Hi Ladies! I wanted to share my Secrets Maroma Beach & wedding experience with you all, since this blog was extremely helpful in helping me plan for our wedding! Our wedding was on May 19, 2013 and it was absolutely the most amazing & memorable day of our lives to date. Okay...so here goes... 1) Planning from a far.... Like most of the brides on here, I secured a contract with SMB for the date, filled out high-level details of what we were thinking of... tip: location of the ceremony & reception are the most important...secure those b/c there might be another wedding on your same day or vow renewal ceremony. You can change pretty much anything even up to the actual day of the wedding...except the locations, b/c they might be booked! It's easy to say, but seriously don't stress out about the details. My contact with Cecilia was brief (just filling out the questionnaire) up until about 2 months before the wedding, but then we finalized a few more details: bonfire / rehearsal / flowers/ hair appointments / menu changes, etc... Cecilia and her team are AMAZING!! ... I can't say enough good things! You may not hear from her a ton, (I think it's because there are soooo many weddings there...4-5 alone in the 10 days I was there!)...but they pull through and get everything done beautifully! 2) Resort / Travel Reservations - I worked with a local travel agent that specializes in destination weddings...so great! She booked all of the rooms for our guests and helped coordinate the transportation to and from the resort. If any guests had questions, they could go right to her. I highly recommend this route...we had 45 guests attend and this was a HUGE help!! 3) SMB - The resort is absolutely AMAZING!! WOW!, seriously, you will not be disappointed!! We stayed in the Preferred Club Ocean Front suite...gorgeous!! We really enjoyed being so close to the beach / main pool and the preferred club was super fun as our pre-dinner drink every night. =) The service at the resort is incredible as well...I really can't say enough good things about this resort! Food...delicious (and we are foodies)...and the food at the resort is good, but the food at our private rehearsal party and wedding was even better! Seriously, our guests could not stop talking about the coconut grouper from the rehearsal dinner. 4) Rehearsal Dinner - We had 45 guests attend, so we wanted to have a welcoming party for everyone to get together. We originally planned on having a bonfire party on the beach with buffet and drinks, but it started to sprinkle and it was very windy. So, we made a last minute call and we moved from the beach to the banquet room...we only probably had to delay maybe 30 minutes. They are SUPER accomodating!! We had a buffet for the rehearsal...really good food. I believe we went with the Caribbean themed buffet...that had the coconut grouper that everyone couldn't stop talking about!! ** Per a few other recommendations, we purchased the Big Jambox to play music for the background music at the rehearsal. This was probably the BEST purchase we made for the wedding. We used it at the rehearsal dinner, and pretty much every night, we brought it to the "swing bar" (where the pool & ping pong tables) are located. The chairs at the bar were actually swings; hence, the nickname. We also used it at the post-wedding party that ended up with everyone in the pool at the end of the night, until we were kicked out and then onto the beach. So, budget the jambox into wedding budget...well worth it!!
5) Wedding Day - Wedding was absolutely perfect!! My friends dubbed me as the most relaxed bride in the world...but how can you not be, you are literally in PARADISE! The girls had a little pre-wedding pool party and then my bridesmaids and Mom had hair appointments in the salon at 2pm (Wedding was to start at 5pm.) I had gone earlier in the week to get a trial hair and make-up, which turned out beautifully. This was one area that I was a little stressed about, but honestly my hair & make-up gal, Blanca, was AMAZING!! The only thing that was a little stressful was the actual day of the wedding...I was supposed to be back in my room for 4pm for photos and I was till in the spa until 4:15 finishing up!! So...my tip to you gals...budget extra time for hair and make-up!! - Photographers: (We hired Juan's associate, Tony and his assistant Tony to do our photography and chose a 5 hour photography package.) Photography was really important to us and SMB had recently changed from using Juan's company to Aventure Travel, which is actually in the resort. We did not have to pay the vendor fee for our photographer as SMB has an established relationship with Juan. The Tony's were absolutely wonderful to work with...loved them!! Can't say enough good things...still waiting to see our pictures as they take about 5 weeks, but my Mom was taking pretty much all of the pictures that they took on a little digital camera and they were great. - Videographer: Did an amazing job!! This is included in the Ultimate Wedding Package and was absolutely worth every penny! We've already watched our video twice, ha! If I were to go back and re-do this, I would probably extend the videographer to be part of the reception...at least for the speeches, first dance, etc... - Flowers: About 2 months before the wedding, I worked with Marvin at Mayan Flowers (coordinated through Cecilia.) Wow! Just beautiful flowers! I upgraded my bouquet and the bridesmaids bouquets and they were well worth it. I just told him that I wanted some purple flowers and he sent me pictures of about 10 different bouquets. I ended up going with white roses and purple orchids...gorgeous! If you wanted to cut costs, I would say, you don't need the centerpieces for the reception.... you are in paradise anyways, and you hardly notice them. They were sitting on the place card table for our reception. - Wedding "stuff"...I brought a lot of stuff with me from home... chair bows, maracas for the party favors *HUGE HIT!