By leigh2011, · 1,227 Views · 0 Comments
Now that my resort review is complete, I can focus on writing a wedding review of the resort. I will try and touch on how the wedding day went as well as the different pieces of the Ultimate Wedding Package/Eternity Honeymoon Package.
Paul & I arrived Wednesday at ~12 pm and after check-in (where we were upgraded from an Oceanview room to a Honeymoon Suite – which is in the Pyramid) we were directed to the Concierge. With the Concierge, I confirmed the Private Dinner that I had scheduled via email (I had emailed Claudia about it and she forwarded the email on to the Concierge). The Concierge also called Claudia while I sat there so we could schedule our pre-wedding meeting. I suppose things weren’t crazy for Claudia that day, so we scheduled the meeting for 3pm on Wednesday. We then went to our room and waited ~15 minutes for our luggage to be delivered. After changing we had lunch and then walked ~10 minutes to the nearby flea market and bought maracas for the reception tables. After returning, I gathered up my pictures and emails for our meeting with Claudia.
At the 3pm Wednesday meeting with Claudia we went through all of the items that had been discussed over email as well as discussed flowers, cake, and setup instructions. For flowers, I gave her the centerpiece picture I loved from the Dreams Cancun examples and told her I wanted my bouquet to look like that, as well as the BM bouquet, gazebo décor, and the centerpieces. Previously she had agreed to 1) swapping out the bout’s and corsages for 1 BM bouquet and 2) swapping out the resort photography services for gazebo décor. When I mentioned additional centerpieces, Claudia said that the gazebo décor included 4 column corsages that could be moved to the reception tables. That suggestion saved me $300. For the cake, I looked at her examples and picked a simple 3-tier design with layer flavors of vanilla – chocolate – and vanilla. At the meeting I told Claudia about the different items to be set out at both the ceremony and reception and she took a few notes. However, she asked that I give her the picture for the reception table setup with the items later. She asked that we drop the wedding items off either Friday or Saturday morning. Because we didn’t bring a credit card to the meeting, it was agreed we would come back on Friday to pay for the wedding. Also, Claudia told us when to have my dress and his outfit set out for steaming/ironing. Our rehearsal and rehearsal dinner were also confirmed with Claudia at this time.
On Friday morning, we stopped by the Wedding Office but Claudia wasn’t there. We saw Cecilia who took our bags of wedding stuff and said that we could talk to Claudia that night at the rehearsal about paying.
Friday at 5:30pm we had our rehearsal at the gazebo. Claudia showed up looking frazzled as she had at least one wedding in the works at the time. The rehearsal was short and sweet – no big deal. We remembered to give Claudia her tip ($120), but forgot about paying for the wedding. I remembered this as we arrived at Himitsu Restaurant for our 6pm rehearsal dinner and was stressed it would be a problem. At Himitsu, the dinner was charged to the wedding bill (essentially for the reservation). We were given a lot of assorted appetizers and sushi and each person was then able to order whatever they wanted as an entrée and dessert. I don’t know if it was worth the money to have the reservation, but I would have been really stressed about all of my guests having to wait a long time if we hadn’t done it that way.
Saturday morning my group’s salon appointments started at 9am. So Paul and I went to the Wedding Office around 8:30am to try and pay Claudia. We happened to run into her as she was getting to work and she asked us to come back at 9am. So Paul got everything paid up with her while I went to sit with my mother during her hair and makeup. At the end of the review, I will do a breakdown of what I paid for the wedding. There were 2 stylists in the salon – one lady worked on my mother and my sister while Mireya worked on me and my mother-in-law. I tipped a total of $100 for all the 4 of us to have hair and makeup. Before I left the salon, I saw the 3pm bride arrive (yes, there were 3 weddings on my wedding day – apparently November is the busiest month). I loved my hair (and got a lot of compliments on it) and was relatively happy with my makeup. She did a great job on my eyes (even applying the fake lashes I had brought with me), but she didn’t put on a full layer of foundation which I needed because my skin isn’t very good. I ended up going back to the room and putting on more of my concealer to try to hide any color variations. My bill for the hair and makeup for 3 women was $289. My hair & makeup was included in the Ultimate Package.
