By deniden, · 852 Views · 4 Comments
Overall: We began wedding planning more than a year out. The Royal Playa del Carmen was everything we wanted and more! We could not have asked for a better resort for our guests - many of them are already planning return trips. The service, the food & drink, and the resort grounds themselves just cannot be beat and we were treated like royalty from the moment we stepped on the property.
For more information on the resort itself (as far as being a guest) - I'm going to try to focus more on the wedding aspects in this review. My TripAdvisor review also includes pictures of the Swim Up Suite, which I highly recommend if you are pool people like us!
Pricing/Packages: Cost-effective pricing was very important to us when choosing a resort. We had looked at 1 other resort, but felt we would get more "bang for our buck" at the Royal PDC, I am so thankful we chose them for our wedding. As far as the wedding packages, I created a spreadsheet that compared each wedding package by assigning dollar amounts (from the information posted on the Real Resort Weddings website) to each item in each package and figuring out which one was most cost-effective for us. We ended up going with the Classic Package and just adding things that we wanted, like DJ services, light-up dance floor, private reception, etc.
I hated the dreaded $350 vendor fee, but we only used it for our photographer (Juan Navarro Photography) and videographer (Cancun Wedding Video). To avoid the high costs of flowers, we used our complimentary bout in our package for our officiant, and our complimentary bouquet for my MOH, and then got the rest of our flowers from Marvin at Maya Diseno. His flowers were delivered a few hours before the wedding (we had a few of our guys meet him in the lobby) and we just kept them cool in our room. Then, between the ceremony and cocktail hour, a few of the guys set the centerpieces up for us for the reception - much better than paying the $350 vendor fee for him!
Off-site WC (Ana) - My off-site WC was Ana. I got hooked up with Ana right after we paid the deposit on for our wedding date and she began sending me tons of files with all kinds of wedding information. Most of this information is also available on the Real Resorts Wedding website. Ana was always extremely responsive, always answering my questions within an hour. I could send her pictures of things I liked and she would let me know if the resort could do it - they can do almost anything, but there is usually a hefty price tag attached to it. I may not have always loved her answers, but she always gave me answers.
On-Site WC (Lili) - My on-site WC was Lili.
After my final payment, I began communicating with Lili via email. Like Ana, she was extremely responsive. We met on our 2nd day in Mexico. I brought an entire suitcase full of stuff for the ceremony and reception (chair sashes, luminarias, guestbook, guestbook camera, guestbook props, sand ceremony kit, etc.) I brought seating charts (made on Powerpoint) of how I wanted everything set up and where each guest was sitting and what their meal was - Lili loved this! She said it made it very easy to follow and set things up. I also bagged up the items for each table into 1 Ziplock bag and labeled it, that way they had one for each table.
We went over all of the details for the wedding, and made sure she had everything notated. After leaving my meeting with Lili, I felt really confident about the wedding setup. Lili also set up the steaming of our dress and suit, and re-arranged some of the spa appointments for my girls.
The weather had been iffy all week when we were there - it rained every single day for a few hours each day. If I can offer one tip, don't let the weather stress you out! I let it stress me out every single day leading up to the wedding... not necessarily because I was worried about the wedding but because I felt bad that my guests were spending so much money and their time and the weather was going to be crappy. So please, don't let it stress you out - being in rainy weather on vacation is better than sunny weather at work! And know that the resort always has a back-up plan!
So, of course, the day of the wedding, it looked crappy out. Around 2pm, Lili called and said she felt we should move everything inside. I agreed and asked how we would let our guests know... and this is the my only complaint about our entire experience at The Royal PDC... she said "I don't know, see if maybe the Romance Concierge will help you." Now, I understand that I am not her only function that day, and that she will have alot of coordination to do to move our ceremony/cocktain hour/reception inside... I totally understand. BUT, I'm a stressed out bride in the middle of getting my hair and makeup done for my wedding - there is no better solution than having me contact the Romance Concierge who may or may not help me contact my 50 guests?! My MOH ended up walking up to the Front Desk, getting a makeshift list of everyone's room numbers, and starting a phone tree to contact everyone.
I really credit my MOH, the other 2 girls in my room, and my photographer for keeping me calm during this time. My worry was that people wouldn't know where to be. My photographer also wasn't convinced that we couldn't do the ceremony outside (which was the most important thing to me - I really wanted that Oceanfront Gazebo ceremony). He felt that I should fight for having it outdoors, and little did I know that my groom and officiate were calling Lili saying the same thing... well, around 3pm, Lili called back and said we could do the ceremony outside... so, we started the phone tree again, lol.
Overall, Lili was awesome besides that issue about contacting the guests. She kept everything moving and made sure everything was exactly how I wanted it. She kept checking in with me during the reception to make sure things were ok and it was great to just have someone "in my corner" to keep things running smoothly.
Spa - Hair/Makeup: I had someone do my hair/makeup in my room, but had several guests use the Soa for their hair/makeup. One tip: consider booking a few of these as soon as you book your wedding if you think you may have people interested in using them, as the "good" times book up fast.
