By criggs, · 943 Views · 1 Comment
We booked our trip through honeymoonsinc.com with Melanie Viola as our travel agent. She was great and they are very knowledgeable of all the resorts on the Mayan Riviera and were helpful in our decision making process.
Wedding Planning with Cecilia, the wedding coordinator at SMB, prior to the trip was a bit frustrating. She is very sweet but I really had to dig for information. Reading other reviews was very helpful! She is extremely busy and a lot of times would take a week or more to get back to me on an email, and would have answered a very detailed question with one sentence that didn’t make much sense. So… figuring out plans became more time consuming than expected. One of the most important things I realized was that if something about the wedding package doesn’t work for you, like flowers or food for example, you can come up with your own idea and she will work with you. She really is very good and willing to please but is a little vague on information, which made communication difficult at times. Often times I would read reviews or see pictures from an SMB wedding and see something that was offered that she didn’t tell me about. Reading reviews was one of the best things I did in planning because it showed me that there were more options, I just had to search for them. Sometimes if I had a lot of questions I would email her and ask her to call me. We talked on the phone several times.
Getting to Mexico:
Getting there was so easy! The planes we took did not have anywhere to hang my dress so I just had to lay it in the overhead compartments and hope no one put there luggage on top of it, which did actually happen, but we were on the way back. We had to wait in line for about an hour to get through customs, but actually going through was a breeze. This was surprising because we had packed a lot of decorations for centerpieces. We also had 2 giant fish bowls for centerpieces as our carryon items along with my wedding dress. No one said a thing about any of it. I was told by a friend to bring any receipts for décor items or gift bags with me, so I had those just in case. Once we got through customs it was just a matter of getting outside to the area where the travel vans pick you up. Once you get out there, there is a beverage stand, Margaritaville I believe, that sells the priciest but best piña coladas I have ever had! I’m telling you it was well worth the price! They don’t skimp on the alcohol either! We used American Express Travel throughout our entire trip and were very happy with them. They were so professional and nice. It didn’t take very long to get to the resort… about 30 minutes and we had to drop off one other couple at a resort in Cancun before we got there. Once we arrived it was breathtakingly beautiful and the staff was so welcoming! I knew we had picked the right place from the moment we got there.
SMB was everything I had hoped and more! The staff literally treat you like royalty the entire time. The grounds are beautiful and they keep them immaculate. They even have people out at 5 in the morning to rake all the seaweed off the beach and burry it in the sand. The beach is pristine… we couldn’t even find a shell the entire two weeks we were there, just powdery white sand. The rooms are very nice! We got an ocean view room, which was well worth it because our view was amazing. We also got the preferred club, which offers some additional benefits and use of the preferred club where they have computers, their own bar with hors de hourves offered all the time and espresso. This was a nice perk. These rooms are also closer to the beach, which was great. The food at SMB was impressive; much better than I expected for an all inclusive. The only restaurant I would not recommend was Oceana… really was not good. Everywhere else we loved. Especially breakfast at the world café… AMAZING! The room service food was also surprisingly delicious. We ordered steak, enchiladas, oatmeal, and burgers from room service and all of it was good. The coffee they give you for the room is delicious as well. The resort is soooo beautiful at night because all of the pools are lit with blue lights. It’s really romantic. It is nice that they have the dance club as well. We had a lot of fun there a couple of nights and some of our guests really enjoyed it. Overall, our guests were so impressed with the place and all thought it was well worth the money for the trip. Many of them said it was the nicest place they had ever been.
Once we arrived at the resort we met with Cecilia almost immediately. It was very nice of her to meet with us right away because we had an appointment to meet her two hours before and our flight was delayed. She was very knowledgeable of the plans we had made prior to arrival. We planned most the details prior to arriving at SMB so we only had to decide on a couple of small details. She showed us around the property to decide on a plan in case of rain. She told me that we didn’t need a rehearsal but it made me feel more comfortable to have one so we did the day prior to the wedding. I didn’t want the rehearsal to be a big deal or pay extra money for a rehearsal dinner so we used the theme night dinner as the rehearsal dinner, and invited all of our guests. This turned out to be the best idea! The theme night was the “lounge night.” It was free to make reservations for us all to sit together, the food was wonderful, there was a live saxophonist the entire dinner and a fire show afterwards. This was a great option for us without costing any extra money.
We had our ceremony at the gazebo and the reception literally right beside it at the gazebo terrace. This was nice because the gazebo was used as our dance floor. I loved that it was all outdoors as well. I was worried that the weather would be too hot since it was July, but it was absolutely perfect! A nice 75 degrees and breezy in the evenings! We went with the Secrets Ultimate Package but I definitely tweeked some things. I hired my own photographer and used the money from the photography that came with the package for other things. We wanted a heavy hors de hourves reception and not a sit down dinner so after some negotiating, the chef came up with a nice menu for us that was substituted for the plated dinners that came with the package. We brought our own stereo system and speakers (small, but loud), because the cost to rent them was outrageous. We used our ipod for music. The things I added to the package were
-extra bridesmaid bouquets and boutenniers
-rose petals for the isle
-bubble machine for the recessional and reception
The money from the photo package covered most of it. The gazebo décor was definitely the largest expense, but I cut corners in other places because I thought it needed some color. I’m glad I did because it turned out beautiful and made the pictures look so good! Feel free to take a look at the ones I attached. I used all roses and planned on the gazebo roses being the same color scheme as the isle rose petals with lots of coral, pink and red and noticed that the gazebo and isle definitely didn’t match, as I was walking down the isle, since I didn’t see things before hand. Also planned on the chair bows being light yellow, which was the color she showed me, and they were definitely bright orangey yellow, but when I go back and look at pics, it all blends together nicely. The ceremony went off pretty perfect and Cecelia did a wonderful job with everything.
The reception started at 7:30, 30 minutes after the wedding so my husband and I could do some pics together. The Mariachi band started playing right about 7:30 and they were a great way to start the reception! The morning of the wedding Cecelia came to the room with a cart to take all of centerpiece decorations down. I showed her how to put them together and she did it exactly how I showed her. The reception area was beautiful right beside the pool, because of the blue lighting at night. It was very windy though, and I wore my hair down so it definitely looked wind blown by the end of the night. What I ate of the food was great and all of our guests enjoyed it. They set up the bar very close to the reception area so it was convenient and our guests really liked that as well. Cecilia stayed for almost our entire reception to make sure we had everything we needed. She was really awesome! We were supposed to be finished around 10:00 but everyone was having so much fun dancing, they let the reception go till around 11:00 or 11:30 when they finally kicked us out. After the reception, we went to Desires lounge with some of our wedding party. It’s a little cheesy but fun. We enjoyed having a place to continue dancing end the evening.
Overall, I am ecstatic that I chose SMB for our wedding and honeymoon! It was a true paradise and I could not have imagined anything better! We stayed 2 weeks and had such a wonderful, relaxing time and were treated like royalty the entire time. Not to mention the beach is incredible and on the 2nd largest reef in the world.
For photography we used La Luna photographers and could not be happier with the professionalism, service, quality, and price! The pictures are amazing! Check out the link to our slideshow: http://lalunaphotographers.com/blog/gallery/melissa/weddings/cari-elliott/. I would definitely recommend them and the resort to anyone! This is an extra long review and I still feel like I left some things out but hope it helps!