You said YES ! – 4 Things “to do” After your Engagement

Congratulations!  You’re Engaged!

This is a very exciting moment in your lives.  Once the excitement wears off, you may start to feel the pressure and stress of planning your special wedding day.

Your 1st “to do” is to do nothing, but Relax and enjoy this special time in your life with your fiance. Do the things you normally do together and start the conversation about what each of you wants for your wedding.

When you’re both ready to start planning, the 2nd item on your “to do” list is to discuss your budget and what you can realistically spend on your wedding.  Will you and your fiance be paying for everything?  Are other family members contributing financially?  I suggest to my couples that they make a list of the top three most important things they would each like to have for their wedding.  Is it the food, the guest experience, the location, the honeymoon…?   Discuss what each of you have written down then compromise on the “must haves” that are within your budget.  Having this conversation is essential to your wedding planning process as it will affect every decision and purchase you make.

Your 3rd “to do” is to make a preliminary list of the guests you’d like to invite.  The number of guests you have directly impacts your budget in food costs, decor and venue selection.  Are you looking to have a small destination wedding on a Caribbean beach with your closest family and friends or a larger affair in a Fort Lauderdale or Miami wedding venue with a higher guest count?

Once you have determined your budget and guest list, the 4th item on your “to do” list is to select the date.  If you don’t have an exact date, pick a range of dates that will work for you.  Consider what season you’d prefer and keep in mind any major holidays or family events you’d like to avoid conflicting with.  Also keep in kind how long it will take to plan the wedding you are both envisioning.

beach wedding with circular seating at a Caribbean Sandals Resorts

Formal dinner at Cruz Building in Miami, Florida










You now have the first four important pieces you’ll need to begin your wedding planning for selecting your wedding venue, wedding service professionals, wedding party and all the other elements needed to celebrate your love and commitment to each other.

The wedding planning process can be overwhelming.  We, at Carmen Mesa Weddings and Events, are happy to chat with you about your Caribbean destination or South Florida wedding.  Working with us early in your planning can help keep you from making costly mistakes and streamline your planning process giving you more time to enjoy each other, your engagement and allow you to have a stress-free wedding day.

Happy Planning!


read more

Gina and John’s Destination Weddingmoon® at Sandals Negril

This past August, I had the pleasure of planning a destination wedding and honeymoon for Gina and John. As it was a second marriage for both, they wanted an intimate and romantic wedding, just the two of them. They planned on a reception with their grown children, family and friends upon their return home.

From the beginning, John expressed to me that he wanted his “princess” to have the best of everything. They chose chic and exotic Sandals Negril as their destination for a 10-night stay. This resort is nestled within lushly landscaped acres along Jamaica’s legendary Seven-Mile Beach.


Welcome to Sandals Negril

Seven-Mile Beach

Sandals Negril on Seven-Mile Beach

Their journey began on Thursday, with a private car transport from the airport to the resort. Chilled champagne, appetizers and a beautifully scenic drive were their first introduction to the Luxury Included ® Sandals experience.
Upon their arrival, they were greeted by their Butler and taken to their Millionaire Honeymoon One Bedroom Butler Suite with Private Pool. Can you just picture yourself there?

Room Category: Butler suite Sandals Negril

Millionaire Honeymoon One Bedroom Butler Suite with Private Pool

Private Pool at Millionaire Butler Suite

Private Pool

In order to be legally married in Jamaica, there is a 48 hours residency requirement, so their wedding ceremony was set for Saturday. This gave them plenty of time to enjoy the resort, meet with the onsite Wedding Coordinator, do Gina’s pre-booked hair and make-up trial and their couples massage.

As you can see by the pictures, their wedding day was beautiful. Clear skies and blue sea. Gina and John chose the Beautiful Beginnings complimentary wedding package. Their love and happiness just shines through these photos!

Ceremony site at Sandals Negril

Ceremony site at Sandals Negril


First look at his wife-to-be

Here Comes the Bride

Here Comes the Bride

Wedding Vows

Beautiful Beginnings Wedding Bouquet and Boutonniere


Mr. and Mrs. Braciszewski

Mr. and Mrs. Braciszewski

991423081 991423083 991423084










A kiss and toast to the future!

A kiss and toast to the future!

991423147 991423148 991423157

Later that evening, they dined under the stars in their private candlelight dinner, with their Butler attending to their every need.

