By peterpanpixiedust, · 1,149 Views · 3 Comments
Let me just say that I am so glad to finally be the one to write a review! I took extremely long, but I have several reviews and I wanted them all to be completely detailed and extensive. My husband had a car accident right after the wedding, then my replacement car was stolen, and there were 5 other couples getting married the same year. So it took me a bit to get my stuff together. Now, thankfully, the hubby is fine, and the replacement car is back, fixed, and almost paid off! Now it’s about a month until our anniversary and I wanted to get all my Post Wedding to do’s finished before we go on our trip! Thank you Tammy, BDW, and all you ladies for being here for me!
Before you read this, please take into account my grading system. I am a highly critical person, but I am also critical of myself. So I try to balance it out in my grade, and I graded the end product... not the in-between stuff. There were things that went wrong, but I worked really hard and tried to fix things before hand (because I am a perfectionist) to make it perfect. Some people might have given a lower grade because they had to fix things and not just rely on the vendors. I, however, know nothing is perfect and I personally liked that I had the freedom to go around making corrections (like I was Co-Executive of my day). On the other hand, some people might have graded higher, because the little things that went wrong wouldn’t have bothered them, and they wouldn’t have spent the extra effort to fix things. But you will see that my grades couldn’t be much higher. Bridal and honeymoon euphoria also factors into my grade; IMHO that is the best guideline to how wonderful your wedding/honeymoon was... your happiness!
THE WEDDING COORDINATOR (AND OTHER WEDDING STAFF) A+
Claudia Cantilla was my wedding coordinator. She has been the one who worked with me from the beginning - from the time I sent a request to Dreams Cancun for a wedding proposal. Claudia is a big sweetheart and I would recommend her to anyone.
With Claudia During my site visit June 2010
The Planning Process
Claudia responded to all my emails in a timely manner (remember, if your wedding is far in advance, she may not get back to you as quickly as when your wedding draws closer. And they are on island time, and she has hundreds of weddings in a year, so relax!) She eased countless concerns of mine. Whenever I would see something on BDW that worried me (not being able to substitute options, extra charges I never heard of, corrupt vendors, resort closings, etc) she would reassure me that everyone/thing I wanted was still in place and I need not worry. I visited a year before my wedding on a site visit and I met her and my videographer and engagement photographer and they all worked well together. Claudia also kept contact with my travel agent and they worked together to help keep things in order. About a month before my wedding, I nailed most of the final details down with her through emails (menu, add-ons, pictures of décor and placement). When we arrived at Dreams a few days before my wedding, we scheduled a meeting with Claudia for the next day. She had the things we had shipped to the hotel already in our room when we checked in. We met with her and I dropped off our decorations, descriptions and diagrams/pictures of placement of décor, menus, favors, programs, cake stand, photo frames, sand ceremony, wine ceremony, chair sashes, centerpieces, signing frame, etc. and I no longer had to worry about it. There was a discrepancy about the size of our light up dance floor (email communication showed it to be bigger than it was, and after we showed her the email from the dance floor technician, she handled it and at our reception we had our big dance floor! So ladies, keep your emails and bring copies of everything, in case things do go awry). She also dealt with one of the local vendors we hired: a butterfly and dove release company. I communicated with both the company and Claudia through email (and phone on occasion), and on our wedding, the butterflies and doves were where they needed to be when they needed to be there. Claudia handled it all and I never even met the butterfly lady (my hubby did, however, and she explained to him how to handle the doves correctly while my ladies and I were getting ready).
