By dzaccaria, · 3,151 Views · 20 Comments
Wedding Date: May 31st, 2013
Travel Dates: May 28th through June 5th (switched resorts on June 2nd and went to Sun Palace for a few nights as a “mini-moon”!)
Number of guests: 44 (36 stayed at Moon and 8 stayed at another resort in Riviera Maya and bought day passes for the wedding)
Offsite Coordinator: Renee Garcia
Onsite Coordinator: Zaray Casillas
Room Block: Sunrise- Piñata building
Wedding Package: Complimentary
I honestly have nothing bad to say about anything!! We had one minor hiccup at our wedding (I will post below) and besides that we had an amazing vacation and a gorgeous wedding!! We couldn’t be happier with our decision of picking Moon Palace!!
I will start from the beginning…
My hubby and I knew before we were even engaged that we wanted a destination wedding. So once he popped the question I immediately started my research for which resort to pick! I found BDW immediately and spent days reading reviews of all different places! Moon Palace seemed like it had a great wedding package and I liked the fact that it was big and had plenty of things for everyone to do! Once we made our decision we then contacted a family friend of ours who is a travel agent to see if she wanted to work with us and our group. I truly believe that this whole experience would NOT have gone so smoothly if I hadn’t worked with a travel agent!! She actually booked my wedding for me and she was the one who dealt with the resort directly for a while before I started talking with my coordinators. I sent out her information on our Save the Dates a year before our wedding and she answered any and all questions that guests had so that I wouldn’t have to deal with anything! Such a relief!
OFFSITE COORDINATOR: Renee Garcia
I had heard so many mixed reviews about the contact with Renee but I did not have ANY bad experiences with her! She replied back to all of my emails with 24-48 hours MAX (which I think is pretty good considering all the other brides she has to work with!) She was able to answer all of my questions and she took my entire payment for the wedding (including my vendors- DJ, Photo/Video, Décor) a month BEFORE we arrived at the resort. I liked this best so that we wouldn’t have to worry about it when we got there! We ended up with about 70 room nights so we received 4 complimentary nights which she was able to just take off the bill. (Unlike other brides who had to wait until months after their wedding to receive a refund!) So know that this IS an option and don’t let them tell you it isn’t!! Once we paid, Renee then sent me over to my onsite coordinator J
ONSITE COORDINATOR: Zaray Casillas
Zaray was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!! If anyone receives her as a coordinator please do not worry about a THING because she will handle it all!!! I started talking to Zaray about a month before the wedding and she was able to handle all of my last minute requests and answered all my questions. I was actually surprised at how quickly she responded to emails as I know she is crazy with weddings every day!!
Let me just say that traveling with a wedding dress is NOT easy or fun!! My poor hubby had to carry it through the airport since I am too short to hold it up the whole time! Also, please take note that JetBlue does NOT have closets on their planes so you will need to store your dress in an overhead compartment. I recommend trying to be one of the first ones on the plane to snag a good spot for it!!
Waiting to board the plane with my dress!
As everyone has said, the resort is HUGE! Most of my guests and I stayed in the Sunrise section (Piñata building) and we LOVED it. The pools are absolutely beautiful!! The resort was only at about 30% occupancy so we had no issue finding a section for all of us to lay out and drink at all day every day!
Laying out in the water!
Pool areas are huge!
Our hang out every day
Another picture of our "hang out"
SIDE NOTE: to anyone who has handicap family/friends: My dad is handicap so my parents stayed in the Nizuc section as it’s a little more handicap accessible. It’s MUCH easier to get to the lobby from your room. My parents would just take the shuttle bus over to our Sunrise lobby if they needed to and then an employee with a golf cart would take my dad wherever he needed to go! I couldn’t thank the resort enough for taking such good care of my dad the whole time!!
We ended up just getting the deluxe basic room and we were completely happy with it! We planned on using our resort credits for an upgrade but completely forgot to ask when we checked in! I think we were just SO excited to get to our room and see the resort!! I must admit, the hammock on each balcony was what made us stay in the Sunrise section and it was well worth it! It was so nice to lay on each morning and just relax! Also, the hot tubs in the rooms are awesome and they provide bubbles for you! They also have CHI hair straighteners and blow dryers in each room (which I didn’t use but heard from other guests that they work great!) However, I did use the CHI shampoo that they provide and fell in love! I will definitely be heading to the beauty supply store to buy my own bottle!!
