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Calgrl

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About Calgrl

  1. Hi Ladies, Here is a link to our wedding pics courtesy of Del Sol. I am blown away by how amazing our photos are and cannot thank Del Sol enough for such a wonderful experience! http://delsolphotography.com/blog/content/galleries/?gal=366&title=112710-Raquel-Jay-IndianCatholic-Wedding-at-Barcelo-Photos-by-Sol-Tamargo Also, check out my reviews of Barcelo as well as Del Sol: http://www.bestdestinationwedding.com/products/barcelo-maya-palace-deluxe-all-inclusive/reviews#4106 http://www.bestdestinationwedding.com/products/del-sol-photography/reviews
  2. Hi all, They wouldn't let me post my review on this thread, so please check it out on the Barcelo review section. Let me know if anyone has questions!
  3. HI guys, Just wanted to post my review of our wedding, which was amazing. Let me preface this by saying that we had an unconventional destination wedding with 90 guests and 2 religious ceremonies. Because of this, I was very nervous, as most of you guys are, that some of the details would be missed. I was incredibly frustrated for the last year of planning, especially in the last week, about the lack of communication from the resort wedding planners. We decided not to hire an outside planner because we heard such good reviews about the resort ones, and in the end it all worked out. I heard this many times, and still could not help worrying. Please try not to stress about the pre-planning stuff, I wish I hadn't spent so much time worrying unnecessarily. They are a well-oiled machine, and will make sure your day is absolutely perfect. So here it goes: Wedding date: 11/27/10 Resort: Barcelo Maya Palace Most of our guests, ourselves included, stayed at Maya Palace. We had a few guests stay at Maya Beach. The facilities are all beautiful and very well-kept. You can honestly not tell that the other areas are a bit older. Where they differ is the rooms. All rooms at Maya palace are junior suites, where the others are your run-of the mill hotel rooms with a bit less space. The pool area at the Palace also has an awesome Children's area with great slides, mini basketball court, etc. They have a children's water park at Maya Tropical too, and the guests staying at the other areas can use this one. Another perk of staying at the Palace is premium drinks vs. National drinks at the other ones. In general the drinks are good, never watered down. In addition, you get unlimited passes to the a la carte restaurants when staying at the Palace, with more options for restaurants. Check out: http://www.unofficial-barcelo-maya.com/site/ for lots more info on the resort and all available amenities. Wedding Planner: Gabriela Barbabosa (da bomb). I will be the first to admit she is awful with email correspondance. She doesn't even acknowledge that she's received your emails, nothing. You also can never find her in the office if you ever call. The woman is incredibly busy, though. The first day we arrived we walked by the wedding office and saw her there still at 10pm. They have multiple weddings daily, and they focus all of their attention on one wedding at a time, that's why correspondence is non-existent. We had initially met with Gabriela in April, when we checked out the resort and confirmed our wedding. We kind of reviewed the different events we wanted at that time. Over the next few months I spoke to her twice and sent her many emails regarding other details (ie. flowers, dj, etc). We finally arrived at the resort on 11/24/10, exhausted from the travel. She called us that night to confirm our meeting the next day at 9am. We met her at the Palace Lobby, and she drove us to her office. We then proceeded to review every single detail of the Welcome Dinner on friday night, and the Wedding Day events. We were there for like 3hrs, but it was worth it to know that we were on the same page for everything. She had every single email I had ever sent her. She also arranged a cake tasting at 3pm, upgraded us to an oceanview room, and arranged to have our welcome bags delivered to our guests' rooms at a charge of $3per bag. Welcome bags were personalized canvas beach bags with our name and wedding date and welcome letter with itinerary attached. Inside: gum, playing cards, chapstick, sunscreen, disposable waterproof cameras, personalized water bottles. *** If you plan on traveling with merchandise for welcome bags, remember to bring the receipts with you since they might ask for them at customs. You are allowed only $300 per person ($600 total for the two of us) in gifts. I didn't have them and caused us some unnecessary stress as they looked online for all of our products. Friday Spa: I decided to have a manicure/pedicure on friday morning, along with my mom, mother-in-law, and maid of honor. I honestly wish I had had another option for mani/pedis because the whole experience sucked. First of all, they claimed to not know we were coming despite Gabriela making our appointments, and didn't have enough girls to work on us. They ended up taking my mother-in-law and maid of honor first, while my mom and I waited, after half an hour they started on me, and then 30mins later on my mom. The girls who worked on me and my mom had no clue. It was one of the worst mani/pedi's I've ever had. She didn't even know how to do a french manicure and had to redo it three times. Finally, another girl came over and fixed them. The whole process took over 3hrs, what's worse, they charged $120 per person for mani/pedi. Awful. That will be all my ranting, I promise. Welcome dinner: Friday, 11/26 6-10pm We had a Tacos and Tequila themed dinner at Coco's Beach. The weather was perfect and the set-up was unbelievable. They lit up the palm trees and arranged lounge areas around the beach for people to sit with interspersed cocktail tables. All of the guests were greeted with fruit flavored margaritas that were super yummy and they had two bars set up with premium liquor. The food was amazing. A variety of mexican appetizers, and a crazy taco station with like 7different types of meat. We also included a vegetarian station. The