*, bride/groom signs, I made fan programs, thank you cards for each place setting, and I brought my own centerpieces (glass centerpieces, with flameless candles, and seashells)...they turned out beautifully. - Ceremony: The ceremony site is absolutely breathtaking!! We had our ceremony at 5pm and I was concerned with it being too warm, but with the breeze from the ocean it was perfect!! I will say the wind made my veil "interesting," but I was still happy I wore it. We did the symbolic ceremony and the minister did a really nice job. (Note: The state of Colorado does not even acknowledge legal ceremonies in Mexico, so check with your state before signing up for a legal ceremony.) Honestly, the symbolic ceremony was very beautiful...a friend of mine did a reading, we had the sand ceremony (I brought this with me, purchased from Michaels)...and we wrote our own vows, and there was another special reading from the minister. Very touching and not a dry eye at the ceremony. Tip: I would highly recommend paying for the speaker and microphone so that your guest can hear the music, the minister, and you of course. ...it is windy and could be difficult to hear without it! - Cocktail hour: We did the beach cocktail hour with the Mariachi band. I heard they were fantastic, but unfortunately we missed the whole thing due to pictures...but that is okay, our guests were happy. - Reception: Our reception was at the gazebo and it was absolutely gorgeous!! The only small mishap was that it rained for about 10 minutes, during the bestman's speech so we all huddled under the gazebo! It was actually kind of fun, and my father had passed away, so I'm convinced that it was his tears of joy. =) The rain pretty much got everything wet!!...but Cecilia and her crew removed every single chair cover, bow, table cloth and reset everything...it was absolutely amazing. During the "switch-aroo" of the wet to dry, we just finished up the speeches and did our first dances, etc... I think that Cecilia felt badly for us and even lit off some of the cold fireworks by surprise. Those were beautiful by the way...if your budget accounts for it, I would say get them. Again, the food at the reception...fantastic!! I had originally wanted to do a plated dinner, but with 45 people and giving them one option...it wasn't going to happen. I was extremely pleased with the buffet...so much food and really delicious!! We opted not to do a cake, since my husband doesn't like cake and did apple and pecan pies instead. We only discussed this with Cecilia 4 days before the wedding...so don't worry ladies, she works magic! =) Lighting: I was a bit concerned with the amount of light, and I really wanted to get the paper lanterns, but I couldn't justify paying $500 for 20 paper lanterns. The lights SMB provides and the lights from the DJ/dancing in the gazebo were plenty!! - Music: We hired a DJ for the reception and extended the time for 4 hours. So, our entire reception went from 8-11. Cecilia said that everything had to be wrapped up by 11 due to noise control. My husband and I were very particular with the type & songs we wanted played, we actually created an entire place list for the reception. His family is from Puerto Rico and my family and most of our guests are from the U.S., so we needed a good mix of latin and "pop" music. The one thing that I wish we would've been more specific on was to use the music we had in our playlists, the DJ kinda did a little free lance and all of sudden we are hearing some crazy Justin Bebier song and we had to put an end to that...ha! So, my tip: If music is important to you, make sure that you tell your DJ to not stray from your list or tell him artists /songs that are a no no. Ha! Again, in the end...small thing, did not impact our day. - As I mentioned before, the guys all ended up in the pool at the end of the reception...and shortly after that, all of the girls were in there too...yes, with all of their dresses on and everything. I thought about it for a second, but that wedding dress would've weighed a ton, so I was DJ! Security kicked us out of the pool about midnight, but we continued the party on the beach until the weeeee hours of the night. WOW! That was SUPER long, but I wanted to give you gals an idea / tips...please don't stress. Just enjoy it b/c it goes by way too quickly!! I really wish I could do a rewind, it was amazing!! Well, let me know if you have specific questions.... Happy Planning!