By coconoir1908, · 1,908 Views · 23 Comments
I wanted to start-off by thanking all of the BDW Brides on this forum, especially the Moon Palace 2012 Brides! The information and ideas posted on here has been invaluable for planning our wedding and there is no way we could have had the wedding of our dreams without you! So, as it has been noted on this site and one of my biggest philosophies, “I’m paying it forward”. Our wedding was TRULY AMAZING and I am so glad we chose to do a destination wedding! Please feel free to post any questions that you may have and I will do my best to answer them as often as I can.
Coco’s Note/Disclaimer: Pictures on this review are non-professional photos. This is a REALLY long but detailed oriented review!
Details of Wedding Week:
Miami Coordinator: Janina, IIiana, and Joannis
On-Site Wedding Coordinator: Valeria Vera
Wedding Package: Complimentary
Wedding Date: Saturday, April 21st 2012
Wedding Week: April 17th – April 25th @ Moon Palace
Room Block: Nizuc Side
Honeymoon: April 22nd – April 25th @ Moon Palace
Rehearsal/Welcome Cocktail: Friday April 20th 6:30-8:30 p.m. @ Arrecifes-Terrace
Ceremony: 5:00 p.m. - Tucan Gazebo
Cocktail Hour: 5:45-6:45 –Venando Terrace
Reception: 7-11 p.m. - Caribbean Terrace (on top of restaurant @ Moon Grand
Professional Photographers: Ivan Luckie (outside vendor) paid for 1 room night
Guests: 66 + Bride & Groom
Airline used: US Air, Frontier, Air Tran (Hubby & I used US Air).
Luggage: 5 that we took with us ($240 in baggage fees) & we had 3 people take our other luggage which held OOT items.
*Please check your airline luggage fees
Wedding Ceremony & Reception Décor: Zuniga (added to MP bill) $1173.27
StudioSuits.com (suit, vest, lining & shipping) $225
Liberty Travel: Husband’s previous travel agent Liz
Flowers: Marvin from Maya Diseno $525 +25 delivery fee
Photographer: Ivan Luckie of Luckie Photography
MakeUp: Norma Perez of Mac $130 bride make-up $100 for per person (bridal party)
DJ Mannia: $900 and 2 day passes (refunded $495)
Contact with Miami Wedding Coordinators: (Janina B, , IIiana A+++, Joannis No grade)
I knew from this site that contact with the Miami and onsite wedding coordinators could be crazy, hectic, sporadic and often frustrating. Since I knew this, along with my Type A personality when it comes to planning, it did not bother me when I would not get a response for a couple of days to my e-mails, etc. Most of my answers came from this site and I just kept it simple and basic when it came to working with the coordinators. Instead of sending 1-2 questions at a time, I would send a document that listed the titles i.e. Locations, Cocktail Hour, Wedding Ceremony etc. and then listed questions under each title. This way, it would help them remain organized and focused on the topic at hand, and I would have EVERYTHING in writing! Since so many bride-to-be’s would receive different answers, I stated what I WANTED versus asking when it came to certain things. Although Janina is very nice and answers emails and phone calls quickly, she really does not do much in my opinion. Therefore, when I started asking questions about the actual resort, table size, etc. she had no clue and forwarded my information to IIiana who was a godsend! IIiana was on point ALL THE TIME! Therefore, once I requested my venues and the venues was confirmed several months in advance, I simply relaxed and worked on our vision day and night and did not stress when it came to Miami. TRULY, most of what you need to take care of happen once, you get there however; in working with IIiana, I covered everything from menus, signature drinks etc... Therefore, there was truly no need for me to fuss. I loved working with IIiana, and she documented everything in blue anytime she replied to something. Therefore, when it came time for her to transfer to another department I knew that I was okay and just needed to confirm who the new coord was, which was Joannis. My only communication with Joannis, was to make sure that my information was transferred to her and when she confirmed that, I was more than okay.
