My son got married at Brisas Guardalavaca this year in February. There were 23 of us (bride’s family, groom’s family and a few friends of bride and groom). Since my son and his wife wanted to keep their wedding simple and fun, there was no big effort to have any formal rehearsal get-together, etc. However, it seems to me that the whole week consisted of lots of fun get-togethers (groups meeting for lunch or supper, everyone meeting at the 24 hour bar and grill late at night, groups doing excursions together, etc.).
We arrived on a Saturday but the wedding wasn’t until the following Thursday. The meeeting on Monday with the wedding planner took less than 30 minutes. Other than that, there was no rehearsal. The wedding planner met the bride about 20 minutes before the ceremony (to make sure the horse and buggy carried her to the beach wedding site on time, etc.). The groom was told to show up about 5 minutes before the ceremony.
The groom moved to the best man’s room the morning of the wedding (to change into his wedding clothes, etc.). Then the men in the wedding party played poker to pass the time until the actual ceremony. The bride and her attendants had hair and nail appointments, etc. so no poker for them!
They did have their wedding reception in the evening at the Italian a la carte. They brought their own guest book and pen, a few candles, and small wedding favours for the table but that was it. There were the usual speeches given during the meal. The area outside of the restaurant is very pretty and quite private so they did have the traditional throwing of the garter and bride’s bouquet there after the wedding meal.
There was a pre-wedding stag/stagette evening planned for Tuesday night which was the “Booze Cruise” (sorry, can’t remember the official name). It is best to plan something like that at least two days before the wedding. It was mainly for the young (or the young-at-heart) although everyone was welcome.
There was a post-wedding excursion “swim with the dolphins” the day after the wedding.
Did I mention that the 3 pm beach marriage ceremony and wedding was perfect? It was a warm and sunny day but with a slight breeze. The wedding area was nicely decorated and had comfotable chairs for the guests. The resort quartet played before and after the service. There were lots of on-lookers but they kept their distance and did not intrude. It was exactly what my son and his wife had hoped for and the entire wedding party enjoyed a great week. The bride and groom went with an open mind and I think that helps (eg. regarding color or type of flowers available, etc). They felt like they were treated like royalty by the staff there. My daughter-in-law said she felt like a princess and wanted to continue wearing her wedding dress all evening long. Throughout the resort, people clapped when she entered the room, little girls wanted their photo taken with her, etc.
The only hitch that I can think of was that the photos included in the wedding package (which is free at Brisas Guardalavaca) were of poor quality. However, they had made arrangements for other photos to be taken and so that was really a non-issue for them. However, it might be something to consider for other weddings (ie. have a backup photographer).
My son and his wife know they made the right decision for their wedding - it suited them perfectly. They received their marriage certificate about 3 months after the wedding.
Hope this helps.