By Stack02, · 1,544 Views · 3 Comments
Well, we have been back from our wedding/holiday for about 3 days now. We were married at the Now Jade on October 16, 2014. I am a fairly detailed person so I will include all the other planning details for reference but the star rating reflects the Wedding.
We decided to book the NJ as our Wedding Venue on December 1, 2013. that gave us a 10.5 month window. The decision/booking process was easy. We decided on this resort because of the ease to customize things. I contacted the resort and was paired with Pilar the Wedding Manager. from what I understand she takes all initial bookings then assigns you to a specific coordinator. So I started with Pilar, was moved to Isela and ended up with Carmen (2 weeks before the wedding) she was a total dream. I keep seeing reference to the wait times to get an email back when you are in the planning stages. I have to say what I witnessed was about 19 weddings in the 10 days we were there the team was running around and available 8:00am to 11:00pm. They are busy and the closer you get to your date the more it all falls together. Give them time they are some busy folks!
My communication with the resort was strong. I usually got a reply within a day or so. My questions were always answered and usually with pictures so I could get the scene.
We sent out our save the dates end of December and our invitations in March with a reply date of August 15, 2014. It gave us enough planning time because generally most folks are going to know if they are coming 60 days out at least. I got my paperwork in within the 45 day time limit. Again, I am super detail orientated/organized so I included all the pictures for flowers, tablescapes, napkin folds, seating chart and meal plans. The day of, it was all executed to perfection.
Once we arrived to the airport at Cancun (Saturday) our private transfer was late. We were waiting for about 45 minutes all our friends the flight after us got to the resort before us. We got out of the vehicle and were given a hot towel and were escorted to the Preferred Lounge. I purposely booked a garden view room because we were expecting the upgrade. The check in process was a little frustrating. I had the documentation with our booking number and travel details and the check in clerk was insistent that we were to have a hotel voucher. I did not have any other documents so she would say "you have to have it to check in" and then a moment later say "I have it here" this went on for about 20 minutes. We got a nice room on the second floor with a pool/ocean view room. There was lots of space for all the items we travelled with (OOT Bags, Favours, Fans, Napkins, Candles, Outfits, Gifts.) After we checked in we got settled and then had an informal cocktail party.
We started our first full day (Sunday) at the French restaurant (Mercure) with a stunning breakfast a big perk of the preferred side. The whole day was spent getting caught up with folks who travelled to bear witness to our big day! what an honor! We went to get our "resort coupons" in the preferred lounge and it turned into a time share pitch. we expressed disinterest immediately and they backed off. The only subpar service we experienced all week was in the Preferred Lounge. The gal that works that is not a fan of her job. They have all they liquors out but no mix so if you ask for mix or ice be prepared for a wait.
One thing I was not prepared for with a destination wedding was having 40 people there who know you. It took me 3 hours to do anything because I was living in side tracked city. It was fun! My friend said it felt like living in a small town where everyone knows you!
the second night we had an "official" welcome cocktail party in the main lobby bar. They set up a big section for our group (of 40) the drinks flowed and house band was AWESOME! We danced the night away. I do have to give the caveats that I have been to Mexico about 30 times and the heat and the humidity at this resort was off the charts. There is a jungle all around and it would rain mid afternoon daily making it super muggy. Pack lots of light outfits! Also as other reviews have said the bugs are a real issue we brought 10 bottles of bug spray and gave them out to use all week.
We did not have a dedicated travel agent. Our guests arrived on the Friday to Monday (for the Thursday wedding) it gave them the freedom to use points for their travel or find a deal/duration that worked for them. It all went quite well.
On Monday morning we had our meeting with Carmen our W.C. She was wonderful! I had everything zip lock bagged and labeled. She had every email I ever sent printed and was super familiar with all of them. Our meeting took all of 45 minutes. she showed us our venue and gave us rainy day alternatives (which we needed) We gave our wedding outfits to her.
Items I gave her included:
- Raffia fans which were a god send because it is so hot!
