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About loanmao

  1. OMG those are BEAUTIFUL PICTURES!!!!!!!!!!! The best I've seen so far!!
  2. Quote: Originally Posted by lexibride I just saw this post and I asked the same question in the other Royal thread. Loanmao - where did you get the information about having dinner at Maria's Restaurant? That would work out perfect if we could do that. We would have an 8:30 dinner, a little late, but not that big of a deal. Lexibride...don't know if you already had your wedding. I've been MIA for a while, but I've written a review on our wedding. We ended up having a welcome get-together with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres at La Tortuga restaurant. Maria Marie's wouldn't have worked for us because we had 110 guests. They offered a welcome reception at Pelicanos for $30/person for 5 hours with open bar and hors d'eouvres, but we decided against it for a change in venue and a cheaper price. Also, in January, Pelicanos can be very windy. Sorry again for such a late reply. Hope this info still helps.
  3. Quote: Originally Posted by Lady_Di Really? I had this assumption that they would go to the front desk and get access. Are you saying they have no idea if they're guests of The Royal/Gran? The security guards in the lobby area are like hawks. They do keep an eye out for Royal and Gran bracelets and approach you if you are not supposed to be there. However, I'm not sure how they handled guests who entered for the wedding. No one said anything about having trouble, though. And no one had to get bracelets for the wedding for sure.
  4. Quote: Originally Posted by Lady_Di I thought the guests had to go to the front desk to get a bracelet to enter the property...and also thought they would have a list of guests to check off to make sure there would be 35, not 38 people. You know? No, no one had to get a bracelet to enter the property on the wedding day. The front desk has no idea how many guests you have. The guest count is finalized with your WC. Any number exceeding 35 (for the luxury wedding package) is an extra charge. We had to give Zulma the exact count and she calculated the extra charge the day before the wedding.
  5. Another view of the gazebo View of hotel from main pool Beach in front of the gazebo. You can see part of the gazebo on the right Swim up bar at the pool This dark cloud loomed ahead pre-ceremony. It slowly crept its way over us and poured immediately after the I Do's. This is a picture a friend captured after all the guests cleared the seats and sought shelter under the gazebo.
  6. I'm testing out how to post pictures: This the a view of the property from the Royal Presidential Suite: This is another view...with the gazebo I will post more pictures..now that I know how!!
  7. Quote: Originally Posted by Lady_Di you're welcome...i have a question...how did your guests find your wedding? did they have to go to the front desk? The wedding ceremony was on the beach...so everyone knew to go straight to the beach. The beach location actually changed when we got there. FI and I wanted to change locations due to the beach renovations and ugly pipes that were in front of Gran Porto, which would have been visible had we kept the original ceremony location. The set-up is very visible once guests arrive on the beach. The one guest who showed up late went through the front entrance. He missed the ceremony. I don't believe he stopped at the front desk, which is probably why he got stopped by the security guards. Also, I provided a resort map indicating the ceremony location in a Welcome booklet I made (included with OOT bags).
  8. Quote: Originally Posted by Lady_Di i love it! you looked gorgeous. THANKS Lady_Di!!!
  9. Quote: Originally Posted by dejacque The Royal allowed you to have kids at the wedding? Were they allowed for both the ceremony and reception or only the ceremony? I'm thinking about having my wedding at the Royal, but I think there may be a few kids that would come if they are allowed. Yes, kids were allowed at the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception. I had about 8 kids, all under 6 years old. None of the guests were given any trouble except for one guest who arrived late from the Gran Porto with his 2 sons. The security guards were not letting him enter the property, even when he told the guy he was attending the wedding. After much convincing, the security guard escorted him through the front entrance and into the ballroom, even though all the other guests (including children) were sitting by the lobby bar! In short, he was finally able to join the rest of the party w/ his kids.
