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About Steitzer23

  1. Hey ladies, I just received my videos from our videographer and want to offer up an AWESOME review of Indigo Wedding Videography, based in Cancun. Matias was great to work with. We got both a short video and a 40-minute video. Soooo thrilled with them. Here is our short video: http://indigowedding.com/index.php/2013/09/grand-riviera-princess-wedding-videography-stephenie-kyle-wedding-highlights/
  2. I don't know what time your dinner is, but ours was 6 at La Fondue, which is very close to the Riviera Gazebo. Our ceremony also was at 4 p.m. So we did pics from 4:30-6 and we had PLENTY of time to do tons of pictures with the entire group, the families and the bridal party, as well as couple shots down the beach. We had a photographer and videographer who also were wanting different things, and we still had lots of time. The biggest timing advice I can give you is to NOT do speeches at dinner but to save those for the beach party or reception. Four additional people were so inspired that they stood up and gave impromptu speeches. They were wonderful and I am so glad they did, but it meant that it was 8:15 by the time we cut the cake, which meant the beach party and dj had started yet we were still at dinner! We had Jackye move the cake after we cut it and she served it at the party. We ended up buying a 3rd hour with the DJ because by the time we got to the party we had lost 45 minutes of our DJ time. A different bride on here had recommended to me to do the toasts at the party but I forgot.
  3. She was fine with us doing speeches at dinner, we just couldn't use any AV equipment, which meant that some people couldn't hear the toasts. However, if you do go with the Ibiza reception and get a DJ, you will have a mic. I think we should've waited to do the speeches in there, especially because a bunch of bridal party people were so inspired they stood up to speak and we were 15 minutes late getting to the room with the DJ. She allowed us to set up the cake in the restaurant and cut it there. They also then transported the cake to Ibiza because we were 15 minutes behind schedule and we were wasting time on the DJs clock. Yes, it was still $25 per person for the Ibiza room. It was really a perfect day and everything went smoothly with the wedding planner. DJ was awesome and well worth the $560 for 2 hours (but know that he won't serve as emcee so pick someone in your group to do that). I think you will have an amazing wedding!
  4. We got married at GSP on Monday and it was spectacular!! I'll provide a rundown of things: - The resort: It is massive and one of the biggest difficulties is finding your people, especially if there are a lot of them (we had 46 guests). I strongly recommend using a travel agent to book for you and your guests as he can generally keep folks somewhat close. We stayed in a Platinum Suite and I DO NOT recommend this for several reasons: They are far away from practically everything except for the beach. It's a solid 10-12 minute walk to the front of the resort and we were secluded from our guests in the junior suites. The other BIG problem is their rule that you cannot bring non-Platinum guests up to your room, even if you are escorting them. They reluctantly and rudely made and exception for the day before and day of our wedding, but this really ticked me off. You can stay in a junior deluxe suite with jacuzzi for cheaper, closer to other guests and less hassle and it is the exact same room layout. If you expect some special treatment because you are the bride and groom and are bringing tens of thousands of dollars in business to the resort -- well don't. In fact, the wedding planners don't even tell the Platinum concierge that you are bride and groom, so we were hassled by them when we needed to bring our mother in law to the room to steam dresses and suites. Further, on our wedding night we got a knock on the door from security telling us there was a noise complaint on our room and a nasty note from a guest in a room below us. We hadn't been making any noise and believe the room next to us was the one being noisy. This didn't stop the security from banging on our door on our WEDDING NIGHT without first standing outside the room for a minute to listen and verify whether the complaint was legitimate. Overall I felt like we were treated very poorly for being in Platinum and bringing so many guests to the resort. The food is not great, the service is good and the shuttles are worthless. It's very beautiful but I guess because of the size the resort just doesn't have the laid-back feel that a lot of others in Riviera Maya have. The wedding - Jackye was good, although she did not tell the front desk that we had paid the penalty to bring an external videographer on site, so we lost about 30 minutes of video because he couldn't clear the front desk. That should not have happened. Also, she kinda tried to push us to change the ceremony venue because of the chance of rain. Their backup location stinks and I'm glad we rolled the dice because the weather was spectacular by 4 p.m. The Riviera Gazebo is a great location and in my opinion is better than Sunset Gazebo. Sunset is more private but not nearly as beautiful. I thought it was sort of fun to have a few beach spectators watch the wedding. We took photos after the ceremony and the time between ceremony and dinner was just perfect for getting all the pics we wanted. Dinner was at La Fondue. They allowed us to have 48 total there. It was the BEST meal we had all week, they allowed us to set up the cake and do toasts. They don't permit you to have AV equipment so unfortunately some of our guests couldn't hear the toasts, but our videographers miked up our people. We originally planned the beach party but changed the venue to the Ibiza room because of the fear of storms. The room was PERFECT and I'm glad we chose it over the beach because the sand is too soft to really dance well and some of our guests can't take the heat for that long. The Ibiza room is gorgeous, they set up a bar, etc. I strongly recommend it over the beach for the party. We used a local videography company called Indigo. Matias was super nice and his equipment is high quality. We haven't seen the video yet but are optimistic it will be really good. We chose to bring our own photographer from the states. We paid for his airfare and 2 nights and it was a way better deal than paying for the resort photog. I wasn't a fan of the resort photog or videog work. We used Paradise Catamarans to rent a 50-person catamaran for 4 hours the day before the wedding. It was AWESOME. A great opportunity to bring all our guests together in one spot. The day after the wedding we rented a 20-person bus and driver for 4 hours. He took us to the Azul cenote, a public cenote, where we did trash the dress. Some of our guests joined us and played in the cenotes while we did photos, including a 12-foot cliff dive. I HIGHLY recommend doing this!!!! The only stuff we brought with us were framed photos of our grandparents, a cake topper and ribbon for the cake, a photo matte for guests to sign and mini hand fans that we placed on chairs at the ceremony. I wouldn't have wanted to bring any other decorations. It's just not necessary. Overall I was extremely pleased with the wedding day, but the resort isn't my favorite.