- Personalized Napkins
- Paper Straws
- Signature Drink Listing
- Cheers Sign
- Linen Napkins
- Guest Book (Scrabble Board)
- Wedding Favours (Leather Luggage Tags) and place card (per table organized)
- Mr. & Mrs Bunting
- My back up shoes for dancing
This was the last day for our guests to arrive so we had arranged a Buffet Canadian Thanksgiving, Carmen had a wedding that night so came an introduced herself to the group. Not necessary but really nice.
I had booked a massage (just for me not the one in the Devine Package) on the Tuesday and it was wonderful. the whole spa is so seamless, you have to charge everything to your room which was no worry.
On Wednesday the whole wedding party and mothers went for some Mani's/Pedi's they were quite expensive ($75USD for a basic mani/Pedi on special) but it was a nice little ritual. The spa staff and communication was fantastic. I had booked all of my appointments with Xiomara at the Spa prior to departure. Communication was fine and seamless as well.
Thursday! THE BIG DAY! It was another beautiful day in paradise. We were the only wedding that day which is a rarity! There were 2-3 a day so if you have any worries trust me they do this all day everyday! I got up mega early (because of nerves) I walked around the resort and went for breakfast with my dad, uncle, mom and aunt. It was nice. We had to drop the ipod off to Carmen for the wedding music that morning. When we were there she showed me my flowers which had arrived already. they were very very nice! However we did have a problem. Carmen informed us that the maintenance department had take down all the railing in the Mix bar where our cocktail party was suppose to happen so we could not have our party here. At the risk of sounding all dramatic the entire reason we booked the NJ was because of the availability to have events private venues. We has come up with the alternative to have the our cocktail hour on the patio outside of the Bamboo room set up with tables because being in the sun on the lawn would have been way too hot for us pasty white Canadians. It wasn't ideal but to be honest by this point the train was moving and I was not going to let the little stuff bother me.
We had hair and make-up appointments at 1:00pm for the 5:00pm ceremony start time. The gals in this spa are no joke, awesome! I showed them a picture of the hair and makeup and they made it exactly like that. Which was good and bad because make sure you have the exact picture because my photo has a glow on the cheeks and I got that, I was able to tame it down because it was a little heavy handed but I am not complaining. I should have had a better picture. We got out of the spa at 2:30pm. I was a nosy Nancy and went to look at the ceremony space at the Pergola it was beautiful! We had upgraded to the brown tiffany chairs and flowers on the pillars with a white aisle and draping. It was so stunning. Us gals then went to the Preferred Lounge for some sandwiches and a glass of champagne. We did this till about 3:15:pm. My girlfriend is a photographer so she came to the Spa and dressing because she wanted some pictures for her portfolio we spent about 75 min getting dressed and taking photos and right at 4:45pm (15 minutes till the big show) the skys opened right up and a torrential down pour started. I can promise you this did not bother me I was wearing a beautiful dress, looking good and feeling fine and was 15 minutes from marrying a great young man :) Carmen called me on the phone in the room and let me know that it was going to have to be moved to the hallway at the front entrance because it was raining so hard. That was fine it was happening! What am I suppose to do? Carmen told us to stay put! She got the troops in line and the new venue was moved and set up in 40 minutes flat. I have found out in hindsight that the groom and groomsmen all got soaked going from building 3 to the main lobby and some wedding guests and staff got out hairdryer in the lobby and were getting them dry. At about 5:30pm I was super restless, we sent one of the gals to tell Carmen that we were going to the preferred lounge because I could not pace in the room any longer. She came and grabbed us when it was time. I walked to the lobby the raining had stopped for a few minutes the groom and groomsmen were standing there and caught a glimpse (not the end of the world) we stared the Ceremony and it was very nice. It was quick and because of the rain the cocktail party was moved to the lobby. The resort photographer grabbed us all for group shots on the stairs. he (Adventure Photography) took tones of photos we were doing this for about 30 minutes and because of the rain delay our friend photographer totally ran out of time for outside pictures, we lost the light . I had brought personalized cocktail napkins and paper straws the lobby was full of people and those were set on the bar so non wedding guests were taking them (not critical just sharing info) The guitar player was kind of central so the guests I don't think knew it was for them (again not critical but sharing) No worries. We went and took some photos. I heard the snacks were good. I was under the impression they would be appys via a passed service they were in a warming tray on the side.
