Im getting married in just a couple weeks at Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya and I wanted to share a couple of thoughts with you regarding some of your questions. I wish I had found this site sooner because you guys ask all the right questions a head of time to help with preparing for you wedding. Hopefully your planning process is going well
Regarding bringing your own photographer: We had looked both in Mexico for a photographer (on and off the resort) as well as searched for destination wedding photographers. I had no idea there was such a big selection of photographers in general, as well as photographers who actually travel to be part of your wedding! I've been to a couple destination weddings and in all circumstances, they either used someone on the resort or someone local to the resort. The wedding resort photographer didn't offer the flexibility (IMO) for things like photographing different events at the resort (like a rehearsal, welcome party, reception, day after shoot, etc) and their pictures were subpar not to mention VERY EXPENSIVE for what you get. For a wedding I went to in Riviera Maya this past June, they used an off site vendor to shoot their wedding. The pictures turned out ok but the photographers were VERY RIGID with the amount of time they covered the event. Things were running behind because of the weather (i.e. the reception started about 1.5 hours later than planned), but since their 6 or 8 hours were up, at 10PM, the photographers left right in the middle of the reception! How awful for the bride and groom to miss out on those last few hours of coverage of their event.
Wanting to avoid all of this, and wanting to be more in control of the options available to me, I searched for destination wedding photographers that were willing to travel. I did find a bunch of people. both in the US and even Canada and other countries. We interviewed a few (not everyone got back to us), but we ended up picking James Berglie of Be Photography. He is based in Baltimore, MD but does a lot of traveling in the US for work, and of course will travel anywhere for a destination wedding. Surprisingly, I found out later that a couple of other people I know through a mutual friend used him for their destination wedding in Mexico earlier this year. Small world! What we loved about him, is that he is on the resort for a couple of days before the wedding and a day or so after the wedding, so we are getting a lot of wedding related coverage (more so than just 6-8 hours on the actual day). He will actually cover the rehearsal dinner/welcome party the night before for a couple hours, ALL Day on the wedding day (no time limit) and he is also doing this day after shoot. We are going to go off the resort (he does this with a lot of couples if you want the option!) The other thing that's cool is that if we had used him as a travel agent also for all of our guests (we didn't because we booked our travel agent first), he would offset any commission made on the guests towards the cost of the photography, so we could of potentially gotten our photos for free. Since we didn't have this option by the time we booked him, he discounted his photography rate and then tacked on the travel fees for him, so we essentially paid the same price as a local bride, except he gets to travel and be there with this the whole time and take pictures over multiple days. He also takes a TON of pictures, which I appreciate and his style is that of a photojournalist. You don't even know he is there, which allows people to feel more relaxed and natural, truly capturing the essence of the day! Here is his contact info in case you want to check him out! I will post pictures from our wedding once we get them http://www.bephotography.net/
James Berglie: James@BePhotography
With regards to bringing your own decorations:
You certainly don't have to but I wanted to bring a few things to add a personal touch.
If you want to get decorations there, we did work with an offsite décor vendor – Planner One Events (based in Cancun). Some things are pricey but you just have to decide what is a necessity for you and what are things that would just be nice to have. From them we ended up getting a rattan aisle runner, mahagony tiffany chairs, centerpieces for cocktail hour, centerpieces for the reception, gold table runners, a rustic aisle runner, chair corsages for the ceremony and those string lights that drape across the tables at the reception.
Here is what we are bringing: I tried to pick things that were easy to carry, but that gave some unique personal touches: Spanish script table numbers and “novia/novio” chair signs that I purchases on etsy and spray painted them gold. https://www.etsy.com...p/ZCreateDesign
They were super easy to work with and I was really happy with the quality. They will make you whatever you want. I am also taking a card box I made myself (but I made it stackable inside itself to make it easier to carry). Programs I made myself on raffia fans. A Mexico puzzle piece guest book that I purchased on Etsy from Bella Puzzles https://www.etsy.com...hopheader-name.
These was a little pricey but so awesome and worth it. I cant wait to display it in my house when its all done. I made menus myself that I am bringing which will be added to the tables and I also made my own table names and put them in gold frames (ikea and spray painted – they come apart for easy transport) which will be displayed on a table when you walk into the reception.
Good luck with your planning process!!! I’ll share some pictures when I get back