By UMassRN007, · 2,417 Views · 14 Comments
Ok, lots to talk about. I’m also planning to do an “after the fact” planning thread, as well as individual reviews for my travel agent and photographer, so I’ll just stick to the primarily Now Jade information here.
Planning: First off, I don’t know how I would have ever planned a destination wedding without all the reviews and resources on this site. Truly a life saver! So, let’s get started…We ended up picking the Now Jade due to the great reviews, wedding packages, and the overall attractiveness and affordability of the resort. We set up our bookings through destinationweddings.com, even though the reviews on this site are so so. Our agent was Debbie Johnson and everything was absolutely flawless. I highly recommend her, very quick to communicate, and not a single complaint for any of our guests. We invited 160 people (the same amount we would have done if we had a Boston wedding), and 87 people booked, which a little more than I expected, but the more the merrier!
Arrival: Once out of the airport, we hopped right on our private transfer to the resort with pretty much no wait time. It was quite convenient! Like others have said it’s a pretty quick drive to the Now Jade. The main entrance to the Now Jade is being worked on, so we had to take a small detour through Puerto Morelos. The town is pretty run down and you’re wondering “were the hell are they taking me?” But then you pull into the Now Jade and you’re like “ahhhh this is fantastic!” Upon arrival we were greeted right away, given a cold towel, and whisked away to the Preferred Club (was not expecting to actually get the free upgrade!). Once in the preferred club we were checked in right away without any issues and were escorted to our rooms.
Preferred Club/Room/Activities: Let’s start with the preferred club amenities. Like many have said there is a bar in there with a number of different high end spirits, I didn’t really end up using this because I’m on vacation and I’d rather be drinking something tropical J I also noticed that there really isn’t anything to use for mixers except for juice in the morning. Maybe you have to ask for them? I did however appreciate the champagne, we would always stop and grab a glass when coming and going from our room. I also enjoyed the mini sandwiches and other little treats they kept stocked. On the room…We had originally book a regular ocean view room, and we were upgraded to Preferred Ocean View. Once we arrived to our room, there was a lovely bottle of champagne and some snack waiting for us. I loved how much space we had, and given the 3 suitcases and other baggage we brought it was nice to have the extra room (I’m also the type of person that freaks out when stuff is everywhere and I have no room to move lol). The mini bar is eh: few beers, water, soda, juice. I believe we also had 2 nips of some sort. When we returned to our room on our wedding night there was a trail of rose petals to the bed and some on the bed as well. The service: spectacular! Everyone at the resort was soooo friendly, now that I’m home, I miss all of their smiling faces and enthusiasm J They have daily activities by the pool, beach, and theater. The entertainment crew are hilarious and so much fun, but If you’re looking for quiet time, you can always slip away to the adults only pool.
Now Jade Wedding Planner: After reading a number of reviews on here I knew the planners were super busy, so I really didn’t start emailing the wedding coordinator until about two months prior. Like many of you know, Pilar is still on maternity leave, so I had Isela as a coordinator. Let me tell you, this women has got it together!! I was surprised at how quickly and thoroughly she responded to my emails! We arrived on Wednesday and met with her Thursday morning. We went over all of the details that I had sent her in our packet a few weeks prior (times,locations,flowers,cake,meals, etc). This was also the time I went over all of our decorations that we brought as well as handed over my gown and my FI’s suit. We also ended up doing a rehearsal the following morning to figure out who’s walking in with whom. The rehearsal was only about 15min but it was nice to do a quick run through. I can’t say enough nice things about Isela, truly fantastic!!
Divine Package: We ended up going with the divine package due to the large number of guests we were having and the other extras that we wanted. The only substitution I made was instead of a bridal bouquet, I got 3 small bridesmaids bouquets. We did end up purchasing the extra apps, champagne and cake for our guests. I know many people don’t care, I just didn’t want anyone to go without. Extras that we purchased: brown tiffany chairs ( I know, expensive, but I just had to!), 11 centerpieces, extra hour or reception and dj. The final total: $13,000… It’s kind of a lot, but considering the amount of guests we had, and the extras, that’s what I was estimating to begin with. Still cheaper than having a Boston wedding! Oh, and the private romantic dinner on the beach was very sweet! I must have been out of my mind, but I scheduled our champagne breakfast for 7am the morning after our wedding. Didn’t wake up until 9:30, oops :-p.
Welcome Party/Rehearsal dinner: The night before our wedding we decided to throw a welcome party just to get all of our guests together to meet each other the night before the wedding. Isela sectioned off part of the lobby for us, and we also used the photographer from our package (Adventure Photos) to take family pictures during this time. I think the quality of the pictures were pretty decent, but like others said, there’s no editing, and all of the pics are posed. We had a rehearsal dinner earlier that day at Capers (Italian) and it was excellent, and the service was top notch.
Spa/Hair/Makeup: We had our couples massage (included in the Divine) the Friday afternoon before our wedding and it was marvelous. I ended up using the free hair and makeup included in the package for a trial appointment. I was really going back in forth with doing this, but in the end I’m glad I did. My advise: Bring pictures!!! For my trial, I brought hair pictures, and Liceth was able to do exactly what I wanted. I forgot to bring makeup pics, so I just asked for a smokey eye. It was definitely a different kind of smokey eye than I’m used to and she used wayyy to much powder. After this, I was torn on whether I was going to have them do my makeup on our wedding day, but our appointments were at 11am, so I figured I have time to fix things up a bit if I had to. This time I brought makeup pictures and it was exactly what I wanted (mind you, I brought my own HD foundation, lipstick, and said NO to powder, though I did set it with a little HD powder when we got back to the room) and she also applied my false eyelashes fine as well. All of my bridesmaid’s hair came out beautiful as well. Overall I was very satisfied with how everything turned out. I don't have any up close pics that show off my makeup, but i'll post once I get my photographers photos..