dessert table was also unreal with a wide variety of bite-sized desserts. For music, we had an ipod set-up with music we chose ahead of time for the initial 2hrs. We hired Kiko's Band from 8-10, and they were awesome. They kept the party going and everyone had a great time. At the end of the night, most of our guests headed to the lobby bar (Carey Bar) at the palace for a few drinks and many went to the disco. My fiance and I went back to our rooms to get a good night's sleep. At least he tells me he went back... we slept in different rooms that night. Wedding Day! Saturday, 11/27 Bridesmaids met in my room in the am to get ready. We had mimosas and ordered room service for breakfast ($7 for each item). Hair/Makeup: I hired Adrian Guerra for my hair and makeup, and a few of my bridesmaids also got their hair done. I LOVED him!!!! His make-up was flawless. I have honestly never looked so good. It was very natural, and not thick feeling. He uses airbrushed foundation that is guaranteed to stay on through sweat and tears and mine lasted well over 14hrs, and looked as good at when he first applied it. He was awesome, and so were the hair people. Since I have short hair, I chose a loose wavy look, but if you have the choice to do an updo, I would. The humidity was so high that my hair didn't stand a chance. It looked ok, but didn't hold on to the curl. Photographer; We hired Sol Tamargo for photography and were so pleased with her and her assistant. She is fantastic and well worth the money. If you can afford it, you will not be disappointed. She was seriously everywhere. All of our guests commented on how obvious it was that she did not miss a thing. I cant wait to see her pictures since she had a lot of really creative shots. Videographer: We hired Playa Weddings who were recommended by Del Sol. We also liked them alot, but some of the poses they asked us to do were a bit cheesy. We'll see how it turns out. Hindu Ceremony: 11am Gabriela arranged for all of our guests to be picked up from the Palace Lobby and transported to Playa Azul where we had a hindu ceremony. One of her assistants picked up myself and my brothers, who were my escorts, from my room and made sure that I wasn't seen by any of our wedding guests. The weather was perfect, not too hot. We had to fly in a Hindu Priest to perform the ceremony, he cut it down to under an hour and it was beautiful. I emailed Gabriela pictures of the mundap (kind of like a huppa) that we wanted before-hand. The flowers and all of the decorations were gorgeous. We made programs with descriptions of the different parts of the ceremony and brought them with us. After the ceremony, all of our guests were transported back to the palace and we stayed on the beach to take pics with our family and wedding party. *** Another tip: Try to make a list of all the different pictures you want taken beforehand and assign a point person who will make them happen. This was the only way we were able to take all of our family and wedding party pics in a timely manner (seriously took <30mins, we just busted them out). We then went to our separate rooms and ordered room service for lunch. Catholic ceremony: 3:30pm: Again, our guests were transported to the Chapel, and my dad and I were transported separately. The Chapel doesn't need much decoration, it's so pretty already. We just had a few white flower arrangements to make it a little more special. My bouquet and bridesmaid bouquets were also perfect. I sent her a picture of what I wanted and they all but replicated it. This ceremony was a bit disappointing. I understand that the priest doesnt really know each couple, but he was incredibly dry and impersonal. The ceremony was in english. He read everything from a book in a monotone voice, and a few times forgot our names. At the end, he said "the mass is over".... and that's it. We were standing around unsure of what to do for like a minute and finally he asked for our two witnesses to sign the certificate, and said "you may kiss the bride". Very anticlimactic. The only good thing is the whole thing lasted 45mins. We exited the church and then greeted our guests at the entrance for congratulations. We took a few family pics and then the guests were transported back to the palace for the cocktail hour. My fiance and I then went to the beach to take some couple pics. Cocktail Hour: 5-7: We had cocktails on the terrace at the Palace. We had a great view of the sunset. They greeted guests with mojitos and had a variety of appetizers. I honestly couldn't tell you which because I don't think I ate any, we were just so happy and mingling. We hired the mariachi band to play, 45mins for $400. Everyone loved it. We had an ipod set up for music the remainder of the time. Around 7 everyone made their way downstairs to the reception. Reception: 7-11: We had the reception at the Coral Grill. They had tables of 8-10 and had a hostess seating guests based on a seating chart I made before-hand. The centerpieces were made based on picture I had emailed. We sat at a sweetheart table for dinner and spent the rest of the night mingling. Food: Because we had >35double rooms booked, we had a "free reception". They give you the food options and all sounded good, but we decided to upgrade to surf and turf. It was definitely worth it. The lobster was perfect and the fillet pretty good (maybe a bit well-done). We had the asparagus soup and tomato and goat cheese salads for starters, both very yummy. Our cake was decorated based on pics I had sent her; two-tiered, white cake with fruit and light icing. They served it with fruit in chocolate cups on the side. Another regret... I wish I had stopped dancing to taste the cake, everyone said it was very tasty. At the end of the reception we had a table set up with small quesadillas, cheesesticks, and mini burgers for everyone who was hungry after dancing all night. It was devoured. Nice to eat some greasy food after a night of drinking. Music: We hired DJ Mannia. It was $700 for the four hours, plus $100 for renting a power generator (barcelo makes you do this). They were really good. The only complaint I had was that the song we requested for our first dance (which i sent to them weeks before) was skipping and so last minute we had to pick a different song. They really kept the whole party going for 3 straight hours. They didn't play any slow songs, but I think that's because they were gauging our guests and kept playing party songs. The one time they slowed things down a bit, everyone left the dance floor and hit the bar. All in all it was unbelievable. Honestly the best week of our lives. It was great to be around our close family and friends in one big party resort with no outside worries. The resort has something for everyone. We stayed there a few additional days to hang out with our friends and everyone had a blast. Sorry this got to be so long. If anyone has any questions, please feel free to email me at : rpelayo_02@yahoo.com. I probably will not be checking this site much more now that we are done planning. Seriously stop stressing, your weddings will be perfect! Good luck and congratulations! Raquel
  4. I have a quick question for everyone. We leave for Cancun in a week, flying Aeromexico, I was planning on carrying my dress on, but given that it will not be the exact dimension of a typical carry-on, I'm a little concerned about them not letting me bring it on. I've heard that you can put it in one of their closets, but that's supposed to be for premier class only. Does anyone have any experience with this? Thanks.....I'm starting to get a little freaked out about the little last minute details!
  5. Hi guys, I was wondering if anyone has any info on videographers. I didn't want to go with the resort videographer but I don't know very much about outside videographers. Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!
  6. Michelle2011, we booked our trip online through expedia and most of our guests are booking online through various travel engines (expedia, travelocity, orbitz, etc) . you can book both your flight and hotel through them and we found this to be cheaper than the hotel rates barcelo gives. It was even cheaper than going through a travel agent for us. I'm not sure if you can do this when coming from the uk but you should look into it....
  7. Thank you Erica! I actually loved reading through all of your posts. They have been really helpful, and you're one of the reasons I initially contacted kiko and carlos. I was thinking of having them for a couple of hours for our welcome dinner. I forget, did you also have firedancers perform? I have been debating whether it is worth the money since they are super pricey. Thanks for all of the great advice!
  8. Hi Laura, I was wondering if you could tell me how much it was to hire Kiko and Carlos band. I'm trying to get a quote from them but wanted to be able to compare their quote with what other people have paid. Also, did you have the whole band? They offered to have the whole band vs. only 3 people. Thanks a lot.
  9. Hi guys, Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it is true that a certain number of your guests need to be staying at one of the barcelo hotels. I was informed of this by Gabriela a while ago. It can be either colonial, beach, or palace. I forgot the exact percentage, but 80% seems about right. I also forgot the cost per outside guest. Since the three different hotels within the resort are of different price points, we figured there would be something affordable for everybody and didn't give the option of staying outside the resort in case we would be over the 80%. I have a quick question for anyone out there who has used Adrian Guerra for makeup. I heard great reviews of him, but I was wondering if anyone had any reviews for the hairstylist he works with. Thanks!
  10. Hi guys....haven't been on in a while. Just wondering what other people are doing with sleeping arrangements the night before the wedding. I kind of wanted to go the traditional route and sleep separately up until the wedding night. Thoughts?
  11. I finally got through Sandra's review.....wow!!! It definitely helped me relax a bit about not having much communication from the WC. Thanks so much Sandra! I have another question....has anyone looked into providing guests transportation to the resort. I know cabs are super expensive and and were just looking into other options for our guests. We have a pretty big guest list and expect ~100-150 people who would all be arriving on diff't flights for the most part. Any thoughts? Thanks!
  12. Congratulations to everyone. I'm so glad I found this thread....I'm also planning a wedding there in November and am getting quite nervous that I have not heard back from Gabriela in 4wks. Last I spoke to her she said our date and time were on hold, and that they would be reserved as soon as we booked our rooms but I have not been able to get in touch with her to finalize plans. Did everyone else run into this problem? Who did you book your rooms through? Also, did they draft up a contract for you prior to reserving the rooms? Thanks!
  13. Hi....I'm looking for some feedback on Barcelo in Riviera Maya. Planning a wedding there in Nov. Thanks!
  14. Calgrl

    Hi!

    Hi....never blogged before but I'm planning a wedding at Barcelo Riviera Maya in November and need some inside info! Any personal experiences are greatly appreciated. Having trouble getting in touch with the coordinator to finalize plans and I'm getting a bit nervous. Also, looking into both sol tamargo and claudia rodriguez as photographers, anyone have thoughts on them? Thanks!
  15. This is a review of:

    Del Sol Photography

    Magazine-worthy!!!

    Pros: Great communication, very personable, fantastic work!!!
    Cons: Absolutely no cons!
    Like many other couples, when we began planning our wedding, the one thing we did not want to compromise on was the photographers.  I set out to find the best wedding photographers in Riviera Maya.... time and time again, Del Sol kept coming up as the most desirable photography team.  I immediately contacted them and was ecstatic when they were available for our wedding date... I was however, taken aback by the price quote.  After much soul searching and budget reviewing we decided we did not wa
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