Sorry for the links to my profile albums, but I think I maxed out the images in this review:
Next, my mother, sister, and I ordered lunch room service to my room – knowing that my photographer was supposed to show up at 1:30pm for getting ready pictures. While eating lunch, the bouquets arrived and we put them in water in the sink until it was time for pictures. After the photographer took getting ready pictures of me and then the guys, it was time for our first look (at 2pm) and then photos before the ceremony. I chose to take pictures before our sunset ceremony. We met up with family members at 3:30pm for the group shots. We chose to take the family pictures on a set of stairs inside the Pyramid because all of the outdoor areas were just too windy at the time. Pictures were done by 4pm and then it was back to the room to freshen up for the 4:30pm ceremony.
For first look pictures, bride & groom pictures around the resort, ceremony pictures, and reception pictures, check out the album in my profile.
I start looking out the window in my room (overlooking the line-up area for the wedding party) at 4:20pm and was confused because I saw my guests starting to arrive and just hanging out in the area I could see. Why weren’t they sitting down? Then I saw a group of people arrive with Cecelia and start a rehearsal at about 4:25-4:30pm. My mother later told me that she saw the 3pm wedding start late. My thought was: why would you have wedding ceremonies scheduled at 3pm and 4:30pm and then try and squeeze a rehearsal in between?! And if you were running late, would it not make more sense to postpone a rehearsal than to make a wedding ceremony start late? I think I was most frustrated by the fact that I had to see all of this from my window – Claudia didn’t contact me to explain any of this. Around 4:45pm the rehearsal is done and Paul had to herd the rehearsal group away from the gazebo area as they were trying to stick around and take some pictures. At 4:50pm my first guest seating song was played and my guests took their seats (the other 4 songs I chose were never played). At this point Paul waved at me to tell me to come out. As I am stood there with my father, waiting to walk down the aisle, I tried to compose myself and not look angry while walking toward my ceremony. Luckily, as my entrance song started to play I lost the anger and got happy. There were a couple of small issues during the ceremony 1) the red carpet was still down even though I asked for it to be removed – still there from an earlier ceremony and 2) the funnel was not put out with the sand ceremony set, so there was a small pause while Claudia located it in a bag. However, those issues were minor. The symbolic officiant was great – and of course I recommend the sound system. The reason I was so antsy with time is because sunset was at 5:10pm and we were definitely losing light by the time the ceremony ended. Luckily the light was gorgeous during the ceremony, so all’s well that ends well.
After taking a few more pictures (whole group and then B&G behind the gazebo with the fading light), we moved up to the Terrace for the cocktail hour. I went inside with my mother to her room to bustle my dress. When I arrived 15 minutes later I was a bit confused because the Mariachi Trio was nowhere to be seen. After a bit longer I mentioned this to a friend and she said she would take care of it. I suppose she went to talk to the Tower concierge (as Claudia wasn’t there) and came back to tell me the Trio was waiting at the reception location to play there. This was definitely a mistake with the wedding staff coordination as my contract says during the cocktail hour and we had a DJ at the reception site. So the Trio showed up when there was about 20 minutes left in the cocktail hour. I don’t think the guests knew anything was wrong – but I wasn’t happy. To calm my fears as to what I might find wrong at the reception site, my sister and brother-in-law walked over to Himitsu beach to check it out for me and reported back that everything was okay. But all of the guests loved the food on the gold appetizer menu and had a good time at the cocktail hour.
Claudia then showed up and walks us over to Himitsu beach for the reception. At first I was a bit concerned how close the reception was to Himitsu restaurant. However 1) I think it is necessary for the electricity needed for the DJ, lights, and dance floor and 2) it turned out great because there was an awesome group of people at the restaurant that joined us. The reception setup was great, the sweetheart table was backed up to the water with the light-up dance floor directly in front of it. The 4 round reception tables were split 2 and 2 on either side of the dance floor. The empty (except for plates & forks) cake table and then the DJ were to the left of the sweetheart table (in the direction of the Himitsu bar). As soon as we arrived, the head waiter and DJ each came up to us and introduced themselves. Our DJ was Luis (who has an office in the Dreams Wedding Office) and he was great. We did our first dance, father/daughter dance, and mother/son dance and then started dinner. At some point during dinner the cake was delivered and I literally almost cried (and not in a good way). The cake was well decorated with flowers to match my bouquet and the cake topper that I gave Claudia, but it was a 1-tier cake. I knew that there was no need for a 3-tier cake as that is way too much cake, but I wanted my cake to look like a traditional wedding cake. Later, when Claudia showed up I asked Paul to go and talk to her (because I would be too emotional) about the cake so we could get our money back for the upgrade. Well – the DJ starts playing our dance music and I kind of forget about the cake (we didn’t cut it). Significantly later I look over and the 1-tier cake is gone and they are delivering a 3-tier cake with our flowers and my cake topper. I don’t know where she came up with a 3-tier cake in ~ 90 minutes, but somehow Claudia did it. To make up for the issues of the day, our reception was extended for about 45 minutes to get in the cake cutting and more dancing.
