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Hi everyone,

 

Sorry for the late update! We’ve been back from our wedding/honeymoon for 12 days now and after being gone for 3 weeks we had a lot of life to catch up on!

 

This is going to be very lengthy because LOTS to share about our experiences at Barcelo – most good, some bad, costly and frustrating. I share them not to complain, because you don't know me it absolutely going to come across sounding like that!!! I'm sharing it just in the hopes that this can help some of you!!! :)

 

I'm a very meticulous, organized person and I did my best to plan, prepare, and anticipate as much as I could prior to the wedding. We set our date 14 months ahead of time and my goal was to have everything done and planned with months to go so I wouldn't be worrying about anything. Unfortunately the constant change in WCs (three in a 14 month span) the delays in responding (went three months without hearing back from my WC Estrella on one occasion ... Only to finally get so frustrated that I called the resort and found out she had quit and nobody bothered to tell me, and my new WC didn't make contact until I complained either! ) despite my best efforts we still had a huge issue just a few days before we left for the resort and just about couldn't legally get married, and it was all Barcelo's fault. My husband and I are both divorced, and I kept my married name for the last several years (it’s the one on my passport, DL, etc) but my birth certificate is different obviously. I wanted to use my maiden name on my marriage license and so we made the resort aware of all of this NINE full months before the wedding in order to find out what we needed to do to make sure this could legally happen. I scanned all of our documents (passport, birth cert, divorce certificates, etc) sent them to our WC and asked them what I needed to have done here in Canada to ensure everything was in order, as I had read different things online. I was told T the beginning of August of last year that everything had been sent off to the judge and they were just waiting for a response from her. Every month that passed I contacted them again and asked for an update, and each time I was told “don’t worry”. At my last wc change (Itzel took over our wedding in November last year) I emailed her and the WC supervisor at the time, expressing my concern with not getting a response back yet about our documents after waiting for 5 months, and at that time we only had 16 weeks left and I was getting anxious. They kept telling me not to worry, not to worry, not to worry. Well, wouldn’t you know it, 6 DAYS before we were supposed to leave we received an email from Itzel telling us the documents weren’t sufficient … but we just needed to run on down to the Mexican Consulate and get a stamp, like it was no big deal. First off, the closest Mexican Consulate is in a different city that required a few hours travel, a few hundred dollar ferry ride to get to from where we live. We didn’t have one just down the street but the email read like all we needed to do was go down to the corner store to do this. We phoned our wc immediately and explained that I would have to take time off work and spend several hundred dollars travelling to do this if we wanted it done in time, and was this really necessary?. We also did a conference call with the new WC supervisor to try and find out why this was happening with only a few days notice! I was pissed off to say the least and in tears especially because I did everything I was supposed to and trusted in their guidance, and I had been told repeatedly over the months not to worry. Now there was a chance we could not get married legally!!! After an emotional conversation I sucked it up, booked MORE time off work just before our holidays and started the travel to the consulate. But of course when I showed up there with our documents and explained what the Judge in Mexico required, I was told that they did not just stamp a document like the judge in Mexico was insisting they could do, but they could only go through a lengthy legalization process that took 5 business days. WTF? We were leaving in 5 days and it’s not like I could wait around in town for the paperwork!! I burst into tears while standing in the lobby area of the consulate and called my hubby to tell him the news. We emailed Itzel and the supervisor and told them when we NOW had to do, and I told them how furious I was they they were causing me so much financial and emotional stress just days before the wedding. I found it very hard to believe I was the first Canadian bride ever to want to get married when my birth certificate and passport were different, and couldn't believe they put me in this position with just days to go. (Normally it's a fairly simple process that takes about 12 weeks via mail and way less cost and hassle, but you obviously need to know with enough time to do this!) The woman at the Mexican consulate took pity on me because I was a sobbing mess, bent some rules, put a rush on it and we got the documents completed a day early and sent via overnight courier to our home so we had them Thursday night. We scanned the new documents and insisted we get the judges written agreement that everything was now in place. We heard back from her on Friday night they were now all in order, and we we on the plane Saturday morning! (Can you say Stress. ?!?!) We also made sure the WC supervisor knew that we expected them to make this up to us in some way given that this was their huge mistake. They did assure us they would give us an upgraded room, upgraded chairs for wedding and reception, a huppa, and free cocktail hour. These were certainly nice gestures, but nothing that we had actually booked as part of our wedding day so they didn’t help to compensate us for the extra 1000.00 bucks we just just had to spend, not to mention my time loss from work. I asked them to waive our photographer and our makeup/hair vendor fee as well to save me that expense. They waived the 150.00 but said they couldn’t do it for the photographer for contractual reasons though. Anyhow … moving on … :)

