By Julie Mara, · 2,501 Views · 8 Comments
Our wedding was absolutely beautiful. We were married April 20, 2013 at Moon Palace on the Tucan Terrace at 5pm. We had 80 guests who ALL had an absolute blast. Our coordinator, Joseline, spoke perfect English and was very helpful. Our meeting upon arrival allowed us to go over details and get on the same page for the events we had.
Since we had so many guests, we were able to have unlimited private functions. If you have these available, by ALL MEANS do it! Our events were absolutely beautiful and honestly, the setup without any extras was so beautiful it would have been satisfactory for a simple wedding.
The events we threw were a welcome party(Venado Terrace) a rehearsal dinner and a brunch, all outside on various terraces. Every location was gorgeous and scenic. We were lucky and had no rain at all. The buffets were pretty good and definitely didn't disappoint. I think we chose the International and Caribbean options, and we were never anything but happy with our choices. They also set you up a full-blown, anything you want bar for these events. We had 3-5 people tending to each party and our wedding coordinator made an appearance at each. I was impressed with the service from the minute we got to the resort (and we and all of our friends are from a food service background). We fell in love with one of the lobby bartenders, Guadalupe, and were able to request him for all of our events which gave it a more personal feel. He felt like family by the end!
Once concern I'd had was music at these events. I took music from my iphone and bought a Bose Wireless Bluetooth Speaker for $300 and played our own music at all private events. The speaker's an awesome investment, is loud and has great clarity, and the resort was going to charge $300/event just for speakers and an ipod setup. Definitely not necessary, our music was loud enough for 60-80 people.
Also, decor for these events was white or brown linen cloths and shell/sand centerpieces. PERFECT. Didn't need another thing (see pics).
We opted to be legally married in Mexico, mainly because I didn't want to feel like it wasn't "real", that being said I think a symbolic ceremony would've been easy and just legally getting married in the states would've avoided some headaches. My husband FREAKED that he had to get blood taken, though that process was one of those funny experiences you never forget. Our appt was the same time as about 5 other couples getting married, and all were freaking about the blood sample. It was painless and only a legal formality!
I opted to pay the $175 for the horse and carriage and I SWEAR if you do nothing else, do this!! IT was beautiful, allowed me to spend time with my Dad and ride around the resort a bit, and surprised all our guests, definitely a tear jerker. I was impressed, too, it was a beautiful white horse and carriage!
The actual ceremony was very beautiful -- the man who wed us was a hippie looking guy, much to our excitement!, and was so well-spoken and soothing. We really made it feel about us, and writing our own vows made everyone break down. We also opted to "tie a knot" instead of a sand ceremony and he seamlessly worked the knot ceremony and a reading into his own standard vows.
For the wedding specifically, we were married at 5pm on the "tucan" beach. I brought some simple decor-- fans for programs, some sashes for the chairs (which were dirt cheap on weddinglinensdirect.com and well worth their effect) and we chose the free package. We did get stuck paying $8 / extra chair above and beyond the 35 that were included (which irked me a little) but the place was set up beautifully.
Cocktail hour was Tucan Garden (all were a quick walk apart, which was great). We took pics most of the time, but the decor was beautiful and our DJ package covered the music for this portion so I didn't have to stress the speaker.
Our reception was located on the Tucan Terrace. We sprung for the in-house DJ and some Zuniga decor, and our photographer was also the on-site Ocean Photography. I did not regret going through the resort IN THE LEAST. We added minimal touches (details in the vendor breakdown that follows) that made a HUGE difference and made our wedding feel like a wedding. It sincerely couldn't have made me happier than it did.
DJ SERVICES: We purchased the deluxe DJ pro package that included lighting. At our initial meeting, they asked if we wanted the lighting on the palms that outlined the terrace, and whether we wanted colored or white lights. Typically I go simpe and go for white, but we opted for COLOR ON THE PALMS and I'm so glad! It gave such a cool ambiance. I absolutely loved the lighting. The DJ nailed our entrace songs (do yourselves a favor and make a CD ahead of time, I was scrambling to get it together.) The wifi on site is really good so if you need a song last minute (as we did) they downloaded it for us no problem. The DJ also nailed our first dance songs and father/daughter, mother/son dance. I was relieved!
During dinner, they played a really nice mix of jazzy, classic rock instrumental versions. Everyone complimented me on the dinner music and I didn't even pick it!
As soon as time came to dance, they played a bunch of music, all recent and classic dance songs from rap to hiphop to soul that we requested as we went. There were no songs we requested they didn't have or couldn't get, which was again a relief!
DECOR: We opted for the overhead paper lantern structure ($750, not cheap but well worth the added lighting), the lighted spheres (2 sets at $60/3 spheres lining the entrance to reception), the large white dance floor, and small bowls of shells and 3 candles/table, $35/table. So worth not having to lug centerpieces from home. I thought the lighting made the biggest difference.
PHOTOGRAPHY: I have to admit, with a bridal party of over 20 people, I was shocked they only sent 1 photographer. We got one of the deluxe packages that included live streaming of the ceremony for grandparents at home (which was AWESOME, they loved tuning in live, could watch it for 30 days, and we were able to say hello after the ceremony). Choosing a larger, 3 hr package, I thought they'd give the poor guy some help! This was the only time the language barrier was frustrating, and let's face it pictures are annoying anyway. I felt irritated and unsure of our photographer's direction. THAT BEING SAID, the pics came out absolutely gorgeous!!!! We had them w/in a month, they made us 2 beautiful high quality photobooks, printed us 5 8x10 shots, and sent the disc with every single pic. I was impressed and very happy with the pictures. I think the cost was 1800 and included all of the above (which really is comparable to any wedding photography and never includes access to all images. Figure too that we paid extra for the live stream, there was a $1400 package that didn't include the livestream.)
POST-WEDDING: The best part of throwing a party is... keeping the party going, right? We were so psyched that there is a club on-site and we are more the bar type of crowd. However the full blown on-site nightclub is amazing... no cost, still all inclusive, buses from every lobby every 15 minutes and an absolute dance party blast. We went when our reception ended, filled a bus to the club (which is 2 minutes from Nizuc lobby in Sunrise) and we danced even longer. Was such a good time!!
SUMMARY: You can't plan for all the variables that travel, especially international travel can provide, but you can't plan for anything in life, right?! I wouldn't do my wedding any other way. My husband is more of a planner than I am and he was blown away by the service, amenities, vendors and coordination that was provided us through this process. TRUST THE PROCESS! It is so worth it. I still had a few stressful moments, and looking back even those were foolish (just feeling pressure to provide guests a detailed gameplan, which you CAN'T do because you only confirm your events at your meeting) -- everyone was fine and so impressed. This experience was amazing, and our whole group wants to plan a reunion trip ... I haven't heard a bit of negative feedback from any of our guests. ABSOLUTE ABOVE AND BEYOND THE BEST EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE SO FAR. Enjoy the ride and do yourself a favor... get married at Moon Palace!