By luvsmexico, · 1,255 Views · 2 Comments
Week we visited Azul Sensatori: June 24 – July 1, 2012
Wedding day: Tuesday, June 26
For us, picking a day close to arrival was perfect because we didn’t spend all week long on “the wedding.” We had a wedding and then a vacation!
Number of guests: 15 (including 3 teens, 1 tween, 1 infant)
NOTE: This is my second wedding so we wanted to keep it small (only invited immediate family), had no wedding party, and had my 2 children participate in a sand ceremony with us. I in no way felt like our wedding was less of a priority at the resort though. The wedding coordinators were wonderful!
WEDDING DAY: Overall, it was perfect. The wedding day itself couldn't have gone any better. We were VERY nervous about rain. The 2 days before the wedding it had started raining torrential rain about 4pm and kept going on and off until midnight. I am used to the afternoon rains in this area during the summer but this was horrible, flooding rains. We just needed 2 hours outside but it was right in the middle of the worst of it the previous 2 days. The wedding coordinators kept trying to convince us to move inside but we went all the way to Mexico for the beach wedding and just didn’t love the option of using the plain ballroom. As it turns out, there was another wedding that day that decided to move their reception inside so the ballrooms were no longer available. We were told we could use the rooftop lounge area but we “had to make it fast” because they use that area for general resort gatherings at that time of night (6pm) and needed us to be done quickly. That didn’t make me happy AT ALL!!! My husband spent an hour looking at the weather patterns, radar, and predictions that morning and felt we should roll the dice and go for it on the beach. The wedding coordinator still came to tell me while I was getting my hair done that it was raining at the airport and tried to convince me one last time to move it inside but fortunately we stuck to our decision and the rain never got to AS. We had gorgeous blue skies and a slight breeze. Couldn’t have been more picture perfect!
We had a cocktail hour before the wedding at the yoga palapa for our guests. I brought pictures and descriptions of how I wanted the yoga palapa and gazebo setup (we had the small gazebo by the yoga palapa). They did an excellent job of setting it up exactly as I asked. They even added fish bowls with sand and shells on the cocktail tables which I didn't ask or pay for. Nice touch. The only thing that really surprised me was that Lomas told me at the initial planning meeting it was going to be a $250 setup fee! Since I had heard alot of feedback from other brides at AS on this forum I knew that was way too much. Most have said it's around $5/person for the setup fee and the last bride before us had 97 people and paid $60. Now, I realize that some of these people are renting decorations from Lomas and we didn't so they were trying to make money where they could but that's still outrageous. We also didn’t have a private reception where they could make more money but I just said "no way" and we got it down to $75. Other than that I had no problems with Lomas or the AS WC, Cristina. There were 12 other weddings there during our week so they were busy!! For entertainment at the cocktail hour, I had them play mariachi music from my iPod (downloaded a 25 song album for $.99!) and left MadLibs Wedding Edition for our guests to complete. They had a blast doing it. I REALLY wanted a real mariachi band but just could not justify the cost AND we wouldn’t have even heard them play as we were getting pics taken.
I knew the beach location wasn't super private but I didn't anticipate how many people would approach us all week long and say "hey we were at your wedding!" Weird!! The staff did stand at the edges by the water and made sure no one walked by in front of us during the ceremony. I happened to catch them turning away a woman at one point and that was really nice. Who wants people in their bathing suits in your wedding pictures?!
PIC: Sand ceremony - we used a Mason jar etched with our names & date from Etsy vendor Etched Expressions, the kids each had a different color sand and the wedding coordinators filled 2 other vases with beach sand for me & hubby (Pics by Claudia Rodriguez)
Our wedding dinner was held in the private area of Spoon. They did a wonderful job setting up the table as we requested and the service was outstanding. Each course was served at the same exact time for every person so they had a large staff just for our small party. The food was excellent and the kids enjoyed being able to go to the buffet if they didn’t like a particular course. The only thing that I really hated was the lack of air conditioning in the restaurants. It always seemed very warm in all the restaurants but the night of our wedding was absolutely the worst! One of the main reasons we didn’t have the wedding reception outside is because we wanted an air conditioned, comfortable location and this just didn’t meet our expectations. I’m ALWAYS cold but this night I was literally dripping with sweat and repeated requests to the head waitress to adjust the temperature were met with comments like “you have too many candles on the table, that’s why it’s hot” and “I will call the engineer but there is probably nothing we can do.” My nephew finally went over when the wait staff left the room and lowered the temperature on the thermostat but they came back in a few minutes later and turned it back up.
