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Destination Wedding Resort Reviews
Barcelo Maya Palace Deluxe All Inclusive

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(Rated 4.7 stars with 27 reviews)
Rated #1 of 83 Riveria Maya Corridor on BDW
Barcelo Maya Palace Deluxe All Inclusive is located in Xpu ha, Mexico, less than 1 mile from Dolphin Discovery. The hotel is 1.5 miles from Xpu ha Beach and 1.6 miles from Chac Mol. 
Hotel Features
This family friendly property has a private beach, outdoor swimming pool, children’s pool, billiards, supervised childcare/activities, and babysitting services. The hotel also features a 750 seat theater with live entertainment. There is a Mayan inspired full service health spa on site offering massage and beauty services. The hotel also has a spa tub, sauna, steam room, tennis courts, and fitness facilities. Two conference rooms, exhibit space, and a business center are all located on site. Business services and wireless Internet access (fees apply) are also available for guest use. Additionally, the hotel features a restaurant with 24 hour room service, and a swim up bar. 
Each of the 756 guestrooms at the Barcelo Maya Palace Deluxe All Inclusive is air conditioned and has a private balcony with a view of the ocean, garden, and pool. Room amenities include satellite televisionswith pay movies, wireless Internet access (fees apply), CD players, and telephones with voicemail. Guestrooms area also outfitted with kitchenettes, minibars, and coffee/tea makers. Private bathrooms have bathrobes, bathroom phones, and hair dryers. Iron/ironing boards, in room safes, and welcome amenities are also provided.
The preferred airport for Barcelo Maya Palace Deluxe All Inclusive is Cancun, Quintana Roo (CUN Cancun Intl.) 44.6 mi. 

Member Reviews

Pros: Venue options, catering, flowers, coordinators (when you get the good ones)
Cons: Be wary of the costs associated and not associated (they can be a little misleading), stay on top of the coordinator for what you've requested
Hi everyone! My name is Goldie and my husband and I got married at Barcelo Maya - Palace in May 2016 after what seemed like ages of planning (in reality we started roughly planning Aug - Sept 2015). I wanted to finally sit down and write down all my thoughts and rants to this site as it helped ease the stress of planning a wedding thousands of miles away. As most people have stated here -- don't worry, your wedding will be beautiful and just remember to take it all in :) Overall we loved our experience and the wedding as a whole, but wanted to take the time to list out a few things I wish we were told before/during the planning process.   We had always known we'd wanted to do a destination wedding in the Riviera Maya area and had attended a wedding at Palace Resorts in Cancun. As my husband is Hindu and I'm Catholic we wanted to ensure whichever location we chose could handle a dual ceremony. We finally picked Barcelo compared to other resorts (and it's an exhaustive list -- they're so many!) as they had listed extensive experience with South Asian weddings, the price per guest for an all-inclusive was less than what we had spent to stay at Palace Resorts, and the beaches at Barcelo were absolutely beautiful (you can snorkel from the beach itself).    Total Guests: 80   Ceremony /Reception Locations within the resort (reserve these fast as Barcelo does several weddings especially during peak season and they can do as many as 7 weddings a day): Hindu Ceremony - Palace Gazebo (I'd highly recommend using this location -- it's beautiful and simple and has an incredible view. We used the basic decorations covered in our package and didn't need much else because of the ambiance) (** Make sure to ask about AV options, we made sure the resort provided MICS and stereo's for music to be played and for the priest to be heard -- free of charge by the resort)  Rehearsal Dinner - It was next to the Mirador buffet -- sorry I don't remember the name it was supposed to be Mirador they had originally told me and I confirmed with them THREE TIMES that it was free for us however when we did our walk-through with our wedding coordinator 3 days prior to the wedding she then informed us that since not all of our guests were staying at the Palace Resort (they were staying at 1 of the other 6 resorts on the premises) they would have to charge 10$ a head, which we thought was ridiculous since it was not mentioned in any calls or emails so we pitched a fit and they let us use a restaurant adjacent for free as originally told in our emails(like I said be diligent!)  Catholic Ceremony - Guadalupe Chapel (it's the only option if you do a Catholic ceremony). Again it's simple but beautiful. Some brides may opt to get flowers and ornate decorations, but we let it be simple and just put fake rose petals at the floor, there was something beautiful of the simplicity of it all. Heads up it is coverred but outdoors (no air conditioning) and if you're getting married in the summer (May - Aug) be prepared to sweat! I prepared my entire bridal party and guests to dress comfortably. The priest who performed our wedding was great - spoke fluent english and had just a beautiful homily that we still remember fondly. I will say they are pretty strict and by the books so the music has to be approved by the church's parish and don't do the sand/candle lighting ceremony if that's something you're keen on. Ceremony was a little over an hour.  Cocktail Hours & Reception - Coco's Pool (it's near the Palace Resort) in my opinion it was kind of the perfect option for us. The packages offered by the resort do offer a free reception in the banquet halls but as my husband says, why go to Mexico to get married if we're going to be inside. Plus we had minimal decorations picked out (just a few lights and signs) because it was so beautiful outside. We also didn't want to be right on the beach because we weren't sure all of our guests wanted to walk/dance in the sand and we didn't really want to spend money on their dance floor because it's frankly a little overpriced and with our high guest list we knew more people would be dancing than could fit on that thing. One caveat to know about this location is that it's not entirely private. It's squeezed in by the pools but no one crashed our wedding and to be honest it was kind of funny getting dipped by husband on our first dance and seeing families clap for us during our dances. We didn't really hear anyone and we didn't notice, but to some they may want a more inclusive environment   Things to note/Recommendations/Tips: ASK TONS OF QUESTIONS AND KEEP ASKING. Our first wedding coordinator was not responsive at all. I won't list her name because maybe she's been removed or was having an off-moment, not sure. At one point she took 6 weeks to respond to an e-mail. We were understanding but it hit a point where We spent 3-4 months and finally threatened to cancel our wedding altogether as we found out she had not done anything in that time span. The second coordinator was a lot more responsive and even scheduled a few calls with us, but even so we had to be very diligent with them and save all our conversations. I am also aware that the coordinators are stressed and probably not paid enough for their services but if we had not been as careful, I did feel like they would have tried to take advantage of us.  They do have an outside vendor fee (which is the growing trend in most resorts these days) --that being said don't let that deter you as our photographer, videographer, and DJ packages we had selected were way worth the extra $$ and I think they actually came out to be much cheaper than what the resort offers. If you do have outside vendors, I'd highly recommend asking them to come in and meet with you and your Barcelo coordinator in your official walk-through. For us, it was nice to have everyone meet, they knew exactly where to go and where to set up for the wedding so no need to worry about being late on the day of the ceremony, and I was able to walk through our schedule and particular nuances/ details with them. (it also should be free with the outside vendor fee)   If I had to do it again, I would have never wasted time and money on the blocked rooms. It took us over 3 months in conversations (calls, repeated e-mails, lots and lots of frustration) and when we finally got the block, we realized that it really wasn't worth it as we didn't get much incentive and MyBarcelo offers so many deals throughout the year that some of our guests ended up spending more on our block rate than what was offered. If you talk to their sales rep, they'll say it depends on the market and how far booked it is, but honestly if you get your family and friends just to book in one of the 6 resorts and sign up for MyBarcelo, that may be better for you.  Look at all the documents/bills they send you very carefully. Unfortunately I ended up losing a lot of respect for the billing/accounting (not so much the Wedding dept) as they attempted to sometimes charge us double for things and then tell us it works out to be the same when you convert it to USD (not true by the way). We had originally paid our amount due with the resort coordinator when we did the official walk-through and then when we tried to check out they wouldn't let us leave as they claimed we hadn't paid. It was very stressful and it may be because their wedding department and billing department don't talk to each other as often but it was definitely shady. I'm glad I had my husband there to figure everything out or they literally would have made us pay TWICE for our wedding. For their sake, hoping that's not the norm of most experiences   Vendors we highly recommend:   Wedding Coordinator Alejandra Carillo -  Barcelo Resorts she's one of the best if you get her - she worked tirelessly and we brought our own decorations and she set it up exactly as we wanted her to  Bodas@barcelomaya.com Decorations/Flowers Celina Hernandez Latin Asia Wedding Décor They're an in house vendor (so no vendor fee!) and they have some pretty good selections if you want that extra touch. We only used them for tree lights/lanterns and a lit up sign "LOVE" that was on our table. They did an awesome job with flowers - I just showed them sample pictures and they sent me back estimates with what flowers they could provide and even provided vases so we could reuse them as centerpieces for the reception latinasia.coordination7@gmail.com  Make up/Hair Claudia Acosta Styling Trio They're pricey but SO SO WORTH IT. They made us look and feel great and they're use to handling any size (we had 14-16 women getting ready and they were very accommodating and the makeup/hair lasted the entire night through sweat and all) claudia@stylingtrio.com Photography Samuel Luna Samuel Luna Sam's and his team are great! I will say some of his pictures came out  a little cheesy but for his price we loved it s@samuelluna.com Videography Matias Zalazar Indigo  Matias is one of the kindest vendors we've had the opportunity to work with and so willing to work with us even after we paid and received our initial draft. He took all of our suggestions and made a video that still makes us tear up every time we see it. His  video@indigowedding.com DJ Services Ivan Gomez DJ Doremixx IVAN is awesome! His music database is extensive and we sent him a prepared list, let him know to allow for music requests throughout, and also had him play our first dance mix and it all went perfectly. His rate is very affordable and he even surprised us with balloons and light up things for the guests - it was felt like a rave haha but everyone loved it! djcunmix@gmail.com   Hope this helps any future barcelo brides -- good luck and be well!  

By NurseNurse0101, · 2 Comments

Pros: Spa, Rooms, Pool, Wedding Planner
Hi Everyone!!! We are back and the wedding was AMAZIINNNGGGG!!!!! Seriously Amazing..
You can visit my facebook page for pictures Sarah Bristow (Douglas)
Ok on with the review:
Our wedding coordinator was originally Claudia, she has since left Barceló... we then started with Marlene who to be honest wasn't that great with communication. When we arrived and had our meeting, we actually met with Estriella, as Marlene was away on business. THIS WAS A GODSEND!!!! Estriella was AMAZING.. I cant even tell you... she was there from beginning to end. I literally handed over all my centerpiece stuff, my ipod with the play lists, our décor that we brought down, our message in a bottle and guest book stuff, place cards, seating chart, EVERYTHING. And it was set up perfectly and exactly how I imagined. She was amazing.

We chose the coral beach (cliff area) on the palace side. We were told that we would have to pay 15$ extra per person to have the ceremony there (we were guests at the tropical)... I told them that was ridiculous and our wedding planner decided to wave the fee for us :) We chose this spot because I saw previous weddings that week and did not like how there is no traffic control for who is behind you in the water, and also the coral cliff was SO private. Perfect for 34 guests :) We had our champagne toast shortly after the ceremony on the cliff area while taking group shots. it was fantastic. there was music that we chose from my ipod being played by one of the barcelo workers... everything was perfect.
It was threatening to rain that day, overcast weather, and while that is fantastic for pictures, it is NOT fantastic for dancing on the beach if it rains. So we were given the option to be in the Mariachi open air grill area. I absolutely do not regret this decision. In my mind I had wanted to be in the grill, because there is a huge fan, there is a good floor for dancing, and there are bathrooms and the bar in the center. They hung paper lanterns for us, they put strings of lights up the poles, and the DJ (700$ for 3 hours, but he stayed for 5 in total--no extra charge to us) brought lights as well which helped light up the entire room. We had 4 square tables, and a head table, dance floor was in the center. Mint green chair sashes and runners. Centerpieces were clear glass plates with sand and shells with a candle. It looked amazing and I am so happy we chose that area. It wasn't super dark and I wasn't stressed about wind or rain :) We were completely private as well :)

We chose, Cesar salad (SOOOO GOOD), Minestrone soup (YUMMM), Beef Tenderloin Wellington (huge hit, it was a great steak), and Chocolate Mousse (it was weird... but pretty to look at).
We chose a 1 layer chocolate cake. OK, so they said that we should get 2 tiers because 1 tier only feeds 15 people???? that cake was HUGE!!!!! Seriously, it could feed AT LEAST 50 people. Don't waste the extra money on 2 tiers... you only need 1. And by the way, get the chocolate, it was the best chocolate cake ive ever had.


The bartenders danced with us, they gave us shots while we were dancing, they were fantastic and made the night even better. All of the servers and bartenders were great and worked SO hard to make sure we had a fantastic night

Originally I did not want a DJ. We were just going to use my ipod, which would have worked out fine. But my dad wanted someone to do all the music so we wouldn't have to worry about it. It was 700$ for 3 hours, but Estriella got him to stay for the full 5 hours for 700$... it was WORTH IT. He played all my music, mixed and blended it, put some of his own into there... it was well worth it. Plus the cool lights that were part of the package really helped with dancing atmosphere as well. This is the Barceló DJ, not an outside vendor, he was great :)

Everyone warned me not to go to the spa at the resort for hair. It was part of my wedding package, and I knew that there was no way I was going to pay 300$ for an outside person to come in to do my hair. So I went to the spa with my 2 bridesmaids.
They did a supurb job. I have NO idea where the bad reviews came in. I showed the girl pictures of what I wanted, she put my extensions in, she did an AMAZING job. I would recommend the spa at Barceló for hair.
They also did side curled hair for my bridesmaids with their extensions too, their hair turned out exactly as asked and we were all very happy!
I did my own makeup and my bridesmaids makeup... (something I am very particular about) I wore Estee Lauder Double wear light foundation, Nars creamy concealer, Makeupforever eyeshadow with primer underneath, Stila waterproof pen liner, Sephora Mink False strip lashes, MAC lipstick with YSL gloss overtop. For powder I used Urban Decay Naked Powder. Eyebrows are makeupforever pencil. Nars Orgasm Blush, Nars contour palette in Olympia, and Makeupforever powder highlighter...and then Urban Decay All night set spray. My makeup did not budge. It lasted through crying, sweating, wiping.. :) Check out these products if you need makeup that wont melt.
Everyone met in the lobby at 2:30, Estriella picked up our 34 guests at the main lobby via gold cart train, and brought them over to the ceremony site. They were shuttled back to the lobby bar for cocktail hour, and shuttled to the Mariachi Grill for reception.

Myself and my bridesmaids, mom and dad, were picked up at 2:50 at my room to be brought to the ceremony space, the ceremony started at 3pm.
We filled out the paperwork at home in Canada... we had a symbolic ceremony. With that being said its not much different, you just are signing a unofficial certificate at the ceremony. the officient costs $300 US CASH. This is collected before the ceremony. I actually did not speak to her before the ceremony, but my husband did. She did a fabulous job. We did our own vows, and a sand ceremony (the resort provided the sand ceremony as part of our package).
My family friend took all of our photos. He is not a professional photographer and does it as more of a hobby. With that being said the photos were great and we are so happy with them. There was no outside vendor fee obviously because he was a guest at the resort for a week with us. As well, I wasn't announcing him as the photographer.

We used none... Why would you pay 500$ to have someone come in... when the Barceló staff and what they provide are great??? Our wedding was $5400... we stayed on budget, and it was amazing. PS... I know that dance floor is tempting, go for the DJ instead with all the lights, same thing, just cheaper... and I saw the dance floor the night after, it was very small
BEST NIGHT OF OUR LIVES!!! There were no hiccups, no bumps, no issues... it was fantastic... THANK YOU SO MUCH BARCELO!!!!!!

