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Jill's (Jak27) Fiesta Americana Los Cabos Wedding Review - REALLY LONG W/ PICS!!!

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#1 jak27

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    Posted 09 December 2007 - 06:11 PM

    Good afternoon ladies! After several weeks of being out of town, then being sick, and then dealing with reality again, I realized it’s time to finally write my review. I’m going to write it a little differently, with a timeline section and then a vendor review section, which will hopefully be detailed enough so that you feel like you were at the wedding, and so that future brides will get an idea of how it all came together, how the vendors worked, how much time the week entailed, etc. Sorry if it’s too detailed! Enjoy!

    Wedding Date: November 17, 2007
    Location: Fiesta Americana Grand Los Cabos (FA)
    Guests: 85 (80 adults, 5 children)
    Wedding Party: 0
    Colors: Lime & Turquoise
    Parent’s Dinner: Edith’s
    Welcome Event: Tequila Tasting & Taco Bar, Imperial Suite at Fiesta Americana
    Rehearsal Dinner: Mi Casa (downtown CSL)
    Event planner(s): Ashley Armstrong (Ashley Armstrong Events - Fort Worth, Texas) and Tara Null (Fiestas Los Cabos (FLC))


    Monday, November 12th

    I arrived in Los Cabos on Monday, November 12th with my parents and event planner. We used Terramar for our transportation needs for the entire weekend (coordinated by FLC), and our driver was waiting, on time.. Immediately after we arrived at the hotel, I had a final walk through with Tara Null of Fiestas Los Cabos, my event planner from Texas, Daniela with Fiesta Americana, the sound equipment vendor (Joaquin) and the lighting vendor. All parties were perfect. We walked through the entire events, determined the locations for the ceremony, lighting needs, dance floor, finalized the menus, etc. Doing this immediately after our arrival made me feel very comfortable – I was able to go over notes and questions I had about the itinerary on the plane, and after we met, all questions were finalized.

    Daniela provided a F&B breakdown of all events the FA was taking care of for us, what menu choices we picked, exact times the events were to take place, etc. It is the same document the hotel staff was given, so it was very nice to see exactly what the staff would see, and we were all on the same page. I will add, we were able to change things, fix a few things, extend times, etc, so nothing was set in stone.

    That evening, we ate dinner at the FA and called it an early night. We stayed in a Governor’s Suite, which was exactly the size we needed, and we were able to share the suite with our event planner and still have enough privacy. Having her across the room was vital, and it was a good decision. Yes, some people would think it’s weird that we shared a suite, but the suite is two separate bedrooms, with a living room and half bath connecting the rooms. We never felt like we needed more privacy, and if anything, it was nice to have Ashley in the suite so we could finish details, discuss issues, etc. That night Ashley & I separated out all OOT items and determined the final shopping list. For 85 guests, the items took up the entire room, so make sure you have enough room to work depending on the size of your wedding!

    Tuesday, November 13th
    Paco, with Terramar, picked us up in the morning so that we could run all errands that were needed. FLC coordinated this driver for us prior to our arrival. Paco was delightful. We went to Costco, where we picked up water (lots of water), snacks, some tequila, marshmallows for the bonfire, etc. We then went downtown to find shot glasses, and little things to put in some of the OOT bags for our friends. I ended up buying glass shot glasses for Ryan’s guy friends and was very happy with them.

    We stopped at La Europea on our way back to the FA. I had placed an order with Alma prior to our arrival for 65 mini tequilas and 65 mini margaritas (for OOT bags). They were ready and boxed up. We bought Pacifico at La Europea as well for the OOT bags, and the cans are $1USD each…quite a bargain! We also purchased five types of tequila for the Tequila Tasting on Thursday night. We bought: Cabo Wabo, Don Julio Reposado, Clase Azul, Cuervo 1800 Silver, and some other one I don’t recall.

    By the time we returned to the FA, we had an entire Yukon loaded, and Paco was nice enough to help us load and unload. I would highly suggest purchasing extra bottled water if you’re not staying at an all-inclusive. We drank a ton of water, and also handed it out to our guests during the week, and they really appreciated that. I just kept a few extra bottles in my beach bag, and would give a bottle to some friends as they needed. It was definitely appreciated.

    When we got back to the FA, Ashley started working on the OOT bags and I was able to finally relax a bit before things got crazy busy. We had guests arriving the next day, along with Ryan, so I knew things would be busy.

