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Kristin's (cancunbride2be) Dreams Cancun Wedding Review...LONG!!


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#1 cancunbride2be

cancunbride2be
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    Posted 05 March 2008 - 06:01 PM

    Ok ladies – I’m sorry its taken me awhile to post a review, but things have just been a little hectic since coming back. It’s a long one, so settle in!! So background for you- Steve (hubby) and I saved a ton of money and stayed at my parent’s timeshare from Saturday before the wedding to Wednesday (which is when the majority of our guests arrived). We checked into Dreams on Wednesday morning and stayed through Saturday. The wedding was on Friday night. So here we go…
    Claudia (WC) / DJ Meeting: A+
    Monday, we met with Claudia, the director for the DJ company, Lola, and the DJ that would be working at our wedding. The meeting was pretty quick and we did feel A LOT better afterwards. We had already sent Claudia pictures of our flowers and descriptions of what we wanted, so she just confirmed our choices and went over all the details for the wedding and rehearsal dinner. I had burned all the songs for the ceremony and gave Claudia that disc at the meeting. We also dropped off all of our welcome bags, so that they could be distributed as our guests arrived and all the decorations I had brought. I had given her a copy of my guest list with arrival dates, the table lists with guest’s dinner choices, and a list of each decoration and where it was going. I also taped a label onto each decoration, along with instructions on where to put it all. I was worried that I was going over the top but she really seemed relieved that it was all written out for her and easy to find. She seemed to really appreciate hard copies of all my “lists”. I guess it takes out all the guesswork for her and those who help her set up the events. She also did a “walk through” for the resort and showed us where everything was going to take place and what our rain options would be. She was patient and reassuring and happily answered all my crazy questions.
    I highly recommend requesting the DJ to be present at your meeting with Claudia!! He brought his laptop and checked to make sure he had all our song choices and even burned our first dance song onto his computer; to be sure he had it. Have CDs of the songs you really want at your reception! This way, if they don’t have them, they can quickly burn them onto the laptop, which guarantees that they are able to play them for you. He asked about our music tastes and carefully looked over the music list we compiled. The music list we put together was only to give him an idea of what we liked, but not to stick with. We gave him free reign as far as what he played, but I think the list really helped him “know” us better, musically. The DJ was great at the meeting and made us really feel at ease. Once again…I recommend typing everything out clearly, because it seemed to make it easier on the DJ.

    Check In / Room: A-
    Check in went very smoothly. We had champagne and cold towels and our room was ready, even thought we checked in early. We stayed in a Jr Jacuzzi Suite in the tower and it was gorgeous!! We had no problems with the ac or elevators or water during our stay (which I’ve seen reviews on other sites that complain about all three). We did have this funky smell come from the toilet on the morning of the wedding…but they quickly sent someone up to fix it and there was no problem after that. The bed was really comfortable, view was amazing and lots and lots of room! There was a cute “honeymooners” banner on our door and fruit and champagne waiting for us in the room at arrival. There were lots of outlets and mirrors for all my girls used on the wedding day to do their hair and makeup (I had 6 bridesmaids).
    All of my guests had easy and quick check ins as well. Some had to wait for their room to be ready, but only because they had arrived before check in time. That really was not a problem because they would check their bags with the bellman and change in our room to hang out on the beach until their room was ready. Everyone was also very happy with their rooms and almost every single one of my guests that used our TA were upgraded for free. That was one really nice perk of using a TA. They definitely know how to pull strings for you and your guests! The reason for the “–“ is that we did have problems with the distribution of the welcome bags. We had a little confusion and all of our guests that arrived on Monday or Tuesday did not receive their bags (only 4 rooms). Apparently Claudia had thought that all of our guests arrived on Wednesday, so the bellman just locked up the bags till then. We had to stop by the front desk and clear things up, but as soon as we did that, they were out quickly. Distribution was slow the rest of the days….but they did all get out (with my watchful eye and gentle reminders). Some people didn’t get them until later at night and I was a little disappointed that they weren’t given out as people arrived. But all in all it wasn’t a huge deal. Every one of my guests got a bag (and loved them) and nothing was missing or anything like that.