Wedding – Pre-Ceremony (and some mild mayhem)
The day of our wedding, there was a huge tropical storm (later known as Tropical Storm Arlene, which for the record never happens in June… figures, lol). Claudia assured me that she would do her best to let us have the wedding of our dreams, even possibly move the wedding back a bit, so it could be outside. I went to get my hair and make-up done, and try to distress. During this time, my bouquet arrived to my room and a guest brought it down for me. It was not at all like the picture I gave Claudia, so I started to get bummed out. One of my maids and a guest took it to Claudia with my instructions, and luckily, they were able to tweak it and make it almost exactly like I wanted! By the time I made it back to my room, thankfully the storm died down, although it was still cloudy out (and extremely windy). While getting ready, I noticed that the petals for my flower girl were delivered, and they were the wrong petals. We requested white and red petals. Our colors were red, white, and a sandalwood type color. Our aisle carpet was red, so white petals were going to be on the red carpet (already placed), and red petals were to be in the flower girls’ basket (mostly for show, to go with her outfit, and to give her a fun task), and in petal toss bags for the guests. Well, the white petals were delivered to our room, making me wonder what was going to be on the carpet on the aisle, and where the red petals were. I had to take more time out of getting ready to make calls and send my ladies to help fix it. It did eventually get fixed though. By the time I finished getting ready, we were only a little late, and everything was in place! Honestly, when you are planning a millions different things in a wedding (especially in a destination wedding in a different country with a different language), there is bound to be some miscommunication and errors. But if you can keep a level head and be patient and willing to explain your needs again calmly (bridesmaids are a big help here), things will work out. You also need an open mind for the few things that won’t go how you expect. There was one mistake my coordinator made that couldn’t be fixed (I was in the middle of getting married, so I wasn’t able to do anything). She had put the rest of our fake petals I had set aside for our water vase centerpieces in our petal toss bags (she was supposed to use the rest of the flower girls real red ones). The end result was that when it came time for guests to toss the petals at me and the hubby, instead of being heavy enough to be thrown, the fabric was to thin and they got caught away with the wind. I admit I was upset at first, because I used some of my substitutions on services I didn’t use in my package to get the petals (so technically I paid for them), and because I wanted the petal toss for some colorful pictures (not to mention the fake petals were not environmentally friendly, so I was surprised she would even think to use them to be tossed at us). However, in reality, you have to choose your battles (be upset, or enjoy the wedding), and in all fairness it was so windy even the real petals would have blown away. And my coordinator didn’t mean any harm; it was just an honest mistake.
The Ceremony and Reception
With the few mishaps out of the way, the rest of the day was perfect. Claudia had tied all the sashes I gave her on the chairs with the knot I asked for, she placed the ceremony favors behind the sashes like I asked, the wine ceremony, sand ceremony, and dove basket were in place on the ceremony table (although the wind ended up knocking one of our sand ceremony vases over and broke it… NOTE: Dreams Cancun Gazebo is always windy, but if there’s a tropical storm brewing, forget any glass). As I was waiting with my group to walk down the aisle, I saw Claudia and her assistant and she had her head set on to direct the sound system technicians. When she saw we were ready, she had them start the first song. Every song was played on queue (even my last minute change, which was the background music to a song I sang to my husband. I told them to wait for my signal, in case I was too nervous and decided to skip it). The minister, Jorge, was a very sweet man and did everything perfectly. I emailed him a few times prior and Claudia gave him the wine ceremony instructions ahead of time (since that isn’t a well know ceremony), and he put his own personal touch on the more common sand ceremony. After our dove release and we were introduced as man and wife, our exit song played and we were off to take pictures. Claudia left to get the reception ready.
Right before our reception, there was a butterfly release. Earlier that day, I had requested the location to be changed due to the high wind (I didn’t want our poor butterflies being blown away). By the time we finished our pictures, I noticed the guests holding their butterfly boxes in a less windy area. As I walked toward them, I noticed our big light up dance floor, our head table and guest tables, cake table, and sound system table all in place, exactly as I diagrammed. The sashes were moved to the reception chairs, the centerpieces were exactly as I had described, the cake stand assembled as I instructed, and the tables were all lit up underneath. The place cards had the people sitting where I wanted, the menus where placed on each plate, the cocktail umbrellas were on each guest’s personalized shot glass next to their plates, our picture frame and guest signing frame were next to our personalized maracas in a basket as I requested behind the cake table. Claudia had done everything as I wanted! And even though we ran late, we were still in time to do our first dance as the sun set. And the clouds even broke for the most spectacular sunset I ever saw (and this was my second summer in Cancun). We even lucked out and had a rainbow during our butterfly release! NOTE: butterflies become dormant in the box, so tap the box first before releasing, it will wake them. No one told us this beforehand, but our photographer mentioned it after she realized they weren’t moving and I thought they were dead. She had been to several wedding with this happening.
