It’s been almost a year since our epic wedding in Antigua, Guatemala. It’s also been almost since our exorcism from the wedding planning outfit of “I Do, Guatemala” … we’re still not over how upset we were with them. Based on the number of e-mail responses from other brides who had WORSE experiences than us … I think enough time has passed and enough responses gathered to ascertain that we were not the only ones who were completely screwed by the lack of planning, preparation and care exhibited by “I Do, Guatemala”.
Here’s a sample list of questions from one
Could you possibly give me a rough idea of what you did yourself and/or what was provided? For example, you had gorgeous little notes with your wedding favours, and I love the fans that doubled up as programs. Were those provided by you or I Do Guatemala?
Done by D* … in fact, because of “I Do”, she made ALL of the favours. The lessons she learned from the wedding translated into a thriving little side business (Good things can happen from bad people)
The fans are not available right now, since D*’s been inundated with orders and she’s at capacity because of wedding season. However she can send you a private listing of the fans that she’s sold
What did you decide to do on your own because it was cheaper?
We organized the liquor, the food, the housing, the transport … it was all cheaper and easier to do on our own. A lot of the props like antique boxes and the old school bell, we bought in the craft markets prior. We stored all of our stuff with friends who live in Guatemala City.
How was the food? What did they provide?
The food was catered by Hotel Camino Real (The best hotel in Antigua) … the food was amazing, however we did many tastings – I’m very specific about the food. The hotel catered the servers, food, and transport along with cutlery etc.
Was the quote for flowers, etc., enough? Or were there lots of hidden extras?
The quote for flowers was worked out with Escencia. Not many hidden extras to speak about.
You talk in your blog about a contact list, but I couldn’t see it – would you be able to send this to me?
I didn’t ever publish the contact list – since there were too many emails to go through and I just haven’t had the time to collate this. Invariably … it got pushed to the wayside.
What I do have to publish are the other horror stories from other brides who have emailed me based on their experiences with I Do. It’s not pretty.
- I may try to do the whole thing without a planner. Is that possible???
- Only attempt this with the following parameters
- If you’re from Guatemala or speak Spanish AND
- If you have a network of friends there who are willing to go back and forth between Guatemala City and Antigua AND
- If you have a husband with unlimited airmiles who can fly you there 3-4 times between now and your wedding for tastings, meetings and shopping AND
- If you have friends who understand the Guatemalan way of booking things, permits and doing business
- Only attempt this with the following parameters
- Do you have a trusted friend or person that you can refer me to, that can help with my wedding??
If you’re looking for someone to help you, we have a friend who also got into the business after going through this with another friend. I’d be happy to pass along the information to you. Please e-mail me directly for this.
- You’re scaring me … so you’re saying that I should have a planner, but you can’t recommend “I Do” … can you recommend someone else?
No … read our story again. Multi-level failure by Diana at I Do … that scares anyone from using another planner.
- How many events did you have in your wedding week?
We had four days of events
- Day One: We had an Antigua tour which we rented the hop on-hop off buses and they provided a really great Antigua tour, followed by a meet and greet with traditional Guatemalan food, drinks and music (marimba) at the houses we rented.
- Day Two: we had the rehearsal and dinner for immediate family followed by a salsa night out where we provided nachos, drinks, salsa lessons, etc.
- Day Three: the wedding day. The lanterns, table decor, flowers, etc. were all done by our designer/decor guy who’s name is Mario Ayala from Escensia
- Day Four: the day after brunch was held at Hotel Camino Real-they have a beautiful outdoor area, and a delicious buffet. We also priced out the terrace at Trocolli. I gave up on that idea because I kept getting different prices and the quotes just never seemed to work out.
- How did you find a hairdresser there?
We lucked out … we had an amazing hair/makeup artist … Melissa Collins, she’s a Canadian woman who lives in Antigua – she was phenomenal. Unless you’re Latina or Guatemalan, don’t go with the Guatemalan makeup girls … we had a number of trials. The makeup artists were either late, no-shows or put on clown make up for D*. I don’t get the whole Latina, overdone make up BS.
- I loved your videos & photos but couldn’t you have hired a Guatemalan video/photographer
We previewed many wedding videos … most of them were just not great. You get what you pay for and what you research. I suggest that you put a LOT of time into picking our your videographer. It’s probably the single most expensive item you’ll pay for and probably the item that will be shared the most.http://vimeo.com/81519327 : This one looked like a Mexican telenovela – there’s a lot of this. It wasn’t our style.
- Your officiant was great … how did you find him?
He was amazing! In fact, he was one of the only good things that Diana did. We’re both not very religious and he completely understood what we wanted our ceremony to be about.
