By krsmith, · 1,463 Views · 12 Comments
Date: Feb 9th-15th, Honeymoon: Feb 15th-20th
Wedding Package: Immaculate Conception Package
On-Site Coordinator: Daniella Lara Elvina
Room Block: Nizuc
Room: Concierge Level, Building "Mono"
Ceremony: 4pm Immaculate Conception Chapel
Officiant/Priest: Father Hubert
Cocktail Hour: 5pm Chapel Gardens
Reception: 6pm-10pm Tucan Terrace
Photographer: Del Sol-Juan Jose & Melissa
Flowers: Maya Floral- Marvin
Room Nights: 56 (Complimentary Cocktail Hour and 3 Complimentary Room Nights)
What a nightmare!! If I wasn’t such a laid back and easygoing person, I think I would have had a complete melt down! MP is lucky they at least have the reputation of coming through in the end…otherwise I’m afraid the wedding department would go down in flames. Ladies, it’s the same old stuff you’ve read from every other bride that has posted on here. They are absolutely abysmal at communicating and/or responding to emails. And just like every other bride has said, they pull through in the end! As hard as it may be, try not to worry. Ultimately everything you want will be done and you will most likely have everything the way you imagined it or better. Just don’t let the poor communications get you down or discourage you. That is the beautiful thing about BDW- you can find just about any question you have has been answered and lots of brides who are going through the same thing and who are willing to help. Do everything you can without MP and let the other stuff go- you will be saved from insanity and sleepless nights!
Check in was a breeze! When we arrived they gave us a glass of champagne (which was VERY tasty) and they had an assortment of pastries and finger foods on in the lobby as well. We had taken a red eye, so by the time we got there we were STARVING and appreciated the little snacks. We decided to upgrade our room since we knew we were not going to be able to use all our credits otherwise. My little sisters that flew with us did the same and were given a room just a few rooms down from us which was good since they are 18 and I wanted to keep an eye on them. Once we had our bracelets we walked to our rooms and shortly after our luggage arrived to our rooms. We tipped them well as they had to carry each of our HUGE bags up the stairs.
The resort was overall quite wonderful! There were a few things that occurred that were annoying at best. First, the phone in our room practically NEVER worked. We rarely received any of our calls, which was a problem when we would be waiting for phone calls from our coordinator, parents, etc. All of a sudden our message light would start blinking on our phone and we’d have several messages from people trying to get a hold of us. Our calls would also frequently get dropped when we would try and call out. We called the front desk several times to get someone to fix the problem, but it was never resolved. The worst part about it was that Daniella needed to get a hold of me on the day of our wedding to confirm whether or not we wanted to take our chances with the weather and keep our reception outside or if we wanted to play it safe and move into one of the ballrooms as the chance of rain was about 30%, and they would completely cancel our reception (without refund or relocation) if it did start to rain before/during the reception. Luckily the weather held out and we had no issues, but I don’t know what would have happened if it had rained and I never had the chance to move it due to our phone situation. Second, on the last day there a few people in our group were stolen from. My Aunt & Uncle had their safe broken into and their cash and credit cards stolen, and my husband’s two Aunts had sentimental jewelry stolen from their nightstand. I feel like it could have been somewhat reconciled if our family had been offered a free room night or something just to recognize that our family had been wronged, but they refused ANY kind of compensation or discount. Even with those unfortunate issues, I can honestly say that our experience was mostly very positive. We definitely took advantage of the room service, which was amazing! They came at all hours of the night and even brought special requests that were not on the menu (the Husband all of a sudden had a craving for a peanut butter, banana, and honey sandwich). There was always something fun going on and food EVERYWHERE! We walked to Sunrise a few times and just about every few feet there was a different type of grill/food and full bar. We refilled our drinks several times on the way to the Sunrise pool!