Meeting with Wedding Coordinator Valeria: (A+++++++++++)
Okay so you see by the amount of + that I added, that she was ALL THAT! The things that I have read on the review about her are 100% accurate and true. She is so organized and on top of things that our meeting lasted 1 hour! Yes, you read it, 1 hour! When you check-in upon your arrival, they will give you a letter that is from the wedding department, reminding you of your meeting along with this cute little paper fan with some words (never read it but brought it home lol.) The wedding department is located in the Nizuc lobby, so it was a breeze for us to call the bellhop to come and get our bags etc. Upon entering the office, the smell of lemongrass will knock you off your feet. I love the smell and it is very calming and soothing. The receptionist greets you and asks for your ID and marriage license. Then your coord comes out. Valeria greeted us both with a hug and said to me “it’s about time we met.” We both laughed and went into her office. We got right down to business, as she had already had our folder prepared. They have a form that they go over with EVERYTHING from locations, menus, music, bridal party, cake selection, flowers, and the ribbon you want on them etc. Since I hired Marvin (review later), when it came to the flowers we only talked about what I wanted for my bouquet and FI’s bout. When asked aobu the others, I simply said we were okay. When it came to the photographer, she asked who I had and I said Ivan Luckie to which I booked one room night and she was okay with that and we moved on. Since some of our guest booked on Travelocity, we went through that list as well because of course she only had the list from my TA so initially the numbers did not add up. After that, we got right down to the decorations. I’m a little Type A as my MP2012 ladies know ;-) so I had everything packed and labeled which both her and my now hubby cracked up about. She gave me a BIG hug and said “thank you for making this easy”. From there I began to talk to her about the welcome cocktail décor, etc. I had made lumi’s which I was going to use but it was going to be a bit windy so she suggested that we use them at the wedding reception to line the steps… awesome idea right. Anyway, she took notes where needed but was set for the most part and we ended our meeting. I had forgot to print out my pictures of set-up (my Type A coming out), but I had my hard drive so I went to the café to email about 5 pictures. We gave her a very generous tip, as she did not charge us for an extra hour on the terrace for the reception and only 1 $65 set-up for all the stuff that I had. My mom tipped her as well, which I did not learn until we got home and I was so happy that she did as I felt that the $250 that we gave was not enough. But of course, hubby was saying “babe it is”.. my mom gave her $200 so I felt better ;-)
Wedding Package: (A+++)
We chose the Complimentary wedding package because we knew there were no substitutions with the other packages. There were some things included in the other packages that we did not need or want to pay for and for us the colors were very limiting for what we wanted (Tropical vs. the colors we would possibly use for a wedding back home.) With that in mind, we set out to customize everything! We also did the symbolic ceremony only because our state does not recognize marriages in another country. Please look at your state laws!
Here are the things we added to our package:
Horse Drawn Carriage: $130
Day Passes x 2: $182 (I wasn’t charged for a 3rd day pass but this was by mistake I gather)
Suits pressed x 2: $46 (Husband and son)
Event Set-up: $65
Event Set-up per person for the Caribbean rooftop (not optional) $792 ($12pp)
Our final bill for our stay which was mainly wedding related since we qualified for complimentary 7 night stay and unlimited events was $2254.73 (excluding the Jet Ski’s, parasailing & purchases for friends) Here is a blurry picture that the receptionist took of Hubby, Valeria and I when we stopped at the office to say good-bye. She was just that DYNAMIC.
The “Wright” Men’s attire: Studisuits.com (A+++)
After countless reviews and ordering swatches, we decided to go with studisuits.com which was found on this site. We went with the Pure Irish Linen in Light Beige and EVERYONE loved them. Of course, we added the satin lining to his pants for an extra $5. We ordered my husband suit first. We went with the preset size and did not have them hemmed. The package arrived via FedEx within 2 weeks. His suit fit perfectly and from there I sent a detailed email out to the gentlemen. Most ordered the pre-set size and all were great!