    Wednesday, November 14th
    Guests started to arrive this day, and Ryan got in around noon, finally! The FA had a nice table set up for Ashley to hand out OOT bags for our guests as they arrived, and she knew in advance their arrival times (from the transportation we coordinated through FLC), so she was able to meet our guests as they arrived, hand them the OOT, answer questions, etc. I thought this was a really nice touch, and the guests seemed to like being able to have a point of contact immediately. We had roughly 10 guests arrive on Wednesday.

    Wednesday evening we scheduled a dinner with our parents at Edith’s. It was our treat, and we wanted it to be a nice, enjoyable dinner before the rest of the group arrived and we weren’t able to spend as much time with them. Well, the Baja 1000 was ending this week, and there was construction along the main highway, so it took us an hour to get to Edith’s from the FA…a trip that normally takes 15 minutes! I was just blown away by the traffic, and needless to say, was very stressed. We arrived, finally, at Edith’s and ended up having a decent dinner. Service was poor (which was the first time we had experienced anything mediocre at Edith’s) and my dinner was blah. Everyone else said their food was wonderful, etc, but either I was overreacting, or Edith’s was simply overwhelmed. It wasn’t the best evening in the world, and not the best way to start off the festivities! But would I return to Edith’s again? Absolultey. I like to think of it as a fluke.

    Thursday, November 15th
    This was a very big day! We had roughly 50 guests arriving on Thursday. The majority of our friends were arriving mid-day and the festivities were really going to kick off! We had scheduled a photo session with our photog for that morning, but cancelled at the last minute. We really just wanted to relax with each other and wait for our friends to arrive. And we’re not really “picture people” so we were ok with having pictures from our wedding only, and no engagement pictures. Our photog didn’t mind at all, and instead we had her shoot that evening’s event, which was a great decision.

    Our Welcome Event was to take place at the Imperial Suite that evening. Because it wasn’t occupied, the resort let us have it at about 10am which was wonderful. This give us plenty of time to set up some decorations and we also were able to lounge there without having to go to the pool. When our friends arrived, we had Ashley tell them where we were, and they all came to the suite to see us. It was a great afternoon and I’m so glad we did it, it gave us some time to spend with our friends and it was very causal. We bought beer at La Europea and water, so we had that for our friends. We ordered lunch from one of the waiters at the pool, which worked out perfectly.

    The Welcome Party was a huge success! We used FA for the food and beverage and choose the Tacos Boutique and Bar on Consumption (International Standard package). The event started at 6pm and it could not have gone better. We used an iPod for the music and I had created a playlist for the evening before we left. We used our own speakers which we brought and it worked great. The food was absolutely fabulous. We actually ran out of food because everyone was going back for seconds and thirds! I had ordered a birthday cake from Deena with Sweet Dreams for Ryan’s grandfather’s birthday and it was delicious!

    We had five different tequilas set up on a buffet table in the living area of the suite, and purchased individual shot glasses (which were adorable, they looked like little terracotta espresso mugs with ribbon tied to the handles) from FLC. Everyone helped themselves to the tequila, and it was a great way to start the party. FA had the fire pit lit, so it was a beautiful setting. The fire pit was perfect for s’mores, but remember to either bring or buy really long sticks to use for the marshmallows since the fire is so big! Note: we could not find graham crackers in Cabo at all, and so a friend brought some down for us. We used luminaries around the pool for decoration, and white linens provided by FA for the tables. Nothing fancy but it was perfect.

    Well, the event was such a hit that we ran out of tequila and drank the entire resort’s stock of Pacifico. No joke. They had to go into another part of the resort to find more beer, and had to order more for the wedding reception. You know it’s a good party when you drink the entire stock of beer on the first night!!! By the end of the night, we had friends on their way to Squid Roe to continue the fun and the majority of guests left around midnight. What a great way to start the weekend!

    Friday, November 16th
    This was, by far, my favorite day (except, of course, for the wedding!). I woke up early (I couldn’t sleep a wink that week b/c I was so excited!) and headed down to the beach. I picked a great location with lots of lounge chairs and knew it was going to be a great day. My friends slowly started to show up, and by mid-afternoon, all of our friends were at the beach, just hanging out together. The best part was to be able to look around and see our favorite people all in one beautiful setting. It really was the most fun I have ever had. Note: if you’re at the FA, try the Banana Especial drink – it is fabulous!

    I didn’t have anything scheduled this day except for my hair & makeup trial, and I was so glad I didn’t. It was just perfect lounging and relaxing with everyone that day…I highly recommend making sure you schedule enough time for you to be with your guests. They appreciated it and so did I.

