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About ggallo

  1. Nancy McKay, We did a "rehersal dinner" for everyone at the buffet and it was perfect, they keep everyone else out of the room we were in so it felt very private!
  2. Wedding Review Hi OCT brides! My husband and I were married on May 5th, 2013 and had a wonderful time. Below is my review of everything OCT but if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out. I’d be happy to give you my opinion and share our experience with you. The whole process (we were engaged for a year) was very stressful. Being the control freak I am, the idea of handing over the most important day of my life thus far to someone I had not met, spoken to or seen was difficult. But once we arrived and met with Ana, I finally relaxed and enjoyed being with my family and friends who had traveled so far and spent so much to be there. Resort – A- The resort was wonderful! Scott had previously been to Cancun but I had never been to Mexico and I will say we are going back for sure. The size of the property was perfect, you do feel lost the first day but you get the hang of it quickly. All of the staff is friendly and helpful and by the end they feel like neighbors. (We stayed eight nights.) They are always cleaning or plowing the beach or arranging something. And they all stop and say hello to you when you pass. I will tell you the fastest way to over the top service is to tip. One thing we did not bring enough of was small bills and the staff has a hard time making change for you. So come prepared to tip, they all work so hard and the appreciation in their smile after giving them a couple of dollars is worth it. One thing to note, if you are going to bring gift bags they will try to charge you to deliver them. My parents and I got a list of the guests’ rooms and decided to hang them on their doors. Several guest told me that the cups (we had personalized cups made) were stolen out of their bags. So, if you plan to do this, you might want to just hand them to the guests directly. Rooms – B Scott and I stayed in a Junior Ocean View Room. The room was nice and the view amazing but I did have a couple of quirks with it. First, the fridge never worked and after I called three nights in a row, they told me it wasn’t supposed to be very cold. I think I was sending them over the edge so I dropped it. Also, and this is a personal thing, I have very sensitive skin. And after (thank goodness) the night of the weeding, I had an allergic reaction to the detergent the sheets were washed in. I am still getting over it, it was bad. (Think leprosy, boils, etc…) But I only put this down to let anyone else know who might have an issue with this to bring your own sheet. Lastly, our wedding was on the larger side, 51 guests. We did not receive an upgrade and after speaking to other brides and grooms there, this is normal. They might “try†to look into it but no one ever followed up with us. I was disappointed in this but to move rooms after being there for 3 days also did not sound fun. But know that an upgrade will 95% not happen so get the room you want! I wish we would have had the Privilege ONLY for the restaurant reservations but other than that our room was fine. Hair & Make Up – A+ My hair and make-up ended up being awesome, exactly what I wanted. Lupe and the entire team at the spa were so accommodating, I loved it! As long as you bring pictures of what you want they can replicate it. It was windy though so I was happy that the spa made my hair more of a helmet and it lasted most of the night! J Scott counted 58 hair pins and an elastic band that night. Flowers - B I’m not a big “flower†person so this wasn’t extremely important to me. However I did get the calla lilies and some of them were brown on the edges. But I really did not mind. My families’ flowers were all lovely and the guys’ boutonnieres turned out great. Ceremony - A We had our symbolic ceremony at the Privilege Beach at 3 PM. We could not have asked for better weather. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and it was actually cooler than normal, maybe 82. The venue is at the edge of the property and there is a fence that people have complained about but I did not notice it at all the day of. My brother conducted the ceremony which made it very personal and Ana actually discounted our package by $500 because we did that. (I was surprised about that.) We did do a rehearsal the day before which I recommend. The only thing that went wrong is that we asked for my brother to have a stand for the microphone. It was not there and one of the groomsmen stepped up and held it for him as he struggled a bit with the papers in the wind. But it was one of those moments that was fun, funny and we won’t forget it! But brides, if you ask for things, run through it with Ana that morning. They had a sound system set up and I had play lists all set for them and they played them exactly how I wanted them to. The only thing is that I had two songs on my iPhone to play after the wedding and they stopped after the first one. But the toast was great. And we did a lot of pictures after that with the sets of family. (Our reception was not until 6 PM.) Dinner and Reception – A- Our reception was on the lobby terrace at 6 PM. The break in between was something I worried about but all of the guests had met each other throughout their stay and definitely knew were the bars were. Most of them ended up at the lobby bar and Ana had a signature cocktail (something they like a lot here) ready for them to find their seats at 5:45. We walked in and started dancing right away then did the mother-son/ father-daughter dances. We did not have a DJ and I must stay, the savings was worth it! I made two play lists, one for dinner and one for dancing. They had a guy behind the sound system controlling everything. Exactly what I wanted. As far as the décor, I went WAY over board. Ana’s eyes were VERY wide when I showed her everything I brought. I made burlap runners