It's my turn to do a wedding review after reading so many!!! If you have any questions let me know!
Wedding date: April 28th, 2011 Wedding package:Strawberry Passion Number of people: 11 Ceremony: 4:00pm Palace Gazebo Reception: 6:45pm Coral beach Wedding Coordinator: Claudia Vazquez Makeup/hair: Adrian Guerra and his team Photographers: Artistique Photography
Resort A+: We stayed at the Palace section. Check in was super fast since we were the only ones checking in at 9pm, we never got our welcome drinks. But that's not a big deal. When we checked in we got our 'club premium' wrist bands right away. So that was a bonus since some past brides had said that they don't give it to you till you pay for the wedding package. Our room was gorgeous, we were on the 3rd floor in the Mochiacan building with ocean view. The grounds, beach and pools are absolutely gorgeous. Very spacious. Always lots of sunbeds on the beach. We always got a cabana by the adult pool since our parents are early birds, they were up around 8 everyday. If you show up any later than that most beds would be taken. I'm not going to spend a lot of time reviewing the details of the resort. Just know that if you picked barcelo, you made a good choice. I have nothing bad to say about the place!!
Wedding Coordinator A-: Claudia was super fast in replying to my emails, always within 1 to 2 weeks. Just remember to keep your questions/requests to the point and she will get back to you ASAP. We met with her the next morning after we arrived. We confirmed all the details and booked all the spa and massage appoinments then. We did a location walk by and she explained how everything would flow for the ceremony, so that was kinda a 'rehersal'. The only things i had picked out before the meeting was my ceremony + reception locations, my menu and colors. Everything else we arranged at the meeting, so don't stress future brides!!! The only reason I'm giving her an A- is beacuse she had said she would try to accomodate all my guests close to each other, that did not happen. We were really all over the place, some were even in a completely different building. But I know that is not completely her fault. When I booked the spa appointment she told me everything will only take an hour, so we booked it for 12. (I wanted to book it for 11 but Claudia said that might be too early since the ceremony wasn't till 4) I gave the makeup and hair from the package to my sister, so I was only getting mani and pedi at the spa, but when we showed up the day of the wedding, the spa people told me the appointment for mani and pedi is noon but the makeup and hair is at 1. I explained to them that we need to have it both at noon, and they were able to get us in. but the whole appointment took over 1.5 hours and I was rushing back to my room to meet Adrian. The spa is the one located at the Caribe section, apparently the palace one was shut down?!?!? The spa people did a great job on my sister and my mani and pedi, just wish there wasnt the mix up in time cause i didn't like rushing. The other thing that was mixed up was our massage appointment for the day after the wedding. We booked the massage with Claudia for the beach at 11, but when my husband and I showed up they have no record and said the beach massage is fully booked. But the massage people asked if it's ok for us to have the massage by the adult pool in the open parlour, this is actually a WAY better massage place than the beach. So we still got our massage in the end and it was perfect!! Super relaxing!
Makeup/Hair A+: Hiring Adrian was one of the best decisions I could have made. His team is absolutely amazing. I had my trial with them the day before the wedding since we were having our rehearsal dinner that night. Since I didnâ€™t want my makeup and hair to look the same for the rehearsal dinner and the wedding day, they were able to show me my â€˜wedding day lookâ€™ and then completely transform the look for the rehearsal dinner. For my wedding day look, I wanted smokey eyes and neutral lips, and hair half down with curls. So they showed me that and then changed my smokey eyes to bronze neutral color and pinned up all my hair for a side pony with curls. He did such a good job on my rehearsal dinner look that all our guests said I should just stick with that look. But of course I didnâ€™t. On the wedding day we still ended up with the smokey eyes and half down curls. And my guests were even more impressed. For brides that want to wear your hair down with curls, just remember it is super humid there. I have really thick hair and lots of it. The hair stylist said itâ€™s good that I donâ€™t have super fine hair because that kind of hair is hard for curls to hold. He did my hair with super tight curls knowing that once I get outside the curls would turn into softer curls cause of the humidity. My curls stayed the majority of the day but by the end of the night it was definitely wavy with all the sweating and dancing. The airbrush make up that Adrian used was absolutely amazing. I didnâ€™t have to touch up anything all day, the lashes and everything stayed on perfectly. On my wedding day it was probably one of the hottest days with not much wind, and the makeup still looked absolutely perfect by the end of the night!!!! HIRE them!!! Trust me!!!