PICS: We used black & white photos of us for luminaries as our centerpieces. They were a huge hit! We rented a couple of beach lanterns and the votive candles from Lomas. I brought burlap for a runner, green/blue beach glass, and small shells that they scattered around the table. Each place setting got a menu (provided by the resort – didn’t match our decorations but I didn’t care) and a fortune teller. I told everyone my husband makes me feel like a kid so that’s why we had MadLibs and fortune tellers – two of my favorite childhood things! (pics by High Five for Love)
SPA: I had a 2 hour facial in the spa the morning of the wedding and it was pure heaven! The spa facilities are phenomenal and it was a treat I'm really glad I gave myself. Then I went for hair and makeup and they did an equally great job at the salon. I saw 4 different hair dressers while I was in there and every one of them was fantastic. Every girl brought in pictures of how they wanted their hair to look and each stylist matched them perfectly. That's not easy to do! My 13 year old daughter got her hair done there too and they did a fantastic job.
PIC by High Five for Love
RESORT: The resort was fantastic. I felt like it was the perfect size for our group - plenty to do but not so huge that we couldn't find each other or walk forever to get places. We actually didn't get to do at least half of the things we wanted to and ended up not even going on an excursion because we felt the whole week was so rushed. The restaurants were fantastic. I seriously don't know how anyone could complain about the food or drinks at this place! The only thing we didn't love was the dinner buffet at Spoon. We went there the first night because we all wanted to be together and none of the restaurants could fit us. What I found very strange is that we could never push tables together so we could all sit together. They told us we could make a reservation for 6pm at Sienna for a group table so we did that for my daughter's birthday dinner and when we were seated we had 2 tables! The restaurant was nearly empty at this time!! It was frustrating but I gave up trying to figure it out. They initially told me we couldn't have one big table for the wedding either and I said that would just not be acceptable. We only had 14 people. Sienna was our favorite, I really enjoyed Tapaz, Zocalo for breakfast and lunch, and the Carribean place for burgers at lunch. Disappointed we didn't get there for seafood dinner but we babysat alot for my brother and ordered room service. My MIL has never traveled outside of the US and at 77 years old I knew we were asking a lot of her. She watches way too much news and was very nervous about going to Mexico despite all the things we had told her. She said she wasn't eating or drinking anything the entire time in Mexico but as soon as she got there she realized what a great place it is and definitely didn't go hungry! That was my biggest concern. Every one of our guests raved about the entire place repeatedly so I know they all really enjoyed themselves. All the adults but my sister and BIL (because they were only there a few days) got to enjoy the Le Chique experience and loved it, even my MIL!
The front desk told us the resort was completely full but I just really don't believe that. The restaurants were NEVER full no matter what time we went to them and there were always plenty of deck and beach chairs, etc. We loved the beach grill - good food and convenient and not something we've had at previous resorts. The pools were fantastic. The kids loved playing in them and swimming up to the bars. I never saw a speck of dirt in them the entire week. The beach was fantastic, kept as clean as possible, and much less rocky/coraly than I expected! My 10 year old loved the kids' club for the first few days, then stopped going. He made friends with a group of boys and all they wanted to do was play in the pool but the kids club had planned activities so they couldn't spend all day at the pool! My daughter and 13 year old niece had high hopes for the teen's club but they fizzled. There was never anything going on there. They did play some sports on the beach, went kayaking, painted 4 or 5 pieces of pottery!!, and swam alot. The entertainment staff was fantastic especially the night of karaoke. My daughter really wanted to sing a Selena Gomez song but they didn't have it so the guy said "hey, we have internet, I'll get it for you." Then she stood up in front of 100+ people and sang her heart out! I was shocked that she did that and she was fantastic so I'm very thankful to the staff for going out of their way. My brother and sister-in-law were traveling with their 8 month old daughter and LOVED this resort. They go out of their way for families and it made it very easy to travel with a baby. The resort provides a pack-n-play, strollers, bottle warmer, and toys in the room (plus the cutest little robe you’ve ever seen!!!). All the restaurants have baby food and will go out of their way to accommodate for food allergies. We played in the splash pad area with the baby and went in the kids club but they didn’t leave her with a sitter (too many family members willing to babysit!) so I can’t comment on those aspect.
