My daughter's wedding and reception were held oceanfront at the Fairmont Mayakoba in Riviera Maya, Mexico. We could not have had a more beautiful venue with a more gracious and professional staff and management.
We had a total of about eighty guests, and the weekend started on Thursday night with a tequila tasting for our early arrivals. This was followed by a welcome party on Friday night after most of our guests had arrived. These events were held on the resort's Terraza Lawn, and from there, we had sweeping views across the Fairmont's eco-friendly environment down to the ocean. The wedding took place on the beach, and the reception was held in the adjoining Las Brisas. restaurant. We did not opt for a Sunday brunch as most people don't like going to them after a night of partying and we were not goign to "trash the dress!"
I hope I don't sound too overly positive in my vendor and venue reviews, but I can honestly say that I would not have changed a thing. The vendors did their jobs well, and we were very happy with the outcome.
Ajalon Printing makes letterpress affordable and the service here is impeccable. Trish Jackson was a pleasure to work with, and so patient! We were able to design our own invitations, and the result was exactly as we had envisioned. We worked under tight deadlines, and Trish and Ajalon delivered. The quality here is upscale and the paper is the same used on more expensive sites. We also used Ajalon for our "day of" pieces, printed in another printing style and another paper, and the bride and groom, who had high standards on paper quality, were very happy with Ajalon's products!
Once a bride has her dress, she knows how her wedding will come together. Kleinfeld's made the process so easy for us. I did not know anything about this legendary bridal retailer, but learned very quickly that we were in the right place. What was intended to be a exploratory visit was over within the first hour. We had "the dress!" Because of the professionalism of our consultant, Diane, the second dress my daughter tried on was the one we purchased. Diane zeroed in on my daughter's style, and we didn't waste time on dresses that would not have worked. The alterations department did an excellent job fitting the dress, and the whole experience was professional, personal and a treasured memory.
Vanessa came to us with high recommendations, and she more than met our expectations. One thing to keep in mind when planning a destination wedding is that you are in a beautiful place, and you don't have to do too much. We were in an eco-friendly environment, and Vanessa's arrangements complimented the surroundings. The wedding site was similar to the second picture in Vanessa's slide show. She added texture and definition to the oceanfront setting, but did not distract from expanse of being by the sea. Our guests remarked on how stunning the table arrangements were in their simplicity and elegance. "Low and lush" was the look we wanted, and Vanessa delivered. Keeping candles lit on the beach is not easy, and Vanessa used small hurricanes wrapped in a banana leaf for a lovely affect.
A suggestion to brides getting married in Mexico, use Mexican house number tiles for your table numbers. I actually saw this on Martha Stewart's website, and it worked beautifully. We used three dimensional tiles for more texture, and these were simply leaned against the glass vases.
This online vendor is located in Texas, and I am so happy that we found them. We used Gracious Bridal for our cocktail napkins, guest towels and beverage stirrers, and Audrey was a delight to work with. As a graphic, we used a two letter Edwardian Script monogram (great ampersand; it looks like a flourish!), and GB was able to replicate it onto the embossed linen-like napkins, towels and wooden beverage stirrers without us having to pay custom set up fees. The quality of the products here was excellent, and delivery was amazingly swift.
Big Bang provided us the a string trio for for the ceremony. It was the perfect compliment to the tranquility of our oceanfront setting. We did not have a rehearsal, and the timing of the music in relation to the ceremony was perfect. These were professionals, and we were very pleased with their performance.
This company can provide other music styles, so keep them on your vendor list.
My daughter's wedding ceremony was non-denominational, and our resort's coordinator suggested Kiko. His service was so moving and appropriate to the couple that our guests thought he had known them before the wedding. The wedding, however, is where they met, and his words were perfect. Kiko has a warm and joyful nature, and I don't think we could have found anyone better had we tried!
A tip to destination brides, have a "clinical" legal ceremony at home so that you know that your license is properly recorded and exchange your vows and rings in a meaningful ceremony in front of family and friends. It's complicated to get everything in order your home country, and afterward, there no confusion as to where the commitment in marriage took place.
