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  #1  
Old January 23rd, 2013, 10:42 PM
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Default Carnival Pride At-Sea Wedding Review

We just returned from our AMAZING! cruise wedding and are in the process of returning to normal life. If you have questions, we are happy to answer them as we go. We won't delve too much into particular aspects of the cruise (what we ate, what we did, etc.) as much as the wedding itself.


Background Information, Packing Tips and Checking In
We initially booked an embarkation wedding in June 2011, but for a number of reasons decided to change it to an at-sea wedding. At sea-weddings are booked with CCL as vow renewals and you must be married before the ship leaves. This wasn’t a problem for us, as we were one of the first same-sex couples married in MD on New Years Day.

We began planning this shindig in summer of 2011, booked in September 2011, toured the ship January 2012 and cruised a year later. We were initially set to have 30ish people sailing, but in the end 17 booked and 13 (12 adults and one child) ended up boarding the ship—so this was a very intimate wedding. We had 3 guests fly and 2 drive in from out-of-town. Given, that this is Baltimore in January, we kindly asked that they arrive the day before and they kindly agreed. I think this is also a good place to mention that we also packed [and left in the van] a box of lawn and leaf bags, a snow shovel and container of rock salt. We once cruised in 2 feet of snow and weather has been strange this season.



We helped to subsidize the cost of the cruise for our parents and siblings—but in the end four of them didn’t board the ship with us. It was mostly for life-got-in-the-way reasons that cruise insurance wouldn’t have covered. Two weeks before sailing, we were able to do some cabin switching in order to ensure that we had access to the empty cabin (it became the wedding closet) and the Early Saver OBC that we had been applying for on their behalf.

With four people not coming, we knew that we wouldn’t have many hands to help carry on wedding items, so to prepare in advance we decided to pack wedding items in two heavy cardboard boxes. One box had all of the OOT bag items and the other contained the crinolines, silk flowers and thumbprint tree. We then printed several luggage tags and plastered them allover the boxes. We also made the insanely genius decision to purchase a folding garment rack from Bed, Bath & Beyond. Once it went through the X-ray we were able to put it up (took less than a minute) and hang the [very heavy] gowns as we snaked through the check-in lines because we didn’t have priority boarding. I think between all of us there must have been at least 20 suitcases—my brother’s truck and Mum’s van were packed!




The majority of our guests had never sailed before, so to make it easy for them we took care of the paperwork and any Early Saver price-drops that appeared. They gave us their birth certificates or passport information and we handed them plastic cover sheets with a packet of papers at the terminal including their citizenship documents, boarding pass, Camp Carnival paperwork and a bottle of wine.



As part of setting up everyone’s FunPass, we also set up their money accounts as Cash Accounts. If they wanted to change it they took care of it at check-in.

We arrived at approximately 11:30 and couldn’t even see the ship because the fog was so thick. My niece thought it was a ghost ship and couldn’t identify it as a Carnival ship until we were much closer and she could see the whale tail.



We were one of the first cars in the parking lot and once all of the luggage was unloaded everyone had their documents, we were able to start checking-in. My mother is Platinum, so she was able to take my niece to check-in through the VIP line. The rest of us were left to get through security on our own. Getting through took a bit of time because there were so many of us—and Mom forgot to grab her bottle of wine. We had 9 adults and ten bottles of wine at check-in. Even though we had the gowns with us and other wedding accoutrement, security still demanded that my Mom leave my 4-year-old niece and come claim her bottle. I was prepared to just check it and pick it up the last day of the cruise, but my brother had already started to head over to VIP to grab her. Once we set the wedding rack up and everyone got their computers and tablets tucked away, we began the check-in process. We were the first in our party to check-in and once we were done, the lady who directs people where to sit (there are not boarding zones in Baltimore) kindly allowed us to stand and wait for the rest of our group so we could be seated and board together. Check-in was pretty easy for the most part; it just took some time getting everyone checked in and their preferred charging method set-up. We were aboard by 12:55 and after unloading our wedding gowns in our "closet” and requesting our balconies be opened [we booked four together]; our group reunited for lunch.



