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Wpgbride17 Grand Sirenis Planning Thread January 21, 2017

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How We Met

So a bit of a back story on myself. I will cut straight to the chase by saying I has a life changing event when I was 25. I was planning a trip of a lifetime by myself, a cruise of the Greek islands and right before I left I woke up with a painful lump in my breast. Fast forward 6 months and I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. I went through chemo, radiation, double mastectomy and reconstruction surgery all within the span of a year. I was single at the time and while I stayed positive throughout everything I thought I would never find someone that would want to be be with me as I wasn't whole ananymore. It took seven years for me to work on building up my self esteem and self worth again before I was even remotely ready to start to date again. About 3 years ago I decided I was finally ready but didn't have I lot of opportunities to meet new people so like a lot of people now I went online.

Let me tell you I met a lot of winners (and not the good kind)! I was just about to give up when Alec messaged me. He seemed so sweet and was so thoughtful about what he wrote and bonus he actually took the time to read my profile! He was and still is super shy but slowly he came out of his shell with me. He planned awesome dates, going to concerts, taking me to a boardgame cafe (I have a secret boardgame obession), going bowling, among other things. When we kissed for the first time it was magical. I know it sounds crazy but after the first few dates I knew he was the man I was going to marry. We both have the craziest things in common, the food we eat (cheeseburgers plain, meat and cheese, nothing else lol), we love hockey, we both love boardgames (even though he kicks my butt everytime), we both read up on movies after we watch them, I could go on forever lol!

 

The Proposal

So we had talked about marriage and went ring shopping in the Fall so I knew it was coming but didn't know exactly when. That day came on Christmas eve. He told me he chose Christmas because he knew how much I loved it and wanted it to be extra special. Alec is very shy and simple kind of guy so after I conned him into getting my gift early (eve instead of day) because that's what I do every Christmas. He grade my hand and hugged and kissed me lots and simply said I love you so much and will you marry me. It was simple yet beautiful and the best day of my life! The ring he chose wasn't one I had chosen but I'm so glad! He listened to everything I liked and chose something he thought fit the criteria which meant the world to me. Right after the proposal we went to my family gathering and it was so awesome to share the news with my family! I will never forget how I felt that night, I was on cloud nine.

Let the planning commence!

I was so happy just to be engaged but people kept bombarding me with questions , when are you getting married, where, etc and this was the night I got engaged! I felt super overwhelmed super fast. Saying yes was the easiest part. All I knew is I wanted a destination wedding.

 

Finding a Travel Agent

This was the easiest part for me as my Aunt is a TA. What I lo ed about this is the fact that I already had someone that I trusted with I feel is extremely important for a destination wedding. She always answers my emails and very promptly as well. Even if it might take her a few days she sends me warning so I'm not left hanging. Maybe it could be the fact that I know where she lives and I could hunt her down but I like to believe it's just her high standard of customer service.

 

Picking the Resort

The big thing for me was I wanted affordability without sacrificing quality in the resort. So my Aunt when immediately wentry to work and suggested 3 Mexico locations, Puerto Vallarta, Cabo, and Riviera Maya. She presented me with about 6 resorts in total with varying prices. Due to the Canadian Dollar taking a plunge the quotes weren't as cheap as I would've liked but in the end it was still way cheaper to chose Mexico versus a home wedding in Winnipeg.

I within a week I narrowed it down to either Cabo or Riviera Maya. I ultimately chose the Grand Sirenis in Riviera Maya for a few reasons. They had a free wedding package, the resort was absolutely gorgeous, the prices for children were really reasonable and Riviera Maya was the only place I haven't been to in Mexico.

Needless to say I was excited to say within a week I had made our decision (FI said whatever I wanted he was good with). Well I was excited until my TA came back and burst my bubble saying that Grand Sirenis has decided as of 2016 to eliminate the Free Package. I was devastated because we were on a tight budget I wasn't sure we could afford it. I immediately did up spreadsheet of all the costs so I would have a more realistic idea of the total cost because let's face it you have to pay extra for everything! In the end we were very fortunate that both sets of parents totally stepped to help us out which I'm forever in their debt. I was trying to previously plan the whole wedding ourselves without help except for the dress which my parents had previously said they would cover.