    At 4:30pm I had my hair & makeup trial with Octavio from MexSun. Hair wasn’t really a huge issue to me, but I am so glad I did a trial run. Octavio arrived with his assistant and they first worked on my hair. I did a trial with my stylist at home, so I had pictures and an idea of what I wanted. Octavio spoke English well, so we didn’t really have any communication problems. I was ok with the style when he finished but wasn’t thrilled, but I loved the make up. I left the makeup on for our Rehearsal Dinner and simply took the style down and flat ironed my hair for that evening.

    The Rehearsal Dinner took place at Mi Casa at 7pm. We had two buses arrive at the FA at 6:30pm. We should have had them arrived at 6:15 because of course people are late, etc. But by the time we arrived it was not a big deal at all. We had the top, left portion of the restaurant blocked for our event, with private restrooms, bar and a television screen as well. Instead of doing the typical slideshow where everyone watches it at the same time, we had the slideshow that our videographer prepared play during the entire evening, and just looped without music (no music since Mi Casa always has mariachis, etc going on). It was great! When we finally showed up, the majority of our guests were there and they were all just standing around with drinks looking up. I had forgotten about the video and some of them were crying as they watched it, etc. I am so glad we did the video, and it was very important to us to include our friends and family it in, and they really enjoyed it. Also, it was a great way to have some entertainment without spending any $$, and our guests could watch it at their leisure.

    For decorations, we used one thing since the restaurant is so “loud” anyways. I purchased Spanish flashcards (thanks to a post on BDW!) and put one at everyone’s place setting. They were a huge hit and after a few margaritas, everyone was trying to speak Spanish and swapping cards.

    We chose Menu A at Mi Casa, and negotiated the price down to $34/person I think. We only served bottled water, margaritas, soft drinks, domestic beer and house wine during the evening and everyone was happy with that.

    Because Mi Casa is so fun on its own, we did no music or entertainment. Instead, they had mariachis that came around and there was actually a balloon clown as well that night (I hate clowns, but got over it). By the end of the night, about ¾ of the guests had balloon hats on and were having a great time. Service was excellent at Mi Casa, and everything went very smoothly.

    Click the image to open in full size.

    After dinner, some guests returned to the FA and we went to Squid Roe and stayed out for a while. The evening ended up with friends hanging from the rafters and pole dancing…what a night! Thank goodness Ryan was sober b/c he made me go home when it was time (and I thanked him the next day when I felt terrible!). Be sure to spend time with your friends, but don’t let the fun ruin the wedding day if you feel like crap! Oh, and it’s a good idea to stay away from the margaritas at Mi Casa if you’re trying to be good, b/c I swear they put something in them that makes them totally addictive (by the end of the night I was ordering margs w/o ice b/c I was convinced they were cheating me and I wanted my money’s worth!)

    Saturday, November 17th - Wedding Day!
    I woke up early (and felt lousy!) Ryan and I needed to finalize a few things with the ceremony location, reception, etc so we headed to the conference level to find Tara and Ashley. The ballroom was set up for the reception and so was the terrace where we were to serve dinner! It was so nice to see it all put together and know that everything was going to be great. Tara’s vendors arrived early that morning and started setting up the ceremony site. We were able to secure an area without beach huts, and the FA allowed us to move any lounge chairs out of the way. This ensured that our wedding site would be private, and anyone that was at the resort could watch, but they wouldn’t be near or in pictures. I am very glad we did this and it turned out perfectly!

    Because of where our suite was located, I was able to watch the set up of the ceremony site all day from my room. That was really great b/c it gave me something to do instead of just pacing. I was really nervous on Saturday, and couldn’t sit still. I also felt nauseous and just wanted to be married. I really didn’t enjoy the anticipation at all! Make sure and bring some Pepto b/c you’ll need it if you’re as nervous as I was.

    Octavio returned at 1:30pm for my hair & makeup. He also did my mother’s hair & makeup. He changed my hair up a bit after thinking about it and I was very happy with the result. He was really funny, and was like, “Do you like it now? I thought about a few things last night and did it differently” and I did. He was fabulous and I was ready to go. The worst part about Saturday was WAITING. Ug, I knew Ryan was at the pool with his friends and I was stuck in my room waiting to get dressed! Luckily, even though I didn’t have bridesmaids or a wedding party, my friends stopped by and kept me company.

    The ceremony set up was very simple and natural. We had wooden benches for seating and a bamboo chuppah with white fabric draped. No flowers. Natural colored aisle runner. All rentals were through FLC. We did have globes hanging on hooks set along the aisle with turquoise ribbon, which looked wonderful against the blue of the ocean.