Our room was absolutely beautiful! When we checked in we knew that due to our busy schedule with the wedding we wouldn’t be able to use all of our resort credits, so we decided to upgrade from our Deluxe Garden View room to the Ocean view Concierge level room. I am SO glad we did! The view was breathtaking and the few extras were a nice addition (DVD player, yummy deserts, champagne, aromatherapy, upgraded room service menu, etc). We came back every night to a well-cleaned room with little chocolates on the bed and a fully stocked fridge and snacks. I only used the Jacuzzi tub a couple of times since it took forever to fill and left the room even more humid feeling, but it was very relaxing.
You can find everything on our OOT Bags on my Planning Thread including the contents. Everyone LOVED the bags! I think we got the most compliments on the badge holder/wristlets and our custom mugs. People also remarked on how much they really appreciated the Motrin, Pepto, and Propel packets. It came in handy many times with all the drinking and eating going on all day every day!
One thing I would have added to the bags were some Walkie Talkies. Even though we had a room block, we were all pretty spread out and since we chose not to have a very scheduled timeline of events (we wanted everyone to do what they wanted to do on their vacation), and because most people didn’t keep their cell phones on (roaming) and weren’t sitting in their rooms all day, it was REALLY hard to keep track of everyone and meet up with people at various points throughout the day. It stressed me out a lot of the trip because we were constantly needing to leave to greet our guests in the lobby, then try and track people down since no one stayed put for long, and I didn’t want to leave people behind if we decided to go somewhere for lunch/dinner/pool time etc.
Coordinator- Daniella Lara Elvina: B+
I was pretty frustrated with the lack of communication leading up to our arrival. 90 days came and went, and still no one had contacted us or told us who our coordinator was. I made a few attempts to get in contact with MP and find out who our coordinator was and how to get in touch with her. I think I finally heard back mid to end of December. We exchanged a few emails back and forth, but there were several times that response time was extremely slow. Towards the end of January and after a slightly frustrated email I sent, Daniella seemed to be a little more on top of getting back to me. I ultimately had to just let things go and remember what most brides have said about things getting done once they got there. On the day of the wedding she came to my room where we were getting ready to see if we were ready to go. We were running a bit behind and asked her if she’d give us 10 more minutes (I didn’t even have my dress on yet!). When she came back, my dress still wasn’t laced up because my mom & sisters either were too nervous to get the string through the loops or didn’t know how, but Daniella came to the rescue and laced me up quickly and helped me get my veil on. She was great about telling us where to go/what to do before we had to do it, and kept some of my things with her (like my hair flower for after the ceremony) so I didn’t have to figure out where to put them. She even did my bustle for me since my mom had a hard time with that as well. As pretty much all the other brides have said about their coordinator, even though the planning process leading up to the wedding was quite frustrating at times, Daniella pulled through and did a great job on the day of the wedding! Everything was pretty much stress free and went as smoothly as any wedding possibly could! We gave her $100 the next day before we left as a “thank you” for her help.
Coordinator Meeting: A+
Daniella definitely made up for her lack of responsiveness during our meeting and on the day of the wedding! I think we spent about 2+ hours with her. She was very sweet and accommodating and took her time answering every question we had and giving us the complete run down of the wedding day. When I asked to add things to our menu, she said yes without any hesitation. I brought everything in a big suitcase that I wanted to be used and either showed her how it was to be used or drew a diagram/picture. Our suitcase contained:
25 Tea Light holders (customized by my mom and I)
25+ LED Tea Light Candles
Chair Sashes & Table Runners & Organza sash for Cake
Guestbook Frame with Pen
Paper Flower Pomanders with metal stands
Blume Boxes for centerpieces
Cake Serving Set (the set my parents used when they got married)
iPod (on the wedding day)
We did not actually eat at most of the restaurants at MP. We mainly stayed in the Nizuc area most of the trip, but did make it over to Sunrise to go to Mo Mo No Hanna and . Honestly most of the food was mediocre. The best food we ate was in the Mexican restaurant Los Corporales in the Nizuc lobby. I had the Steak Fajitas and was barely even able to eat them because of the amazing appetizers they brought us before dinner. All of it was AMAZING!
El Manglar was just so-so. Kind of your typical buffet food during the day, and the Italian Buffet for dinner was just OK. Most of it did not look too appetizing, but there were a few things that were pretty good (of course they were nice and greasy so I felt like a fatty afterwards).
Mo Mo No Hana was pretty good. We waited an incredibly long time for our table, and in the end they refused to add one extra table that would seat 5 people so that we could all sit together. We ended up having a table of 12 and one table of 5 separated from each other. I was really bummed because the parents ended up sitting at the table alone with Father Hubert, and I really wanted to get to know him as well as make him feel included in our group since we invited him.
El Caribeno was good! The food was somewhat exotic and the menu had mostly fish dishes. My Aunt and I both ordered the Mahi Mahi, but somehow we had dishes that did not look alike what so ever and we never figured out who got what since no one else had dishes that looked like ours. Mine tasted pretty good, so I didn’t end up minding.
One thing that I think MP should really work on is their desserts! They have the same desserts at just about every restaurant, and they were almost all lacking in either taste or texture. A lot of their cakes were overly moist…it seemed like the cake part was soaked in water. I’m a big fan of desserts and usually only eat desserts when we go out for special occasions, so I was kind of disappointed that none of them really hit the spot and satisfied my sugar cravings!
Excursion- Wet N' Wild: A
We did not have much time to go on many excursions before the wedding, but we did make sure we swam with the Dolphins~ the one thing I just HAD to do while we were there! The Wet N’ Wild park itself was kind of lame. There were about 4 or 5 slides (we had done them all in about 30 mins), and a wave pool but after we got done with the slides we still had several hours to kill, so we just grabbed some beach chairs and soaked up some sun. Apparently we had an “all-inclusive” deal at Wet N’ Wild, so we had lunch and lots of drinks while we waited for our Dolphin experience. The Dolphin experience was SO FUN! I wanted to do it again right after! We all had the biggest smiles the entire time. The Dolphins were incredible and the trainer was fun and entertaining. There were several other groups of people doing the same thing, but they were all fairly spread out, so they never got in our way. I highly recommend swimming with the Dolphins…just maybe not staying very long at the park itself.
Rehearsal Dinner- Arrecifes: B-
We had our rehearsal dinner at Arrecifes. It was pretty good, but nothing special. One thing I did not like (which happened a couple times at other restaurants) was where they had my husband and I placed at the table. They had an extra table placed at the top of the long row of tables (so it was “T” shaped) and had us placed at the very end. I really felt isolated from everyone since we were pretty far away from everyone and couldn’t hold a conversation with anybody at the table. It was also kind of annoying that they were having a “movie night” for the kids as it was on a big projection screen and VERY loud right next to the terrace where we were eating. The food itself was just OK. The sides were not great and the salad bar didn’t have a ton of options (especially for dressings). The different meats were the best part of the dinner by far.
I couldn’t say enough about Juan and Melissa! They were so sweet and great about blending into the scenery. I barely ever even noticed they were taking pictures. When we got our pictures back, I was amazed at how many wonderful shots they got of people’s emotions throughout the day. The people that couldn’t be there said they felt as though they were able to experience every moment through each picture. I couldn’t have asked for better photographers. The one thing I would think about is your ceremony time and the time the sun sets. I didn’t think about that until Del Sol pointed it out to me, but by then MP only had an 11 am ceremony time available and that wasn’t going to work! Because we had a Catholic ceremony that lasted about an hour, by the time the ceremony was over, we only had about 30 mins of daylight left and had to rush to get all of the group pictures done before the sun set completely. Needless to say I didn’t get to do many pictures with me and my girls and us with our entire bridal party as I would have liked. We got some great ones, but it would have been cool to have more variety of poses/shots. I highly suggest you figure out what time the sun sets on your wedding day and plan your ceremony time accordingly so you have plenty of daylight to get all your pictures in! All in all, Del Sol was the BEST decision we made for our wedding and I would hire them again in a heartbeat. We ended up having to buy each of them a day pass ($92 each) in order for them to come onsite and photograph our wedding. Well worth it!