View of the ocean from our rooms
Momonohana – Asian Cuisine located right off the Sunrise lobby. This was by far my favorite restaurant!! They bring over a bunch of appetizers as soon as you sit down and they have something for everyone! I do NOT like fish so I thoroughly enjoyed the chicken fingers and beef skewers for apps along with the veggie sushi and noodles for my meal!!
Palapa Barracuda- Steakhouse located out by the Sunrise pool. They have great steak and wonderful service!
Arrecifes- Brazilian Steakhouse located in the Nizuc lobby. This is where we had our welcome dinner! My parents actually tested it out for us before the night of the welcome dinner and they loved it so I couldn’t wait to eat here! They have a huge salad bar that has all sorts of things OTHER than salad so you fill up quickly before they even bring the meat around! I am not the biggest fan of having someone come around with meat on a stick, however this was REALLY good. We all enjoyed every meat selection they brought us!! Desserts were great too- especially the cheesecake J
Buffet- We ate at both of the Nizuc and Sunrise lobby buffets for BREAKFAST each day and they pretty much have the same foods at each buffet! The omelets are DELICIOUS! I’m not sure what cheese they use for them but it was addicting!! Haha
For LUNCH each day we ate by the pool area at Sunrise! They have a bunch of different options to choose from! They have brick oven pizza which was amazing and then they have another area where they make burgers and chicken. Burger was VERY good!
Disco- THIS WAS SO MUCH FUN!! I cannot say it enough, how much fun my guests and I had at the disco!! We all went after the wedding to continue the party and it was a blast! They play a lot of good music that everyone knows (old & new!) so it kept us all dancing ALL night!
Some of the girls at the Disco (The sunglasses were in the welcome bags! HUGE hit!)
Hubby and I at the disco after the wedding
Swing Bar- We went to the swing bar almost every day! This was a great place to hang out day & night!
Sky Bar- We are from Boston so we are clearly HUGE sports fans!!! The Sky Bar was a great place to go and watch the Bruins game!! Loved the atmosphere and the drinks!
A couple of us girls at the Skybar before the game!
MEETING WITH COORDINATOR
This went smoothly! I met with Zaray the morning after we arrived (two days before our wedding) When I showed up she had all of my wedding information all ready to go. She went over our wedding from beginning to end and asked a lot of questions along the way! She took note of EVERYTHING. This is also when she took our card box, favors, sea shells, maracas, table numbers, and seating chart to be set up at the reception. I felt so comfortable after our meeting and knew that she had everything under control! (NOTE: They did not charge us to set this stuff up!)
WELCOME DINNER- Arrecifes Restaurant
Like I said above, we loved the food here! They set us up on the outside deck which overlooked the Nizuc pool area. The wait staff was fabulous and never let you go thirsty!! This was also a great time to give a little speech and thank all of our guests for coming.
View from the Welcome Dinner area
Me and the girls at the Welcome Dinner
My family and I at the Welcome Dinner
Bridal Party at the Welcome Dinner
My hubby and I at the Welcome Dinner
Tables set up outside on the patio for the Welcome Dinner
And now on to the good stuff! … The WEDDING DAY!!
I purchased my dress at a local bridal store called Bella Sera. This was actually where most of my female wedding party got their outfits! My dress is Casablanca #2046. I fell in love with it the second I put it on! It was very simple and light! (And it was a really great price! Haha)
NOTE TO BRIDES: I cannot even explain what the humidity does to your hair in Mexico!! I started out with a nice curled side pony and it immediately went flat within the first hour of being outside! I would honestly recommend just putting your hair all up!! After all of our pictures were taken, the bridesmaids and I plus my mom and my hair dresser (who is also a close friend) went up to a relative’s room and she was able to throw my hair all up for me while the girls bustled my dress!
This was how my hair looked originally!
A picture of the girls fixing my hair & bustle!
We also got the bridesmaids dresses at Bella Sera. The line we got them from was Bill Levkoff and the color is Horizon. (Can’t remember the style number or anything) Got all of their jewelry from Kohls! I had 2 bridesmaids and 1 junior bridesmaid in strapless dresses and my MOH (my sister!) wore one strap!
GROOM & GROOMSMEN ATTIRE
We ordered all of the men’s pants at Studiosuits.com. We got the Tropical Light Beige Linen pants with no lining and unhemmed. The waist sizes were all true to size! The guys just needed to get them hemmed before the wedding. About a month before the wedding all the guys went to Express For Men and got their shirts since they were “buy 1 get 1 50% off”. The groomsmen all wore blue and the groom wore white. My hubby wanted a very casual look so they kept them untucked and all wore brown sandals.