    Guests began showing up the ceremony site at 4pm, ceremony was set to begin at 4:30pm. We had bottled water ready for the guests and FA handed out water as they arrived. The musician started at 4pm as well. The minister arrived at 4pm and met Ryan prior. He already had the ceremony (which Ryan wrote – well, wrote some, cut & paste some) I have attached it for reference. I started walking down to the ceremony at about 4:20 and the timing was perfect. We began at around 4:30 and I was so nervous! My father and I kept tearing up during the walk, and everyone at the resort had stuck around to watch the ceremony since they had seen it being constructed during the day. There were several couples in the infinity pool and many at the restaurant area, all wishing me good luck before I got there. That was unexpected and fun.

    I walked down the aisle to All I Want is You by U2. The ceremony is a total blur. All I really remember is saying “You are my best friend” and then trying to get Ryan’s ring on his finger! (It’s more difficult than it looks) After the ceremony was over, we walked away to Melt With You by Modern English. All music was played by the musician, so not a CD. The instrumental versions that the musician played were beautiful, they were just recognizable for our guests to notice, but not too obvious. I cannot wait to see the video and relive it, since it really is a total blur to me. Apparently during some dramatic time during the ceremony, a huge flock of pelicans took off and made for a very dramatic vows exchange. I cannot wait to see it! My bouquet was white roses and green cymbidium orchids, with the Traveling Starfish too!

    Click the image to open in full size.

    We took a group picture with our guests and then they were taken to the cocktail hour located on the Whales Terrace. Ryan & I took pictures for about 30-45 minutes with our families and then ourselves and timing was perfect. Sunset was around 5:40 so it was plenty of time to take pictures, but not too much so that our guests were bored. We had four foot-baths set up where our guests took off their shoes for the ceremony, and they washed their feet off with rose and lemon water and it was a nice touch.

    Cocktail hour went by quickly. We had the Cheese Boutique set up and Shrimp Shooters passed. Full open bar on consumption. Decorations were very simple – white linens and cocktail tables with lime & turquoise ties. Limes arranged in vases and a few orchids.

    As sunset, it was time to move to dinner. Guests started moving to the conference level for dinner at around 6pm or so. It took a while, since there are only so many elevators, and we had to go from the beach level to the conference level, but it was just fine. People took their time, some went and changed shoes, etc.

    Our guest book was a coffee table book and was placed at the entrance to the dinner area. Guests signed as the evening went on, and no one had to stand in line to sign…I hate that!

    We went got to the dinner terrace it looked perfect! We used lime and turquoise everywhere. Alternating rectangular cocktail & standard height round tables, chocolate chiviari chairs, turquoise and lime linens, alternating glassware, pewter napkin rings and chargers. Flowers were minimal, and we used long chocolate boxes for the long rectangular tables with large hurricanes and a few orchids. The low, round tables had iron centerpieces with colored globes and votives, scattered orchids. We also did quite a bit of lighting on the terrace using green lighting along the buffet area and white light for the rest of the area. It looked quite dramatic. The band played dinner music, jazzy, and it was great.

    Click the image to open in full size.
    Click the image to open in full size.

    But the food was outstanding. We had a sweetheart table set up (thank goodness) and actually were able to eat! We chose the Gala Buffet, but eliminated several pieces from the Cold Table and added a Pasta Boutique. Our guests are still raving about the food, and how much there was! It really did impress us, and we had done a small tasting on a site visit. The food was great, service was even better. We chose buffet and stations so that the evening would be interactive since we had such a large number of guests; plus our guests are used to buffets at weddings rather than seated dinners, so we prefer the buffet anyway. This allowed our guests to mingle for a few hours, and we had the ability to eat but not be tied to the table all night.

    After dinner, the band took a break and the firedancers started! They started at about 7:45pm. They were wonderful! The kids really enjoyed them and so did the adults! I don’t know how in the world they do it, but it truly is amazing. Ryan & I sat in the front and we could feel the heat from the fire on us, so it must have been hot for the dancers. It truly looks so dangerous! But they were great, brought their own drums and provided the music, and lasted roughly 20 minutes.

    Click the image to open in full size.

    By this time, it was about 8pm and the majority of our guests thought that was the night. They were blown away when we opened the ballroom doors and they saw the dance floor set up with a huge lounge (white lounge furniture, ottomans, light up coffee tables, a light up bar, green & blue up-lighting), the cake, and another bar! It was really fun to have a surprise for the guests, and that really got the party started. We didn’t do a First Dance and I don’t regret it a minute. Our band opened up with Celebration and Ryan & I started dancing, everyone was trickling into the room and then all of our friends joined us! It was perfect!