    Hotel: A+++
    Everyone LOVED the resort!! The service is amazing everywhere you go. Everyone is so friendly, accommodating and fast!! We were so impressed with how pampered we felt. The food was great in every restaurant we went to and even the small grill out by the pool had great sandwiches (try the grilled chicken!). Drinks are fun and delicious! They are definitely NOT watered down.
    The beaches are beautiful and there are always chairs and towels available, no matter what time of the day you go. The pool is small but honestly never seemed crowded. I now understand why they don’t build a bigger one…its just not necessary. The dolphins were sooo much fun to watch and its just such a great bonus for all the guests. We didn’t get a chance to swim with them but every morning we would stop to watch the play. All of my guests that had dolphin view rooms loved it too, though they said they never imagined they would be able to stay so close to them. If you are on the first floor, they are literally right in front of you. It was so cool!! Every guest came up to us at one point or another and commented on how great the resort was. We really didn’t have any complaints at all. At “prime” dinner time, it was a long wait to seat a large group (we tried with 10 people and ended up going to the buffet because the wait was too long). I suggest going really early or really late if you have a big party for dinner. But that happens everywhere so no big deal.
    Rehearsal Dinner: B-
    We did a rehearsal with Claudia (which we did not pay for, even though she said we would have to in her email) and that ended up being nice. We weren’t going to do one, but it seemed to help our bridal party/parents feel more comfortable so I’m glad we took the time to do it. Afterward, we went to the Seaside Grill for our dinner. They had three tables set up for us (we had 30 people) with an assortment of appetizers ready to go. All bottles of wine were included, which was really nice since they are normally extra $$. I think our party enjoyed ordering some nicer wine for their tables. Honestly we weren’t very happy with the service. For some reason they had 3 different waiters for the 3 tables, so none of our food was in sync. It made it difficult because everyone was finishing at different times, and we would have one table waiting for food while the other two were eating and vice versa. At the end we had two tables completely done and ready to leave and one that hadn’t had dessert yet. So 20 out of 30 people waited another 15 minutes for the last table to get dessert. It was awkward and I felt bad for the last table because they were sort of rushing to finish dessert because they knew others were waiting. I wish that they had treated us as one party and put all the orders in together. It would have made it all much smoother. But the food was good and we definitely would have the rehearsal dinner on the resort if we had to do it over. Getting that many people off resort for a dinner would have ended up very expensive and hectic! Oh…and I know that a few other Dreams brides didn’t make a reservation and pay the extra $12 per person for their rehearsal dinner but I can’t say that I recommend doing that. There was another large wedding party that was turned away while we were there and I couldn’t imagine dealing with that the night before the wedding. It was worth the extra $$ to know that we would have a place to eat together.
    Wedding Day: A+
    Our ceremony was at 4pm on Friday, so my girls and I all had manicures late in the morning. They did a nice job but my MOH wanted something a little different and there was definitely a language barrier with the manicurists. None of them seemed to speak English well and we unfortunately do not speak Spanish well. So if you don’t speak Spanish and you want something a little unusual, bring pictures or something to help them understand what you want. We did not use the spa for hair or makeup, so I can’t comment on that. Claudia showed up with my flowers around 12 and they were perfect!! Each bouquet was done really well and all the flowers were healthy and beautiful (I took years of floral design, so I am very picky). She delivered the bout. to the boys and that was the last I saw her until right before the ceremony. Make sure if you have questions to ask when you get your flowers!! Luckily our photographer (Claudia Rodriguez) had shot a lot of wedding there and directed us where to go/what to do for the rest of the time. I am sure it’s the same for everyone else too, since your photog kind of takes over what you are doing until the actual ceremony.

    Photographer: A+++++++++++++
    We hired Claudia Rodriguez for photography and video and we LOVED her. I can’t say enough kind things about her and I thank god she was there because she really helped make sure things ran smoothly. She is very non-invasive, and I honestly barely noticed the video camera the entire time. I was almost shocked at some of her pictures because I didn’t even realize that she was taking them! She had great idea with posing and was very easy to work with and flexible. We saw each other before the ceremony and got some of my favorite shots on the pier and by the lighthouse. We love all of our photos and our video and everyone that sees them comments on how great our photographer must be to take such amazing pictures. They are definitely right – she was absolutely fantastic!

