My Review! (I’m sorry it took so long!!!)
It’s been 4 weeks today since we were married at the Grand Bahia Principe in Riviera Maya, Mexico. We landed back home three weeks ago today and I can say that I have been looking through my photos nonstop since.
I can’t believe the time has already come and gone and I’m now writing my review! There aren’t any recent threads or reviews for GBP Brides, I’ve had a couple already reach out and personally message me, so I hope this review is helpful in your planning. I’ll give as much detail as I can but please feel free to message me/comment on this post if you have any other questions!
Here we go! I’ll try not to make it too long!
The whole airport process was a breeze, a lot easier than I thought. Our TA prebooked us on the seats with the extra leg room for our flights there and back, if you’ve ever flown Air Canada Rouge, having the extra leg room is a huge plus! As an airline, they were fine, I was surprised that they don’t provide you with any food and there are no TV’s but it’s only a 3.5-4 hour flight so I just closed my eyes and it wasn’t too bad, just bring something to read if you fly with this airline. My dress fit perfectly as a carry-on thanks to @@Wafflesmom for sending me the Wally Bag!
After about 1.5h journey on the transfer coach bus (including stops at other hotels and some beers), Colin and I arrived at the Grand Bahia Principe Coba around 1pm. When you stay at this resort you have access to both Coba and Tulum. Col and I received gold wrist bands which gave us access to the Akumal resort as well. We knew because our guests would be there, we wouldn’t be using the Akumal resort until we had a couple days to ourselves at the end.
When we arrived we already had 4 guests there, Colin’s brother and his wife, and 2 more friends from London. We grabbed lunch while we waited for our room to be ready – they were doing “something special” for us, it turned out to be rose petals on the bed and a floral arrangement, super sweet. They continued to leave us desserts in our room about every second night.
After we checked into our room, we immediately got in the pool and on the drinks and hit the foam party on the beach that the resort threw that evening – the resort was already surpassing my expectations.
Colin’s parents, cousin and some family from the UK arrived in the evening, we spent the day in the pool of course, and had dinner with them that evening. Anyone staying at this resort will notice the seating area outside of the main Coba lobby and Coba buffet, we started unofficially meeting there after dinners from this day until the end of the trip. Saying “Meet you at the white chairs after dinner!” they stopped serving drinks in that area at 11pm so we would either head to the hacienda (club) or the snack bar where they serve 24h. This carried on and everyone would meet there after dinner every night.
Apr 25th to 27th:
Col and I met with our Coordinator Andrea, the photographer consultant for TropicOne, we signed our contracts, handed over the décor and had our blood tests done. During this time, all the Canadians arrived and the rest of the UK. My poor cousin Anthony lost his luggage on the 25th... but in the strangest way. He brought it to the bus, handed it over to the Air Canada Vacations rep and got on the bus, when he arrived at our resort it wasn’t on the bus. The AC rep at Coba Roberto called the airport, the rep he handed the bag to denied receiving a bag from him, they said they would look for it and Anth gave them a description of his black luggage. In the meantime, Col lent him a pair of trunks, he grabbed some beers and jumped in the pool, he wasn’t going to let it ruin his time and would continue to look the next day. On the 26th he went back to the lobby the next morning and Roberto informed him that black luggage was found at the airport with no tags but they were unable to open it and confirm if it was his, he would need to go down and claim it himself. He gave a description of some of the contents inside and they agreed to put it into a scanner to check. They said it looked like it could be his so he took a taxi down to the airport (that Air Canada wouldn’t even pay for!) and confirmed it was his luggage. I really hope Air Canada compensates him in some way. That was really the only hiccup during this time! We all nonstop partied, everyone got along incredibly and it definitely helped with my nerves, I was having way too much fun!
My girlfriend Mel had planned a whole day of bachelorette festivities. I was told to meet them at the Tulum pool at noon. Mel asked the guys to participate too! When Col and I arrived at the pool everyone was decked out in “Team Bride” sunglasses, pink beads, “Team Bride” cups, and a naughty beach ball we called “Willy” lol. I cried happy tears for about 5 minutes because I was so overwhelmed lol. We pool partied all day, and Mel arranged with the entertainment team to set up a table for flip cup! We played Canada vs UK, got loads of photos and videos from it.