    We had a cigar roller set up just outside the doors and our guests really enjoyed that. When it was time to take a break from dancing, the cigar rollers were perfect and we left the tables and chairs from dinner set up. Everyone lounged outside smoking cigars and we danced the night away! Be careful with a cigar roller though and budget appropriately, we had guests take a few home with them, so we actually consumed more cigars than there were people! But it was worth every penny and they all loved it.

    Click the image to open in full size.

    We cut the cake at 9pm or so and I don’t even know where to start. Deena, with Sweet Dreams, did the cake and it was magnificent. Honestly. We were totally blown away by it, and we had met with Deena on a site visit, loved her and loved her cakes! We had a five tier cake, with four different flavors: Chocolate with Chocolate Ganache (also our top tier for our anniversary), Marble with Raspberry Preserve, Lemon with Fresh Lemon Curd, and Italian Cream. I have never been to a wedding where the entire party stops and everyone is eating cake…well, my guests did that because it was outrageously delicious. We ordered a larger cake than we needed so that our guests could try several of the flavors, and Ashley cut the pieces small enough and gave everyone a piece of each flavor. It was so quiet in the room you could hear a pin drop because everyone was just devouring the cake! YUM! We brought quite a bit back with us and I wrapped pieces individually so we can relive the wedding cake whenever we want!

    Click the image to open in full size.

    By the end of the night, we were all doing tequila shots, dancing on the ottomans, and having a blast. We had a fun surprise for the guests, and we had a dessert cart come in – just like the guys who sell popsicles in town, he came in and walked around and people grabbed popsicles out of his cart and took pictures. It was great, and fun to have some authenticity with the evening.

    Click the image to open in full size.

    And if that wasn’t enough food for everyone, we had late-night snacks set up at 10:30pm which were mini tamales, quesadillas, taquitos, etc. It’s called Tornaboda in Spanish, and it was needed! We chose the Mexican Boutique and just eliminated a few things. Perfect food when you’ve had too much to drink! And it was delicious! Ashley was kind enough to get us a box to-go and had it waiting in our room when we got back.

    We extended the band a bit because they were just awesome and we were having too much fun, and ended up wrapping the evening up at 11:30pm, and by that time, it was time. Guests were pretty drunk and tired, they had been doing “wedding stuff” since 4pm so that was a pretty long day! We left with sparklers and had a “fake departure” and then came back, hung out with our friends for a while and then everyone went back down to the beach level. We called it a night, but our friends hung out with the band at the Fire Pit (Fogata) until early in the morning. It was simply perfect.

    (I’m only going to give flat grades, so no + or – on the grades!)

    Event Planner: Ashley Armstrong, Ashley Armstrong Events (Fort Worth, Texas)
    Grade: A
    I hired Ashley when we were originally going to be married in Santa Fe, NM. While the location changed, Ashley was vital in the planning and organization of our wedding. We contracted with Ashley for all services, so she did everything from helping with invitations and koozies to the full day-of coordination. She was professional, sharp, and a lot of fun. Ashley’s day-of skills amazed both Ryan & myself, as well as my parents and guests. By the end of the event, we had guests asking us how we found Ashley, complimenting her ability to work with guests’ needs, and noticing how well the entire event was organized. Without Ashley our wedding would not have happened.

    Event Planner: Tara Null, Fiestas Los Cabos
    Grade: A
    We brought Tara into the mix when we were having difficulty securing vendors in Cabo. We had quite a difficult time getting vendors to respond to us (me & Ashley) and got very frustrated. Tara handled all rentals for ceremony, cocktail, dinner and reception. She was in charge of all set up & tear down, and did a wonderful job. She is a firecracker. When I hired Tara, all of my concerns about the wedding vanished immediately. She knew who to use, had intelligent opinions, had the types of rentals we were looking for, and knew how to coordinate it all. We ended up doing all flowers and décor through Tara, along with the bookings for the firedancers, hair & makeup, minister, lounge furniture, cake, lighting, etc. Working with Tara was seamless and really made our wedding special and unique. One of the positives (among many) of using Tara was that she handled it all, so my two points of contact were Ashley and Tara, I didn’t have to keep in communication with every vendor, which made my life much easier. I would absolutely recommend Tara and FLC to anyone looking to have a wedding in Los Cabos. She is top-notch.