Our first dance was gorgeous as the dance floor lit up white and purple against the deep orange sky. And when it started drizzling, Claudia again acted last minute as I asked her to keep our sound system technicians. (We only had them for the dinner music, and planned on using our Bose portable sound dock after, but didn’t want it to get wet, so we were able to hire the sound system longer). We were glad we did, because they even brought out balloons that were as colorful as our dance floor that became a vibrant multicolored flashing extravaganza!! The only bad thing was that our dinner CD somehow didn’t have all our songs (must have not burned properly) and some songs kept replaying (so I asked them to play whatever they had). We had backup CDs for the reception, but were planning on just using our iPod. Luckily the techs just took our iPod to check the list and were able to find most of our songs. By this time, because everything ran late we didn’t have much time left for dancing, so I had to keep requesting for them to skip songs in order to play my event songs (father daughter dance, mother son dance, bridal party dance, first fun dance, dance for cutting the cake, for the bouquet/garter toss, for when we had sparklers, for the tequila conga line we requested our bartenders to do for us, favorite songs, etc). Remember, a Dreams reception is only 3 hours, so after dinner, there’s maybe only an hour and a half. If things run late as they did with us, you get less. So if you are an event planner and controller like I am, be prepared to help out. If you’re not, then you can just relax and let them play what they like!
Once the dancing began, Claudia was pretty much done, but she checked up on us until the very end. Once it was over, she was there to clean up everything, and had our stuff delivered back to our room the next day. I truly think the only reason I worked so hard (aside from my being a perfectionist), was because so many things went wrong that were unplanned. Most weddings have a few mishaps, but with the weather making us have to change plans and making us run late, and other little things that no one could expect (a passing starfish fell out of my bouquet, my dress wasn’t bustling properly, and other small things). That being said, I would have never been able to fix everything by myself. Claudia was a godsend! With her help, I didn’t go crazy trying to be everywhere, I was able to focus more on me and my hubby and guests, and I did actually get to enjoy some things despite most brides saying they don’t remember much. That reminds me, the food was great (we had two entrees… Dreams Trilogy and Chicken Supreme, A la Romani soup, the organic salad, and chocolate napoleon), and the drinks were plentiful! We moved our champagne toast so that instead of after the ceremony, it was at our dinner for our toasts. And they also gave us and any guest champagne whenever we wanted (as opposed to what I had heard before). We went with the Tres Leches cake because it was native to Mexico. Everyone loved it and many ordered it for room service afterward.
Claudia and the wedding staff saved my life. She ran around and did everything I asked to the best of her ability, and I had a lot of detail and requests (many last minute). I also want to add that tropical storms are rare in June. My in laws have been coming to Cancun in June for over ten years and there has never been more than ten minutes of drizzle. So all these changes I had to make last minute usually don’t happen to Cancun brides and coordinators until October weddings.
Staff (Concierge and Servers) - A+
All of the staff at Dreams was amazing. We had some favorites. At the Concierge desk, Carlos was always ready to greet us with a smile or dance with me. We gave him our complimentary bottle of champagne as we departed because with all the restaurants and bars on the resort, we never opened it… haha! Raija, another concierge, helped us with discrepancies with our coupons and included packages. Also a concierge, Nadia helped me out when I had lost my bouquet starfish (we luckily found it later) and she was genuinely concerned for me and shared her sympathies. Later on, I started contacting her through her face book concierge page and she hunted down a recipe from Seaside Grill (my husband’s favorite meal there) so I could surprise him for Valentine’s Day! She also is helping to coordinate our private romantic dinner this June. We signed up for a special and she helped in my request to recreate our wedding menu. So, now on our Anniversary, we will dine on the same food we had at our wedding, and our cake, but this time we will have time to savor it, ALONE!!! Thank you Nadia! We are going to be doing a video testimony with her once we come back to Dreams! I can’t wait. I would recommend the Dreams Concierge even over whoever you book with. I know if you book through a TA, you have a special agent that can deal with your excursions (Apple, American Express, Olympus Tours, etc). They are located in a small room next to Claudia’s office. We found that except our transfers to the airport which were already included in our trip, everything else (tours, excursions, etc) was a better deal directly through the Dreams Concierge Desk or the tour guys by the pool and beach.