Once the $500 deposit was paid to the resort and the $400 deposit for the Bride and Groom our TA's travel agency developed a PDF and a type of Web page on their site that guests can access to reserve their attendance.

I have a lot more to write but time for bed. I will be back soon!

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Welcome and congrats. As a Grand Sirenis bride I feel you made a fantastic decision :) looking forward to your planning.

 

 

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@@WPGBride17 Thanks for sharing your story! I can't wit to read more about your plans!

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STD

 

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After we got our deposits confirmed I immediately started creating our STD. Honestly there is so many beautiful choices whether you chose to go with a photo company like Shutterfly or Vistaprint and also Etsy has tons of options. Personally I chose to make my own as I feel I'm creative and resourceful enough that this is one place I knew I could save money out of my budget. I decided simply to email these out instead of sending by mail as I felt it was faster and more efficient this way.

I should say before I sent out the STD I decided to do my own wedding website so my guests could have a central place to access information about the hotel, my TA, excursions that were available plus pictures of us. I used the wedding website theknot.com which was awesome! One of the great features of the website is the guest list database where youkeep all your chests info including names, emails and mailing adresses. You can even let them RSVP right on the site as wel lThey have a beautiful selection of templates that make your website look professional and best part it's free.

 

Engagement photos

I gad been in contact with a cousin to get some engagement photos done but we have been so busy that 2 months later we haven't done them. In saying that about a year ago my cousin asked to do couple pictures of us because she wanted to expand into making her photography into a business. Everybody thought the we're engagement photos back then and we loved them so we have been using them now.

 

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Thanks everyone! This planning thread has made me realize 2 things so far.

1. I can't believe how much I have done already!

2. There is so much more to do!

 

So now I’m trying to patiently wait until April 11th for when deposits are due so I have a better idea of who is coming because reality it I have no clue. People will swear they are coming and then at the last minute bow out and people who you never though would come are all of a sudden coming. I checked with the TA and only 2 people have put deposits down but honestly this doesn’t worry me because our parents haven’t even put their deposits down lol.

 

Wedding Dress & Bridesmaid Dress

 

Because I’m overly organized I have already gone dress shopping and in fact have received my dress last weekend. I am the type of shopper I go into a store knowing what I want and do my best to get what I want and get out as fast as I can. Because of this I made one appointment for David’s Bridal. I am a plus size bride and I was told that the best selection for my size would be found here. I made the decision to only make one appointment and if I didn’t find anything expand my search to other stores. Well I found the one and although slightly over budget my parents said it didn’t matter and bought it for me. I brought 3 of my closest friends and the MOB and MOG. Ironically enough it was one of my friends who chose the winner and I felt absolutely magical in the dress. It was everything I didn’t think I wanted in a dress including a long train but it just had a wow factor when I put it on that no one could deny. I even ended up buying a veil which I also thought that I didn’t want but really finished the look.

(Note to self I need to buy veil weights lol)

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I only have a Maid of Honor for a bridesmaid as we wanted to keep it nice and simple. I chose my best friend of 12 years and for me there was really no other choice. It was complicated though as she is a single mother of 2 kids and is currently putting herself through university so I didn’t know if she would have the means to attend my wedding. I told her whatever her decision would be I would understand but she said YES! Because she’s tight for money I did offer her to pay for her dress but told her not to say anything as I didn’t want others (FG family and RB family) to find out and be upset at the special treatment. For her dress I said she could chose whatever she wanted but it had to be bright purple in color. The plan was just to go to Le Chateau this summer and hopefully find something cheap but long story short I had a credit at David’s Bridal from my mom returning her dress (buyers remorse) that we needed to use up so we went back there and chose a high low dress in Regency. Just like myself she ended up in a dress that she said that she didn’t want but feel in love with it when it was on. She didn’t really want strapless as she was afraid she’d fall out (her words not mine lol) but she said she felt super secure in this dress.

 

This is just a photo off of David's Bridal so you can see the color choice.

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Your dress is gorgeous and you look fantastic in it. Great choice. Love the bridesmaid dress too. I also got everything David's. Love their selection of colors.

 

 

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Your dress is gorgeous! this is why they tell brides to try on things they are unsure about. You look fabulous! And I love your MOHs dress too, the color is beautiful.

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