    Ceremony: A++
    Ceremony was short and sweet and the minister was great. We wrote our own ceremony and he did a really good job with it (and he had it neatly in a little binder, which I was very happy about after reading some reviews on here!). He put his own touch on our wording and added a prayer or two, which we really liked. Claudia got my music right on for both the processional and recessional and directed everyone when to go. We were so happy that we paid for the speaker system! It was very windy and no one would have been able to hear the music or the minister without the speaker system. The gazebo was decorated with drapes, and looked great (but honestly was WAY overpriced). We had chair bows, which I really recommend spending the money on! They look so nice at the ceremony and they put them on the chairs at the reception as well, which really adds a nice touch. I think they were definitely worth the $$. We did not pay for extra champagne toast (it was way to expensive for us) but they still had waiters with trays of champagne for my guests as they left the ceremony. This happily surprised me!! It was a nice touch that everyone enjoyed.
    Cocktail Hour : A++
    We had cocktail hour on the terrace from 5-6 and honestly I can’t comment too much on the cocktail hour because I didn’t eat anything there. Everyone seemed to like the food. It looked very nice and I loved that my guests could look at the gazebo all lit up and even see us down on the beach taking pics. There was high top tables with little candles and seating (all with white linen) for the guests. It looked nice and they even had some music playing outside for us (funky background music). Oh and the cocktail hour is set up and ready for your guests as soon as your ceremony is over, so don’t worry about the exact timing for that. Our guests were definitely over there by 4:30 - 4:45 because our ceremony was only 20 minutes long. Claudia was there and basically told me that when we were ready she would direct everyone to the reception. Timing was very relaxed and she even waited because a few of our guests had gone to their room to change their shoes.
    I am glad we had a cocktail hour because it gave us time to take pictures and not feel rushed because our guests were waiting, but I could see how you could skip it and no one would care.
    Reception: A+
    The reception was at the spa (outside area) from ~6-11. It was scheduled to 10, but we were having so much fun we extended it!! The set up was close to perfect. The tables looked amazing (Claudia did them exactly the way I pictured them) and the whole area really was romantic and gorgeous. EXCEPT (and here is reason number 1 why there is 1 ‘+’ instead of 2) one of the canopies was missing the cloth top, so it was just the exposed metal frame on top. This really upset me because when we did our site inspection with Claudia I pointed it out and asked if it would be fixed by the wedding and she promised it would. Luckily, the metal was black, so you can’t really notice it in pictures…but I couldn’t stop looking at it in the beginning of the night. It just looked unfinished! I decided that it really needed to just let go of it…and honestly I brought it up to some of my friends the next day and they hadn’t even noticed! I guess I just felt like it should have been taken care of, especially since I pointed it out almost a week before the wedding! There also was no place for my guests to put their cards, which we asked for, but that wasn’t too big of a deal. We had a basket for the pashimas and we just put them on the table and used that as a cardholder.
    Our bridal party intros were a little shaky…the right music was playing (Livin’ on a Prayer, Bon Jovi…what can I say, I’m a Jersey girl) but the actual announcements were a little off. He did a good job but there was no enthusasium with it. I think that he was trying to get all the names pronounced correctly and just barely got it all out. It sounded more like getting paged at the doctor’s office! Not really the DJ’s fault or anything…its just the one area where the language barrier played a part in the success of the outcome. I would suggest having an outgoing friend or relative do your announcements, if possible. Not that ours were horrible or wrong…but they could have been a lot more fun and energetic.
    So we decided to do everything in the beginning (i.e., first dance, parents dance, cake cutting) so we could relax later. First dance was fine. The parents’ dance went well too, except the DJ didn’t announce it, so we just went over and grabbed our parents to dance. It was a little weird, but ok. I suggest requesting every announcement, as well as printing them out for the DJ…otherwise there wont be one!! The cake cutting was the other major reason that the reception got 1 “+” and not 2! There was no knife for us to cut the cake. I tried to ask a bartender and Claudia, but I don’t think they understood what I was asking for, so my hubby ended up grabbing his butter knife off our table. We just covered it up with our hands so you couldn’t see what we were using. We cut the saddest, smallest piece of cake EVER!! After we had already cut it, a waiter brought over a real knife and server but it was too late by then. Oh well…we just used the cake that came with the wedding package and I am soo glad we did. It was left out for our guests to take and I think only 3 people actually ate it. I have to say, they did a marble cake and it was really good.
    The food was amazing!! Everything came out at a perfect pace and we really enjoyed the dinner. We had the surf and turf and rum butter jerk chicken as our main entrees. The chicken was so good and the proportions were perfect and everyone loved the surf and turf as well. Our bartenders were even better than the food. The waiters poured us a champagne toast (no cost) and were always checking that Steve and I had a drink! Service was amazing and the poor bartenders really had to work. Our friends can party!! We also had a chocolate fountain, but it was a huge mess. Because it was windy, it blew all over the table it was on and they ended up shutting it off. A few people used it, but it was one of the few things I wished we had saved the money on, because it honestly wasn’t worth it. The dessert they give with the package and the cake would have been enough. After dinner/dessert we partied!!
    The DJ was GREAT!!!! He played a great mix of songs and kept everyone up dancing the whole night! I asked him to slow it down once, so that some of the older people would get out on the floor again, which he did and brought it back up to fast pace perfectly. Everyone there had an amazing time and danced the whole night, which made us soo happy. I think our biggest fear was to see an empty dance floor, so it was so great to see everyone shaking their booties!! There was a mix of country (Steve and his family love country, so we requested it), 60s/70s, 80s/90s, and today’s music. He did a great mix of slow and fast songs and we loved him! I think giving him a list of songs really helped him know what we like/dislike. I wish I could remember his name for you all, but he was a younger guy. Like I said before, we were having such a good time, that when we realized the bar was closing up, we asked them to stay open and asked the DJ for another hour. They never charged us for the hour extra bar service but we did pay a few hundred extra for the DJ. Honestly it was worth it every penny because the last hour was sooo much fun!! Most of the older crowd had left so it was just like a crazy club sort of scene! I even have great pictures of the best man and I dancing in the fountain!! All in all we had a blast and honestly, besides the canopy, there really is nothing we would change. I really liked working with Claudia and once I saw how crazy busy she is with weddings, I understood why emails were slow a year away from my wedding. I know its frustrating but I promise that once you get to the resort, she will do everything possible to make your day perfect!! We loved every minute of the whole 4 days we spent at Dreams and thought they really did go above and beyond to please us. I couldn’t imagine having our wedding any other way. We loved it, our guests loved it, and it was a really amazing bonding experience for both sides of our friends and family! Its nice to have everyone spend so much quality time together and really get to reconnect or make new connections. Pictures to come soon. I have to upload them tonight to photobucket so I can get them in here!