 

We got to the resort and met with Itzel on Monday morning. She was very apologetic for the issues that had just taken place. She was my wc for 4 months and she was one of the wc’s that did tell me not to worry, but I just wanted to move past it because I wanted to enjoy every day and not stress any more. She took us to the Playa Azul to see the site (we had already scoped it out the day before and loved it) and we fine-tuned where the huppa would be and where the reception tables and lights would be set up. We spent about 2 more hours going through everything we had planned. I was thankful I had all of our emails printed off because she did try to add extra charges on that were not agreed upon, so I referred to previous correspondence with my other wc’s before her and she agreed to those prices. (Tried to charge me for my bouquet when it was included, tried to double the price of my daughters bouquet, etc) I don't think this was done to be deceitful, I just got the impression that there seems to be a lot of flexibility with what they can and can't charge, so all of you brides out there, feel free to push back a bit if you feel this is happening at all! And print out any email that quotes a price and bring it with you. Saves time having your WC dig through their emails when they don't have time.... In April there were 100 weddings at Barcelo, so they are very busy!!!!

 

WEDDING DAY - Overall our wedding day was really AMAZING. The weather was absolutely perfect, and a 5:00pm ceremony at Playa Azul was intimate, romantic and absolutely magical. Our judge ended up being a completely different one then we were communicating with prior, but he was so AMAZING! I didn’t think that the words in their civil ceremony would be so touching and have me and my hubby in tears like it did, and there was something about this judge made us both feel like he had known us forever.! It blew us both and our guests away. We asked our wc to get a copy of the vows that the judge spoke because we want to keep them and look back on them. We also hired a Mayan Shaman (dressed in his tradition ceremonial costume/makeup/body paint) that blew the conch at the start of the ceremony and did a smudge/blessing on my hubby and I at the start of the ceremony and before we walked down the aisle. It was so incredible and so glad we incorporated that piece in honour of where we were getting married. It was 180.00 for the hour to have them there, and we got some amazing pics with them!! The white huppa we were married under was a freebie that was added for us, and in the end I’m glad we had it, as it gave some nice shade for us , and framed the location beautifully. It was gorgeous. We opted for the guitar music before and during the ceremony and so glad we did. About 6 weeks before the wedding I sent the WC a list of 4 songs we had chosen outside of the list she provided, and the YouTube links of a guy on an acoustic guitar playing them slowly and so beautifully, and the guitarist learned them exactly like we had hoped for! You get a choice of 4 songs so we went with Bless The Broken Road (before ceremony), We Found Love (Rihanna) walking down the aisle. (not the upbeat version you are thinking :) with the tempo slowed right down its soooo beautiful!) Marry you (Bruno Mars) during the certificate signing and Im Yours (Jason Mraz) after the ceremony. So glad we chose them, so use your imagination if you are going this route! As long as he has enough notice he can learn them.

 

 

HAIR AND MAKEUP– I hired Michael and Martina (hubby and wife) from Beso Brides / Yucatan Hair. I would NOT hesitate to do this again! They were both so lovely! My airbrush makeup was exactly what I had hoped for (I’m 45 so my skin isn’t young and flawless like it was 20 years ago, but she certainly made me look beautiful!), and Michael did some updo’s for a few of my guests that were amazing! I have very short hair so there was nothing too dramatic about mine, but I did like the way he styled it for me, and he listened to what I wanted. They are very reasonable with their costs as well, they don't ask for payment up front, they are so great with communication before the wedding and will happily pose was “guests” or friends of yours in order to get onsite without having to pay the vendor fee. (They charged each of my guests 75.00 each for their hair as well, cheaper than the resort spa that give you an an 85-100 quote when you book) They live very close to Barcelo and offered to pick me up and do everything at their place and then bring me back that day as well to save the fee. I wanted less stress so I had them to the hotel, and got the fee waived in the end anyhow. My daughter/maid of honour used my bridal hair/makeup package at the resort spa. Her updo was nice but her makeup was terrible! She wanted a bit of a smoky eye and brought a pic, and they did white frosty eye shadow everywhere like I’ve never seen it used before! It looked very theatrical and nothing like the pic at all. She managed to fix it up with her own. I was happy I wasn’t the one in that makeup chair! I had already had

a mani and pedi back at home before we left, so my husband enjoyed a guys mani pedi on the morning of the wedding instead of me so it didn't go to waste :)

