Timeline: 2nd June 2010 @ 3pm
11am â€“ hair done at Sunrise
1.30 pm â€“ photographer in groomâ€™s room
2.00 pm photos in brideâ€™s room
2.30pm â€“guests to be in chapel
2.40pm - bridesmaids and MOB made way to chapel
2.40pm â€“ Carriage came for us, short ride before going to chapel
3.00 pm - Catholic Chapel wedding
4.00pm â€“ photos with family and guests
4.15pm â€“ family and guests made way to lobby to cool off and freshen up
- bride and groom taken down to the beach for pics
4.50pm â€“ made way to lobby for drinks
6.15pm - made way down to Tucan area
6.30pm â€“ sit down for meal
9.00pm â€“ DISCO!
Why moon palace?
I booked moon palace as the pictures looked fab along with the facilities, reports on trip advisor and review on BDW of course! I knew I wanted an all inclusive and at least a 4 star hotel and it had to be in the Caribbean, we settled on Mexico but I didnâ€™t want to be right in Cancun for fear of Spring breakers. I originally wanted Dreams Tulum but after learning about the 1.5 hour transfer from the airport I decided against it and went with Moon Palace. The last thing I wanted was a long transfer time after a 10 hour plane ride from the UK. Moon palace is also only 15 minutes from the airport which is perfect.
We had 22 guests book to join us most stayed for 1 week some for 2 weeks. I had the usual people saying they were definitely coming and then say at the last minute they couldnâ€™t afford it even though they were out every weekend eating drinking etc this upset me at first but what can you do? I canâ€™t dictate to people how to spend their money, just think more of the people who could make it.
Documents required before:
I booked through Virgin Weddings with a local travel agent. Had quite a few hiccups with getting the forms in order.
First I needed to get our passports copied and have the copies signed and stamped by a solicitor.
I then needed to get our birth certificates legalized by the British foreign office to state they were true and correct documents. Both the passport docs and birth certificates were then sent to Virgin where they photocopied them for a record and sent the originals back to us. We then had to take these with us.
My H2B is Catholic so wanted a catholic ceremony. I put this on all the forms I sent to virgin but when I contacted Moon palace direct about 3 months before the wedding they hadnâ€™t received our request. Long story short Virgin canâ€™t help with Catholic weddings but we were able to book direct with the hotel to have the Priest marry us. We had already been doing our marriage preparation classes with the church who organized our paperwork for a catholic wedding and sent it to the town hall in Mexico.
I originally wanted a slim fitting light dress for the wedding however I wasnâ€™t happy when I tried them on, they looked boring and aged me terribly. The shop assistant picked out few dresses she though would suit me and the first one she gave me (that initially I didnâ€™t really like!!) was the one. I loved it!
For the two bridesmaids I chose dresses from Debenhams, they were originally Â£120 each but I got them on a special blue cross day and they ended up being Â£90 each. bargin and definitely something they can wear again.
For the menâ€™s suits H2b wanted a light linen trouser with a baggy shirt. I wanted him to look smart so we discussed it and I managed to convince him to wear a waistcoat! We looked every wear and settled on linen mix trousers from BHS and then white slim fit shirts from Next with ivory waistcoats from mytuxedo.co.uk. They also wore white flip-flops from Havana The page boy wore white trousers from Next, white shirt and matching waistcoat. The flower girl wore a white dress with net skirt with tiny purple petals inside. The seamstress who altered my dress made this.
Communications with WC before: Around the three month mark count down I was contacted by Maribel at Moon Palace to say my WC was Cristina. I had been complying a list of questions for the last few months with help from BDW brides. Just general info and questions. It took her 3 weeks to send me an email to say she had got the email and would be sending answers shortly. Two weeks later I still hadnâ€™t had a reply so I emailed her asking for an update. I should not have worried as when we got there everything was taken care of.
Package: I was undecided about which package to get. In the end I totaled up the cost of all the things I had to have against the packages cost and decided it was cheaper to go with the free package and then add extras on such as the photos, horse & carriage etc.
