Our wedding was absolutely amazing! If you are doubting yourself on having a destination wedding, or on choosing Cartagena as a location, don't think about it twice. Obviously, every couple has different priorities and needs; but Cartagena, Colombia makes the perfect setting for a wedding.
Here are a few things to know about our wedding, so that you can see if my reviews are relevant to your wedding planning:
* My wedding was a same sex wedding. Having a Gay wedding in a different country is a little scary and overwhelming. However, there is nothing to be scared about. Same sex marriages are legal in Colombia (obviously not a Catholic ceremony) but it's legal nonetheless. Everyone was awesome to us and the vendors did a great job to pleased us; if anything, I felt as if they were stepping up their game b/c we wanted perfection to every detail. No exceptions!
* Our wedding was very intimate. 30 guests. Yes, very small! While it was the single hardest thing to do as far as picking who to invite; it all worked out. We wanted our immediate family and closest closest friends. At the end of the day, what was important to us was to really be able to spend quality time with each and everyone one of our guests. And that is exactly what we did.
* If you think you can have a 80-100 guest wedding with $40K; think again and change the location! It will not happen! We spent more way more than that with just 30 guests. Again, it all depends on what you do, the activities you have and the quality of things you choose. Cartagena is very expensive and the minute to say the word "W" for wedding, everyone's eyes open. Make sure you negotiate for everything!
Here are the vendors we used... hopefully they will be helpful for you when choosing your vendors!
There are not enough STARS here to rate our photographer!
Rocio was simply AMAZING! In every possible way. Here is a note, we sent her after our wedding...
"Rocio.... we wanted to take a moment to send you a quick note to THANK YOU for doing such a beautiful and amazing job with our wedding pictures. Choosing a photographer for us was the most difficult task of planning our destination wedding and we could have not been happier with the results of your final work.
As you know, we looked for photographer's in Colombia and here in the United States; however, from the minute we looked at your blog pictures, we absolutely felt in love with your work. And while we thought it was a long shot to be able to work with a photographer in Spain, when we lived in New York City and the wedding was in Cartagena Colombia, I have to say that it was your personable and friendly approach and the professionalism that you showed us from the very first time we spoke on Skype. Your creativity and positive outlook about everything really translated in every single picture you took. Not to mention that we had the pleasure to have you shoot not only our wedding day but also the two pre-wedding activities and the post wedding pictures; and every day you were as excited and as creative as you were on the first day.
Thank you for making us feel so comfortable during the entire weekend. I know that this was your first same sex wedding, which was something that also had us concerned when choosing a photographer. However, this was never an issue for you and if anything, you went above and beyond your call of duty to make us and our guests feel extremely comfortable even when we were in South American territory.
Again, we do not have enough words to say thank you for capturing every single second of our magical weekend just as it happened..."
Rocio resides in Madrid, Spain. However, don't let this stop you from looking into her. Her work is amazing and she travels all around the world doing what she loves!
HIGHY HIGHLY RECOMMEND HER!
Monica was AMAZING!!! For us the most important thing about our wedding was the food. Monica and her team delivered on point. From the tastings to the wedding day, Monica was GREAT. She also went to the wedding location a few times before to make sure that I was happy with how the set up was going to be. She was extremely approachable, friendly and professional. She is not inexpensive...but it's worth every single penny.
We did not do a sit down dinner. Who does those any more? We had a cocktail setting where everyone was talking and mingling. It was almost as if the food became another one of of our guests... very interactive setting. Highly recommend Monica and her team. The food was beyond delicious, her drinks are on point (must have the limonada con coco!) and the service phenomenal.
Styles and Flowers was a good vendor. The only reason they only get 3 stars from me is b/c I was promised a "live size canoe" for my cheviche station and instead I got a MINIATURE canoe... and that really upset me b/c that was not the agreement. But then again, you can't really do much on the day of your wedding... so you just move on and enjoy your day. That being said; my wedding planners recommended Styles and Flowers as a more inexpensive option due to the fact that they were "New comers" in the industry.
Here is the thing though, for us, decorations were NOT our main priority. We felt that the fact we were in Cartagena and in an OLD colonial home, there was no much need for too much more. So flowers and more flowers were not our thing. We went for rustic and elegant look. And Candles galore! It was perfect!
EXCELLENT! Our wedding cake was ON POINT! I gave them a picture of the cake I wanted and they replicated it exactly!
We opted for a "Trilogy" of flavors... since we couldn't decide on our favorite flavor. It was perfect as it also went along with our theme of "tapas" Our guests LOVE the cake bite size s and having 3 different flavors of desert. The presentation was amazing too!
Victor was great! I didn't even think we were going to need stage lighting... but you DO! It's a must! Make sure you get good lighting. Victor provided great service and was attentive to our requests.
DJ Victor and Victor Cervantes (from lighting) is the same company. We opted to not have a band due to the size of our party. However, we gave victor a list of MUST play songs and he played them all. The music was AMAZING; but then again, it was all music we requested... so overall he did a fantastic job playing exactly what we wanted.
We also had the "Hora Loca" ... "Crazy Hour". This is definitely a MUST! It's a nice little surprise for your guests; especially in our case since 99% of our guests were Americans.
Our wedding was at Casa Fernandez de Madrid. This house was AMAZING! I can't get over it... exactly what we wanted it. I must say that they need better pictures of the property though; b/c I was very concerned with they pictures I had seen... however; those pictures do not do justice. This is like an OLD Colonial mansion. From the architecture to the furniture... it was really breathtaking. The venue was perfect for our wedding and our needs. However, if you have more than 40 guests, this venue is not for you.
We also stayed at this house and some of our guests stayed here... it was a BLAST! The staff cooked breakfast for us in the mornings... it was amazing! on the last night, we also had a BBQ on the terrace... and people really had a great time. ANd those are the little things people remember the most! LOVE this venue!
The one thing I would do if I was the management company would be to invest in good and high end products such as shampoos, conditioner, soaps, etc. Other than that... awesome venue!
Bodas Caribe Cordial was our wedding planners. The company is run by Juan Camilo and Daniela. Also, Vanessa is part of their team and helps them with everything they have going on. Both Juan Camilo and Daniela were great. And part of the reason our wedding weekend was so amazing is b/c of all the hard work they put into our wedding. They really do have great ideas and helped with negotiating better deals with vendors, etc. They know the business inside out and really know what they are doing. Both JC and Daniela are very approachable and b/c they are doing what they love to do, they were very passionate about helping plan our perfect day!
The only reason why I am giving my wedding planners 4 stars is b/c I feel that I did not get the attention I should have gotten once I got to Cartagena. I did all the planning via online with JC and Daniela... however; once I got to Cartagena is was mainly Vanessa (their assistant) who was the most helpful and was with us the whole time. While I understand that my wedding was "small", and not to sound too "bridezilla" but it should have been the #1 priority of the week. Instead, they also were attending to other couples who were there visiting & planning future weddings. My advice and constructive criticism to Daniela & JC is not to forget that costumer service is beyond important ... and while the did have everything under control... it is a little stressful on the couple getting married to not see them in everything going on.
If I had to do it all over again... I will still hire Bodas Caribe Cordial. They did an amazing job and everything was perfect... just don't forget to make sure you give your 150% to the wedding couple during that week... everyone else, can wait! :)
We used this company for our CHIVA NIGHT. We did a welcome activity for our guests the first night everyone got there... I would NOT recommend this company. We had a private Chiva... their bus was broken and we lost a lot of time waiting until this company sent another chiva. It was quiet ridiculous. Obviously, everyone was having a great time and thought this was hysterical (not so much for me) but it was funny and we got some great pictures of our guests pushing the chiva for it to start.
While it was funny for my guests it was certainly not funny for me. I was embarrassed and stressed out. And they did not seem like they gave a $*it about it. Anyway... a great activity to do... but definitely go with another company!
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