 

PHOTOGRAPHY- playaweddings.com. Rachel is/was amazing!! Our photos take a while to be done but we did get a sneak peak of 15 of them and I am so excited to see the rest! She also gives you an extra hour free with some of her packages to help offset the vendor fees. I actually booked Rachel and her assistant a room for two, for two nights in lieu of the vendor fee. My WC told me this was okay. I booked this via Barcelo.com a year in advance, which allows you not to have to pay for it until the day of, and it was only 400.00. Saved me 100 on the fee. Especially if the vendor fee is going up like I read, this is a worth while option, t do it as soon as you ca because costs do start to go up as the date gets closer. The same room was over 600 as our day approached. Also the photographers only need the wristbands to get access to the resort and to eat, so we were able to take advantage of the extra room for the two nights and used it for the guys to get ready before the wedding , and we let some of our guests use it that were doubling up in rooms for the week to save costs.

 

FLOWERS: My flowers were just okay. We thought we were going basic and easy, with everything just white roses and lots of them! No such luck. My bouquet was three dozen white roses and nothing else ... No greenery, baby's breath, etc. I had brought down my own white ribbon to wrap the stems and 36 crystal flower sprays that I wanted used in amongst the white roses and gave them pictures and directions of exactly what I wanted it to look like (with. Request to use at lease 24 crystals) and what showed up in my room wasn’t the case at all! They used only about 8 of the crystals so it didn’t have the sparkle I was hoping for, but I just let it go because we were in full getting ready mode and I couldn't be bothered to push at that point. But given that it was. Basic bouquet design request and that I purchased and delivered the accessories along with a clear picture I was certainly hoping for better! The men’s boutonnieres were nice, but quite large and too heavy to stand up properly on their linen shirts so they had to improvise with extra pins etc to get them to look okay. (would have worked better on a suit lapel) My sisters wrist courage was the wrong flowers I ordered, which was the one thing I was upset about because mom passed away a few years ago and her favourite flower was a cala lily so I wanted that for my sister - instead I got some beat up white roses that arrived looking brown and wilted. The centrepiece was full of greenery and I specifically said no greenery. So kind of a fail overall on the flowers for me.

 

COCKTAIL HOUR The guests really enjoyed the cocktail hour right on the Playa Azul beach while we had our photos done. This was one of the “freebies” added for us, but in hindsight I’m very glad we had it. I liked that the guests got to stay at the same location in a beautiful and intimate setting, have waiters there just for them and not have to wander off to the Rancho Grande grill as was our initial plan. Before the wedding we figured we’d be wasting that money on the cocktail hour since it’s an all-inclusive and there are bars everywhere, but in the end I’m really happy we had it. Something to think about for you brides trying to decide…. And only those that are at Playa Azul, since it is a bit more out of the way and secluded. I may not have done it if I was getting married at other beach locations.

 

RECEPTION – Sadly our table was not set up anywhere near the location we had discussed earlier in the week. At first when I saw it I didn’t mind because the sun hadn’t set yet and it all looked really very beautiful with the table settings, etc. With our small group of only 14 we asked them to do one large square table, which was perfect. But when the sun went down the lit up palm trees were up the beach away from us and way too far away to provide any kind of light source for us, and instead they had this terrible spot light set up pointing at our table, which caused the guests that were facing it to be squinting the entire evening, like we were at some kind of concert. They did put a cool light under the entire table that changed colors and made for some beautiful pics, but it didn’t brighten up our area at all.

 

DINNER. Unfortunately the food was cold! (the soup and entrée) We went with the asparagus soup (it’s a broth for those of you who are wondering, we assumed it would be a cream soup so initially we thought we had the wrong soup) and the surf and turf. Both tasty but ice cold unfortunately. I was upset about that but just kept eating. Not like you can complain at that point and send it back. We did start the reception / dinner about 10 min later than what was initially planned but that shouldn't have affected it.

