My Quickie Review (since I don't have any professional photos yet)
We left for Mexico on Friday, Jan 24, 2014. We handed out the majority of our OOTs at the airport (they were simple, tshirt (guys), beach wrap (girls), tumblers, gum, vistaprint welcome brochure with itinery). We arrived in the early evening so we didn't have anything planned, but the front desk had a letter for us from our wedding coordinator, Denise, that outlined what time we were to meet at the wedding office the next day.
We went to the meeting at 10am the next morning with WCs Denise and Miguel. In about an hour we had everything sorted out and a conceirge met us at our room to pick-up our luggage with all the decor. During the meeting, we added on a last minute private tea ceremony for immediate family and they were more than accomodating even though it technically was a private event (without food, but required a bit of setup).
I had my hair/make-up trial on Monday with Raul and it went well. I didn't have any pictures, so we went through the book and I pointed out what I liked. We adjusted the colouring until I liked it and I was done in time to catch sunset. One tip I have here is that my make-up looked great in the salon, but when I took selfies in the sunset, it looked like I wasn't wearing any make-up at all. Make sure you take a few pics out in the natural light.
We had a private group dinner at Spoon on the Monday. The menu was chosen for us, but we were fine with that. Standard chicken or beef stuff. If people didn't like it, they walked out to the buffet for something else. It gave us a chance to thank all of our guests for travelling.
Tuesday, we took all of our guests out for a private catamaran through Fat Cat Catamarans. They were absolutely wonderful and worth every penny. Other than the wedding, this was the highlight of everyone's vacation. Arelene was a joy to work with while booking. We chartered the catamaran for 40 people and we couldn't be happier with the crew of 3 that came out with us. I believe it broke down to under $60 per guest and then $10 total round-trip taxi per guest. Fat Cat is located in Puerto Aventuras, which also has dolphin experiences, golf, and much more but we didn't get to spend time exploring the area.
On the day of the wedding (Wed, Jan 29, 2014), we spent the day playing in the pool (up to 4 hours before the wedding) and then I went to take a shower and bring my hair clean and try to the salon. (I got my dress pressed, so when I got to the bridal suite, they put my clean/pressed dress onto the mannequin for me). The girls and I got ready in the bridal suite and the staff were wonderful in bringing us some sandwhiches and fruit platters with our complementry champagne.
I started out in my Chinese tea ceremony dress (yes we saw each other before the "I do" moment, but not in my wedding dress). We had about 20 family members on the terrace at Tapas terrace for the ceremony. The restaurant was not open for service, so it was perfect for a private outdoor ceremony which was an unplanned plus. We would've done this in a public space if we had to really... but our WC's we wonderful in suggesting a private spot and providing the set-up.
We got married at 5pm at the Pier Gazebo (I think it has a proper name but I can't recall right now). Our officiant was amazing, the sun as just setting, and within 20 minutes, the ceremony was complete.
Since we had the ceremony at sunset, we really didn't have time for many photos of the two of us afterwards. Thank goodness our photographers had the bright idea to do a mini session at sunrise a few days earlier. (I'll post those when I get them). We decided to head to the patio of the Mexican restaurant for a few drinks with the rest of our guests.
For our reception, we had it at the Yoga Palapa, which was perfect for our 48+ guests (we had a few unexpected guests but I was so clueless to them because someone took care of it with the WCs). I wish I had a picture of our table set-up, but it was along the lines of big lanterns with seashells, you get the idea. For favours/escort cards, I made mini-pinatas that I stuffed with hard candies. I thought of them as a disposable item, but people ended up taking them home as keepsakes which was really cute.
For dinner, we had the BBQ Deluxe, which was delish!!! We had we afraid that for religious reasons, people would have problem with the pork and beef coming from the same grill, so the resort hauled a seperate grill out to ensure that our religious guests saw that there was no mingling of the meats. Loved this! For dessert, we got a 2-tier cake for cutting, which the staff cut and distributed to all of the tables. People were sooo full that they didn't really touch the full 4 tables of desserts that came with the bbq buffet. I'll be honest, I didn't try them either because I had second helpings of bbq (I already fit into the dress, so what's a little more stuffing? LOL)
It rained during the last hour of our wedding, but we didn't care because our guests got up and danced throughout dinner and everytime they got-up for another serving of food.
Things I learned:
Our airline (SunWing) had a special overhead for wedding dresses only, so I didn't need to worry about a fancy dress bag while travelling.
It was only $16 to have the dress pressed, good thing about this is that they'll keep the dress until your wedding day (I think they keep it in the WC's office because I saw a few in there during our meeting)
I wish I had our wedding earlier in the week because I was afraid of over eating and gaining weight before the wedding. I loved the food on the resort and found myself making up for lost time the days after the wedding. (Hmmm maybe it was a blessing in disguise really...)
I kind of wish that our wedding happened earlier in the day as well so that we could get a few more pictures in our wedding attire. Right after the ceremony, we wanted 1 group picture, but then our families forced a few group shots on us. We didn't even get a chance to do a friends-only photo before we ran out of sunlight.
Don't stress. Even when my dad kept telling all the guests the wrong time and place for the wedding, I asked the WC's on the day of to leave a message for all of the guests' phones on the day of so that the mix-up was fixed. The WC's really go out of their way to make it an amazing day.
That's it for now, but once I get more photos, I'll post more. I've been working two jobs lately so I'll be slow in responding but definitely feel free to ask here or PM me.
Thank you to all of the past brides who shared their experiences here. Our DW would have never been the same without you.