Hi everyone! I hope that this review helps everyone...I didnâ€™t think my review would turn out that long. Then I started writing. And here we are with a really really long review!
Wedding date: Friday, November 14, 2008
Time: 3:00 pm
Location: Moon Palace Nizuc Tucan Gazebo/Terrace
Number of Attendees: 35
It has taken me almost 2 months to finally get around to writing my wedding review. After getting back from Mexico I was so excited to do it, but knew there was so much information I needed to include that I put it off â€“ until now! I finally got my life together!
Our wedding/honeymoon trip to the Moon Palace resort in Cancun was absolutely amazing. My husband and I would not have traded any portion of the trip, wedding, etc, and would definitely do a destination wedding at the Moon Palace all over. I truly believe it turned out better than we could have imagined. The main reason I am doing this review is because of all of the ladies who posted their reviews after their weddings at Moon Palace. When youâ€™re getting married somewhere you have never seen it is a nerve-wracking experience. And reading the reviews made me feel so much better (and be so excited), so I want others to feel the same way after reading my review.
We had a wedding website through Free Wedding Website Trial | Personal Wedding Websites. Unfortunately you have to pay for the site, but I felt like it was much more extensive then most wedding websites, which allowed us to post more travel information. They also had Save the Date emails that you could put together, which is how we notified everyone about our wedding. If we had to do this over I would send out hard invitations â€“ several people did not have email and others didnâ€™t receive them because of spam/junk mail filters or just because.
Our invitations were designed by my cousin and they turned out so cute. My mom and I spent a lot of time putting them together though, and we did some heat embossing to finish them off. Overall it was worth the extra work we did because we didnâ€™t have to pay much for them!
Travel Agent. We booked our trip through a travel agent with All About Honeymoons out of Overland Park, Kansas. We decided to use a travel agent to make things easier on us, as well as on our friends and family. All About Honeymoons does not charge a fee to book trips so it was well worth it for everyone. It also made things much easier in the long run because she kept track of everyone and everything so was able to give us any information we needed.
Our travel agent had booked trips to the MP before, and had helped other ladies book destination weddings there before. This was nice because she had contacts at the Miami office and was willing to call them if I needed anything. We also used her because she was able to get us a group booking without us having to do it through the coordinator at MP. I donâ€™t know anything about the contract stuff they normally require to do a group booking, and we didnâ€™t have to do anything special other than book at least 10 rooms through one company â€“ and she handled it all.
Transfers. We also had transfers included in our travel package â€“ and if anyone does not have this included â€“ I would definitely check into it ahead of time. This makes things so much simpler when you get to Mexico. You know when you arrive that you have a ride and donâ€™t have to negotiate with people. Iâ€™ve experienced arriving in Mexico before and people trying to lead me off in another direction. Had I not had the prior experience I wouldnâ€™t have known how to react when we arrived this time. Especially for our guests â€“ I wanted things to be easy!
Moon Palace Resort
Moon Palace was amazing (did I say that already??)!
Check-In. Check in was relatively simple for us â€“ you receive wet cloths to cool off as well as champagne to drink, and a flower for the ladies. The only problem my hubby and I encountered was that we requested with our travel agent to stay on the Sunrise side. We had heard (through BDW forum and TripAdvisor) that Sunrise was the fun side and Nizuc was the more mellow side. And since we were there to party we wanted the party side!! However, when you are doing a wedding they automatically put you and your guests on the Nizuc side. After telling them we thought we were supposed to be on the Sunrise side, and verifying that everyone was actually on the Nizuc side we decided to leave well enough alone. We were there to relax and enjoy our wedding and we didnâ€™t want to start the trip off with drama. And, we were really satisfied with our choice. We loved being on the Nizuc side especially since it is so easy to travel over to Sunrise.
Nizuc vs. Sunrise. The two sides are definitely different. Nizuc is smaller and quieter, while Sunrise is massive and busy. We liked being able to relax on the Nizuc side, then go over to Sunrise to party at night. There were more bars on the Sunrise side, and at least one of the restaurants was closed for renovations on Nizuc side. The pools at Sunrise were everywhere (sometimes to the detriment of having to walk a long ways to get to a restaurant or bar), but the pools at Nizuc still always had good places to sit without having to go really early. Sunrise pools had more play areas for children so if you are interested in fun stuff for your children it is good to head over that way.