Lastly, we made some friends at the bars and restaurants. Maruel at Seaside always knew which kind of rum my husband wanted in his coke and joked around with us at Seaside Grill when we were stuck during a storm. He was great!
We did have one problem; the petit fours that come with our honeymoon package weren’t delivered every night. Not a huge biggie, but since it was included I wanted to try them all and some were romantic and added to our honeymoonish state of feeling! I tried to talk to the concierge desk a few times, and they did start doing it more frequently, but they leave it uncovered on your table, and it was attracting ants (Note: I never had ant problems on my site visit in the Pyramid Ocean Front room, only in the honeymoon suite this year, so it may not be a resort wide thing.. but it is not like they were everywhere, and when you are in the tropics, so you are bound to have some bugs.. but thankfully I have NEVER encountered a mosquito in Cancun J ). I requested them to plastic wrap the petit fours; and they did once, but then forgot. Again, not a huge biggie, but I want to be as detailed as possible!
With Carlos the concierge!
Maruel at Seaside
Adventure photography –A+
Since our wedding/honeymoon was full of unforeseen storms thanks to Tropical Storm Arlene, we did not get the exact pictures I dreamed of. Of course, they were still amazing, but I wanted sunny photos. We waited all week for a really sunny day to hire the resort photographers to do a quick session, but by the end of our trip, we still had clouds. However, a small break in the clouds got us a little bit of sunshine on our last full day, and I ran to Adventure Photography’s desk. Daniel at the desk worked with me and got me a great deal on a small package. We later met with our photographer and he was supposed to shoot for an hour, but he stayed an extra hour, and shot us all around the resort! He gave us 5 more pictures than promised in our CD (a total of 20), and included an album, that was delivered later to our home. The album came and we noticed our names were misspelled (Chirs and Chiris… instead of Chris and Chris) lol. After I emailed them, they were quick to not only send another album, but a better one with a nicer cover! And the pictures were great! We finally got some nice weather photos for our after session, even if not completely sunny. I must say the photographer had a wonderful style. I know some people weren’t happy when Dreams stopped outsourcing their videographer and photographer to start using their company vendors, but I just wanted to let the brides know that if they don’t decide to hire their own, at least my experience with the Dreams photographer was nice. But I still would recommend Juan Navarro (who did my engagement photos), and Mike Cantarell if you want the BEST Cancun vendors. (I used Mike for our wedding but I went with a stateside photographer because I wanted a specific style, not because Juan wasn’t amazing, and I even tried to hire Juan first for our extra session but he ended up with food poisoningL, and afterward I hired Adventure).
A few of our faves from Adventure
Rooms and Housekeeping – A
First, the bad (don’t worry, not too bad, but I wanted to explain the lack of A+)
We had some problems with our AC. When you stay in the honeymoon suite, there are two floors in your room. I think a lot of the heat escapes on the top floor (which is where the bed was L ). So we slept downstairs on the couch a few times. We had to constantly call to get them to check it out, but it would take forever for someone to work on it and we wanted our privacy. Besides, it still never got cold. There’s a sliding door on the bottom floor (similar to the club tower rooms), but a wooden hinge type door on the top where I think the heat would escape (although, we stayed in the Pyramid Ocean Front room the previous year with the same type of door and our AC was always at a chilly 66-67.. so I don’t know why it would leak in the honeymoon suite… nevertheless our AC on the bedroom floor was never lower than 72 and our bottom floor never below 69, and that was at night, and that’s really not that comfortable when you are in a very humid climate.) They almost moved us next door, but when I checked it out, their thermostat read 73 (even hotter! Ick! So we stayed in our room). Eventually, we got them to send up a tower fan so we could finally sleep in our bed. It wasn’t as cool as we would have liked, but much more comfortable. Another problem in the honeymoon suite (that we never noticed in the ocean front pyramid room) was ants, like I had stated before. They tried to spray a few times, but honestly, they weren’t that bad. Just a few here and there and at most I saw a small pile (that was when they sprayed and then we were fine).
