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Diadiamond's Planning Thread - Iberostar Varadero, Cuba - Sept.24.2015

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Yay!!! Thanks for the last minute post. I totally feel your emotions! Remember to slow down and take it all in :) have a freaking blast and we can't wait for you post all about it :)


Your nails should do great. Shellac is generally cured under a light so it's a pain to get off :) I think they are fantastic. I would totally have done the 'I do' as well. Gorgeous idea. Good luck



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Aww you're so sweet hun!  We had an amazing time!  It's so true it does go SO fast.  I feel like my wedding day went by in the blink of an eye lol.  I will definitely be posting all about it soon!  My index finger on my right hand chipped a little by my wedding day, but it wasn't very noticeable.

@diadiamond  Woohoo love the nails!! Ok - spill lol Where did you go for the design??? It's great!!


Wow - you're leaving tomorrow! Where did the time go? So can't wait to hear all about it when you get back and of course you have to have pics to bring with you on Oct 2nd! lol Even if they're not the "pros". Just so long as we get to see!!


Have a wonderful time! I know it will all be gorgeous, especially you! Do what @@calgarybride2015 says and take a moment to take it all in. Deep breath and stop and look around. It will be awesome!


Have a great flight and a wonderful week!

Awww thank you hun!  You're so sweet!  I got my nails done at Nice One Nails near the Walmart at Argentia.  I got the idea from a picture I saw on social media.  I thought it was really cute and different.  I was really surprised that I was able to leave with my pictures and my photographer did an amazing job!  


It went so fast!  I wish that I could go back and re live it all over again!

Oh wow, you leave tomorrow?!?! I'm so excited for you. I'm glad you were able to get so much accomplished beforehand and that you were able to take a few days off. I love your nails! Shellac is really good. They last forever on my toes ;)


Well I wish you all the best during your wedding week. Early congratulations to you both and I can't wait to hear stories when you get back

Awww thanks hun!  The shellac was really good and chipped a little bit by my wedding day.  I plan on posting my review and spilling all the details of my trip.  Hope your planning is going well.

I hope you're having an amazing time!! I can't describe how jealous I am haha. Enjoy every moment because it all goes by so quickly and then you wish you could turn back time. 


I'm late in answering, but yes, we brought a steamer and we used it a lot, especially on the wedding day to do touch ups on my dress and the bridesmaids' dresses. 


I can't wait to hear about your wedding!! 


We had such an amazing time!  More details to come =)  I wish I could turn back time too.  I ended up buying a steamer, but I didn't end up using it.  It's actually still in the box lol.  My wedding went way too fast!  I wish I could live it all over again.

Happy Wedding Day!!!! Hope it's everything you dreamed of and more!


Can't wait to hear all about when you get back  :D

Aww thank you hun!  It was so amazing!  

Happy Wedding day!!  :wub:

Thanks hun!  I can't believe you're about two months away!

Happy Wedding Day!!!  xoxo   :)


Aww thank you hun!  

It's your day!! I hope you're having an amazing day so far!!!!!


Thanks so much hun!  I can't believe you're about 3 months away!  So exciting.  



Thank you hun!  Also, congrats on your fitness journey you're doing so well!  I just saw your ticker in your signature.  Your day is coming so soon!

Happy Wedding Day hun xx Hope it's everything you dreamed of and more xx



14 /10/2015 - R R C, Mexico


Thank you so much!  It really was a dream come true.  Hun, your day is coming up so soon!  I can't wait to hear all about it! 

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Hey Everyone!  


I can't believe that I got married almost two weeks ago!  It's insane how fast time flies!  I already miss my wedding week and I wish I could turn back time so badly!  We had such an amazing time with all of our family and friends.  It truly was a once in a life-time experience as we were able to mix groups of friends and family that would have otherwise never gotten a chance to know each other and we got to spend time with everyone!  


I have absolutely no regrets about having a destination wedding!  I believe I mentioned it in my first post, but it was actually my fiancee (now husband!) who persuaded me to have a destination wedding.  Until I started planning my wedding I always thought that I would have a traditional wedding at home like all my friends and family.  Choosing a destination wedding was the best decision I made!  


Below is my review:


Iberostar Varadero Wedding Review:


We got married at Iberostar Varadero on September 24, 2015.  We were there from September 19-26.  We booked our wedding with Yogesh Anand of Marlin Travel in Oakville and we flew with Air Transat.  Our TA Yogesh was amazing and great at handling my questions, requests, and concerns.  He got us a great rate and went out of his way for us.  Flying with Air Transat was great too!  They were really good to us and our wedding group.  We were all seated together which was great.  The pilot made an announcement about our wedding and my husband and I got complimentary bottles of sparkling wine.  The only downside was that they don’t have a special closet, like Sunwing, to store your wedding dress and they only offer you a whole overhead compartment if it is available.  I had to cram my dress in the overhead compartment.   


The resort was amazing, despite having a few weak points.  Check-in went really smoothly we didn’t have to wait long to get our rooms and they had three people doing the check-in so it went fast.  We were told that there would be bellboys to assist with our luggage, but there weren’t any so we had to take our luggage to our rooms ourselves.  Our guests were in blocks 11 and 12 and we were in block 17 because we were upgraded free of charge to a suite!  In our suite we received a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine which was really nice.  Our room was really nice, but the button on our toilet was a little broken, the toilet still worked though, this was the only drawback to our room.  It was also nice that we were able to access the wifi from our room, everyone else said that they had to use the wifi in the lobby.  Wifi is available; however, it is 2CUC per hour.  The only complaint for rooms that we had was from my MIL who wanted to be in a room on the second floor, she was given a new room the next day.


The food at the resort was the best food I’ve had in Cuba (This was our third trip to Cuba).  My family couldn’t eat the meat (they only eat halal meat), but were able to eat fish and we also had vegetarians with us and everyone was able to find something to eat.  My only complaint was the food handling, this is a 5 star resort and part of the Iberostar chain so I expected more.  I’ve seen better food handling procedures at lower star resorts.  There was lots of cross-contamination (i.e. one spoon for meat and veggie dishes).  We booked a reservation at the Japanese a la carte and there were cockroaches on the cooking surface and the table that we were at.  This was unacceptable to us so we got up, left, and went to the main buffet instead which didn’t have any bugs or other critters.  I hope that they work on their food handling procedures in the near future.


The beach was simply the best I’ve ever seen.  There was no seaweed, the water was bright blue and clear so that you could see all the way to the bottom.  The water was warm and the ocean was calm the whole time we were there.  The pool was amazing as well and it was HUGE! The swim-up bar had the best drinks!  Especially the Banana Daiquiri and Papa Hemingway.  They also had amazing virgin drinks too for my family members and guests who don’t drink alcohol.  There were plenty of palapas and chairs near the beach and pool so there was never any competition.  Since we travelled during hurricane season it was very hot and humid during the day, but nice and sunny and then it rained for about an hour after 4p.m. which is when we all headed back to our rooms to get ready for dinner, nap, ect. anyways.  


The staff really does go out of their way to make your stay special.  When they found out that we were getting married I found that they were super nice to us and our group.  The staff never begged or asked for tips (something we had seen at other resorts) but went above and beyond for everyone.  Since they knew we were a big group they often set aside enough chairs and tables for our whole group so we could eat dinner together in the main buffet.  I will definitely go back to the Iberostar Varadero for vacation.


The Wedding:


We arrived on Saturday and during check-in we were given a piece of paper with a time and place to meet the wedding co-ordinator.  We met with our coordinator on the Monday morning to go over details such as the flowers, cake, decor, venue options, timings, photography, videography, appointments, and pricing.  Belkis, the wedding coordinator was amazing!  She is so good at what she does!  You are in good hands with her.  She told us what to do, where to go, and how the wedding will work.  We didn’t even need a rehearsal.  Our ceremony was set for 3 p.m., dinner at 6:30p.m. at La Parilla restaurant, and reception at 8:30p.m. at the beach bar.  


On the wedding day I was extremely calm until I realized that I was running a little behind schedule.  My hair appointment was booked for 11a.m. and the woman that did my hair did an amazing job.  I knew that I wanted an updo because of the heat and humidity.  I brought my own hairspray (Redken Control Addict) and bobby pins.  My hair was amazing and stayed all day.  My hair took almost 2 hours to do.  I raced back to my room to have my bridesmaid (a freelance makeup artist) do my makeup which she had offered to do as a wedding gift.  Just as I got my makeup done the photographer, Ibrianny, arrived to take some photos of us getting ready.  I had to quickly slip on my dress and jewelry for him to get some shots.  Next thing I knew it was time to leave for the ceremony.  Belkis picked us up in a golf cart and we headed down to the beach gazebo.      


The ceremony was beautiful.  I chose a live Cuban trio to play music for the ceremony and my walk down the aisle which was absolutely beautiful.  We had a symbolic ceremony which was about 10-15 minutes long.  We signed a piece to paper to make it look real to everyone, exchanged vows, and exchanged rings.  We had a champagne toast with all of our guests after the ceremony and were greeted by friends and family so that they could congratulate us.


After the ceremony we did a group photo with everyone, family photos, photos with the wedding party, and then pictures of the two of us.  Ibrianny was absolutely incredible!  He knew the right lighting and angles to make us look good.  He was also very friendly and a pleasure to work with.  Our videographer was amazing as well.  We couldn’t be happier with our photos and video.  


I wanted a choice of two main dishes for my entree because my family would only eat fish and other people didn’t eat fish.  So we chose to have a salmon and a chicken entree.  I had the salmon with mango chutney which was delicious.  We had a buffet appetizer, lobster bisque for soup, and crepes with flambeed bananas for dessert which all tasted fabulous.


There was some confusion after dinner with our reception.  We originally wanted the beach bar which is outdoors, but because of rain we were relocated to the disco.  The reception was supposed to start at 8:30p.m. but because there was a function happening we had to wait until 9p.m. We were all just confused as to what was happening.  We didn’t have an MC so we ended up MCing the reception ourselves which was a little stressful, but we had fun with it.  We did speeches while they were setting up the cake then we did the cake cutting, first dance, and then we danced the night away till 11p.m. when the disco opened to the public.


When we left the reception we went back to our room which was beautifully decorated with rose petals, chocolate, and another complimentary bottle of sparkling wine!  

Even though there were a few hiccups in our day we still had an amazing time and I wouldn’t change anything.  I definitely recommend getting married at the Iberostar Varadero it was a dream come true.     


Thank you so much for taking the time to read my planning thread and my review! I'm not done yet with updates! I'm so behind lol, but I'm hoping to upload some pictures of my legal ceremony and tell you all about it as well.


I wanted to post some pictures of my wedding day in Cuba, but for some reason I can't =(

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Great review. I am so glad to hear that your day was everything you imagined and more.  There are always hiccups, but it sounds like yours were minimal!!  I CAN'T wait to see your pictures :) I hope it works soon!!!     And because I haven't said this enough to you over the past year.... I LOVE CUBA!!!!


edit -  Where is the Iberostar in relation to Varadero?  Is it further down the strip or closer to the town? Thanks

Edited by calgarybride2015
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It's been quite a while since I've been on the forum.  Life's been super busy and I think I'm really starting to feel the wedding blues.  It's been a whole month since I got married and time honestly just flies!  Past brides, what advice do you have for beating the wedding blues?  


I totally forgot to tell you all about my legal ceremony.  


The weekend after we got back we had a small, intimate wedding ceremony with just immediate family at a restaurant.  It hit me about 4 months into my wedding planning that I needed to find a way to ensure that our marriage is legal in the province of Ontario. 


We decided that we didn't want to do a legal ceremony in Cuba because of all the work that we would have to go through to provide documentation.  Also, we didn't feel comfortable travelling with important documents such as our birth certificates.  Furthermore, we heard that it takes a year to get your marriage certificate from Cuba and then you need to have it translated.  That's when we decided that we would have a symbolic ceremony in Cuba and a legal ceremony here.


I know that a majority of brides do their legal ceremony before they leave, but that was something we felt wouldn't work for us.  It was mostly because of my MIL.  She was against our destination wedding from the start and basically said that if we had a legal wedding here before we left she wouldn't come to our destination wedding because there would be no point.  This was quite hurtful to us since we see our destination wedding as our real wedding.  We thought about having a city hall ceremony and not telling anyone about it, but Dan didn't like that idea.  Our only option was to have the legal ceremony after and plan it in a way where it didn't feel like a wedding.


I learned that City Hall won't do weddings if you previously exchanged vows i.e. they won't do your legal wedding if you've already had a symbolic one.  We hired our own officiant through an agency and he was okay with the concept and still agreed to perform our ceremony.  


We planned our legal ceremony to be the same day as our anniversary (October 4).  I initially wanted to do the ceremony then lunch seeing as the date was a Sunday and I had sent my invitations out and everything.  A few weeks before our legal ceremony my MIL made us change the time to 6 p.m. and was very insistent upon it.  I changed it just to make her happy and let our families know about the time change. 


We had our ceremony at Topiary's restaurant in Mississauga.  We had a private room that was really nice.  Our officiant was amazing, he had the perfect mix of humour and sentiment throughout our ceremony.  It was actually quite traditional which was nice.  We did a celtic handfasting which was really special.  I decided not to wear white for my legal ceremony and re-wore the dress I wore for my bridal shower - a pale pink dress with nude flats.


The food was really good.  Most of us had steak and we shared appitizers.  We didn't bring a wedding cake, we opted to order dessert off of the menu instead.  


All in all it was amazing.  I feel with the way I planned my wedding there are no regrets, everything was amazing and everyone had a wonderful time.  I got to have an amazing non-traditional beach ceremony in Cuba and traditional at-home ceremony as well.  


Sorry I haven't been on in a while, I have a major case of wedding blues, and I chose to step away from the forum to sort out my feelings.  I'm still a little blue, I wish that I could turn back time and re-live it all over again.   

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Congrats on your legal ceremony. I'm glad you were able to make it everything you had hoped for.


I understand the wedding blues. I think that's probably why I still frequent here. I don't know. All I can tell you is that it will pass. You will fall back into your normal life. Maybe you will have to find something to fill the time (if you haven't already) that once was wedding planning. Hugs and good luck



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Edited by calgarybride2015
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@@diadiamond Thank you so much for sharing.  I've heard from past brides that things can go wrong and are sometimes beyond your control, but for the most part everything will work out and just to relax and enjoy it all.  Reading your review and hearing about it in person at our meet-up along with seeing your pics really shows how perfect your day was.  It's so reassuring.


Again, you looked beautiful and so happy!  I'm so glad that your day was everything you hoped for! xo

Edited by deecol
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Your review is great and I'm so happy it all turned out in spite of the bumps!! You looked beautiful and it sounds like your legal ceremony was really special too!!


I wish I had some advice on the "blues" but I didn't go through it so there isn't anything I can say. We were so busy recovering our "disaster" for our wedding that there wasn't a whole lot of planning really. We were just two and then so busy with family afterwards and our at home reception that it wasn't an issue. I worked for a really nasty senior partner at the time so I didn't have time for blues afterwards lol The other thing - we have kids and grandchildren so that always occupies our time in a big way. I agree with @calgarybride2015  I think it will pass. You'll be so busy being a newlywed!!


All the best and congrats again! I hope you're in for the next GTA ladies meet!!

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