    Location: Fiesta Americana Grand Los Cabos
    Grade: A
    I really was thrilled with the way the entire event was handled by the resort. We had excellent service, Franco with Reservations was a breeze to work with, the food was fantastic and the guests loved he venue. I did have a few gripes about the location, namely the construction that is going on at the moment. We were aware of the new Phase III of the condos/timeshares going up, because they are quite visible. However, when we got to the resort, they were working on the Imperial Suite (a wall behind the fire pit) and had closed the Penninsula Restaurant (by the pool & beach). The restaurant being closed was really annoying – they had set up a smaller area for lunch, but the menu was dramatically limited, and the construction noise was annoying. We ended up spending most of our time at the beach, which was fine, and ordering food & drinks from the beach waiters so we didn’t have to sit and listen to the noise. Overall, however, the location was great.

    Group Coordinator: Daniela Artidello (Fiesta Americana Grand)
    Grade: A
    Daniela was fabulous to work with even though she technically isn’t a wedding coordinator. She is a group manager, and is totally overworked in my opinion. She is fantastic, however. She has a great sense of humor and speaks excellent English. She was very professional and handled our event beautifully. She inserted her own opinions, offered extra services, and really went beyond what she needed to do for us.

    Photographer: Ginger Russell Photography (Santa Fe, NM & Dallas, TX)
    Grade: A
    We found Ginger when we were going to get married in Santa Fe, and fell in love with her work. We knew that even if we got married elsewhere, Ginger would be our photographer. This was the best decision we made for our wedding. Ginger brought her assistant, Melissa Clayton (from Dallas) with her to Cabo so that we would have adequate coverage based on our guest size. They blew us away. Her work is amazing, and the way she mixed and mingled with the guests was perfect. She knew who the family was before she arrived, scouted the locations during the trip, and just worked seamlessly the entire time. By the end of the weekend, our guests were asking where “The Ginge” was and wanting more and more pictures taken! The one thing that Ginger & Melissa did that was a surprise to us was that at every event they brought a computer monitor and had pictures from the weekend looping. So at our first event, we saw pictures they had taken of Cabo and the resort, at Mi Casa, we saw pictures from the night before, and at the Reception, they had pictures of the ceremony. I was totally blown away and of course cried every time I watched the slideshows. The pictures are beautiful and I cannot wait to see all 900 of them!!! We will absolutely use Ginger in the future, and if you’re looking for a photographer, please look at her work!

    Videographer: Sam Hobbs (Hobbstudio, Fort Worth, TX)
    Grade: A
    While Sam is a good friend, he is also very talented. We hired Sam to do our slideshow for the Rehearsal Dinner and video the Wedding Day. What a great decision! Sam loves what he does – it’s obvious in the way he handles his job. I saw Sam up early one morning with his video camera – he had gotten up early to catch the sunrise so he could add it to our video. He just does those extra things that makes him unique and wonderful. We love Sam, he is intelligent and professional and a blast to work with! We can’t wait to see the finished product!

    Wedding Cake: Deena, Sweet Dreams
    Grade: A
    I really feel like I should give Deena an A+, but I said I would only use flat grades…but our wedding cake was exquisite. Honestly, it was beyond anything we ever could have imagined. It was not only beautiful but delicious! It was the best wedding cake I have ever had, and I swear when we go to Cabo we’ll still order cakes from her just to relive it! I can’t say enough positives about Deena, she was a dream to work with and is just adorable. Love her, love her, love her!

    Hair & Makeup: Octavio, MexSun
    Grade: A
    Tara hired Otavio for me and I was thrilled with his work. He was professional, funny and very polite. He spoke fairly good English and I loved the way my makeup and hair turned out. Like I mentioned above, he worked on my hairstyle the second day a bit more, changed it up and we both ended up loving the result. I would absolutely recommend using Octavio to anyone.

    Entertainment: Trey & the Tritones (Fort Worth, Texas)
    Grade: A
    Wow! We were totally blown away by T&T, they played amazing music at our reception, had everyone on the dance floor (even guests who don’t dance) and I don’t think there was a guest we had that didn’t love what they did. They provided the wedding ceremony music as I mentioned above, and it was perfect. Dinner music was excellent and many of our guests didn’t believe us that it was only one band the entire evening. Our guests actually thought we hired two bands – one for dinner and one for the reception! They are a very versatile band, and were able to provide the jazzy music we wanted for dinner, and then the perfect music for the lounge. It was worth every penny to bring them down. We loved them!

    Family Dinner: Edith’s
    Grade: C
    As I mentioned above, I just didn’t have the best experience at Edith’s this time. Service was pretty poor. My food was mediocre. The atmosphere was great, as always, but it just wasn’t the same. Of course, we’ll return, but I had to give a C for this one. I really do think our visit was an anomaly.