Now for the good, the great, and the AWESOME!
First off, the Honeymoon Suite comes with the eternity honeymoon package. So we got a chilled bottle of champagne, huge flower centerpiece, and a fruit basket upon arrival (we had to remind them of our fruit basket), massages, a private dinner, a champagne breakfast in bed, and free nights toward our anniversary (also comes with the Ultimate Wedding Package). Next, the honeymoon suite is very spacious! These are the two top floors on the side of the pyramid that faces the gazebo. I really didn’t want to book it after I stayed in the Ocean Front room in the pyramid. I really think that’s the best room in the resort (and we’ve even been in the club tower rooms), but my husband brought up a good point. We had lots of wedding luggage and my dresses (which I hung on our bed canopy upstairs), so there really would have been no room for all our stuff in a basic room… and I created a workshop upstairs to assemble all of our reception/ceremony favors and programs. It also helped that we had two bathrooms. The top floor has a tub (not Jacuzzi as I thought was stated on the website; there were definitely no jets… but it was too hot in our room and we never used it anyway) and separate shower and a HUGE vanity area. There was a comfy king bed, a table, a TV, two dressers, some wicker furniture, a balcony with chairs and small table, and it’s own AC unit, that of course I stated before didn’t work well). The downstairs had a full couch (long like a bed), breakfast table and chairs, small bathroom with shower, a second TV and dresser, and balcony with larger glass table and chairs, again its own AC unit. Both balconies overlooked the ocean and the gazebo. I definitely think it’s a great room for destination wedding couples because they can see their wedding being prepared and you still get amazing views of the ocean. On the day of the wedding I got ready with my girls in our honeymoon suite while the hubby got ready with the boys in a friend’s Master Suite room in the tower. It was definitely a great room for all that we needed. However, I can’t wait to have my small little chilly Ocean Front Pyramid room with the full wall to wall expansive view of the ocean this June on our anniversary. It’s one of the most affordable rooms and I think it has the best view. Like I said, we had some friends that stayed in the Master bedroom suite in the tower with the Jacuzzi on the balcony. It’s definitely nice, but super expensive and I still think the Pyramid ocean views are ten times better! But that’s my opinion. (Although, I bet the tower Jacuzzi balcony view is awesome at night with the Cancun skyline. And being able to see it from the Jacuzzi after it cools down at night is a nice luxury).
Honeymoon suite, second floor vanity
second floor bedroom
first floor common room
Restaurants - A+ (you can view several of the menus on
World Cafe. We went here for breakfast! Hubby loved this place. So many choices and a cute kid’s station that’s the perfect size for them. Tons of fresh fruit and fresh squeezed juices. I’m not huge into breakfast besides fruit and a few pastries. They have different themes for night (French, Italian, etc), but we liked eating at the outdoor restaurants. The only improvement would be to include soy milk options (but most hotels don’t do this), for people like me who can’t have dairy.
Seaside Grill. Different for Lunch and Dinner Grill with wonderful chicken, steak, and fish dishes. Start you off with chips and red sauce (not salsa). I loved the Salmon with Couscous. Hubby loved the Breaded Beef Involtini and the cake roll dessert. Great view of the ocean and by the breeziest restaurant if you want to get away from the heat in the evening.
Oceana. Different for Lunch and Dinner Many fish dishes (with the freshest available at this restaurant), but for dinner they do have chicken and steak and my friends told me their filet mignon was amazing! Lunch is mostly fish (one chicken dish I think). They start you off with appetizers as well, but I can’t seem to remember what they were. I think maybe chips with two dipping sauces... one fish and one non fish. I actually got my husband to try the tuna here (he like it! And he hates fish), and the grouper, swordfish, and salmon was very, very good! They even let me get two entrees on one dish (they did a portion of each and combined them on a plate) I think you can get fresh caught fish there as well. Close to the Barracuda (swing bar.)