Grand. We hung out at the Grand side several times as well. Most of our friends and family were in buildings that were right next to the Grand side so it was easy to go over there. The pools at Grand were a lot of fun and we really enjoyed the Caribbean restaurant there. Also, on top of the Caribbean restaurant there was a bar. We went up there one night before most of our guests had to leave for drinks. It was a really neat atmosphere. The area was definitely not complete and I donâ€™t believe there was a lobby area open yet but I didnâ€™t look for one.
Transportation. To get between all of the sections of the resort they have several options. There are golf carts that you can catch at certain pick-up spots that take you around each section. There is also a bus that runs from lobby to lobby every 10 or 15 minutes 24 hours a day. It also stops at an area for the golf course (then you get on a golf cart to go the rest of the way to the golf course). We used this multiple times a day and were always able to get a bus â€“ we never had to wait long and we never had to wait for the next bus to come. We also had friends and family that walked along the beach to the different areas, and were surprised that it didnâ€™t take as long as you would imagine.
Intro to Moon Palace. After checking in there will be a rep from Moon Palace to give you an introduction to the hotel. We were extremely weary of this person, because we have been to a Mexican resort before where everyone was trying to sell you time shares. The last thing we wanted to do as soon as we walked in the door was sit through a timeshare shpeal. However, this is not a timeshare salesman (yet), so it is good to sit and talk with them about everything Moon Palace has to offer. They give you maps of the resort, and other Cancun maps and brochures, as well as tell you about the restaurants, pools, golf carts, buses, cabs, etc. THEN they try to get you to set up an appointment to sit through the membership program (aka timeshare)!. We just told them we would come back the next day and set it up, then of course we never did.
Rooms. All I can say is amazing. Marble, Jacuzzi, boozeâ€¦.and our view was awesome. We were right by the pool and had not only an amazing pool view, but ocean view. As soon as we walked in we popped open our champagne (for the honeymooners) and stared out the windows at the view. The windows were amazing as well â€“ they covered the entire exterior wall â€“ so it felt like you were right by the ocean all the time. We were on the end so didnâ€™t have rooms on both sides of us. We hardly saw or heard anyone around us â€“ honestly I donâ€™t know whether anyone else was in our building other than seeing the maid cleaning other rooms! It was fun to be able to see out our balcony to things going on around the pool. And at night we could hear the music from the nightly entertainment.
Room service. Our favorite concept ever. Who ever imagined how great 24-hour room service would be? Granted the food wasnâ€™t excellent in the middle of the night, but it operated all night long and it was there fast. When you called it in they would quote you a 45 minute wait, but I donâ€™t think we ever waited more than 15-20 minutes. And almost as soon as the room service guy left, your phone would ring from guest services to make sure it arrived and everything was right. We ordered late night snacks, breakfast, hot tea, anything one could imagine. In addition if your refrigerator was getting low and they hadnâ€™t been by that day yet to refill it, you could call them up and someone would stop by to give you a refill (note â€“ we only had to call once â€“ and it was because we drank too much too fast!). It is very important to make sure to call them back once you are done eating for them to pick up your items. Otherwise if you leave it outside your door the little critters will definitely come by and scrounge around.
Wireless Internet. We knew there would be wireless interent so we took our laptop along. This was really nice to be able to check our email, etc, as well as we burned our music CDâ€™s prior to meeting the wedding coordinator.
Wet bar. Funny enough, we did not use our liquor dispenser one time. We drank so much the entire time we were there we didnâ€™t ever need to use it. My husband jokes that it is the incentive to get you there â€“ â€˜free liquor right in your roomâ€™! Iâ€™m sure it will be useful to many, but we didnâ€™t spend a lot of spare time in our rooms so we just drank elsewhere. We did use the water, juice, and beer from the fridge.
Restaurants. We loved every restaurant we went into â€“ they all had great service and good food. I was not expecting 5-star restaurants, and although we like to eat good food, we are not food experts. We just loved going to each place and having all kinds of choices. Not to mention seafood everywhere! We live in Kansas and you donâ€™t get the freshest seafood here. And for someone (me) who doesnâ€™t like fish to eat fish more than once on this trip â€“ it was pretty good! There were servers everywhere in all of the restaurants, and as soon as you left the buffet area one would be waiting to take your plate to your table for you. I finally got to the point where I would tell them I didnâ€™t need help (I felt weird following someone carrying my plate for me).