  5. Koren, Thanks for that heads up. Did you have that problem? It says on discountmugs.com that they have a USA manufacturing and printing plant ...? Also, I'm curious what else you put in your OOT bags? Stephenie
  6. ashofswed, I've been putting some thought into OOT bags. I'm not going bonkers like some brides who spend $50 per bag and fill it with stuff people don't need or want, but I do want to do a mini bag with a few things folks might forget and one signature item. On discountmugs.com, they sell the knock-off Tervis tumblers. I'm going to order those and then use a friend's cricut machine to put everybody's name on them. Dual purpose: Acts as a name tag so when guests who don't know each other see another guest with a matching cup, they will know they are part of our group, plus, it's a great way to keep either water or your drinks cool while at the pool or beach. And, of course, it is something they can take home and use. I'll probably go to the dollar store and throw some other things in there like chapstick (even if you brought one, who can't use another), a packet of aspirin, etc.
  7. Robyn, Your info is very helpful, thanks! What I am confused about is why your beach reception didn't include dinner as well? I have a document from the resort that says for a beach reception for $85 per person, you get it for 4 hours and get to pick from several buffet options. I didn't realize you could do a beach reception without food. Ugh, there are so many options and it seems like everyone gets different information from the resort. :/ We are going to have about 40-50 people.
  8. Here are the alternatives, which they call "galas." I was wrong, they actually go even lower than $50 a person. For 4 hours, minimum 30 adults, you can get beer, wine and soft drinks with the "bacalar" menu for $44 per person. Now, I have not reached this point in my planning, still getting a head count. I am nervous after reading your post and I don't understand why they wouldn't have told you about these. I assumed these would be private receptions where we could play music on an iPod, dance, give speeches, etc. Now I worry that we won't get a private setting for these "galas." Although, the other part of me thinks they hesitated to tell you because they are obviously trying to steer everyone to the expensive options. GALA MENUS.pdf
  9. There are alternatives to the $100 per person dinner at the Chill Out Lounge and the $85 per person dinner on the beach if you have more than 40 people. They have banquet rooms where the buffets, depending on which one you pick, can run from $55 and up. I don't have my documents in front of me right now but I would be glad to share them. I wish this resort would enter the Internet age and just post this crap on a website. They end up burying themselves in emails because the information, photos and prices aren't readily available.
  10. The price of the catamaran is $1790 for four hours in the afternoon, including snorkeling gear and hotel pickup of all the guests. That's without the snacks or open bar. We can bring our own snacks and booze, although the price came in so low we may go ahead and add on the bar at $15 a person just so we don't have to mess with it (you can also pay $12 for just beer). I believe its called Paradise Catamarans. http://www.paradisecatamarans.com/current_category.0/Product.15/tours_add.html?t_product=15 We are all staying on the Sunset Princess side. We are getting married in the Ocean Gazebo. I'm not really sure which "side" that is on. We went with Sunset Princess because I'm a big fan of bookit.com and they have dirt cheap rates for Sunset. Then I hired a TA and he's matching all the bookit.com prices.
  11. Thanks so much for this very helpful advice! So I guess that wedding party waited until they got there to choose a specific spot at a specific pool if they want to try to meet up with others? Or is there a good place I could put in the welcome letter before we head down there?
  12. You make some really good points, particularly about not paying for excursions ahead of time (although I would recommend locking down a catamaran if brides want to take the entire group out as we are doing to day before the wedding. Finding a boat for 50 people on the fly could be tough). Other than the catamaran, I know personally I don't want to do a bunch of excursions, I want to relax by the pools and beach! I'm just wondering how hard it will be for people to find us since the resort is so large. Not a lot of people are going to want to pay for international cell phone services. MsShoreytobe, when is your big day? Ours is Aug. 12.
  13. Yes, I was definitely planning to put together schedules for the OOT bags. I was just wondering exactly how brides went about determining what the schedule for the week would look like, especially without knowing what kind of activities the resort folks are going to put on each day. Do you just sort of wing it and make stuff up?
  14. The resorts share all the amenities (pools, restaurants, bars, etc), so it doesn't really matter which one you stay at. It's the most bizarre and confusing thing. I don't know why they don't just pick one name and stick with it.
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