Our reception was at the Bamboo room at 7:00pm. Our guests all entered. We were hired an external DJ Disco Movil. HIRE THIS GUY!!!!!!!! with the external vendor fee it was still cheaper for an extended reception (till 11:00pm) up lighting which created dramatic atmosphere and cold fire works. The wedding party arrived at 7:15pm. they all entered and when the Mr. and I entered there were fun cold fireworks! I keep hearing how fun that was. We came into the reception and started the first course shortly after.
Salad with sweet and Spicy Tamarind Dressing (from the vegetarian menu) everyone had this. - Really nice!
Toast to the Groom
Lobster Bisque (for the Seafood Menu - From the Devine Menu) - Groom Had this! Loved it!
Spinach Stuffed Ravioli in a Basil Cream Sauce - I had this meh, was really cold and not great.
Toast to the Bride
Filet in a Beaujoulis Sauce, if you were seafood menu with shirimp - no seafood no shrimp. - This was to DIE for! I heard guests say all week this was the best wedding main ever had. I will agree.
Chocolate Soufflé in a Bailey Sauce - Very Good
there was no coffee or tea service offered and during dinner guests were told that they needed to go to the bar for mixed drinks. I have since confirmed they should have been bringing drinks.
Speeches from the parents and the Bride & Groom
the DJ we hired had the whole crowd up all night! He was amazing!
We cut the cake around 10:15pm there was another bride at the resort that crashed and came in for cake. That is a super tacky maneuver!
the MOST disappointing thing of the night happened at the very end! We had our last dance with the DJ and it was over. 3 of the wait staff came over to one of our female wedding patron who was also the Emcee and said "we brought up a round of shots and that is not included, you owe us money. We are going to follow you to your room and you are going to open your safe and give us money. The gratuity is not covered for the wedding" Our emcee felt (her words) nervous, scared and she needed to make things right. She went to other guests and asked for money to cover the gratuity for the evening. She was able to pool the money so 3 strange men did not follow her to her room. This wedding guest was so shaken that she did not come out of her room the next day. As an aside she is a tour guide in her everyday life an speaks fluent Spanish, she is well travelled and has never experienced anthything like this! No one wanted to bother us with this so we caught wind of it the next night. We were FURIOUS! I am mortified that someone felt unsafe by travelling to this resort, also, I paid almost $1000 in auto-gratuity because they tack the service charge onto everything including upgrades, an this is the thanks we get!
When we caught word of this my groom went to the wedding department (at 9:30pm - they were still there) and asked if that was normal practice? we were told to come and see the manager the next morning. We came back and had a meeting with Carmen, Pilar and Alex (the food and beverage manager) we were assured this had never happened before and they would look into this and get back to us prior to our departure in 4 days. No one got back to us. They offered to upgrade our dinner on the beach to lobsters, that was not acceptable in my books (I don't need the upgrade! my wedding guest should have NEVER been put in this position) . I only wanted that one wedding guest to get her cash back. it was not a crazy amount ($80USD) but the principal involved!
It is really unfortunate that 3 waiters can sully such a great evening. The scare tactics for $80.00 is disgusting!
this is why I cannot give a full rating! someone feeling scared at the resort I chose makes me sick to my stomach!
The Friday the groom and I were both sick in the morning (I did not drink so I think food poisoning) and we forfeited our couples massage. We had breakfast in bed delivered and the Mr. said it was great. That night was also our "mini-moon" where were were having our diner on the beach I booked it mega in advance. We went ot the beach (the bugs were bad my friend) we waited for about 30 minutes and no waiter came around, After the wait we were told we were suppose to go to the lobby our bad! the menu was the same as our wedding meal the night before and it was good!
We had a few days to decompress and visit with friends and try: Cin Cin, the Italian restaurant, Spice and Mercure, all very nice.
The wedding was really smooth from the planners end unfortunately the other staff made it not a great memory at the end. I am not trying to be dramatic it is just so disappointing.