Drinks. There was always a special drink of the day so we would regularly try that, as well as about anything else you wanted. I didnâ€™t like that they only had one beer to offer (on tap) because I like all kinds of Mexican beers, but for the most part we ordered mixed drinks. If you like frou-frou drinks we ordered Miami Vice and Bikinis regularly as well as daiquiris and pina coladas. Oh, and mimosas â€“ my favorite! And because they were so small a lot of the time we would ask for doubles.
Tipping. We tipped all over the place. It doesnâ€™t feel natural to have someone waiting on you hand and foot and not give them any additional compensation. We just took a bunch of $1 and handed them out as necessary. We were also able to get change at the front desk if we needed it (they would also change out other types of currency too).
Disco. My husband and I went to the disco the first night we were there (before anyone else arrived) and it seemed like it would be a lot of fun. So, after our welcome gathering a night or two later, we all ventured over there. It was completely different and no fun at all. Part of the time we were there a convention had taken over the resort. They filled the disco to capacity every night. The DJ was playing music none of us had ever heard and it was just weird. So we didnâ€™t go back (we were supposed to go back after our wedding to party down, but we changed our minds after that experience). I think had we not been there when the convention was there it probably would have been different.
Meet and Greet. We did an informal meet and greet for the two families to meet at the Beach Lounge on the Sunrise side. We had a lot of people there from out of the country, as well not all of our two families had previously met. The actual bar was really cool because it was down on the beach in front of Palapa Barracuda. When we arrived the night of our meet and greet someone had hired out a fireworks show (not for us) â€“ it went off while we were there. It was so cool. We ran into trouble getting everyone over there. Not everyone could find it on our resort maps and when they would ask workers, not everyone seemed to know what the Beach Lounge was. But it was there, and it was a lot of fun!
Welcome Bags. We put together welcome bags that we had put in the rooms. The bags were beachy-style canvas bags I picked up at Dollar Tree. We filled them with small bottles of aloe/cucumber lotion, chapstick, Alka-Seltzer, Imodium, and Advil. We also printed out English to Spanish booklets that another BDW member posted on colored paper to put in each one. Here is the link to the website Spanish Phrases | Spanish - Espaol. Lastly we did a Welcome Letter and Itinerary. I wanted to do either koozies or stadium cups, but when it came down to it, the koozies wouldnâ€™t have been used down there (since you donâ€™t have cans or bottles there) and I didnâ€™t want to take up a bunch of room in our luggage for the stadium cups. To pass out the bags, when we met with our wedding coordinator, she took us to the front desk to talk to the concierge about distributing the welcome bags. They took each of the bags and placed them in the appropriate rooms before our friends/family checked in for $3 per room. For one of my husbandâ€™s 3 year old cousins we got a kids book and stuffed animal to go in his bag â€“ he carried it with him EVERYWHERE we went â€“ and ended up in some of our wedding pictures. It was really cute! Of course I never took pictures of our bags so I didnâ€™t include that here.
Bloodwork. It was pretty simple to go to the doctor and getting your blood drawn. There were a several other couples in there at the same time we were â€“ one girl was totally freaking out about needles. It was slightly scary because the guy didnâ€™t speak any English, and he didnâ€™t even tie off my husband arm before sticking him. And the room was like a chamber. We walked by it daily and would point it out to friends as the chamber where they drew our blood . I was more worried that our blood would get mixed up with someone elseâ€™s than anything and we would get rejected or something. But, its good news if you never hear back about it.
Meeting with Coordinator. Our final coordinator was Nancy Ariza Ruiz. This meeting took us about an hour and a half to get accomplished. Like most BDW brides I had done a majority of the planning via email prior to going to Mexico. Also like most BDW brides I had 3 different coordinators throughout the process so I was definitely nervous that all of my requests were written down. But, they have a form that they go through at your meeting with each possible request and your coordinator will go through it with you and write it all out. If you are picking out flowers or cakes she will show you pictures of what you can do, as well as pricing. Other than the timing of everything, i.e. the cocktail party and dinner, (which screwed up the itinerary we handed out to our guests) everything else was set up just right! I was a little worried about knowing what to do the day of the wedding, but the coordinator was there the entire time directing us. Oh, and I waited until I got there to try and set up a hair appointment (I kept forgetting beforehand). They were able to get me in that morning, but the only spot was at the golf course main spa versus at the salons in each section. Iâ€™ll explain the drama with that a bit later.
