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Janjin's Planning Thread - Azul Sensatori

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Hi everyone!

I’ve been a long time lurker and sometimes poster but now that we are approaching our 3 month mark (ahh!!) I think it’s time to start my very own planning thread.  Think this will definitely help me focus and hopefully make decisions J


How we met:

Jamal and I met a little over 4 years ago at a mutual friend’s birthday party.  As usual, I went to this party with one of my best guy friends.  We get to the bar about an hour into the party, say our hellos and make our way to the bar for drinks.  After realizing that drinks were $15 a piece (gotta love NYC bars), I made a mental note that I needed someone else to buy me drinks that night haha.  My friend and I always have the problem that people think we are “together” so we separate right away and go mingle.  I did spot a cute stranger hanging out with our group but none of my immediate friends knew who he was.  A little while later, as I was finishing my drink, coincidently, this cute stranger comes up to me and asks if he could buy me a drink J.  We spent the rest of the night talking and hanging out.  I eventually go to the bathroom with the birthday girl and find out that he was one of her really good friends and she assured me that he was a good guy.  So when he asked for my phone number at the end of the night, I didn’t hesitate!  To add a little twist to the story, the birthday girl knows him because he used to date her cousin and when they broke up she decided to keep her friendship with Jamal despite the breakup.  She jokes that she kept Jamal in the divorce!   


We had our first date a couple of weeks later and have been together ever since.  This relationship felt different right from the beginning.  It almost felt easy, if that makes any sense.  He and my friends (guys and girls) got along very well right from the beginning and that was so important to me since they are my family here in NY.  And now we have been living together for almost 3 years now and have been engaged for about 8 months.


The Proposal:

It was Christmas morning 2014 and we were at my parent’s house opening presents like the big kids that we are.  We take Christmas morning very serious in my family, we were onesies and my dad dresses up like Santa haha.  This year was no exception.  Jamal and I wore superhero onesies!


After I opened my presents I took my new niece Sophia, who was only 2 weeks old, from my sister-in-law so that she can open her presents.  I'm obsessed with Sophia so I want to hold her at all times.  Then suddenly my brother comes to take the baby from me and I'm not happy about it and I don't let him.  Little did I know he was doing it for a reason. He tried again warning me about a dirty diaper so I gave in and handed him the baby.  I got up to help clean up the living room since there was wrapping paper everywhere! Then Jamal says "oh wait there's another present".  I turn around excited for another gift and there he is on one knee with a beautiful ring in front of my entire family!  Being the lady that I am, I say "oh shit" and start crying immediately and everyone in the background is screaming in shock and happiness.  He asks me to marry him and there are more tears.  He finally asks again "uh is that a yes?"  But come on as if it would ever be a no.  So yes I was proposed to while in a wonder woman onesie by a man dressed as batman J




This was the best way for him to propose – I loved that it was in front of my family.  Since we don’t live near them (we’re in NYC and they are outside of Philadelphia), I usually miss out on random family events.  And it was amazing to have them be a part of this.


Here is my ring




Location / Timing:

It was never a secret to anyone that I would have a destination wedding.  For me, a big, expensive NYC wedding never felt right.  And in Jamal’s eyes, we could have grabbed our parents head, down to city hall and call it a day.  Both sets of immediate families were immediately on board and that was most important to us.  Before we even told them our plans, we decided that if we needed to pay for any of them to come, we would.  As long as we have our parents and siblings there, everyone else is icing on the cake J


So as soon as we got engaged, the search was on.  I must have spent hours and hours searching on google for locations/resorts.  We had no idea where we wanted to get married but knew that we didn’t want Dominican Republic (so many friends have gotten married there already) or Jamaica (Jamal has distant family there and didn’t want to have to invite them).  We finally came across Danialle from BeachBum Vacations and knew immediately we had found our travel agent.  Right from the beginning she was helpful, knowledgable and super nice.  She was able to help us decide that Mexico was the right place for us and our guests since we wanted to be considerate of our guest’s budget.  Our resort requirements were:


-        Somewhere different to get married – I personally don’t like the beach and sand very much so I didn’t want a beach ceremony/reception

-        Keep costs for guests around $1,000 for 4 days/3 nights

-        All-inclusive with amazing food

-        Not a small resort


After seeing pictures of the skydeck at Azul Sensatori I fell in love!  A rooftop ceremony reminded of NYC and it hasn’t been done in my circle of friends, where destination weddings are the norm.  So after some more research and thinking, it was done.  We were going with Azul Sensatori. 