- Are you sure you’re not making this stuff up?It’s unbelievable, isn’t it? Well I’m posting a couple emails I’ve received from readers who had similar experiences – I’ve taken full names out and masked the email addresses.
Subject*: Antigua Guatemala Wedding
Date: Jan 11th, 2015WOW! You are a lifesaver. Thank you to you and your beautiful bride for your honest and detailed review of D*. I plan to hire Saguzo Events out of Guatemala City and hope for the best.I have a question about the planning you did arrange on your own: food, alcohol, transport, lodging, etc.How many times did you travel and how soon before the wedding to coordinate these things? I have a Spanish speaking friend that is willing to fly to Antigua with me to make the arrangements that Saguzo does not handle (rehearsal, brunch, transport, lodging) however I don’t know how soon in advance I should be making these reservations and how long I should wait before my March, 2016 wedding.Also, in your review you mentioned that you might have a friend you’d be willing to refer me to who is local. Would you please refer that person to me? I’d love to contact someone who understands the area and culture. Happy to hire them!Lastly, thank you for saving me from Diana. I was planning on hiring her this week to save me the trouble of having to make multiple trips however your site saved my wedding budget and experience! She wanted to charge me $350 for a consultation regardless of whether or not I decided to hire her. First red flag!Thank you so much!Anna
Subject*: Antigua Guatemala Wedding
Date: July 23rd, 2014
Good afternoon Rishi,
I had emailed you before, regarding the experience I was having with Diana of I do Guatemala. As it turns out both my fiancée and myself agreed 110% that cutting ties with Diana was better than dealing with her inconsistency, even if we lost our deposit (which we did!). I’m not sure what month I emailed you, but late last year we had a lot very personal and unfortunately family circumstances that prevented us from continuing the planning of our wedding and when tried to talk to Diana over email or Skype she was very short in her response and never available. My heart was not in it, I even tried contacting her and explaining what we were going through, but she never responded; very unprofessional.
I saw that you posted my original email and I’m glad you did, because now more bride/grooms will know not to hire her based on what they see online or pictures she posts, which was my original mistake.
My fiancée and I have been together for 10 years and have two beautiful little girls and happy to report that we are moving forward with our plan to get married. I’m for the most part doing a lot of things on my own, which means I will probably be traveling to Guatemala and with the help of my sister in law who lives in Guatemala I will put together a wonderful and beautiful wedding.
I’m so happy to see that you answered a lot of the questions others had and I’m going to be using some of those tips and contacts.
Planning a wedding can be an overwhelming and scary thing to do, that I’m glad people like you are out there to help guide those of us that can feel lost in the process.
I had one more question, in your list of contacts I did not see any information regarding the bartenders you used. I would like to maybe use the same ones you used; I would be very grateful if you could provide that information.
Thank you again for everything.
- From: Alissa Jo******* <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: The “I do” review!
Date: Mon, Oct 14, 2013 at 12:08 PM
Hi Rishi (and D*),First, thanks for posting your review of I Do Guatemala. I’m getting married in Antigua with Diana in a little over a month and experiencing nearly everyone of these issues! So frustrating! So at least this validates my frustrations! I luckily do have some really great friends and contacts living in Guatemala that have been able to help… but still…! Will also set up some sort of review when this is all said and done!I’m writing as it being too late for me to fire her… I’m wondering if you can pass along the contact sheet you mention in your review. I’m also interested in knowing where you got your lanterns, as that is a line item that seemed really pricey for what it was! And flowers- how did she end up charging you for them? She just has this arbitrary number no matter what I say I like that is confusing me and she won’t give me any more details about it…I guess any other tidbits you have that helped you manage are appreciated too!Again, thanks for posting. Your wedding was beautiful and I’m sure everyone had an amazing time! This whole process has made me want to move to Guatemala and be a wedding planner… I could do SUCH a better job… clearly, you could too:)best,Alissa
Name*: veronica *******
Subject*: Antigua Guate. Wedding
Date: Sept 14, 2013
My fiancé and I are planning our wedding in Antigua Guatemala for 2015. It scares me to read your review of I Do Guatemala, because we have already put a down payment for the venue and I Do’s service. Like you I’ve yet to see our receipt and have not heard back on some items that I needed information on. I’ve thought of doing everything myself, but because I don’t live there I wouldn’t have a clue where to even begin.I’m wondering if you can provide me with a list of the contacts you used (i.e. make up, flowers, vendors…) I would greatly appreciate it. This whole process has caused me so much stress, that I have even thought of cancelling it all together and see our deposit as a loss. I just think of how beautiful it all can be, that I almost have talk myself back into having it there.
I Do Guatemala review