By dawnb, · 9 Comments

Pros: Scenery, beaches, pools, food, rooms, wedding coordinator, all amenities, service...everything!
Cons: Spa
July 26, 2014 Wedding @ Barcelo Maya Palace, Riviera Maya, Mexico For all of you future brides this is a must read if you're trying to determine where to have your wedding or if you've already chosen Barcelo Maya Palace as your destination. It's a very detailed review but I hope you find this information very helpful as I did reading long reviews.  First off, I suggest you book your travel through a travel agent, especially if you're anticipating many guests to attend. To start, I spent time browsing the internet about different resorts before meeting with our travel agent.  I wanted to get an idea of our pros and cons.  After meeting with the travel agent, we narrowed it down to a couple resorts with Barcelo Palace being one.  I spent hours upon hours of searching the internet, reading reviews, looking at pictures, asking questions, etc. about Barcelo when I found this website.  By reading other reviews, I knew this was the place for what we wanted.  Here's the breakdown....   Invitations/Travel Itinerary-Start by sending out a "save the date" so guests have plenty of time to save money, take off work, make arrangements, etc. Once we decided on Barcelo, our travel agent put a hold on a block of rooms. We had wedding invitations created along with travel itinerary & cost of a 3 night stay, 4 night stay, 5 night stay, & 7 night stay so our guests had plenty of options to choose from. We stayed 12 days & turned this into our honeymoon.  There was plenty of stuff to do & we never once were bored. Our travel agent booked this through Apple Vacations so free shuttle service was provided for all guests which made things very easy for everyone. We had 51 guests (2 teenagers) attend our wedding-everyone traveled from St. Louis, MO with a couple guests coming from NYC & Tennessee in which our travel agent was still able to set up travel accommodations for them.    Wedding Coordinator:  Once you put a down payment you will receive an email from your wedding coordinator.  Ours was Lilian Vargas and I can't say enough wonderful things about her!  From the very first email conversation to our wedding day, Lilian went above and beyond.  In previous reviews from others, one of the cons was that it took a long time for wedding coordinators to respond to email.  This was not the case at all.  Lilian was always prompt, answered all my questions and gave suggestions.  If anything, I was the one that wasn't always prompt in replying cause she responded so quickly I needed time to decide what I wanted in the wedding planning process.  The wedding coordinator will send you an excel spreadsheet where you complete in a step by step process of your wedding details.  Keep in mind that planning a destination wedding over email can become stressful at times because you don't exactly know what you're getting until you get there or even the day of your wedding.  Don't stress cause EVERYTHING comes together the day of the wedding.  Our wedding was everything I imagined plus more!  I cried multiple times during our wedding day because what I envisioned actually happened.     Wedding Package-There's several wedding packages to choose from. Your wedding coordinator will email you the options. I wasn't exactly sure which one so Lilian suggested the Strawberry Package which fit our needs. There were a few times when I was frustrated because things I wanted weren't included so I had to pay an extra fee. In the grand scheme of things, I would do it all over again and not stress over the extra costs.    Check In Process-We arrived 2 days before our guests to allow us to get settled in, meet with the wedding coordinator and finalize all wedding details.  This allowed us to familiarize ourselves with Barcelo property-pools, beaches, food, etc.  Upon check in for us, we were escorted to Club Premium and had to wait for about a 1/2 hr in A/C.  Since we arrived at Barcelo early in the morning, our room was not ready until 4:00pm.  Check in is normally at 3:00pm so I suggest having easy access to your swim suit.  We changed in the lobby restrooms and spent the day drinking in the pool which was no problem.  We were able to email our guests & prepare them for a later check in.  On the day our guests arrived, we had welcome bags ready to go in the lobby Carey bar and greeted everyone as they got off the bus.  Some rooms were ready while others had to wait but like I said, it was no big deal cause everyone changed & spent the day at the pool & beach.     Welcome Bags-We kept our welcome bags very simple & did not bother with all the extra little stuff.   -purchased a simple canvas tote from www.carrygreen.com -guests were able to use these as beach bags -personalized each bag with a name tag -Aqua -t-shirt for everyone with a logo I created -Welcome note with details of wedding day & time & place of meeting for a group picture on the beach the night before our wedding asking everyone to wear their t-shirts.  I created the welcome note on www.vistaprint.com​ .  Since I didn't know the specific location/time of group beach pic, I left this blank & hand wrote in once we got there. For the wedding ceremony/reception details, I added TBA & told everyone the night of our group picture.   -Our wedding coordinator meet us & took pics.  We didn't want to spend time the day of our wedding trying to get a group picture of everyone since we only had 1 hour for bride/groom & bridal party pictures.  -24 oz insulated tumbler cup with our logo I created from www.4imprints.com -Insulated cups are a must have for all inclusives! Some resorts give you a small cup, no lid & your drink melts or warms up quickly. We had several people ask us if we purchased the cups at Barcelo cause they wanted one. -Download the app Wedpics or go to www.wedpics.com​  It's awesome & guests can join & upload their pictures for you.  From there you can organize pics, share, print.  I bought the Wedpics cards & placed a card with our password inside each cup -travel size bottle of tequila we purchased from Playa del Carmen -We also bought Mexican cigars & large sombreros for our groomsmen.  We incorporated the sombreros on our wedding day pics & guests were able to wear them & take pics at our reception. -I also created an "Are you looking for someone?" sheet.  Everyone's name was listed & who they were staying with.  Next to their name was their room number.  We got these once everyone checked in to their rooms.  I spent about an hour hand writing each room number on the cards cause I didn't think a printer was available....it was.  I suggest doing this & printing off room numbers for everyone & handing out.  Our guests loved this cause no one knew where anyone was.  Not everyone wanted to use their cell phones in Mexico.    Flowers- Your wedding coordinator will send you pics of different arrangements to choose from. They didn't have exactly what I wanted for my bouquet so I sent Lilian a picture I found on pinterest & she made it happen! The flowers were exactly what I wanted. However, one type of flower was an extra charge but it was worth it. Bridesmaid flowers-request an upgrade & pay the extra fee per bouquet. They only put like 4 or 5 flowers in each bouquet so I made sure they were fuller. To save on money, I also used my 5 bridesmaid bouquets as centerpieces for the reception tables. They filled clear glass cylinders with water. The glass cylinders were a little too small so if you decide to go with this, make sure to request larger ones. Part of the strawberry package included a large flower arrangement to sit on the table at the ceremony but I didn't care for the look of this at the beach. Lilian allowed me to exchange this arrangement for 3 glass cylinders filled with glass beads on the bottom, water, flowers, and a floating candle on top. I was then able to use these 3 cylinders for my remaining tables at the reception. I chose not to have the groom, groomsmen & other bridal party members wear a boutonniere/corsage. The groomsmen wore linen pants and shirts so I went with a very classy, clean look. Besides, it was hot & I knew the flowers would wilt quickly.    Ceremony-We had our ceremony on the beach at 5:30pm in order to capture sunset pictures. At first, Lilian showed us a beach location at the Palace right in the middle of everything/people. They basically just move the lawn chairs out of the way but there are tons of people around still at this time. We were not pleased with this location and luckily from reading different reviews, I knew about a more secluded location at the far end of Barcelo property called Playa Azul. Lilian checked to see if this was available & showed us the location. It was perfect! It's still a beach area on property with lawn chairs but it's a little away from the resort so people don't venture there often, especially at this time of day. So if you're wanting your ceremony on the beach make sure to request Playa Azul.   The strawberry package included live music which you choose from a violinist, saxophone, or flute. I originally had the violinist and requested specific songs to be played at the ceremony. Lilian sent me a song list of about 100 songs and I only liked one. If I wanted the violinist to play specific songs, I had to pay an extra $100. Lilian then recommended the saxophonist cause he was able to play my requested songs at no extra charge. He was awesome! I started crying when I heard Bob Marley playing as my bridal party walked down the beach cause it's exactly what I imagined.  Chairs were covered in white fabric and aqua ribbon (you get to pick the color ribbon). I purchased 2 bags of rose petals in hot pink and bright orange in which Lilian scattered along the beach aisle. I went with a simple hoopa (you can choose the style) to provide some shade but luckily it was a little cloudy at the time of the ceremony.  In the middle of the hoopa was a silver chandelier which I did not request it. I think there was a wedding before me so they just kept it up. It's something I would not have picked but when I first saw the beach setting, I was taken away by the elegance of the chandelier. Since we actually got married at home first, we had a Mayan ceremony. I was nervous not meeting the minister before hand but he did a really nice job for not knowing us. Apparently, since my husband & groomsmen were at the beach before everyone, he was able to talk to the minister for a while. We both wrote our own vows and the minister held the mic while we took turns reading them. Immediately following the ceremony was a champagne toast on the beach for everyone. After the toast, we allowed an hour for bride/groom + bridal party pictures. Our guests took the shuttle back to the Palace and hung out in the lobby Carey Bar, which has A/C.      Reception-We had our reception at Palmeras Grill at the Palace.  The grill is closed for dinner so they're able to use this for events.  During the day it was hot in there so Lilian suggested we check it out in the evening.  With the ocean breeze & ceiling fans it actually was cooler than expected and kind of private because it's away from the other buffets/restaurants.  Once the dancing started, it was HOT but  but no one cared.  Everyone kind of had the same mind set of "ya it's hot but we're in Mexico & we're having a blast."  We had people stopping & watching us but it didn't bother us one bit cause we were having so much fun.  I sent Lilian our seating chart through email & she set it up exactly how we wanted it.  You really don't need to go all out & bring tons of decorations because the tropical landscape is what makes it beautiful.  The palm trees were covered with white fabric & aqua ribbon and lit up.  They even made an aqua drink of rumchata served in martini glasses & passed out to guests at the beginning of the reception.  It was perfect & I didn't even have to ask for this.  As mentioned previously, we used the bridesmaid bouquets & vases from the ceremony for centerpieces along with small votive candles on the tables.  For table numbers, I purchased sanddollars off of etsy & painted numbers on each one.  Purchased picture frame holders from Michael's & placed the sanddollar on each one.  For name cards, I purchased small star fish on etsy & tied the name cards to each fish.  Lilian had a box filled with sand & placed the star fish in it.  It was perfect!  I created a photobook of our engagement pics & used this as our guest book.  Printed out a saying for guests to sign our guestbook & put in a frame.  Lilian had this set up on a table by the entrance along with 2 wicker baskets filled with maracas and tambourines we brought.  Our guests went crazy with the tambourines!!!  It really got the party started and added a unique touch to it.     We originally planned for the mariachi band to play but there was no good time for them to play since I wanted specific songs during dinner.  Instead of the mariachi band, we added an extra hour to our reception so it was from 7:30-11:30 pm.  So happy we did this cause our reception was soooo much fun with everyone dancing!!  All the servers were interacting with guests, bringing drinks to the dance floor, giving us shots & having fun.  For dinner, you'll get to choose from 4-5 options.  We went with tomato, basil, goat cheese salad (delicious); lobster bisque soup (it was ok but still good); steak & lobster (so yummy), and strawberry cheesecake (my favorite).  Everyone raved at how good the food was.  We just went with the basic wedding cake that was included in our wedding package. By the time we cut the cake, it was kind of melted & mushy since it was hot.  We're glad we didn't upgrade the cake cause they're was plenty of food during dinner.     DJ-we went with the resort DJ and he was awesome.  I created a playlist & asked him to play specific songs during dinner & for dancing & he did exactly that.  I sent the playlist to Lilian before hand so the DJ made sure he had all the songs.  He kept the party going all night.  I was little nervous about using their DJ because of previous reviews so I had a friend download the playlist on his iPod for back up which was not needed.  The DJ let us use one of the mics all night so we basically had our own karaoke.  We did NOT go with the light up dance floor; spent the money on the extra reception hour.  If you were to have your reception on the beach, then I recommend the dance floor but it's not needed at Palmeras Grill if you're on a budget.       Hair/Make Up-I chose Styling Trio www.stylingtrio.com and paid extra to have Adrian Guerra personally do my make up. While reading different reviews about the Barcelo Spa, several brides highly recommended The Styling Trio so I looked into them. I've never felt and looked this beautiful until the Styling Trio made it happen. They specialize in air brush make up which lasts all day/night & doesn't come off if you sweat or cry. My make up was absolutely flawless. In previous email conversations, I sent them pictures of me as well as pictures of hair styles & make up. I did pay the extra fee to have them do a trial run on hair make up. I'm glad I did cause it put me at ease the day of my wedding. I scheduled the trial the day before my wedding because we had a group picture taken of everyone on the beach at sunset. My hair stylist even changed my hair into a side braid so people wouldn't see how I was wearing it on my wedding day.    Spa-Part of the strawberry package included a mani/pedi, hair/make up, and couples massage.  I had a mani/pedi before I left so I was able to give this to the groom.  He was in dire need of a pedi so his best man got one with him.  However, my husband did not care for the pedi cause they cut his big toe which bled for 2 days & burned from the salt water.  The lady was so flustered cutting him that she forgot to finish trimming a few of his toe nails & didn't scrub his feet.  I did get a color change (brought my own polish) the day of my wedding and it was ok.  A couple nails weren't completed polished on the sides & the lady quickly polished them.  Since I had Styling Trio do my hair/make up, I asked if I could trade this in for another spa service. They allowed me to do this; however, it's a new policy that this is NOT allowed.  My wedding coordinator called the spa & a worker approved this over the phone so they had to honor it for me.  It's worth looking into if you don't use it or you can give the service to one of your guests.  One of my guests was a hairstylist & did my bridesmaids hair.  Just an updo costs $120!!!  I feel the spa is overpriced for their quality of services.  After our wedding, my husband & I had the couples massage.  It was relaxing and nice but I wouldn't pay for this service at Barcelo.  We've stayed at El Dorado in Riviera Maya a few years ago & had a couples massage....so much better.  On the other hand, my mom & friend got a facial at Barcelo spa & said it was one of the best so it just depends on who you get & type of service.  If you have the budget to go with the Styling Trio, I highly recommend them.  Since I went with Styling Trio I had to pay a resort fee of $150 but they're worth the extra expense!    Rooms-All of our guests loved the junior suites.  Just a few set backs-a couple guests walked in on people already in the rooms so they had to wait for another room.  At first, we were a little disappointed cause we didn't have an ocean view room & had a pool view instead.  There's not many ocean view rooms available even though we requested this.  However, we weren't on our balcony much since we had so many guests here.  All the rooms were very spacious, awesome shower, balconies, clean.   Rooms restocked daily with water, soda, chips, juice.  Some rooms are farther back & require a lot of walking but I think since we booked  early enough, we were able to get a block of rooms in the same vicinity.  I suggest requesting rooms closer to the beach/pool.  As the bride & groom, you'll get little surprises left in your room throughout your stay.    Food-Best food we've had at an all inclusive but make sure you stay at Barcelo Palace & not another hotel on property.  We heard the food was not as good. The buffets had everything you could imagine & each night was a different theme-mexican, italian, seafood, etc so there's something for everyone.  We made reservations at the seafood, steakhouse, and french restaurants at the Palace. Our favorite was the french restaurant. Dinners consist of 4-5 course meals so you leave there plenty full.  Reservations are required at the fine dinning restaurants.  Others will tell you to make reservations days in advance but we didn't until the day before or day of.  Men are required to wear pants & they say closed toe shoes but our guys always wore flip flops & no one said anything.  Women can wear whatever.     Photographer/Videographer-We went with www.PlayaWeddings.com because they offer both photography & videography services.  I didn't want a photographer from one vendor & then have to hire someone else to video take our wedding from another vendor.  I spent hours upon hours reading reviews, checking out websites, emailing photographers, etc.  I was constantly comparing Barcelo's photo services with others. When I came across PlayaWeddings, I couldn't find a single negative review which sold me.  Barcelo's photo services had too many negative reviews which made me way too nervous.  I figured if we're spending all this money for a wedding then I want no regrets. The day happens so quickly so I'm looking forward to reliving the time through the eyes of a professional photographer/videographer.  This was the most stressful part of the whole wedding planning process for me because I wasn't sure if I wanted to spend half the budget on this or use the resort photographer which still was expensive.  Barcelo charges you an additional $500 vendor fee for using another photographer plus you need to provide your photographer & staff dinner.  After hashing it out, I'm soooo happy I chose Playaweddings & spent the extra money.  They're prices are reasonable for Mexico.  Rachel & Paul Shrank and their staff were very friendly & personable.  I forgot they were even there at times cause they blended in.  Since it's only been a couple weeks, I'm still waiting for the pics & video. We did get to take a sneak peak at one of the pictures & it looked beautiful.  If you have the budget do your research and choose PlayaWeddings or a vendor that fits your needs.      Laundry Service-brides make sure you get your wedding dress steamed.  They come to your room & steam your dress in front of you so you can approve it.  No extra charge-I'm assuming it's included in the wedding package.  I also had the groom's outfit, bridesmaids dresses, and mother of bride dress steamed for a fee.  They did take these garments with them but delivered the next day to my room.  Worth the cost.   ​ If anyone has questions or would like to see pictures of anything just ask! I hope this helps answer many of your questions or concerns.  Just remember,  it's your wedding; do what makes you & your fiance happy cause in the end everything will come together and turn out beautiful.    
Pros: beautiful grounds and rooms, pretty good food, staff is nice and caring
Cons: unorganized, on island time (everything takes a long time to get done)
We arrived at Barceló June 7th and it was a little chaotic right away. A lot of my friends and family where around the lobby with us checking in, but they ushered Jimmy (my now husband) and me into a completely different area/room.  It was a bummer getting split from the group right away since it then took us all awhile to catch back up with each other. Like a lot of people were saying, the check in process is kind of a mess. We sat in this new room for probably at least 30-45 minutes waiting to be helped; my husband was getting really frustrated. After being taken from the lobby into this room not one person had said hi or had greeted us, we had no idea why we couldn’t check in with everyone else! So we sat there and sat there…finally someone came to help us. While everyone at Barceló is extremely nice, we learned right away that NOTHING happens fast there. When they say 5 minutes, they mean at LEAST 30…just fyi. Finally we got to checking in, got our welcome drink, they gave us a free VIP upgrade (which is SUPER nice if you plan on getting room service, want WiFi (although it sucks and works in about one small place in your room), and like upgraded drinks), and upgraded our room for free. We got to our room and the rooms at the Palace are all SUPER nice. They have a ton of room, all have a sitting area, huge bathroom, our room had a patio (others have a balcony)…no complaints there! However, we were thinking our free “upgraded room” would be a little more special. However, the room was the same as all the others but the location is what made it an upgrade; it was right by the pools. So that part was nice, it was closer to everything, just don’t get TOO excited if you get a free upgrade. J Then we sat and waited for about an hour for our luggage. VERY frustrating, and we had to call about three times to check where the bell boy was. Obviously we wanted to go see all our friends and family but we also wanted to change from our flight clothes! So we were pacing our room for quite a while waiting for that. Also, our safe didn’t work so we had to wait even longer for that to be fixed. Our first couple hours were a little frustrating for sure…so be aware of that! Our check out process was about the same…it took around an hour to get all our costs figured out. They charged us for items that were included in our wedding package and it took a long time to get it sorted. Again, frustrating. If you have a plane/shuttle to catch when you are leaving, make SURE you leave plenty of time to check out in case you run into the same issues. Also, when we switched rooms to the suite midweek, they initially told me they had no suites available even though we had already booked and paid for the room! Needless to say I was freaking out. It took them another hour or so to figure that mess out, but they did eventually get us into the suite. The day before the wedding though, when I’m already stressed about everything, this was NOT needed. So they do seem a little unorganized though I must say they do usually fix the problems (although they are SLOW at it). The suite we stayed in was out of this world. It was HUGE; with a big balcony that had a mini pool…it was a lot of fun to hang out in the rest of the week. I would for sure recommend it!   Barceló is insanely huge. One of my biggest issues the whole week was trying to find everyone and spend equal time with people. If you have people split up between the resorts, especially from the Palace to the other resorts, I’ll warn you…it will be VERY hard to spend equal time with them. Luckily I only had about two people not at the Palace, but I rarely saw them unfortunately. Otherwise the resort is really amazing. The grounds are immaculate, the beach and pool are gorgeous, bars everywhere, the kid pool was SO cute and fun…really a GREAT resort with a LOT to do. They have a scuba shop right on the property so a bunch of us went scuba diving two mornings which was great. Let me know if anyone wants more information on that. They also have a free dolphin show daily, which is also where you can swim with them, right on the property which the kids loved. The food was pretty good. Some people said it was really good and some people could hardly find anything to eat, all up to your individual taste. The French and Japanese restaurants were probably my favorite, Caribe was my least (remember to make your reservations early at the restaurants, also they don’t allow open toe shoes or shorts on men)…I could always find SOMETHING at the buffet. There was always some sort of food station open which was REALLY nice as we all kind of had different schedules. I think a few people did get a little sick but nothing major, just a minor upset stomach. I’m sure the food is just different there too. By the end of the week I would have to say I was pretty tired of the resort food. It all started tasting the same and the menu doesn’t change too much…but it really was fine. I won’t complain too much about it, everyone who had stayed at all inclusive before said this was the best all inclusive food they have had, so that’s something!   Now for the wedding! I meet with my wedding coordinator, Xhail (Chi-el) the first Monday I was there, the wedding would be on that Thursday. I brought A LOT of items for the wedding, lot of décor etc. I hauled in at least three huge suitcases filled with stuff! Xhail is extremely nice and did an amazing job and didn’t seem to mind at all about all my stuff! She works CRAZY hours; I can’t believe how they do it all there! There are weddings happening all over the place! First, we went through every little detail of the wedding. Things we have talked about, things we haven’t…I didn’t mind going through it all again at all! It for sure set me at ease. I gave her my final guest count, confirmed all my details, set up our rehearsal for Wednesday night…it was a great meeting! We also did the final payments (and don’t forget the tip to your coordinator…they do A LOT!)…we paid some cash but put most on our credit card. We are going to be charged 3% for the international charge but it’s really not that much compared to what we’ve already spent. Haha Plus it was just way easier that way. After going through all the details she went through all my items I brought and how I wanted them set up. I even brought water bottle labels with our initials that still needed to be taped to the bottles (I had a bottle of water on each seat during the ceremony) and I was more than committed to attaching the labels myself but she did it for me! Again, they really are great at what they do and do anything to meet your needs and wants. We did the rehearsal that Wednesday. We decided to have the wedding, and forgive me but I can’t remember the name of the location, on the far left side of the beach near the Coral Buffet I believe it’s called. It’s the little cliff area people have talked about. It’s a LOT more private then having it right on the beach with everyone but still in the sand overlooking the water. I would say it’s by far the best location. It also has a little greenery right before the ocean hits; the pictures I have gotten from friends so far are amazing. The colors are great! Rehearsal was fairly easy and quick. A different coordinator helped us with the rehearsal since Xhail had a wedding that evening. I was worried about that at first but she seemed to be in the loop on everything so it was very smooth. She told us where to walk from, how to walk, gave instructions to the guitar player (who by the way was awesome and seriously knew how to play anything and everything), helped our singer and our readers…super easy. After that we went to our rehearsal dinner at the Brazilian restaurant. If you have 25 guests or under do not pay to have a private dinner, at least that’s my opinion. I even had I think 27 and squeezed them in and still didn’t have to pay extra, plus they set us up on the far side of the restaurant so we were pretty much alone to do speeches etc. It was very nice and everyone loved the food, we had the steak. Also, for the rehearsal dinner, at least at this restaurant, they have a set menu which you will pick during your meeting with your coordinator. Rehearsal went off without a hitch and everyone was getting really excited!   Wedding day!! The Styling Trio arrived around 2 for my 5:30 wedding. If I can tell you one thing it would be HIRE THEM! No joke, they made my day. One of my most special memories of it all was all us girls hanging out in our room getting ready. Adrian and his team are seriously the nicest people I have ever worked with. They came in with all smiles, full of excitement. They opened bottles of champagne for us, answered the door and phones for me so I could relax, went above and beyond hair and makeup…amazing. I showed them a picture of what I was thinking for hair and makeup and they took it from there and I loved the end results much more than the pictures I brought them. They are amazing at what they do. Adrian is SO much fun and did SUCH an amazing job with my makeup. I could ramble on about them for another page but I’ll continue…however, I can’t stress enough; they are worth every single penny. My mom took my hair and makeup package at the salon at the resort. Her hair was REALLY cute but she took all the makeup off and did it over herself. She didn’t like it at all…which is why I was afraid of using the salon. So just keep that in mind. Also, I did get a pedi/mani and a massage at the salon…so real quick, the hot stone massage was very nice, the pedi turned out well, but the mani (French) was pretty bad. It was already chipping that same day and looked a little weird close up. Oh, well…least of my worries really but the salon seems to be a hit or miss and I just couldn’t trust them with my hair and makeup for the big day! My photographer, Ivan Luckie, came around 3:30. He had some trouble getting into the resort even though I already paid the fee (which because of all these issues, they did refund me the fee)…but that was a huge pain. However, he handled it for me so I didn’t have to stress about it and it ended up ok, if not annoying for him. They are SUPER picky about letting anyone on the resort, and as I mentioned before, they are unorganized! Ivan was amazing though. I won’t see my pictures for like 3-4 months apparently (bummer) but I am SO confident that they are amazing. He has a very good eye and was doing some awesome shots with us on the beach and on the resort. I’ll give a full review for him when I see my pictures; we also did a trash the dress session with him in a cenote Saturday morning which was SO awesome, something you want to do for sure. Xhail came to get me and my bridesmaids in the suite once everyone was ready on the beach outside. We took a golf cart near the area and started our walk down!! It was so amazing. To see it all set up for the first time while walking down…everything was gorgeous and set up just how I wanted. The hoopa with the flowers were breathtaking with the ocean behind and my husband to be standing at the front! I’m sure I was beaming! The Christian minster, who you don’t meet beforehand, did a really good job. She was really nice and helped us along the ceremony and read some really great pieces. We had two readers, a singer (the resort guitarist accompanied him, who again, was awesome), and did a sand ceremony. Everything went off without really any issues! After she announced us we walked down the aisle as husband and wife and there was champagne waiting for everyone, very nice touch. I was supposed to have a rose petal toss at that part but Xhail forgot to pass out the flowers. Not a huge deal and because of it she gave us like an extra 45 minutes of reception time plus apologized about ten times! So I really didn’t mind. After, the wedding party did about two hours of photos while everyone else went to the lobby for snacks and drinks. After seeing how well that worked out, you do NOT need to pay for a cocktail hour. During that time the resort set up the reception at the same place. When I got back to the area I could hardly recognize it! SO amazing! Our DJ was DiscoMovil and we used their light up dance floor. I know it can be pricey but it was one of everyone’s favorite parts of the wedding. It looked so awesome on the beach in the dark against the full moon we had! I also had puff balls that I brought down which the resort set up for a VERY small fee for me. These were up during the ceremony and reception and really looked great. The DJ was pretty good. They played everything I wanted them to play, even mad me a mix of my first dance song ahead of time since we wanted something more unique. The only thing I would say, is that I wish they would have helped move the reception along better. We were the ones having to go up to the stand and tell them, “Ok…we’ll do speeches now…ok, we’ll cut the cake now.” Instead of us having to think about it all, I kind of wish they took the lead and went ahead with some things. We didn’t end up cutting the cake until almost the end because we forgot about it! I guess I always thought DJs kind of did that scheduling for you? Other than that though we had a good time and they did a good job. They even let a groomsman hook his phone up to their equipment to play certain songs which worked just fine. So I would recommend them for sure. The food was pretty good and the drinks kept coming so that was all great! We did the surf and turf, scallop salad, lobster bisque…maybe too much seafood. J But it was all good. The cake was really good too…I didn’t care for the frosting too much but the cake was really pretty and was SUPER moist. We ended up throwing away most of it unfortunately, just too much food! After the reception ended most of us went to the lobby bar and kept the party going. It was all such a dream and such a blur! You will not be disappointed having your wedding at the Palace. They are all so nice and really care about your day…it was so great!   Message me if you have any questions, I'll be glad to answer or go into more detail!  

By IslandBarbie, · 5 Comments

Pros: Gorgeous grounds, tons to do, beautiful beaches, fun pools, EXCELENT food and drinks...
Cons: Not much...
We were married at the Barcelo Maya Palace on June 22, 2013 at 5pm in the Gazebo.  Our reception was held at 7pm in the Chak Halal banquet room.  We had a total of 44 people traveling (including us.)   Travel -  We flew on United on a non-stop flight.  One of the reasons we chose Mexico was because of the short travel time.  You literally have enough time to take a short nap and then you are there!  We ended up taking 4 bags (had to pay for 2) and only 3 of them arrived with the flight.  Apparently 10-12 were left in Houston and would be flown down and taken to our resort later that night.  My husband was completely bummed about this, because (of course) it was HIS bag that was left behind and we got to Mexico early enough to have the whole day!  Unfortunately, we were unable to do much because he didn't have his swim trunks, water shoes, dress clothes for dinner/show, etc.  The bags didn't arrive until after 9pm.  We arrive in Mexico around 11am.   The drive from the airport is roughly 1 hour and 15 minutes.  The entrance to the Barcelo complex is quite grand!  Driving up to the Palace is VERY IMPRESSIVE!  We had a private vehicle, which was nice.  My husband drank 2-3 beers on the way.   Check in - Check in was a breeze.  We checked in at the Premium Club lounge.  We were greeted with a yummy, fizzy green drink and had our choice of premium liquors and snacks in the Premium lounge.  There is also free internet and a tv in the lounge.  We were able to go right up to our room, drop off our stuff and head back to the buffet for lunch.   The room - The room was very nice.  The bathrooms are very nice and you get a lot of extras in your room.  We were SUPPOSED to get a bottle of tequila and a plate of fruit/sweets the day we got there, but we did not.  Once we asked for it, they did deliver it.  We were also supposed to have a bottle of champagne, but they waited and gave it to us on our actual wedding night (I will get to this later)  Our room had a gorgeous view BUT we were right in front of big kiddie pool, so it was a bit noisy.  Lucky for us, we weren't in the room much.         The pool - My guests LOVED the pool.  I was only able to get in it twice (because I was so busy)  The swim up bar is so fun!  Going into this, I knew the resort was sold out (overbooked) but never once did we feel crowded.  The complex is so big with so much to do that you are never waiting or feeling like there are too many people there.         The beach - My husband and I (after meeting with the WC) walked the entire beaches of all the Barcelo properties.  The beach at the Palace is EXTREMELY rocky and crowded (for some reason, I think a lot of guests from the other properties come down to the Palace.)  We walked about 15 minutes and came to a LOVELY beach with great sand and gorgeous, warm water!  We swam and then ate lunch at the Tropical.  One thing I can say is the food is THE BEST at the Palace.     The food - We did our best to eat at a variety of places.  We were able to eat the French restaurant (rehearsal dinner) and at the Brazilian restaurant.  We ate at one of the different buffets every morning and for lunch.  DELICIOUS!  OMG...the food is impeccable...HUGE choice of types of food...a little bit of everything.  Very impressed!  The only place where the food wasn't great was at the Carey Bar.  Late at night, they typically had sandwiches, various pastries and pizza.       The drinks - I still don't know how we were able to drink so much!  The drinks were GOOD!  We ordered drinks pretty much every where we went.  We spend a lot of time at the Carey Bar as well.  My husband drinks Glenlivet scotch and they had that.  I drank a lot of mojitos.  We actually brought huge cups for all of our guests.  Those came in handy!  We would get those filled with our drinks of choice and take off to the beach.  No need for refills...   The WC - I started off communicating with Xhail for months, but when I got there, I worked with Victoria.  I was very concerned with the communication (or lack there of.)  I met for one hour with Victoria on the second day we were there.  We went over all of the correspondances and make final decisions on sashes, table runner, cake, etc.  It was ver professional and she covered all bases.  I left there feeling completely confident that my special day would be perfect!  I also had a folder with print outs of EVERYTHING.  I really didn't need it, but it was a good thing for me to have (print outs of emails, prices, the spread sheet, etc.)   The rehearsal dinner - We had a 4 course meal at the French restaurant.  My travel agent was able to work with the WC to make a reservation for everyone.  After dinner we went to the Carey Bar where I distributed the OOT cups which had a t-shirt stuffed inside. We used our logo on the shirts and I bought the cups from Dollar Tree.  Our guests LOVED the cups and the shirts!  Best money I ever spent!!   The wedding day - We got up and had brunch with our guests.  After that, the guys were then on their own and my bridal party all came into my room to get dressed and primp.  We had my dress and his suit steamed (for a cost.)   Lucky for me, 2 of my guests were make up artists.  My sister in law did my hair and my bridal party's make up while another friend of mine did my make-up.   Victoria came to get us when it was time to go.  We drove down in a golf cart and came up on the elevator to the level with the Gazebo.  We chose the sax player and the religious ceremony.  Both were exquisite!   Our wedding was at 5pm...which was supposed to be the sunset service.  If I could do it all over again, I would chose 6pm AFTER the sun sets.  The sun was LETHAL to our pictures.  It was HOT!  However, it is so beautiful out there, you don't mind.   Everything was perfect.  I don't want to ruin anyone's special day by giving too many details, but I will say I am VERY happy I didn't bring too many extras.  All I brought with me were the OOT gifts, a few shells/starfish for my cake table and my gifts for my guests.  Nothing else.  Nothing else was needed, to be honest!   The reception - The reception was held at Chak Halal banquet hall.  I brought my own IPOD which I loaded my Wedding DJ on and had everything set up already.  It was perfect!  After being out in the HOT sun, the air conditioned hall was perfect.  Remember, your guests are going to be in the sun ALOT during their stay.   3 hours was just enough!  I had the mint breeze package, which is for 20 people, so I paid for an additional 22 people (2 were kids, and they don't charge you for their meals)  We had beef tenderloin (if you get this be very specific about how you want it cooked...many of our guests had to send theirs back because it was too rare.)  We also had the tomato/cheese/pesto salad...which was good!  We had the minestrone soup...decent.  We had creme brulee for dessert, which I didn't get to eat.  What I did eat was the vanilla wedding cake..OMG! TO DIE FOR. It was delicious.  I ordered the standard heart shaped cake and brought my own monogrammed cake topper (oh yea, I did bring a cake topper)  PERFECT.  At 10, when we were done, we all changed and went to the disco for more fun!   The next day, we went to Xelha.   We ended up leaving on Monday afternoon...reluctantly!   If I could give any advice it would be this:   Don't stress...it will be perfect. Don't forget to enjoy the resort and all it has to offer.  I missed out on going to the pool twice and the beach once, then before you knew it, it was time to go home. Book your restaurant reservations at check in, if you can.  They fill FAST! It is VERY HUMID and hot.  Your hair will look a mess. Be ready for this!   Overall...I was VERY pleased and my guests (2 weeks later) are STILL talking about our wedding.  We will definitely return to the Barcelo Maya Palace!            

