Hello! I wanted to post my review of Sandos! I was married on June 30, 2012. Overall, we had A GREAT time!!
We ultimately picked Sandos because the price was right. Last year we stayed at Barcelo for a few days. I know that's quite a popular wedding resort. We actually liked Sandos BETTER!
We booked with Apple Vacations, which was nice because all of the transportation was included in our trip. We ended up skipping the looooong check-in line because an Apple representative checked us in seperately.
We had 40 attend our wedding (20 from the US, and 20 from Mexico) which was a great size! We stayed in the Adults only section which was lovely. The only problem was it was faaaaaar away from the beach! There was a pool right outside our hotel, which we went to a lot. I don't mind walking, so I was OK with the hike to the beach, but some people were not so happy about it. There are shuttles to take you, if you want to wait for them, but I thought it was faster just to walk. Our room was also kind of far away from the big buffets too. But the pool had some hamburgers and shrimp cocktail that we ate, and there were some smaller snack bars nearby. I loved the food. The buffets are pretty much the same thing day after day, but there was always stuff that I liked to eat. We had 3 A LA carte dinners at the Steakhouse, Asian, and Brazilian restaurant. Those were pretty good too. We had a meet-and-greet informally in the Lounge bar which was fun to do the night before the wedding, so people could mingle, and have cocktails and my husband-to-be made a lovely speech.
I was nervous to meet with Lupita because I felt like her E-mails didn't really answer my questions, and so I felt like there was a lot of unfinished business. She was very friendly and helpful in person! We went with the Basic Sandos package on the beach. She ended up being able to add a gazebo with pink and white sheets (pink was my wedding color) for free, which was great because I think it cost $200 for the archway, and it was basically the same thing! I also had to add on a bouquet very last minute, and that was pretty too!
The day of the wedding my 3 bridesmaids and I were meeting for brunch, and then spent the entire day at the spa. Overall, we were very happy with the finished product (they got hair, nails, and make-up done, because they opted for a bridesmaid package. I got just hair and make-up) but it took FOREVER. The spa actually called me the day of and asked if I could come 40 minutes early. I said "no" because we were meeting for brunch. So we ended up going just a little bit before our regular time. They only had 1 girl for hair, and 1 for make-up, which is why it took so long. I pretty much sat there all day (because they wanted to do me last), but it was OK because it gave my friends and I time to relax, and chat. They asked us if we wanted fruit to eat, and champagne, which we agreed to, but that ALSO took a very long time. It wasn't a big deal, because we didn't REALLY want it, but just an FYI. The nail girls did NOT speak english, but the girl who did our hair did. I had brought pictures of an up-do and she did a GREAT job. Everyone LOVED my hair. I didn't really talk to the make-up girl, and she just kind of did whatever she felt like, but I thought both myself, and all my bridesmaids looked really nice. After the spa we ordered room service (included in the Sandos package) to eat while we got ready. It was a lifesaver! My photographer came and we snapped pictures. The only thing that went WRONG, was that Lupita had specifically told me NOT to leave my room, and that someone would come pick me up. Well, no one picked me up. Finally at 5p (the time of the wedding) we called the front desk, and they said we had to go THERE, to take the shuttle to the beach. So I was about 10 minutes late to my own wedding! My mom told me that no one noticed though.
So the ceremony was at 5 pm, and it was HOT all week, but with it being later in the afternoon, and right on the beach, I thought the temperature was very comfortable! My husband even ended up wearing all 3 pieces of his suit! I cannot express how GORGEOUS the beach setting was. It was perfect. The most beautiful thing I've ever seen. I felt like a princess walking down the aisle!
For the ceremony itself, we are not catholic, so we ended up doing a symbolic Mayan ceremony. It was an extra $600 for the two Shaman, but we LOVED every minute of it. The Shaman did the ceremony in a blend between english and spanish so all of our guests could understand. It was spiritual, without being tacky. I HIGHLY recommend it. The ceremony itself was about 40 minutes. The only thing that went wrong, was we did not expect to have to say our own vows! So we had to make them up on the spot! So I would recommend at least thinking of vows, so you don't have to do the same! But everyone GUSHED about the ceremony. It was unique, and beautiful. After that we did a champagne toast, which was fun! Then we took pictures with my photographer. I ended up going with an outside photographer, Ivan Luckie, because I just don't trust hotel photographers. We ended up paying $70 each for him and for his assistant. I haven't seen the pictures yet, but I think it's worth it.
We did the Italian Buffet for dinner, which fit our party nicely. It saved a lot of money, because dinner was included in our package. The food was fine, I didn't really eat much, because I was trying to keep us on schedule, as we were running late! The only bad thing was at the end of dinner it got REALLY HOT! We had ordered a chocolate cake with pink and white sugar flowers that seemed to be fine.
Finally we headed off to the Disco, that we had rented until 11! I thought that was a great choice! The DJ was wonderful, I brought a few songs of my own to play, and he took requests too. The bar was right in there, so people could drink, and it was air conditioned. The dance floor was the perfect size for our wedding and we danced the night away! At 11 it was open to the public, and some people started grabbing our wedding favors, which was annoying, but we got everything back.
So overall, the experience was LOVELY, and I would go back to Sandos! Feel free to let me know if you have any questions I might be able to answer!