you going to do with those flowers made out of novels? they are fantastic.


The wrist corsages are beautiful - will they wear those and hold their clutches or did you change your mind?

Everyone has their own sentimental items, so for me only I wouldn't spend the money on a fake bouquet if yours is already included.  All my wedding stuff is tucked away in my little treasure box. I have looked at it twice since the wedding.  While you get to keep it yes, how much will you actually look at it?  For me the guestbook items and stuff from people mean the most and what I generally look at when I pull out my keepsakes.  But again, everyone has a different opinion on that :)

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@@calgarybride2015 Thanks! We're going to using the paper roses as part of our table decor for centerpieces. They'll be scattered around the candles on the table. 


I'm loving the corsages too! I kinda want one for myself haha. All the bridesmaids will be carrying a clutch and my two maids of honour will wear the wrist corsages in addition to the clutch. I agree, thinking about it more I don't think the extra bouquet is worth the money if I get one through the resort. Knowing me I would just bring home the real touch one, look at it lovingly for a week remembering the trip and then stuff it in the closet and never see it again. LOL! Better to use that money somewhere else! ;)

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This is one topic that my fiance and I went back and forth on.  At my cousin's DW wedding that we went to two years ago, they used the resort photographer and had really great photos. I really didn't want to spend the $800 for the outside vendor fee but the more we looked at the two approved photographers for Azul Fives the more we wanted to look elsewhere. We didn't find the photos all that bad but one photographer's work just didn't stand out to us at all but they were the cheaper option and the other while the photos I found were decent, I also wasn't in love with them. We also found the other photographer to be quite pricey. I couldn't justify spending that amount on work I wasn't in love with. 


We started searching for other photographers and came across another bride from this forum who was also married at Azul Fives. I loved their work and started researching pricing. I found them to be very reasonable. We started thinking maybe we would just go for a smaller package (with less hours of coverage) for better quality photos. As I researched the vendor I found out that one of the photographers is originally from Toronto and used to work in the entertainment field as well. We started chatting and immediately hit it off. I felt comfortable and confident that this would be a great fit. He also offered to pay for half of our outside vendor fee, so that definitely made things better for our budget! ;)


Our decision: Photos in Cancun


The bonus was that once we started chatting Derek from Photos in Cancun told me that he was coming 'home' (to Toronto) for a friend's wedding  over the holiday and that maybe we could get together for coffee and chat. Sean and I felt so lucky to be able to meet our DW photographer in person AND he threw in engagement photos!! Very excited to be working with them! I also love the added Canadian element at our DW!



Engagement shoot location: a short back story on the location...about 4 months into dating Sean got a big renovation job (I think I may have mentioned this earlier in the thread) to redo an entire bar/restaurant downtown. I would go after work to help him organize the books (remember I'm the planner haha) and he would renovate and design with the crew of guys. We often worked late into the evening and slept there on an air mattress. It was really intense time where we started to realize we knew we could also work well together. This is the place we fell in love - nothing glamorous or fancy, just us. Well the owner of the bar ran this place into the ground unfortunately (he still owes us money for the reno- but that's another story) BUT the good news is that a new business took over and they kept the design!! It's now a place called "Snakes and Lagers" a bar where you can play board games - it's a lot of fun actually! Part of the design was a concrete bar that Sean design - since we did it custom I had an idea to put all of our names into the bar (under the counter). I got letters from Michaels and we poured the concrete over them so now if you put a mirror underneath that bar you can see our names side by side. I love that it is still there now.  :)


For anyone interested here is what the bar looks like: http://www.blogto.com/restaurants/snakes-lagers-toronto(FYI - those grey bricks were put in one by one - so glad they kept them, I think I would have cried if they didn't so much time and effort)


Some engagement pics: 












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