Mom (hair done by Spa):
Nikki (hair & makeup done by Spa):
Jess/MOH (Hair done by Spa):
Eryn (hair done by Spa):
Ceremony: We did our ceremony in the Oceanfront Gazebo. It was really important to me for us to have our ceremony here, as I loved all of the pictures I had seen of it. I made sure to request that the red carpet not be laid out, and I got 3 bags of aisle petals from Marvin, which my sisters put out right before the ceremony started. We used our iPod for the music and there was someone who was communicating with Lili by radio to ensure the songs were played at the right time. I also brought my own chair sashes for the chairs and program fans, which were all set up.
A good friend of ours officiated the ceremony, which was a great touch for us. We wrote it all ourselves and it really felt like "us". We did a sand ceremony, too. All in all, I think it took about 20 minutes.
Cocktail Hour: I never saw the cocktail hour because we were busy off taking pictures on the beach.
However, our cocktail hour was originally supposed to be on the beach, but because of the weather, it was moved inside. They ended up having it on a covered patio near the ballrooms. The guests liked the apps and the drinks, but said that it was REALLY hot there. There was no breeze, the sun was shining, and there were no fans. I felt bad about that.
I did have an iPod playlist for the cocktail hour that included all of the couples' wedding songs and they all really enjoyed that - they all danced with their spouse during "their" song.
Reception: Our reception was moved into one of the ballrooms, in all honesty, it ended up being much better for us thanks to the powerful air conditioner! LOL. The ballroom was really set up like it was our own little club. We have a very dancy group, so this was perfect. We had the light-up dance floor and DJ Doremixx's group as our DJ. The DJ was elevated on a stage, which was cool. There was a great light system and the light-up dance floor really completed the "club" feel.
We did all of the formal stuff in the beginning, before dinner, and Lili said weddings run really nicely like that. We did the entrances, the dances, cake cutting, toast, and dinner blessing all before dinner. After the 1st course, we had the MOH & BM do their speeches. So, by the time dinner was done, it was party time! I was really glad we bought the extra reception hour because it was worth it, it goes by so fast!
The wait staff was fabulous. I asked for the courses to be moved through quickly and they did just that. Lili kept checking in to make sure things were ok, and the head waiter (I believe it was Javier) was always making sure we were happy. They kept bringing rounds and rounds of shots to the tables and partying with our group. At one point, 2 of the waiters brought out what looked like a 2 liter bottle of juice and a chair. I was totally confused, but then saw them place the chair in the middle of the dance floor and stand on top of it - and start shooting shots into people's mouths. LMAO. It was HYSTERICAL and made for some awesome pictures! Our group LOVED it!
Menu/Cake: Ana told me that we could pick & choose from any of the menus she sent me. We picked 2 entrees for our guests, which had to be denoted to the staff on the wedding day - Chicken Casablanca stuffed with Seafood and Beef Filet with Herbs & Dijon sauce. I also had 1 Vegetarian meal, which was Linguine with Tomato Sauce. Our side was Carmelized Sweet Potatoes, and our salad was Spinach Souffle. Also, because I didn't want a dessert to be served in addition to our wedding cake, I asked if we could have a soup instead, which was fine - we got Princess Cream Soup. All of the food was really good and the guests enjoyed it all.
Our cake was Tres Leches, which I had to fight for with Ana, lol. Our reception was set to be outside on the Beach near Pelicanos, so Ana advised against the Tres Leches cake, saying it would melt. I stuck to my guns and kept the Tres Leches, which I am glad about since we had to move inside. The cake was delicious!!! I wish I had more!
DJ Doremixx: They were fabulous! They followed my timeline perfectly and I had given them about 10 songs for dinner, and then about 15 "must play" songs for the party time - they hit the nail on the head and really read our crowd. I specified that I didn't want any slow songs unless it looked like the crowd wanted it, and they saw we had such a great time partying that they didn't play any. I also requested no "dedication" songs (thanks to a pesky relative who wanted to make the wedding all about her) and they were able to stand their ground with on that, too. I really couldn't have asked for a better DJ.
TTD: We did our TTD session with Juan Navarro Photography on the beach near the Royal. We ended up heading south (?) where there is a jetty, a pier, and some boats, which made for great pictures. I just wanted you guys to know you can TTD there, avoid the vendor fee, and get awesome shots.
Tips: If you are doing a private reception, try to book the extra hour, plus the DJ and light-up dance floor if your group is full of dancers like ours. Bring your own chair sashes for a pop of color. 3 bags of aisle petals are a great number. Bring a list of "formal" wedding pictures you want. Get the shellac done to your nails at home and use cuticle oil everyday - mine lasted an entire week until my wedding. Ask to substitute the extra dessert for a soup or salad for your guests. Create seating charts and diagrams of how you want things set up for your WC. Ask for them to move your altar centerpiece to your sweetheart table for the reception. Book spa appointments early! Took them about 1.5 hours to do each person's hair. Eat before your ceremony - order lots of room service!