Michael and I got married on Saturday, May 19th at Azul Sensatori and it was THE BEST WEDDING WEEK EVER!!! We arrived on Monday, May 14th with 12 friends and my mom. As the week went on, the rest of our guests arrived for a grand total of 97 guests! We could hardly believe that we had this many people joining us!! Azul was no doubt the perfect place for our wedding celebration - all of our guests agreed!
Azul - A
The entire property is gorgeous and immaculate. The rooms are beautiful and the beds are very comfortable - we slept like babies. We had reserved the entire row of adult swim-up suites, which everyone loved. We found our daily home at the all-adults pool and had the most amazing time!! Try the dirty banana drinks! Although the weather called for a 60%+ chance of rain for the entire week, it was overcast and only sprinkled a few times. We had the time of our lives. EVERYONE had a blast. We did cause a ruckus and a few guests complained about our loud drunken American behavior, but as my HUSBAND said, they should go to another pool since the adults-only pool is the party pool! I was a little bummed about Azul being a family resort, however, it was completely fine since the all-adults pool was where the party was at! We honeymooned at an all-adults resort, Excellence Playa Mujeres, after the wedding week, and it seemed to be all couples which would've made our single friends uncomfortable.
We had a premium swim up suite (not worth it - as the only difference is that you get a jacuzzi outside, a pull-out couch, and access to the premium pool and beach beds), however we had to book this category for our 20% package discount on rooms and food/beverage for private events. We were upgraded to the honeymoon suite for our last three nights (the only difference is that there is a beautiful wrap around porch taking up the entire width of the building and overlooking the ocean). I kind of regret moving, since I never quite unpacked and got settled in either room.
Muhammed at the front desk was terrific. He was so accommodating with our party - with changes, etc. Both swim up sections had been oversold, so he offered our guests first $500 cash to move to a regular premium room... three of our guests did this happily! This was especially nice for my college roommate and her husband who slept through their alarm on Thursday and had to pay $1,200 extra to catch the next flight to Cancun (they only got in an hour later than their original scheduled arrival).
The food is good (not excellent). We were eating and drinking more than usual and I did feel sick a few of the days. Don't forget pepto, since 6 of them cost $18 at the store - what a rip! Really, try not to forget anything since the store is so expensive! I forgot deodorant of all things! Also, we wished we had brought a blow-up raft since they were $45 at the store! We loved the Tapaz Restaurant. Spoon is very good too for breakfast and lunch (buffet style). We didn't go to Le Chic since we didn't want to spend 3 hours at a restaurant. Our friends that did dine there said it was out of this world. If you'd like to dine there, make sure to make reservations right away since they require you to make reservations at least two days in advance. We were surprised that we really enjoyed Siena (Italian) too.
The service was good. If you give your server $10 before dinner, they treat you like royalty and pull out all of the stops including the good wine. I read online that the workers average making $10 per day. Although technically gratuities are "included," we happily tipped most of our servers, bell boys, etc and they appreciated it very much. It's how they get by and they work so damn hard for it. I would recommend bringing a few hundred in singles or fives. Do note that the restaurants are NOT good at accommodating large groups for regular dinners. They wouldn't push tables together for us... so our new game plan was to meet the group before and after dinner for cocktails.
Pre-Wedding Festivities A++
We had a Smores Bonfire/Welcome Party on the beach on Thursday night. We ended up extending it from two to three hours for an extra $200 (my mom talked them down from $500). It was a blast - we had our own tiki bar on the beach (next to the large wedding gazebo in front of Zocalo) and they setup chairs around a bonfire. They setup a beautiful dessert station too. We didn't bring bug spray, though, and got bitten alive out there!! Don't forget bug spray for outdoor events!!
On Friday, we took everyone on a private sunset catamaran cruise (booked through Lomas) out of Maroma Beach. It happened to be the most gorgeous day all week! They arranged private buses for us and when we arrived (it was about a 20 minute drive), there was a mariachi band and they were serving blue cocktails. The boat ride was beautiful - there was an open bar and passed appetizers. The water was crystal clear and we stopped half way through the trip and a bunch of people jumped off and swam for a while. Several people got sea-sick, so I would recommend bringing motion-sickeness medicine (I even felt a little ill and don't ever get sea-sick). My only complaint about this excursion is that they kept pushing the tip jar. We kept telling them that it was our treat and we would take care of them at the end, but they kept on it. When our parents got off the boat, they tipped them for everyone and told them to put away the tip jar. Michael and I were at the tail end exiting the boat and they had the tip jar out again. I said - we told you to put it away - and the guy kicked me in the leg. I was absolutely stunned. He was the only ungrateful, rude person I ran into the entire trip.
On-Site Wedding Coordinators - A
Veronica was my onsite wedding coordinator and she was terrific. Ivan was there too and all he said was "no." Thankfully I didn't have to deal with him much. Veronica answered all of our questions and tried her best to make everything perfect.
The entire week called for 60% chance of rain, so the coordinators strongly urged us to move our festivities inside (borderline bullied us to move everything inside!!). Chancing it obviously creates more work for the entire staff. All of our events were scheduled to be on the beach - the ceremony, cocktail, and reception. We traveled all the way to Mexico to get married on the beach, though, damnit!! They told us that if it begins to sprinkle, the DJ packs up to avoid his equipment from getting damaged and everyone needs to fend for themselves food-wise, because they don't bring the food inside for you. They don't setup a backup location for you at all. Once your decision is made, it's final., and you have to make it 5 hours before the wedding ceremony begins!