In the complimentary package you get 1 x bouquet and 1 x buttonhole. I had my heart set on a colourful bouquet; I didnâ€™t care what type just bright and tropical. In communication with Moon palace I was sent pictures with only two options for the free bouquet and both were white. The BM bouquets would be around $120 each and I needed two. I also needed buttonholes for the best man, dads and mums. I worked out that for the bouquet I didnâ€™t like and the BM bouquets etc it would be Â£395!! Most of the wedding party were leaving the next day so the flowers would be thrown in the bin. In the end I went with real touch fake flowers from â€˜bloominggorgeous.netâ€™ they were really helpful and even customized some of the options. To get the same as the moon palace with a bouquet I love was Â£205 including p+p plus I get to keep them!! We get 23kg x 2 each flying with Virgin so transporting them isnâ€™t a problem.
Favours: As the guests were traveling and spending a fair amount to enjoy our big day I though I should get them pretty nice presents. The women received Purple pashminas that I got off eBay (around Â£4 each), clear shell wine bottle stoppers ($0.99 each) and little woven palm fans ($0.99 each) both I purchased from USA I think the shop was call â€˜little thingsâ€™ but I cant seem to find them now. The men received national lottery scratch cards that I stuck in a small envelope and decorated, metal bottle openers in the shape of a fish (from eBay Â£2 each) that I had engraved with â€˜Mexico 2010â€™ and also cigars which we got from the MP shop for around $6 each. The bridesmaids and mothers also had a silver bracelet and the fathers had a Â£50 voucher for one of the best restaurants in our area. The best man also received an engraved hip flask. One groomsman had an engraved Hippo lighter and the other an engraved tanker. The adults also had a shot glass each that we got in the shop at moon palace which were relatively cheap. The pageboy and flower girl had an activity bag with colouring, toys and trinkets to keep them entertained and also an embroider teddy with their names and dates on.
Fly out day
We flew from London Heathrow on the morning of Friday 28th May with Virgin using a chartered flight arriving in Miami then catching a connecting flight to Mexico arriving at the hotel at around 8pm. We are going onto Florida for our honeymoon hence the chartered flight option.
It is perfect!! Yes it is big and I know some people on Trip advisor have left negative reviews but if they donâ€™t like walking then they should have done a small amount of research and gone somewhere else!! The lobby to lobby bus is free and comes every 15 mins. The walk was about 10 mins from sunrise to Nizuc. We stayed in the Nizuc side which is smaller than the sunrise but was quite family organized. I walked over to the Sunrise side and there seemed quite a lot of younger people but it wasnâ€™t packed by any means. Iâ€™d guess at around 30-40% occupancy?? The lobby is gorgeous with marble floors, huge vases of flowers. The staff were always coming over asking if we wanted drinks and leaving bowls of crisps and popcorn, they were so attentive. Same with the pool â€“ clean, clear and great food and drink during the day. The waiters always come round asking of you need a drink.
Again, breathtaking! Big marble floors, big Jacuzzi, lush shower. Everything was very plush and looked expensive. Bed was huge and the aircon was brilliant. We overlooked the Catholic Chapel garden area. I was so worried that people wouldnâ€™t like it as it was so expensive but I really shouldnâ€™t have worried it exceeded expectations. Fridge was stocked daily with coke, diet coke, lemonade and beer and also nice fruit juices.
I was a little worried after reading the reviews on Trip advisor but I always found something to eat. We ate at the Italian in the golf section (very nice food â€“ posh place and great aircon!!) Brazilian (again one of my favourites!) Steak house (not so good as outside and no breeze so very stuffy (I got sun burnt that day so was very uncomfortable!!) my steak wasnâ€™t great but others in the group said theirs was very nice and also the oriental over at sunrise which was very nice again.
Meeting with co-coordinator.
Went absolutely fine, she had all the emails I sent her and went over everything in great detail, we were there for about 2 hours. I took a suitcase full of favours, candles etc with me. We also decided to have a videographer which was lovely if not a bit cheese but Iâ€™m glad we got it, the day goes so fast and I wanted to see it all again! Moon palace do this every day and she knew her stuff! We then went straight to the doctors and had our bloods done. Nurse was very nice and the place was clean and comfortable, despite H2B fainting we were in and out within 20 mins.