By Mel888, · 2 Comments

Check in- There was about 50 people who checked in at the same time and it was kind of a disaster. Couples were getting two double beds and friends were getting king sizes. All the family's with babies who requested cribs about 5 times didn't get one and had to wait hours until finally they got one. Pretty much the whole first day was chaos. We flew west jet and the rep told us we had to wait until the next morning to change rooms etc. I think once this was sorted out it was fine and I feel like this would probably happen at any resort when there is a group of 50 checking in. But I did confirm the people and bed sizes with my wedding planner a few times so I was pretty bummed that it was a mess when we got there.    Resort- Gorgeous! The pool is huge and very clean! The rooms are incredible and the grounds are breath taking! The ocean was crystal clear and had tons of cool fish and turtles that swim right up to you. The food was pretty good, but I have had better at other resorts. There is a huge jump between the palace and the other Barcelo hotels.   Wedding Coordinator-  Xhail was great, she was a bit slow at responding to emails in the beginning but that's just because she is SO busy. I wasn't very high maintenance so I didn't mind so much. During our meeting she threw me a few curve balls that I wish she would have mentioned before our meeting so I had time to prepare. For example, I had picked the violin for music but in our meeting she asked what music I wanted him to play and I had no idea I could even pick the music! So I said whatever, just the usual was good, but some guests told me that they played Madonna's "like a virgin" after the ceremony was done! I was pretty embarrassed about that! Other than that she was great, super super nice and had everything under control! She even upgraded us to an outdoor reception for free!!!!!!! I was extremely happy about this because I had wanted the Strawberry package all along. My fiance wasn't crazy about doing the reception on the beach as she let us do it at the pool which was so perfect. I had brought some programs, menu and table cards and a guest book and Xhail took it all and set it up beautifully for me. After the wedding she even collected everything and put it all together and held it for me.   Spa- the spa is really nice. We had our couples massages on the night before our wedding and it was really nice. The morning before the wedding I had my hair done along with my sister and mom. The girls there were really talented and super fast. I was really impressed. You could tell they do it everyday and are really experienced with wedding hair styles. I would 100% recommend them.   Ceremony- We had our ceremony at 3pm on the beach in front of the coral grill. It was extremely private which I was very happy about, We had walked by a bunch of weddings in the gazebo which is right off the lobby and everyone just walks by and stops to watch. I would have hated it. One day there was even a guy in a speedo standing on the first stair of the gazebo with a video camera! It was awful.The gazebo is beautiful but not private at all. Same with the other beach locations. Its right in the middle of everything. Anyway the ceremony went great, started about 15 minutes late and since there wasn't another wedding that time we started at the gazebo and walked to the beach. The JP was very very nice and funny. He did ask my fiance if we wanted to say anything to each other and my fiance said no but he still asked us anyway. We had agreed that if he asked us we would just say "I love you" but for some reason my fiance decided to say a little speech instead! It was really cute but through me off and I didn't know what to say after that so I just said "I love you"!!!! My advice is to have something planned! The ceremony only lasted about 20 minutes and then we did pictures for an hour or so with the resort photographer.   Resort Photographer- We went with the classic package plus the CD. There was a few times that we had to say NO to some poses and positions that he tried to make us do and I am glad we did. Most of the pictures turned out great but there are a few horrible/hilarious ones! If I did it again, I would probably just get a friend to take them because I am not really into the poses and stuff, I like them more natural.   Reception- we opted out of a cocktail hour and just had everyone meet at the lobby bar for drinks and popcorn. It was great to get out of the heat and do our rounds with people. Our ceremony started at 630-7ish. Dinner was great we had the goat cheese tomato salad, the french onion soup, the citric crusted lamb and the dark chocolate fondant. The soup was cool, but I was starving and enjoyed it. The lamb was good but a few people got extremely sick that night from it. That is my only regret about the wedding, I wish I would have picked something else iffy, Lamb doesn't agree with everyone. The chocolate fondant was out of this world. So amazing! During the dance they brought out little chocolate treats for everyone which was a nice treat and the wedding cake which we didn't really eat but it was huge and super yummy! After dinner we did speeches and a slide show and then the resort DJ took over. He was really good, he knew how to get a party started and played peoples requests right away. Everyone was dancing! We paid the extra hour for the reception and our guest were devastated when it ended. Everyone wanted it to last longer. We headed to the lobby bar for a bit to party more with the adults/children and then headed to jaguars and danced the night away!   All in all it was a perfect day for me, I have no complaints and am extremely happy with how everything turned out! I would for sure get married at the Barcelo again! ha ha
Pros: Gorgeous property, great food, nice beach&pools, excellent wedding staff, great wedding locations
Cons: No real complaints!
Wedding Date:  March 1st, 2013 Resort: Barcelo Maya Palace Wedding package: Mint Breeze Ceremony: Playa Azul Beach 5:00pm Reception:  Rancho Grande Grill 7:00-10pm Wedding coordinator: Jacqueline   Overview: Our wedding was more than we could have ever imagined! Everything turned out perfectly, the staff truly know what they are doing, and I am so happy we decided to do a destination wedding. We had several people come up to us during and after the reception to tell us it was the best wedding they have ever been too!   No one really had issues checking in or out (two of my friends rooming together had been put in a room with one king bed instead of two doubles but they fixed it right away). I had no issues getting items to Mexico (we brought 4 suitcases!).   The weather was unusually cold, cloudy, and rainy the first few days we were there but NO RAIN on my wedding day and it was sunny and warm (at least during the day) the last days of our vacation.   Resort: The Barcelo is a beautiful resort! There is a noticeable difference between the Palace and the other resorts and I am glad we choose to stay there. We originally chose Barcelo because of the size and the different price point options, but all of our guests ended up staying at the Palace and I am glad they did because unless they stayed at the Tropical, the other resorts are pretty far away.   I have heard people complain about the resort being too big, but honestly we didn't mind because we mostly stayed at the Palace and there are shuttles to take to you to locations too far to walk. There is quite a bit of walking to and from the pool/beach and lobby but if you are young you will be fine. My grandmother had to get a wheelchair at times because it was too much for her . The food was amazing! I have stayed at several all inclusive resorts in Mexico and Punta Cana and the Barcelo by far had the best food. We were seriously sick (not from the food itself) a few nights from eating too much!   The pool is HUGE and there is a separate adult and child pool, not to mention the several other large pools at the other resorts. The beach is gorgeous,  some small rocks toward the end of the palace where the coral is but the rest is soft sand. Standing in the water you see a bunch of fish and turtles and you can snorkel right there. There are many activities like kayaking, paddle boards, water bike things, hobie cats, etc.   The only minor negative things I could say is the resort doesn't have a beach bar (pool bar is closest) and it would be nice to have a snack bar where you could go up in your swimsuit and grab something quick to eat and not go to the buffet, and they charge for room service (other all inclusives do not). Several of us did have issues with our air conditioner in our rooms, whether it was too cold or too hot, but nothing major.   Wedding: I can't say enough that everything went perfectly! I am a planner but tried to keep in mind that a destination wedding is different and you have to let some things go and just let it be ... and I am so glad I did because the things we didn't plan turned out even better than some we did!   My wedding coordinator Jacqueline was so great. She was pretty quick to respond to emails (about a week) and it got better towards the end of the planning process. We met with her the day after we got to the resort and went over everything again, making sure we were on the same page. You can seriously plan or change anything at that point! I gave her all of the items I had brought and she said she would set it up.   We were planning on doing a rehearsal and a dinner, but decided a rehearsal wasn't necessary. We had reserved dinner at the Caribbean restaurant (max 20 people) previously and they had a set menu, the food was very good! They put sombreros on us, sang us a song, and gave us a special desert for the wedding:)   I stayed with my sister the night before the wedding and my hubby and I decided to go to different buffets for breakfast and not see each other before the wedding. I was surprised I never ran into him and so glad we did it! The boys went to the pitch and put together and the girls got manicures at 11:00am. We did have a slight issue with the appointments at first but it was quickly figured out. The manicures looked good at first but chipped very quickly! I did my own hair and makeup but saw other brides in the spa and they looked really good and they use MAC makeup.   After the manicures we went back to my room to get ready (was done at 1pm for 4 manis). They were supposed to come steam my dress in my room at 11:00am but didn't arrive until almost 2pm!. This was really the only hassle we had. My mom was in my room waiting and called three times before they came up but luckily we had them do it early and it got done in time. It was only about $20 and they did a good job.   I was glad I started getting ready at 1:00pm because I wasn't rushed and we were able to order room service and have some drinks before the photographer came at 4:00. I did my own hair and makeup (with the help of my girls) and it turned out great and was glad I didn't spend the money to get it done.   Ceremony: All of the guests and the groom/groomsmen were picked up by a shuttle at 4:30pm in the lobby and brought to Playa Azul. They couldn't fit everyone in one shuttle so they had to make two trips and that set us back a bit. I was in my room waiting for the WC to pick me up (was supposed to be 4:55) and I don't think she showed up until 5:10 or so. I called down to see what was going in because I was concerned about it getting dark and didn't want the groom to worry where I was! Jacqueline said she was waiting for the confirmation that the guests and groom were there before picking me up which was why she was late.   Jacqueline showed up with all the bouquets and they were so beautiful, way more than I expected and exactly what I asked! She drove me, the photographer, my BMs, my mom, and mother in law all the way to the ceremony site but had me hidden. They had the groom keep his back turned until I was about to walk down and the music started, I loved this part! I was able to see his reaction and was definitely the most emotional part. Jacqueline told us all when to go, what to do, and say right then, no rehearsal needed.   I had the guitarist for the live music and wasn't able to hear any of it because we had certain songs played on the ipod for the BMs and me but I heard he was good and I was surprised that he could play pretty much anything I requested. They did a perfect job with playing all the music at the right time.   The officiant was awesome! We didn't have anything planned other than giving the WC a paper that had some things we wanted mentioned or to do during the ceremony. I was nervous about not talking to the officiant before hand and knowing exactly what would be said, but I guess he talked to my husband before the ceremony for a few minutes and asked him if he wanted a prayer and a little bit about us. He did such a good job of combining everything we wanted with what he normally does. We did a ring warming ceremony and had him saying a reading during this and it ended up taking a lot longer than we thought to pass the rings and he said "well their rings will be very warm with love, let me say another reading about..." and it worked perfectly!   We were very worried about the time of our ceremony and not having enough light for pictures but it ended up working perfectly (read more about our photographer later). I am SO glad I choose Playa Azul for the ceremony and a later time. It was very private and pretty much no one around. I saw many other weddings while I was there and it didn't seem very personal with a bunch of people around starring.   Reception: When we met with the WC beforehand she told us we would  be upgraded to an open air restaurant due to "all of the people". Wasn't sure exactly what she meant but wasn't going to question it! I saw some of the banquet halls at the resort and they are very nice but I was still excited to be outside and not pay extra:). The Rancho Grande Grill was right next to the ceremony site and although it is large and we had a smaller group, the sectioned off half it and it worked and looked great! We did not have a cocktail hour and sent the group to the outside bar the was right behind the grill for drinks while we took pictures (with the ceremony, toasting, and starting a few minutes late I think we were done about 5:45 so had a little over an hour before the reception started at 7). This was perfect for us because we had some pictures done before the ceremony and did want a bunch of pictures anyways (I was honestly sick of it after 45 min lol!).   We had our friend run our ipod and make some announcements. I am so glad I didn't pay for a DJ, especially with our small group (30 people) it wasn't necessary and I loved having my own music picked out (even though it was tedious!). I have had several people ask for a copy of the playlist already!   The decorations were great! I had everything very simple but loved the way it turned out. I brought candles, ribbon, and starfish and explained how I wanted it set up and Jacqueline did such a great job! We also had the flower centerpiece from the ceremony that was included and I rented vases for the candles and the bouquets.   The food was great! Better than some of the restaurants. We had the caesar salad (everyone loved), minestrone soup, beef tenderloin, and caramel spring rolls (also lots liked). I wasn't able to eat much, partly due to a tight dress and excitement, but from what I tried it was awesome and heard all good things from guests. The presentation was very nice as well. We had a two tiered cake with cream frosting and pineapple and vanilla filling. No one really ate much cake because we were so full from dinner but it was pretty good (pineapple better) and looked nice. We mostly got two tiers because it looks better and was nice to have it the next day, but don't listen to them when they say each tier feeds 10 people..we had 30 people and hardly ate the smaller tier!   We did not add any time to our reception. Because we had a smaller group it worked out perfect to have dinner, toasts during dinner, first dance, father/mother dances, over an hour for dancing, and cut the cake. At the end some of the older folks were ready to leave and it made sense to move to the disco and not add time. We went to the disco and it was surprisingly really fun! You kind of get catered to in your wedding gear;).  The groom and I only stayed at the disco for a couple hours and headed back to our room but the rest of the group partied at the disco/lobby bar until 3am!   Jacqueline took all of the wedding items back to her office and we picked them up the next day.   The next day: We had breakfast in bed (SO MUCH FOOD) and our couples massage at 11am. Everything was on time and great. So nice to relax after everything! We had rose peddles and champagne in our room the wedding night, the next morning, and also when we checked in.  They also brought in the rest of our wedding cake with our breakfast and we brought it down to the lobby bar later that night for everyone to help finish!   Photographer: We caved and paid the $500 outside vendor fee to have Juan Navarro for our photographer and I am so glad we did. I wasn't impressed with the resort photographer online, but when we went into the office to pay the fee the pictures they had up were actually not bad, they should update their website! I had heard that they can be a pain, calling you over and over, etc. but probably because we paid the fee right after we met with our WC they didn't bother us. Because of the 3 night minimum during this time of year, it was cheaper than booking a room.   Like I said I am so glad we chose Juan. He spoke perfect English and was very personable and easy to work with. He came with an assistant that was also great. He knew I was worried about having enough light so really tried to get our pictures in and kept saying "I am sorry I am rushing, I just want to get your pictures in before its dark". He did several couple pictures first, then the group pictures, and finished off with more couple pics in the dark.   We did several beach pictures, some outside and night, and some inside. He showed us the camera as we went so we could see how amazing they looked! I told Juan ahead of time we didn't want a lot of posed pictures and wanted fun/romantic pics, that were in the moment and he captured just that! He directed everyone perfectly and my favorite thing was he had us laying in the sand and told my hubby to whisper in my ear what he was thinking when he saw me walk down the aisle:). He also had us hold hands and walk the beach telling us to talk and be casual....exactly what I was picturing for photos!   I am pretty sure (hard to keep track of time) he stayed past the three hours to get in our group picture and he even came back after he went to his car because we forgot to do a picture with our rings on a starfish like I had mentioned. I highly recommend him and he was pretty affordable, even considering the fee.   Overall this was the wedding of my dreams and I would definitely come back to the Barcelo!