Hitmitsu. I love this place. Open only for dinner and they request semi-formal attire. Spring rolls for appetizers (and I think they bring you some before you even order, just like the other restaurants) Sushi, Nigiris, and Sashimi. Asian fusion entrees- fish, chicken and steak dishes. Non fish sushi (beef or mango roll) for fish haters. Portions are small, so you can enjoy several things! They offer Sake too! Right by El Faro beach (the lighthouse area and smaller beach). I really liked this noodle type appetizer (I think served with fried tofu). You can see the skyline at night. Close to Sugar Reef Bar.
Paloma Bonita. Authentic Mexican Cuisine. We paid the $15 a person menu they offer Dreams guests and were not disappointed with the menu options! They also have a full menu if you decide to go that route!
CoCo Café – Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, pastries, and sandwiches. Great if you are on the go or before going back to the airport.
They also have a snack shack (or they did when we went there, but I don’t see it on the website anymore). Burgers, dogs, fries, etc by the pool area. And sometimes they have a grill out by the lagoon/hammock area.
Bars – A+
Manatee bar – swim up in the main pool. Pool is small and shallow, but it’s great to cool off and have a drink. Sugar Reef – beach bar by the smaller beach (kind of out in the sun, so great for those seeking to get tan), Rendezvous – I love this place for the more sophisticated type of cocktails. The 4 included champagne cocktails are right up my alley (my favorite was the French 75 and hubby’s was The Champagne Cocktail). They have an extensive list of liquors for purchase. Put on a nice dress and sip a cocktail and listen to the music at night! You’ll feel all swanky! We had our Meet ‘n’ Greet and handed out welcome bags here. We also spent the rainy days here playing board games. Barracuda – Our favorite bar. Sit outside on a swing under a thatched roof and sip away your cares! They apparently make coco locos (but we never got one because they ran out of fresh coconut. They literally pick them off the nearby tree and make the drink inside! I asked every day, but no more coconuts came. It was sad because I saw the last one being made). Preferred Club Bar - (on the first floor of the tower) – It will serve anyone, not just people in the tower rooms, and is close to the gazebo and small pool. There’s also a lounge there that serves pastries at breakfast, and probably other foods later on. Probably great if you want to grab a quick bite or drink to go down to the beach, since you can’t leave any other place with food except maybe CoCo Café. Desires- fun after hours bar open until 1am and it also has different sports games on. They serve appetizers and drinks and have theme nights. We did Karaoke, and were part of a couples contest game, and they have stuff for families earlier in the evening (comedians and magicians). We came here after our reception still in our wedding attire! Everyone cheered for us!
The Resort (the rest) - A-
I wanted to mention some other tidbits about the resort that didn’t fit anywhere else in my review. There is a small gym with a few machines and weights that we used a couple of times. There is an Explorer Club for kids ages 4 and up with activities from 9am-9pm daily. I think they have nanny services for younger children as well. They also have activities throughout the resort daily for everyone else and it’s printed on a little news letter called “The Sundial” and put in your room the day/night before or available in the World Café the day of in both Spanish and English. Activities range from dance lessons, crafts, yoga, water aerobics, scuba lessons, and so much more. Keep an eye out because there are specials available daily at the Spa and other places and they are the best deals! They also announce if there will be theme nights, a movie playing, or other special activities. You can request your name to be put in if you are honeymooning, getting married, or celebrating an anniversary. There’s a gift shop where I bought a turquoise sarong. They have a vendor night where a lot of the flea market locals come sell their items if you want to avoid jumping into the throng of it all down the hotel zone. Our friends bought cigars and I saw clothes, jewelry, and tequilas (they also have days where you can taste tequila and roll your own cigars). They have days where you can take pictures with exotic animals. There is a Scuba Dive shop on site by the pier. Dreams has their own dolphinarium on site. The dolphins play with each other all day long and you can have a room overlooking them. The price to swim with them is higher than at Wet n Wild, but more convienient. Several of my friends enjoyed this! Towels are free and ample! You don’t need a card to redeem them and you can exchange as often as you want. Also, there are no bracelets to wear. Just give your room number and you can eat at all the restaurants. The spa has a shop where you can purchase products. There are some people trying to sell massages down by Caribe Beach (by the tower/gazebo). Careful, they are not a Dreams Company. There is a rock jetty that was built shortly after we reserved our wedding. It was built by the government to help protect the beaches from hurricanes, so nothing can be done about it by Dreams. I nearly took my deposit back. It’s really ugly and IMO obscures the room views from the tower (I used to think those rooms could be the best views until that jetty went up). But the more I thought about it, I realized that my photographer could angle herself to position away from the rocks, and I loved too much about the resort to back out. So I dealt with it. There is also a lot of graffiti on the side of the rocks. You will see it if when you go for a swim. I was scared what my guest would think, but no one seemed to mind or notice.