My hubby and one of his groomsmen
My brother walking my Grandmother down the aisle
CEREMONY- 4pm @ Bugambillias Gazebo
This gazebo was everything I’ve ever wanted when we decided to go with a Destination Wedding! I rode the horse drawn carriage with my dad and we met my mom at the beginning of the aisle and all walked down together. There was seriously not a dry eye in the house! Even the wedding coordinator was crying!
NOTE: If I can make ONE recommendation for your wedding day it’s to DEFINITELY do the horse drawn carriage!!
My dad & I on the horse and carriage
My dad & I getting ready to head to the ceremony!
We picked this gazebo because it’s a shorter aisle. My dad can’t walk that far without a cane (he didn’t want the cane in wedding pictures!) so I figured this would be easier!
We had the symbolic ceremony and the whole thing lasted about 10 minutes! We secretly got married before we came to Mexico (only immediate family knew about this) so I liked that they still made us sign a marriage certificate.. it made it look real and official!
We were originally going to do the harpist for the ceremony but I couldn’t bring myself to pay almost $500 for a 10 min ceremony! We opted for the stereo system that the resort provides and we brought a CD with music that we had picked. My parents and I walked down the aisle to “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri. I literally tear up every time I hear this song!!!
Hubby walking his parents down the aisle
My parents walking me down the aisle
I had plans to make programs for the ceremony but just didn’t get around to it. Instead, I ordered fans from Oriental Trading with our names and wedding date on them!
COCKTAIL HOUR- 5pm @ Bugambillias Garden
We ordered the superior hors d’oeuvres for this and from what I’ve been told they were really good! My hubby and I took pictures on the beach with the bridal party during this hour. Unfortunately I don’t have pictures from this yet!!
RECEPTION- 6pm-10pm @ Bugambillias Terrace
Besides our DJ being an hour later for this, everything else was PERFECT!!! (I will review the DJ down below!) I tried to keep the reception as simple as possible as I really felt that you don’t need a lot of decorations since the scenery is beautiful enough!! This terrace is actually situated in between a couple of buildings in the Nizuc area but you still had a view of the ocean and a great ocean breeze! I think the buildings also helped us out with it not being buggy what so ever! (Which is good because I completely forgot to pack bug spray!) It was nice to have all of our wedding activities really close to one another so that people did not have to go far!
After our first dance!
Our toasting glasses that were a gift from our bridesmaids!
Time for SHOTS!
Everybody getting low!
The bartenders memorized everyone’s drink order and as soon as your drink was almost gone they already had a new one for you!
Me and the bartenders making drinks!
HIGHLY recommend the “tres leche” flavored cake! They do not put it as an option but if you ask for it, they will do it! For the few people that tried the cake, they loved it! We had so many little desserts with our menu option that I think people were just full by the time the cake came out! So I’m glad I stuck with just the simple cake that is provided with the package. They let you pick what color flowers you would like on it as well!
We had 5 round tables set up along with a sweet heart table- all with white linen J
We had the Italian Buffet and I can’t possibly rave enough about this menu!! We had zero substitutions and everything was delicious!! I am a VERY picky eater and I tried & liked everything on the menu! (Only thing I didn’t have was the fish… not a fan of fish!)
We ordered maracas from Amols.com as favors! They were easy to work with and the maracas came so fast! I attached a note to them which explained on one side when to shake them, and on the other side I added a Thank You note to our guests.
ZUNIGA a.k.a DECO CANCUN
The only décor that I brought from home were the card box, seating chart, table numbers, and guest book! (This all fit in my carry-on luggage along with the maracas!) Everything else was ordered from Zuniga. This was the very first vendor that I contacted in the whole wedding process and they were SO easy to work with from day one! I had changed my invoice around a bunch of times and they were very cooperative with all my changes! They even made some great recommendations! Here is the cost breakdown:
Centerpieces (Gerber daisy’s with cut up limes in square case): $79 x 5 = $395
Bridesmaid Bouquets plus boutonnieres (Tulips): $179 x 4 = $716
Lounge setup for 10 people: $155
Blue pillows for lounge area: $4 x 5 = $20
String of lanterns: $100 x 4 = 400
Prices were definitely high but the product was worth it! Lily was who I worked with and I would recommend her and the company to anyone!