This picture was taken from the patio of Himitsu restaurant with one chair of the sweetheart table visible on the right of the dancers.
From what I remember, the food was pretty good. We chose the organic salad, lobster bisque, Dreams Trilogy, and chocolate napoleon. The salad was okay – but well presented. I can’t really comment on the lobster bisque as I don’t like seafood (that choice was for Paul). The steak of the Trilogy was good, once again I can’t comment on the shrimp or fish. I would have to say I was not impressed with the Chocolate Napoleon – and I am a sugar fiend. I think I would recommend trying a different option. DJ Luis did a great job with the music. First of all, dinner service ran a bit long so he pulled our slow songs up to help fill in dinner (and there was a few minutes in between courses to dance – this is also when the little flower girls got on the dance floor to play) as well as adding in some other appropriate songs. So once it was time to dance, he played nothing but our fast songs and I loved it. I really think breaking in with the slow songs would have killed the fun. There was a big group out on the Himitsu restaurant patio (that I later found out were guests from a wedding the previous night) that were dancing along in their seats. When one of my guests saw this she asked me if she could invite those people down to dance with us. As not all of my guests were up and dancing, I said sure and for different songs there were 2-4 strangers on the dance floor with us. The rest of that group was still dancing in their seats. Though it sounds odd, it made me happy to think that strangers thought my reception was fun enough to join in.
After the reception, I changed out of my wedding dress into a short white dress and met my younger guests at Desires. I have to say that Desires was not “happening”, but we had a blast because we brought enough people to be our own fun. Some of the group from the Himitsu patio showed up at Desires and gave Paul & I a round of applause when we left for the night.
Wedding Package Items:
- Bride’s bouquet – I showed Claudia a picture of a centerpiece I loved and she had them make it into a bouquet. I loved it. I gave Claudia two starfish stems and a bouquet charm and she had them worked in before it was delivered to me. Before the pictures and after the reception, I put the bouquet in water and it was still in good shape Monday morning for a TTD session.
- Bout’s / corsages – I traded out my 2 bouts and 2 corsages for 1 BM bouquet. With the linen shirts the men were wearing, the bouts would have been too heavy for the shirts and the corsages would have been too formal. Of course my parents didn’t mind.
- Centerpieces for the sweetheart table and ceremony table – these arrangements matched the gazebo décor and coordinated with my bouquet. The same bright colored roses were used, but lilies were added in to fill up the arrangements. Now that I think about it – there is a good chance that the ceremony table arrangement became the sweetheart table arrangement...hmmm. Not that it matters to me.
- Wedding Cake – here is the 3-tier cake at an upgrade cost of $150
- Sparkling wine – we had 27 adults, so we asked for 1 extra bottle
- Bride’s hair styling
- Make-up application for the bride
- Photography / Gazebo Decor – I brought my own photographer from home, so we traded for “gazebo décor”. The gazebo décor turned out to be four floral corsages with the tall sticks in the front two. The flowers for the corsages matches those in the ceremony/sweetheart table centerpiece – which is to say it coordinated with my bouquet.
- Live Mexican trio – my husband and his brothers had fun with them - once they arrived.
- Video of the ceremony (30 min. edited DVD) – I hate videos of myself, but I really like this video. The production quality is quite good. Claudia said they need 3 business days to edit the footage – so we happened to run into Claudia before we left Thursday morning and she checked her desk and had our DVD. Otherwise she would mail it to you.
Wedding/Honeymoon Package Extras:
- “Preparation and ironing of the wedding dress and grooms tuxedo/suit” – Claudia told us when to have the items laid out on the bed for pickup (for us it was Friday 11am for our Saturday wedding). When we returned to the room Friday afternoon the dress and groom’s outfit were hanging in the closet. One issue: the dress was taken away in a white dress bag, but it was brought back in a clear plastic cover (the white bag was returned to the room) – so if my husband had been more observant when he opened the closet to get to the safe he would have seen my dress.
- “Complimentary room for the groom the night before the wedding (based on availability)” – There was availability, but we chose not to get the extra room. The extra room must be vacated by 11am so if your wedding is in the afternoon, it can’t be used as a getting ready room for the men. I am glad we were together the morning of the wedding just because we had to take care of a few things (like paying for the wedding).
