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We're planning our wedding in Cuba

After 13 years and 19 trips as a couple to Cuba Brad put a diamond ring in my new year’s eve exploding “cracker” and we’re plotting the wedding for the week of January 5, 2015 at the Brisas Guardalavaca. We would have preferred either Jibacoa (Villas/Cameleon) but it can be cold that time of year, Trinidad/Cienfuegos (Playa Ancon) but the only flights listed are through Santa Clara, or Santiago (Brisas Sierra Mar) but the hotel has been going downhill lately and I never heard back from the email I sent to the hotel and there’s that awful long bumpy ride from the airport. Each of these resorts have drawbacks. Also, each of these is a smaller 3 star hotel that might not have pleased some of our more discriminating guests :wink: We settled on the Brisas, although we’ve never been to that hotel, because they seem to know about weddings, the beach is nice, it’s a 4 star so the picky eaters should be happier, and you can get there from many gateway cities in Canada. Our problem is that the posted prices for next January so far are very high and we think they will deter people. Should we recommend that folks wait until later in the year to book, or do folks think that prices will just rise? Have you ever been to a destination wedding in Cuba or elsewhere and how long before the ceremony did you book? We need final numbers by the first week in December; when should we start harassing people?

Thanks all!

Theresa

Sorry Theresa, I can’t help you with the resort wedding questions but I do want to say CONGRATULATIONS on the upcoming wedding.

Surprised you and Brad aren’t planning an underwater exchange of vows!

That question might get a better answer from LoonyLou over on TA as Brisas G is her 2nd home :sunglasses:

First off congrats.
You could not pick a better spot for a wedding. They do it up first class. The bride arrives in a horse and carriage with the ocean as a backdrop and a little champagne to boot.The staff there are second to none.
The resort has 6 alla-cartes and 2 buffets. There is a party side and a quiet side food is best we have had in Cuba. Should suit all your guests whatever mood they are in. It will be a great week and a perfect wedding.
Prices are a roll of the dice but you could pay a lot more for a lot less. You still have lots of time you could keep an eye on them for a bit.

Thanks folks! For the advice and the congrats… We did debate exchanging vows underwater, but would have needed a scuba-certified notary. And only a handful of the guests could witness it. :wink: However, I did have custom dive hats made up that say “Just Married” on the top and “… now I’m going scuba diving!” on the bottom. They’re white :wink:

We’re debating going for a cheap week in May or June to check the place out and so we’re repeaters for the actual event. We’ve been to the Amigo next door in 2006 and Playa Pesquero in 2011 and oddly had the same complaint about both of them, which is that they’re too big and we didn’t really get to know anyone. Brisas Guardalavaca seems a bit smaller, and thus more our speed.

We didn’t dive the first time because of weather, but we did in 2011. I have to say that the dive op (blue marlin) rates as the second worst we’ve been to in Cuba, mostly because they weren’t very helpful or accommodating in terms of getting gear to and from the boat (one knee replacement down, one to go). Does anyone know if Eagle Ray is any better on that front?

First of all theresaandbrad CONGRATULATIONS … it was time to get married after so many years :slight_smile: and you picked nice hotel for your wedding Brisas Guardalavaca! Regarding your question on prices prices January 5th 2015 is the day when kids go back to school I guess as that is Monday. Is your vending scheduled on that exact day or that week? I am asking because usually when school starts deals get much cheaper. For example Christmas and New Year week is very expensive and just a few days after that prices drop a lot. So if your guests can travel on January 5th and after that I am sure they will be able to find some great deals later on but if they have to travel before January 5th mostly because of New Year prices can be high. If your wedding is on 5th maybe than all of you should go on December 30th to Brisas Guardalavaca and stay till January 6th that way you can celebrate New Year and your wedding. Usually for New Year and Christmas food is much better than other time of the year!

We picked the first week of January because it’s usually the cheapest week of the high season and when we polled our friends/family with kids they agreed it would be less of a problem to keep them out after the holidays an extra week than to take them out in April or May (which is also less expensive). We will likely hold the ceremony on the 7th to give guests from all over a chance to arrive and settle a bit before the big day, but we’ll fly out on the 3rd to set things up. We’ll be going for 2 weeks. Many guests will fly on the 3rd though, and you’re right, the prices are a little better leaving on the 10th. Folks we asked said that week was getting to be too far into January because they wouldn’t be going back until the 17th. We often go for new years and in 2012 we went for Christmas and New Years. It is true that I have noticed the food is not always as good after the holidays, but I hoped that wouldn’t be as much of a problem at a 4 star as it has been at the 3 star hotels… We might have to consider the week of the 10th if the prices don’t drop though. We’d been hoping to see garden view hotel rooms close to $1,000/per person for a week out of Toronto…

I like the idea of you slipping down there for a week if the price is right. It will give you a chance to get the feel of the place and to meet some of the staff you will be dealing with for your wedding plans.
Get some pictures to show your quests what the place is like. At the very least you would be more prepared for making the arrangements when the wedding day arrives.

I just went to front page of Debbie’s http://www.debbiescaribbeanresortreviews.com and I used search box to look for the hotels in Holguin and I found Brisas for $884 tax included all inclusive deal and flight is on January 5th! I think this is great price and it is with WestJet so you might consider that if you desire to have great price for your guests

Theresa, in case you haven’t found it, here’s the link to Lyn’s (LooneyLou) Brisas G website.
http://brisas.beep.com/brisas.htm

Good choice for a budget resort. I will be there in May.

Weddings at Brisas are free, you only have to pay for the Notary services (approx.400 CUC) The Horse and carriage come at extra cost 20/25CUC.

Included In The Package Free of Charge:-

  • A mini reception after the ceremony where cake and sparkling wine are served
  • Dinner reception in one of our a la carte restaurants on the wedding night
  • Upgrade to a mini-suite room (subject to availability)
  • Translator and witnesses (if necessary)
  • Decoration of the wedding location within the hotel grounds (location to be chosen by the couple)
  • Live Music by the hotel band
  • Honeymoon service (selected fruits, flowers, bottle of Cuban Liquor, dinner for two, late check-out)
  • Wedding certificate (legalized by the Cuban Foreign Affairs Office and the respective Embassy)
  • Bridal Bouquet and boutonniere for the Groom
  • 12 Photographs and CD with wedding pictures
  • Continental breakfast the next morning served in your room

[quote=@southerncomfort]Weddings at Brisas are free, you only have to pay for the Notary services (approx.400 CUC) The Horse and carriage come at extra cost 20/25CUC.

Included In The Package Free of Charge:-

  • A mini reception after the ceremony where cake and sparkling wine are served
  • Dinner reception in one of our a la carte restaurants on the wedding night
  • Upgrade to a mini-suite room (subject to availability)
  • Translator and witnesses (if necessary)
  • Decoration of the wedding location within the hotel grounds (location to be chosen by the couple)
  • Live Music by the hotel band
  • Honeymoon service (selected fruits, flowers, bottle of Cuban Liquor, dinner for two, late check-out)
  • Wedding certificate (legalized by the Cuban Foreign Affairs Office and the respective Embassy)
  • Bridal Bouquet and boutonniere for the Groom
  • 12 Photographs and CD with wedding pictures
  • Continental breakfast the next morning served in your room
    [/quote]

This is excellent firsthand reply! While I visited Brisas I would see all settings for weddings and it really did look nice. Do not forget that you will have to translate wedding documents as well once you come to Canada to prove that you got married in Cuba. Thank you @southerncomfort for your reply.

[quote=@southerncomfort]Weddings at Brisas are free, you only have to pay for the Notary services (approx.400 CUC)

[/quote]Not raining on the idea at all just making an observation that the notary fees are a tad high.

I only paid less than US $100 in El Salvador for the notary which included all the paperwork, 5 pages, 3 copies. [attachment id=“242” thumbnail=“1”]

Doctor recently got a pay raise to + - $ 80.00 a month

Doctors salary Cuba :::

Please guys lets stay on topic wedding in Cuba for @theresaandbrad as she needs more info. If you want to discuss salaries in Cuba open a new thread.

thanks

Thanks for all the information folks! We’re actually going to do city hall in Canada the week before because it will cost about $1,300 to translate Brad’s divorce decree. We’re going to do the symbolic service but not tell anybody. I don’t think we need the notary. But we still want them to read the Cuban marriage code; Brad thinks it will mean I have to start doing half the housework :wink:

Theresa: that’s a good one. I’d pay for 1/2 the housework done by DH. I do it all; his job is mowing the grass; won’t touch the snow, says it will melt sooner or later - I just don’t like waiting until July for this mess to melt.

I do all of it except the cooking. I’m actually pretty happy about the division of labour most of the time, but last year when I had my left knee replaced I had to beg Brad to do some things he doesn’t normally do. Now whenever I ask him for something he responds by asking if I want a bon bon with that. Or whether he should peel me a grape :wink:
BTW, great call on the cheap West Jet flights; I think some of our folks are going to book them. The only problem with them is that the whole thing is due right away.
Still, it’s starting to feel real now…