Things before wedding
I took my dress to the wedding office after the meeting with the wedding co-coordinator and they had it steamed think this was about $30 or so. They were suppose to deliver it the morning of the wedding but it arrived the day before and hubby walked straight in on it lying on the bed! It was covered in a bag but I would suggest getting it delivered to a wedding party room just in case. It didnâ€™t bother me too much but I could see how some people could get annoyed. I also got my nails done at sunrise salon the day before the wedding which was around $50. nails were ok, and looked great for a few days but started to lift after about 5 days and have completely ruined my nails now but they generally do wherever you get them done. We also had a meeting with the priest the day before just to go over the details and reading etc
Catholic weddings are not legal in Mexico therefore it will only be symbolic and does not class as legal when you return home. There are a few ways to get round this. You can get married legally before you go but donâ€™t tell anyone! We didnâ€™t have time to do this so we had a catholic wedding with the Priest which was our proper wedding day although not legally binding. The next day we then went into the wedding office and signed the paperwork in front of the justice of peace with our witnesses and legally got married.
Day of wedding
H2b stayed in brother in laws room and h2b sister stayed with me. I got a fair bit of sleep so was refreshed. The wedding was planned for 3pm so we had our hair booked for 11pm for me and three others at Sunrise (they donâ€™t do hair at Nizuc side. Mine took the longest, I took some clip hair extensions and the lady was brilliant curling them all and clipping them in, they felt very secure. I think the hair was around $42. I didnâ€™t really know what style I wanted but they had loads of books to choose from. We then got the lobby to lobby bus back to the room so I could get started on my make up.
We had the resort photographer David Pena and went with the basic photo package of 100 photos with album etc which was about 950 dollars. He went to the menâ€™s room first for pics of them getting ready then came up to us for some pics (some posed others real life) I love my pictures! I was really worried but he knew what he was doing, some are a bit cheesy but Iâ€™m sure when I look back in a few years I will still love them. David picks the 36 photos to put in the album which is a nice thick black leather one, we also got an additional 20 or so of others in black/white and on creamy lens (not sure what this is called but it makes the pictures softer!) We also got the CD of negatives and there are over 1000 pics on it which is brilliant. My Mother in law picked these up for us as we had gone on to out honeymoon by that time.
Yes I went with the horse and carriage and I loved it. I felt like a princesses and was close to tears when I came round the corner into the chapel garden with my dad and again got some fab pictures
We had the catholic chapel. Its air conditioned with was brilliant and nicely but simply decorated. The ceremony lasted about an hour with the vows, readings, signing of register and mass. We gave them a labeled cd with songs for different sections of the ceremony. I chose Kanon in D to walk down to. All the chapels are beautiful to be honest. I did see a few beach weddings while over there which were nicely decorated but the wind was really kicking up the sand which would have annoyed the hell out of me.
We went down to the beach for a few pics then onto the lobby to cool off before the wedding meal
We paid extra and had the private BBQ buffet on the Tucan terrace. There was so much food! They even had a little bar for drinks etc it was perfect. They set out a little table and we played some songs using our i-station with batteries. They didnâ€™t charge us. We also had a table for the cake â€“ we went with the free cake in vanilla which was very tasty.
Cristina was with us most of the day and was always on hand telling people where they should be and what they should do. She also prompted me on a couple of things like cutting the cake and getting people to sign the guest book, I was having such a great time I forgot all about it!.
After the meal some of us went onto the disco for another hour or two before finally going to bed at around 1am.
We had the civil ceremony the next day, we didnâ€™t dress up just us and the four witnesses in one of the offices to make it official!
Donâ€™t worry, it will be perfect! They are brilliant and I wouldnâ€™t change a thing.
I'm not sure how to add photos! but most of them are on facebook just look for Clare Ager and message me ill send you the link