My dress. Davidâ€™s Bridal designer gown with a sweetheart scalloped neckline, mermaid style with all over beaded lace. I added a champagne colored sash with it as well (really glad I did this after seeing pics of it without the sash again). I wore flip flops and some basic jewelry from Claireâ€™s. I loved loved loved my dress!!
My flowers. I decided I didnâ€™t like how pricey real flowers from the resort were going to be. So I found a picture of what I wanted online and we purchased real-touch flowers from Hobby Lobby and Michaels. One of my momâ€™s friends, my mom and I all put it together. It turned out just like the picture I selected and I it looked amazing in pics. When we were going through customs I got stopped because they thought I was bringing real flowers into the country. It was funny.
My hubbyâ€™s outfit. He wore white Polo linen pants and a navy blue linen shirt from Tommy Bahama, and boat shoes.
My hair. I had picked out a couple of hair styles beforehand and printed off pictures. I knew I wanted a down-do, maybe curly, with a hair flower or clip. I attempted to make a hair flower, and ultimately it turned out well, however I decided it didnâ€™t look right on me. So I also found some pretty hair clips, and in the end I used those. I had an appointment at the Golf Spa (there is the Spa, and a salon in each of the sections) so headed over with my SIL and mom. It took at least an hour and a half â€“ and I was getting nervous that I was going to be late. My stylist was super slow!!! I was also pretty nervous because I didnâ€™t like the way my hair was looking. So around 1:45 (remember wedding was at 3) my mom and SIL finally decided they better head back to get ready. About 30 minutes later my SIL comes back in to let me know NO transfers had come through to take them back to Nizuc. Needless to say I was starting to freak out a bit. Luckily my guy finished my hair in the next 15 to 20 minutes and I was able to get out for the transfer. My mom and SIL were STILL sitting there. I was about ready to start walking!! And then a golf cart came. So here I am with hair that Iâ€™m unsure about getting in a golf cart to ride back to Nizuc. Thankfully, after the ride I checked out my hair â€“ and it looked right! No harm done - the wind and humidity settled it down nicely.
Wedding. We went with the free package and added on the video, photography, tabletop flowers, and hairstyle. I did not get the horse/carriage ride in so my dad and I were transported by a golf-cart up to the walkway. Although it wasnâ€™t really cool like a horse and carriage may have been, I thought it was funny. And definitely more my style than the horse and carriage. We had them play Buena Vista Social Clubâ€™s self-titled album before the wedding started. Then we used instrumental music for everything else from the album Romantic Dreams Apassionata (I-Tunes). I walked in to Con te Partiro, we used Sogna for signing of the documents, and The Prayer for our sand ceremony. Then our recessional song was Gringo Honeymoon by Robert Earl Keen. For our sand ceremony we used the Umbra picture frame from Kohls, and blue and orange sand from Hobby Lobby. It turned out really neat, although we forgot to take the price stickers off the bottom of the vases so all of the pics from that portion are dorky. We werenâ€™t huge fans of the wording of the ceremony so we had them take out a sentence or two (something about the only way to prevent the imperfections of mankind, etc). In addition we added a poem that my brother read and had a saying for the ring exchange. We did not do our own vows.
The only other trouble we had was before the wedding started. My wedding coordinator told me to wait in my room until she called to say she was there. About 10 or 15 minutes before the wedding I got a call from the wedding office saying she was down below waiting for me. So I get out there and neither she, nor the golf cart, are there for me. I stand around for a while waiting (getting really hot, and really annoyed). Finally my mom and dad both are calling people from different phones trying to figure out where she was. Five minutes later she shows up. Apparently the wedding office was supposed to tell me to STAY in my room for a while because not all of our guests had arrived yet (errrr!). Then as Iâ€™m getting onto the golf cart here comes my future mother in law, and a bunch of my husbandâ€™s family who had still been hanging out in the lobby! And they stop and hug me, and want to watch me go. I was so frustrated it wasnâ€™t even funny. Here I am telling them to go so that I can go, and they are just standing there watching me!! And then one of them (luckily this was a sort of distant cousin of his dadâ€™s so I didnâ€™t yell at a close family member) asks if the golf cart can come back and pick them up! In the end a bunch of them got on the golf cart with me and rode part of the ways so they would hurry. I can feel my heart rate picking up just thinking about it. Anyways, overall everything was just perfect and the little minor things that occurred were just that â€“ minor.