Picture of the lanterns
Picture of the lounge area (which turned into the "smoking area" lol)
We knew from the beginning of the planning process that we definitely wanted a DJ. I contacted PSAV a few months before the wedding and they quoted us about $1000 for their services. This honestly didn’t seem too bad to me for 4 hours of a DJ. Im not good with Itunes so I knew that making a playlist would have been a nightmare!! They sent me a form and asked me to fill out what songs we wanted for things like first dance, mother/son dance, father/daughter dance, cake cutting, entrances, etc. I worked with Miroslava and she was great! Very quick to respond and made things very easy for us!
So the downfall was… The DJ showed up an hour late!!! I had a feeling that something was wrong when my photographers decided they wanted to keep taking pictures of us even when the reception was already supposed to begin. I found out later that my wedding coordinator had asked them to do this to give the DJ time to get there. He had called and said he would be “20 minutes late”… 20 minutes turned into an hour! We obviously couldn’t wait that long so we started the reception without him. This in turn meant that we had no music for any of our introductions and we had to wait until later in the night to do our first dance songs and cake cutting. We instead decided to open the buffet until he got there! WITH ALL THAT SAID… PSAV did an amazing job once he got there!!! I was really impressed with the music selections and he played everyone’s songs that were requested! So granted he was late, I would still recommend him to other brides as he did a fantastic job and really got everyone up and dancing!
**Side Note: Yes, we are getting a refund… they have been very kind to us and totally understand why we were upset and wanted to be compensated!
OCEAN PHOTO STUDIO
LOVED THEM!! They were another company that, from day one, were great to work with! They quoted me $2200 for the deluxe photo and video package. (I’m glad I received this quote early on in my planning process as I believe the price went up almost $500 for this package!) I worked with Adriana and she set up a meeting with me for 2 days before the wedding. She went over timing for everything and we discussed the specific pictures that I wanted taken. On the day of the wedding the photographer had the list of pictures that I wanted taken with him and made sure to get them all done! Both the photographer and videographer were so much fun to work with! Between the two of them they came up with some great ideas for pictures!! I HIGHLY recommend using Ocean Photo Studio as they have an office right in the resort and they know the areas of the resort very well!
Unfortunately we wasted a lot of credits and didn’t do a lot of the tours we wanted to. We did take advantage of the SPA though! My hubby went and got a massage one day by himself and then another day we got a couples massage which we loved!
SWIMMING WITH DOLPHINS
If you get a chance, definitely do this!!! It was an experience of a lifetime!! This is something that you can use your resort credits for but if you pay extra you get a longer experience AND you get to do a second part where the dolphin actually lifts you up by your feet!! The pictures at the end are very expensive so I only got one!
Heading out to meet the dolphins!
I had heard SO many good things about Coco Bongo so I was really excited to go!! Please make sure to ask WHICH Coco Bongo you are being taken to. We just assumed there was only one so we didn’t ask. The one they took us to was in Playa Del Carmen and from what I heard it is MUCH smaller than the one in downtown Cancun. The place was PACKED and there is no room to dance at all. The show they put on was AWESOME, however, be prepared to stand in one spot for 5 hours!!! Unfortunately I did not pick the best shoes for this so my feet were killing me the next 2 days!! We were each charged $80 for this (it gets added onto your final bill) and that includes your ride there and back, plus all your drinks for the night. Not too bad! It is a LATE night though. They pick you up at the resort at 9pm (its about a 45 min ride) and then they pick you back up at CoCo Bongo at 3am!
So many people!
All of the days leading up to the wedding were GORGEOUS, as was our wedding day! HOWEVER, the day after the wedding and the rest of our trip it POURED!!! To the point where our hallways and rooms flooded!! They said it was the most rain they have seen in about 15 years!! The hotel was very good about moving some of our family around to other dry rooms. We actually left the next morning to go to Sun Palace so we didn’t bother switching rooms. The staff did bring down some squeegees so my hubby and his friends squeegeed a bunch of rooms and the hallway. I mentioned this to the front desk at check out the next day and they refunded us some of our money for our troubles!
My hubby cleaning up the hallway
All in all, we had the wedding of our dreams!!! I wouldn’t change a thing! Like every other bride has said on here, have faith in your wedding coordinator!! They may be slow to respond before you get to the resort but that’s because they are working so hard on the weddings that are happening that day! So once it’s YOUR turn and it’s your wedding day, they will focus on YOU and take very good care of you!!!
I hope this review helped! Please note that I have not received my professional pictures. These pictures were all taken by family and friends! J
Of course I needed to toss in a picture of my little man with his new sombrero that we bought him!!