My son’s suit came from Etsy via a vendor FineHandMadeClothing (A-). While Irene was pleasant to work with, my son’s suit was tight around the butt and upper thigh. Since, there was not enough time to send them back to her and have them fixed; I went to our local tailor. Our tailor could only let the pants out in 3 places, which would add up to an inch at best, as there was not enough material left to do more, which he found very odd. He only charged me $15 so that wasn’t’ too bad. The material was great! I paid more for his suit then the guys paid for theirs. Overall, anyone older than 11, I would simply order them a suit from studiosuits if you decide to go this route for the groomsmen or find something in your local stores.
Rehearsal/Welcome Cocktails: Arrecifes Terrace/Brazillian Restaurant (A+++)
Although, we qualified for unlimited events, we didn’t want to take up too much of our guests times with planned activities. We wanted people to enjoy their vacations especially since some have never traveled out of the country before. In addition, some was on their honeymoon or celebrating anniversaries. We knew that we wanted to have a “Welcome” for our guest, so cocktails on the Terrace it was. It gave everyone a chance to meet our guest and allowed us to say THANK YOU for travelling by giving out our OOT bags. We chose the Asian Hors d'oeuvres and added chicken fingers for the kids. The food and atmosphere was excellent! There was not one complaint. We simply lucked up, as the market place was set-up around the pool area. This gave us some Mexican flavor and music along with the opportunity for some guest to have their first shopping experience. My son, who loves planes; was ultra-excited as he asked for $35 to buy a plan made of sprite cans. My 75 year old grandmother and mom was smoking cigars…it was simply amazing. Our event was from 6:30-8:30p and Valeria was there for the 1st hour and ½. Prior to her leaving, she introduced me to the young-lady who would be taking over for her. Can I just say that the servers will NEVER let your glass even look like it was empty, whew!
My awesome Maid of honor helping get my DIY stirrers and customized napkins set-up.
Valeria is to the left.
Final look of the bar set-up (just to add a pop of color)
Maya Diseno Florist/Marvin: (A+) I am not a big fan of flowers to say the least and really did not want flowers but both hubby and my mom was pressing me ;-(). Therefore, I gave in but not with the price! Knowing that MP wanted an arm, leg and other body parts for flowers that we could not take home, I started my communication with Marvin. Again, because of this awesome site, I knew that Marvin was slow in his communication. In my first email I made the subject line with my location and date of wedding. Within the body, I told him how many of each item I would need and sent sample pictures. A week went by and no response, so I emailed him again and he responded within 2 days. From there I had no problems.
We purchased the following:
1 Bridal bouquet $125
6 Brides bouquet (to be used as centerpieces when they ladies entered) $45.00 a piece total $270
2 bouts for the Groom and best man $15.00 each total $30
4 bouts for groomsmen and my uncle 15.00 each total $60
2 Mother's corsages $20.00 each total $40.00
Total $525 + 25 delivery charge.
Mine are the one with the roses. I used this as my through away bouquet. Just a thought!!! Don't purchase a bridal bouquet through Marvin unless MP can't give you what you want! I loved my roses from MP and used those instead.
Here are my complimentary flowers from MP that I carried for my wedding
Norma Perez in Cancun (Mac)/Makeup: (A++++) Guess where I found Norma? Yup, you guessed it on BDW lol. As a woman of color and with sensitive skin, I did not trust my face to the resort. Not that they could not do a good job, but I haven’t seen pictures or read reviews of them doing make-up for women of color. This was undoubtedly a big concern for me. In either case, I contacted several vendors in Cancun (only after hubby told me that we were not brining my make-up artist as it did not fit into our budget…booo), and the same problem occurred (no pictures or reviews.) Low and behold, Norma had it all. I became Facebook friends with her and was able to see her work, etc.. We communicated by Facebook and email and all was perfect. She arrived on time and everyone that used her loved her. She did the following at $100 a piece (Mom, Grandma, Aunt, & 2 bridesmaids) my make-up was $130. I didn’t require anyone to get their make-up done so 3 of my bridesmaids chose to do their own and 2 wished they would have gone with Norma when comparing our make-up at night after dancing etc.. Norma is sweet to work with and fit right in to our craziness…. here is my MOH in the Rasberry Butter by Nadia dress
Ceremony Tucan Gazebo (A+++++++) The wedding of our dreams, Nothing but the Grace of God!