TIP: If you have a tablet, it might be worthwhile to download a file app so you can sync any wedding docs to the tablet instead of dealing with binders or even a full-size computer. My iPad fit comfortably into my Vera Bradley Hipster and stayed with me for the majority of the cruise. It had important emails that I saved as PDFs, the photography price-list, our contracts and also served as my eReader. I also went through all of our favorite Carnival wedding shots from previous Pride weddings and saved them as reminders of pictures we wanted.
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  #2  
Old January 24th, 2013, 08:28 AM
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Congratulations!!! I wish you a lifetime of happiness filled with making many wonderful memories!!

Gosh the pic of the ship with the snow just does not look right at all lol I'm sure the weather got much nicer thru the rest of your trip
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Old January 24th, 2013, 09:44 AM
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Thanks so much! We didn't have snow on this trip, but we did have loads of fog for the first day!
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Old January 24th, 2013, 09:57 AM
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Activities, Dining, OOT Bags, and Setting up the "Wedding Closet"
We treated this more like a family vacation than our honeymoon so that obviously added a different tone to the cruise. We wanted this to be a relaxing vacation for everyone, so we didn’t pre-plan any activities other than the wedding. We told everyone things that we enjoyed doing and that they were welcome to join us, but didn’t schedule meals or activities short of reminding our group that the early seating of dinner was at 6.

When we were booking, our PVP made sure that our bookings were linked. This made it super-easy when we called Group Dining to set up our tables. They gave us several different table options, but we opted for a table for 8 and one for 7 in the middle of the dining room. We found the first night at dinner, that since four of guests didn’t come, the Maître ‘d seated two people from the waiting list with us, but they decided to move upon finding out that we were a group—I don’t blame them. We pretty much stayed at our assigned tables for most of the cruise, but our wait staff was fine if we moved people around.

After dinner the first night, we returned to the closet to get unpacked and set up the wedding closet. As we mentioned before we had booked four 7A balcony cabins right next to one another.
The open balcony made it super handy to get back and forth and complete wedding projects—like OOT bags!


We packed all of the OOT bag supplies separately and set the bags up that first night. The plan was to deliver them the next morning after meeting the wedding coordinator where we’d find out the date and time for the wedding, but they ended up going out in spurts as we caught up with people.

My brilliant sister gifted most of our guests packs of toiletry items for Christmas (we are a strange family), so we took care of things that we find handy to have on cruises and tend to forget and the cruiselines charge $$$ for:

Tide packs
Small packs of gum
Postcards
Sanitizers
Sunscreen
Personalized coffee mugs
Pads of paper



Finished Product!

The coolest projects we DIYed were the door hangers and the FunTimes themed information packet. We left a space to write in the date and time for the wedding because it wasn’t information we had until meeting with our coordinator, Penelope.





Once the bags were finished we had plenty of room to maneuver around the wedding room. We had packed the flowers inside Build-A-Bear boxes with a plastic Drink of the Day cup that was taped to the bottom so the flowers didn’t jostle. The cups would later double as lollipop holders for our candy bar. These [thankfully] easily fit within the closet.
The extra room also allowed us to fully hang the wedding gowns so that the trains were laying flat on the bed with the crinolines. Our seamstress recommended this so we didn’t have to deal with having them pressed on the ship. If we hadn’t had the extra space to lay out the trains, we were planning to use our couch.

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Last edited by Carnival_Brides; January 24th, 2013 at 10:03 AM.
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Old January 24th, 2013, 10:33 AM
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Meeting Penelope and Anthony
When we began booking the wedding originally we’d planned an embarkation wedding (EW), but changed it to a vow renewal after our ship tour last January. The wedding we watched was gorgeous, but the guests seemed rushed and the wedding party seemed flustered—this would not work for our families. There are obviously several differences between the EWs and VRs; chief among them that you must already be married to do the VR. The major planning differences between the two is that you MUST be way more flexible for the VR because you know very little in the way of details until you board the ship. We had a contract just like EWs and were able to book our entertainment, but had no information in the way of date, time or location—this all depended on the Captain’s availability and the events happening on the ship that day. When we first booked we were told that we would be unable to have our ceremony on embarkation day, the formal nights and one of the ports—this basically narrowed it down to Tuesday (the second sea day) or Saturday (the last sea day).