The Big Day: After our spa appointments, the bridesmaids and I went back to my room to get ready, while the groom went to the best man’s room. When we arrived, my dress was hanging and ready to go. I liked that they nicely wrapped the dress so that my FI couldn’t see it if he happened to come back to the room for anything. All of our guests, and the groomsmen met Isela in the lobby @ 3:30pm, and she then led everyone to the pergola for our ceremony. Around 4pm she came up to my room to lead myself and the other girls down to the ceremony.
P.S. I hired an outside photographer Sasha Gluck who was incredible. One of the best decisions I made aside from having our wedding at the Now Jade. He showed us a few sneak peaks throughout the day and it looked like they were out of a magazine. I’m doing a separate review for him once our photos come in. But if you can swing the extra dough for a photographer he is very reasonable and so so talented! http://www.bestdestinationwedding.com/reviews/p/21493-sascha-gluck-photographer-cancun-mexico/
Ceremony: 4pm @ the pergola. I felt this was a great time as it gave our guests time to enjoy the day prior to the wedding. The pergola was nicely draped in white fabric, and there were white flower arrangements on each side. We also used the brown tiffany chairs, and there was a white isle runner. We used an ipod for the ceremony entrance songs. And we also had a close friend do our ceremony. Even with all those people, I though the pergola was quite spacious.
Cocktail Hour:5pm @ the Mix Bar. One word: Darrrrrrius! Absolutely outstanding bartender! We got to meet him a few days before the wedding and hit literally made us 30 different shots to try lol. Our guests could not stop raving about how great he was and how he totally made for an awesome time. Unfortunately my FI and I were off taking photos and weren’t able to try any of the appetizers, but my guests said they were great. We did the chicken quesadilla, breaded surimi, mini tacos, and beef brochettes. Our signature cocktail was a classic mojito. We also used the guitar player during this time instead of the ceremony.
Reception: Castaways 7-11. I can’t even tell you how absolutely perfect everything was set up here. They executed every single little detail that I wanted! I brought paper lanterns, table runners, table numbers, napkins, starfish cookies, place cards with shell holders, guest book stuff, DIY photobooth, and a banner for the sweetheart table. Plenty of space for the number of guests we had. We ended up doing round tables of 8. Other people have mentioned it being pretty hot there, but it was pretty breezy at night when we were there, so it wasn’t a problem. January is probably one of the cooler months though (and by that I meen it was low 80’s during the day, high 60s at night), but I can imagine it getting pretty hot in the warmer months so you may want to consider renting the fans if you’re going at that time. The servers were fantastic and were right there when our drinks were running low and were bringing us bottles of water throughout the night. For dinner, we did the caprese salad, lobster bisque, filet & shrimp or stuffed chicken, and the chocolate soufflé. The food was excellent, I made sure to actually eat lol! For a wedding cake, we did the lemon cake with raspberry filling and it was very delightful, received lots of compliments on how yummy it was. I can’t forget to mention the DJ, he was sooooo good!!! I was a little nervous because we had sent our DJ form to him 5 days before, but he executed everything perfectly. I even had him start and fade out songs at certain times… Seriously, it was an UNBELIEVABLE time and it was even better than I imagined it would be.
After Party: After the reception was over @ 11pm many of us headed over to the sports bar a.k.a disco to get some more dancing and partying in. It was a fun atmosphere with all of the special strobe lights etc . They played pretty all the same music you would get your dance on to here in the U.S., and we partied there until they closed @ 1 am. Then it was room service timeeeee!! Be prepared, room service during the day is pretty quick (30-40min), at 11p/1a it was about 1-1.5h. Most of the time we would fall sleep then wake up and stuff our faces lol, My faves were the fish tacos & chx fingers w/ fries :)
Other activities: Aside from the welcome cocktail party, we did not plan any other activities for our guests 1.) Because there were so many of them, and 2.) I didn’t want them to feel on a schedule. After the wedding, a few of us did the snorkeling offered from the stand at the beach. I think it was around $30pp and they drove us out to two different reefs to explore. The water isn’t as clear and there aren’t as many bright fish as in the Dominican (if you’ve ever gone), but we still saw a bunch of fish, and a lobster the size of a young child. Good times! A few of our guests did Xel-Ha and said it was the best excursion they had ever been on. We rented jet skis a few days later too and that was a blast as well. Also, one night a group of us a took a taxi in to Puerto Morelos for dinner, and it was delish!!! I think it was El Pirata, don’t worry, there weren’t a bunch of pirates running around lol. I kind of wish we went during the day, because there are a lot of little stores that would have been fun to stop in to.
Good to know: -The wifi is very spotty, unless you’re sitting in the preferred lounge….Bring photos of what you want your hair and makeup to look like.. Doesn’t hurt to bring bug spray, I did get a few mosquito bites from sitting outside at night.
**Hope you’re not frazzled by all the(!!!!!!) I’m just so excited at how wonderful everything was. All in all it was the time of our lives, truly unbelievable. I am so glad I decided to do a destination wedding (and all of our guests are too!). I’m still getting texts and emails from people saying how much fun they had and how great the resort was. Andddd not a single person got sick, out of 87! Please feel free to message me if you have any other specific questions, I’m at 4 pages in MS Word and I HAVE to stop somewhere!