- “Personal dressing assistant” - There was never any mention of this item. As I had my sister and mother, I didn’t ask about it.
- “Special turn down service” & “Private petit fours each evening at turn down service” – Each evening the decorative items on the bed would be removed and the top blanket would be turned down. Also each evening, a small plate would appear of food items – it could be truffles or salmon. We essentially didn’t touch any of this food because we had eaten our fill at dinner and drunk our fill at the bars.
- “15% discount on all Spa treatments” – I was able to get this discount on the hair and makeup for my 1 BM, my mother and the groom’s mother for the wedding day – as I paid for all of it.
- “Late check-out for bride and groom (based on availability)” – We didn’t try to take advantage of this item. Our transfer pick-up was 12pm so we check out by 11am and dropped our luggage with the bellmen and then went to get lunch by the pool.
- “One Spa treatment (one Swedish massage for two)” + “Tension Release Massage for two (25 min)” + “Choice of either a Facial or Scrub (25 min each)” = 1x 50 minute couples Swedish massage. I don’t know if we were entitled to more, but that is all I wanted. There was no way I was risking a facial or scrub the week of my wedding. I had scheduled the massage via email for 5pm on the day of our arrival. The man working the Spa payment desk had to make a few calls to verify that we were to get the treatment for free as part of our package. The Spa facility is nice with a sauna and a steam room in each locker-room as well as an outdoor Jacuzzi that you can use after your treatment. The massage itself was pretty good – the pressure was minimal, but that is okay because I was looking to relax. I think Paul fell asleep during his massage and woke himself up when he started snoring. In the emails I indicated I wanted a massage outside in the palapas, but after it seemed a bit of effort to confirm a 50-min massage as free – I didn’t want to push my luck. We tipped the ladies that gave us the massages, but I don’t recall how much.
- “Waterford Yours Truly Champagne Flute Pair” – No mention of this while I was in Mexico, but I am not going to follow through on trying to get them. We don’t have room for any additional glasses.
- “Champagne, fresh flowers, and exotic fruit platter in room upon arrival” – Champagne check, flowers check, exotic fruit not so much (we got apples). The flower arrangement was very pretty and lasted the whole 8 nights we were there.
- “Champagne breakfast in bed the first morning after arrival” – I didn’t remember this item, so the concierge mentioned breakfast in bed and then said it is the same menu as the regular room service and that you just call them to schedule it. We had breakfast room service twice but 1) never ordered champagne with it and 2) never ate it while in bed (once at the table in the room and once on the balcony).
- “Private beachfront dinner one evening upon return from dinner you will find a romantic rose petal path and lighted candles (includes 1 bottle of domestic wine and silver menu)” – Hmm, not exactly what we got. We did have a private dinner and there were several options of locations and some of those were beach front. We selected the Palapa Himitsu and it is more private. They have a specific menu for the private dinners - not the silver menu. You get a bottle of champagne with the meal. There were not any rose petals or candles upon our return to the room.
- “Earn Free Nights towards a first anniversary return stay” – When we received the certificate we signed during the ceremony, there was a coupon attached that would be needed to get the free 1 or 2 nights for an anniversary stay. I didn’t get any additional information on this because we already have our 1-year anniversary/honeymoon trip planned.
Wedding Bill breakdown:
Rehearsal dinner (13 adults @ $15/pp + 15% service + 11% tax, kids free) = $245.70
Ultimate Package = $2799.00
Sound System ($180 + 11% tax) = $199.80
1x bag rose petals (for flower girls) = $22.20
1x bottle champagne ($35 + 15%) = $40.10
7 extra adults at cocktail hour ($26 + 15% + 11%) = $229.32
3 extra kids at cocktail hour ($13 + 15% + 11%) = $49.14
7 extra adults at reception ($48 + 15% + 11%) = $423.36
Alright Ladies – I wanted to start by doing a review of the resort itself. Even with all of the pictures online, I didn’t feel like I had a good idea of what the resort looked like before I arrived. So I am hoping this “review” will give you a better idea of what the property looks like along with a bit of written commentary. For any of the past brides, please feel free to add comments for anything you feel I may have left out or if you have a different opinion.