    Rehearsal Dinner: Mi Casa (downtown CSL)
    Grade: B
    Perfect! We could not have had a better event that evening. Mi Casa was the perfect choice for our rowdy group and the food was fantastic. Our guests raved about the food and, of course, the margaritas. Service was on-point and subtle. The only complaint I have with Mi Casa is with the Group Coordinator, Mauricio. He is very difficult to reach, doesn’t respond very quickly to emails (averages a few weeks to get in touch) and we had a problem with billing. We had put a $1,000 USD deposit down to hold the space for our event. When we were paying at the end of the evening, Mauricio couldn’t find the record of the deposit, so we had to put $1,000 down again. Of course, Ashley handled this so I didn’t have to worry about it. We have been in touch with Mauricio after he found the receipt and admitted that they owe us money, but we are still waiting on the wire refund…I think we’ll have to get Tara involved and see if she can light a fire under him and get our money back. Important: Make sure and take ALL documentation of payments with you to Cabo (for all vendors). If I had thought about printing out the wire receipt from April, it wouldn’t have been a problem. I should give Mi Casa a C because of this issue, but we had too good a time to grade them as average.

    Sound Rental: Joaquin De la Torre, Deja-Vu Promotions
    Grade: A
    While I didn’t have any contact with Joaquin, Ashley and the band had several communications in order to make sure our band had all of the equipment they needed. Joaquin was very professional when we met during the final walkthrough and the band had exactly what they needed, and enjoyed working with him.

    Transportation: Terramar
    Grade: A
    We used Terramar, but booked all transportation through Tara. Our drivers were courteous and funny, Paco especially. I didn’t have any complaints from our guests about the transports, but I know there were a few mix-ups (mainly due to the fact that our guests got caught up in the timeshare salesmen at the airport, or exited through the regular exit, not the groups exit). I would use them again, they were wonderful to work with, and did a great job. I believe they also provided the buses we used for our trip to Mi Casa, and that was easy as well. Very clean vehicles, all cars/buses had something like “Jill & Ryan’s Wedding” on it so we would recognize it. Great service.

    1.) If you can manage to go a bit early (a day or two) to Cabo, do it. It was worth it to me to have everything organized ahead of time, which allowed me to relax and spend time with my guests once they arrived.

    2.) I am so glad I hired a planner. I don’t know what I would have done during the weekend w/o Ashley and Tara. All of those things that come up, they handled, and at the reception, Ashley would come over to me every now and then with my lipstick, give me the time, tell me what was going to happen next, etc. I never had to worry about anything.

    3.) If you’re going to buy beer and might give some to your friends, fill up your cart, and if it looks like a lot of beer, buy more! I cannot believe how much beer we consumed, and it goes quickly! Same with bottled water.

    4.) Do your research. Obviously, if you’re reading this, you are a detail-oriented person already since you found BDW! But I spent a lot of time researching, reading reviews and posts, etc and it totally paid off. Knowing what vendors I wanted to use, their history, their pricing ahead of time, etc kept me sane and I was able to secure competitive rates.

    5.) If you’re having a larger wedding and doing a buffet, make sure and have a sweetheart table for the two of you. We were able to sit down and enjoy dinner with each other, without having to walk around and make sure everyone was ok, and we truly enjoyed sitting at our table and watching our guests have a great time. It was nice to see them all enjoying themselves.

    6.) Double-check and reconfirm everything! Bring as much documentation as you can with you to Cabo, room reservations & confirmations, etc. In the end, being detailed paid off, I caught several mistakes that FA made on our Master Account and I was able to avoid some headaches. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the documentation for the Mi Casa deposit, which I regret.

    7.) Take some medication with you! I ended up catching a parasite in Cabo that decided to show up on our honeymoon in Belize a week later. Fortunately, it didn’t make me too sick until I got back home, but it did enough damage that I wasn’t 100% on my honeymoon which I regret. Now anytime I travel to Mexico I’ll take the two prescriptions with me just in case. After traveling to Cabo for over 8 years or so, this is the first time I’ve gotten sick, but I’ll be more prepared next time.

    8.) Don’t sweat the small stuff. Honestly, no one cares as much about your wedding as you do, and it took me a while to really understand that, but once I did, I had a great time with it all. The details of course make the event unique and truly “you” but no one will know whether your first choice in band wasn’t available, or that the cake is the wrong shade of pink (those are just examples, and not related to our wedding at all!)

    9.) Hire a videographer. I am so glad we did, because the wedding flew by and it starts to fade immediately. I cannot wait to watch our video and see all of the things that I missed.

    10.) Bring $2 bills when you bring cash instead of $1’s. Honestly, those $1 bills can be quite a stack, so we bring $2 to cut the stack in half, plus the locals love them!

    11.) Have a blast! At some point, you just have to let it all go. Realize that whatever gets done will be great, and all of those other things don’t matter. Relax, look around, and enjoy every minute of it!


    If you’ve noticed, I had mainly A’s on the vendor reviews, with the exception of two. Our wedding was absolutely perfect. I know people always say, it’s not going to be perfect, but really, it was. Ryan & I keep talking about it and reliving it, and we try to find things that we might have changed/wish it would have gone differently/etc to help with future couples, and we cannot. The only complaint we have was about the construction on the highway! Our guests were blown away by the wedding, most of our friends have already talked about organizing another trip next year with us all, and even my dad wants to do a yearly party for fun since we had such a great time. That’s exactly what we wanted – our favorite people all together in one place to celebrate together. In the end, I could not have imagined a better weekend, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

    I could not have done this all without the forum, BDW really did save my wedding, so I thank all of you for your help, opinions, reviews, pictures, etc. This is a wonderful place and I am so happy to be a part of it! My friends were so interested in the Traveling Starfish too, they thought it was a great story, and I cannot wait to pass it along to the next lucky bride. And feel free to ask any questions or PM me if you want more info about something. I have obviously been super detailed in this, but hopefully it’ll help future brides!

    #2 Jackie

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      Posted 09 December 2007 - 06:27 PM

      great review, I love the tips at the end. Sounds like you had an amazing wedding.
      My Dreams Cabo Wedding Review

      #3 cheese_diva

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        Posted 09 December 2007 - 06:31 PM

        Great review! I'm so glad everything turned out so wonderful! I can't wait to see photos!
        <a href="http://lilypie.com/"><img src="http://lb2f.lilypie.com/Yg4Cm8.png" width="400" height="80" border="0" alt="Lilypie Second Birthday tickers" /></a>

        #4 CourtneyV

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          Posted 09 December 2007 - 06:39 PM

          Wow!! I think that's the longest review BDW has ever seen!! lol. I love how much thought and detail went into your wedding - your guests will be talking about this wedding for years!

          Out of curiousity (and maybe I missed it somewhere), how many guests did you have??

          Also, you mentioned that you'd attach your ceremony that Ryan wrote (plus some cutting and pasting! lol). I'd love to see it!

          Congratulations Jill - you looked stunning!! When you get your video, are you going to share some (or all) of it with us?!! :)
          Happily Married since May 9, 2008
          Proud Mama to Evelyn Eileen since June 8, 2010

          #5 MsShelley


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            Posted 09 December 2007 - 06:47 PM

            looks great! I love the colors you had, so beautiful!

            #6 jak27

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              Posted 09 December 2007 - 07:06 PM

              Originally Posted by CourtneyV
              Wow!! I think that's the longest review BDW has ever seen!! lol. I love how much thought and detail went into your wedding - your guests will be talking about this wedding for years!

              Out of curiousity (and maybe I missed it somewhere), how many guests did you have??

              Also, you mentioned that you'd attach your ceremony that Ryan wrote (plus some cutting and pasting! lol). I'd love to see it!

              Congratulations Jill - you looked stunning!! When you get your video, are you going to share some (or all) of it with us?!! :)
              Thanks Courtney! Yeah, the review took a while to write, but I like to be detailed, so wanted to capture it all!

              We had 85 guests and I totally forgot to attach the ceremony. Thanks! Here it is! And of course, I'll share pics and video when we get them both!



              Attached Files

              #7 Jtds2713

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                Posted 09 December 2007 - 07:16 PM

                Great review Jill! I am so glad you had a wonderful wedding! Congratulations again to you! We are all looking forward to your pictures!


                #8 MikkiStreak

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                  Posted 09 December 2007 - 07:41 PM

                  OMG Jill---- I just sat here reading and thinking "Damn, I want to be a guest at a wedding like that!" That was amazing with all the things you had planned for the guests, but even more amazing was all the "events" of the reception. I can't wait to see your pictures!!!

                  #9 ~Melissa~


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                  • Wedding Date:October 7, 2010
                  • Wedding Location:Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico
                  • LocationUtah

                  Posted 09 December 2007 - 08:40 PM

                  Jill I'm so happy for you. That table with your colors looks very cool and I love the idea of the cigar roller, how awesome is that idea. Fab review!

                  #10 jajajaja

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                    Posted 09 December 2007 - 10:12 PM

                    Wow. Your wedding was fabulous! Have I missed the pictures? I tried to look for them before and haven't found them.
                    Happily married since 2008

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