By Leahbell48, · 2 Comments

Pros: Everything!!!
Cons: Spa
Hello Wedding Planners!   There were several reviews that helped me plan my wedding at Barcelo Maya Palace Deluxe on this website – I promised myself that I need to return the favor and write a detailed and helpful review for all the Barcelo Maya Palace Deluxe (BMPD) brides!  I know how nerve racking it can be to plan a wedding at a venue you’ve never been to; so I am going to be as thorough as possible to put your mind at ease. If there is anything you take away from my review I hope that its “don’t worry – you are in good hands with BMPD!” because it’s true. I was a little nervous/anxious but when I stepped out of the shuttle at the resort I knew absolutely nothing could go wrong because the place is PARADISE! So, with that being said let me go ahead with the review :    Travel : Wendy Hicks Wendy Hicks wendy@wrighttravelagency.com with Wright travel was our travel agent. She is awesome: took care of every last detail, got our guests an awesome deal, set up shuttle times and transfers and really just made everything go so smoothly. The shuttle was on time at the Cancun airport and the dudes in the orange shirt were holding a huge heart that said “Davis Wedding!” so precious. Some of our guests were on our flight, so we took the shuttle together and got some beers for the 45 minute ride. It was a great idea!   Check in: All our guests (60 of them!) had no complaints about the check in. Again, thanks to Wendy Hicks for being a rock star. All guests were checked in right away, and got a cocktail as soon as they checked in. The hotel staffs spoke English perfectly and were willing to answer all questions and give extra tips and maps of the area to everyone. When my fiancé & I checked in, they escorted us to a special check in area that was super fancy – gave us welcome cocktails & treated us like royalty. I was in heaven.   Rooms:  Wendy hooked our guests up with Junior Suites – which everyone said were beautiful. Our room on the other hand was INSANE! It had 2 bathrooms, a huge kitchen, living room area, balcony with Jacuzzi, and a gigantic closet! I knew we were getting an upgrade, but hellooo that room was a dream! I truly felt like a princess!   Hotel Restaurants: Amazing! You always hear hotel food is “meh” – but it is awesome here. The buffets were heaven, and the restaurants were you need reservations for (but are still included!) were just awesome. And the service is out of this world. The waiters will get you whatever you need – and if they don’t have something you want, they’ll get it for you in just minutes. Your guests will be so spoiled. I wish I could’ve eaten more than I did (I wanted to be able to fit in my wedding dress!) – but you can’t have it all!   Pools/Beach: Just beautiful – everything! I can’t say it enough. We were all there Thursday, December 13 – Sunday, December 16. This time is right before peak season so we basically had the pool and the beach all to ourselves! Some guests went on kayaks on the ocean, while others were playing volleyball, and others were laying out at the adult pool. And there are palapa bars/swim up bars every where you go. I don’t think there was one point of our time there were I didn’t have a drink in my hand. Like I said – paradise!   Jaguar Disco:  So cheesy, but so so so fun! All the “kids” went to this disco one night together and it was a blast. Again, we basically had the entire place to ourselves and danced the night away. It was great – and all the drinks were included, so some of us partied a little too hard – but nothing a morning in the sun couldn’t fix! Don’t expect this place to be super swanky, but it is a golf cart or shuttle ride away from Barcelo Deluxe, its free – and just so much fun!   Spa: This is the only negative thing about BMPD. The spa was absolutely horrible. We got a couples massage the first morning we were there & it was mediocre. The next day I got a mani/pedi & it was just horrendous I couldn’t help but laugh! The girl who started out doing my nails was pregnant, & I think she had pregnant brain – I did not know what she was thinking. She had no idea what she was doing and it took her more than an hour to do just my nails! When she started getting ready to do my toes, I said no thanks & left (thank goodness I got a good pedi in the states before I left for Mexico). I just couldn’t stand to watch her struggle & goof up my toes. Well, the next morning I went for my chocolate wrap that came with our package & guess who did my wrap? You guessed it… pregnant lady. Ha! Again, I couldn’t help but laugh (there are worse things in the world). But it was a HORRIBLE experience. The water was freezing; she (again) had no idea what she was doing. I don’t even think she knew how to give massages, she just kinda mushed chocolate stuff on my skin. At one point she sprayed water all over my face & I asked her (in a nice way) if we could just stop. She was so cute. Laughed & apologized.. but still it was just horrible. Anyways, after I left the body wrap appointment I was patting myself on my back for booking an actual hair/makeup artist instead of going with the spa. So, my advice to you is see if you can get something else in exchange for the massages or mani/pedis. You can switch those out for a facial with your mom & mother in law or even a tanning bed session? Try & wiggle something out of the package deal because the massages just aren’t great AT ALL! And Ladies – TRUST ME – when I say do NOT get your hair/nails/makeup anything done at that spa! While they are so sweet there & really aim to please it’s just not up to par. J   OK – on to the wedding portion of the review….   Wedding Coordinator:  Lillian Vargas is wonderful! One of my hesitations with having a destination package was that it wouldn’t be very personal, & offer typical flowers, food, décor, etc.. instead of offer individualized items that really made my wedding unique to me & my fiancé. But Lillian definitely made our wedding unique to us! When she sent flower options that I wasn’t a fan of, I sent her a pinterest board I had made & asked if any other those options were doable. And she made it happen! Same with wedding décor, lighting, food, cake, flowers, almost anything she worked with me so those things would be more personal and not as “cookie cutter.” Also, I brought several DIY items (a suite case and several mailed boxes full of DIY things!) that she offered to take off my hands. We went through each DIY thing, I explained the vision I had & she knew exactly what I was talking about. At no point did she say I was asking too much – she really went above and beyond. At one point she told me she had already done 7 weddings that week – 7! I was so surprised not only because of her cheerful personality, but her attention to detail. She made me feel like I was her only wedding for that month. She remembered every email conversation we had, every request I had, every concern – everything! She also managed the guests very well, & answered all their questions. It was so nice to have a Wedding Coordinator; she lifted a huge burden off my shoulders & took care of all my worries. She was awesome!   Wedding Package: Chocolate Sensation : this package was the most expensive, but at the same time, catered to our needs the most. We had a large wedding and this package was definitely the one we went with. It included the most meals, largest cake, a lot of massages (who can say no to that!) and other perks we felt were necessary. However, if your wedding party is no bigger than 25 people I definitely suggest you pick a lower priced package – those are just as amazing and perfect for a smaller wedding.   Hair/Makeup: I hired Adrian Guerra & his team (Styling Trio) strmstyling@gmail.com for my hair & makeup. I picked him because of the great reviews everyone has given him, his bio, his prices, his English abilities – he’s  basically the best out there! He also comes to Barcelo a lot, so there wasn’t any trouble getting him in the resort and the wedding coordinator already knew who he was. Adrian did my makeup and his employee, Alex did my hair. I had them do a trial (girls – you should spend the extra money for a trial session, it makes everything so much more calm on your wedding day!) the first day I got there. They were both so much fun, so attentive, so down to earth & complementary! They made me feel so pretty - & made me look beautiful! I want to have that hair and makeup everyday – if only J The day of the wedding they were on time, ready to get down to business. Alex did my mom & mother in law’s hair (it was part of our gift to them) & they both LOVED his work! Adrian is a Mac makeup professional and uses their airbrush techniques, which gives a beachy, natural look – I loved it. Adrian and his Styling Trio are the way to go!   Photographer: I hired Lori Lemieux with Sweet Fire Photography http://www.sweetfirephotography.com/ pretty much for the same reasons as I hired Adrian : great reviews, English speaking, amazing portfolio, lovely website – etc.. She came with her business partner, Tanya – they were both just amazing. Professional, talented, personable, I could go on & on. Check out her reviews on Best Destination Wedding, I wrote a pretty detailed review there & so did several other brides. Lori is fabulous!   Saxophone:  He did a great job, although he didn’t play the song I wanted the bridal party to walk into, he chose another classical song that almost sounded the same (to our guests!). But he was very talented and definitely someone I would recommend.   Minister: We chose to have a non denominational & bilingual minister, Santiago Carranza, officiate our wedding. He did so great – such a good mix of Mexican wedding cultures and American (my fiancé is from Mexico CitY). He also did a great job of mixing Spanish with English (half our guests were Mexican). Santiago was so great at responding to email – he even had a skype appointment with us one night to get to know us & ask us questions about our relationship. Because he did this, the ceremony was very personable & just lovely. Everyone said it was one of the best wedding ceremonies they’d ever been to.   DJ: I sent the DJ a LONG list of all the songs we wanted & he definitely deviated from this list. I kept going over to him & asking him to stick to the list - & he was very nice & said he would – but then a song came on that was super random. However, everyone was dancing like crazy! No one seemed to notice & everyone was having a blast. The DJ was good & talented, but definitely had a mind of his own. After the second time of approaching him, I decided I needed to let it go & just enjoy! I couldn’t control everything.. J However, the key songs (first dance, mother/son, father/daughter, cake cutting, bouquet toss, garter toss) were all the correct ones I asked him to play. So, I guess he did a good job J   Schedule/Details:   Wednesday, December 12 : Most of our guests arrived. This was basically a meet & greet of all the guests, introducing them to one another, reuniting with family & friends I hadn’t seen in forever!   Thursday, December 13: Guests did whatever they wanted that day. Like I said before, some took a tour bus to Tulum pyramids, some took horse back rides on the beach, others just hung out in the swim up bars, some went snorkeling, kayaking, wind surfing. I hung out with everyone, met with Lillian, had my hair/make up trial & made sure everything was good to go. That evening we had our private dinner (just the two of us) on the beach. It was amazing – we had a full wait staff all to ourselves, they had a bottle of Moet Chandon, incredible food, romantic music, etc.. it was amazing! Then we went back to our suite where my bridesmaids & other girls had a surprise bachelorette party! It was such a blast - & after we all went to Jaguar disco (met up with the boys) & danced the night away.   Friday, December 14: Again, guests did whatever they wanted this day. At night the bridal party had a small rehearsal (Lillian met us for this) for about 15 minutes. She just ran through where everyone would stand, & we practiced walking down the aisle & back up again. It was perfect, & necessary! After the short rehearsal we walked over to Coco’s beach where we threw our guests a Welcome Party (we opted to do this instead of a sit down rehearsal dinner).  This was from 5pm – 7pm (we didn’t want to take up too much of our guests time – it was their  vacation too & we wanted them to enjoy the resort as much as possible).  There was a full buffet of appetizers (which ended up being so much food – we chose for the Mexican option on the cocktail hour menu), full bar with bartenders, large speakers that my friend hooked her iPod up to and plenty of tables, high boys for the guests. My sister ( MOH) had a game planned & gave a lovely speech, and everyone signed our guest book at the Welcome Party. It was so much fun! Then after the party we ended up reserving most of the Brazilian Steak House restaurant, which is right in the Barcelo Maya Palace Deluxe portion of the resort. It was so much fun – the food was awesome & everyone had a blast!).   Saturday, December 15 – Wedding Day! Everyone pretty much had the day to themselves except for the girls (we gotta get pretty!). But even so, I was in the ocean holding a rum filled coconut up until 1:00PM! It was such a relaxing day – I couldn’t believe how chill I was on my wedding day! You always see brides running around, waking up at 5:00am & their bridesmaids getting their hair done as early as 9:00am… but not our wedding! We were all chilling in the ocean enjoying the sun & cocktails. It was heaven!  Here was our wedding day schedule:   ·         1:00pm : Adrian & Alex from Styling Trio Riviera Maya come to hair/makeup ·         2:00pm: Bridesmaids bring their makeup/dresses to get ready in our suite. This was such a fun bonding experience – I had room service and drinks delivered for everyone, we just chilled, listened to music & they helped each other out with hair & makeup. So fun! ·         4:00pm: Lori with Sweet Fire Photography arrives. Her business partner, Tanya went to the boys room to take some getting ready shots of them. ·         4:25: Bridal party and parents gather in the Michoacan court yard for posed pictures. We have a separate “first look” photo shoot – which I highly recommend! So much better for nerves on your wedding day! ·         4:50: Bridal party & parents line up in the hallway outside of the gazebo. My dad & I are taken by golf cart to the ceremony site, wait behind bridal party to walk down the aisle! ·         5:00 – ceremony starts! ·         5:30 – ceremony ends at sunset (gorgeous!) ·         5:30-6:00 – posed pictures with family & wedding party guests ·         6:00-7:00 – cocktail hour on the pool patio near the Coral Grill (about 3 minute walk from the gazebo). It was at night, so no one was there! It was like we had the entire patio to ourselves. Father in Law toast – so beautiful. Mariachi played & got the party started! We had the Caribbean Cocktail hour menu – delicious. ·         7:00-11:00 – reception at Coco’s beach. We walked in & did our first dance, then father/daughter, then mother/son. Then my dad gave a speech, gave a blessing & everyone ate. We chose ceviche for appetizer (amazing), asparagus soup (soo good!!!), surf & turf (the lobster was to die for) & crème brulee (need I say more – awesome!). We danced the night  away, cut the cake, did the garter & bouquet toss – the whole shebang. I was a little nervous that 11:00pm was too early to end the wedding, but it was the right decision to make. Everyone had been in the sun for the past 3 days, drinking, playing, running around - & all the guests left early Sunday morning. So, by the time 11:00 rolled around, everyone was ready to go. I’m so happy we made the right decision with that! Some of the younger folks wanted to stay up longer, so we went to the Canary Bar (in the lobby) and sat outside on the big couches talking, drinking & laughing. Still, we went to bed a little bit later…. It was an awesome reception & a magical wedding!   Sunday, December 16 We had breakfast delivered to us on our balcony in our suite – it was delicious! We packed up and hung out in the lobby saying goodbye to all our guests. Everyone had nothing to say but amazing things about their time at BMPD – even the nay sayers who were a little iffy on going to Mexico couldn’t stop talking about their next visit. Everyone was saying this was the best time they’ve ever had at a wedding, let alone a vacation! Everything was perfect, we were in a perfect place with perfect service & perfect people. I want to go back! Here are some pictures of our wedding – if you have any further questions please message me & I’ll try to answer as best as I can! Good luck future destination wedding-ers! You’re never going to regret choosing Barcelo Maya Palace Deluxe – its heaven!!!!                    

By gilmana, · 6 Comments

Pros: Better than ever expected - WC, place, service, etc. was exceptional!
Cons: Priest, Smile Market
Our wedding was incredible!  I had been with my husband for 10 years before getting married.  He's Mexican and I'm from MN.  We met while I was living in Mexico and about 4-5 years ago we both moved to the Washington DC area.  We had a very diverse group of guests and they were coming from all over. We were very fortunate to be able to share our special day with them.  Everyone wants to go back next year, but we've decided we'll go in 5 years so hopefully guests who couldn't go this time, will be able to go in 2018.     Wedding Date:  January 14, 2013 Wedding Package:  Strawberry Passion Number of Guests:  65 Ceremony Location:  Chapel Cocktail Location:  Palace Terrace Reception Location:  Coral Grille Wedding Planner:  Gabriela Barbosa and then Jacqueline Ochoa - A+ Gabriela quit sometime in September and Jacqueline took over.  We had some issues getting responses via email so as our wedding got closer, my husband would call if they would not respond.  We were waiting a long time on getting a response regarding our Catholic paper work.  Jacqueline was GREAT every time we talked to her by phone.  We arrived on the 10th, met with her on the 11th and went over everything.  We met her on the 12th to go through a quick rehearsal at the chapel and also made paid.  Me and Jacqueline on January 16.     Resort:  Barceló Maya Palace Deluxe – A+   Check in:  We were the first to arrive on January 10th.  We were immediately sent to the Premium lounge for check in and given welcome drinks.  Once we got our room keys, I thought it was strange that the bellman was not going to escort us to our room – they just sort of pointed in the direction of our room.  Luckily our room was literally the closest to the lobby – I think it was 8101… and shortly after we arrived the bellboy was there with ALL of our luggage (which was a lot – we had over 200lbs of checked luggage).  There was a welcome bottle of champagne (which we shared with my parents when they arrived).      Accessibility:  I never thought about it until we actually stayed there, but 99% of the rooms are REALLY far from the pools, beach, and restaurants.  Had I paid more attention, I would have told the reception about one of our groomsman who was wearing a boot from an injury. He was placed in the very last room, closest to the road.  I think the biggest complaint from our guests was that they had to walk far for everything.  Once they went to the pool/beach for the day, they were NOT going to go back to their room if they forgot something.  We had a few of our guests stay at the Beach/Caribe and it’s just too far – we never saw them except for organized events.  I would highly suggest your guests stay at the Tropical or Palace.      Rooms:  Half of the guests reserved rooms in the Tropical or Colonial but they got upgraded the Palace because they ran out of rooms at the Tropical/Colonial.  So, the majority of our guests stayed at the Palace.  All the rooms were nice, clean, all have a balcony. The Palace has 2 showers, two sinks, bathtub, lots of space to put away your clothes (closets, drawers, etc.).  For my brother, they made the two couches into beds and my nephews stayed on those and thought they were quite cool – even though there was another bed for them to share.      Restaurants:  We did not try the Japanese restaurant but those that did said it was “fine”.  We celebrated a birthday at the Caribe – it was nice and everyone liked the food.  We ate at Rodizio twice and we also ate at the French restaurant.  I don’t think we had one favorite – all were good.  If you are picky – there are plenty of buffets that are great too.  We ate at the Tropical buffet twice – not that much different from the Palace buffet.    Pools:  Great!  Our group typically hung out at the pool that had a swim-up bar.  I don’t know if there is usually a problem but our guests from the tropical/colonial had no problem hanging out at that pool either.  As a very BUSY bride, I wish I had had more time to spend at the pools.   Beach:  Great!  There are some areas that are better than others and I walked the WHOLE resort… so I found that by the beach/Caribe the water was the clearest and the sand the softest… I also found topless girls there.  By the Palace, it is rockier but there are some parts where it is just fine.  I took my nephew and swam around to see fish.  We went just beyond the Colonial to go jet-skiing (rough waves $60/30 minutes) and some went kayaking (free).    Staff:  Everyone seemed super friendly.  We had a very diverse group with us so half spoke Spanish and were usually able to speak up if the staff didn’t seem to understand… so everyone was very happy with the staff.  My parents made friends with a waiter at a buffet and went to him every day.    Spa:  Average for the area.  I’ve been to the spa in a few resorts in this area and the Gran Melia is the best by a long shot.  Pedicure:  I had a pedicure here – the girl didn’t seem to know what she was doing.  Spoke no English so I spoke to her in Spanish.  She first put me in a chair and the water was freezing so I told her I would wait to get a chair that actually had warm water.  She was nice; I got a basic pedicure as I didn’t trust getting a French.  Wedding Day/Hair Make-up:  I got my hair and make-up done by Beatrice but she was going on maternity the next week.  She was GREAT…. In fact at one point, when she was almost done, I made her start all over (that’s not typically how I am but my friends pushed me to tell her I didn’t like it).  My Matron of Honor’s hair was incredible and it took the girl only 15 minutes to do it! My hair stayed in place and my make-up was good… it was thick (not too thick) but it needed to be for pictures.  Our wedding day was the hottest day of the week so I wish I had blotted my face more as it looked greasy a lot.   My matron of honor and bridesmaid. Best shot of my hair:     Couples Massage:  On the 16th we went to have our couple’s massage – we were late because the shuttle bus never came so we had to call for a golf cart to come pick us up – so we lost about 30 minutes of our massage.  L      OOT Bags:  Our OOT bags were a little bit of a disaster… but I won’t get into it.  We used Bolsas de Mandado (google it) that we bought in Mexico City and brought to the resort.  I made name tags to go onto the bags before we went to Mexico and they said the guest name, their hotel and their date of arrival and departure. Each bag had a welcome packet with information, hand sanitizer wipes (2 kinds), ibuprofen, beach ball, water gun, Tylenol, gum, chapstick, package of Kleenex, pen, hair ties, etc.  People with kids got more stuff to go into their bags.  I saw most of the guests using their bags throughout the week to carry their stuff to and from the beach.    Welcome Cocktails:  We had a welcome cocktail on Saturday, January 12th, from 6:00-7:00 PM at the Tropical Lobby Bar called Tequila… or something like that.  It was a great location, but needed more time to mingle as we didn’t get to everyone.  We set up a Facebook “group” and told everyone before where and when this was going to happen – we did not set it up through our WC or the resort.  It was a chance for everyone to put names to a face.  We were able to introduce people.  After that people went their separate ways to have dinner.     Rehearsal:  DISASTER!  When we went with Jacqueline on the 12th, along with my parents, she gave us about a 5 minute review… and told us that we could meet with the priest that same day at noon to go over things.  So, we went BACK to the chapel and he was 45 minutes late.  (Lucky for us it rained while we waited so we didn’t feel like we were missing out on beach time)  I brought my ipad to go over what I was expecting to have in OUR wedding, such as readings, music, etc.… once the Priest got there he told us what we would be doing – what readings would be done, how many readers we would need, bla bla bla… So all my time spent on making programs and printing them was a complete waste of time and it was literally HOURS of work.  At the same time he wanted us to confess our sins (I’m not catholic) so my husband went first… and then I met with him and he was just waiting there, and I said, I’m not catholic, all of our paperwork that we sent him said I was NOT catholic… so he pushed me to think about confessing my sins anyway so that I can receive communion.  He told us he expected us (and our wedding party) the NEXT day at mass and I would tell him at that time whether or not I would confess my sins.  (sorry this is so long but it’s important for anyone having a catholic wedding). Fast forward to Sunday, January 13: we attend mass… afterward we were scheduled to have OUR own rehearsal with our wedding party… but he came to me and asked me if I thought about confessing my sins so that I could receive communion on my wedding day and I thought “why not”… so he took me in the back of the chapel and started talking to me… and talked to me the WHOLE time my rehearsal was going on… asking me VERY inappropriate questions about sex, contraception, etc… I was so uncomfortable and when I left I wanted to cry and cry.  I felt violated.  Luckily my husband and two girls took over the rehearsal and got it going the best they could.  I never had anything to do with my rehearsal… and the Priest made us late to the groom’s dinner.      Groom’s Dinner:  Since we had 40+ people at the groom’s dinner, our only choice was a buffet.  We did the tropical buffet and when we arrived, everything was set up for us.  There were 3 long tables… since everything was a rush getting there, my husband and I did not sit together.  We quickly ate and then went to each member of the bridal party and gave them their gift.  After that we went to hang out at the Tequila bar again.  I don’t know if this has happened to other brides, but I don’t remember going back to my room or the rest of that night (and I wasn’t drinking)… there are a lot of things I don’t remember.      Wedding Day – January 14 Timeline 9:00 AM:  Any and all the girls that could met in the Palace Buffet for breakfast.  It was a nice way to start the day.      10:00 AM:  Spa appointments  1:00 PM:  Photographer came and started taking pictures. 2:30 PM:  Shuttle came to pick up wedding party and Palace guests to take them to the chapel.  3:00 PM:  Ceremony was SUPPOSED to start 4:00 PM:  Ceremony was SUPPOSED to end 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM:  Pictures were SUPPOSED to happen 5:00 PM:  Cocktail hour 6:00 PM: Reception/Dinner/Dancing 10:30 PM: Taquero arrived to serve tacos 11:00 PM: Mariachis arrived Midnight:  Sparkler send-off   Photographer:  We had Lupe and Agustin from Take-It Foto.  EVERYONE loved them – they were fantastic – we can’t wait to see what they have done with our pictures.  I can’t say enough good things about them.  http://www.fototakeit.com/blog/   Our pictures:  http://www.fototakeit.com/blog/amity-antonio/   Videographer:  We used Cinematik Weddings- http://cinematikweds.com/  My husband did all the communication with them… I like their work and we should see a sneak peak or our wedding any day now.  I didn’t feel like they were around much (even though they were everywhere) and there were 2 of them.  Seemed very good.    Our Preview: http://vimeo.com/60633240   Florists:  So, we had flowers from the resort – which were beautiful and prettier than I could have ever imagined.  We also had Eduardo from Jardin Floreria http://www.jardinfloreria.com/ We never met with him, just told him what we wanted via email and he did bigger and better than what we thought we were getting!  We got like 6 more boutonnieres than we asked for.  And on Sunday, the 13th, my husband and I went to Playa del Carmen to run some errands and we ran into a florist shop (Floreria Iris)… and we couldn’t believe the prices and how beautiful the flowers were so we ordered a bunch more from them.  http://floreriairisplaya.com/ - we paid a quarter of the prices they list on their website. Resort flowers:   Eduardo's flowers:     Catholic Ceremony:  3:00 PM The 2 reasons we did a catholic ceremony was because the chapel is INCREDIBLE!  And it was important to my husband’s family (who is Mexican) to have a Catholic wedding.  As I stated before, the priest completely hijacked my wedding.  This was the worst part of my day.  The wedding was supposed to be half English, half Spanish but it was in all English so my husband’s family didn’t even understand what was going on.  The Priest had us kneeling most of the time, and I almost passed out.  It was incredibly hot, he started way late, and went on for over an hour, he did some parts twice, he read readings he had assigned to some of my guests… he talked about “free sex”, “wasting seeds”, “spreading seeds”… all things that are difficult to explain to children who were in attendance.  It was a nightmare… and everyone who understood the ceremony made comments afterwards. My parents even threatened to walk out – telling my bridesmaids that if he didn’t end soon, they would leave.  I was embarrassed.  Months ago, I had asked Gabriela about the priest because I had read bad things about him on this website… and she told me, we probably wouldn’t get him and the same priest does not always give the ceremonies.  But once we got to the resort Jacqueline basically said it is the same guy all the time.  What a letdown…  Because of his almost – 2-hour - long ceremony we did not get family pictures.  L  We got some pictures with the wedding party but not everyone.  Not even ½ of the list of pictures I had wanted.  I can’t express this enough how much this pains me.  As soon as the ceremony was over, everyone was picked up by a shuttle and the cocktail hour started IMMEDIATELY because we were already late.       Me, walking in     Unhappy and hot bridesmaids:        Cocktail Hour:  5:00-6:00 PM The cocktail hour was on the terrace of the Palace – good view and the sun was going down.  We had the Mexican hors d'oeuvres menu and a signature cocktail.  We did an ipod shuffle… I have no idea how it went because we were on the beach taking pictures.          Reception:  6:00 PM – Midnight My husband and I were able to go in there before everyone else and when we saw it we were shocked – I got teary eyed and couldn’t believe how great it looked!  Jacqueline had gotten every last detail!  It was VERY hot in there and they couldn’t turn on the AC because they were missing one of the glass window panels.      Decorations:  We brought Papel Picado (google it) to hang in the room, we had flowers, menus, and table names, flower petals and candles around the tables… I can’t think of what other decorations we had. Favors:  Our name cards were our favors – they were little flags, in limes over tequila shot glasses… so the shot glasses were for the guests (which they didn’t know and we should have announced to them).         Food/Menu: Salad:  Caesar salad (it was huge) Soup:  Sopa de tortilla Entrée:  Surf and Turf Dessert:  Half-baked fondant chocolate cake   EVERYONE loved the meal and said it was the best that they had while they were there.  We had so many positive comments about the food so we were pleased with what we had chosen.    Wedding Cake:  Strawberry and Chocolate (2 tiers) – You really only need 1 tier… we cut it after dinner and no one wanted a piece because they were so stuffed… so they passed it out when the mariachis came and people were still stuffed… it did not get eaten.  I tried the chocolate and it was really good.    DJ:  We had Discomovil – they were fantastic!  Did everything we asked and were able to get the guests up and dancing.  I am so pleased we chose them.  They handled the bilingual crowd flawlessly – and got the Americans to join in with the Mexicans during traditional Mexican customs such as la vibora del mar.  They had a great mix of music for everyone.    We brought our own “props” such as leis, balloons, hats, glow-in-the dark bracelets, pom-poms, etc… the guests LOVED it all… And then we pulled out traditional sombreros and everyone wanted pictures with us with the hats.  They were a lot of fun!      Tacquero:  A lot of the Americans were interested in traditional tacos so months ago we asked if that  was possible and we made it happen.  A guy came and served traditional tacos – everyone LOVED it… at first they were shy in going to get them – but they were great.  And of course the Mexicans thought it was a great snack late at night.      Mariachis:  We hired the group from the resort – and they were good.  They were enjoyed by the Mexicans much more than the Americans.  If you are having an all non-Spanish speaking group, I suggest the mariachis during the cocktail hour.  They were great though – they serenaded us first and then took requests.      Sparkler-send off:  AT Midnight, everyone went outside and lit their sparklers and we left – It was really cool… although something I don’t remember very well (and I couldn’t even think of drinking during my reception – all water).  We walked around the corner and took off our shoes and walked into the kid pool!  Ha ha ha        Things I wish I had done different: Paid everything in Cash because we were charged hundreds of dollars in exchange rate fees for using debit and credit cards… I wish we had walkie talkies Had someone assigned to take pictures of all the little details, my hair, make-up, flowers, each course, the things on the tables, the flowers, etc… Blotted my face more so I wasn’t so shiny (greasy) Stood up to the Priest the first time we met him – we were paying him for his services Ignored the Smile Market phone calls Given myself more down time During the reception, I wish I had gone around to each guest to thank them for coming. During our speeches to the guests, made it more personal.  We had the issue of making sure everything was bilingual so things such as wedding programs, menus, OOT packets, all had to be done 2 times… and that was stressful.  STRONGLY advised guests to stay at the Tropical OR the Palace – but nowhere else.  Have the welcome cocktail at least 30 minutes longer or more.