Don’t have your heart completely set on anything because they make changes frequently. They changed the gazebo after I booked. It used to be wooden and traditional, now it’s cement and modern (lights up blue at night)! Some brides weren’t told and when they got to Dreams, were sadly shocked they couldn’t use the gazebo they dreamed about because it was under construction. Other brides got it in different phases of construction. They also did this with the Terrace. They closed it for renovation without telling some brides (this is why I gave a minus, I think communication is your best asset when things go wrong. Dreams should have scheduled the maintenances far enough in advance where they would have to let future brides know that those options weren’t available, or at least could have contacted them the moment they knew so that the bride could prepare.) I had no problem personally with communication, so I'm still giving it five stars! I absolutely love this resort and nothing can change my feelings for all the positive things, but I feel that the bride needs to know everything possible in order to make the best decision about where to marry. It’s already stressful enough planning from abroad.
Private dinner – A+
This comes with your eternity honeymoon package (which you can pay for or it’s free if you get a honeymoon suite or higher, or if a certain number of your guests book the required number of nights). Very nice!! They have set meals to choose from, but will work with you if your husband hates fish and mushrooms lol! We had ours in the spa palapa out by the water. So romantic and intimate but no breeze over here! The pier or beach may be better. You get your own private waiter. You have to schedule it with the concierge ahead of time, along with the breakfast in bed. When you come back to your room, it’ll be all decorated with rose petals!!
NOTE: We are getting one again this year because last year I was too sick to enjoy mine and barely ate my food (hubby loved his however)! Like I said before, they are recreating our wedding menu on our anniversary! Dreams is really amazing, they cater to you even after your wedding!
What we came home to!
Our champagne breakfast in bed. We brought it on the balcony
Spa – A+
We took advantage of the 25 minutes couples back massage during our first few days, then did the hour massage closer to the end of our trip. You get the 25 minute one with the eternity honeymoon package, and the hour long one with the Ultimate wedding package. Both were so nice, but I must say I love the 25 minute one the best and wish I asked for them to just focus on my back and shoulders for the hour long one. NOTE: The 25 minute one also comes with a scrub and they are supposed to be done together, but we didn’t realize this when we scheduled it. So when we went to schedule our scrub, the showers weren’t working properly (to rinse off the scrub), so they offered us another massage. We had absolutely no problem with that. But if you want the real experience, make sure to book the scrub and massage together! (Or I think you can choose a facial instead of the scrub)
Hair/makeup (Mereya) A++ (because I’m very picky, and she was very sweet and patient!)