Ceremony and Reception A+: WE loved everything about the gazebo and the coral beach. The staff did a great job in blocking people that would have been walking by. You still get a few on lookers from the beach but they are pretty far away. We had the light blue ribbons, and that looked so gorgeous with the background of the ocean and white sand. We also got a bag of pink and white rose pedals and they laid that down on the ground for the aisle. For music we had the keyboard and bass, originally asked for flute but that wasnâ€™t available for the day. The musicians played â€˜From this moment by Shania Twainâ€™ when I was walking down the aisle with my dad. They played some pretty romantic tunes during the sand ceremony part and then played Cannon in D when we walked out after the ceremony. It was perfect...apparently most of the guests teared up during the ceremony. After the ceremony we had our toasts and did group pics. Then my groom and I just went off with our photographers and did couple pics all over the place. Our reception was at coral beach. This location is so gorgeous with the rocks and waves in the background. And our reception started right when the sun was setting. So the view was amazing. The first few days we were there it was super windy so we had doubts about keeping the coral beach as the reception location. But the day of the wedding the wind was completely gone, but keep in mind that the coral beach is right off the shore so you do get a breeze. That breeze felt so good because it was super hot that day, and we really needed that breeze when we were dancing around in the sand. This location is also close to the path where people walk to the a la carte, but we didnâ€™t really notice any of the them cause the dinner was set up far from there and by the time the sun is down you can barely see the people walking by. Oh, and they did have all the palm trees wrapped up with lights, free of charge. Food A+: We had the scallop for appetizer, they were giant scallops and so delicious. Then we had the lobster bisque, too die for!!!! For the main course we had surf and turf. When we met with Claudia she told us that it is not lobster season, so if we really want lobster they will be just frozen ones, not fresh. And if we go with fresh it will have to be shrimp. We wanted fresh seafood, so we went the the shrimp. The shrimps were huge! Almost looked like baby lobster tail. Everything on the main course was super tender and juicy! Then we had the chocolate fondant for dessert. That was soo yummy but a little rich, maybe because I was already super full by that time. We danced a little bit and did our special dances before we cut they cake, because everyone needed a little bit of time before they could eat again. The cake was 1 tier, strawberry flavour. SOO GOOD!!! Super moist!!! They delivered the left over cake(about half) along with our breakfast in bed the next morning. I was eating bits and pieces of that cake till the day we were leaving because they donâ€™t take it away. I think by the time we left there was a little less than a quarter left. Wish I could have packed that cake in my luggage with me!! Oh and the staff also brought out a giant plate of dessert tarts when we were all dancing. There were at least 50 little tarts on that plate and only 2 or 3 got eaten, and itâ€™s only because no one had any room left in their belly!
Photographers A+: Our photographers are from Portland Oregon, called Artistique Photography, they were at the palace from April 13th till April 29th. So we didnâ€™t have to pay any fees to have them there. They shot several weddings and trash the dress during their stay there. It was so much fun working with them. They are a team of husband and wife, Justin and Michelle. They made the whole experience so much fun. My groom is not big into taking pictures but by the end of it all he said it was actually lots of fun. Our photographers shot so many locations with us, Iâ€™m so happy we went with them instead of the resort photogs. The poses that they did with us are not the typical chessy ones and thatâ€™s what I love about their work. I donâ€™t have any of the picstures back yet, but they did show us a few shots as they were taking them and it looked stunning. I canâ€™t wait to get them back!! Michelle and Justin do a lot of destination weddings, so for future brides looking for outside photogs, you should definitely check out their work on their webpage and see if they are in that area during your wedding. They have a set packge for destination weddings but they are also willing to tweak the package to accommodate whatever budget you have. Love love love them!!!!
Tipping: There were a total of 4 servers for our reception. We gave the head server 160 bucks and told him itâ€™s for everyone. We made sure to point to everyone when we gave him the money so they know heâ€™s got it. The officiant was gone right after the ceremony so we didnâ€™t end up giving him anything. For the wedding coordinator, we had no more cash on his by the end of the reception. So we dropped by her office several times the next few days when we picked up our certificate and things. But she was MIA most of the time. And we didnâ€™t feel comfortable leaving her tip with the other people. So she never got her tip. Which makes me feel kinda of bad, because she was really good except for a few little screw ups. We also tipped the massage staff 20 bucks, and the spa staff 10.
So thatâ€™s all Iâ€™ve got for review. I will try and post some pics that our guests took as soon as I get some. Feel free to ask me questions. I just want to thank all the past brides/grooms/wedding party on here that helped me along when I was planning my wedding. You guys were amazing. It made everything so much easier to be able to refer to this site for information!! Thanks again!!!