 

DESSERT- We cut the (vanilla) wedding cake just before dessert (dark chocolate fondant) and had them cut up and serve everyone a piece of the cake with the dessert so people could have at least one bite. The wedding cake was freaking AMAZING!! The chocolate dessert was very chocolaty and yummy – like a lava cake. We were all so stuffed by that time though so much if it went to waste, but it was great. And there was lots of cake left so listen to your WC if she tells you that you don't need a bigger one :)

 

DJ – Didn’t hire a DJ as we had such a small group but glad we didn't spend the money,. We had an ipod and downloaded the wedding dj app which made life super simple and worth the 8.00 or whatever it cost us!! Sound system was great. We also didn’t have a dance floor and dancing on the sand was a ton of fun! We paid for the extra reception hour, and once it was over we were shuttled back to our lobby (nice big shuttle too that takes your guests there and back) and hung out in the Tequila lobby bar for an hour before we packed it in!

 

BREAKY IN BED – This was supposed to be included in our wedding package. Yeah … NOT! We were told it would be there the next morning but it didn’t come. We waited patiently, called down about 30 min later only to find t we weren't on the list at all and so we took a shower and headed to the buffet because we were starving. Our WC set it up again for us about 5 days later once all of our guests had left, and the SAME THING HAPPENED! We finally just told them to deliver the sparkling wine that is supposed to be included to our room to enjoy at our leisure, and they did. So can't comment on how good the breakfast in bed was! :)

 

MASSAGE- there was 50 min massage included in our package, and we decided to pay 60.00 exta for both of us to extend that to an 80 min massage. My daughter is a registered massage therapist so I enjoy massages often, and these gals were just as amazing as I've had before. BUT!! They are currently doing construction and replacing the tile in a lot of the spa area and so for about 40 min all we could hear was the hammering in the tile right outside the door! It was almost laughable. I felt sorry for the therapists because as good as they were they can't drown that out. We tipped them well anyhow because it certainly wasn't their fault. Of course said something to the gal at the reception desk when we were leaving and we got an "I'm sorry" and nothing more. I would have expected not to be charged for the extra time but I guess they don't think like that there. If you are enjoying a massage or any treatment definitely go to the spa and hour early and enjoy the water therapy system they have because it's pretty awesome. And the gym is out of this world now too!!!!

 

BLOOD TEST – For those of you having to do this, be warned!!! This is NOT done by a doctor as I was told or maybe I read somewhere, it was done by incompetent guys with “paramedic” on the back of their blue shirts (we joked because we think it’s the same shirts the Dolphin place has down the way … :)) They did not wear gloves while handling our blood vials which was quite shocking to us, and the kid (he looked about 19!) punched the needle completely through my vein. It HURT like hell, I had a nasty lump immediately, as well as a huge bruise and a lot of discomfort in my arm for almost two weeks. One of my girlfriends is a retired nurse and arrived 2 days after we had the test done and was stunned at how bruised and swollen my arm was. My hubby got a bad bruise as well, just not as bad as mine, and I do not bruise easily. I give blood a lot and although I’m not a huge fan of needles, I’ve certainly never had pain or a reaction like that after a simple blood test. My wedding photographer was asked to edit it out in the final photos where it's showing (didn't want to use makeup and risk it getting all over my white dress) But if you want to be legally married in Mexico this is not optional. Just be prepared is all!

 

PREMIUM WRISTBAND - this gives you premium alcohol, unlimited access to a la carte restaurants, 10% off gift shop purchases, and access to the premium concierge (this is a nice bonus because the line ups are much shorter to book your restaurants,etc compared to the guest services desk) . If booze isn't your thing them you may not appreciate this next bit of info, but if you enjoy your premium liquor and expect that's what you are getting, just know that you have to watch the bartender very carefully. They don't care you have a bronze wristband on even if you point it out and will pour you the crap anyhow. Many will lie to you when you confront them after you've watched them grab the wrong bottle and pour it into your drink. We found a couple of bartenders that were awesome tho, so it's not all of them! I'm a Baileys lover and although I don't mind almost all house brands I've tried, the particular one they serve at Barcelo is really not very good in my opinion, so I made sure I asked for baileys every time. 9 times out of 10 they try to serve you the house brand even though you show them your wristband, and tell you that it's baileys. Not a big deal for a lot of people, but we paid a lot of money for the wedding package, and we felt we deserved to enjoy the added benefits it came with, that's all.

 

ALA CARTE RESTAURANTS- la trattoria was awesome (mozzarella balls and pizza are amazing), Capri was good too, both Japanese teppanyaki ones are great, we heard repeatedly how gross the seafood restaurant was, we tried it anyhow ... It was definitely yucky! Mexican (In beach lobby) was also very good. Buffet was consistently good breakfast lunch and dinner. If nothing looks appealing, there's a pasta bar every afternoon and night to customize your own pasta. Delicious!

 

We were fortunate to have three weeks at the resort to enjoy. We've been to Barcelo before and had zero issues, which is why we decided to get married there. Unfortunately we found that you have to "fight" a bit when you have packages where extras are promised. That's where we found they fell down on making sure those things happened. A few of our guests that paid more money to have the premium benefits found the same thing.

 

ROMANTIC DINNER ON THE BEACH – If you can afford the splurge, PLEASE DO THIS! If you have the luxury of having a few days after your guests leave it’s a wonderful wayt to start your honeymoon. Even if you aren’t alone at the resort, take the time get away and just be together by yourselves. It’s 305.00 USD. I know! It’s a big chunk of change when you are already spending so much money on the wedding, but treat yourselves (if you book through Barcelo.com you will get vouchers and can use them towards this!) It was incredibly private, romantic and wonderful! There are a choice of beaches to have this, and we chose Playa Azul obviously … we will totally do this again if we return. There is a 4 course set menu (4 or 5 different menus to choose from) , dinner music, your own waiter, endless drinks, light up pathways and hearts etc all around your table. We went with the option that had scallops, lobster bisque soup, beef tenderloin .... It was amazing and the food was hot this time!! :) I was also given a dozen red roses before we left and when we got back to the room there were rose pedals, champagne and chocolate covered strawberries waiting for us. Even if you don’t get married at Playa Azul, it will provide you the most privacy for this dinner, just an FYI. And book it soon, even book it before you head down if you can because it books up fast. Keeping in mind sunset times when you book your start time because you do want to enjoy all the lights around your table when the sun goes down! We set it for 5:30 and stretched out the dinner until 7:30 after the sune was gone. We took a ton of pics and really just savored all of it. It was worth every penny.

 

Okay have I bit**ed and complained enough in this message yet???? OMG I read it back to myself and I sound so bridezilla and freaking high maintenance!!!!! Hahaha!!! Please know that I'm soooo NOT, and neither is my husband. When people ask me how the wedding was, I only have one word: MAGICAL. No regrets!! Yes there were issues but I think there will always be stuff you can't control. We just had number of things unfortunately! :) We loved getting married at the resort and we will go back again. Again, I share this much detail with all of you so that it may help in some way. I don't want other brides to think it will go off without a hitch, although my hope is that it everything will fall into place beautifully for all of you reading this!!!!! Obviously we had a number of issues, but in the end we are happy and married and have some really wonderful memories!!!!! We encountered some amazing people during our stays there that made all the hiccups worth it!!!

 

Any questions let me know!! :)

Edited by TaraW
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@@TaraW it sucks that you had to deal with that added stress but I'm so happy that at the end of the day you had an amazing time !!!! :) umm and obviously I'd like to see some pictures please !!

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Let's see if these pics work .... Playa Azul locationpost-284073-0-73512000-1463108761_thumb.jpeg

My hubby & me post-284073-0-15692600-1463108841_thumb.jpeg

Sunset ... post-284073-0-57726600-1463108924_thumb.jpeg

Mayan shaman post-284073-0-13855600-1463108992_thumb.jpeg

Reception table ( don't be fooled by all of the light ... It was the photographers flash mostly! :)) post-284073-0-76105900-1463109214_thumb.jpeg

As I said before we only got a sneak peek (15 shots) back from our photographer, but here are a few of them. Still waiting for a few hundred more! :)

Edited by TaraW
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@@TaraW - beautiful pictures !!!! Wow :) I love your dress and you guys look so happy. this is going to sound lame but I also really love the upgraded chairs !! Ha ha

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Thanks so much SammyMac! We are really happy with the few we've seen and pretty excited so see the rest. Not lame at all, I like the chairs too!!! Hahaha! Were your wedding colors purple by any chance? We were walking back from the beach on your wedding day and I saw my WC Itzel and another WC stop at the back of the colonial building, heading up to pick up a bride, and I was wondering if it was you!! I was going to stay and stalk you :) but it was taking too long and we had dinner reservations at 5:30. The WC had a bouquet in her hand that was purple, that's why I ask.