By FireyNurse, · 3 Comments

Pros: Everything is fabulous about this resort and their wedding coordinators
Cons: nothing
Our wedding was Nov 28, 2012 Strawberry passion package Ceremony at the Palace Gazebo at 3:00 Reception at 5:30 on the Beach in front of the Coco Bar   We booked the Palace for our destination wedding because I fell in love with the Gazebo and HAD to get married in it, the rest is history! We had a total of 26 guests go, most stayed at the Colonial, we stayed at the Palace along with a few other people, about 4 rooms I think were at the Palace in total.    We arrived and attempted to check in at the front desk and were told we were Club Premium and were taken to the Club Premium lobby to check in. We aren't sure if Air Transat had anything to do with it (Because we had MAJOR problems with them and our group booking and eventually ended up complaining to a supervisor) or if it was the resort but we were upgraded to club premium and an ocean view room for the full two weeks we were there, when originally Victoria, our coordinator, had said the upgrade was not possible for two weeks.    Palace vs Colonial - we loved the upgrade and would only ever stay at the Palace if we were to go again, we would likely even go for the Club Premium because their service is so amazing! Not a single guest staying at either resort had any complaints, everyone absolutely loved the Barcelo. Everything including the bell boys were helpful in getting us transportation vans to town and everything!   Wedding Coordinator: Victoria Vazquez - AMAZING!!! She called our room the day we arrived and arranged with us to meet at her office the following morning, we went there and went over all the details of everything, picked flowers and cake and round tables vs square tables, etc. It was a very quick and painless meeting. We paid our invoice right then in the club premium lobby...I will warn you, if you speak no spanish, they will hand you the Visa machine, and as I do in Canada I hit "OK" then was about to put in my pin # when it declined. THe girl at the desk goes "declined, another card please!" LOL! Well I had set my card up to be 100% ok to use n Mexico, so I explained to her I needed her to try again which she did and I realized she had hit OK and I just needed to enter my pin. My husband nearly had a heart attack when it said declined, lol! THe following day, the day before our wedding we took two carry on suit cases to Victoria and showed her a couple pictures of our centrepieces and their set up as well as our guest book table set up and she just nodded her head yes to everything and we were out of there. Make sure to inquire about dress steaming, I forgot to ask and no one offered it and so 20 minutes before the ceremony I was having my dress steamed, I thought it was included in the package for some reason.   Spa I had my hair and make-up in the package so I decided to go to them for it and save a ton of money on having another team come in. Myself, my maid of honour, bridesmaid, flower girl and flower girls mom all had hair done. They did a great job on everyone's hair, everyone loved their style. I loved my hair as well and my makeup was great. We brought our samsung tablet with pics on it and showed them the pics and they got to work! Only thing I would suggest is give more time! We thought we had plenty of time since the spa said each service was not much more than an hour but we were there for much more than 2 hours and then it  seemed to have our day rushed afterwards! I also wanted to have mimosa's for us and they said they charged $7 each, I was like "um, NO!" lol! Had I known I would have brought the bottle of champagne I had in my room! Another issue I had with them was that I was trying not to be seen by my groom on the wedding day so I asked for a ride to the Spa, I wasn't sure when I called that they understood what I wanted at all, they never showed up to pick us up so we ended up walking. When we told the girl who drove us to my room afterward what our building was named it was like she had never heard of it and had no idea what we were talking about, so we guided her back to our room.   The Massages are fantastic! We had the 50 min one in the wedding package and then also were given the couples jacuzzi and massage as a gift and it was even better! My husband and I are both runners and were doing long runs while we were down there and the therapist I had noticed my legs were tight and worked them out, even though it was just a relaxation massage.   Photography: We used Juan Navarro and are SO happy we did! Him and his assistant Daniel were so fabulous to work with! They showed up to our room a little early, and just got to work. Juan eased my nerves about rain when I asked him if he thought it would rain he said "I checked the weather and it says 30% chance of rain so I say it won't, if it was 60% I would say it would likely rain!" He was right and it did not rain! yay! They didn't stage any shots in our room and we just got ready and they worked around us. We also did a TTD with Juan the day after the wedding and it was amazing as well!   Videography:  We used Playa Weddings and had Paul and his assistant there (unsure of his name). They were super friendly and great and were just like figures in our room capturing shots as we did our thing. Juan and Paul worked together to get certain shots of things like the sunset or lighting or whatever so it was very nice!   Wedding Ceremony - Symbolic We had initially asked for the keyboard and bassist but Victoria told my husband there was something wrong and so they brought the violinist for us. I am not sure what she played for everyone else to walk the aisle but I had Canon in D and it was great!    The justice of the peace was great and spoke perfect english...although he had an issue with my name pronunciation, Charity, so it sounds like my husband married Sherry instead, but no biggie! We had a speech for my husbands mom, it was "These are the hands.." but what we didn't know was that was part of his whole talking thing he said to us, haha! When it came time he whispered "you have a speech from someone" and we just said "no" and he moved on. He was good at telling us what we were doing, quietly, so that we didn't look awkward if we weren't sure what was next.   Wedding Reception: Coral Beach Our reception was to be on Coral Beach, I loved the location but the back up was the banquet hall, so when Victoria asked me if I wanted to place our reception inside because it might rain I was in tears asking for any other option other than a banquet hall! I did not choose Coral Beach originally, we were just told that's what we got so we went with it. Victoria ended up pulling something out of her hat and we were moved to the beach in front of the Coco Bar with the back up to be the activity area where the pingpong tables are under a palapa. We lucked out at our whole day was PERFECT with no rain so we partied our butts off on the beach. They do amazing things and comb the heck out of the sand so its the softest sand with no rocks or anything! When I saw our reception I was amazed, Victoria did amazing with our centrepieces and our welcome/guest book table. She is awesome! I am a vegetarian so I did not eat the surf and turf everyone else had but I heard amazing things about it, people raved about all parts of the dinner...lobster bisque soup, ceviche appetizer and all! The biggest hit was the raspberry tiramisu dessert, we didn't get to have it because we were sneaking in some night pictures in the gazebo, but everyone was talking about it for days after the wedding. We went with the one tiered cake in coconut flavour and it was delicious! No one ate it that night so Victoria had it taken to the kitchen and it was delivered to our room the next day at 3pm as we requested and we were able to give everyone some when we met in the Colonial Lobby that evening.The wait staff and bartender were so great, no one ever had a drink half full as they were always replenishing them, and they remembered everyones drinks too! Our reception included 3 hours, we added another 2 hours initially and then when they told us we had 15 mins left we looked and saw how much fun everyone was having dancing so we extended it by yet another hour! After that hour was over the Disco was open so we went there!   Music: We did an iPod and were happy with that decision. We had a cleaned off iPod with only two playlists on it, one was Dinner and one was Dance, this way no one could play anything we didn't want played because those two lists were the only options. We only had one per on try to look through the iPod for "50's music" haha! Making the playlist was tough but we got a ton of compliments on it. Until we told our guests that it was us that made the playlist and it was an iPod no one knew there was no DJ, lol! We put a lot of effort into our playlist, including finding spanish versions of songs we love and including them, and people liked that touch and were asking us to send them the songs when we got home! I will post our playlist for anyone who wants it. Their sound system is great and they let you control the volume!    All in all we couldn't have asked for a better resort or better service, everything was absolutely perfect!!  

By Hrcahill, · 1 Comment

Pros: Beautiful Hotel, Very clean, updated rooms
Cons: Almost too large to find your group, organization in spa is horrible
A Hello everyone!  Just wanted to post a review since this site was so helpful to me while I was planning!  The most important thing I can tell all of you is that your wedding coordinator has everything under control!  It may not seem like it, but everything will be just as you wanted it and more.  I know in the beginning, I was very stressed, because I felt like I didn't know where to begin, and I wanted to start planning!!  I was very frustrated because my coordinator wasn't emailing me back promptly, and I was worried that things weren't getting done!...but believe me, they are!!  After a couple of months of worrying, I decided to just let things go...I got on this site and read a lot of great reviews, and great ideas.  I started putting together gift bags for my guests, working on invitations etc.  I left the big details up to the coordinator, and let me tell you, my wedding was everything and more than I could have ever imagined.  :) I sent out a very long email to everyone about 2 weeks before the wedding.  I spent a lot of time on it, and it has a lot of good information in it about hotel, travel, wedding, etc.  This was very helpful for all my guests, especially people who don't travel much.  Let me know if you want me to email it to you.  I will put my email at the end of this review. Wedding coordinator:  We had Victoria as our planner.  Like I said before, they take awhile to get back to you, especially early on in the planning process.  Any small questions, or detail questions, you will get a better response asking girls on this site.  We had the meeting with her a few days before our wedding, she had everything very organized, she was on top of it!  I was impressed.  We brought with us a couple of boxes of tea lights, the name cards, the table numbers with the holders, guest book, a framed sign for the guest book table, menus, sand ceremony vases, fans for the chairs at ceremony.  You can change anything you want pretty much during that meeting.  She will go over everything with you, and confirm it all. Welcome Dinner: We decided to have a dinner the night before our wedding since we weren't having a rehearsal or anything.  We had about 45  guests so they would not book us in one of the a la carte restaurants.  They had us in the Hacienda Buffet which was perfect.  They had us in a sectioned area so that we were somewhat secluded.  We decided to give out the gift bags during this time, just because bringing them to each room would have been such a pain (plus it was $5 per bag to deliver with the bellboy)  It was great though, they brought over an extra table, and we had the bags all displayed there, and I made an announcement for everyone to make sure that they took their bag before they left.   Gift Bags: I really wanted to do nice gift bags for everyone just because I felt like people spent a lot of money and traveled a long way to come to our wedding.  I fount a lot of great threads on this site with tons of good ideas!  Here is a list: -postcard with a personal letter from bride and groom - vistaprint -beach bags- Target- I saw people using these all of the time! -cellophane bags filled with travel size Advil, tums, alkaseltzer, sunscreen, aloe lotion, chap stick, propel packets - all of this mostly from Sam's club where I could buy in bulk -starfish frame-http://www.newfavors.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=349  These were really cute for the price.  These we were going to give out at the wedding as favors, but didn't want people to have to carry them around for the rest of the night, so we put them in the gift bags. -snacks- gardettos, cheese nips, oreos - all from Sam's club.  these came in handy :) -customized koozie- from totallykoozies.com Our Wedding Ceremony:  I don't even know where to begin!  Our wedding was amazing!  We were supposed to have our ceremony at the Coral Beach, but unfortunately in rained ALL DAY LONG on our wedding day!  At first I was bummed, but they back up plan was absolutely beautiful.  It was inside, but still open aired.  There was a huge arch that opened up to the gazebo, and looked over the water.  So don't be to worried about rain, because it was still perfect!  It was at 5:30, so the time of day plus the overcast weather made for a very intimate ceremony.  It was very breezy too which was wonderful.  We had the saxophone.  At first we choose the violin, but changed it during our meeting.  He was great from what I was told, I barely remember :)  He played while people were sitting down and waiting.  He played Canon in D while my Dad and I walked down the aisle.  For the bridesmaids and groomsmen, they walked to somewhere over the rainbow (the beach version) which I had on my ipod for them to play. My Husbands brother officiated since we didn't have a legal marriage (we got married legally in the US when we returned).  That was very special to us, we will never forget that experience!  We also did the sand ceremony, which was nice as well.  We also wrote our own vows, which was so neat.  It made it so sentimental for us as well as our guests :) After the ceremony, they had champagne for all the guests.  We stood around and talked for a little while then did some pictures with our wedding party and family members.  We choose not to have a cocktail hour, instead we just sent everyone to the Carey Lounge in the Palace Lobby.  It was perfectly fine. Reception:  Originally we were supposed to have our reception at the Mariachi Grill, but the day of our meeting Victoria told me that the Palmaras Grill was open for the night, so we switched it.  Both places are almost exactly alike, but the Palmaras is closer to the Palace if people are walking to it. We also added an extra hour to the reception, which I am so glad we did, we needed it!  Since it was raining, Victoria had a shuttle come pick us up and bring us over there.  We had the place all to ourselves, it was very nice!  The decorations were beautiful, everything turned out great!  We did not get a DJ, and instead designated and paid one of my friends to be in charge of the music.  I told him months before, so he had play lists for dinner, and dancing.  They have all the equipment there for you to plug in whatever you need.  He actually brought his laptop.  We did first dances right away, then ate.  We started speeches during dessert.  After that, we cut the cake.  We had two tiers which was more than enough.  Coconut and Pineapple, both delicious.  We didn't bring a topper for the cake, just told them to put fresh flowers on it, it looked very  nice.  Like everyone has said, no one really pays attention to the cake anyways, people are ready to party at this point!  There was a table set up in the corner where the guest book was.  This is also where the name tags were set up for people to grab to find their table.  We put them in alphabetical order before hand for her to set up that way.  The food was some of the best we had the whole time! The shrimp cocktail comes in a big half pineapple!  Very cute, and delicious.   The waitstaff was great as well as the bartenders.  They were coming around all night with trays of different kinds of shots which was nice!  We had the Mariachi Band come which was fun.  I wasn't super impressed with them, but it was a nice change and it caught every ones attention.  At this point people wanted to dance to good music, the band was sort of slow, but still, it was a nice change.   After the reception was over, everyone went back to the Palace lobby bar, the Carey bar.  People partied for the rest of the night there.  That seemed to be the spot where we all hung out the most.  They have a great outdoor space with couches etc. Photographer: We used Fine Art Studio.  They were amazing!!!!  Take a look at their work at fineartstudiomexico.com  At first we wanted Del Sol, but they were quite a bit out of our budget.  I looked and looked for some comparable work, since photos are so important to me, and their work looked just as beautiful!  It is photojournalist style, which I love.  They seemed to be capturing all the perfect moments!  Everyone at the wedding commented on how great they were, they were everywhere getting some really neat a unique shots!  We wont get our pics back for a few more weeks, but have seen a few and they were amazing!  We also did a TTD session with them two days later.  We did underwater photos as well.  Take a look at this video for an idea of what you will do if you want to do underwater.  It was amazing what they can do: http://vimeo.com/45230851 We decided against getting a videographer, just because it was so expensive, plus the outside vendor fee.  So we just paid one of our friends to video.  She brought a tripod as well.  This way, we at least have something on video to watch if we ever want to. I created a shutterfly account for everyone as well which has been great!  Once you create an account, you can make a share account with a password.  I sent out an email to all of our guests with the information to log onto it.  This way, people can share and print photos.  I will also be putting my professional pics on this website for all the guest to view.  This has been really fun for everyone!  Its nice to have every ones pics on an Internet site besides facebook that you can always keep.  Spa: The spa is really my only complaint about the whole trip.  We booked appts months in advance with our wedding coordinator.  My husband and I showed up for our couples massage which came with our package, and they had no idea who we were and didn't have any reservations down for us.  They finally figured it out.  While we were there, I decided to confirm the appointments I had for the next day for mani/pedi with my MOH and mom.  Again, a big mess, they only had my appointment.  They got everything straightened up, but when we arrived the next day, our appointments were not on the schedule!!  It was a nightmare!!!!  They told us we would have to come back, which we couldn't do...etc. etc.  We complained, saying it was my wedding day and we needed these appts, and they finally figured something out.  Bottom line...Be prepared for things to be all messed up!  Good news is that the services were great!!!  The massage was one of the best I have ever had, and the mani pedi as well.  The computer system they have is super old school, tons of loose papers and stuff.  Same goes for the front desk of the Palace as well.  They were very slow, and even lost some of my guests reservations!  Luckily I had told everyone in my email to print off their reservation confirmation and payment.   I was very surprised by this considering what a nice hotel it is!!!  But seriously, this is the only bad thing that happened :) Catamaran: We decided to do a catamaran tour the next day after our wedding.  We went with FatCat Catamaran.  It was a lot of fun.  We had about 35 people on the catamaran, and any more than that, it would have been too small.  There is another one called the Catamaya, which is much larger.  This was something fun for everyone to do together.  Since the hotel is so big, it was hard to get everyone together, so this was fun for our group.     We had the best week of our lives, and our wedding day was so magical!!!  The best thing you can do is just go with the flow, and stop stressing!!!  Everything will be so wonderful I promise!!! If you have any other questions, feel free to email me at HRCahill@yahoo.com I will try and put some pictures up on my profile, but not sure how that works, so if you cant find any pics and want to see some, email me and I can even give you the site to our wedding shutterfly account with tons of pics on it!  Happy Planning!            

By kisekae, · 4 Comments

Barcelo Maya Palace Wedding Review April 26, 2012 Strawberry Package
Wedding Coordinator

Claudia was our wedding planner and she was amazing. She always replied to my emails promptly, and though it took her a few times to answer questions at times, in the end she did always manage to help me figure things out and was far more organised than I was. She left us a message the night of our arrival and we met the following morning where she had everything ready to go. She made sure everything ran smoothly the whole day and we couldn’t be more thankful for her help.


I decided to splurge and went with Adrian and his team for hair and makeup and after dealing with the hotel spa on another occasion (for my manicure/pedicure), I was glad I did. The spa is unorganised and really doesn’t understand much english so communicating was difficult. They were supposed to pick me up for my appointment and didn’t, so I had to run to make it there on time and other things that made it clear I didn’t want to be in their hands on an already stressful day.

Adrian and his team were so amazing. They came to our room and were so friendly, it put everyone at ease and made the mood energetic and fun. I really didn’t have anything in mind for my bridesmaids hair but they managed to do something beautiful that all 4 of them liked, and for my own hair it was exactly as I wanted it. The makeup from adrian for my mom and I was unbeatable. I’ve never had makeup done so nicely and stay on so perfectly (even after my fiance smooshed cake all over my face!). It was a hot sunny day so I was more than thankful for the sweatproof makeup.


We went back and forth a lot on the music and ended up choosing the violin. To be honest neither my husband or I remembers anything about what she sounded like but I think it was nice. There was no issue with her being too quiet as I had heard people complain about that on the forum before.


He was really good, and we were just delighted because we had originally been told our ceremony would be in Spanish since it was a legal ceremony, but it wasn’t. It was quick and straight to the point, and we thought it went nicely. The only problem we had was before the ceremony started he asked my fiance if he had any words/vows to say and my fiance made it clear that he did not. When the time came, he turned it around on BOTH of us to say something on the spot! It was horrible as both of us didn’t know what to say and are not good under pressure :P


We had the ceremony at the Palace Gazebo and were so happy with our choice. It was so beautiful, and there were hardly any people around. Most importantly, I was still able to wear my high heels! We had 36 guests and everyone fit nicely around the edges. I just loved walking down that aisle of the palace.

We didn’t have a formal cocktail hour but our guests made their way after the ceremony to the Carey Lobby Bar. I have to say this was a downfall of our day. Some of our guests stayed at the other Barcelo hotels (tropical, etc) and were given such a hard time by the staff. They wouldn’t serve them anything and I think even wouldn’t let some of them in. We found them really pretentious here and avoided it as much as possible. It really was a shame but oh well.

Our reception was held at Playa Azul and I think that this is hands down the nicest place for receptions. It’s the most secluded and has an amazing beach to dance all night on. I will try to get some photo’s up.


I made a lot of the added details myself, including name cards, table numbers, cake topper etc. to try and keep things on budget. But when it came to setting it up, everything was completely done perfectly by the staff. The scenery is so beautiful that really less is more. We chose vases of sand with candles for the centerpieces and it was a perfect touch. We were originally just going to have the free ones, but this added a nice touch of light as the sun set. We paid for 8 strings of lights on the trees but they ended up lighting them all. The chairs were typical chair covers with our colour of sashes.


We bought maracas from the resort, and after pricing them out all over Playa Del Carmen, we actually got a better deal getting them at the resort. We payed about $1.40 each and added little thank you tags to each one. They were a hit with the guests.


We weren’t overly pleased with the resort food in general so we weren’t sure what to expect at the wedding, but we were pleasantly surprised. It was the best food we’ve had in a long time, and everyone agreed. It wasn’t only good for resort food, it was just generally really good. On top of that, everything came out at the same time, and hot. The serving staff was phenomenal. We had to tip them extra since we were so happy with their service. Nobody ever had an empty glass either, which probably helped too. Our menu included Thai Salad, Asparagus Soup (surprisingly a hit with everyone!), Surf and Turf (I’m not generally a steak or seafood lover but this was amazing), and Chocolate Lava cake (which was another, more obvious, hit). By the time our wedding cake came everyone was stuffed, but those who tried it also raved about it. We had a strawberry and a pineapple tier which was definitely unnecessary. They had said 1 tier only feeds like 20 people or something so we went with 2 but the 1 tier was huge.

Mariachi Band

We had the mariachi band come in after dinner and they immediately got everyone up and dancing. Everyone loved them and had so much fun dancing around and even doing a spontaneous limbo with them playing. We even did a no-no and got up dancing before our first dance as we couldn’t resist. They are expensive but I am really glad we had them. It made the whole thing more Mexican feeling.


We just had our ipod with the playlists set ahead of time for dinner, dancing, speeches etc. For us, it was ideal. I wouldn’t have wanted the DJ even if it was free, because the ipod was just so perfect and played exactly what we wanted, when we wanted.


We extended the reception by an hour so it was from 7pm to 11pm. I was worried we would still be rushing since we wanted time to dance, but it really was the perfect amount of time. We were able to relax and enjoy food, speeches, cake, etc. and still had plenty of time for dancing. When it came to 11pm, the ‘more mature’ people were ready to go sleep and the rest of us continued on at Jaguars. It was so much fun, I’m glad we did. It’s an amazing club for a resort, though I did get changed first as my arms couldn’t hold my dress up any longer!


I don’t even know where to start with our photographers because they were so amazing. We had Foto Take It, which is a young couple from Argentina. They are so sweet and captured every moment of the day. They were with us from morning til night, and even rode the bus with us, taking pictures along the way. They made everyone comfortable and we had such a great time photographing with them. They even went above and beyond when my fiance forgot his white shirt at our TTD session and they gave us theirs. I can’t recommend them enough.

We had an issue with Kodak (the resort photographers) who I had to basically yell at to honor our deal with Claudia to pay only $300 fee NOT to use them, since it is now $500. I think this whole set up is ridiculous and I was annoyed enough about paying $300 so there was no way I was going to pay more.

Front Desk

Really terrible. I can’t begin to tell you the frustration they caused to us and our guests. Every time we called for something we were passed around from person to person, put on hold, and occasionally just disconnected all together after 15-20 mins on the phone. It was beyond aggravating. The night before the wedding our internet was disconnected and we were unable to get it until 7am the next morning when we were waiting on important emails from the hair stylist/photographer, and again was just passed around getting no where on the phone or in person when we went to the front desk to sort it out. The resort seems to consistently get criticized for its front desk so you would think they’d do something about it, but alas.  

The good thing was we checked in fine, and got the premium wristbands with free wifi and room service (which we took advantage of). We didn’t get a sea view but we weren’t picky enough to complain and actually liked the private view our room did have.