When we left the pool, I was instructed to have dinner with Col and then go to my room and wait. Col met up with the guys and they look taxis to CocoBongo in Playa Del Carmen for his Bachelor party. We walked him out and then one of the guys ran back in and handed me a bag with Colin’s clothes, they dressed him in a robe and slippers and put a flower in his hair. He eventually came back to get his clothes as realistically, he wouldn’t be allowed into any club in slippers… but I was terrified for him lol. The difference between guys and girls is girls want to make the bride feel like a million bucks, a couple silly games but it’s all in fun. While guys, they want to destroy each other, shave off facial hair, tie them up to trees… I told him I want them to have as much fun as possible, all I ask is he returns alive and with all his limbs and facial hair lol.
I waited with one my girlfriends in my room until there were knocks and screaming at the door. I opened the door, was given a sash that said “Bride to be, Drink with me” and had an emergency margarita pocket inside and was led outside to one of the trolleys that drive around the resort. All the ladies on our trip were on it, screaming, blowing whistles and my friend Mel had a boombox. We drove around the resort making so much noise and he dropped us off at the lobby where the girls did a naughty scavenger hunt, then we went to the hacienda and danced the night away. It was perfect and couldn’t believe all the effort she put into everything!
Waiting for the girls to come get me:
So I wouldn't get lost:
I tried to not drink but my nerves needed me too, I didn’t go to excess but it definitely helped. I cried three separate times that day whenever it hit me, I made the final payment and realized that it was all done, there was nothing else I could do except marry Colin, I had a lot of emotions running through me that day. We had dinner with Col’s family for his brother’s birthday that night and then Col swapped rooms with my girlfriends and we had a sleepover. They brought wine, champagne and munchies, then 27 Dresses came on the TV and we all balled at the beach wedding scene lol
April 30th – Wedding Day!
I woke up relaxed, it was my wedding day and I was pumped! Col and I made arrangements to go to different buffets for breakfast, he went to the Coba premier lobby buffet and I went to the main buffet with my girlfriends. After we showered, and my friend Cass who is also my hairdresser arrived at my room at 10am to start doing our hair, she did mine, both my bridesmaids and my mom’s. There were about 7 of us getting ready all together in my room but we had so much time it wasn’t an issue, the ceremony wasn’t until 4pm. We ordered room service lunch and did our makeup. 2 of the 7 girls are fabulous at contouring, they did that for everyone and we all did the rest ourselves. I got eyelash extensions so I personally only had a bit of contouring done, eyeliner and finishing spray. I had a good tan going on so I didn’t need much else, I wanted to look like myself and not wear a ton of makeup in the heat. I highly recommend tanning before to get a base, I had no redness throughout the week and just tanned more while I was there. I also highly recommend eyelash extensions! Omg I looked glam even in the pool and barely wore makeup at night, I still have some of them on and I love them. Also, a good finishing spray will help put your mind at ease and keep your face fresh all day & night.
Our WC Andrea called me around 2pm and let me know there was a 20% chance of rain for the dinner and asked if I wanted to move it inside… Every day during the week there was a chance of rain and it didn’t even sprinkle, so I said to go ahead as I would’ve kicked myself if I moved it inside and it didn’t rain.
During the week, Col and I spread the word for our guests to meet in the lobby at 3.15pm for pick-up. They were getting picked up at 3.30pm which meant the photographer needed to be in Colin’s room at 2.30pm for the getting ready shots of the guys. Our photographer Gabriel then arrived at my room at around 3pm for our photos, we quickly did photos with my mom so she could head to the lobby and then look some with my dad, and the bridesmaids. We were picked up in a cart and driven to the Tulum beach location where our guests were already waiting. I only cried once when I saw my dad that day and was surprisingly calm. I really just wanted to do this lol, I wanted to dance and have fun and not be too overwhelmed by emotion that I forgot everything.
