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About nmoreau

  1. We tipped 20% almost and gave her a small gift that we also gave to the guests. She really works hard will do everything to make your day special. But I don't know that there is a standard..... do what you feel is right.
  2. I posted some pictures in the album section of our wedding. Sandos Playacar Wedding by Joshua Albanese Photography... then I posted some from our site visit. I did find the are in the Italian Buffet to be private, they announced us as we walked in, and it is a buffet so it isn't totally private but there were a lot of guests that were saying congrats, etc. Most of our guests and us paid by credit card, but you can pay cash, they have a cash machine that gives out US dollars. We did not use the resort photographer we hired Joshua Albanese out of Chicago, since we were looking for someone to capture our whole trip. He did a good job for us and what we were looking for. The packages are pretty straight forward. I think if you want to do a big reception type event you might end up cheaper just paying for what you want. Also depending on how many guests you have, then you get certain things free. So they assign a dollar value to those packages and if you decide to just buy what pieces you want then you get a credit for that dollar amount (if you had enough guests to get it free). They calculate the guests by 7 days. So for each guest that stays for 7 days that is one, then she took people staying for partial days to add them into one guests at 7 days. (hopefully that makes sense). I think where they really get you is when you want a private service, there is a per person bar fee and per person food fee, depending on what you want. Since we didn't do that it wasn't a factor for us, but we considered it but that added up fast. I have a lot of pictures on face book, just look for Natalie Moreau Ysker and tell me you are from this forum and I can friend you if you want to see more pictures than what is posted on here nathistle@hotmail.com if you have specific questions, I would be happy to try and help out. Just remember that it is Mexico time and because there are so many weddings, it seems that they try to focus on the current ones and then work on the rest. I decided as much as I could before hand, but the majority of it we finalized once we got there. Again we were pretty laid back and Maria answered most of our questions via email before we got there and during our site visit. Maria will make sure that your wedding is very special, she really was great. Hopefully I got to everyone's questions. I will try to do a full review on here later. Let me know if you can't find the pictures on here.
  3. Natalie & Jason get married at Sandos Playacar Beach Resort May 9, 2010
  4. Pictures from a site visit at Sandos Beach & Riviera Resort
  5. Before I left for Mexico I mailed out to everyone a sort of Welcome Letter with the agenda in it. Not detailed just what time the ceremony was most likely going to be, what to pack, what to expect at Cancun airport, etc. At our welcome / meet & greet happy hour we talked a little more about things and then the catamaran was the day before so on that we announced the final details. Really though it seemed like we would tell a few key guests and they sort of took it upon themselves to be our messengers, which was really nice of them. I think we made an announcement about dinner in the wedding hut, then at dinner we made the announcement about moving to the bar and the disco was sort of just how the night flowed that wasn't planned at all. The resort isn't that big so you typically run into your guests a lot.... honestly at times we found it hard to be outside our room and get any down time. Which was the point of the destination wedding so I couldn't complain. Also through the week we just planned impromptu meeting places so we could hang out with people, or to have dinner with different groups. I forgot to post in my review before that we got married legally at home, so we didn't have the costs of the minister (family friend did our ceremony in Mexico) which is the largest part of your wedding costs. We just didn't want to take the chance that we forgot to do something so we were married in the US about 5 days before we left for Mexico. Then we had our beach ceremony a week later. It is sort of fun to have 2 dates to celebrate.... sort of a Anniversary week!
  6. We did have the 4 poster arch. I am way behind on my review of Sandos and my wedding, things have just been crazy. First I want to say we went really simple with the wedding as far as decorations, etc. We had 50 guests so the basic wedding was free and we just added a la carte to there. We had the 4 poster gazebo with no flowers (the flowers is the majority of that cost). Then we had just natural greens on th aisle that I paid $30 to the grounds crew to collect and put in that day (thru Maria of course) Then we had 2 flower girls and I ordered 2 bags of petals which they dropped on their way down... (then later ran out and picked up which I joked with Maria I should get a break for them cleaning up)... I ordered flowers for me, the 2 bridesmaids, and corsages for the 2 moms. The guys didn't wear flowers b/c they wouldn't have held up on their light weight linen shirts. We just used the champagne toast that they provide as part of the package and I put some tunes on our ipod that we used for the cermony that we played while we danced and just hung out in the little wedding hut until dinner. We did a few pictures on the beach while the guest stayed in the hut or went to the bar. Then we had dinner in the Italian restaurant, which we set up really nice and since it was a buffet we all ran into each other. After that we moved into the bar by the meeting point and the enclosed sports bar area and just sort of took it over. There was a band playing at the meeting place and when we walked out to head to the disco they played a few songs just for us, so we did a really impromptu father/daughter dance and bride/groom dance and the rest of the guests joined in... We were pretty laid back about the actual wedding day and chose to spend the money on the catamaran ride where we were all together for the whole day, etc. We also randomly organized wedding group days, so one day we all met up at the swim up bar in the Riveria section and one day we met down by the beach to play volleyball, etc. Since we provided everyone with these great orange mugs, the guests always knew were people were and even guests at the resort kept saying you are with that wedding group. It was only $450 because we didn't go over the top on the actual resort items. We spent the money (which we spent more of) on mugs, invites, dress and wedding attire, and mostly the catamaran. This resort is great for people who want to have a little bit more control over their ceremony and wedding set up. As most resorts I found were very cookie cutter and you didn't have much room to make it your own. If you want the fancy, super swanky stuff, I think they get you with all their per person fees, etc. I was so happy with the wedding and the hotel they made our guests feel really welcome and everyone had a TON of fun! If you want to see pictures then just private message me, I have some on facebook and shutterfly I can send you of the ceremony and the hotel. I just need to get on here and load them into the computer....