By 780chick, · 10 Comments

Pros: WC is organized,Multiple wedding beach locations,junior suites,Family Friendly,Pools,Snorkelling,Recreational activities,great food and premium drinks
Cons: Some guests said it was too big, Outside photography fee, Lots of school groups for spring break, front desk service, no free wi-fi, house wine sucks
A Barcelo Maya Palace
March 28, 2012
Ceremony at Coral Beach 3:00
Reception at Playa Azul 6:00-11:00
Photography: Gonzalo Nunez http://www.gonzalonunez.com/
Video:Mediamorfosis http://mediamorfosisblog.com/
Hair and Make Up: Styling Trio (Adrian and Cristian) http://www.stylingtriorivieramaya.com/
DJ: Discomovil http://www.discomovilcancun.com/
Catamaran: Catayama www.catamaya.net/ Real Touch Flowers: My bouquet: Enchanting Memories http://enchantingmemoriesstore.com Bridesmaids/Flower Girl: DIY made with flowers bought from another bride originally www.afloral.com
Hope you have a coffee and a comfy spot to get through this review.  I was able to get a lot of info from here and wanted to give a detailed review on the resort and vendors I used. These aren't our pro pics with the exception of the TTD ones.   SUNDAY March 25- We had 76 people mostly from Edmonton, some from Calgary and a few from all over. We flew Transat and it was uneventful.  We brought an extra 6 suitcases and 2 boxes for OOT bags and decorations that were spread out amongst our guests to take down. With so many guests, 80 of anything is a lot. The raffia fans took up one whole box. We sent 100 mugs from discountmugs.com to our friends in Florida who brought them down for us.  I also sent some packages to my sister in NYC to bring down for me (including 50 sky lanterns that the resort no longer allows but failed to let me know).

Dress went up in an overhead compartment as other brides had stated.  FYI I had two wedding dresses both are replicas from babyonline from DHgate and his suit, both dads' suits and both brothers' suits were from StudioSuits.com.  Arrived at 2:00pm and got through customs pretty quick. They had a private transfer for 45 of us from Edmonton and we were able to add the Calgary people who had arrived at the same time. A couple people got the red light but they were let go when they said it was wedding stuff.  One guest didn't get his suitcase for 30 minutes after everybody else but other than that, we were quick. They had water and coronas for purchase on the bus.  Ride to the resort was about an hour and we arrived just after 4pm.   Considering there were quite a few of us checking in, it wasn't too bad. Didn't get any perks for being the wedding couple. For Transat brides who purchase the wedding package through them, you do not get Club Premium perks. We tipped the bell boys to make sure we got our suitcases right away so we could get the OOT bags ready.  We were disappointed our room was on the second floor but soon realized we were closest to the lobby and pools out of all our guests. Even though they tried to group us together in the same building, the resort is HUGE and it was a trek for some of our guests.

Room was nice and clean. Bathrooms are big with double sinks. Love the rain shower. We received a fruit platter and bottle of tequila in our room. Our ceiling fan didn't work but maintenance fixed it right away. When we got back from dinner that night there was champagne and chocolate covered strawberries - received that a few nights throughout our stay. For Transat guests we got pool towels in the room and didn't have to worry about towel cards. It was nice to get as many towels as you wanted.  Also, we got 15% off spa treatments. Make sure you let them know cause there are so many different bracelets for them to keep track of.

We were on a tight schedule and by the time we got to my parents' room it was 5:00 and we still needed to unpack and organize OOT bags for 80 people!.

Welcome Dinner at 6:30- We had a welcome white night and had all our guests dressed in white. The hotel sectioned off part of the buffet for us. It was a really good idea to have everybody in white because you could tell who was part of our group. We ended up at the Carey bar in the lobby afterwards. In hindsight, I wish we would've done the welcome dinner on Monday night. We thought people would want to party it up, but most were tired from all the traveling.

MONDAY March 26- met with our WC Lillian who was awesome and super organized considering we showed up with 5 suitcases of decorations. She always answered emails within a few days. We booked the Euphoria package through Transat back home for $1500 that included 24 guests vs. Strawberry Passion package at $3500 for 15 guests. The resort really nickles and dimes you for extras. Paid an extra $20 for each extra adult, $27.50 for every single adult for beach reception. Kids got chicken fingers and fries for free. Euphoria only includes three courses and 2 hour reception but has a cocktail hour. We substituted the cocktail hour for an extra hour at the reception and a soup course. I had previously inquired about a free cocktail hour for bringing so many people.  She said yes they have given free cocktail hours but usually for Strawberry Passion packages but she was willing to give us an extra hour at the reception.  Done.  Saved us almost $1000.  We paid for one extra hour with appetizers at $14.50/adult and they served mexican appetizers at 10pm. Added the huppa with the flowers $400 (the flowers were reused as head table centerpieces) and because I brought my own bouquet, just asked them to place the resort bouquet on the ceremony table. Didn't get extra centerpieces just used the fruit ones with the hurricane lamp and it looked great. Confirmed hair and makeup for my mom at the salon. I hired Adrian to do my hair and makeup.

We went through the spreadsheet, finalized food and cake, and confirmed location. We opened each suitcase and went through the decorations and how I wanted it laid out. Nothing I asked was refused or questioned (except sky lanterns) and we brought a lot.  While she was getting our receipt written out, we went next door to Kodak to pay our $300 for outside photography (which is now $500 from what I hear). With our Transat package we still got their photographer for 30 minutes and 24 prints which we just let them choose. They had those pictures ready 4 days later. I asked Lillian to tell the Kodak photographer to please not get in the way of our other photographers, and he was pretty good about it.  I've read about their photographers deliberately getting into outside photographers shots.  But you could tell he did not stay one minute more than he was supposed to.  He only shot up until the exchange of rings and bolted. We did end up paying $150 for digital copies of all the pictures he took (appx 200) on a cd.   Lillian then took us on the golf cart to see our ceremony and reception locations. Coral beach did not look big enough for 80 people for our ceremony but she assured me it was ok.  It looks over the rocky part of the beach and is not right up to the ocean which was still beautiful.  Playa Azul is spectacular. Secluded, soft sand, close to the ocean.  Then we went up to the front desk to pay. We also scheduled a quick rehearsal on Tuesday at 1:00.  You have to ask for it.  She said the rehearsal would be 15 minutes but would give us a general idea of what to do and where to stand. The whole meeting with Lillian took appx 2 hours.

Adrian and Cristian came to do my hair and makeup trial at 4:00. Showed Cristian a picture of the hair I wanted and it was perfect but we really struggled with the makeup because the colors weren't quite right. We later figure out that he should use some of my personal eyeshadow colors. After an hour and a half, he insisted that it would be perfect for the wedding day. Cristian redid my hair so it looked different for dinner.

FAMILY DINNER: French restaurant at 6:00 - Lillian set this up. They had two tables of ten for us and we had to have a set menu. She sent me two different menus a few weeks prior and I mixed and matched between the two menus.  Shrimp salad - which is just 4 deep fried shrimp with some greens, french onion soup, choice of filet or sea bass and scallops and creme brulee.  Service was good and very prompt. They also brought out a special dessert and serenaded us with some sombreros.

JAGUARS - went to the resort disco that night. Didn't go again. We were there for a whole 30 min. It was spring break so lots of young drunk obnoxious kids. Most of us are all in our 30s and love to party, but felt very out of place. Music was too loud, drinks weren't very good and most of the kids were very rude. The bus ride to and from was more exciting for the 30 of us that went. I'm glad we went though, as that was our plan after the wedding.

TUESDAY: Catamaya Catamaran Cruise - 3:00-7:00 we chartered this for our guests as a thank you and 51 of our guests came.   Most guests that did not come had small children. One of our friends got really sea sick and spent most of the trip on top of the boat. I researched a few companies, some were cheaper, most were more expensive.  Some did not have big enough boats (we could've had up to 100) or their communication was not great. We were able to finalize numbers the day before through email.

They provided transportation and sent one bus and two vans to take us to Puerto Aventuras 10 minutes away. Sailed for an hour, snorkeled for 45 minutes then had dinner and sailed back.  Had steak or lobster (very small lobster tail) or burger dinner with some salads. Unlimited beer and booze. And we were able to hook up out iPod to play music. The water was a little rough that day but it was a great time.
WEDNESDAY March 28 wedding day! I stayed with my sister the night before and got up and had breakfast with my family. My fiancé was supposed to get a courtesy room from 9-3 (Transat pkg) but had a little bit of difficulty. He went and got Lillian and she sorted it out and he had keys by 10. His room ended up being directly across from us and there were a few times we almost saw each other and I was pushed into walls by my bridesmaids lol.

We rented a golf cart for the $85/day as we have some guests with mobility issues. 

Adrian and his team showed up at 11. There were 4 of them. Then Gonzalo and his assistant at 12. And right after Mediamorfosis showed up with their team of 3. With the groomsmen coming in and out to grab things my fiance had left behind, my three bridesmaids, and later on my dad, niece (flowergirl) and her mom, it was a zoo but never felt cramped. I'm glad all the rooms are junior suites. My mom had her hair and makeup done at the resort. It was a disaster. I barely recognized her. I know other brides have had positive experiences, but beware. Our hair and makeup looked flawless, but it was pretty windy that day and some of our hair didn't hold up the whole night.

I didn't realize how much time would be needed to do some posed shots for photography and videography would be needed so all the "extra" time I thought I had quickly disappeared.  But other than that, you really didn't notice them after awhile. I had all wedding related things for them on the table for them to shoot. Bouquets, shoes, garter, rings, invitations and my two dresses that they took around to shoot.

We got to the gazebo and started right away. The huppa with the flowers was just beautiful.  The resort bouquet was in a vase and was small, a few liles and maybe 6 roses so Transat brides, you may want to upgrade.  With the package we got 8 boutineers but I substituted it for 4 bags of rose petals -wasn't very much or they may have blown away. Everything was laid out beautifully. Raffia fans with programs, parasols in the aisle, bubbles and years of joy packets on a table. It was windy and most of the shots, my veil is draped in the front of my dress but it still looked beautiful. Here are some Kodak pics:
  We had music on our iPod and the sound system was great. My brother officiated the ceremony and he was awesome. His sister did a hand blessing, we exchanged rings and did a sand ceremony. It was probably 20-25 minutes. Then we had a champagne toast and the paparazzi ran to the roof of the coral grill to take a group shot of us. It took a little while for them to get there and by this time it was done it was 4.

Afterwards, the family and wedding party went down to the rocky part below the ceremony to take some quick family shots (it was too hot and we wanted to get them out of the sun). Then we did some bridal party shots. It didn't seem like very much time though because I had to change into my second dress and get to the other end of the resort by 6.
  A bus came to pick up our guests to take them to Playa Azul at 5:40 but everybody couldn't fit. The bus was supposed to come back but didn't. Groomsmen drove guests with the 8 person golf cart a couple times, there were still 10 of us left sitting in the lobby and we (bride and groom) were 20 minutes late. This was upsetting because we missed having any shots at sunset.

I thought playa azul was spectacular when I saw it the first time.  Nothing compared to the setup for the reception. We brought lanterns to be strung from the palapa. Luminaries that were set up along the path and around our reception area. Maracas, menus, table numbers. We also had a few long tables set up. One with props for photos. One that had starfish escort cards, pashminas and flip flops for the ladies and our special hockey jersey customized with our name and wedding date that we used as our guestbook.

They had a podium set up for our MC. Discomovilcancun had the light up dancefloor but had some difficulty with the audiovisual equipment for the slideshow and took a little while to get it set up. We had pictures from the last few days and the wedding ceremony playing throughout dinner and our official slideshow after speeches. These aren't pro pics, but gives you an idea of what the area looks like. NOTE: Usually for smaller weddings, they set up everything under the palapa.  This was perfect for us.  We were steps away from the ocean.
  Food was good. Not great, not terrible. We kept it simple. Ceaser salad- nice presentation, asparagus soup- he loved it, roasted chicken with portobello mushrooms on mash with some veg-surprisingly good, half baked chocolate cake-good. Then they also brought out a plate of mini squares, chocolate covered strawberries. One for each table. We got a 3 tier cake. 2 would've been fine but I liked the look of 3 tiers. Pineapple, coconut and chocolate. They left the top which was chocolate for us the next day (gross, stick with tropical flavors) the other two were delicious the guests were raving. I only tried one small bite of pineapple. Too busy!

Then we did our first dance with cold fireworks near the end-omg the best ever!!!! Father/daughter dance and mother/son dance and then the dj rocked it! It was pretty windy so nobody took the photo props that were hiding under some huge sombreros to keep them from flying away. I grabbed them off the table and passed them around. The dj also had some stuff too and it was amazing. Most of the boys were drinking and the bartenders were great. The rest of us made really good use of the dancefloor.   Apparently there were a couple of wedding crashers during the dance portion. My bridesmaid asked them to leave. I'm glad we were at the very end of the resort because I'm sure there would have been more had we had our reception at one of the other locations at the resort.  
    Having the golf cart was helpful for transporting back some parents with their young ones early.  In the golf cart a roundtrip was appx 30 minutes.  The resort bus does come by every 20 minutes or so, but it stops at every single stop and can take awhile to get to the other end.

The next morning our breakfast arrived at 9 (make sure to specify no salmon in the eggs if you don't like that) and we slept all day while it rained a little bit. The only time in two weeks we were there!

We picked up the leftover decorations a few days later and received our "gift" from the hotel which was a frame.  
DJ -Discomovilcancun They were half the price of the resort.  I know the light up dancefloor is a lot of money ($1200 through the resort but $600 through dj) And he rented us a generator for $200 as the hotel charges you $100/hour to use their electricity.  The dancefloor really made it the focus of the party and looked awesome on the beach. It's really worth it to have a dj as he can feel the crowd. He cleared the dancefloor once with ACDC but quickly changed it. We gave them a list of important songs, must plays, and do not plays. They mixed it with their own and uploaded all of my husbands songs off his iPhone in like 15 seconds to make sure they didn't miss anything. Great guys.   Mediamorfosis: Videography- they were great. There were three of them and you really didn't notice them at all. They did ask us to do some poses for their video but it wasnt that much and they worked hard all day long. We will get a 4-5 minute highlight video and a 45 minute one with all the important stuff.  We wont have the video for 9 months but their work is amazing. Check out their website or videos on Vimeo. Amazing.   Gonzalo Nunez- photography. Honestly words cannot express how much admiration, respect and gratitude I have for this man. We hired him for the wedding day and TTD and brought an assistant for both. He has such a calm demeanor but is so creative and fun. He blended in seamlessly and only forced us to take shots with our guests during the party because it had been too hot out earlier. He just said, grab some people and I will follow and shoot.  My husband didn't like missing out on the partying but looking back now, it was really important to get shots with all the people that travelled to be with us.

He came back a few days later to pick us up for our TTD. What was supposed to be 4 hours ended up being 8.  He kept getting inspiration for other shots and took all of my suggestions and requests without a complaint. He just kept going and going. We went to the Grande Cenote for our underwater shoot first. It was tough for me cause I don't swim very well and my dress did not allow me to dive or stay underwater. He was so patient and he posted a picture on his Facebook that is amazing! I accidentally removed the ring off my husbands finger in the cenote and they both went diving to find it. We then went to grab some tacos at a roadside restaurant. Really good! Then he gave us a quick tour of Tulum and then we went to the beach for some more shots. We brought some Mexican wrestling masks and got some action shots and then got some beach shots. I had wanted to do a sexy one at the cenote with just my bikini bottoms on but there wasn't enough time. But after the beach I was head to toe in sand. His assistant stripped me and I was standing there in my husbands suit jacket when he got the inspiration for our last shot. Walking into the ocean topless with my dress in tow. I can't wait to see all of his pictures!

His style is photo journalistic, his prices were a fraction of others, his email communication is quick, always responsive and he was just featured in a bridal magazine and appeared on TV.   My husband now says he wishes we would've had a third day with him. Serious? The one who dreaded doing two days? Book him now before his prices go up. You won't regret it! Here are the two he posted on Facebook     TIPS:   DECORATIONS: Make sure you let your WC know what you want back.  Lillian was pretty good about it, but we were missing our sand ceremony frame and some extra table runners we brought down and they tracked them down the next day.  Also, we had bought a polaroid camera that mysteriously walked away.  I think it may have been one of the wedding crashers so no big deal.    PREMIUM BOOZE: make sure you ask for booze by name.  You're paying for it, so make it count otherwise they just serve you whatever local alcohol they have! We got hooked on Havana 7 and Bacardi Solaris rum mojitos   A LA CARTES: the French and show table at Kyoto at the Colonial was the best.  Others complained they weren't able to get reservations, or only really early or late.  We tipped the concierge $10 the first night and she was able to get us resos the whole two weeks we were there in the 6:00-8:00 range.  The second week, there were 8 adults and 4 children and she just made us 3 resos of 4 and the restaurants usually had us have an adults table and kids table beside us. Ask for the mayan coffee.  Some of the restaurants still do it.  It's basically a special coffee made with liquer that is set on fire.  The server has a cart and does a show for a few minutes.   ADULT POOL: You can reserve the cabanas at the adult pool for $10 for the day.  There are only ten of them and they are a hot commodity.  Show up by 8 or they are all gone and be sure to make friends with Uleses the bartender there. Pay for it then go have your breakfast.    ROMANTIC DINNER: It cost $290, but it was held at Coral Beach where we got married.  We had our own personal server and a manager overseeing it.  The lights were lit up, they set up the sound system, champagne, a four course meal and such great service.  We weren't rushed and enjoyed our dinner.  It was our one week anniversary lol.  They also made me close my eyes and gave my husband a dozen roses to give to me.  When we got back to our room, champagne, chocolate covered strawberries and rose petals in a heart shape.  Well worth the money.     DRY CLEANING: Get your dress dry cleaned at the hotel.  I sent it away and had it back in 24 hours and the best part? 130 pesos.  If you trash your dress, run the tub and let the dress soak.  The sand will sink and then you can let it dry and/or have it cleaned.    CHECK OUT:the night before you leave, clear your tab with the hotel at the front desk. Then the next day, when you are ready to go, head down to the concierge table that sits in your building on the main floor and avoid the line up in the lobby.  You just have to hand in your room keys and towel cards, if you were given them when you checked in, to the concierge.  They will call to confirm that you do not owe anything and give you your check out slip.
Travel We used a TA and booked through Air Transat. We were able to book the wedding a year in advance (invitations were sent April 1, 2011 and we departed April 1, 2012). Considering the high time that we booked for, we got a pretty reasonable price. A couple of our guests chose to stay at the maya beach resort as they found the palace too costly, and went through a different TA. They ended up paying more than we did to stay at the palace. We were $1800 including GST for double occupancy. Our TA had booked a block of seats on the plane for us, but not everybody was together, and there were random people scattered throughout our group. Not a big deal, but would have been nice if we would of had the 4 rows that had been pre-booked for us. Haulilng the wedding dress was kind of a pain, I was very thankful that I did not have a big, heavy gown!! It would not have been too bad except there were 4 flights that had landed within about 15-20 minutes of one another in Cancun and it was a LONG wait to get through security at the airport. I have been to the cancun airport before, and I was shocked at how busy it was. And then nearly half of our guests got the red light and had to wait for further screening. We had private group transportation to and from the airport, and that was sooooo nice!! There was just 20 of us on the bus and no stops at other resorts. Thankfully I was able to put my gown in my moms suitcase for the trip home. My mom had also booked a limo (one of the SUV ones) to take us to the airport and back. It sure made travelling easy!!   Wedding We had our ceremony at 4pm on April 4 at the coral beach, a cocktail hour from 5:30-6:30 at the rooftop terrace and the reception from 7-10 at the coral beach. Our WC was Gabriela, and she was fabulous! Everything went perfectly and I was able to enjoy the day without worrying about a thing. So many of our guests commented that I was the happiest bride they had ever seen, I just had a huge smile on my face all day long and I give a lot of that credit to Gabriela and everyone else that made our day so perfect. We did not notice onlookers at all during the ceremony, the resort did an excellent job of keeping people away especially while the procession was taking place. In some of our pics of us walking down, you can see people watching from the coral grill, but we were completely oblivious to anybody being there but us. My cousin played the ukulele for the bridal party procession, they did a great job of getting him set up and ensuring that the sound was good before starting the procession. I had selected flowers that were of extra charge (orchids and something else....) and the resort did a great job of re-creating the bouquet. Quite a few people actually thought they were fake, including the photographer!!! I finally threw the bouquet out on Sunday. It did not wilt one bit until a couple of days after the wedding, I was quite impressed :) Hair & Make Up My sister and mother in-law had their hair and make up done at the spa, there were no issues with appointment times (Gabriela had also followed up with me to confirm that the appointments were correct) and they did a very good job. I hired Adrian for my hair and make up, and he also did my moms make up and one of my bridesmaids hair and make up. Adrian and Alex were FANTASTIC!! I could not have asked for anything more, they were so friendly and fun to be around and they are so talented!! They were worth every single penny and more!! Adrian even went to my husbands room and made him up a little bit, just to make sure that everything was perfect for our wedding. I can honestly say that at 3am my hair and make up looked just as good as when they first finished at 2 in the afternoon. My mom cried (a lot lol) through the entire ceremony and you could not tell, nothing ran or washed off! I had an allergic reaction to a sunscreen that my husband purchased, and I had a rash and bumps all over my face and neck and you could not tell at all. Like I said, the spa did a great job BUT Adrian and his team are in a league of their own!! We hired Ivan Luckie as our photographer and I can honestly say that the $300 we paid to Kodak in order to have Ivan there was some of the best money we spent on our wedding. Kodak still showed up to photograph the ceremony (our package included pictures which is why) and the pictures were ok, but out of 150 pictures we had to look through them about 3 times to pick just 24 decent pictures. They also kind of get in the way of our hired photographer. I never once noticed Ivan or Anell through the ceremony, and hardly through the reception but I did notice the Kodak photographer. Our pictures from Kodak have Ivan and Anell in them, and it is hard to get good pics when there are so many photographers getting in the way. Kodak was asked to shoot the cocktail hour instead of the ceremony, but they ignored our request and now we have no pictures from the cocktail hour. Even when Ivan was shooting us in the room (getting ready) I hardly noticed him there. We can hardly wait to see our pictures from Ivan!! I told him what I wanted and let him run with it, he is so creative and was not shooting the same locations and poses as the other wedding pictures that I had seen of his that were done at the palace. My only wish through the entire wedding was that I would have liked to have more time with Ivan. My husband was very skeptikal to say the least about the whole photography business, he does not like to have his picture taken and makes a weird 'camera face' whenever there is a camera around him. Ivan made us both feel so comfortable and let our personalities come through in what we were doing. By the end of the day my husband was raving about him and is extremely excited for the pictures - and that says A LOT!!!!!! There was also a couple issues with the family....my husbands parents divorced about 15 years ago and have both moved on, but his mother still cannot be in the same place as his father. Doing the group shot turned out to be quite challenging when it should not have been. Ivan spoke privately to my husband and asked him how he wanted the two sets of parents handled and we avoided any further issues.   All of our guests were so impressed with the wedding. They said that it was by far the best wedding that they have ever been to, it exceeded everyones expectations. The judge did a fantastic job, the ceremony was funny, sweet and serious when appropriate. Very good especially being that neither one of us had ever met him. When I was walking down the aisle from the gazebo my husband had his back to me and I kept saying 'what is he looking at? Why isn't he looking at me??' but the judge made him turn his back and he wasn't allowed to look until he was told so lol. There were a lot of tears and even more laughter and we could not have asked for anything more. We would do it all over again in a second and not change a thing.   Resort The resort is absolutely stunning!! We had no major issues while we were there. When we checked in, there was a mix up with names. My husbands brother ended up bringing somebody different than he originally booked, which was fine except that they changed my name instead of his guests name. This did not cause any major issues, but it did not get corrected. The entire week every time something was charged to the room or I used the internet cafe they had the wrong name. It was just more annoying than anything. All of our rooms were very close together (there were 20 of us staying at the Palace), we were all in the building closest to the beach and on ground level, and we were facing the pool. At first I was not too impressed, but it actually ended up being very handy. We never did get upgraded to the club premium or whatever it is, the only thing that would have been nice was the wi-fi but it all worked out. There were a few of us on the trip that ended up getting sick, about 6 of us that stayed at the palace, one at the maya beach and one that was at another resort completely. I do not think that it had anything to do with the resort, food or drinks.....I think it was a bug or virus as my husband ended up getting sick the day that we left and was still ill after being home for a couple of days.   All in all it was a great trip. I wish my husband and I had stayed for 10 days as the most time we spent together was our actual wedding day. We both had an absolute blast with our family and friends, and we are all talking about going back as a group for an anniversary trip :)    

By ~Melissa~, · 0 Comments

Pros: Friendly staff, modern rooms, no shortage of beach loungers, snorkelling
Cons: large resort tons of walking (plus side exercise)
We were lucky enough to travel here November 2010 for my grandparent's 50th anniversary. It's a gorgeous resort with well kept gardens and many pools. We tended to stick to the beach with our snorkel gear and enjoyed the fish. Bring some crackers from the buffet and they will come right up to you. Pretty wild!   The rooms were large and I really liked the decor. It seemed more modern than some other resorts I've stayed at in Mexico.   Food was awesome. Breakfast being my favorite. We did reservations for the French restaurant as well as the Seafood and Mediterranean. With the French being my favorite. They are very strict with dress code as my Uncle and husband were denied for wearing khaki shorts. Their own fault, they were trying to be rebels and see if they could get away with it. LOL Obviously not!!!   My grandparents did a vow renewal along the north side of the resort along the rocks during sunset. It was so private and felt like we were all by ourselves. We did this on our own and no wedding package was purchased or anything. It was very sweet.    Although it's not an adult only inclusive there was an adult only pool which suprisingly wasn't very busy. There were so many well behaved children at this resort during our stay. I was really impressed. Not sure if its because they had lots of options to keep them entertained or because it's a nicer resort.    If you're up for walks we did a walk one morning down the shore to the south where there is an old abandoned resort. The water is amazing there and so picturesque. I'll try to add some photos soon.    Loved this resort, many wonderful memories.    Including a vimeo slideshow I put together for my grandparents so you can see the beautiful picturesque scenery.