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Yes, our colours were purple. :) I was fully hoping you were going to creep ! I creeped so many weddings that week ha ha ha .

post-284503-0-31370700-1463111537_thumb.jpeg

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BEAUTIFUL shot! I love the purple against the ocean backdrop, and the flowers on the huppa look amazing. I just loved that location so much. It was perfect for what we envisioned. I guess that's why Barcelo is a popular spot because there are so many different options to satisfy everyone.

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Hello everyone! My wedding was on March 23rd and wanted to share my experience... Some horrible and some good, so you know this is going to be super lengthy!

 

My background: I'm a teacher with an art degree so I'm VERY picky with visuals, like decorations and details... And also need to have everything ready ahead, double-check, triple-check to have a peace of mind. (You can see why I was stressed out majority of the time!!)

 

Ok, onto my review:

 

Check-In - It took us over an hour to help our immediate family members to check-in at the Tropical and take the shuttle to the Palace to check in ourselves. The shuttle driver wasn't clear so we were stuck on it for almost 30 minutes before it got to the Palace, even though the Tropical is right next to the Palace. My advice: ask the driver which direction it's going before you get on it. There's usually two going opposite directions but they stop by every location.

 

Receptionist - Good luck trying to get any fast service from the receptionists. If you run into any problems I suggest asking for the supervisor. I went to the Tropical on the second day to help my elderly guests check-in, and found out both their rooms have been changed to the Beach, all the way on the other side of the resort! My guests were only there for my wedding, almost 70 years old, have trouble walking and don't speak English so no way they could be separated from the rest of us! I had to fight for TWO HOURS to get back their rooms. Originally, the receptionist said there were "no more rooms", which I knew was a lie. When the supervisor finally came out she instantly solved the problem. During the two hours of standing in the lobby, other people were also told to check-in at the Beach and reluctantly did so, but I was determined to get what my guests paid for and deserved!

 

Also, a receptionist who could barely speak English called our hotel room at 11:00 PM THE NIGHT BEFORE THE WEDDING saying that the payment for the wedding was incomplete and that I would need to come down to the lobby (a separate building from our room) to finish paying for it... My husband doesn't yell normally but he was already stressed out from all the previous arguing that he took the phone and blew up on them. Basically, they charged the wrong amount (a mistake on their end which they did a poor job explaining) and although we were willing to pay the rest they shouldn't have called us at 11pm the night before our wedding to demand us to come down, especially with no apologies! We were already in bed!! It's not like we're able to check out before paying it. Then they tried to tell us to come first thing in the morning, which is more ridiculous since we had a line of appointments with hair and photographer and had no time to spare! We paid it full during checkout, which was a PAIN (more later).

 

WEDDING PLANNER:

First of all, Yasmin is amazing!!! If you have her, she will take care of all your needs! She is the most professional person at the resort. To be honest, I was a bit worried because there were times when she didn't get back to me for almost a month. Upon check in, I was told by the receptionist that Yasmin was on her way to take me to her office. Our meeting was short and sweet, but I would definitely print out the emails as the the wedding planners have so many weddings to take care of and may not remember all the details from your conversations. I was glad to hear from her that there was a 25% off wedding package promotion (only applied to the original package price, not on vendor fee, extra costs for decorations, etc). Like I mentioned, I'm a very picky person when it comes to decorations.. And when I handed her a big luggage full of decorations (and drawings of where everything goes) she seemed a little overwhelmed but she reassured that everything will be set up for me... And it was! She's absolutely the best!

 

 

 

 

REHEARSAL:

I met Yasmin again at the Palace for the rehearsal, which was also short and sweet and headed for the Italian Restaurant in the Tropical for the rehearsal dinner. Yasmin even drove all the way to the entrance of the restaurant to get us checked in. We had our own private outdoor area, already set up beautifully! And it was great for the kids to run around and play hide and seek after dinner. We received great service and the food was amazing. I picked out the bean soup, grouper and cheese mousse for the dessert, but they gave out 4 other types of special dessert for us! The indoor salad bar was included, which was fancy on its own. I definitely recommend booking there for the rehearsal dinner.

 

SPA:

Free couple's massage was included and we took our mothers there to get massages as well. Carlos, the manager, came out and greeted us upon arrival. He also helped out with last minute hair appointments for some of my lady guests. I put it all on one charge and received a nice chuck of discount for all the services! The lady I had for the massage said she worked there for something like 15 years and was amazing. But my husband and both our mothers said their girls were just okay... Not enough pressure and they couldn't hit the spots very well.

 

PHOTOGRAPHER:

If you didn't/ don't book Hideki Falcon from Button Up

Photography, you will regret it! I'm super picky with photographs. I did not want dramatic, cheesy, over-the-top photographs overloaded with Photoshop effects. I wanted subtle, natural, photojournalism style that would capture the essence of the day. So many photographers' starting prices were $4000, and while some are definitely worth that price tag, many were just overpriced! When I stumbled upon Hideki's website I fell in LOVE but figured he would be another one way out of my budget. While I was waiting for his price list I told my husband I REALLY wanted him regardless of price, and my husband agreed. I was surprised to find out that his prices were very reasonable. But even if he was over my budget I would have still splurged. His photos are beautiful... Just check out these sneak-peaks! Hideki and his assistant Emilio were prompt, professional and friendly. They even took the efforts to learn my guest's names. BOOK HIM NOW before someone else takes your date!

 

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HAIR AND MAKEUP:

I did my own makeup because I wanted to look and feel like myself and not someone else on my wedding day. Plus, I've been wearing makeup for years and learned what works for me what doesn't. I don't regret my decision at all! On the other hand, I can't do anything with my own hair so I did my hair at the resort spa. I just got a simple half-updo with natural curls. It was okay, But I had to do some touch-ups myself with he blow dryer back in my room.

 

FLOWERS:

First off, I chose a bouquet from the list and requested to replace the purple roses with pink. I had sent Yasmin a picture of an ideal bouquet but I honestly had low expectations. When Yasmin came in to give me my bouquet, I was surprise by how close they made it to the photo I sent her! Apparently she forwarded my photo to the florist to get it close to what I wanted. It was perfect.

 

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Aren't these beautiful? They cost less than $200!

 

A little secret about these- they're artificial flowers put together by my friend who used to be a florist. The gold vase is actually plastic, spray painted in gold by my husband! Call me crazy, I loaded these in a luggage and took them down to Mexico with me but I saved a TON of money and they looked gorgeous!

 

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I made a cake topper with leftovers

 

WEDDING DAY:

After hair and photography sessions I went back to my hotel room for Yasmin to come pick me up to make a secret entrance to the gazebo area. The weather had been perfect (high 70s) our whole stay, but guess what I saw as soon as I went outside... POURING RAIN! I freaked out, my number one fear was getting rain during the ceremony. Yasmin quickly contacted the staff at the gazebo to take the chairs indoors. She assured me that it would pass, and it miraculously did. By the time I arrived at the Palace on her cart the rain had stopped and actually worked on our advantage since photos come out better with an overcast. The ceremony was short and sweet. The wedding was small and intimate with 20 guests, all family members. It was a rare event in that all of my father's siblings came together for the first time in decades! My oldest uncle was the officiant, my mother-in-law read a bible verse and my dad sang a special song that made me cry. People all around the gazebo area stopped to watch, listen and take pictures. Everything was just perfect and precious. After the ceremony we had a toast I'm the gazebo area, did some family photos by the beach right down from the gazebo and did couple photos while the guests headed to the reception hall.

 

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Gazebo set-up

 

Reception was indoors in the Tule 2 Reception hall, because I had a lot of elderly guests so they really needed the air conditioning and quick access to restrooms. I don't regret it at all, it was soooo nice to have air conditioning after sweating all day in a wedding dress. The reception area was decorated just as I wanted, thanks to Yasmin. I picked the sea scallops salad, minestrone soup, beef tenderloin and crime brûlée. All were amazing! I'm glad I went with just one tier of cake because no one touched it! We were all too full. The open bar was nice, a lot of my guests had a blast with the bartenders.

 

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Reception setup picture by dad

 

SURPRISE & BREAKFAST IN BED

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This was in our room when we came back from the reception!