It is my belief that no matter what Gazebo you choose, they are equally beautiful! (I posted pictures in the forum that I started title “Pictures of different areas at Moon Palace Hotel”. However, I wanted the longer walkway for several reasons…Since my uncle was my “dad” growing up, this was a very proud moment for him, and I wanted to enjoy that with him. In addition, what girl does not want to show off her dress LOL. The wedding was everything that I wanted! Laughter, tears, and interaction as the officiant kept calling me Channel versus Chanel and after the 5th time everyone said, “Her name is Chanel like the perfume”. I was cracking up as one of my high school teachers use to call me Channel. Also between the wind and the officiant’s low voice, hubby couldn’t hear so the said “listen, I need to get this right can you speak up”. Haha…..It was just simply the best! I don’t remember the officiant’s name but his English was okay but he was very soft spoken.
We kept it simply for our wedding decor as the elegance of the gazebo and the view of the ocean is truly decoration enough. However, you know I have to have just a pop of color! I purchased raffia fans an added our DIY programs to the front. There were 25 with fuchsia ribbon and 25 with turquoise ribbon. We asked Valeria to alternate the color on the seats. I also purchase fuchsia rose petals from Zuniga (picture above) along with a ribbon that went across the chairs in the back row to keep the guest from walking through the petals. The ribbon was moved for the entry of the bridal party. For the table, we had our sand ceremony there, which was enough for us.
We did a blended family sand ceremony. The vases were for our children we both have 1 child each. And the Nautilius shells were for us. The girls pink (light and dark) and the guys blue (light and dark).
Please see my planning thread “Coconoir’s Planning Thread-Picture Heavy” for any information on vendors.
Horse and Carriage (A MUST!!!!) If you do not add on anything else, you must add the horse and carriage. The only person that knew that I was getting the horse and carriage was my hubby but he didn’t’ know until our meeting with Valeria. At that point, there was no way to keep him from knowing unless I sent him out the room LOL. I knew I wanted to get the horse and carriage from the beginning but I did not expect hubby or our guest to have such a reaction to it….there were tears all over the place. Mind you, a lot of our guest witnessed other wedding during their stay but that did not take away from me doing this at all! The funny part was my flower girls only saw the carriage because another bride’s carriage stopped outside of our window that is when I told them. Since our room was so close to the gazebo, Valeria came to pick the flower girls, Ivan (photographer) and me up in the golf cart at 4:30, in a golf cart. We took the back way to the lobby so that no one would see us. We then took another golf cart to meet the horse and viola. OMG the reactions that we got from the lobby and the people coming out of the pool by the Caribbean restaurant where the horse waited until. THE BEST moment ever! My 2 flower girls rode with us.
Cocktail Hour: Venando Terrace (A+++)
I heard that the cocktail hour was fabulous along with the food but we did not have a chance to see or eat during that time as we were taking pictures. We chose the Superior Hor’devours and had a pink signature drink that everyone said was great! I initially tried to come up with the drink myself but not knowing the alcohol that they carried made it hard. So, I just simply asked for a pink signature drink for the cocktail hour and a blue one for the reception. Again, with my pop of color, I made cocktail menus and stirrers and had custom napkins made. Valeria also used some extra chair sashes for add a bit more color to the tables which she alternated. To save time at the wedding and to get things started, I also had our guestbook set-up during the cocktail hours. Here is a picture of my grandma. Love her to pieces.
DIY cocktail menus...sligtly windy so held down by the vases
Signing the guestbook
Reception: Caribeno/Caribbean Rooftop Moon Grand side (A+++++++++)
Our reception was on the Caribbean rooftop and it was the absolute BEST and perfect place for us! The view is breathtaking and it overlooks the infinity pool. There is already a bar there so there was no need to have anything set-up. We also were able to get sushi from there as well. SWEET! The area wasn’t closed off so it was possible to have random guest but we didn’t have any problems with this at all. The steps that we used for our entrance though made it possible for on-lookers, which we invited up to dance. We had 6 cool ass “wedding crasher” that stayed for about 15 minutes or so. Some of our guests have stated to hubby and me that “this was the best wedding that they have ever been too.” Whew….imagine my smile on the inside and out.
Our Intro as Mr. and Mrs. (DIY wedding wands)
Table set-up for Escort Cards and wedding wands
I had silver plate stands to hold these up but it was a little windy… Escort cards Etsy vendor (edible butterflies with their names on it) Trays purchased from Michaels and painted by me.
Our wedding crashers
Zuniga aka Deco Cancun: (A+++)
I contacted Zuniga directly via e-mail to get quotes on lounge set-ups along with a few other things. Katie was very easy to work and her response time was typically within a day or two. Their prices are reasonable & they are MP approved vendors so no fuss or day passes required. Here is what we added along with the breakdown in cost
Lounge furniture for 8-10 people: $120 x 2 = $240
Large fuchsia pillows: $4 x 5 = $20
Large turquoise pillows: $4 x 5 = $20
Lounge structure (over lounge area) with turquoise & fuchsia lanterns: $270
Centerpieces for the sweetheart table (at brides request) to match Marvin & clear gems at the bottom: $85 (x2) = $170
Tall vases with blue water and clear gems at the bottom $7 x 6 =$42
Fuchsia rose petals for the aisle $35 x 4 =$140
Fuchsia ribbon to block the aisle $5.00
Delivery, set-up, break down: $150.
Total: $1057 + 11% tax = $1173.27
Glimpse of our table set-up. Linens from weddinglinensdirect.com Centerpiece Zuniga
DJ Mannia:(C) If it was not for the fact that we received an immediate refund I would rate an F. Music is very important for my hubby and I as this is how we met. Since the reviews on the site were great, I set out to contact them. They are very attentive, responsive, and friendly so I have no complaints at all when it comes to this. They send you a sheet to list your first dance song, cake cutting etc. In addition, a list of songs that they have however; the list is not inclusive. I was advised that I could send any song with the Title and Artist and if they had trouble finding it, they would contact me. NO contact so I thought things were good. Let us fast forward to the day of the wedding. Our best man left the cocktail hour a little early to pay to the DJ, as they will not start playing music until paid. Hubby had given the best man the balance of $450 (our contract was $900.) The person kept telling him we owe $45. Anyway, hubby paid that at the end, to keep me from getting pissed and cussing them out.. However, you know I was pissed. However, this was not it.. Had it been I would have been okay. Instead of him saying, “Cutting the cake”, he said, “cooking the cake”, he did a single women bouquet toss which I specifically said I did not want in our contract. He did not play any of our songs during the dinner hour and when it was time to dance, who knows what he was playing. Thank the heavens I am anal and more so in this area as my Hubby and I met dancing and we both love old school hip hop and R&B. Therefore, I had a friend make us a CD ;-) and this is what the DJ played for the rest of the night. No one knew but the 3 of us. And 1 of us was pissed off… guess who? Anyway, everyone had a blast and I did as well. However, the next day I emailed DJ Mannia and told them what happened. They refunded me via PayPal before I left Cancun. Ha, he did make a copy of our CD so, they should be smooth sailing from here on out LOL
Cake (A) I am not a cake eater so, it was all on hubby to choose. He decided not to upgrade since Valeria advised that we would have other deserts with our menu (Tex Mex). For the flavor, he chose lemon and from those that ate the cake, it was good. From the 1 bite, that I had it was all right but trust me I am not one to judge a cake. LOL As far as looks, it was average. Again, hubby chose not to add the flowers to it since we had our cake topper and other stuff to add to the table, which was good enough for us. I did smash hubby and tried to run but fell on my dress…It was hilarious to say the least and I laid out for Ivan to take pictures…Thank God for a fluffy dress Ha-ha Oh they did loose 1 of our forks that we purchased with our server. I was not pissed but hubby was. Valeria said she would keep an eye out for it and mail it back if it was found.
