Dreams Puerto Aventuras 9/27/10-10/4/10 Wedding date 10/2/10 Airline: biggest F ever! Airtran was the absolutely the worst airline I have ever flown on! Iâ€™ve flown a lot. From A-Z the worst. Even if they gave me a free ticketâ€¦..I WILL NEVER FLY THAT AIRLINE AGAIN!! Trust and believeâ€¦..you will regret flying with them. Enough said!! Customs: No problems My sister and her family came with us 3 days before the rest of the guests. There were 7 adults/1 child we had 17 suitcases total. 7 had clothes and personal items and the rest were wedding stuff. Yes, maybe a bit excessive but I wanted everything how I wanted itâ€¦..donâ€™t you? So through customs we went. I was in a full state of anxiety but it was fine. It was really crowded that dayâ€¦..they looked in a couple suitcases, we told them â€œin Englishâ€ what the stuff was and they waved us thru. I did have all my receipts and removed everything that said â€œmade in chinaâ€ but they really didnâ€™t bother with us. Transportation:B+ I arrainged the transportation to and from the resort through Cancun Express. I had used them several times in the past and had always been happy. They meet you right outside of the airport with a sign with your name. Air conditioned vansâ€¦.all good. I gave them a B+ because I had pre-payed them to have coolers in the vans with beer and water. They will stop at the 7/11 outside the airport but I didnâ€™t want my guests to have to do that. I want them to just relax, have a beer and head to the resort. Out of 7 vans, 2 of the vans either did not have enough or had no drinks. One of the vans was my van. I communicated with my contact after I arrived and he said it would all be resolved for remainder of the vans. Ok so it wasâ€¦..all but the last van! So the first and last didnâ€™t have enoughâ€¦..maybe a B+ is too hard but I had to stop at 7/11 so they are not getting an A. The ride was about 1hr from airport. Check-in: double A+++ We arrived at the hotel (I did not do a site inspection, so this is my first look) and it was raining. The outside of the hotel is white and gold, I swear it was shining in the rain. The bell men were standing waiting for us, greeted us â€œwelcome homeâ€, big smiles and seemed sincerely happy to see us. They pleasantly accepted all 17 suitcases and showed us to the desk to check in. Within a minute Sandra Sanchez, the wedding coordinator, was next to me and 30 seconds after that the General Manager Ulysis Guzman was greeting us. â€œwelcome homeâ€ is their greeting and they really make you feel that way from the second you step into the place. Iâ€™m not an emotional, teary, sappy, kind of gal but all the build up to this trip, the anxiety, the worry, the fear, the what ifâ€™sâ€¦â€¦seemed in an instant to just be taken from meâ€¦..with a huge sigh of relief and a tear in my eye they brought us to show us 2 rooms to pick from! Room:Deluxe Family Ocean View preferred A+ We were more than happy with the room. It was very large, I believe it can accommodate a family of 5. The family rooms have 2 double beds and a pull out sofa---- the size of room far out weighed the 2 double beds. We also had our 2 yr old son with us----and remember those suitcases!!! The week was so crazy it was good to have all the beds. My mother, sister or aunt sleeping in there with the kidsâ€¦..or watching the small ones, you could still have TV and conversation while they slept etc. I read a lot of comments on reviews about the floors being slippery----yes they are slippery when wet--- they are marble, my bathroom is slippery at home when itâ€™s wetâ€¦..not sure why this would surprise previous reviewers. Also many comments about the bathrooms getting floodedâ€¦â€¦none of that happened in our room. The service was without a doubt impeccable. The â€œpreferredâ€ status was very niceâ€¦â€¦USA today everyday, free wi-fi, more toiletries, cookies, cold water, champagne, and fruit right outside the elevator. There was a lounge at the end of the hall, again service impeccable, with â€œtopperâ€ shelf alcohol. Overall loved the added extras but they treated us great all over the resort----preferred or not! We received this upgrade for freeâ€¦..not sure exactly why but it was nice. If we didnâ€™t stay up on 7 we still would have been treated greatâ€¦..so is it worth the splurge if you have to pay? I would say no, not at this hotel, because the service is great all over the resort! Unless you really want to eat dozens of delicious chocolate chip cookies----one when we left, one when we came back!! We came and went a lot!!! Food=A+ Overall the food was great on the resort. Really, they have something for everyone. My mother is on a very strict diet and she had no problems. There is always food available---fresh, hot and plentiful. The 24 hr room service was awesome---best chicken club Iâ€™ve ever had, seriously! Room service is made to orderâ€¦takes no more than 30 mins! Pool and beach service greatâ€¦.but you could walk 50 ft