 

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Breakfast in bed, but we ate it in the balcony

 

CHECKOUT NIGHTMARE:

Here comes the worst part. WE WERE SCAMMED and did not find out until check-out so we almost missed our flight. PLEASE READ THIS SO THIS DOESN'T HAPPEN TO YOU. I still get goosebumps thinking about this. So... my husband and I booked through Barcelo.com back in September of 2015. We didn't want to go through third-party websites just in case things went wrong with flights and rooms. The week before our flight, my husband received an email with the subject line, "CONFIRMATION FOR TRANSPORTATION" from "Vacciones Barcelo". Since we booked our shuttle transfer when we booked our flight and hotel on Barcelo.com, we thought the email was to confirm our shuttle. After all, "confirmation" means confirming a prearranged service!! So the message followed,

 

"Hello!!

 

Thank you for choosing Vacaciones Barceló services!

 

We get in touch with you as we have received your reservation which is complemented with transportation services:

 

Our services include the following:

 

* Staff at the airport waiting outside the exit doors with customized sign.

* Representative in hospitality desk at the resort, with him you could verify any information about tours and transfers.

* Flight schedule reconfirmation for arrival & departure.

 

Please we need some information:

 

* Holder name:

* Hotel reservation number:

* Name of companions:

* Airline company:

* For arrival: Date: ___, Flight Number: ____, Arrival time at Cancun airport: ___

* For departure: Date: ___, Flight Number: ____, Departing time from Cancun airport"

 

So looking at these key words like, "THANK YOU FOR CHOOSING", "CONFIRM", "WE RECEIVED YOUR RESERVATION" of course we assume this is to confirm our shuttle we already paid for, we sent our information. It turns out that this so-called "confirmation email" was actually a "reservation email" and double-booked a shuttle. This Vacaciones Barcelo is not the same shuttle service we originally booked for. How the heck did they get my husband's email and the fact that we were staying at Barcelo? Did Barcelo sell our info to them? I'm pretty sure they did but they're denying it.

 

So they charged a room charge in ridiculous amount of almost $500 for roundtrip transfer for two people, when we already paid for our original $160 through the hotel website. The lady from Vacaciones Barcelo even went through the trouble of ALTERING the date on the printed email and claiming that we booked their services back in May 2015. Um... I was still searching for a venue back then. So we were furious when we finally figured out we were

scammed.. We argued, raised our voices and even threw in some bad language in the lobby (like 20-30 people around but no shame by this point) for two hours. Half our family members were already at the airport wondering where the heck we were. Finally the lady said she would not charge us, which just confirms the fact that they scammed us! If they REALLY believed we owed that much money, they wouldn't waive it!!! Ugh!! but told us not to take her shuttle.

 

Since I already had the prearranged shuttle, I got on it. As soon as the shuttle started pulling out, the lady comes out saying that this is her shuttle. What the heck?! So I asked her what the name of our original shuttle is, and she says, "Lomas Travel". I asked her to call them (since my phone didn't work) and she told me, "Nope, you figure it out" and gave me a smirk. UGH!! So I ran to a bell boy and asked them to call Lomas Travel, and they told me their office is just downstairs.... The lady obviously omitted that information on purpose! I finally go down and meet the ORIGINAL PREARRANGED shuttle service, Lomas Travel. The last shuttle for Barcelo already left, so they went through the the trouble of making another one of their shuttles from another hotel to stop by Barcelo to pick us up on the way to the airport. A newlywed couple on the shuttle was very understanding and nice and even translated my situation to the driver, who contacted his team at the airport to help us cut through all the lines for ticketing and security. PHEW! We made in time for the flight, but only because Lomas Travel went out of their way to insure that we got to the airport safely and on time.

 

So overall, I'm grateful that the wedding day was perfect in the midst of all the crap I had to deal with the staff. It was definitely worth having a destination wedding with just family... Now it's become such a precious memory for all of us! And a learning experience dealing with the scammers.

 

I apologize for the lengthy post, but I know there are brides out there who would appreciate the honest details, I know I definitely did with the previous brides' posts. Let me know if any of you would like more details!

Edited by yooyooo

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Wow what wonderfully detailed reviews - thx so much for sharing! We agree that the Barcelo is a great wedding venue and one of our favorites too :)

 

Looking forward to seeing more photos and wishing you all the best with your life journeys going forward - cheers!!! MTM Photography :)

 

....here are some favs we've captured, taken from our Barcelo Wedding Story Albums - enjoy!

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