  10. My pictures from Elizabeth Medina are coming soon!!! Teasers are on her blog!! I will post pictures of the set-up and some of the appetizers once I get them in the mail. Elizabeth Medina Photography
  11. Lady_Di: Yes, there is only one Spazul at The Royal. Maybe there is another one at Gran Porto? I'm not sure. Also, I found out 2 possible names for the bar/club we went to for the after party...one friend tells me it is Bar Malandrin on Calle 12 between 5th and 10th Ave. Another friend tells me it's Mandala Bar on Calle 12 between 1st and 5th Ave. We were all pretty drunk that night, so unsure who is right. Sorry ladies.
  12. ASTREIT: I forgot to mention in my review that we did a menu tasting when we got there. Prior to leaving for MX, Angie forwarded a form that we needed to fill out with info for flowers, cake flavors, Spazul appointment times, food we wanted to sample, etc. We met at Spice restaurant and sampled 2 dishes from each category. We ultimately went with: Salad: Trout salad w/ vegetable mouse & poblano chili sauce Soup: Oyster cream soup w/ fried leak Main Course: Beef fillet w/ dijon mustard, garnished w/ Provencal herbs AND a custom dish of Chicken stuffed with zucchini flour w/ rice & veggies on the side. Dessert: Cheesecake w/ chocolate For our vegetarians: Salad: Tomato salad w/ grilled zucchini Soup: Spring soup Main course: Eggplant cake w/ vegetables & green tomato sauce Dessert: Cheesecake w/ chocolate For our 1 vegan guest, the chef would prepare the vegetarian menu w/ no animal byproducts. For the children: Same salad, soup, and dessert as the regular guests Main course: Chicken fingers We met with the chef, Parroquin, to discuss the menu and different options for our vegetarians and 1 vegan guest. It was difficult to communicate with him because his English is poor and he didn't quite understand what we meant by vegan. It wasn't until I discussed it w/ Zulma did I feel more comfortable that the chef understood what I meant. Also, I wanted an altered chicken dish because we have some guests who eat chicken, but no seafood (the listed chicken dish is stuffed w/ shrimp). Normally, you are only supposed to choose one dish from each category for all your guests, but we found it hard to pick one dish for everyone. Zulma told us that if we knew exactly how many chickens/beefs/veggies we wanted and where they would be sitting, it would be fine. Two days before the reception, I provided Zulma with the final count and the seating chart. I was upset during the reception that the cheesecake didn't look the same as it did during the menu tasting. At the tasting, the cheesecake was very unique in that it was rounded and completely covered w/ chocolate...so you wouldn't know that it was cheesecake until you took a bite. At the reception, it was a standard looking cheesecake. Boo... but oh well. It was still tasty. Hope this helps!!
  13. Hi Royal brides!! I've been gone for a long time...just posted a long review on the Royal. Let me know if any of you have questions. Jess...love your dress!!! I don't know how to link to the review...sorry ladies..i'm very forum incompetent.