The cleaning staff was fantastic! We had a beautiful towel animal(s) every day and they decorated our room beautifully on the night of the wedding. They really went above and beyond. Really all the staff was fantastic!!! Everyone we passed said "hola" and went out of their way to help and answer questions. The least friendly of the staff were those at the front desk and the hosts/hostesses at the restaurants. I found that odd...
I would say my biggest disappointment is that we didn't get our room upgraded. Now, I realize this isn't a given AT ALL and I'm not complaining but, if I'm being honest, I was pretty disappointed. We were told we could have the honeymoon suite for a discounted rate of $180/night extra but we'd have to move Saturday (we didn't depart until Sunday). After spending over $7,000 just for rooms for our guests, that wasn't something we wanted to pay for. I know others spend more than that and bring more guests into the place but it was a disappointment. We liked having the 1st floor room to walk directly out to the pool but we were right next to the supplies closet and activity started there by 7am every day. I'm not complaining about that either because those poor people must work 12-14 hour days but there was never a chance to sleep in. The only other disappointment was that I just didn't get any time to relax. Not anyone's fault but my own but it left me feeling pretty depressed by the time we departed. I was always running around checking on the kids or on the other guests, getting wedding details worked out, or planning everyone's days. I really wish we'd planned to stay a couple more days after everyone left. It will be a long time before there's another vacation for us! I seriously don’t know how people who bring 40 or 50 people down to their wedding manage it! It was hard for me to keep track of 14 of us!!
Biggest problem of the week was my daughter got violently ill one night. I really freaked out because she has type 1 diabetes and if she throws up more than a couple times, she ends up in the hospital. Not at all what I was planning for the vacation! Thank goodness my SIL is a physician's assistant and brought Zofran with her. She said it would stop the vomiting immediately and knew how much to give her and that it was ok to give to a diabetic. I was trying to figure out what she could have eaten that caused it and after a bunch of questions and her saying it started with her abs (not her stomach) cramping, then her arms hurting, I realized she was completely dehydrated! I'd let the kids swim in the pool all day long and, being so cool, they never realized how hot it was and only drank a few sugar-filled drinks at the bar. Once we got water in her she started feeling better. Really put a damper on the week for both of us and we got into several arguments over it because after she felt better she didn't see any reason to keep drinking water! UGH! I’m putting this in the review though because, even though the non-diabetic kids weren’t affected by not drinking enough water, they definitely could have been. Kids are small and dehydrate easily so if you have any in your group, just make sure they drink lots of water!
PHOTOGRAPHERS: We were very lucky to have the benefit of 2 different photographers for our wedding. My sister and her husband recently started a photography business and end up taking mainly engagement photos, weddings, and family pics. They were there to take all the getting ready shots, pics of decorations, capture the guests at the cocktail party, and then get pictures of the reception dinner. Originally, they were concerned about bringing their equipment to Mexico so we hired Claudia Rodriguez to photograph the wedding. Unfortunately, we just could not afford more than 2 hours with Claudia because of the ridiculous $800 vendor fee the resort charges. We planned to have Claudia take pictures of the two of us before the wedding while our guests were at the cocktail party, pictures of the ceremony, family pics on the beach afterwards, and then a few more of just us on the beach. This worked out perfectly and then we got the bonus of my sister and brother-in-law’s photos as well. They have different styles so I love that we got the benefit of both!! I highly recommend both Claudia Photo and High Five for Love as wedding photographers! Our detailed review of Claudia is on this site but I just need to say again how easy it was to work with her and how much we loved her work! We really hate pictures of ourselves but she made us look and feel beautiful and we're thrilled to have almost 200 photos. And despite High Five for Love being a new company, their work speaks for itself. Check them out on Facebook for more examples of wedding photography.
More of our wedding photos from High Five for Love on Facebook
More Claudia Rodriquez photos: