Post # 63
Congratulations. I am currently planning a wedding in Puerto Rico for Feb 2014. I spent 5 months planning the wedding in San Juan before deciding to have the wedding in Vieques so feel free to message me with any questions. I also know the island very well, its like my second home.
Both are beautiful hotels. I was leaning towards the caribe hilton because we wanted an outdoor wedding. The beaches in San Juan are public so when having a beach wedding, the guests are literally right next to you lying out…lol. La concha has a semi-private area set up to mimic a beach wedding with sand and everthing a little off of the beach but you still run into the problem of people on the beach walking behind the set up and possibly being in your pictures. Having the wedding in May will help with some of that because its not the peak season but that was a concern that I had in Feb which is right in the peak of their high season. Caribe hilton has an outdoor area that faces the water but it isnt on sand, you may still have some guests around watching the wedding but they wont be in your pictures and you will have the ocean back drop. When speaking to the hotels be sure to find out which options are still available for your plan B. Puerto Rico in May is a little rainy…so if your first choice is outside there is some risk that you may have rain and you dont want your ceremony in a conference room. If they have booked the other rooms and you dont want to use your reception area they may put you in a meeting room so be sure to discuss this with the hotel so you know and wont be disappointed.
We initially had a budget of 10k and were shooting for about 50 guests. We found that it was more realistic to set the budget closer to 15k for that number. Many of the banquet rooms at the hotel have a room minimum of over $10k and the hotels charge at least a 20% service charge on top of everything and the service fee does not count towards the minimum. You have some room to play around with the bar and meal options if you are trying to stay within your budget. If you really want to stick with your budget, be open to a wedding on a sunday or weekday where the room minimums are lower. With it being a destination many of your guests will be taking a day or two off from work anyways for travel and a Sunday wedding wont be as inconvenient as if you were home.
The other thing I would strongly recommend is at least day of coordination if not hiring a wedding planner to assist with everything. Unlike many other destinations where the hotels come with packages that include flowers, decor, cakes…in PR, you really have to piece it all together. I found that getting callbacks and responsiveness can sometimes be difficult with some of the vendors. I work full time so I had to hire someone to help me who was there and could really get things done. Day of coordination usually starts around 1k.
Lisa Rodrigues is a highly recommended planner in San Juan.
The music factory has some great djs – 787-283-8944
Hopefully this helps…Good luck and happy planning 🙂
Post # 64
Thanks so much for your feedback. You mentioned some really great points and have some good advice. I thought I was in the clear since Hurricane season is from June – November, but I did not realize that May was the beginning of the rainy season. I am a little worried now. 🙁
I really liked Caribe Hilton’s private beach, but wasn’t to happy with the room they had for the reception. Also, when I asked about a plan B area for the ceremony they weren’t able to confirm a space. She could only guarantee another indoor space, but said that it could be in a hallway or a conference room which was a bit of a turn off for me. I loved the atmosphere and hip feel of La Concha, but wasn’t as in love with the ceremony site as I was at Caribe Hilton, but the reception venue was gorgeous. Hmmm decisions decisions. I am working with both to see which can accomodate my budget and so far Caribe Hilton is a go. I am hoping La Concha is too. We shall see. Where are you getting married in Vieques?
Yes, originally we wanted to marry on a Saturday, but after realizing we would be able to save a couple thousand dollars by having the wedding on a Sunday, we were ready to change that. Thanks for the suggestion about a wedding coordinator. I was thinking of hiring one for the day of. Does Lisa Rodriguez have a website? I will definitely check out the DJ Factory. Do you have a photographer yet?
Post # 65
Yes, Here is Lisa’s website – http://prweddingplanner.blogspot.com/
She is one of the best and highly recommended on the island.
If you are looking for a photographer – David Medina is great. He is so nice and will make you feel very comfortable talking to him. We are going to do a trash the dress with him when we get to San Juan after the wedding.
I ran into the same issues when I was trying to get married in San Juan. I really loved the El San Juan for the reception, they have a very hip room there that I kind of wanted to set up with a night club feel but I struggled with the ceremony location. I was considering the caribe for the ceremony and then go back to el san juan for the reception but that was going to be impossible to book. We even considered one of the forts.
Last year we spent a week in Vieques and loved it so one day out of frustration I started looking into my options there and found that they have all of these private beach villas (mansions) that you can rent…many with their own little piece of beach behind them. After that I was sold. So we have rented a private villa…are having the ceremony on the beach that is basically in the backyard and the reception back at the villa. The downside is getting 50 people to an island that is 8 miles long on ferrys and little puddlejumpers…lol.
I noticed your screen name is jumpingthebroom…are you planning on doing that as part of your ceremony?
Post # 65
- Wedding: March 2013 - Fort Buchanan, PR
Hello ladies! My name is Carla and recently move to the island. Im a wedding photographer and would love to offer my services for those who are planning a small weddings. PM for details. Happy planning!