I love Mereya. If I could insist one thing for brides, it is to get your hair and makeup done. If not by Dreams, by someone! With all that went wrong the morning of our wedding, I would have never had time to do my own makeup and hair, and I would have done it so fast I would have messed up. Getting it done also forces you to relax and sit for a minute (well, it should... I was writing my vows and getting my maids to fix my bouquet… I think my friend got me a drink... I never drank it... LOL). Plus, they know how windy it is and fix your hair accordingly. Mereya worked with the clip-on extensions I brought and made my hair exactly as I wanted (down and curly on one side so that the wind wouldn’t ruin it completely, but it was still long like I wanted). It was extra windy because of the storm, but my hair lasted through the next morning for my after pictures! Plus, I had Mereya for my site-visit trial the year before and I knew she would do great for my wedding. As a side note, I never liked my makeup done by other people, but Mereya was awesome. My advice… Get a trial beforehand if you can to get a feel for your makeup artist, even if you can’t do a site visit... do it on the day you arrive if there’s appointments available. Then you can test it to make sure it holds up in your ceremony space and on the day of, you can make necessary changes. My makeup was perfect, my hair was gorgeous and not too stiff looking even with all the hairspray. Thank you so much Mereya! I highly recommend you! My maids for the most part also liked their hair and makeup. I had 3 of my 5 maids get their makeup done and all got their hair done. One didn’t like her hair and had them change it, and then loved it. My maid of honor didn’t like her hair and makeup very much, but to be fair, she doesn’t like anything other than long and wavy (which was too hard to do with the wind, so she took a chance on a half up half down. It was nothing against the stylist, just that she knows her face doesn’t work with many kinds of up or up/down dos.). And her make-up was NOT with Mereya (but I’m not sure who did it). My bridesmaid Maria had a similar hair style as mine and her hair and makeup was gorgeous (also by Mereya), maybe even better than mine!!! But I’m only saying that because I’m self conscious and Maria is gorgeous! Haha!
With Mereya, first at our site visit after our trial in June 2010, then our wedding day June 2011
Included, substitutions, freebies!
In contrast to what I’ve seen most brides post, I received no freebies from Claudia. No room upgrade, no extras. Nothing other than what was in writing on the website and what was agreed on in our contract. I thought for sure that maybe after we upgraded to keep the sound system, she would just let us have it, but there it was on our hotel bill at the front desk the next day. I was disappointed, because I have read that she gave other people who tried using their Bose sound docks the sound system for free. I even tried to tactfully and nonchalantly ask about it (and afterward I felt so embarrassed) and she acted like she never heard of such a thing. Oh well, a thrifty girl’s gotta try! We knew there was a possibility of needing to keep the sound system longer, so we were prepared.
But I did get a lot of substitutions that other girls seemed to have trouble negotiating. We didn’t need a cocktail hour, so we were allowed 30 guests instead of 20. We didn’t need the centerpieces, maid of honor bouquet, boutonnières, or corsages, so I got the extra rose petals for the carpet and the flower girl and petal toss (even though that got messed up). We didn’t want the Mexican trio, so we got an additional hour of sound system (we used it for our dinner, then of course decided to extend it). If we would have gotten the cocktail hour, we would have went with the Mexican trio, and not that I regret my decision, but I think it’s probably awesome to have at your cocktail hour or reception. We didn’t use the photographer, so we got to upgrade our video package. We received another hour of shoot time, and another hour of video time (later we paid the videographer directly to add an additional hour, a highlight video, and a blu-ray disc).
We received everything that was included. We got our free champagne flutes a couple of weeks after we returned. You just have to go on the website and click on the link to redeem your flutes, enter your name and wedding date, and they ship them to you. We did it at the resort so it could get sent sooner. They arrived in a beautiful pink box, and even though we already had our Swarovski set, we use these for special occasions! We got our free nights for our anniversary. You have to make sure Claudia or your coordinator gives you the voucher. She gave us our certificate, but not our voucher, but when I emailed her she mailed it to us right away. I scanned it to my travel agent, and first she needed to book the stay. Shortly after, she received confirmation of the discount ($572). I think our total stay for this June in a Pyramid Ocean Front is $1373 for the both of us for 7 nights. Not bad! And we got the $200 coupon book last trip, and now for this trip too (ask your TA about that). We use ours mainly for wine upgrades. And, like I said before, we each got the hour massage that came with the Ultimate wedding package and all the things that came with the eternity honeymoon package. This June, we will get the basic anniversary package (champagne upon arrival, small fruit basket, and champagne breakfast in bed).
Well ladies! That’s the end of my Dreams Review! If there’s anything I forgot or you have questions, feel free to pm me. I hope you all enjoy your weddings as much as I did! And don’t sweat the small stuff, laugh at the crazy stuff, and savor everything else! Congrats future brides!! (by the way, I had tons of pics after this, but of course it messed up after my last one and now I have to add them after the fact....Argh!)