Hair & Makeup- ST Makeup Artistry: B
Sara Tamargo and her assistant Abilene (hair stylist) came to my room to do mine, my 3 sisters’, and my mom’s hair and makeup. Sara is SO sweet and incredibly talented! She even gave me a little card and booklet as a wedding gift. I know my mom was a little worried about her makeup looking too dramatic (she likes the very natural look), and even though she got a little freaked when she first looked at herself in the mirror, after I reminded her that it was like theater makeup that up close it would look like it was too much, but in pictures it would be beautiful, she calmed down and ended up LOVING how she looked. I think as far as makeup goes everyone looked beautiful! Unfortunately hair was a little hit or miss. My sister that was first to go told Abilene to just “pull it up and do whatever”, but it ended up being a HUGE mistake! I had to laugh a little because it turned out looking like a 90’s prom hairstyle: pulled tight with curls on top of her head and 2 ringlets, one on each side of her face. She was upset and almost in tears, but we took it out and asked Abilene to re-do it. After that mishap, I made sure everyone found a picture of what they wanted on the computer. Once we had pictures she did a pretty good job! I think the main issue was the language barrier (Abilene didn’t really speak much English and I think she understood English only a little) and maybe a little bit of difference in cultural styles/preferences. My hair wasn’t exactly what I had envisioned and was a little too crunchy and tight (I was wanting something low with loose curls, and slightly “undone”), but my good friend that does my highlights back home was able to touch it up so it wasn’t so “done” and re-pin some things so it looked a little more soft and relaxed. I would most definitely hire Sara again for makeup, but as sweet as Abilene was, it’s hard to say if I’d use her again or try the resort’s hair stylists. Either way, have pictures!!
Flowers- Marvin: D+
I have to say I was VERY frustrated with Marvin throughout the whole process. I think I was more frustrated with him than I was in the lack of response from MP. I started communicating with Marvin very early in our planning process. I don’t know why, but it took forever to hear back from him after his first response (several months). I ended up trying to go though CoCoNoir to communicate with Marvin as she was not having the same problem, but that got too complicated and I ended up posting on their Facebook wall that I had been trying to get a hold of them for a long time and hadn’t gotten a response. I ended up getting a response back the next day with an apology saying they hadn’t heard back from me and had tried to email me but must have had the wrong email address for me (I call BS, but Ok). Ultimately I ended up using my husband’s email to communicate with Marvin. It was really frustrating because I felt like every inspiration picture and very detailed description I sent somehow got totally screwed up. He would send me pictures of sample bouquets and they were absolutely NOTHING like the pictures I sent or flowers/colors I requested. And every time I email back saying I did not want this or that he’d do the exact opposite and add MORE of what I didn’t want. In the end I told him to scratch everything and start from square one. I searched for pictures of bouquets that were very simple (roses and tulips and such) that at least sort of went with our colors and asked him to just copy the pictures exactly. Even though they weren’t what I had wanted in the first place, they ended up being very pretty and close enough to the pictures I sent at least. He also ended up not using the colors of ribbon I asked he wrap our bouquets in as well as not cutting the stems down to the length I requested so I could use them in the Blume Boxes I brought to use for the centerpieces. The bouquets ended up being WAY too tall for the boxes and leaned out to the side with all the stems showing. It definitely made the centerpieces look cheap and thrown together which was sad since I had spent so much time gluing rhinestones all over the Blume Boxes and the overall look of the tables.
Ceremony- Immaculate Conception Chapel 4pm-5pm: A+
We had our ceremony in the Immaculate Conception Chapel. Because we had the package, the chapel came decorated with isle bases with calla lilies. I did not add anything else extra for the decorations because I thought that it was beautiful the way it was and like the simplicity of the chapel. Even though it was super hot that day, the air conditioning felt really nice since we were all a little anxious and sweaty! I also really liked that because we were technically “inside”, the ceremony felt a little more private and intimate since there were less random on-lookers. We used the sound system for the procession, but had a harpist for the rest of the music during the ceremony. I honestly barely remember the harpist playing mainly because I think everything was such a whirlwind. Others commented that they loved the harp music and thought it was a very romantic touch to the ceremony. Father Hubert was fantastic and very warm. Everyone loved his message! He always had a kind smile and spoke with the sincerity. I think it was the best ceremony we could have hoped for being so far away from home (and our own church).
Father Hubert: A+++
We requested a meeting with Father Hubert before the wedding so we could get to know each other and feel more comfortable with the steps of the ceremony. We ended up talking with him for 2.5 hours! He is such a sweet and kind-hearted man, and was quite “with the times” as he made references to Harry Potter and his invisibility cloak. He had great stories and insight into male and female behavior/interaction, the needs/wants of both, and relationships in general. There were several times we looked at each other in amazement and wondered how he knew such things about our own relationship and the things we struggle with. He just nailed it in every aspect. We even invited him to dinner with us that night at Mo Mo No Hanna, and he spent the night socializing and getting to know us (especially my mom who is VERY religious and interested in exploring her faith). During the ceremony his Homily was very good. At first I think a lot of us didn’t know quite where he was going with a story he was telling, but by the end of it he had even non-believers (Dan’s family) remarking on how incredible his message was. We were in such a hurry that we didn’t get a great picture of the both of us with him, but I will be sending a little “thank you” to him and letting him know how much we really appreciated him taking an interest in us and making our ceremony special, as well as how much we enjoyed his company.
Cocktail Hour- Chapel Gardens 5pm-6pm: A
We chose the Mexican Hor d’Ouvres and added the Beef Medallions. I had really wanted to have the Mexican Trio during the Cocktail Hour, but I just couldn’t justify spending $400+ for a brief 45 minutes. In the end I’m really glad we didn’t because we were a lot of us were running around trying to get pictures done, and everyone else was so absorbed in socializing and eating before they were ushered to the reception area I think it the Trio would have just been a VERY expensive extra to have for such a brief time. Because we were getting short on time for available light for pictures, and were running around to take our group shots (us and parents, us and bridal party), we didn’t get to eat any of the food. From what I heard it was REALLY good and people loved the mini “sombreros”.
We worked with Katie who was very friendly and helpful. Other than the initial communications and the final OK we really didn’t need to interact much. I contemplated having them do our centerpieces, but in the end, even their cheapest arrangements were still more than we wanted to pay. Even though I feel like some things were over-priced (sting lanterns- and there was at least one lantern out), I am glad we used them for the decorations since they looked great and added to the atmosphere so it looked a little more “fancy” than just a beach party. The final bill ended up being added to our room total when we checked out. Everything was set up and taken down for us!
String Lanterns- $95 x 4 ($370)
Lounge Set up with Pillows- $120
Cake Stand- $30
Set Up Fee- $150
We rented the iPod & speaker set up. Not a ton to say other than that everything went smoothly and the sound was great! Last minute we asked one of Dan’s friends to MC the reception (for some reason we hadn’t thought about it before), so he used the microphone included (as well as everyone that gave speeches). There was also a 2nd microphone that we used for a couple songs when we decided we really wanted to do a little group karaoke since we had a hard time sharing the one microphone. I’m glad we didn’t pay for a DJ as this was just as good and WAY cheaper. TIP: if you have an iPhone or an iPod touch I HIGHLY recommend buying the app Wedding DJ. It was one of the best purchases I made! It lets you create playlists such as “Dinner Music”, “First Dance”, “Cake Cutting” and everything else in between, as well as fades songs/playlists in and out so there is no awkward silences between songs/playlists.
Plug in for iPod
Set up + Take down
iPod/Speaker Set Up (including) taxes & fees- $231.90
Reception Food & Drinks: A+
We chose the Italian Buffet and added the Sirloin steak with Blue Cheese as well. I tried a little bit of everything, but I absolutely LOVED the steak, the roasted veggies, and the mushroom risotto. It was honestly the BEST food I had all week! I was a little worried about what it would taste like since we had eaten at the Italian Buffet in Nizuc the first night we were there and although it wasn’t gross, it definitely left something to be desired. I was pleasantly surprised by how good everything tasted and everyone else seemed to really enjoy the food as well. The only complaint I heard was that the waiters were a little too hasty at removing people’s plates from the table and several people didn’t get to finish their dinner. There was one person (my second cousin who is in her 70’s) that got very sick that night, but we don’t know what the cause was as no one else got sick.
The bartender did a GREAT job at making sure everyone had drinks and kept the party going . We had the full bar and could even have any blended drink we wanted. I think my favorite drink of the week was the Electric Lemonade- a perfect blend of sweet and sour!
Daniella did a great job at getting things going and keeping things flowing steadily. We also had our own waiter who was amazing at getting our preferred drinks and making sure we never ran out for a second. We definitely made sure we tipped him before we left.
Wedding Cake: C+
We got the 3 tier round cake with Chocolate with chocolate filling, White with strawberry filling, and Marble cake with vanilla filling for $220. I honestly didn’t eat any of the cake other than the piece Dan and I exchanged, but it was definitely pretty good. Not the best cake I’ve ever had (almost a little too moist and not a lot of flavor), but definitely not the worst. I asked they do the outside in Butter Cream instead of Fondant as I know most people don’t like the taste and they seem to have a hard time with keeping it from looking like its about to fall over. I also asked if they would use the flowers from my included bouquet on my cake instead. I really liked the simplicity of the cake and felt like it turned out great! I really do believe that when it comes to them and cake the more simple the better…it seems like when you ask for anything too complicated that it tends to look like a mess and nothing like what was requested.
We had a hard time getting up after partying hard at the wedding, and got a late start to our morning. We met with some of our family and friends for breakfast (even though we got the honeymooner's breakfast which was VERY good), so we were very late on packing and getting ready to leave. We called the front desk and they allowed us to move our check out time from 11 am to 2 pm- it made ALL the difference! They arrived at our room promptly at 2 pm to pick up our bags, and we headed to the lobby. We had absolutely no issues with our bill when we checked out, and we even had lost our bracelets from the night before, but they seemed to not really care. Everything went smoothly and after saying goodbye to my parents we were picked up by a shuttle and on our way to Playa del Carmen!
Honeymoon- Playacar Palace: A+++
We chose to leave MP the day after the wedding and head south to Playa del Carmen to stay at Playacar Palace for 5 nights as a mini honeymoon. I have to say Playacar is WAY better in so many ways than MP. Playacar is smaller and has fewer restaurants, but everything we ate there was AMAZING. The beaches are bigger and much more beautiful and pristine. Even though Playa del Carmen is only about 40 mins south of Cancun, it made a BIG difference in the weather. It was much warmer and had beautiful blue and sunny skies.
While we were down in Playa del Carmen we had our TTD session with Matt and Sol. Matt and Sol picked us up at our resort and offered us some refreshments when we got to the car. Then we were off to a special place that was hidden from all the tourists to shoot our TTD. Matt and Sol did an incredible job at making us feel at ease and keeping things fun and light-hearted. It felt like we were just hanging out with old friends. The underwater part was CRAZY! I wish I had practiced holding my breath and composing myself under water as I really struggled to stay under the water while holding my breath and not looking like I was drowning. Matt was very sweet and patient and made sure to stop and let me catch my breath and get myself composed. He was quite the cheerleader! Our pictures turned out better than I could have imagined and we now have pictures that we will cherish forever!
Overall I am absolutely thrilled with our experience at Moon Palace! Even with the bumps in the road along the way, planning a destination wedding was by FAR easier and much more affordable than if we were to have had it back home. If I had to do it again, I wouldn't change a thing! Moon Palace may be a pain to work with in the planning process, but in the end they deliver!