Romantic Candlelight Dinner

Butler at their service 24/7

candlelight dinner

Romantic Candlelight Dinner

Another week of true romance awaited them…at this beautiful paradise for two people in love. I am honored to have assisted them plan their beautiful and romantic Weddingmoon ®.

Wishing Gina and John a lifetime of love, health and happiness!
Happy Planning!




read more

Destination Wedding Tips

A destination wedding is an exciting experience for both you and your guests! However, a destination wedding requires much more planning than an average wedding and details must be finalized well in advance.


Below are some tips to help you avoid the stress of planning a destination wedding.


1.   Timing is everything!  Send out your Save-the-Date cards 8-12 months in advance of your date so that your family and friends have plenty of time to plan and save money.  Invitations should go out 6-8 weeks in advance.  You may also want to include an “opt-out” option on your Save-the-Date.  This will allow you to get a better idea of how many people to expect and will help you greatly in the planning.




2.  Get your guests excited about attending your destination wedding by giving them plenty of information.  Create your wedding website and include travel information and documents needed, details about the hotel/resort, things to do in the area, and any fun group activities you are planning.  All inclusive options are usually cheaper and more fun for your guests and they won’t have to worry about carrying their wallets around.   Include pictures…….


Sandals_Grande_St_Lucian_Resort©Sandals Resorts


3.   Wedding gifts may not be sensible for a destination wedding.  Remember, they are already spending more than if you were having a wedding at home.  Your guests may be happier with you setting up a honeymoon or charity fund.  Sandals offers a Honeymoon Registry where guests can “purchase” items you’ve preselected such as a romantic candlelight dinner for two, a couples massage on the beach, island tours, etc.




4.  Not everyone that you invite will be able to attend your destination wedding.  To help include them in your celebration, you may want to create a hashtag so they can follow along.  Another suggestion is to have a small ceremony and/or reception at home upon your return.






5.   Island Time!  If you are planning your destination wedding on a tropical island – things happen when they happen – in other words “Island Time”.  But don’t mistake their laid-back behavior for incompetence.  It’s just the way things are done…..


SBS livin on Island Timea


6.  Mother Nature always wins!  Top destination wedding locations such as the Caribbean, Mexico and Hawaii are gorgeous – but that doesn’t mean that the weather always is.    Be mindful of hurricane season which lasts from June through November in the Caribbean, rainy season in Hawaii from November to March and summer heat in Europe during July and August.




7.  Children welcome or child-free.  It is a couple’s right to decide whether or not to include children in their wedding.  Which ever way you choose, be sure to state it on your Save-the-Date and include notes about the resort’s policy on children and if they offer babysitting services.  For example.  Sandals Resorts are only for couples, whereas Beaches resorts are for everyone.


children at wedding


8.  Get help!  Planning a wedding wedding takes time, knowledge and many details.  Language barriers and not being knowledgeable with the area can create major problems.  Hire a professional wedding planner who is familiar with the area and has local vendor resources.   You should not have to worry about the logistics of your wedding.  You should be enjoying the time with your family and friends and your future spouse!  As a Certified Sandals Specialist and Sandals Weddingmoon Specialist, I can assist you in planning your destination wedding.




9.  Is it legal?  Check out the laws of the country you wish to get married in before booking your wedding.  Residency requirements vary greatly.  This is also where a professional wedding planner can assist you.




10.  Take time for each other.  Remember why you’re at this amazing resort celebrating – you are starting your live as a married couple!  Take a stroll on the beach, get a couples massage, enjoy a meal on your own.  Your guests will understand.



Happy Planning!



read more

“First Look” Wedding Photos – Trend or Tradition…

“First Look” Wedding Photos – Trend or Tradition

Recently during a planning session with a new couple, when discussing the ceremony and reception timing, the issue of the “First Look” came up. They both asked me what that was. When I explained it, one was fore, and one was against it. They are still deciding…..

I want to tell you that there is no right or wrong decision. Every couple is different and I believe that your wedding should be a reflection of your character, personality and style.

Are you going to do a “First Look”? It’s one of the questions couples have to decide early on in the planning process as it will affect the flow of your day. It’s also a decision your photographer and/or videographer will need to know, as they have to plan accordingly to get all the formal pictures that you have requested of them.