  7. ...on the swapping things out, they do not do that b/c I thought the same and figured I could negotiate that. You either go the package route or you go a la carte.... But Maria runs it both ways to get you the cheapest deal. We ended up just paying a la carte b/c it was the cheapest route for us and we didn't want some of the more costly parts of the package deals. Overall with 50 guests our total bill was about $450 and $100 of that was the hair salon (which I really think we could have done just as well on our own) and the rest of it was to pay for the fresh flowers..... just gives you an idea of where you end up in the long run. With that said we did no reserved spaces, no reception on the beach, etc. We had our own photographer, used the Italian buffet space for dinner, our rehearsal dinner/bachelor & bachelorette party dinner/scavenger hunt was done at the Brazilian restaurant the night before and then I planned that meet & greet with out the hotel at the meeting point area. Hope all this information helps.....
  8. I did ask about reserving a place, etc for a meet and greet cocktail hour or an area. Pretty much if they reserve it for you they charge you a fee and then a fee for bar service. So I just told everyone where to meet (we chose the bar right off the meeting point area) and we just sort of "took" over that area. We handed out our coffee/drink mugs with out logo on it and everyone shared their room numbers with the people that they hadn't seen, etc. Then we all just ordered drinks from the bar and talked and hung out. It worked but ours was really casual. So basically I think if you are asking for a reserved area, they go the route of charging you per person for the bar service which I think was around $11-15 per person or something weird like that. Depending on what time of year you get married I think there is usually a space that you can meet. The main lobby (by the Rivieria section) has lots of places to go and sit, etc with the bar right there next too it. Depending on the time of the day/night it shouldn't be too busy. Otherwise down in the Meeting Point area there is the outside bar & inside sports bar area. This is the area we picked since most people were staying by the beach section like us. There is also a bar that is open (depending on the capacity of the resort) down by the beach, which you could use as an area as well if it were open. The disco when it first opens (from being closed and the humid weather) smells pretty musty, some said like cat pee. However most nights we were there, our wedding guest group took the place over (we were there in May) and we sort of were the party each night. So that is a fun place to hang out as well that has a bar. Good Luck on planning!
  9. You can always decide once you get there, as Maria has great photos of how they set it up in different ways. We used the 4 post arch it was nice b/c there is nothing out there on the beach but you could go either way and be fine. Honestly see how you feel when you get there and what package you end up....
  10. With charter, transportation round trip and the cake for the birthday I think it was around $60 per person and we had 50 people. The charter can only take 45 people and then they added the fishing boat for free to transport the remaining people. FAT CAT was awesome! Plus where you get on the catamaran is where they have some swim with the dolphins and lots of little shops. So it was a good "outing" for some of the less adventurous people. People are still talking about swimming with the sea turtles and the snorkeling, the crew was great, we were jumping off the boat, etc. Very worth the money. We opted for this over a big reception at the hotel.
  11. We chartered a catamaran for our whole group (50 people) in Puerto Adventuras. Our guests RAVED about it the whole trip. We did that instead of a huge reception type party. We used FAT CAT. They were wonderful, they even helped us celebrate a guests birthday on the boat. We had drinks, snorkeling, sailing and they even had a fishing boat where some of the guys were on and they caught a huge fish! It was so worth the money. You should check into them if you want to have the whole group on a day trip!
  12. Royal Elite is what they call the group of people that have purchased timeshare ownership thru the resort. At Sandos this is sometimes referred to the Select Club. There is a section of the beach and a small pool by the beach that is members only. Then there is a room in the central lobby and the meeting point lobby that is for members only. Otherwise the rest of the hotel is open to everyone. I was married there in May 2010. You guys are going to enjoy it. Maria is so wonderful and will make your day special. Just go with the flow and let Maria stress over the details. Have a great time.
  13. I was just married at Sandos in May 2010 and they have relaxed their dress code significantly from the time we were there in Sept 2009 and when the wedding was in May. You may just want to confirm with Sandos staff what the policy is now. In May 2010 the only restaurant that they required long pants was the French restaurant, the rest were all more casual. Not sure if they kept that or if they just happened to be testing a new system. I know they have done a lot of different things with their restaurants as far as when they are open and where they are located (outside the main buffet and the Italian buffet both you can get by with shorts when I was there). Best would be to email the customer service off their website or contact the current wedding coordinator to confirm.
  14. We had a mock wedding certificate made by up, that we signed along with our witnesses and then had everyone attending the wedding sign on the witness area. That way everyone signed but it was just a one page sheet. Our plan is to frame it with our wedding photo. I can send a picture if you would like, just let me know.
  15. Well one week and counting until I leave for our wedding at Sandos. If there is any question you want me to answer I can try to find out the information and make a post for you. We will be there from May 5 to the 12 with our wedding on May 9th. Just let me know and I will see what I can find out for you. It has been really humid down there, I am hoping that it lets up a little!