  14. Real Resorts (Angie Hayes & Suzanna) - C We did not use a travel agent. This may or may not have been a mistake. At first, we encouraged our guests to book through Angie to ensure a group room rate. However, guests were having difficulty getting in touch with her, getting response emails, and/or getting confirmations for reservations. Two guests never get a hold of her and was never confirmed a room. One ended up booking directly through the website and the other got into an argument with Angie. Upon arrival, she and her husband had to stay at Gran Porto for 1 night because The Royal was booked. The good thing was that Travelocity was having great packages for flight + hotel at the resorts. A majority of our guests booked through Travelocity. Husband and I initially booked our rooms through Angie and flight through Orbitz, but cancelled our reservations for a Travelocity package. We ended up saving a lot of money even with cancellation fees. Communication with Angie is very difficult. She always seems too busy. She made multiple mistakes on documents that required payment and confirmation. Be sure to double-check her work! Emails were difficult and phone calls hardly got through to her unless you tell her it’s an emergency. Communication did get better within the month of our wedding. After Suzanna joined the team, things were getting done faster. Site Visit: 6 months before wedding - A Angie set up a meeting with Zulma, our on-site WC, prior to leaving for MX. If we had known better, we would’ve booked the site visit directly through the website at Real Resorts Wedding Program, Wedding Hotel Program, Wedding Inspection Program|Real Resorts. The reason is because you can get 100% credit back from your site visit if > 25 rooms are booked for you and your guests. We had 110 guests so 25+ rooms were easy. If we booked through the website, we would’ve gotten the entire credit. But because we booked through Angie, Real Resorts gets a $200 cut. The credit is supposed to go toward room upgrades, spa services and other amenities, but Zulma told us we could use it toward our wedding total. Upon arrival, we had a slew of questions and a camera in tow. Zulma was very sweet and answered all our questions, took us on a tour of the hotel, showed us the different areas we could hold our ceremony, cocktail hour & reception, showed us examples of different room classes, and gave us print-outs of the menus. I would highly recommend a site visit. We saw a beautiful wedding during our stay and it made us feel more relaxed and confident that I chose the right location. We also scoped out the surrounding area like 5th Ave and Mega superstore. We took note of things we could buy down there instead of having to purchase in the US and lugging it down. Airport Transfers – A We specifically told our guests that we would cover their roundtrip airport transfers. We contacted 2 companies: Best Day and Lomas Travel. We booked different vans according to how many guests arrived at certain times and went with either Best Day or Lomas according to price. Best Day (Salvadore Galvez & Luis): We booked a 14-person van ($280 RT/$140 one-way) and shared roundtrip transfers ($39/person) for those arriving at odd times. Lomas Travel (Luis Solis): We booked 6 person vans ($156 RT/$93 one-way) and single one-way transfers ($28/person) for those who also arrived at odd times. Lomas also gave a 10% discount on all group transfer bookings. Van booked through Angie: A 10-person van was also booked through Angie for $195 RT/$110 one-way. The company was still Best Day. Some guests arrived on Best Day and left on Lomas and vice versa. Hubby worked out the logistics so that it was cheapest for us. One week prior to the wedding, we emailed guests to tell them which company they should look for for their transfers. For the most part, the airport transfers went smoothly. We requested that a sign be held to indicate our wedding, but their signs all differed. Some had Hubby’s full name and some had the guests’ names. Either way, our guests were able to make their way through the crowd to find their assigned transfers. Airline, Airport & Customs – A We flew from JFK – CUN on Jetblue. Jetblue does not have garment closets to accommodate a wedding dress. My dress was all lace with a small train. It wasn’t a large, poufy dress that would require a lot of bin space. We requested early boarding so we could occupy a full bin with our bags and dress. It wasn’t a problem. Transporting OOT bag contents: I HIGHLY RECOMMEND keeping receipts of your OOT bag contents. I read on this forum that I should bring them. We had 2 cardboard boxes and one suitcase full of OOT canvas bags and other contents. Customs did ask us what was in the boxes and bags, their value, and asked to see our receipts. Once they saw the receipts, they let us through. Customs took us 1½ hours. Two or 3 other flights