Tables & Things: Our set-up was conducive for our group. We had 6 tables of 10 and our sweetheart table had 6 of us (Hubby & I, his best man and significant other and my MOH and significant other). I ordered satin turquoise sashes & napkins from weddinglinensdirect.com. They come in a packet of 10 so we had extra left over that Valeria used to decorate some other areas throughout or venues. Table numbers, were wood numbers that I purchased from Michaels and painted using Martha Stewart paints (love her.). I also had cut out butterflies from my Martha Stewart punch that was not sprinkled on the tables as it was too windy. I truly didn’t mind as the set-up came out great!
Favors: We had custom shot glasses made by discountmugs.com. We chose 36 Turquoise and 36 Fuchsia frosted shot glasses. The price was reasonable as we used an email discount and promotion that they had going on. Our guests really loved them. For the children, I lollipops (oldtimecandy.come), coloring books and crayons on at the setting.
I chose not to have a bachelorette party at home, as many of my bridesmaids live in other states. I though it unfair to ask them to add on another cost when they were already traveling to Mexico. In addition, my stepdaughter is 19, so she would not have been able to join us at a club at home. So, after reading some reviews here but mostly on Trip advisor, I set-up the CunCrawl for Thursday, April 19th. It was easy to work with them as they simply send you a link so that you can email to the ladies. Everyone pays for their own way (how nice is that.) Anyway, I made an event on Facebook, where I posted the link and sent the invite to those that maybe have been interested. Our turnout 19 women…..in 2 vans used to pick us up. The drive was about a 1/2hr to 45 minutes going into downtown, we talked and listed to music. They took us to 3 places.. I do not recall or liked the first one but Congo and Mandala were great…especially Congo. Huh, FI and the guys went out (not a cuncrawl and we ran into them there) go figure but we were VIP LOL.. I did dance with him though LOL. All in all, it was a good time to get off the resort and party. Our guides were amazing… I did tell him (being the music gal that I am) that they should ask the initiator of the group what type of music they like and then set-up the clubs.. we did feel like there were a few clubs that we wanted to go into that was jamming but NOPE we had to stick with their plan… Minus 1 BM it was her 2nd anniversary so they were being lovely dovey LOL I’m in the tan shorts)this was the 1st place (don’t remember the name)
Although I take pole classes (gotta keep it spicy) this damn pole was not stable…I don’t care how much the clown tried to hold it. LOL
2nd club where we ran into the guys I have this picture on a Dos Equis bottle..
3rd club and the best thing of the nite...well to me anyway. This was on all of the screens in the club and they at least had 15! Talking about smiles...I didn't even notice until everyone that was with us said look, look.... they all took pictues
IN CLOSING ;-)
Hubby and I are so very humbled by this whole experience! From our family and friends that have traveled along with those that wanted to come but could not, we had an AMAZING experience and the wedding that WE HAVE DREAMED OF!!!! Stress free…not exactly but definitely worth the little stress that we encountered. Someone asked me if I could change one thing, If I could do it all over again what would I do… my response I WOULDN’T CHANGE A THING!!!
May your heart, stressors and burden be just a little lighter reading this review. I hope that I touched all bases but if not please feel free to PM me. Again, for my MP2012 brides, I have nothing but love for you. Muah.