On the day of our wedding, it rained in the morning and was then overcast (as it was all week) for the rest of the day. We decided to go for it and plan the ceremony and cocktail on the beach, and move the reception into the ballroom. I was in the salon all day, so my mom and mother-in-law took care of these details/changes. The coordinators were super accommodating (my mother is very pushy which helped too!). They originally wanted to set us up in the large ballroom only, however my mom convinced them to open both ballrooms up for us (they're attached). We had the only wedding on this day, as it was a big one! Do you know they are having 50 weddings this month?? It was actually quite nice - we didn't even see the room until we were announced!! They setup the bar in the small ballroom and had brought in lounge seats and beautiful plants. They put tons of tikis on the porch too. We were so thankful that we decided to move the reception inside, since I think our guests would've been uncomfortable on the beach as it was humid, hot, sandy, and full of bugs! The entire staff did a terrific job. The dinner service was slow, but expected. I wanted to rush along the dinner to get the dancing started!! The cupcakes also were not even close to what we ordered and they tasted pretty terrible, but it didn't even matter to me. They gave us red flowers on top of white icing, when I ordered turquoise icing with candy seashells on top. Oh well!
Veronica ordered the incorrect boutonniere for Michael too - he was supposed to have a white orchid and the rest of the boys were supposed to have green orchids. She ordered all of them in green. It worked out, however, as I had ordered 2 white orchids for my hair, so they turned one into Michael's boutonniere and gave the extra green orchid to my mom for her hair. I was a little disappointed in the flowers. I was expecting gorgeous lush flowers and my white lilies were brown and wilting when I received them. One of the white orchids was wilting, as well. The boutonnieres were flopping around too. I suppose the humid weather affects the flowers. I would suggest putting someone in charge of making sure all of the correct flowers get delivered to the rooms (I just happened to ask my mom and she said all the boutonnieres were green).
The ladies at the salon did an incredible job. I didn't bother with a trial - and I loved my hair and makeup. Be forewarned that it takes a long time! I had a mani, pedi, hairstyle, and makeup done and it took 4.5 hours. Yes, the prices are ridiculous, however it was completely worth it. I also received 15% off. 10% is added for gratuity and I added another 20% tip on because they were fantastic. I was stressing about the weather and the ladies were very calming. They ordered me lunch and brought me champagne! We only had one person stand up for us each, and I was so thankful for that, as it was stressful enough getting myself ready let alone worrying about any other girls at the salon!
Photography - A++
Citlalli Rico (from Claudia Rodriguez) was UNBELIEVABLE. When I booked her last year, she was an approved Lomas vendor, however she no longer is (we were grandfathered in). She said that Lomas wanted 60% - how ridiculous is that!? I was rushing back from the salon when she arrived to my room. Michael was actually still in the pool when Citla's sister (second photographer) arrived to his room. Citla was very calming and kept telling me that I was even ahead of schedule. She fixed my bouquet (they had laced bamboo across the top of my bouquet for some reason, so she cut it off for me with nail clippers, haha). She helped with my dress too since my mom's arm is broken. I had given her a list of photo opps for cocktail (Michael and I hadn't seen each other before the ceremony so we had to do all of our shots during cocktail too). She moved it along very quickly so we could go enjoy our party. She has a candid, journalistic, artistic approach to photography and I can't wait to see the photos! She moved about and we didn't even notice her there. Haven't you been to a wedding where the photographer is a drag?? This was not the case at all - I loved her! I will make sure to share her photos with you when they're available online (takes up to 2 months!!).
DJ - A
We used the Lomas DJ All Music and he was wonderful. I had read some pretty awful reviews so was nervous. I had given him a list of about 100 songs to play, so I guess he couldn't screw it up after all! He also took many requests and kept the party moving. There wasn't a single song during the party that I didn't want to dance to! Everyone was dancing, even the grandmas. The wait staff actually had to move the tables further towards to walls to create a larger dance floor. The DJ did everything according the the schedule that I kept changing during the evening. We did three speeches during dinner - I really liked this since people could eat while they listen. The DJ also got the Hava Nagila dance for our traditional Jewish chair dance.
Miami Wedding Coordinator A++
Elizabeth Riff was unbelievable. She always got back to me within 24 hours and was very thorough and detail oriented. I had originally received a different Miami coordinator who I did not like, and asked to switch to Elizabeth - so happy that I did! Ask for her if you are not happy! Conclusion
I'm writing this as we are flying back home to New Jersey. I am so happy to be married to my best friend and that our 12 nights in Mexico were absolutely perfect. The minor glitches didn't mean a thing to me. I am truly saddened that the wedding planning and experience is over... make sure to enjoy every second of it!! We had a year and a half engagement and sometimes I had wished that we had scheduled the wedding sooner, but I'm so glad that we didn't. We got to enjoy our engagement and gave our friends and family enough time to prepare for the trip. Face it, it's nice to be the center of conversation for so long too! A friend of a friend who got married a few years ago recently warned me that I would be depressed after the wedding and that she couldn't stop crying when it was all over. When we got to our honeymoon, I did cry because I was so sad that it was over. It was truly the most incredible week of our lives - with all of our loved ones in one place to celebrate Michael's and my love for one another. I wouldn't do it over again, though, because I wouldn't want to change a thing. Don't get too caught up in all of the details (trust me, I know it's hard because I like to control EVERYTHING) that you miss the best week of your life - enjoy this unbelievable time with your fiancÃ© and your loved ones. Do all your planning and stressing before Mexico (actually make sure it's all done a week before you leave - a mistake I made was that I waited until the week before to do final fittings, pick up the jewelry from the jeweler, etc) - and then enjoy the ride. No one will notice if the cupcakes taste like crap or don't have the correct icing. Thanks to all of the former Azul brides for their advice and answers. If you brides-to-be (lucky girls!!) have any questions for me, please feel free to email me at my new email address (!): firstname.lastname@example.org.