What is a First Look? It’s a specially arranged moment when the couple sees each other for the first time before the ceremony, away from your wedding guests. Your photographer and/or videographer will be there to capture the “moment”. It can be a special time for you to calm your nerves before the ceremony and enjoy that OMG moment privately, and take images of you two together before you exchange your wedding vows among family and friends.

Tradition states that the couple does not see each other before the ceremony. Many couples choose to maintain this tradition because they believe it builds up the moment before the walk down the aisle. Other couples recognize the benefits of seeing each other before the ceremony – pre-ceremony portrait shots allow you more time to enjoy celebrating with your guests during cocktail hour and reception.

There are some cultures and religions where couples see each other before the ceremony as part of the wedding celebration; for example, Ketubah signings, tea and garland ceremonies.

Whether you choose to have a “First Look” or not, there will still be that special moment when your eyes meet down the aisle and you feel all the emotions that committing yourselves in marriage to each other brings.

A well planned First Look will:

  •  Add another special moment to your wedding day
  •  Allow you to enjoy a playful and romantic time alone together
  • Cut picture taking time down after the ceremony, as you will be able to take some portrait shots during this time
  •  Allow you to enjoy more of your cocktail hour and reception



You also need to consider the time of day/year of your wedding. If you want a sunset ceremony and haven’t done a “First Look” and pre-ceremony portraits, it may very well be too dark outside by the end of the ceremony to do your formals.

Remember that this is your day and you should make this decision together. If you are more traditional, would you regret not having the big entrance at the ceremony? Or, do you like having a special “First Look” moment captured? Be honest and agree together!

No matter what you decide, each and every time your eyes meet on your wedding day (and hopefully ever after!) you will be filled with love for each other!

Happy Planning!




read more

We have just entered the Wedding Industry Experts 2014 Awards

We have just entered the Wedding Industry Experts 2014 Awards.

It’s official! Carmen Mesa Weddings and Events has entered the Wedding industry Experts, 2014 Awards in the category of Event Design and Wedding Planning in Fort Lauderdale. We want to send a clear message to future clients that we are proud of the level of service we deliver for every couple, and prove that those who know us are happy to support us.

About the Awards
Each year the Wedding Industry Experts Awards attract a vast array of world class wedding professionals and related businesses of all sizes, from across the globe. The awards are now the largest international popularity competition for Wedding Professionals worldwide and we are proud to be one of the participants.

Our vote page shows our category, location and a description of our service. There is no judging panel. Past clients, peers and fans vote for their favorites. In previous years fans could vote more than once. This year they have limited it to one vote per email address for the duration of the month long voting period.

The voting process is simple.
Fans can cast one vote per email address at anytime during the voting period. The number of votes will not be shown on the awards site – just the rank from most votes to least (once voting commences).

If you think we are worthy of The Most Popular Event Design and Wedding Planning in Fort Lauderdale (and South Florida), please visit our vote page at to cast a vote for us.
Thank you to everyone who has supported us to date. It is through your support and referrals that we can continue to do what we love.
With warm regards and gratitude,

read more

Color your Wedding

Color your Wedding


Your wedding décor will be based on your color palette, so choosing the right colors early in your planning stage is very important. Color sets the tone and formality of the event. Finding your wedding colors doesn’t have to be difficult.
Here are a few tips to help you:

  • What kind of mood do you want to create? For example, bold and vibrant colors create a sense of drama and excitement, while softer pastel colors will create a romantic feel.
  • What is your favorite color? Will it look flattering on your bridesmaids? Does the carpet at the venue compliment or clash with your color? If your venue has strong colors, you may want to choose a more neutral color palette. On the other hand, if you want to use bright colors, you’ll need to find a venue with neutral décor.
  • Do the colors and flowers you want go with the season? Spring and Summer colors tend to be lighter while Fall and Winter colors are darker. Also, choosing flowers that are in season will cut your costs greatly.
  • You can build your color palette with the help of a color wheel.


The three most common color combinations are:

Analgous – Three colors which are side by side on a color wheel.

blue purple green

Complementary – Two colors which are directly opposite each other on the color wheel and create maximum contrast.

purple and yellow

Monochromatic – A color scheme that is based on a single hue and its various shades.


I hope these tips will be helpful to you in choosing your wedding colors. We work with couples to help them design their wedding color scheme and designs.  Call us today to schedule an appointment!
Happy Planning!









read more