    Please feel free to ask questions!!
    Happily Married 1/25/08
    Dreams Resort, Cancun

    #2 lucy106

    lucy106
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    • 2,880 posts

      Posted 05 March 2008 - 06:10 PM

      Oh awesome! Thank you so much for the review! We appreciate you taking the time!! Cant wait to see some pictures!

      #3 Nrvsbride

      Nrvsbride
      • Sr. Member
      • 5,248 posts

        Posted 05 March 2008 - 06:13 PM

        Kristin your review was awesome! But I want to see pics...lots of them! LOL. I'm so glad everything went well, it sounds like it was amazing! Thanks for the review, I know the Cancun brides will benefit from this.

        #4 Kat81

        Kat81
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          Posted 05 March 2008 - 06:15 PM

          You got the DJ through the resort? How much was that? Was it awkward doing the dances before the dinner? Did it flow good?

          #5 Jenn3878

          Jenn3878
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          • 5,681 posts

            Posted 05 March 2008 - 06:28 PM

            Thanks for your review! I cannot wait to see pictures!! :)

            #6 tlomlad

            tlomlad
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              Posted 05 March 2008 - 06:42 PM

              amazing review cant wait for pics, one question though about the spa location for the reception did it cost you extra cause when we went for our site visit claudia had mentioned it to us but made it seem like since they would have to close the spa early it would cost us extra so we just forgot about it and set it up for the tower lobby?

              #7 cancunbride2be

              cancunbride2be
              • Jr. Member
              • 153 posts

                Posted 05 March 2008 - 09:14 PM

                Ok..let me answers questions...

                KAT81 - Yes it was the Dj the resort offers and no it wasn't akward doing the dances first. After we were announced, we went right into the first dance. Then after that we grabbed our parents and danced again. I think I would have liked to wait till after the appetizers for the cake cutting though...but doing it right away wasn't akward in any way...just quick.

                Tlomlad - No we did not have to pay any extra money to have the reception in the spa area. We booked in early 2007, so things may have changed since then.
                Happily Married 1/25/08
                Dreams Resort, Cancun

                #8 cancunbride2be

                cancunbride2be
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                • 153 posts

                  Posted 05 March 2008 - 09:18 PM

                  Here are the pictures I promised....

                  The room:

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                  Flowers:
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                  Happily Married 1/25/08
                  Dreams Resort, Cancun

                  #9 cancunbride2be

                  cancunbride2be
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                  • 153 posts

                    Posted 05 March 2008 - 09:20 PM

                    koozie:
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                    Gazebo:
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                    Reception:
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                    Tables:
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                    Happily Married 1/25/08
                    Dreams Resort, Cancun

                    #10 cancunbride2be

                    cancunbride2be
                    • Jr. Member
                    • 153 posts

                      Posted 05 March 2008 - 09:28 PM

                      First dance:

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                      Cake cutting:
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                      Reception fun! Yes, I'm on top of the fountain :)
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                      Click the image to open in full size.
                      Happily Married 1/25/08
                      Dreams Resort, Cancun




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