I'm procrastinating at work...so here's my review...sorry it's long.
We had 2 groups with different departure dates. The group from Montreal/Quebec City departed from Montreal on Apr 28 and the group from Vancouver departed on Apr 29. We booked with AirTransat/Nolitours (if you live in Montreal area and need a good travel agent, I can recommend mine. Sheâ€™s great!) We departed from Montreal with 17 other people and the airport experience was smooth from YUL to CUN. Although we think the CUN airport could stand to be a bit more organized at the Declaration area. After we all received our bags, we headed for the exit and instantly saw a crowd of people offering transfers. Luckily we found an AirTransat/Nolitours representative right away and were escorted to our bus accordingly. There were a few stops along the way to Gran Bahia Principe Resorts, but it only took 1hr20mins. The check-in process was smooth also, we were welcomed with the welcome beverage and most of the rooms for our guests were ready. We arrived at the resort around 2pm local time. We stayed in villa 26A room 32617. Itâ€™s a bit far from Lobby Coba but we liked it because we were close to the quiet pool and further away from the Activity (loud) pool. If you paid for the Club Golden rooms, then you might be disappointed because the rooms are all the same size and during low season the Premier Lobby for that section is closed.
We met with Maria 2 days after we arrived to the resort. I was anxious, very anxious. She walked in with a big binder and started pulling out her notes and our email chains and begins filling out a piece of paper of wedding details. She basically went through everything top to bottom, confirming all the services we had committed to. It was good to meet with Maria to confirm details, I felt much more relaxed afterwards. So to all the future bridesâ€¦DO NOT FREAK OUT. They do this every day and sometimes twice a day, all will be PERFECT!
*I didnâ€™t use the resort spa, so this party might not be informational for you.* Me, being semi-traditional, I kindly asked my now husband to kindly find another room to sleep in the night before our wedding day. And my husband, being the kind man he is, obliged with no fuss. My best friend/maid of honour spent the night with me and she is the reason I remained so calm on the day of our wedding. We went for breakfast at the main buffet and made sure that we would not run into my husband. After breakfast we went back to my room to slowly get ready. I really took my time and relaxed, took in every moment and focused on not stressing. I am lucky that my friend/hairdresser travelled with me and therefore made me feel and look as pretty as I possibly could be. She arrived in my room around noon and began working on my hair. She is super fast and by 1:15 my hair and makeup was completely done and the ceremony wasnâ€™t until 4pm. More time for relaxing! The flowers were delivered to my room by 1pm and appropriately distributed by the Best Man. I helped MoH get into her dress around 2pm and vice versa me at 2:30pm. At 3pm the videographer (Tony) came to film some pre-ceremony shots and also we pretended to exit the room to the ceremony location for filming purposes he couldnâ€™t ride in the golf cart with us. My sister was also in the room at the time, taking pictures. She was our unofficial photographer for the day but also used the resort photographer for the ceremony. At 3:30 all the guests minus the ones with me were transported to the Akumal Hammocks location and a private golf cart picked us (me, MoH, Dad & sister) up at 3:50pm. Felt like the longest ride of my lifeâ€¦.
We arrived to the location by 4pm and by 4:05pm I was walking down the aisle. It was surreal but I took the time to look at my now husband, our guests, our decorations (PERFECTLY placed) and my father. I was so happy to be reunited with my now husband, he was even more handsome than I thought he could be and he said the same about me. We chose the UNFORGETTABLE package, but a symbolic ceremony, as we were already married in Quebec before departing. Our friend, my now husbandâ€™s best friend, was the â€œministerâ€. He said the words that I wrote perfectly and even translated a portion of it in French for my husbandâ€™s family/friends. The whole ceremony lasted 20mins and before we knew it we were toasting with our group.
Our guests enjoyed a cocktail party on the beach while we had our photo session with immediate family first and then friends. Like I said before my sister was our unofficial photographer but because it was so hot she had to sit out for a portion of the session and she let the proâ€™s handle the heat. It was HOT! Probably the hottest day of the 2 weeks we were there. Jorge was our photographer from Arrecife Studio. Our package included 15 pictures and at the end we chose an additional 32 pictures at $15usd each. Not cheap, but worth it! We love the photos from Arrecife Studio and if we had a bigger budget we would have gotten more.
Originally we had planned for our reception dinner at Portofino Restaurant (Italian) but for some reason it was closed so the dinner was moved to El Pescador but still with the same Italian menu. Dinner commenced at 6pm. We had 4 tables: 1 â€“ 6 ppl (head table), 2 â€“ 8 ppl, & 1 â€“ 7 ppl. We chose the Italian Appetizer, Milestone Soup, Chicken Gorgonzola or Salmon, and we opted for wedding cake for everyone instead of dessert but they gave BOTH! That was a nice surprise. For dessert we had Profiterole. For the wedding cake we chose 3 milks in the form of a tiered cake (2 layers) and it was DELICIOUS! My father made us a cake topper, a Chinese symbol meaning double happiness. The restaurant was private for us until 7:45pm. My only complaint was that the restaurant was too hot, even with ceiling fans and windows open.
Poolside After Party
The after party by the (Hibiscus) pool started at 8pm. We walked over from the restaurant because it was very close. I hired DJ Bijan from Mayan Vibes for 3 hours which cost $450CAD + $90USD day pass fee. It was well worth the price! DJ Bijan played all the right music and was able to make Quebecerâ€™s that donâ€™t dance, DANCE!!! It was such a good party. I brought Glowstick necklaces for everyone and it was a big hit. We did our first dance, MoH & BM speeches and bouquet toss half way through the dance party. We were lucky to be graced with the presence of a great performer (we think anyways). Our friend Simon preformed â€œGangstas Paradiseâ€ and â€œJumpâ€ as requested from the Bride & Groom. The crowd went nuts! Allâ€™s well that ends well. At the end, majorly of the men and some women jumped into the pool to cool off.
Maria and her team of helpers were fantastic. She was more available once we were in-resort, so do not fret future brides.
Photos & Video
Jorge and Tony were fantastic!!! Like I said before we ended up purchasing an additional 32 pictures and we went with the all day filming. Itâ€™s a lot of money, but well worth it. The video and photos comes in a very nice case with imaging on the CD/DVD. Weâ€™re very impressed with the results. Weâ€™ve watched our video about 5x since we returned on Saturday.
Iâ€™d just like to say that we tried all 3 main buffets and 6 of the 11 la carte restaurants and by far our favorite is the main buffet at Coba, Kukulkan. Maybe weâ€™re bias because we stayed in Coba but we think itâ€™s the best buffet. It had very good selection of cuisines and we never got sick from any of the foods.
Loved Coba beach!!!! You can do water aerobics at noon or learn salsa on the pier.
Coco Bongo in Playa del Carmen is sick! If you like to party, then you need to experience this at least once. And all for the all-inclusive ticket, youâ€™ll be treated like GOLD inside.
We went to Xel-Ha! It was fun to snorkel with the fishes, float down a river and just relax in a different location. You can buy a package that includes transportation but itâ€™s literally 5 mins from the resort so we opted for the collectivo and paid $10 each way for 2 persons.
Sorry for the long review. I hope this helps. Feel free to ask any questions.
Hereâ€™s a link for my photos by Arrecife Studio - https://picasaweb.google.com/yeemein/TodayWasAFairyTale?authuser=0&feat=directlink