By Brenners, · 2 Comments

Pros: Wedding locations, accommodations, food, drinks, service, wedding coordinator, grounds, pools, beach
Cons: More employees working the premium club for quicker assistance
We had our wedding at Barcelo Maya Palace on February 11, 2012.  Barcelo gave us a perfect wedding - we could not have asked for more!   Wedding Coordinator:  A+++   Lillian Vargas is awesome!  I cannot say enough good things about her.  She was quick to respond to my emails and answered all of my questions.  If she did not know the answer, she sought it out and provided me with the answer very quickly.  When we met with her before the wedding, she had everything lined up, reviewed everything (which was correct) with us and made sure that nothing was overlooked.  She even made the reservation for us for our welcome dinner the night before our wedding.  There was nothing that Lillian overlooked.  She works long hours and does a fantastic job.  Anyone who is lucky enough to have Lillian as their WC should count their lucky stars!   Resort:  A+   My fiance and I arrived on February 7th and most of our guests arrived on the 8th.  The rooms were beautiful - the rain shower in the bathroom was awesome!  The rooms were nice sized and very clean.  Our mini bar was filled each day and we ordered maid service more often than we typically do on vacation as we needed to maintain our room since we would be having pictures there on our wedding day.  We were upgraded to premium with our wedding package and everything we needed was arranged without issue.  The only issue we had was that there was often only one person working the premium club and it would take a while to get assistance as many guests were scheduling restaurant reservations for every night of their stay.  The buffets had a nice selection of food and the French and Caribbean restaurants were our favorites.  The service throughout the hotel was fantastic.  Our guests raved about the resort and we will definitely go back!   Spa:  A+++   Karla did my hair and makeup for my wedding.  When I saw the results, I almost cried but did not want to ruin her hard work.  For the first time, I felt and looked like a bride.  I had a hair trial with my stylist in MN and showed Karla the pictures.  She did an even better job than my stylist.  For my makeup, I said that I wanted browns and she decided to go with plums and pinks.  That woman knew better than me because it was perfect.  My makeup was flawless.  Seriously.  You can hire Adrian for $600+ dollars but I would take Karla anyday over anyone else!   Coral did my mani/pedi and did a nice job with both.  I wasn't able to get a mani/pedi before I left for Mexico so she had her work cut out for her but they both turned out great.    We had our couple's massage on the beach and I actually had a massage prior to our wedding as well - my neck and shoulders were killing me from lugging my dress and my husband's suit around the airports!  Both were fantastic and an hour went by much too quickly!  They are wonderful and very attentive to any needs!   Restaurants:  A-   My husband and I usually avoid all inclusives but decided our guests would want the ease of that.  We were quite surprised at how good the food was at the buffets and the restaurants.  We actually found spicy Mexican food that we liked and there was American food for those not quite so adventurous.  The French restaurant Brasserie and the Caribbean restaurant Caribe were both quite good.  We were not impressed with the Brazilian restaurant as much of the meat was tough and overcooked.  The omelets are breakfast at Mirador and La Hacienda were fantastic and the fresh fruit was delicious!   Pools:  A++   Seriously.  If you cannot find a pool you like here, then you need to stay home.  They have kids pools. volleyball pools, swim up bars, adults only pool, etc...The pools are huge, plenty of room for everyone and well-maintained.   Beach:  A   The beach at the Palace is a little rocky in some places but the beach goes on forever so you can head down to Playa Azul if you want a more sandy beach.  There were chairs in the shade and out of the shade available at all times of the day.  There was very little smoking at the Palace end, however, there were many Europeans staying at the lower end hotels and a great deal of smoking in the section according to some of our guests who ventured down that way.  The Palace beach was clean and no litter to be found anywhere.    Staff:  B+   The staff were quite friendly and always helpful.  The premium club occasionally had only one staff person working so the wait could take a bit long at times.  We did have a couple of guests staying in Playa del Carmen and when they arrived for our welcome dinner on Friday, they were held up at the gate and not allowed entrance for about 15-20 minutes.  We were not aware of the problem but we had given their names to the staff who were supposed to inform the staff at the gate.  They told the front gate staff that they were going to purchase a day pass and the staff told them that they could not do this.  After another staff member arrived, then our guests finally were allowed entry but it was a bit frustrating to have them held up like that.    Photographer:  A+++++   Erick Rodriguez kicks butt!  He is seriously awesome and I cannot say enough wonderful things about him.  My husband and I do not like having our pictures taken but we loved every minute with Erick.  He made it fun and relaxing.  We even wound up doing a trash the dress and had no interest in that until we met Erick.  He is fantastic!  We cannot wait to see our photos!  

By lalabee, · 0 Comments

Pros: friendliness of staff, wedding coordinator, beautiful resort, organization
Cons: spa
I had the pleasure of having the wedding of my DREAMS at the Barcelo Maya Palace earlier this month. I have practically nothing but wonderful things to say about this experience! We spent 5 days at the resort and truly wish we had booked more time, as our departure came WAY too soon! Here is a detailed review:   Wedding Coordinator: A++   We worked with Claudia Vazquez, and had been corresponding with her since January 2011. We didn't start sending more frequent emails until mid-summer, when she began contacting us with the planning spreadsheet and choices for our wedding. Whenever I would email her, she would respond within one or two days, even on weekends. I was truly amazed at her prompt replies, as I had read on other forums that other coordinators could take anywhere between 1-2 weeks to reply. We met her in person on the day after our arrival, and she had all of our choices saved in a folder. Went over final details and gave her some of the items we had brought from home, and on our wedding day, everything was set up perfectly. Claudia is EXTREMELY nice and I hope to visit the resort again, just to say hi to her!   RESORT: A++   We took a risk and chose this resort sight-unseen, based on the recommendation of our travel agent. It was overcast on our arrival day (11/1/11), but that didn't stop us from oooh-ing and aaaah-ing at the artwork, architecture, and overall openness of the resort. Similarly, the service at the resort was stellar. Everyone - from the front desk staff to the housekeeping to the restaurant staff to the groundskeepers - was very pleasant and spoke when you passed them. In fact, it took me a while to stop saying "hola" and "buenos dias" to people once I got back to the States. :) Small tips do go a long way, especially at the bars. I ordered breakfast via room service the morning of the wedding and for $6, they brought a gigantic spread. Amazing!   WEDDING/RECEPTION: A+   We had the Mint Breeze Package and got married in the Palace Gazebo at 4:00. There was a wedding the day before ours, so we had a sneak preview into the set up at the Gazebo. The wedding was seamless. Claudia came to pick us up (me, my dad, and my bridesmaids) in a golf cart shortly after 4pm - we were running late because our photographer took some last minute photos of the guys (at least, that's what they told me). Our guests were able to wait in the covered part of the hotel until right before the ceremony. The actual ceremony was brief - 15 minutes - and they had a wireless microphone for our officiant to use. (side note: we brought our own officiant, so Claudia knocked some money off of the cost of our package). The jars we gave Claudia for the sand ceremony were on the altar. Although one of our original jars broke en route to Mexico, Claudia located an exact replica of our jar. I was thoroughly impressed by that! We had the violinist play while the moms were being seated, and provided an iPod for the bridesmaids processional, bridal march and recessional. They initially played the wrong song for my entrance, but they quickly fixed it - no big deal.   We opted not to have a formal cocktail hour and sent our 30 guests to the Carey Lobby Bar instead. This was a perfectly suitable option; everyone was staying at the Palace and could get drinks here, plus there were finger foods there for people to snack on before dinner. Our planned break was a little too long; we ended the wedding at 4:30 and the reception started at 6. Everyone was having a great time though, so no one complained. It gave my Hubby and I another chance to hang out with our guests.   Our reception was in one of the banquet rooms in the resort. This was nice because it was air conditioned, but ideally I would've liked one of the open-air grills. We had a great time though; dancing on the carpet wasn't so bad! :) We had the Lamb Entree for our dinner which was INCREDIBLE. I like lamb, but I learned to love it after that meal.   SPA: C   The Spa was the only downside to this experience. We had a couples' massage included with our package, plus I booked pedicures for the bridesmaids, moms, and me on the wedding day. We didn't realize the Spa was at another Barcelo property - that was our fault - so we were almost late for our massage. They were kind enough to send a golf cart to come get us. The massage was AWESOME. Afterwards, I talked to the receptionist to confirm the wedding day appointments, which were ALL screwed up. In spite of corresponding with Diana for months about changes in the appointments, she had the wrong people listed at the wrong times; it was a mess. They called to confirm the appointment the day before the wedding, and it was STILL wrong. The Spa has a no-cash policy, so if you don't have any change for tips, you can bill it to your room. No biggie, but on the check out, I saw that they had billed another bride's makeup and hair ($200) to my room-- I didn't get makeup and hair at the Spa! The front desk fixed the problem, but not before almost making us miss our transfter to the airport. Very frustrating. The Spa staff had to ride over from the Colonial to see my face and ensure I was telling the truth.   Speaking of HAIR/MAKEUP: A++++   I hired Adrian Guerra, who was a GOD-SEND! I had been emailing him since early this year and he was very candid about having little experience with an African-American bride. It didn't matter; he had me looking AMAZING on my wedding day! He and his team are incredible. I can't rave about them enough. They agreed to do my mother's hair too, which was a last-minute add-on. I STRONGLY recommend Adrian!!!   PHOTOGRAPHY: A++++   Okay so we brought our own photographer, Studio Four Photography, from Sarasota, FL. Totally worth the expense!!! For photos of our big day, visit www.studiofourblog.com and look for the Carla & Bryant post!   Here is one photo:  

By danandjamie, · 3 Comments

Wedding Date: 10/8/11 Wedding Package: Strawberry Passion Ceremony Location: Palace Gazebo
Cocktail Hour: Mexican Package w/ Mariachi band on Palace Rooftop
Reception location: Colonial Beach in front of Mariachi Grill
Number of guests: 71 Photographer: Ivan Luckie Hair and Makeup: Adrian Guerra

Check in: Check in went fine. As soon as the staff saw my wife's dress they immediately escorted us to Club Premium. I requested all 70 of our guests in the upper floors of the non-smoking building and they took care of it! Our room was originally on the 2nd floor but we requested a 3rd floor after we heard all of the noise at the pool. The quickly made the change.

Welcome bags: Hands down the biggest pain in the ass of the trip! Without going into detail here are my tips:
1. Clearly label ever bag with a name
2. Ask the front desk for a printout of everyone in your party and their room number
3. Have the front desk put a comment in each one of their accounts to give them a bag.
4. Hand the bags to the desk and don't worry about the rest.

We attempted to give the first 15 bags out personally and gave up! No one was in their rooms, the place is gigantic, etc.

Things in our bags: Welcome letter with a wedding day schedule (including what people were allowed and not allowed to wear) and a who's who. Yes, we wrote something for all 71 people. It was a huge hit. Underwater cameras, koozies, hand sanitizer and a candle. We made sure the bags were beach bags so everyone used them during the week.

Wedding Coordinator: I have been dealing with Xhail for 12 months and she has been great. Unfortunately she didn't mention she was going on vacation the week of our wedding. My wife and I were really worried when the front desk told us this. Fortunately Grecia her assistant was AWESOME. We quickly looked at the Gazebo and talked about the minor details. We originally requested Coral beach even though they told us 10 times we couldn't fit 70 people and they were right  Luckily we also requested Colonial Beach as a backup. After seeing ALL of the beaches that day there was no question that Colonial was our first choice. It was even nicer than Coral Beach which was too close to the buffets and didn't have any water access? After the meeting Grecia came to our room and we literally handed her 2 giants bags of stuff with pictures of how we wanted everything setup (centerpieces, welcome table, wedding favors, flowers etc.) She took the bag and everything was exactly how we wanted it.

Ceremony: First off the weather was great all week and we know we got lucky. It was HOT the day of our wedding. 4:00 ceremony at the Gazebo. I met with the minister very quickly to iron out some details and it just started! I'll say this, they know what they're doing. They guide you through every step of the ceremony. My wife looked amazing (Adrian Guerra did her hair and makeup and she had so many great things to say about him). The Gazebo honestly holds about 75-80 people so we were bursting at the seams. Luckily it went fast and everyone ran for the shade as soon as it was done! They immediately follow up the ceremony with a champagne toast and then we quickly ran off for pictures

Cocktail Hour: We purchased the Mexican package with the Mariachi Band. We made the mistake of taking too long with our photos and missed most of it though. Once again, it was still blazing hot so most people were hiding in the shade and not really dancing with the Mariachi Band. I didn't hear much about the food or drink so I can't comment. If we had to do it over again, I would just tell people to go to the Palace Lobby bar. It's air conditioned, they have food and drink and we could have had the mariachi just play in there. Luckily, since we had such a big party the hotel comped us the whole thing! About $1000 in savings

We were blown away at how beautiful the beach in front of the Colonial was. Even better was the fact that the Colonial was closed so not that many people were around. All 70 of our guests were shuttled right to the reception. We had a friend of ours emcee the whole thing. I wrote out a script for him along with when to play certain songs. We had about 10 trees wrapped in lights and they also setup 2 giant flood lights which I had turned off as soon as the dancing started.
The food: probably the biggest disappointment of the wedding but who cares! We had the crispy grinnini salad which was OK. The lobster bisque looked and tasted like tomato soup. The surf and turf was overcooked and we never even got to eat the dessert because we started dancing immediately. We ordered the 2 tiered cake which looked nice but I don't think anyone ate.

The music: IPOD. I literally spent 12 months researching the best dance music for our wedding reception. I avoided anything that screamed "wedding music". In my opinion, music makes or breaks a wedding. It was my biggest worry going into it. It was a success! At one point I think all 70 guests were dancing barefoot in the sand. The waiters got into it, spraying everyone with champagne and pouring tequila shots left and right. It was an insane 4 hours. Even our photographer said "it was so hard to shoot this reception because I've never seen so many people dancing in such a tight space". It made our night. After the last song my wife and I announced that we purchased sky lanterns for everyone to light together down by the water. It was a magical end to the evening watching 70+ lanterns floating off into the sky.

Photographer: Ivan Luckie http://www.luckiephotography.com/
Ivan traveled to New York City to do our engagement photos about 6 weeks ago. He is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. He's very creative and has a ton of great ideas. He showed up with his wife Anell on time for our wedding day and stayed with my wife while she was getting ready. Ivan and his wife were all over the place during the ceremony. I can only imagine the shots they got. Afterwards we rushed down to the beach to do the family photos and they quickly got us back for the cocktail hour. A quick tip: make a list of every portrait photo you want. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles etc. You can't expect your photographer to read your mind so make it easy for him or her!

Trash the dress: Ivan & his wife met us 2 days later in the lobby at 8am. We had no idea what we were in store for. Ivan took us EVERYWHERE. We walked from one end of the resort to the other taking photos all over the place. Then we jumped in Ivan's car and went to the freshwater cenote. I never knew modeling was such hard work  We were treading water for 2 hours. Ivan let us see some of the pictures and they looked amazing! Finally he took us back to the resort and did some shots in the kids water park. Total time spent: 7 hours! Quick tip: bring food, drinks, sunblock and towels. It's a long day but totally worth it. Overall, we spent about 3 days with Ivan and I can't say enough about him and his wife.  

Overall we had an amazing time. If you have any questions feel free to ask. 

By jaymeandmark, · 4 Comments

Pros: Beautiful, friendly, clean, fun, my list will go on forever!
My wedding was on 7/15/11 at the beautiful Barcelo Maya Palace. We were there for 10 days and had over 40 guests make the trip with us. Everyone stayed at the Barcelo Maya Palace.   I can not say anything negative about our experience! Everything was just perfect! Our guests loved the resort! Everything you could possibly need for your guests is there.....drinks, food, entertainment, disco, shopping, water sports, spa....so much to do! Everyone was so pleased. We all had the time of our lives.   We worked with Claudia as our wedding coordinator and she was awesome. We met with her the day after we arrived and in 3 hours our whole wedding day was planned! They REALLY know what they are doing!! Our wedding ceremony and reception was at the Playa Azul location...if you are planning a wedding at the Barcelo, I highly suggest this location! It was just perfect! All of our guests kept saying they felt like they were in the middle of a movie...it was just so beautiful! I wish I could do the whole experience over again! Our guests said we need to renew our vows every year there so we can all go back!!    Two days after the wedding, we even did a "Trash the Dress" photo shoot with Del Sol Photography! Let me just tell you, after you book your wedding at the Barcelo, you need to book Del Sol as your photographers! Here is a link to my photos: http://delsolphotography.com/blog/content/galleries/?gal=494   I LOVE these pictures!! If you are doing a destination wedding....having pictures like this is an once in a lifetime experience that you CANNOT pass up!!    LOVE barcelo....LOVE del sol....LOVE MEXICO!!! 

By partyshack, · 1 Comment

Pros: Gorgeous location
Cons: The swimup bar closed at dark
We planned our destination wedding site unseen and could not have been luckier!  This was our first trip to Mexico and certainly won't be our last.  We worked with Xhail, the amazing wedding coordinator, and had the most perfect wedding ever.  We had a group of about 30 people come to Mexico for our wedding and all they could keep saying was "this place is amazing".  In fact, my uncle who was hesitant to travel to "unsafe" Mexico was the first to say he wanted to go back.  The resort was safe to walk around at night, the food was good - the guacamole was incredible!  It was one of my best memories ever and I can't recommended this resort enough.  I can't wait to go back!!!

By june11bride, · 10 Comments

Pros: Amazing food, beaches, location, wedding packages
Cons: Too big to get everyone together!!
Our wedding review!!!   We have been married for 2 weeks and 5 days! We got married at the Barcelo Riviera Maya Palace Resort. It was incredible!! Flight- A I hate flying, but our flight from Vancouver to Cancun (with one stop) on Continental was very nice. It went by really quick and they were very accommodating with my wedding dress. They allowed me to store it in the first class closet. However, no flight along the way would upgrade us because of our wedding. They said too many people ask and they don’t usually do this. Check in- A+ Check in was amazing at this resort. Because we were getting married we had the status of a premium guest, which means we were automatically taken to the premium guest lounge which was amazing. It was air conditioned, had a TV, computers with free internet, and ddrinks and snacks all the time. Plus, there were people there that would help you with ANYTHING you needed any time. Therefore, check in and check out were amazing, but so were all the other things they helped us with. Room- A+ The room was absolutely amazing. The Palace is the fanciest of the resort, and I could tell in the room. We had amazing service and the rooms were always extremely clean.   Resort- A+ This resort is the most amazing resort I have ever seen. Every detail is amazing, the food is amazing. I would definitely go back to this resort. The only trouble with this resort is that it is so huge- it has 5 resorts in one, and we had 28 guests and they were all spread out among the resorts so it was really difficult to get together!! Every single meal we had while we were there was scheduled. It was totally worth it though because of how amazing the resort was!! If I could do it again, I’d make sure everyone was in the same resort or at least the ones next to each other.
The food was absolutely amazing. My Dh would plan for us to eat quickly at the Palace buffet before meeting our guests at other locations because of how amazing it was!!   Wedding Coordinator- A Originally, we had a very brief resort tour in 2010 by Gabriella- we happened to stop by (we were already in the Riviera and decided to check out a few resorts). Even though they are so busy and have many weddings happening at a time, they agreed to meet with us, put us in a golf cart, and showed us around!! I don’t think I would have been able to plan my wedding without even having a slight idea of what the resort looked like so that was extremely great. Gabriella was super nice, but once we picked the Palace as our ceremony location, we were forwarded to work with Claudia Vasques as our wedding coordinator. She was the one we corresponded with through email for the next year. She was extremely helpful and although sometimes we got frustrated with the amount of time it took to respond, she always answered our questions. Also we got frustrated because a few times she would send me the document to fill out that I had already filled out and sent to her, so it got me worrying, but once I got there it turned out not to be as big of a deal as I thought. Within a week of the wedding, I got an email from a new person, Lillian. She said she was “helping out Claudia” and basically was taking over things from there. She was the one we met and she was the one there for our wedding. As soon as we checked in she was there to set up an appointment for my spa appointments, my free massage, our bloodwork for our legal ceremony, and our meeting with her, which was the day after we arrived. Our meeting with Lillian was extremely quick and painless- we had already picked everything via email, but she wanted to confirm all of our choices. She had a folder with all the information I had chosen which made me feel very confident that she was going to do a great job on the wedding day. I have to say- anyone that is considering not doing a legal ceremony because of the bloodwork- I think it is totally worth it. At that meeting, she said be at the medical clinic at this time tomorrow. We showed up, there was a doctor there who took our blood with sterile needles, and we were out of there in 5 minutes. That was it. TOTALLLY worth it.   Wedding: Ceremony: A+ WE had our ceremony on the Palace (Coral) beach at 2pm. It was perfect for us. I had my and my BM spa appointments at 11am which was almost perfect if not a tiny bit rushed. We didn’t have much time to dress me but it ended up working out. We were waiting and waiting for our ride (a golf cart) to come to pick us up for the ceremony. It turns out that the violinist was in a really bad car accident on the way to the wedding and wasn’t able to make it  L so we were waiting on a saxophonist to show up, so the ceremony ended up being about half an hour late. The ceremony ended up being absolutely perfect. I’m pretty sure it was super quick but I am told that I was probably in the zone and it wasn’t as quick as I thought it was!  It was the perfect beach location as there were no people around to spy on us and wreck our pictures . Reception: A Our reception was at the Mariachi Grill. We showed up and it was very well set up and looked amazing. We had the head table just like I wanted, but there were tables that were set up a little weird, because I asked for tables of 4 people and they ended up giving us giant tables with 4 people at them, but only sitting on the outside facing in, which ended up being ok. It really did come out amazing. My only complaint would be that there was no air conditioning and a lot of my older guests ended up just hanging out outside where there was a nice breeze. The other thing is—we had 3 hours included in our package, and we added 2 hours to make a total of 5 hours for our reception which ended up not beign nearly enough!! I remember someone told me it was 10pm and we still had the bouquet toss, cake cutting, and garter thing left to do!! Music- We ended up going with an IPod for the reception music which was absolutely perfect. We really didn’t need a DJ. We also had a Mariachi band come in for 45 minutes which totally made our wedding. It was totally worth it!! They were awesome. They made the ladies do the Macarena and then I told the band that they should make the men do it too, and they were sooo bad!! Such a good memory!   Trash the dress- A++++ The trash the dress photo shoot we had was the most amazing day of my life (obviously aside from my wedding day!!). we had soooo much fun. We did the session the day after the wedding, and I think people thought it was our  wedding day because we were in our wedding clothes. We were taking pics by the pool and then suddenly we held hands and jumped right in!! People were soooo shocked and so amazed!! We had people crowding around cheering us when we reached the surface of the water!! People were coming from the other side of the resort just to watch us!! It was really neat. My wedding dress ended up cleaner after the Trash the dress than it was at the end of the wedding day, so if you’re considering it--- do it!!!!!! Photography- A++ (Rhea Taylor Photography) We quickly decided we wanted to bring photographers from home. We emailed a bunch of photographers and found Rhea taylor photography in Kelowna, British  Columbia (Canada) which is about an 8 hour drive from our town. They are a husband and wife couple who do photography, and they were offering for us to pay for their trip in exchange for their best wedding package (which is AMAZING). We ended up getting MUCH more than we thought we would- they are truly amazing people. They love what they do and they are so nice!! We ended up lucking out big time with them. We took some engagement photos at the ruins on a day we did a tour, they took some pics at the rehearsal dinner, and they were with us (the male with my DH and the girl with me) the WHOLE wedding day, then we did a few hours the day after for trash the dress. We have 15 photos as teasers so far, and we cannot WAIT to see the rest. They are amazing so far!!   Spa- A The spa was very nice. My DH and I had an amazing massage incldued in the package which we took advantage of-- I was surprised at how much my DH loved it!! He had never had a professional massage before and now he's hooked!! I had also had a manicure and pedicure free from my wedding package. I did the pedicure (which I wrecked 20 mins later by going snorkelling) and I already had my nails done at home. The day of the wedding, they told us if we show up 20 mins early they might be able to start on us. when we showed up 20 minutes early, they told us we were early and would have to wait. then they started on me first (good decision) and ended up staring on the last BM 30 minutes late which really stressed me out since she has the most hair. They ended up doing an AMAZING job on my hair considering I have NONE and I was worried about what they could do. They exceeded my expectations and my hair was still in place the next morning!! I loved the makeup they did on me, but they had one lady that didnt seem to know what she was doign do the makeup of my BM and did a HORRIBLE job. she looked like a circus freak. My BM was too polite and didnt say anything then had to redo it all back at the room. My makeup was flawless and my makeup artist was a complete perfectionist, which I cant complain about!! Thank god I was the one to get her that day (sorry bm!!).