Somewhere between muster and dinner a letter appeared in our cabin from Carlos, the Food and Beverage Manager, welcoming us and offering to set up a time to meet our coordinator. We called and the line went unanswered so we went to dinner. While we were in the middle of the first course, our wedding coordinator, Penelope, who is on the dining staff, found us and we set up to meet at Breakfast the next day when she had more information from the Captain. At breakfast the next morning, she had our file from Miami with all of our requests and was able to confirm our wedding for 4:15 on Tuesday with reception and dinner to follow! We also explained that we were treating our ceremony like it was our actual wedding with the dresses, flowers, etc. She gave us the option of including our own vows, special ceremonies and a ring exchange; but we ultimately used the Carnival vows and the ring exchange. We had no special music requests for the ceremony, so she provided a CD. As she was moving through our special requests she noticed that we had asked for a Dreams photographer and offered to coordinate that for us. She also noticed that we requested the tux version of Funship Freddy at the reception for a few pictures. She said it had never been done before, but she’d check with the cruise director. Within minutes of the meeting adjourning and us getting ready to leave, Penelope returned and told us that the Dreams photographer was unavailable for the time we needed, but she had set-up a meeting with Anthony, his assistant, who was training to do weddings and Dreams. She also asked us to gather up any wedding items that she could set-up our reception items with her team, and allow our families to get ready and not sweat the small stuff. We filled the box with a piece of lace for under the cake, the cake topper, fingerprint tree, ink, butterflies for the altar flowers, a note for her explaining what everything was for. We dropped it off at lunch and didn’t have to deal with it until after the wedding the next day!

We met Anthony, our photographer, after lunch that same day and he spent about 20 minutes with us showing us his previous work and explaining a bit about Dream photography. We knew quite a bit from research, but it was nice to hear about how they liked to use environmental shots and natural lighting (when possible). It was also a chance for us to tell him our budget, so he didn’t go through the process of creating the very pretty album that was WAAAAY above our budget and we had no intention of purchasing. The outcome of this meeting was that we decided to meet at 3:00 (an hour before the ceremony) in the atrium for portraits so that we could have the best possible lighting (sunset) for the outdoor shots at the end of the wedding. This also proved helpful because our hair was destroyed the second we stepped outside--moving ship and whatnot.

Yay for planning a wedding in a day!

Heads-Up/Tip: After speaking to Anthony, we got the impression that wedding photography is in the process of transitioning from using the elegant night backdrops to the Dreams photography that utilizes the ship as a backdrop. When we asked about pricing, he also indicated that they are looking at changing the packages to account for the Dreams model. Dreams Photography is currently available on all four Spirit class, the three new Dream class and two other ships.

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Carnival Pride 1/13/13- Wedding Cruise to the Bahamas! Review
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Last edited by Carnival_Brides; January 24th, 2013 at 10:40 AM.
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Old January 24th, 2013, 02:16 PM
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Congratulations!

I'm so glad to hear everything went so well! Can't wait to read more and see more photos (more dress pics! )
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Old January 24th, 2013, 05:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twin A View Post
Congratulations!

I'm so glad to hear everything went so well! Can't wait to read more and see more photos (more dress pics! )
That's the next part :-)
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Old January 25th, 2013, 09:04 AM
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Hello,

Great review so far!!

Where did you get the door hangers cant find them on vista print?

Thanks!

megan
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Old January 25th, 2013, 10:46 AM
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Anything we DIYed (STDs, invites, FunTimes, door hangers, etc), we designed on our own and we had printed at Staples. They let us use our own specialty paper or we could chose from their selection. If you give me your email, I can send you the file. I did them in Powerpoint, so the text is easy to manipulate.
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Old January 25th, 2013, 12:10 PM
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Wedding Day!

If you want to see way more wedding pictures click here.


We went to bed early on Monday knowing that Tuesday was going to be long. We woke up in time for breakfast in the dining room and were on our way to hair and make-up by 11:30. Our bff/stylist, Erin, came on the cruise and kindly agreed to do our hair and make-up as a gift. We both wanted Kate Middleton inspired hair-dos (wedding hair for me, Olympic Gala hair for FI) and Erin said it could be easily accomplished.


It only took three hours and two bottles of wine to get both of us pretty. Our MoH’s had way less complicated hair-do’s and are way more proficient in make-up application, so we were fine with them DIYing.

Once hair and make-up was done and the gowns were on, we were off to see Anthony. We asked our MoH’s to accompany us so that they could help keep the trains from being stepped on and set-up shots. This was a godsend because the poor photog was working double time. We started in the Atrium and moved around the ship from there. We did a couple shots in the 2nd floor stairwell, Sunset Gardens, and outside the show lounge. Since we were all over the main public area we soon had a following of gawkers. Many of the gawkers had positive comments and some were not nearly as nice. We spent an hour with Anthony and then it was wedding time!

We went upstairs to meet up with our parents and the Captain. Everything with the ceremony went perfectly and it took about 15 minutes. When we walked in, I hadn’t seen the room set up before the wedding, but out of the corner of my eye, I noticed these GORGEOUS roses, hydrangeas and orchids in the planters on the pillars. These were obviously not the typical white silks and we did not make any flower requests, so perhaps the ships are changing out the flowers.

Guest Photo

Back to the wedding—Once the ceremony was over, we signed the certificate with the Captain in the Chapel entrance and took some pictures with him. We then went back inside the Chapel for family, group and bridal party shots. Once we got through these, we headed over to our reception in the Ivory Bar. I was a few steps behind my wife and got distracted, but as we came around the corner we could see this floppy red head in the room—FUNSHIP FREDDY! Our niece who is usually terrified of things in costume warmed up to him and did a couple of [really cute] shots and we did a couple of shots.


Once we got through the Freddy pictures, we were directed to do the toast and cut our [delicious, gorgeous] cake. I just want to brag about my Mom for second. I had this grand idea for our bouquets and cake and holy-moly she made it happen. We didn’t really have a theme for our wedding other than purple, teal and gold as colors, but we did want a nautical cruise-themed topper. She took one of her many Ship-on-a-Sticks and snipped them with massive pair of gardening shears in order to create our topper. She then spent a morning being super-crafty and created our gorgeous topper and bouquets for us. We found this gorgeous teal paisley ribbon in the After-Christmas $.50 Clearance bin at Michaels and it all went together. The toned-down candy bar was also her genius creation. She was more-or-less our creative director.



The food was fabulous and we were only expecting canapés, but the Chef de Cuisine, who oversaw the food set-up, prepared a full spread for us that included lamb empanadas, brochette, fruit cocktails with burnt sugar sticks and a whole bunch of deliciousness. The rest of the reception flew by really quickly and we hardly had anything to eat, but we did take advantage of the open bar. Our coordinator made sure there was always a drink in our hands. The pianist started playing instrumental music, but took requests and started playing Billy Joel and Elton John. I then said something to our niece about what song she’d like to dance to and she said “Bear Necessities” and he broke out into the song—she was a very happy, giggly four year old.

Once 5:30 came, Anthony came over to say that we needed to get up to the funnel for sunset pictures. We had yet to be outside, but as soon as we stepped foot into the sea air, our hairdos were destroyed. I now wish that we’d sewn our headpieces into our hair, but we weren’t thinking about it. He got several beautiful shots, but when he went to take the very last funnel shot, my wife’s veil came flying off. We tried to grab it, but it flew down two decks below where the worker’s were cleaning the deck. Anthony, put his camera down and went running. Thankfully, he was able to retrieve it before it hit the ocean or the deck chemicals. Once the veil was back in place, we were able to finish the pictures and he said he’d meet us on Friday or Saturday. On the Spirit class ships, the funnels are glass and everyone in the Steakhouse could see us doing pictures on the deck. On the way back down the glass elevators we heard this insane clapping sound and saw the Steakhouse patrons celebrating us—that was kind of cool.

When we got back to our cabin to change for our 6:00 dinner, it was 6:15 and we couldn’t find anyone. There was a breakdown in communication between us, our coordinator and our parents, as we left the reception. Our coordinator said we should head back to our cabin after pictures and she’d take care of cleanup—what we didn’t consider was that all of the wedding items had to go from the 2nd deck to the 5th. Once our family resurfaced, it became apparent that no one was hungry because the reception food was delicious and plentiful. We were insanely hungry and ridiculously late to dinner, but Penelope phoned the Maître d’ and he agreed to sit a small group of us and our waiters were delighted to see us, albeit 45 minutes late. Yay dinner! We still had an entire tier of wedding cake left, so we got to feast on that for a few days—it was so delicious. I wish we could have brought a tier home.

TIP: The set-up staff was great, but ask someone who knows your vision to do a last minute walk-through or send pictures of everything set up. The staff thought that each color of M&M got it’s own dish when really they were meant to all go in one dish. Mom caught it while we were doing portraits and took care of it.

How we Personalized and Added Color

We knew we wouldn’t be able to do a lot of personalization or physical design (tablecloths, draping, etc) that is possible with a land wedding, so we focused on things that were small and portable. We also had a year to shop after-holiday clearance sales—so that helped.

What we Brought:

Gold star candy dishes
from old Girl Scout ceremonies
Candy
from 2012After-Easter Clearance sale
Teal, Purple and White M&Ms
Teal Snickers
Teal and Purple Smarties
Purple and Gold Lindt chocolates
Purple and Teal lollipops
Teal Three Musketeers
Dark Chocolate Eggs covered in Purple wrapping
Large piece of sparkly Ivory lace to go under the cake from our craft closet
Gold and Teal cake topper
that Mom made
Gold and Teal Paisley ribbon
from Michaels after-Christmas sale
Gold and Purple Butterflies
from HomeGoods to add color to altar flowers and reception
Thumbprint Tree
from Michaels
Gold and Purple Archival Ink
Lace Printed “Bride” Toasting Flutes
- We found these at Christmas Tree Shops for $2.00!
OOT Bags
(These were cruise themed because they were not at the wedding)
Bouquets
- We bought these pre-fabbed from Afloral.com on a Closeout sale and added extra flowers and small peacock feathers.

Thing We’re Glad we Didn’t Mess With

Specialty drinks to match our colors—everyone drinks so differently; these would have gone to waste.



We also brought two pretty shawls and two Vera Bradley umbrellas in Tea Garden and Happy Snails for wedding pictures, but left these at the reception. We think they would’ve been destroyed in the wind, so we took pictures with them in the Bahamas instead.
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Carnival Victory 06/08-Canada
Carnival Pride 2/7/10-Bahamas Snowmageddon Escape
Carnival Glory 6/19/10-Canada

Carnival Glory 6/10/12- Canadian B2B!
Carnival Glory 6/14/12-Canadian B2B!
Carnival Pride 11/2/12-Superstorm Sandy Special!
Carnival Pride 1/13/13- Wedding Cruise to the Bahamas! Review
Carnival Pride 2/24/13- Honeymoon to the Bahamas

Carnival Glory 06/16/13-Canadian B2B to Platinum!
Carnival Glory 06/20/13- B2B Birthday Princess Cruise
Carnival Fantasy 11/19/13- Wife's Platinum Cruise

Last edited by Carnival_Brides; January 25th, 2013 at 12:14 PM.
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Old January 25th, 2013, 08:10 PM
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What a lovely wedding you had! Your level of detail in this writeup is great. Thanks for sharing!
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Old January 25th, 2013, 09:35 PM
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You both looked SO lovely! Looks like you had a wonderful wedding!
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  #13  
Old January 25th, 2013, 11:45 PM
Lindagop Lindagop is offline
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You both looked SO lovely! Looks like you had a wonderful wedding!
Congratulations and wishing you both a lifetime of happiness and joy.You both looked beautiful.Thankyou for sharing
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  #14  
Old January 26th, 2013, 12:16 AM
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Thanks for the well-wishes.
This is the last piece of our review. Hopefully some of the information will prove helpful for some of you.

Packing Up and our Picture Appointment!

The next three days of the cruise were port days, so we did very little in the way of packing up the wedding stuff. However, we decided we weren't doing anything the last port day in Freeport, so the day we left Nassau we decided to resurrect one of the now-flattened boxes and pack our wedding gowns inside. I worked at a Bridal store and know how dirty gowns can get and ours were pretty gross from being drug around on the open deck (we didn’t have our MoH’s for those pictures). We’re planning on having them cleaned and preserved so a couple wrinkles was not going to ruin them. We placed a dry cleaning bag over them, put the wrapped gown in the garment bags and then rolled them like sleeping bags. We were able to fit the gowns, the crinolines, extra OOT bag stuff, cake topper, toasting flutes and a plethora of other items into a 20x20x20 box. The bouquets and our MoH’s headpieces fit back into a Build-a-Bear box and our wedding was packed. Once our steward gave us our Zone tags (we were not self-assisting with all of this stuff) we taped five to the outside of the box and hoped for the best. Spoiler: The gowns are fine, the box was a little bit dinged, but intact and we would totally pack them this way again.

On Friday when I was chilling out in the Serenity area, my wife came to find me to inform me that Anthony had flagged down my Grammy at 3:15 and told her he was available to meet with us from 4:00-to 4:30. We then played a convoluted game of Telephone, but made it to the appointment in time. He invited us into the Dreams office to look at the slideshow and show us the special package he put together for us. Our budget was $750 with a max of $800. He knew this, but still created a special $1000 package for us. It consisted of the slideshow, an 8x8 album, 20 8x10’s and the disc with all of the images that we bought. This is a fantastic deal since the album is normally $900, but it wasn’t for us. We had very little interest in the slideshow and the album (we have a gorgeous matted one that has sentimental value) so we turned it down and asked to go through all 250+ printed images. He was fine with this, but asked that we move down to the atrium because he had to shoot backdrops and the embarkation wedding couple was coming in for their appointment. We moved and when we started to go through the portraits, we were amazed by how pretty they were, but found that several were variations of another. So there would be two color atrium shots and two black and white.
We separated them by what they were (portrait, cake, family, etc) and created a yes, no and maybe pile. It was 5:45 before we realized that we were only halfway through and were missing the entirety of our reception—the cake, the toast, the Freddy pictures, etc. He agreed to let us leave our stack and go eat dinner and while we were gone he’d print the reception pictures. Of course, when he returned he pitched us on the $1,000 package again, but we again politely declined. I’m glad we had the price list with us on our iPad because he didn’t freely offer the package information. Another hour went by and by 8:45 we were done! He was fine doing a few extra touch-ups and making some 5x7s into 8x10s. We ultimately decided on the $750 package and could not be happier. He said that they’d be ready the next day at 10:30pm and they were. There was a small snafu with one of the pictures that we’d asked to be printed, but it was easily fixed and he gave us a second disc with just that picture. We checked the disc before we left the ship, but noticed when we got home that we’re missing one digital images—we’re in the process of trying to get that one image emailed or posted to us because it’s the only picture we have with just our Flower Girl.

Overall, we could not be happier with the way our wedding/vacation went. Our guests all had a good time, our wedding was beautiful and the staff was great to work with. If we had to get married again, we would definitely go this route.
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  #15  
Old January 28th, 2013, 07:53 AM
lightskinedgyal lightskinedgyal is offline
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Anything we DIYed (STDs, invites, FunTimes, door hangers, etc), we designed on our own and we had printed at Staples. They let us use our own specialty paper or we could chose from their selection. If you give me your email, I can send you the file. I did them in Powerpoint, so the text is easy to manipulate.

SUre my email is megan.reddick@yahoo.ca
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  #16  
Old January 28th, 2013, 07:55 AM
lightskinedgyal lightskinedgyal is offline
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What an outstanding review and beautiful cake i cant beleive how nice your cake looks makes me so excited!!!! COngrates!
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  #17  
Old January 28th, 2013, 09:24 AM
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What an outstanding review and beautiful cake i cant beleive how nice your cake looks makes me so excited!!!! COngrates!
Thanks. I absolutely loved our cake. I sent the file--let me know if you need help, there's a couple of layers and a lot of image grouping.
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  #18  
Old January 28th, 2013, 10:41 AM
ExcitedBride2Be ExcitedBride2Be is offline
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OMG! CONGRATULATIONS! Reviews like yours make me even more excited about my wedding and reassures me that everything is going to end well :-) Would it be possible for you to send me the Powerpoint file also? My email address .s kiechellew@yahoo.com Again, congratulations on a beautiful wedding. Wishing you marital bliss to last a lifetime

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Thanks. I absolutely loved our cake. I sent the file--let me know if you need help, there's a couple of layers and a lot of image grouping.
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  #19  
Old January 28th, 2013, 04:20 PM
muah3iluvzu06 muah3iluvzu06 is offline
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Congraulations love!!!
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  #20  
Old January 28th, 2013, 06:09 PM
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Congraulations love!!!
Thanks, darling! I've been trying to email you, but my messages keep coming back returned.
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