arrived at similar times and we ended up in the line together. Some guests had no problems and got out of the airport in a ½ hour! Hotel: The Royal Playa del Carmen – B+ Everyone was very impressed with the façade. Check-in was easy because we had done so online 48 hours before arrival to pick our room as well as our families’ rooms. We requested a resort map from Angie beforehand. The early check-in prevents any delays upon arrival. I highly recommend it for your families and wedding party. Antonio Acevedo, the Manager on Duty, was the most helpful of all Royal employees. He helped with room upgrades for Husband’s parents from the Gran Porto to The Royal. He also helped tell the front security to back off when our guests, who were staying at outside resorts, wanted to come to The Royal to hang out in the lobby. The security guards are like hawks. Once a non-Royal guest steps past the concierge and into the lobby, they are on them. Many of our non-Royal guests were able to hang out in the lobby for hours with no problems as long as they can convince the security guards to let them through. The lobby, restaurants, and bars were all great. We got no complaints about the food or service. We also have a lot of vegetarians and they were able to find meal options with no problems. Some guests got food poisoning, but we’re unsure what it was from. Hubby and I stayed in the Royal Presidential Suite. The suite was AWESOME!!! It had ample room space for our OOT bag assembly, nice Jacuzzi, nice big pool outside, and great turndown service. The shower did not have good pressure or hot water (only lukewarm) on the 1st day, but it was fixed after calling down to the concierge. Hotel: Gran Porto Real - B The main reason why we chose to have our wedding at The Royal is because there is a family friendly resort right across the street. We didn’t like other family friendly resorts except for the Grand Velas, which was ridiculously expensive and too secluded. We had 6 families with small children. It was difficult to see these guests unless Hubby and I made the effort to go to their side to visit. The families had a great time hanging out around the pool together and using the Kid’s Center. The food is not nearly as good as at The Royal and the general appearance isn’t as nice. Some guests had privileges to either all amenities at The Royal or just the restaurants depending on the class of room they booked at the Gran Porto. The security did not give these guests trouble when they tried to enter the property. One HUGE negative: no one was informed of the beach renovation at Gran Porto. The entire beach was closed to most of our guests’ dismay. OOT Bags & Contents: I bought orange and green canvas bags through discountmugs.com. My original order was on backorder and Ana contacted me to change my order. I ultimately went with Insulated Tote Bags, Customizable Insulated Tote Bags, Cooler Tote. They were a great hit!!! They come with clear tags that I personalized with a logo printed on white sticker paper. Contents of OOT bag: -Shawls (Jackson Heights, NY for $4 each) -Sudoku books (Michael’s, Target, Dollar Tree about $1 each. I also used Michael’s coupons for discounts) -Playing cards (Michael’s. <$1 each w/ coupon) -Ibuprofen packs (Jettro, Queens NY) -Band-aid packs (Jettro, Queens) -Kleenex travel packs (Jettro, Queens) -Gum & Mentos (Jettro, Queens) -Wet Ones (BJ’s) -Floss (free) -Fish loufa (dollar tree, $1 each) -CD of music Hubby and I like The bags, shawls, bandaids, ibuprofen, tissue packs, gum & mentos, wet ones, and CD were great hits!!! I don’t think many people played with the cards, but they were nice wedding favors since I personalized them. Many people carried these bags around the resort because they were great sizes! My bridesmaids loved the bags so much, that I gave each of them an extra one containing thank you gifts (green shawls, bangles, and a ring). I also included a welcome booklet that I printed and assembled. There was a welcome note, photos of the parents, photos of our brothers and their families, photos of the wedding party accompanying blurbs that were written by each of them, a he said/she said page, resort map, timeline of events, map of Playa del Carmen, and a friends tracker (all of these great ideas were taken from other members of BDW…thanks!!!) Welcome Reception – A+++ We had a cocktail hour with drinks and hors d’oeuvres at El Bistro Restaurant at La Tortuga Hotel on 10th Ave and Calle 12. It was recommended by Jescman (THANKS JESS!!!). With one week to go before leaving for MX, Hubby and I had no idea what we were doing for a welcome reception. I had tossed around the idea of having it at Maria Marie’s like TightyWhitey did, but after talking to Zulma via email it wouldn’t have worked. Zulma recommended a cocktail hour at Pelicanos at a cost of $40/person for 5 hours. The menu would’ve been similar to the