for the tables, had vases, candles and baby pictures. Ladies, you don’t need all of this and I spent some extra $$$ with Delta getting them down there. Not worth it. Ana will put something together but honestly, the view is so wonderful that you really don’t need anything. But I will say that Ana set up everything EXACTLY how I wanted it. Amazingly, she understood my vision. Favors, we brought personalize hot sauce that I bought at The Knot, now… this was worth it! Everyone loved it and I am still getting messages from guests saying how great it is! The dinner was not what I wanted however. My husband is a former chef so he knows what goes into serving 50+ people. We opted for the surf and turf however asked that it would be medium rare, knowing that most likely it would be medium in temperature coming out. Well….. the steaks were blue, rare. Some guest sent it back to be re-fired and I didn’t even touch mine. I was looking forward to that steak and was disappointed. So lesson learned here, ask for the temperature you want. Everything else about the night was great! One more thing I wish I did was to pay for an additional hour. Although we took the reception straight to the pool bar area where there is a dance club like atmosphere, I wish we would have stayed one more hour to dance with just the guests. 3 hours flies by especially when there is a dinner involved. Photographer - A+ I opted to hire from outside the property and chose Dean Sanderson from a bride’s recommendation here at this site! He did a great job wrangling everyone in and he just sent me some teaser pictures that are great. I tried to upload them but can't so I can email them to you if you would like. He knew the places to go along the water for great pictures. This was well worth the $380 “penalty†for bringing him on. Dean shared with me he is now offering a service to brides-to-be to help them navigate through DJ’s, flowers, resorts, etc. I would have loved to have this last year. Feel free to reach out to him! Dean Sanderson, Wedding Photographer in Riviera Maya Mexico, MEX: 984.128.9468, CDN & USA 416.848.1194 Website: www.deansandersonweddings.com Blog: www.deansandersonweddings.com/blog Email me for pictures! Please feel free to reach out with additional questions but the take away is that every single guest had an absolutely amazing time. My mom and dad kept saying what a wonderful job we did picking the place and all Scott and I really wanted was to spend as much time as possible with everyone and that THEY had as much fun as we did. Mission Accomplished!
  3. Hi All, We are back from our trip and everything was great! I am going to type up some more details but not to worry, everyone is having such a great time that my only complaint is that it goes by too fast! Thanks! Gina
  4. Hi All, we are leaving Thursday for our wedding! I wanted to post that I am bringing a lot of decor if anyone wants to use it. I made (cut and washed) burlap runners (6), have 4 dozen tea light glass holders and 24 different vases ranging in size and style that are clear. (I am filling them with limes/sand/candles). Let me know if you would like me to leave them down there for you!
  5. @leahbecker - How did you handle tips? Since you "settled up" with Ana in the days before did you give her a tip afterwards? If so, did you base it on a percentage? Thanks!
  6. Hi @swabbett, I too am getting married on the 5th! We will have to find each other before the big day! I picked our location for the ceremony and reception as soon as I put down my deposit. Ana seemed to want me to so I did.
  7. IchibanCowgirl, Thanks for the information! Was your ceremony and reception back to back or did you have a couple of hours in between? Thanks! Gina
  8. Does anyone know the size of the tables at the reception? (Looking to buy fabric to make runners.) Also, how many they seat? Thanks!
  9. I am so thankful for the site, with each post I become more and more confident in what to do! I too have been waffling on DJ or not. I received a response from Ana today with my question, "To clarify the DJ (if purchased) would be responsible for MCing the evening however if we opt to not move forward with a DJ, there will be someone from your staff to play the music just not MC the night." She said: WELL, IF WE COORDINATE WITH THE DJ THE MC, THERE WILL BE AN EXTRA OF APROXIMATELY 300USD OR MORE. THE COST DEPENDS ON THE HOUR YOU WANT TO HIRE. CORRECT IF YOU DECIDE NOT TO HIRE THE DJ, ONE OF THE OUR STAFF WILL BE THERE TO HELP TO PLAY THE MUSIC, BUT KEEP IN MIND THAT IS NOT A DJ, HE WILL PREPARE THE SOUND SYSTEM AND PLAY THE MUSIC THAT YOU WILL PROVIDE. YOU CAN BRING A PLAY LIST EITHER ON CD OR IPOD. So that leaves my question to past brides, who moves the night along? (Time for cake, first dance, etc.) If I do not move forward with the DJ, does the event staff announce that? Or do I need to elect someone from my guest party as that?
  10. Thanks Danitree! That makes me nervous as well that Ana is still less responsive to you even though your wedding is right around the corner. Please let me know when you return what your experience was. (Although there is nothing I can do about it now!) I wasn't aware I could use an outside vendor for photography, Ana made it seem that I would HAVE to use the resorts. But I'm going to move forward with someone else since you can do that. THANK YOU!!!! I will look into Dean Sanderson.
  11. Hi All, I am loving all of this information! I wish I had this a couple of months ago. My date is set for 5/5/13 at 3 PM at OCT. I have been frustrated with Ana's response to my questions. This last time took 12 days and an email from my travel agent to the manager to get a response. Could someone tell me if things get better once arriving? I am nervous that if there is this much of a lack of communication now, how will it be then? Also, can any former brides let me know about this photographer they are requiring you to use? Any good? Thanks!
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