in either direction for more food! Drink Service=A+ Again, pool and beach service absolutely great! Order them how you like itâ€¦.get it how you like it! Wide selections of brands---absolute, captain morgan, stoli, budlight and more!! Not sure there could be any complaints! General appearance & cleanliness: A+ Ok so you know the resort isnâ€™t brand newâ€¦.rehabbed to be Dreams. They work hard to keep the grounds very clean. Maintenance is everywhere working on little things here and there. Not a problem for usâ€¦.keep up the great work!!! Overall wedding: A++ Just as every bride before me experiencedâ€¦..the long waits for email replies. You truly do understand why when youâ€™re there; why it takes so long for responsesâ€¦..they are dealing with the here and now down there. I did have significant problems with receiving emails from the resort (took me a while to figure this out, hence why I was communicating with the general manager). We switched to a different email address and no further problems. As my â€œturnâ€ got close the email response time was significantly quicker. When we initially booked the wedding Jacy Riviera was the wedding coordinator. Approximately 8 weeks before we arrived, Jacy informed me that she would be out of town for our wedding and that Sandra Sanchez would be taking over as our coordinator. Of course I went into a panicâ€¦..completely unnecessary, Sandra was great. We had a total of 46 for the actual wedding (4 guests from another resort). We chose the ultimate package. One surprise about the package was the added cost of additional guests over 20 people. I knew there was an additional $55 charge per person for the dinner but didnâ€™t realize that it was also an additional cost for the extra guests for the cocktail hour, I believe it was $27. Sandra was able to give me a break on the cost per person for the cocktail hour. We did the â€œlegalâ€ marriage. The day after we arrived we had our blood drawn, which was completely uneventful and the tech followed all precautions we follow (Iâ€™m a RN). After the blood was drawn, we met with Sandra to go over everythingâ€¦..menu, see the venues, special requestsâ€¦..all the details. I had a mani, pedi, my hair and make-up done by Wendy. Awesome job on all. I was very happy with my hair (long, thick and heavy). I had a bun which was weaved (best way to describe it.) My make-up was very natural (I donâ€™t wear make-up daily.) Her English was enough to communicate our needs; No complaints. Yes the salon is small but I made my appointment for my sister and I months in advance so it was just the 2 of us. They had another girl do my sisterâ€™s mani/pedi but Wendy did our hair. To note, the salon is separate from the spa, where they do the massages, treatments etc. We were married out on the wedding gazebo at 3pmâ€¦..tastefully decorated with fresh flowers. I did not use the red sand carpet. The walk from the room to the actual ceremony table seems really longâ€¦â€¦â€¦I wore 2 Â½â€ heals so that probably made it feel longer and more difficult! We had given Sandra our Ipod with the ceremony music downloaded; she had someone run that with the resort sound systemâ€¦.no additional cost. The Ceremony was about 20mins longâ€¦.the judge (although we never met him) seemed very sincere and passionate about the whole process. He spoke clear, fluent English. We did have to receive special permission to add 2 non-religious readings to the ceremony. The cocktail hour was really nice 4pm-5pmâ€¦..weather was superb. We did the cocktail hour at the Barracuda Bar and had the Mariachi Band. Sandra suggested not using the Mexican trio. She said the mariachi was much livelier and fun, the trio was slow and not as fun. She was absolutely right!! The Mariachi Band was awesome and my guests loved itâ€¦â€¦there were 5 band members. Everyone was dancing around them, getting pictures with them and it set the tone for a fun evening. The cocktails were plentiful and the hor dorves were very good. I believe you could pick 3 hot and 3 cold, wide selection both Mexican and American choices. One thing about the Barracuda bar was that there were a ton of little bugs---strangely if you were under the â€œroofâ€ covered area you didnâ€™t notice the bugs at all but if you went onto the uncovered deck area, they were everywhere. They are those bugs that are around areas of rocks with the ocean water, if you know what I mean. Not a big deal, just mentioning it as an observation. This to me is nature; not necessarily a reflection of the resort. There are several options for your dinner. Offered to us for free were the beach areas, meeting room and El patio as our back up plan. Usually restaurants are an additional fee; but for some reason, if it was closed and it was you back-up then there was no cost. I really didnâ€™t question this too muchâ€¦..they were not going to charge me for El Patio, thatâ€™s all I know. Hope thatâ€™s how it is for you too butâ€¦â€¦I donâ€™t know. We chose the Meeting Room. Ok so El Patio is absolutely gorgeousâ€¦.has the real mexico feelâ€¦..beautiful big wooden furnitureâ€¦..NO A/C! The beach was nice, private and we did travel this far to have a unique â€œbeachyâ€ wedding. The meeting room looks like a banquet roomâ€¦..walls were nice, nice lighting and one wall was all windows looking out to the water. This room could have been anywhere in the USâ€¦..except the view I guess. Our reasoning for choosing the meeting roomâ€¦â€¦It was in the high 80s, full sunshine but this time of year the rain can be on you without notice. We were having the wedding on the gazebo and cocktail hour at the Barracuda. We had hired a DJ and added an extra hour to the reception time for â€œpartyingâ€ ie: dancing and drinking. Also in those 17 suitcases was full dÃ©cor that we fully intended on usingâ€¦..really wasnâ€™t going to go with the old mexico feel. There is also a nice patio off the meeting room; The room was A/C. So given our dÃ©cor and for the long term enjoyment, privacy and comfort for all, we went with the meeting roomâ€¦â€¦IT WAS PERFECT! My aunt and my best friend set up the entire room with the help of the waitersâ€¦â€¦it looked gorgeous. I did a starfish theme with fuchsia and orangeâ€¦..ok, not so original but it was for my group (only 2 people out of 46 had been to a destination wedding). The service at the wedding was unbelievable. We had 6 tablesâ€¦..there were 6 waitersâ€¦â€¦seriously, and after the food was done they all became cocktail waiters!!! We mixed the gold and silver menu options. We also omitted the soup course and had a desert table with a coffee station instead of serving them. We wanted to have a good meal but didnâ€™t want to be sitting at dinner for hours, so 2 served courses was a way to achieve that, more time for â€œpartyingâ€! Appetizers:bruschetta w/ prosciutto, tomato & basil, Salad:mixed salad with house dressing Dinner:surf and turf. Everything was excellent. The filet was prime, as good as Iâ€™ve had in Boston. The mashed potatoes were the bestâ€¦.everyone commented how they would have liked a â€œbig bowlâ€ of the mashed. I stressed to Sandra that we did not want a long drawn out dinner and she obviously communicated this to the waitstaff. We hired an outside DJ. DJ Maniaâ€¦.no regrets! Prompt, professional and fluent in English. They had everything anyone asked for. The dance floor was packed all night. This may be gross but to give you an ideaâ€¦â€¦every guy I hugged or touched on the back was wet with sweat! Remember that the room was a/c and it was on high. Country, old rock, disco, top 40â€¦.whatever; they had it. I know for sure that an ipod would not been as good. My crowd loves to danceâ€¦â€¦only a DJ would have worked for us. After the reception we all went out to the private beach area to watch a fire show. We hired them through the hotel. An optionâ€¦.I guess they are from Tulum; They were awesome. The only thing was, Iâ€™m not completely sure we should have done this when we didâ€¦â€¦.reason being is that after all the drinking and dancing we needed to come to a complete stop and quietly watch the show. The show was awesome but probably should have done it at a different time. Maybe right when it got dark? Never the less, they are worth hiring and are very entertainingâ€¦..just think about the timing. The party continued to the Disco until it closed then down onto the beach with the IPODâ€¦â€¦â€¦.stayed out way too late, not sure the bottom of my dress will ever come cleanâ€¦â€¦all I know is I never wanted the night to end!!! The next evening (the night before the guests left) we took everyone on a private sunset cruise. The company was Paradise Catamarans. They are docked within walking distance of the resort, really at the end of the driveway. OMG it was awesome, it was the absolute perfect ending. I would highly recommend this trip. They could charge much more than we paid for this cruise (we added the open bar option, well worth it). Since we have been home, the guests that we have talked to all commented on how the cruise was the perfect ending to the trip. The crew is unbelievable. The catamaran is spotless. They have a huge selection of drinks, including frozen drinks. They have an awesome sound system which you can hook your ipod up to or they have music. When the sun was going down we all jumped off into the oceanâ€¦â€¦â€¦amazing!!! If you can add this cruise to you trip, you will not regret it, I promise. We considered doing a farewell dinner or a â€œrehersal dinnerâ€, this was such a great alternative. Overall our whole week was PERFECT. Maybe I sound a bit too euphoric; I hope that you sound this way when you return from your destination wedding. Iâ€™m am so grateful that we decided on a destination wedding, at the location we chose and that the most important people in our lives were there to celebrate with us---I canâ€™t imagine that the â€œeuphoricâ€ feelings will ever go away.