You're already on this site, but I have to compliment what it has to offer and how we were able to use it. Here is an email that I sent to WM thanking them for their product.
"I found your
site after the invitations went out, but thereafter, WM made things so
easy. My daughter, her fiance, his family and I live in different locations. Through the user name and password feature, everyone was able to view the replies as they came in to me. Further, we
were all able to work on the seating chart separately. This was
helpful as none of us knew every guest and could not group the parties
on our own. The link between the replies and seating chart made sure
that no guest was forgotten, and the feature that kept parties
together simplified the process
Best yet, your site allowed us to arrange the tables on the seating
chart to comply with the information we received from the resort. We
had different shaped tables, round and rectangular, and different
numbers of guests at each table. This wasn't simple. The night
before the wedding, I was able to give the resort's planners access to
our plan, they executed it, and I spent probably fifteen minutes total
addressing the issue once we were in Mexico. I didn't have to make
changes to the seating plan, and our escort cards were sorted before
we left home. This was also helpful to the florist as the
arrangements were determined by the shape of the table. I know
everyone was pleased with how smoothly this process went, and it was
all thanks to Wedding Mapper.
Thank you for making one of the most stressful parts of planning a
wedding so easy!"
Jennifer Gillespie is a very talented calligrapher, and her "bold" style, as I would describe it, was perfect for our invitations. She fills up the envelope, and we loved it!
Jennifer does an amazing number of lettering styles, and fortunately, our Edwardian Script font was among them. The result for our invitations was stunning, and Jennifer worked with us under last minute, "panic" circumstances. Our calligraphers had fallen through, my daughter wanted Edwardian Script calligraphy, and we had a short time before the invitations had to be in the mail. Jennifer is an online vendor who just happened to be close to our hometown, and we were so fortunate to find her. She was a star in how she delivered for us on the invitations, and she has received business through our guests who received the invitations.
My only disappointment was her performance on the escort card lettering. We were using a partial palm tree graphic shadowed in the the background behind the written table numbers. These cards were then inserted into envelopes. The envelopes were perfect, but at least 80% of the insert cards were done upside down with the trunk pointer upward. I had sent her the proof from Ajalon printing so this should have been clear. The fact that the cards were lettered in both directions indicated that Jennifer was not paying attention. I was not upset that our original design was not going to work, and I came up with an alternative design. Jennifer refused to rectify the situation and to redo the card. She also made an error on the zip code on my daughter's invitation envelope, promised us the correction with the escort card delivery, and I've never received that envelope.
Jennifer is an amazingly talented artist, and I just think that her business has grown to the point where it has become overwhelming. There were personal issues also coming into play, but you have to work through those in business. I would still recommend Calligraphy by Jennifer with a one star reservation.
We brought Henry Chan and his assistant with us from NYC, and we don't have the pics yet. Just wait! we've seen previews.
Henry was delight to have in our company, and he was unobtrusive in his style. I'll post pictures for Henry and our vendors when we have them.
Brides, you don't want to skimp on your choice of photographers. Everything else that you do will be lost if you don't have good pictures. Bringing Henry with us was not that costly.
I have never stayed anywhere where I felt that the management and staff were all so genuine in their efforts to make sure we and our guests were happy. They were the most sincere and truly gracious people I have met anywhere...and we travel!
The wedding and accompanying events could not have gone better. The Fairmont is an eco-friendly resort that has won environmental awards for it stewardship and design. It spreads out through mango forests and a network of lagoons. Frequent golf carts transport guests throughout this massive landscape, and boats move people through the waterways. Bicycles are available for guests use. This is not a typical resort, and our 80+ guests were delighted to have the opportunity to enjoy the wedding in such a unique environment. The food was fabulous, both in the resort's three restaurants and for the reception and welcome parties. Our guests were very happy with the quality, and we had guests from New York, Chicago and LA who are used to fine dining! The seafood, especially, was a star for its freshness, and the chefs were willing to vary from the menu to create custom selections.
All of our events were staged to perfection, and we could not have been happier with the outcome! Thanks to the Fairmont Mayakoba management and staff for this wonderful memory.
Click on each tool to see a sample.