Sorry it took so long for me to write about my wedding, but I have been busy finishing up school. My wedding was April 26th, 2010 at 2:00pm. We stayed there from April 24th through May 1st. 42 guests attended, and most of them stayed for one week. We actually had our guests book on their own because when we tried to get group rates through various companies, they wanted more than the deals we found on the internet because they were "holding" the spots. It also got too complicated because many of our guests were from Canada and the US.
We flied there on Mexicana and it was great! They didn't charge for any bags, served a meal, and the flight attendant let me put my dress in the first class overhead bins. It was great she let me do this. When we got to the airport in Cancun, we got a bit confused as we approached the exit because all of the different vendors approached us wanting out help. If you have booked your transfer (we used Olympus Tours) go outside and they will be waiting for you. The van ride lasted an hour and a half because we had to drop off others at different resorts, but it was fine.
We arrived late on Thursday with our wedding on Monday, knowing Sunday they did not plan weddings. There was no message in my room, so on Friday morning I called Victoria whom I had been communicating with to set up an appointment. She said to meet me in the lobby at 11:30am. I wrote down the time, repeated it, and my husband heard me. When I arrived at 11:30am, I did not see her and waited for a half hour. Then I had to call the extension where she answered and when I explained what happened, she said she was there at 11:00am and that I should have been there then. I kindly said she said 11:30am, which she denied, but I kept my cool because she would be planning my wedding. She said she would not be able to meet me until Saturday evening (the next day) but I had family coming in I wanted to meet. My father-in-law speaks Spanish and got on the line seeing my distress and convinced her to meet us at 8:00pm after she was finished that night. I felt bad she had to stay late, but was a bit stressed. Needless to say our meeting lasted 20 minutes. She had all of my e-mails and was very organized. They had my ceremony listed at the Coral Grill which is more on a hill overlooking the ocean. I really wanted a beach on the sand right by the water, but they said they had nothing left. With my husbands convincing, they magically had the Palmeras Grill location open, which was where I wanted it. It was technically on the next resort, but it bordered the Palace and was right next to our room.
On Saturday I called the photographer/videographer. We got the package that came with 60 digital pictures and 40 minutes of edited footage. The guys didn't speak English very well and told me that they wouldn't take pictures at my reception, or take video footage for that matter. I was a bit upset and wanted answers, but he couldn't understand what I was asking, so I recruited my father-in-law once again. He told them about the e-mail I received stating that they did not charge by the hour because they wanted to make our day special, where they responded they had booked too many weddings and that we should disregard the e-mail. After much negotiation, the videographer agreed to come to my reception for an hour, but the photographer could not. I will note that my wedding was at 2:00pm and my reception was at 4:30pm because I wanted to have plenty of time for pictures in between. In the end, I was very impressed with the quality of the pictures and the video. If I did it again, I would go with them. And the photographer and videographer know very good English.
I got my hair and make-up done at the spa. I was very pleased with my make-up, and my hair looked good, but they only used hair spray. I have curly hair and should have had more product to prevent frizz. I did my hair the next day for the trash the dress pictures, where my sister took the pictures, and I actually liked the way it came out better. By the way, the spa opens at 10:00am according to the person that booked me. I showed up early because I heard horror stories about being late to the wedding, but they took me early, and had finished both my hair and make-up in one hour. And they took me back to my room in a golf cart. Overall, I would use the spa for make-up, I loved it. If you are comfortable doing your hair, do it and save the money. Otherwise, pay the money.
The flowers came to my room an hour before the wedding and they were gorgeous. The golf cart came to my room to pick my bridesmaids, mother, and I to take us to the ceremony site. They were on time and took us immediately behind the showers at the beach so no one, including the groom, could see us. The ceremony set-up was beautiful. We used the orange bows and it added a lot. I am also a music major and I wanted the live violin musician. If I did this again, I would have used prerecorded music. The musician did not sound good and ended very abruptly. I am not being picky either, because my guests who were not music majors noticed as well. We were previously married at the courthouse in our county (it just made it easier), so our father-in-law did a great job in leading the ceremony, and it saved us $300 in our wedding package. After the ceremony, the pictures were taken. I had someone carry a list I previously made containing the people I wanted in certain pictures. I highly suggest doing this because it is hard to remember all the pictures you want of certain family members and friends the day of.
I enjoyed having time in between the ceremony and reception because it gave me time to go back to the room and cool off. 2:00pm gave beautiful pictures, but it also brought the heat of the day. I thought I compensated for this by getting the groom and groomsmen khaki linen suits, but they did sweat through them at the elbows and even the knees. I did like they way they looked, but the guys weren't too happy.
We had the reception in the Shaklahal Reception Room right behind the lobby. It was nice and air-conditioned. We had it for three hours and it had an open bar (I should have mentioned we had the Mint Breeze package). Victoria showed me an e-mailed seating chart I had sent her a few weeks before earlier in the day. I asked her to set up eight chairs at each table and to disregard the e-mail. However, before we were introduced, apparently there was a table without enough chairs. After much confusion because I wasn't in there, the matter was solved and we started 15 minutes late, but not a big deal in the scheme of things. We had and aunt be the MC, and I just had music on my ipod. I highly recommend this because we had the hall for three hours, and the dinner and speeches took awhile, so we only had about an hour or so of dancing. We had the chicken caesar salad, the lamb, and the creme brulee, which I would recommend. However, their french onion soup was not that great.
Overall, I would have picked this resort for the wedding again. Besides a few minor inconveniences, Victoria did an awesome job and I would have her plan my wedding again. As you have heard from other people, the coordinators work really hard and they definitely deserve a good tip. I will say, our package did include a free gift, but we never did receive it, but we are not the type to ask and we weren't sure we would want to take it back anyway. The resort was awesome, however I will say the food got very boring in the buffets. All of the guests seemed to have a great time, and a lot of them would go back. A few of the guests were put off by the tipping, but I think the workers worked very hard and deserved them.
One last note to the brides: don't stress and worry. I did before the wedding, and now i wish I had listened to other brides and had enjoyed more of the first few days I was there. Also, the last few days we were there, my husband got a really bad ear infection where the ear drops wouldn't even go into his ear. The resort doctor couldn't do anything, so we had to go to a nearby hospital so we could fly home the next day. The hospital was awesome. There was no waiting, and we only had to wait one hour while an ear specialist came. In the US, it would have taken 5 hours just to be seen. They were very helpful, and we were out in no time. The total bill was $375, which isn't bad considering all they did, and luckily our insurance reimbursed us. All in all, we had a memorable time.