Pictures. We got package D which included 62 pictures with a 6x8 album. We ended up with closer to 85 pictures in the album, and because the package includes the negatives I bet we have a total of 180 pictures. No matter what I think you should get the negatives â€“ you have the option of printing off other pictures, different sizes, black and white, etc. We actually asked them to print some of our 6x8s in black and white, which they were happy to do. Out of all of the pictures there were only 2 or 3 that really werenâ€™t any good. Some were multiples of others that were further away or a different angle.
Video. We also did the video, which we werenâ€™t going to do in the first place. My husband wasnâ€™t thrilled about having it videotaped but everyone who couldnâ€™t make it to the wedding mentioned seeing the video â€“ so of course my mom made us do it. And we are so glad! It turned out really great and made me cry all over again. They set it all to the music you use for the ceremony (and when ours ran out they used the pre-wedding music we had â€“ otherwise they may just pick something). We were able to play it several times at the reception and everyone absolutely loved it!!
Cocktail Party. As I mentioned before we ended up with a group contract once all of our guests booked (arranged via the travel agent). So, we got a free cocktail party. I originally wanted to add another hour, or in the alternative to apply the cost of the cocktail party towards a private dinner (we were worried we would have more than the allowed 35 people so I wasnâ€™t sure whether we could use the included reservation). The coordinator didnâ€™t think we would need 2 hours, and she couldnâ€™t get the resort to agree to apply it towards a private dinner. So, for the sake of not spending a bunch of additional money, we stuck with the 1 hour and the included reservation. And luckily we only had 35 people, so I donâ€™t know what they would have done if we had more. The cocktail party was so much fun â€“ and the food and service was exceptional! I would barely have Â½ of a drink missing and the waiter would give me another. We also paid for the 2 hours of self-service DJ equipment. And for whatever reason the guy who set it up stayed and DJâ€™d for us the entire time. It was really awesome!
Dinner. After the cocktail party we headed over to Arrecifies for our dinner. We had 4 or 5 vegetarians in our group and we were pleased with how everything turned out. All of the restaurants were very willing to do what we needed to make sure everyone had enough food, but Arrecifies made special plates for the vegetarians (vegetable fajitas or lasagna or something to that effect) seeing that Arrecifies is essentially all meat! But my husband and I love Brazilian restaurants and we really wanted our dinner there. I had previously read a review where the couple had their wedding dinner at Arrecifies and they were able to get plenty of vegetarian food so I wasnâ€™t too worried about it. After all of that we ended up just changing and watching the nightly entertainment, then going out for some drinks.
Breakfast in Bed. Breakfast in bed the next morning was just ridiculous. We ended up with 6 plates of food and could barely finish 3 plates! We originally had it set to arrive at 10ish, but were ready for it by 8. We just called over to room service and they delivered it right away without a problem.
We didnâ€™t have anyone get sick from being in Mexico, eating the food or drinking the water. Several of us did come back with colds, however.
We had at least 2 people come away from the resort with missing items, however, neither of them had these items in the safe. One was a pair of pants which you canâ€™t exactly put in the safe, but Iâ€™m still not convinced that they were stolen. Overall itâ€™s a good idea to keep any valuables in the safe.
None of us did any of the included tours. You have to get down there right away or it fills up! Many of our guests were only there for 3 days, and with 1 of those being the wedding day, we just didnâ€™t have the time. Not to mention that you have to set aside an entire day to do them. A couple of us that were there longer went into Cancun for souvenir shopping. Our cabdriver offered to take us around to different places for a bigger fee â€“ which we did instead of trying to find another cabdriver to take us back to Moon Palace. The ones from MP will all be the same price, however once you get to Cancun they will charge you whatever they want.
Part of our group took the bus into Cancun one day though I donâ€™t remember what they said about it. And a few did snorkeling around the resort, as well as parasailing and jet skis.
Everything will turn out fine. We had a few minor glitches, but overall we were so excited to be there and to be getting married that the rest didnâ€™t matter. Just keep that in mind! Remember the marriage is the important part â€“ not the wedding! And enjoy being in Mexico!!
We had so much fun there that we are already recruiting our friends to go back next year!
I am running out of time today, but plan to post pictures tomorrow. Let me know if you have questions!!!!!