cocktail hour for the wedding. Hubby and I wanted a different venue. We contacted Mario Gutierrez from El Bistro and he emailed us back immediately!! He is extremely accommodating and very good with emails. We wanted to check out the place the Wed before our wedding. When we met, we asked if we could do a menu tasting and he immediately got the chef cooking! We tasted several hors d’oeuvres and ultimately talked him down to $35/person with 9 different hors d’oeuvres and open bar for 2 hours on the upstairs terrace. On the Friday of our welcome reception, the tables and chairs were setup downstairs in the covered terrace due to rain. It was hot, humid, and stuffy but we had no choice. Once the rain stopped, Hubby asked if we could move it upstairs because the place is beautiful and we chose it because of the terrace. Mario immediately got the staff to move furniture! He was awesome!!! Everyone had a great time, the food and drinks were yummy, and Mario and his staff were great. I highly recommend this place!!! Wedding Coordinator (Zulma) – B After our site visit, communication with Zulma was very difficult. Upon arrival, we had a meeting with Zulma. She did not seem as nice and helpful as she was during the site visit. Maybe she is overworked? Some things she told us during the site visit changed during our wedding. I recommend you document all conversations or emails with anyone! Even within a month of our wedding, we did not hear anything from Zulma. Three weeks before the wedding, Angie emailed forms that we needed to fill out such as head count, menu, SpaZul times for hair/make-up, etc. Then they hounded us to get the info immediately when all other times, we could never get any info from them. On the day of the wedding, Zulma was great. She recommended that we move our cocktail hour and reception indoors due to a chance of rain, but we decided to risk it and keep it outdoors. It did rain right after the ceremony and everything had to be moved indoors, but Zulma did not charge us the $2500 penalty for damaged equipment (Hubby and I didn’t even know about this charge and were grateful that she waived it). SpaZul – A+ I was worried that my 6 yo flower girl wouldn’t be able to join us while we prepared for the wedding, but she was able to be with us the entire morning at Spazul and in my room with no problems. Appointments for mani/pedi, hair/make-up and make-up trial were made through Zulma about 3 weeks before the wedding. Mani/Pedi: Nothing special. I had them done at 10 am. Spazul was pretty empty. All my bridesmaids scheduled theirs at around the same time. MOG also added on a mani after her hairstyle. The whole room was empty except for us girls. Makeup: Alicia did my trial and I thought it looked good, but not great. It was a bit too dark for my liking. On the day of the wedding, Alicia listened to all my critiques and did a wonderful job!! Everyone commented on how beautiful my make-up was that night! She also helped me put some make-up on my flower girl and made her feel so special! Hair: I have really short hair and Alicia did a great job giving me volume. It was simple but beautiful! Couple’s Massage: We scheduled the couple’s massage the day after the wedding. It was a nice time to relax. Hubby fell asleep on the table. =) Wax: Daisy did a bikini wax for me. She was running late and the staff gave me 10% discount for the service. Flowers – A++ I asked Zulma for local flowers. I gave no specifics except for color. I also did not want too many roses. The flowers were BEAUTIFUL!!! Mine was all orange with gerber daisies, birds of paradise, and roses. Many guests commented on how beautiful the flowers were and how much they popped in photos!! They also matched my bridesmaid dresses very well! I bought J Crew Silk Chiffon Juliet dresses in Sweet Cantaloupe. The only things I didn’t like were the Fathers’ bouts. I asked for no white flowers and they gave them white roses, but I didn’t mind too much. Zulma delivered the flowers to my room 1 hour before the ceremony and she takes care of pinning bouts onto groomsmen & fathers. Ceremony - A Our ceremony was on the beach behind the gazebo at 4 pm. The set-up was beautiful! We chose to have a harpist play and he was great! It sounded like a soundtrack until you look over and see him play! I was really pleased with him because initially, I was afraid that he would suck. We heard a violinist play during the wedding we witnessed at our site visit and I didn’t like him at all. We had many spectators on the sides that turned their chairs to face the ceremony. Being the bride, I didn’t notice them at all! I didn’t realize how many spectators we had until I saw pictures! We had a religious ceremony with a minister. The $400 minister fee was waived because we stayed in the Royal Presidential for a week. She spoke English relatively well and the ceremony was short and sweet. It lasted about 15 min. Immediately after the ceremony, it started to rain. Everyone ran for the gazebo. Cocktail hour – B Because of the rain, the guests had to be herded into the lobby. I don’t believe all the hors d’oeuvres came out. I only remember seeing one, so I’m unsure of what was actually served. The guests had a great time regardless. I think the older adults appreciated the indoor venue. Guests immediately hit the bar and started drinking! Reception – B The one problem with the rain was that it cut into our 3-hour private reception time. It took the staff a lot of time to set up in the banquet room and that meant we had less than 2 hours for the reception. Guests were mingling in the lobby bar area and wondered what was going on. When they finally were set up, Hubby and I were upset because Zulma approached us and made it clear to us that all service was going to stop at 9 pm, regardless of the delay. When 9 pm was approaching, the headwaiter asked if we wanted to extend the service an extra hour for $10/person. We decided to go for it. Another negative…my bridesmaid made beautiful table numbers that got ruined in the rain. Photography – A++ Elizabeth Medina and her daughter, Lauren, are extremely wonderful to work with. I booked her 3+ months in advance. They live 4 hours drive from Playa del Carmen. We were required to book them one night’s stay and since they were hotel guests, Zulma waived the $100 outside vendor fee. She was extremely patient with our guests when they kept taking pictures at the same time as her. It was difficult because all our guests were in the gazebo to shelter from rain and everyone had cameras! From the time the ceremony started until the end of the reception, I hardly noticed where she and Lauren were! The next morning, Hubby and I did a TTD session with her. She was wonderful. I can’t wait to see the pictures! Funever Photos came with our luxury package. The photographer took pictures throughout the ceremony until Elizabeth asked him to stop. Zulma asked me first if he should stop and I agreed. We received a small album (25 pics) and a ½ hour DVD of our reception at checkout. The photos look good and the DVD was a nice, but I’m glad I hired a separate photographer. DJ – B DJ Doremixx had great reviews from other brides. Hubby was the one who worked with Ivan Gomez and his team. I was worried that the rain would ruin his equipment, but I think he moved it in time. He was very communicative with us and very nice to work with. We gave them a B for several reasons. One, we asked that certain music be played during the bridal party and bride/groom. He messed up the music and ended up playing a slow song, which was supposed to be our first dance song, during the bride/groom intro. As Hubby and I walked in, he told me that they played the wrong song so we decided last minute to just walk straight to the dance floor and do our first dance immediately. Two, I was a little disappointed that he did not have more props than just white balloons. I’ve seen his other pictures and Youtube clips and it seemed that he had more props like masks (unsure if the bride purchased them herself and brought it to the reception). Three, I was also expecting more lights. Youtube clips showed many colorful club-like lights. We only had 2 bright spotlights. Maybe it was because of the rain and lack of set-up time? Not sure. Either way, the guests still had a great time. The light up dance floor is definitely a good investment, especially if you have a large party. The kids LOVED it and were on the dance floor the entire night! We booked DJ Doremixx directly without going through Zulma. We had to pay the $100 outside vendor fee because of it. After party – A+++ About 50 of us headed down to 5th Ave, hoping to get into Coco Bongo. It would’ve cost $50/person, which was way too steep for our liking. We walked randomly into a bar on one of the Calles (either 10 or 12). Unfortunately, no one remembers the name. (I will try to figure it out and post it) No cover charge!! Our party dominated the entire upstairs terrace, which had a light up dance floor as well! The music was great (hip hop) and we all had a blast! They even congratulated us on their TV screens! Downtown Playa del Carmen – A+ The great thing about having the wedding at The Royal is its proximity to 5th Ave. All our guests enjoyed walking/shopping the Ave. It helped Hubby and I not worry about what guests would do during their stay. Many also got cheap massages for $30! I wanted to try one, but never had the time to. Overall, Hubby and I had a great time. I will gladly help anyone who needs advice. This forum was extremely helpful throughout the planning process. I will try to figure out how to post pictures and will share my DIY's and other photos.
  15. loanmao

    Royal Playa del Carmen Review - A&K

    I LOVE your photographer's samples!!! They look beautiful!!!