By michelle2011, · 7 Comments

Michelle & Dan’s Barcelo Maya Palace Review   24th May – 7th June 2011. Wedding date 1st June 2011   Sorry if its long winded, sometimes I just can’t stop talking ha ha   We flew from Gatwick with 23 family and friends and had a relatively good 10hour flight. What with the ash cloud we thought we were lucky to get there ha ha. The transfer took 1.5hrs as we had a drop off on the way. I’m sure it would only have been an hour if we went direct. All the kids were so tired by the time we checked in.   Check in – Well this part didn’t go to well. Firstly they messed up our friends rooms putting their two children in separate room to their parents. After an argument they were changed and upgraded to a corner suite. When we got to our room we couldn’t get in as they gave us the wrong key. The bellboy turned up with our luggage and let us in to which we were overlooking a bush!! And they had put us miles away from everyone else! Bearing in mind we booked 12mths in advance and requested a pool view and all as close as possible. We took the long walk back to reception to tell them about the key and ask to be moved. After a 30min argument with the VERY rude supervisor we got the room we originally booked, near everyone else and with a pool view. My husband had also requested champagne in our room on arrival which we did not get until the 2nd night after another complaint. After all that and the long flight I sat in our room at 9pm and shead a little tear. Not the best start to our holiday….   Hotel – the grounds were beautiful, very clean and super tidy. The long columned walkways made it a pleasure getting around the hotel. The pools were beautiful. The lobby overlooked the sea was just breath taking! The sea was gorgeous and warm, a little rocky around the Palace end but a 5min walk up the beach it was gorgeous. Most of the other staff were very nice, the waiters around the pool were fun and very friendly bringing us Mojitos without asking what more could we ask for, lol  The restaurants were fantastic. Over the 5 hotels onsite we stayed in the Palace but could eat at all the hotels and all their Al a Cartes. We ate in the Italian, Caribbean, Steakhouse, Brazilian, French (definitely our favourite by far). We had a group meal in the Japanese on our second night and the show tables are great. Very entertaining. Men had to wear long pants in the Al a Cartes. Be warned all the Al a cartes shut one night a week and different nights week to week. This is not something we found out till we got there.  The buffets had a good choice of food to suit everyone. The Coral grill also had a good selection of food and drinks.   OOT bags – as reception weren’t that approachable we decided to give the bags out ourselves. My son took these round on the second night and dropped them at each room before dinner. They went down a treat and everyone loved them. (so well worth doing).   Wedding – Well our WC Victoria did mess up a few things so be prepared for things to change when you get to resort. We had the Blueberry dream package and was told we could have our evening meal in the French Al a Carte. (we chose our times, set menu etc before getting to resort). At our meeting with Victoria she told us the restaurant was closed that night which was very upsetting (we had our heart set on it)  there was a chef convention on that had been arranged for a year, so she shouldn’t have promised it to us. After another heated debate she upgraded our meal to Playa Azul. All in all our wedding day turned out perfect but it was not nice having the hiccups at the start. Myself and my BMs had our hair done in the spa at 11am (beautiful and very professional) Victoria had dropped our flowers back at our room while we were there. The flowers were exactly what I asked for and we were very pleased with them. The ceremony was at 3pm at the Palace Gazebo (legal ceremony which was about 20mins total) the judge was very nice and spoke English very well, we had a champagne toast to follow. Then pictures, and our cocktail hour was at 6pm at the Palace rooftop terrace. Our evening meal was on the beach at Playa Azul which was beautiful, The pictures do not do it justice. Victoria pulled it out the bag and she did a great job with our table decorations, placecards and gifts etc. Overall we had the day of our dreams and would love to do it all again!!   Photos – we hired an outside photographer and you have to pay a fee of $300 to do this. Well worth every penny. Anel from Adventure photos was brilliant. We couldn’t of asked for a nicer person to take our photos, she was lovely and did a great job at capturing our day the pictures are amazing!!   DVD – we used the onsite company to do our video. We also paid for an extra hour coverage so he would come to Playa Azul and film the speeches. We are not to happy with the DVD. The 2hrs filmed have been cut down to 25mins and not edited in a way we would have liked. Very staged and frozen looking. I have emailed to enquire about bits missed so watch this space on that one.   Our family and friends had an amazing 2 weeks at the Barcelo with all the hiccups at the start we would still return, all bar the rude front desk supervisor it was the best hotel we’ve ever stayed at and I’m sure our family and friends would agree. It really does have something for everyone. We had the wedding of our dreams and it was the best place to get married. We definitely made the right choice in choosing Mexico to become husband and wife. I can’t believe our day has been and gone, all I can say is thank you to all the BDW girls that have helped me over the last 18mths I couldn’t of done it without your support x   Pics to follow :o)       

By April28thBride, · 2 Comments

Hey everyone, It's my turn to do a wedding review after reading so many!!! If you have any questions let me know! Wedding date: April 28th, 2011 Wedding package:Strawberry Passion Number of people: 11 Ceremony: 4:00pm Palace Gazebo Reception: 6:45pm Coral beach Wedding Coordinator: Claudia Vazquez Makeup/hair: Adrian Guerra and his team Photographers: Artistique Photography     Resort A+: We stayed at the Palace section. Check in was super fast since we were the only ones checking in at 9pm, we never got our welcome drinks. But that's not a big deal. When we checked in we got our 'club premium' wrist bands right away. So that was a bonus since some past brides had said that they don't give it to you till you pay for the wedding package. Our room was gorgeous, we were on the 3rd floor in the Mochiacan building with ocean view. The grounds, beach and pools are absolutely gorgeous. Very spacious. Always lots of sunbeds on the beach. We always got a cabana by the adult pool since our parents are early birds, they were up around 8 everyday. If you show up any later than that most beds would be taken. I'm not going to spend a lot of time reviewing the details of the resort. Just know that if you picked barcelo, you made a good choice. I have nothing bad to say about the place!! :)     Wedding Coordinator A-: Claudia was super fast in replying to my emails, always within 1 to 2 weeks. Just remember to keep your questions/requests to the point and she will get back to you ASAP. We met with her the next morning after we arrived. We confirmed all the details and booked all the spa and massage appoinments then. We did a location walk by and she explained how everything would flow for the ceremony, so that was kinda a 'rehersal'. The only things i had picked out before the meeting was my ceremony + reception locations, my menu and colors. Everything else we arranged at the meeting, so don't stress future brides!!! The only reason I'm giving her an A- is beacuse she had said she would try to accomodate all my guests close to each other, that did not happen. We were really all over the place, some were even in a completely different building. But I know that is not completely her fault. When I booked the spa appointment she told me everything will only take an hour, so we booked it for 12. (I wanted to book it for 11 but Claudia said that might be too early since the ceremony wasn't till 4) I gave the makeup and hair from the package to my sister, so I was only getting mani and pedi at the spa, but when we showed up the day of the wedding, the spa people told me the appointment for mani and pedi is noon but the makeup and hair is at 1. I explained to them that we need to have it both at noon, and they were able to get us in. but the whole appointment took over 1.5 hours and I was rushing back to my room to meet Adrian. The spa is the one located at the Caribe section, apparently the palace one was shut down?!?!? The spa people did a great job on my sister and my mani and pedi, just wish there wasnt the mix up in time cause i didn't like rushing. The other thing that was mixed up was our massage appointment for the day after the wedding. We booked the massage with Claudia for the beach at 11, but when my husband and I showed up they have no record and said the beach massage is fully booked. But the massage people asked if it's ok for us to have the massage by the adult pool in the open parlour, this is actually a WAY better massage place than the beach. So we still got our massage in the end and it was perfect!! Super relaxing!     Makeup/Hair A+: Hiring Adrian was one of the best decisions I could have made. His team is absolutely amazing. I had my trial with them the day before the wedding since we were having our rehearsal dinner that night. Since I didn’t want my makeup and hair to look the same for the rehearsal dinner and the wedding day, they were able to show me my ‘wedding day look’ and then completely transform the look for the rehearsal dinner. For my wedding day look, I wanted smokey eyes and neutral lips, and hair half down with curls. So they showed me that and then changed my smokey eyes to bronze neutral color and pinned up all my hair for a side pony with curls. He did such a good job on my rehearsal dinner look that all our guests said I should just stick with that look. But of course I didn’t. On the wedding day we still ended up with the smokey eyes and half down curls. And my guests were even more impressed. For brides that want to wear your hair down with curls, just remember it is super humid there. I have really thick hair and lots of it. The hair stylist said it’s good that I don’t have super fine hair because that kind of hair is hard for curls to hold. He did my hair with super tight curls knowing that once I get outside the curls would turn into softer curls cause of the humidity. My curls stayed the majority of the day but by the end of the night it was definitely wavy with all the sweating and dancing. The airbrush make up that Adrian used was absolutely amazing. I didn’t have to touch up anything all day, the lashes and everything stayed on perfectly. On my wedding day it was probably one of the hottest days with not much wind, and the makeup still looked absolutely perfect by the end of the night!!!! HIRE them!!! Trust me!!!     Ceremony and Reception  A+: WE loved everything about the gazebo and the coral beach. The staff did a great job in blocking people that would have been walking by. You still get a few on lookers from the beach but they are pretty far away.  We had the light blue ribbons, and that looked so gorgeous with the background of the ocean and white sand. We also got a bag of pink and white rose pedals and they laid that down on the ground for the aisle. For music we had the keyboard and bass, originally asked for flute but that wasn’t available for the day. The musicians played ‘From this moment by Shania Twain’ when I was walking down the aisle with my dad. They played some pretty romantic tunes during the sand ceremony part and then played Cannon in D when we walked out after the ceremony. It was perfect...apparently most of the guests teared up during the ceremony.  After the ceremony we had our toasts and did group pics. Then my groom and I just went off with our photographers and did couple pics all over the place. Our reception was at coral beach. This location is so gorgeous with the rocks and waves in the background. And our reception started right when the sun was setting. So the view was amazing.  The first few days we were there it was super windy so we had doubts about keeping the coral beach as the reception location. But the day of the wedding the wind was completely gone, but keep in mind that the coral beach is right off the shore so you do get a breeze. That breeze felt so good because it was super hot that day, and we really needed that breeze when we were dancing around in the sand. This location is also close to the path where people walk to the a la carte, but we didn’t really notice any of the them cause the dinner was set up far from there and by the time the sun is down you can barely see the people walking by. Oh, and they did have all the palm trees wrapped up with lights, free of charge.  Food A+: We had the scallop for appetizer, they were giant scallops and so delicious. Then we had the lobster bisque, too die for!!!! For the main course we had surf and turf. When we met with Claudia she told us that it is not lobster season, so if we really want lobster they will be just frozen ones, not fresh. And if we go with fresh it will have to be shrimp. We wanted fresh seafood, so we went the the shrimp. The shrimps were huge! Almost looked like baby lobster tail. Everything on the main course was super tender and juicy! Then we had the chocolate fondant for dessert. That was soo yummy but a little rich, maybe because I was already super full by that time. We danced a little bit and did our special dances before we cut they cake, because everyone needed a little bit of time before they could eat again. The cake was 1 tier, strawberry flavour. SOO GOOD!!! Super moist!!! They delivered the left over cake(about half) along with our breakfast in bed the next morning. I was eating bits and pieces of that cake till the day we were leaving because they don’t take it away. I think by the time we left there was a little less than a quarter left. Wish I could have packed that cake in my luggage with me!! Oh and the staff also brought out a giant plate of dessert tarts when we were all dancing. There were at least 50 little tarts on that plate and only 2 or 3 got eaten, and it’s only because no one had any room left in their belly!     Photographers A+: Our photographers are from Portland  Oregon, called Artistique Photography, they were at the palace from April 13thtill April 29th. So we didn’t have to pay any fees to have them there. They shot several weddings and trash the dress during their stay there. It was so much fun working with them. They are a team of husband and wife, Justin and Michelle. They made the whole experience so much fun. My groom is not big into taking pictures but by the end of it all he said it was actually lots of fun. Our photographers shot so many locations with us, I’m so happy we went with them instead of the resort photogs. The poses that they did with us are not the typical chessy ones and that’s what I love about their work.  I don’t have any of the picstures back yet, but they did show us a few shots as they were taking them and it looked stunning. I can’t wait to get them back!! Michelle and Justin do a lot of destination weddings, so for future brides looking for outside photogs, you should definitely check out their work on their webpage and see if they are in that area during your wedding. They have a set packge for destination weddings but they are also willing to tweak the package to accommodate whatever budget you have. Love love love them!!!!     Tipping: There were a total of 4 servers for our reception. We gave the head server 160 bucks and told him it’s for everyone. We made sure to point to everyone when we gave him the money so they know he’s got it. The officiant was gone right after the ceremony so we didn’t end up giving him anything. For the wedding coordinator, we had no more cash on his by the end of the reception. So we dropped by her office several times the next few days when we picked up our certificate and things. But she was MIA most of the time. And we didn’t feel comfortable leaving her tip with the other people. So she never got her tip. Which makes me feel kinda of bad, because she was really good except for a few little screw ups. We also tipped the massage staff 20 bucks, and the spa staff 10.     So that’s all I’ve got for review. I will try and post some pics that our guests took as soon as I get some. Feel free to ask me questions. I just want to thank all the past brides/grooms/wedding party on here that helped me along when I was planning my wedding. You guys were amazing. It made everything so much easier to be able to refer to this site for information!! Thanks again!!!  

By nisi1125, · 0 Comments

AMy wedding was April 26th, 2010 at 2:00pm. We stayed there from April 24th through May 1st. 42 guests attended, and most of them stayed for one week. We actually had our guests book on their own because when we tried to get group rates through various companies, they wanted more than the deals we found on the internet because they were "holding" the spots. It also got too complicated because many of our guests were from Canada and the US. We flied there on Mexicana and it was great! They didn't charge for any bags, served a meal, and the flight attendant let me put my dress in the first class overhead bins. It was great she let me do this. When we got to the airport in Cancun, we got a bit confused as we approached the exit because all of the different vendors approached us wanting out help. If you have booked your transfer (we used Olympus Tours) go outside and they will be waiting for you. The van ride lasted an hour and a half because we had to drop off others at different resorts, but it was fine. We arrived late on Thursday with our wedding on Monday, knowing Sunday they did not plan weddings. There was no message in my room, so on Friday morning I called Victoria whom I had been communicating with to set up an appointment. She said to meet me in the lobby at 11:30am. I wrote down the time, repeated it, and my husband heard me. When I arrived at 11:30am, I did not see her and waited for a half hour. Then I had to call the extension where she answered and when I explained what happened, she said she was there at 11:00am and that I should have been there then. I kindly said she said 11:30am, which she denied, but I kept my cool because she would be planning my wedding. She said she would not be able to meet me until Saturday evening (the next day) but I had family coming in I wanted to meet. My father-in-law speaks Spanish and got on the line seeing my distress and convinced her to meet us at 8:00pm after she was finished that night. I felt bad she had to stay late, but was a bit stressed. Needless to say our meeting lasted 20 minutes. She had all of my e-mails and was very organized. They had my ceremony listed at the Coral Grill which is more on a hill overlooking the ocean. I really wanted a beach on the sand right by the water, but they said they had nothing left. With my husbands convincing, they magically had the Palmeras Grill location open, which was where I wanted it. It was technically on the next resort, but it bordered the Palace and was right next to our room. On Saturday I called the photographer/videographer. We got the package that came with 60 digital pictures and 40 minutes of edited footage. The guys didn't speak English very well and told me that they wouldn't take pictures at my reception, or take video footage for that matter. I was a bit upset and wanted answers, but he couldn't understand what I was asking, so I recruited my father-in-law once again. He told them about the e-mail I received stating that they did not charge by the hour because they wanted to make our day special, where they responded they had booked too many weddings and that we should disregard the e-mail. After much negotiation, the videographer agreed to come to my reception for an hour, but the photographer could not. I will note that my wedding was at 2:00pm and my reception was at 4:30pm because I wanted to have plenty of time for pictures in between. In the end, I was very impressed with the quality of the pictures and the video. If I did it again, I would go with them. And the photographer and videographer know very good English. I got my hair and make-up done at the spa. I was very pleased with my make-up, and my hair looked good, but they only used hair spray. I have curly hair and should have had more product to prevent frizz. I did my hair the next day for the trash the dress pictures, where my sister took the pictures, and I actually liked the way it came out better. By the way, the spa opens at 10:00am according to the person that booked me. I showed up early because I heard horror stories about being late to the wedding, but they took me early, and had finished both my hair and make-up in one hour. And they took me back to my room in a golf cart. Overall, I would use the spa for make-up, I loved it. If you are comfortable doing your hair, do it and save the money. Otherwise, pay the money. The flowers came to my room an hour before the wedding and they were gorgeous. The golf cart came to my room to pick my bridesmaids, mother, and I to take us to the ceremony site. They were on time and took us immediately behind the showers at the beach so no one, including the groom, could see us. The ceremony set-up was beautiful. We used the orange bows and it added a lot. I am also a music major and I wanted the live violin musician. If I did this again, I would have used prerecorded music. The musician did not sound good and ended very abruptly. I am not being picky either, because my guests who were not music majors noticed as well. We were previously married at the courthouse in our county (it just made it easier), so our father-in-law did a great job in leading the ceremony, and it saved us $300 in our wedding package. After the ceremony, the pictures were taken. I had someone carry a list I previously made containing the people I wanted in certain pictures. I highly suggest doing this because it is hard to remember all the pictures you want of certain family members and friends the day of. I enjoyed having time in between the ceremony and reception because it gave me time to go back to the room and cool off. 2:00pm gave beautiful pictures, but it also brought the heat of the day. I thought I compensated for this by getting the groom and groomsmen khaki linen suits, but they did sweat through them at the elbows and even the knees. I did like they way they looked, but the guys weren't too happy. We had the reception in the Shaklahal Reception Room right behind the lobby. It was nice and air-conditioned. We had it for three hours and it had an open bar (I should have mentioned we had the Mint Breeze package). Victoria showed me an e-mailed seating chart I had sent her a few weeks before earlier in the day. I asked her to set up eight chairs at each table and to disregard the e-mail. However, before we were introduced, apparently there was a table without enough chairs. After much confusion because I wasn't in there, the matter was solved and we started 15 minutes late, but not a big deal in the scheme of things. We had and aunt be the MC, and I just had music on my ipod. I highly recommend this because we had the hall for three hours, and the dinner and speeches took awhile, so we only had about an hour or so of dancing. We had the chicken caesar salad, the lamb, and the creme brulee, which I would recommend. However, their french onion soup was not that great. Overall, I would have picked this resort for the wedding again. Besides a few minor inconveniences, Victoria did an awesome job and I would have her plan my wedding again. As you have heard from other people, the coordinators work really hard and they definitely deserve a good tip. I will say, our package did include a free gift, but we never did receive it, but we are not the type to ask and we weren't sure we would want to take it back anyway. The resort was awesome, however I will say the food got very boring in the buffets. All of the guests seemed to have a great time, and a lot of them would go back. A few of the guests were put off by the tipping, but I think the workers worked very hard and deserved them. If you still have trouble deciding on a resort, I recently came across a blog, www.destinationourwedding.com that gives an overview of different resorts and wedding package prices. One last note to the brides: don't stress and worry. I did before the wedding, and now i wish I had listened to other brides and had enjoyed more of the first few days I was there. Also, the last few days we were there, my husband got a really bad ear infection where the ear drops wouldn't even go into his ear. The resort doctor couldn't do anything, so we had to go to a nearby hospital so we could fly home the next day. The hospital was awesome. There was no waiting, and we only had to wait one hour while an ear specialist came. In the US, it would have taken 5 hours just to be seen. They were very helpful, and we were out in no time. The total bill was $375, which isn't bad considering all they did, and luckily our insurance reimbursed us. All in all, we had a memorable time.

By MissJenna, · 0 Comments

Pros: Tropical Paradise, Affordable, Family Friendly, Sun Sand and Sea
After many months, we have finally written reviews for our wedding and honeymoon celebrations.  We seemed to have suffered post-wedding depression and were quite sad when the whole event was over.  Sitting down and finalizing the website, reviews and final mailings to people has proved difficult.  But finally, we have finalized all the reviews, playlists and pictures to our wedding website.

We have posted all of our reviews, pictures, music and other content to our wedding website.  Please visit our wedding website to read our reviews and see pictures from our event. 

We had a wonderful time at our Wedding and Honeymoon celebrations.  We hope our reviews and other information can be of use to future Barcelo Maya wedding couples.

Wedding Website:

Jenna's Review:

Adam's Review:

Wedding Playlist: