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Back from my wedding at the Barcelo Maya

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FANTASTIC! Oh my goodness, I had the best time. EVERYONE should have a destination wedding! I don't know why anyone would do a traditional wedding.


Everything was fantastic, perfect, fabulous, and wonderful.


Destination Wedding in General:

Best idea! I basically had all my favourite family and friends together in one place for 4 days, in gorgeous weather, gorgeous setting, with restaurants and alcohol included, which meant everything was so easy... everyday, just saying, let's meet in the bar at 7, bumping into people by the pool, etc. IT was awesome. Everyone talked about how wonderful it was to be there on holiday.


Barcelo as a hotel:

Itâ€s huge. They have just added a new hotel, Barcelo Maya Palace, which means there are now 5 on the site.

It is beautiful. But itâ€s big and crowded. However, the pools and beach are gorgeous. The food was good, the drinks were great, a really wonderful place to hang out.

The staff were delightful, really friendly, and the rooms were really lovely.

HOWEVER, their reservations and reception were a NIGHTMARE. Many of my guests waiting 1 to 3 hours to check in. Many times during the week, the keys stopped working and you had to wait again for a long time at reception to get a new key. Worst of all, we checked multiple times that my whole group was in the same hotel of the 5 (since this affects the pool and buffet area that people hang out in). We were All upgraded to the new hotel, the Palace. But on Wednesday, when half of my guests were already there and checked in with rooms, the half still arriving were all moved to one of the other hotels. I spent a whole afternoon arguing with them, and nothing was changed. People were really upset about that. In addition, they kept asking my mum and others to change hotels half way through their stay. Everything was perfect except for this part, this was a nightmare.


Wedding Coordinator:

Ana Bautista who works for the Barcelo, was our coordinator. She was FANTASTIC! There were lots of things happening, and problems with the reception (as above). The mariachis didn't show up, and other stuff. Whenever these things happened, she just sorted them out as quickly as she could.

When half of our guests were moved to the hotel, she made sure they got the same wrist bands as us (since all the rooms were full, so there was nothing else she could do) so that we could still all go to the same buffets etc.

When I arrived, there was a letter from her for us to meet her. When I showed up, she had every single one of my emails printed out!

She was responsive to all my emails over the past year, and quickly too.

She remembered every detail that I asked her for.

The reception wouldn't deliver the welcome bags, and so she personally drove around all the rooms and delivered them (we had 80 guests all arriving on different days).

She was AWESOME!


SPA at the hotel:

The spa was great. In the wedding package we had included a couples massage, and a mani/pedi for me on the morning of the wedding. The mani/pedi was the best one Iâ€ve ever had, and lasted for 2 hours! I also had my hair done there. It cost 70 dollars. I had a trial a couple of days before, and the first woman couldnâ€t do the style I wanted after trying for a while. So they got a more experienced woman in. She then worked on me for 2 hours to make it perfect for me, with no extra charge. It was her day off on my wedding day, and she came in anyway just to do it again for me! And I loved my hair, it was exactly what I wanted.



The wedding was perfect, really. All the details I wanted were there. The set up on the beach looked absolutely gorgeous. The reception was extremely fun. The food and the cake were incredibly delicious, lots of compliments from my guests. The location of the reception was absolutely beautiful. Everything was perfect. Many of my guests said it was the most fun wedding theyâ€d ever been to.



The flowers were incredibly beautiful, gerbera daisies.



We hired Elizabeth Medina. We paid for her to spend the night at the Barcelo, and as a result we had 0 problems even though officially outside photographers were not allowed.


I haven't seen the photos yet, but the one she sent me was gorgeous.

Also, her attitude and presence was perfect, she was always there taking photos, but never in the way, was extremely kind and friendly, and had an amazing eye for directing us to get amazing photos. I had several people comment to me the next day that she was fantastic.


I can't wait for the photos! But so far, I'd HIGHLY recommend her. :)



We used the Barcelo videographer, with the cheapest package. The video as a result is really cheesy, and not the best quality, but I wanted beautiful photos (spent the money for Elizabeth Medina), and the video was not as important for me. I'm glad we got it, it's a beautiful momento, and it just has the entire ceremony recorded, so it's perfect for what I wanted.


OOT Bags:

We made a list of 'Who's Who' at our wedding (someone's idea from this forum, I forget who), and it was a HUGE hit! I would definitely do this, so many people commented on this.

Other stuff was:

Plastic Mugs saying Eric & Margaret, 22nd de Febrero. People liked these and they were cute!

Beach ball -- big hit

Squirt Gun -- the kids loved these

Chocolate, tylenol, wet wipes, chapstick.

Overall, people were really pleased with the bags.


Things Iâ€d do again:

Ceremony on the beach – so gorgeous, super windy, but still gorgeous.

Bubbles when we walked down the aisle instead of confetti – was a really fun visual as we came down, and the guests thought it was fun.

Champagne toast just as we walked down the aisle – at some weddings Iâ€ve been two, itâ€s a bit weird right after, and the couple leaves immediately for photos, but to walk down and then immediately give out champagne was a lovely moment, on the beach still, of toasting everyone and enjoying the champagne before we went off for photos.

Mariachis: Superb, really added to the atmosphere. We had them for the ceremony and then for the cocktail hour, and they were brilliant. We had dancing during our cocktail hour purely by accident because people were having so much fun with the mariachis! IT was so appropriate for the setting, and they played beautiful, slow and classy music during the ceremony, so it worked really well for that too.

Having a friend do the ceremony: Made it really personal, and very moving and touching. It would have been totally different if we had a random judge or minister that we had not talked to before the ceremony.

Tequila shots at the reception: I was shocked, but the hotel staff brought these out, and even my really straight relatives did one! Everyone thought it was really Mexican and fun!

Whoâ€s Who in the OOT -- big hit with the guests.

Midnight swim in the ocean with the guests at the end of the party: wonderful. 


Things Iâ€d skip next time:

Not sure I can think of anything Iâ€d skip.

Maybe the fact that my fiancé lost his ring the night of our wedding in the ocean! wink.gif

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I'm so so glad that everything turned out so well for you, Margaret! I think I was one of the only Barcelo brides for a long time so I was really hoping I wouldn't steer anyone wrong when I said it was awesome (after all...my wedding was the only DW I'd ever been to haha).


Where did you have your reception?

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Yes, I must upload the pictures. I have to say, MANY of the ideas and planning came about because of this forum, so I want to help as much as I can to any new brides planning out there!


I had the reception in the Mariachi Grill, an open air restaurant area in the Colonial hotel.

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Oh no, he lost his ring in the ocean. Yikes!


I am so happy you had a great time! I love the idea of the Who's Who for the OOT bags.

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