First, when we drove up to the resort I have to say that I was not impressed. A lot of the other resorts we passed on the way to Dreams Cancun looked a lot more impressive from the front. However, there is a very simple reason for that…the other resorts are on a less property so they had to build up where Dreams could use the geography of the point to spread out. So don’t be discouraged…
The Mexican restaurant affiliated with the resort ($15 per adult for food and drinks, $7 per child) to one side of the front drive and Desires on the other side.
A note about Desires: this place turns into a “club” later at night. My opinion is that this “club” is not a happening place unless you bring your own crew to have fun with… The music is pretty good to dance to (though there may only be a few of you on the dance floor) and the DJ is open to requests.
Behind the van in the picture of Desires is where the Wedding Office is located. So you have to walk out the front lobby and walk towards Desires. The office for my airport transfer company was located in that row of offices – I had to go there for 2 different meetings during my stay.
Once you walk in the front lobby (no doors) you see a beautiful chandelier and the seating area with the Rendevous bar in the background, to the right is the check-in counter, and to the left is the coffee bar/spa/gift shop.
After you walk past the World Café and photo station, you cross over the dolphin pool to the Pyramid building of guest rooms.
Our honeymoon suite was in the Pyramid – we arrived to a “Happy Honeymoon” sign on the door as well as flowers & champagne in the room. The view from our room was of the ocean as well as where the wedding party lines up before walking to the gazebo. Due to our group of more than 10 rooms, we were upgraded from Oceanfront to the Honeymoon Suite. I think the honeymoon suite is essentially like the regular rooms except there is a lot of extra square footage in the bedroom and bathroom.
After walking through the Pyramid you can connect to the Tower. Here is a picture of the line-up area at the gazebo with the walkway from the Pyramid to Tower in the background.
Here is a picture of the Terrace from the line-up area, a picture from the Terrace of the pool & gazebo, then a picture back toward the Terrace from the gazebo. My room was at the end of the Pyramid building which is on the right side of the last picture.
Standing near the gazebo, you can view the Tower Beach, including Seaside Grill which is the large thatched roof structure in the back.
From the gazebo you can walk around the Oceanside of the Pyramid toward the lighthouse. Before the lighthouse you hang a left and head down a hill to Himitsu Restaurant.
From the front of Himitsu Restaurant, you can look down the interior length of the Pyramid building.
Standing on the patio of Himitsu restaurant patio, you can see the Himitsu beach where smaller beach receptions are held.
Leaving Himitsu Restaurant and rounding the Pyramid, you can see the of the dolphin pool/lagoon/pool area on one side and the main beach on the other.
Walking further you come to the bar with swings with Oceana Restaurant in the background. If you walk past Oceana you come to the pier.
If you walk past the lagoon beach and pool area you walk through the Plaza and past the outdoor seating area of the Rendevous (lobby) bar.
And you have now completed a loop of the resort property.
A couple of extra picture of the gym.
Everyone that joined us for the wedding trip told us they loved the resort. They all thought that the geography of the place made it unique and beautiful. Everyone said the food was good at Oceana and Himitsu. However, very few of our guests even realized that Seaside Grill (hidden past the Tower beach) existed – we didn’t discover it until after the first wave of guests had gone home. My husband says that Seaside Grill was his favorite (steaks). I know I saw that Oceana and Seaside Grill were open for lunch most days (each is closed one or two days a week). I did not see that Himitsu was open for lunch at any point, but I may have just missed it. Of course the buffet is open for lunch every day as well as a hamburger/sandwich stand near the pool area.
The beach past the lagoon is very pretty and in November there were plenty of chairs. The beach at the Tower is HUGE…the chairs are a several minute walk away from the water’s edge over sand with a lot of broken shells. However, the water is beautiful and calm once you get there (this is where we did our beach TTD shots).
There are only a very few lounge chairs (though very nice ones) that line the pool area and those chairs get taken early in the day and are not turned over. The pool area wasn’t very crowded because only families with young kids hang out at the pool (there is a shallow part to the pool for kids) in addition to the few people that got the lounge chairs. Most everyone else is at the beaches where the lounge chairs are plentiful. There is drink service at both the pool area and beaches.
Hmmm – what else might be of interest? Let me think.
We ordered room service 3 different occasions – twice for breakfast and once for lunch (day of wedding). The food was good though (of course) the options were limited. It took approximately 30 minutes for food to be delivered during those normal meal times – we didn’t try it late at night.
Oh – my guests who had been to other all-inclusives did comment on the friendliness of the staff.
I am sure there is a lot more I could add. If I can think of anything else, I will add it later in the comments section under the review.