We didn’t want a long engagement but wanted to be considerate of our guests and their budgets, so after looking at work schedules (I’m an accountant so certain months are blocked off), we decided on November 2015.  Based on availability at the resort, we selected November 20, 2015.  Our travel agent was able to secure a room block for us.  We started with 20 rooms in the block since we had to put down $100 per room to secure them.  This was all done by end January 2015 so needless to say it was a very very busy few weeks. 


Now as much as I loved the pictures, I was sooooo nervous about picking a place without actually seeing it.  We and my friends are huge travelers and have become accustomed to really nice hotels and amazing service and are willing to pay for it.  But because of work schedules, we weren’t able to make it out to Mexico and still get information out to our guests early enough so that people could start saving money and blocking that time off.  But thankfully a friend of a friend had gotten married there in September 2014 and loved it and her guests had a great time.  So knowing that we have similar friends that put me at ease.  We still scheduled a visit to the BDR in June to make sure ;)






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Congrats on coming up to your 3-month mark, so exciting!!!  Your engagement story was really sweet and I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of your planning thread! :)

Edited by deecol
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Thanks @@deecol!!  It really was perfect for us!!

Room block

As I mentioned above, we initially blocked off 20 rooms at $100 each.  It was good chunk of money up front but since we get it back in October we figured it was more of a wedding day prepayment.  Rooms need to be reserved with at least $150 deposit per person by August 24th (which is the TA’s made up deadline) and we can drop rooms up until September 7th.  That is also the date when all rooms need to be paid in full by.  A few months later based on the number of people already booking and RSVPing we up’d the block by 10 rooms but fortunately we didn’t have to put the $100 per room down.  As of today, we have 22 of the 30 rooms reserved and still have a bunch of people left to book.  I may consider increasing the block in the next day or two just make sure everyone gets in.


Guest list / Save the dates / Invitations:

We decided that we would invite everyone to Mexico that we would have invited to a local wedding especially since we aren’t planning to have anything here when we get back.  And we expected that we would have a good amount of people come with us to Mexico.  We also decided to invite our guests with their children and left the decision to bring them up to them.  Much to our surprise most people aren’t bringing the kids.  Our guest list came to 155.


As soon as secured the wedding date, we started looking for save the dates.  Jamal really wanted to just send the invites but I had always wanted to do save the dates so I won :)  Jamal isn’t a big picture guy.  He doesn’t like the traditional couple “posey” pictures so he was completely against engagement pictures and since we were/are in a major money saving mode since we’re paying for the wedding ourselves, he talked me into not taking engagement pictures. The argument makes sense but I still kind of wish we would have done it.  Oh well that just means we’re going to have to take amazing maternity pictures when that time comes!! Shhh don’t tell ;)


So save the dates with our pictures were out and so were any destination wedding theme ones.  As I mentioned, we’ve been to a few destination weddings so passports, boarding cards, etc have already been done in our group so we had to find something different.  After much searching we picked this save the date from weddingpaperdivas.com.  We loved how different and fun it was.




Same concept applied when looking for invitations.  We gravitated toward the more modern type invitations so fell in love with the simplicity of this one.




We sent out the save the dates in early February and the invites went out in mid-April with a RSVP date of 7/15/15.  People have been slowly booking and RSVPing since February.  One of Jamal’s groomsman booked even before the save the dates went out just so that he could say he was the first to book haha.  I loved that!  As of today, we have 73 adults and 4 children either booked or RSVP’d.  We are very blessed to have so many people willing to travel for us!  I did have 1 major disappointing no though – my aunt/godmother.  I’m not close at all to my extended family but with her and her family its different – we are close.  And I just knew in the bottom of my heart that she would come.  When she finally said no, I was heartbroken.  I understand it’s a lot to ask but the hurt was and is still there.  But trying to focus on everyone else who is able to make it.


Bridal Party:

For Jamal, selecting his party was a no brainer.  He has 2 best friends since childhood so 1 is his best man and the other is his groomsman.  For me, it was also really easy.  I had the 3 girls picked out for ages.  H is one of my best friends and my maid of honor, C is my sister-in-law more like the little sister I never had and my bridesmaid, and K was my other best friend and going to be my bridesmaid.  2 weeks after after getting engaged, K passed away right after giving birth to her beautiful daughter.  It was easily the hardest time in my life that should have been the best time in my life.  So while I still have H and C (and am so grateful for that), my bridal party will always feel incomplete.



I was so excited for this part but also scared!!  I’m one of the most indecisive people ever and I thought it would take forever to find a dress. But sooooo not the case.  I made an appointment at a boutique in the city and went with my mom, godmother, maid of honor and bridesmaid.  Fell in love with dress #3 and even after trying on a bunch more #3 was it!  I am very blessed that my parents offered to buy my dress and even more grateful for the generous budget they gave me.  My dress is Pronovias Mildred




I also added a pretty beaded belt and will wear a veil for the ceremony.  I ordered in at the end of February and it should be in around September 20th.  Can't wait!!  Fingers crossed I still love it as much as I loved it that day :)


More to come...

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Yay! Another thread! I love your story, and your engagement story is so sweet. Your date is getting very close too!


I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. It's devastating when we lose people we care about and I understand what you mean about the bridal party being incomplete. I'm sure the other two will do their best to help you make wonderful memories.


Your dress is gorgeous! Really beautiful and perfect I think for a destination wedding. Azul Sensatori is a popular resort for brides here so I'm sure if you go looking for any info, you shouldn't have any trouble finding it and getting questions answered if you have any.


Keep adding to the thread! The ladies here love them! lol Good luck and happy planning!

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@@Janjin congrats on your engagement and at your 3-month mark, you must be so excited. I love your engagement story and love your outfits! Batman and wonder woman should be married lol. And your ring is gorgeous!!!


I'm so sorry to hear about your best friend/bridesmaid. She'll always be in your heart so she'll be there with you on your wedding

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Week of Timeline:

So as of right now this is our timeline:


Tuesday, 11/17

-        arrive at the resort by 2:30/3 (we land at 1pm)

-        schedule hair trial for around 4:30/5.  Thoughts?  I’m thinking it’ll be good to get this out of the way since 99% of our guests won’t be there yet.

-        finish up welcome bags


Wednesday, 11/18

-        have wedding appointment (won’t know time until we get there)

-        welcome both sets up parents to the resort

-        some guests arrive this day

-        hopefully some pool time

-        using the dinner that comes with the wedding package as a family dinner this night


Thursday, 11/19

-        majority of guests arrive today

-        hopefully a relaxing day by the pool with our guests

-        smores bonfire welcome party on the beach


Friday, 11/20

-        WEDDING DAY!!

-        Massage appointment in the morning – will see if my girls would like to join – my treat.

-        Hair / make up appointments (still need to be made)

-        Photographers arrive at 2 for getting ready and first look pics

-        Ceremony on sky deck at 4, cocktail hour 4:30 – 6 and reception from 6 – 10.


Saturday, 11/21 – Monday, 11/23

-        Hang out enjoying being married haha


Any major events/things to do I’m missing???

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It all looks good to me! The only thing I would say is if you're this close to your wedding date, definitely get your hair and makeup appointments made particularly if you have several girls and moms. You don't know what other weddings there are the same day as yours and it will allow the resort to plan their staffing accordingly to ensure you get the best possible service and be on time!

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