When I arrived the location was breathtaking… the ceremony went perfect and only lasted about 20 minutes because we had the legal document to sign. We said the vows provided, cried a little and everything went really well. In terms of decoration, all we had was the table decoration provided in our package, I had this done in white and light pink roses that matched the moms corsages. As I provided my own bouquet, I had Andrea break up the one included in my package and tie it to the ends of the chairs in the aisle, also matching the floral arrangement. To be honest, I pushed so hard for this and I didn’t even notice it on the day, there is so much to take in. But they look beautiful in photos and I’m glad that at the end of a few back and forth emails it happened. We had a champagne toast and group photos done on the beach right after the ceremony. Then family shots, then just bridal party, then just Col and I. I had prepared a list of shots, and all these examples of photography and I didn’t even have to use them. Gabriel was great at staging, although he could have used an assistant to help him with setting the group up, we had a group of 50 and he’s trying to manage the flash, give direction and take pictures all at the same time. In the end I all worked out, and he asked along the way if we had any shots in mind, so definitely speak up if you have any, and tell your bridal party the same, a couple of our best shots were their ideas. The only thing I would have to say is to push for a rehearsal ceremony. I asked over and over on emails she said she would confirm if she could do it when we met, when we did meet she said we wouldn’t need one and I was just so over all the meetings and wanted to get back to my guests so I didn’t push it any further. I really wish I had pushed more until we got one. While the ceremony was beautiful and no one really noticed any confusion, I did, and looking back my whole bridal party would have appreciated knowing what to do, where to stand etc. I think she also had me standing on the wrong side, as I purposely put my hair piece on my right side for pictures, but the photographer got shots from both sides and it all worked out.
I shared a bunch of photos in an album:
After photos we arrived back at Coba at the hibiscus pool where the dinner and reception was set up. We had a friend of Col’s MC and he was incredible, he got everyone laughing and had them entertained, he was born for this lol! Andrea and her assistant Diana stayed until the dinner and reception kicked off, we were then put into the bar manager’s hands if we needed anything for the rest of the night. We went with the mixed grill buffet, which everyone loved, some said it was their best meal all week. As the dinner started at 6pm, there were still some people lingering around in the pool… I had motioned for them to move to another part, they were directly behind us and in the way of pictures and they wouldn’t move, one couple actually gave me the dirtiest look! My Spanish girlfriend was going nuts on them lol and they just stayed, it was a big pool, they just wanted to watch everything but I wish they had a bit more respect. Speeches and everything went perfectly, my dad surprised me and had a whole speech prepared, I know how uncomfortable he is with public speaking so I just asked him to thank everyone and wish everyone a good meal before dinner, then we whipped out this 2 pager and had everyone in tears. After the first dance and father/daughter – mother/son dance we started the party music. I was sweating so heavily in my dress, it weighed 8lbs on it’s own, I didn’t want to change and I wanted to troop it out but I couldn’t handle the heat, I just wanted to have fun. One of my girlfriends brought a white dress, and it was perfect, I danced the night away in it. I would definitely bring a back-up white dress you are comfortable in, you can always wear it for another occasion if you don’t that night.
We used the Wedding DJ App for everything and it worked flawlessly. Our guests loved our music, and even though we only rented the speakers, there was a guy sitting there to control the volume the whole time so it kind of looked like we had a DJ. At the end of the night, the WC organized a few trolleys to pick us up and bring us to the Hacienda for more partying. Pretty much everyone came, we were all having too much fun for the night to end! There was a bottle of champagne waiting for us in our room when we returned.
Some pictures from the rehearsal:
Our First Dance They loved the bubbles!
May 1st to May 4th:
Col and I had breakfast in bed the next morning (part of our package) and then met everyone at the beach. We had our first a la carte dinner just us two that night, we didn’t book anything until then because we had people arriving every day. Our guests left over the next few days, we took a taxi to Tulum beach and to the ruins with about 8 of our friends that were left on the 2nd of May.
May 4th to May 7th:
By noon on May 4th Col and I were officially alone. We booked 2 a la cartes and made no other plans, as much as I missed everyone and the amazing week we all just had, it was so nice to just be with each other, on our own clock. Funnily enough, the night everyone left, as Col and I were walking through the lobby after dinner, saying how nice it was to be alone, I ran into a high school friend and his girlfriend. As nice as it would have been to hang out, we needed some time alone. Col and I stayed at the Akumal hotel pool and beach and hung out in different parts of the resort we didn’t get a chance to while our guests were there so we didn’t bump into them again.
We left on May 7th and again the whole check-in and customs process was really easy, we got home and haven’t stopped thinking about the best day/week/vacation of our lives. Our guests are all still chatting through the facebook group we made and a bunch have said to us that our wedding was perfect, they all had such a good time and some of the guests might go back to the resort on their next trip. It’s so reassuring to know that we picked a great resort at great price and that everyone enjoyed it! It was so beautiful to watch these 2 groups of people from different stages in mine and Col’s lives blend and get along the way we did, friendships were made and it made our time all that much better!