Date: March 16, 2011
Ceremony Location: Coral Beach
Reception Location: Playa Azul
This website has been so helpful in planning our wedding, so I wanted to do my part and help out any future brides. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me and I will do my best to answer them.
The resort is so beautiful and well kept. We stayed in the Colonial section and all our guests were happy with their rooms. We were all fairly close together which was great. The pools and the beach were fantastic. The buffet restaurant got repetitive after a while but that is to be expected. It was difficult to get reservations at the a la carte restaurants. We went to book them as soon as we checked in, but were only able to get in a few nights. The Japanese restaurant was our favorite. One thing I should point out is the floors can be very slippery. We saw a lot of people on crutches and in wheel chairs with broken legs and ankles, and any of them that we talked to said it had happened at the resort. Itâ€™s a good idea to warn your guests about this.
Our coordinator was Claudia. She was so great. I had been emailing with her for months ahead of the wedding and she always responded within 1 â€“ 3 weeks. We met with her the first morning that we got to the resort. She was very organized and had all our requests in a file. We finalized all the details in about an hour and then she took us to our wedding location in a golf cart. She had booked our spa appointments for me and the girls to have our hair done and booked the couples massage that was included in the package. I wanted to have a welcome dinner in one of the a la carte restaurants, but they only provide a set menu when you book a large group. We ended up all going to the buffet instead and Claudia made sure there were tables together for all of us. We also wanted to have a rehearsal for the ceremony, so Claudia met us at the ceremony location 2 days before the wedding and walked us through everything. I am so glad that we did this, it made the wedding day run very smoothly, especially because we had kids in the wedding party. I canâ€™t speak highly enough how helpful and professional that Claudia was. You will be in good hands with the wedding coordinators. We made sure to tip her at the end of the reception.
The main spa was closed for renovations, so we went to the salon at the Palace. I brought a picture of how I wanted my hair and makeup done and they did a fabulous job! I loved my hair and had so many compliments on it. Our appointments were for 11 am which gave us enough time to have lunch after and not feel rushed getting ready before the ceremony at 4 pm. It was pouring rain while we were getting our hair done, but thankfully it all cleared up a few hours before the ceremony.
We had our ceremony at 4:00 at Coral Beach. This is the beach in front of the Palace section of the resort. It was absolutely perfect and everything I dreamed of. My bridesmaids and I walked down the isle starting at the Palace gazebo and down the sidewalk to the beach. We used the violin player for the bridesmaids and then a song from my ipod for me and my dad to walk down the isle. It was so beautiful, I started to get tears in my eyes when I saw everything set up for our ceremony. And even more tears once I saw my groom waiting for me at the end of the isle J
We did a symbolic ceremony because we were legally married in Canada before we left. My husbandâ€™s uncle performed the ceremony for us, which took $300 off the package price for using our own officiant. We had rose pedals down the isle ($15 per bag of pedals, used 2 bags) and the centre piece that was included in the package was on the table along with our sand ceremony vases that we brought. My bouquet had fuchsia roses, gerber daisies, and calla liliesâ€¦so gorgeous!! I loved my bouquet. My bridesmaids had fuchsia roses for their bouquet and the groom and groomsmen had fuchsia rose boutiniers. After the ceremony there was a champagne toast on the beach and we went right into taking group photos.
Photographer â€“ Ivan Luckie:
I am so happy that we chose Ivan to do our photographs. Pictures are so important to me and I love his style. He was so wonderful to work with. He has done quite a few weddings at the Barcelo and knows all the right places to take pictures. We just followed his lead and let him do his work. I canâ€™t wait to see how they turned out! He was there from when we started getting ready in our rooms until the end of the reception. By the time our ceremony was done, we had 2 hours for pictures before the reception started. It was just enough time to get some really good shots of me and my husband before the sun went down, but I still wish we had a little more time. I paid for Ivan to stay for 2 nights at the resort to avoid the outside photographer fees. We did a TTD photo shoot the next day on the beach at the resort and in the pools. He brought his underwater camera. It was so much fun going in the ocean with my dress on and I totally recommend doing a TTD if it fits your budget.
Our reception was at Playa Azul, which is at the far end of the beach in front of the Barcelo Maya Beach. A train picked up all our guests at the Colonial lobby and took them to the reception site. It is the most private area of the beach on the resort. There is a thatched roof covering the area of the beach where the tables are set up and white lights wrapped around the poles. There was an area for dancing as well and the entire area was surrounded by candles. I brought my own centre pieces and Claudia set everything up for us. I used â€œflamelessâ€ candles and I am so glad I brought these because it was windy and real candles would have blown out. I brought maracas for each guest and they had to shake them to have us kiss instead of clinking glasses. We also put a disposable camera on each table so our guests could take pictures of the night for us. The food was delicious â€“ we had the chicken and tomato salad, minestrone soup, surf & turf, and chocolate mousse. We paid extra to have a 2 tier wedding cake. Mostly because it looks nicer and so we could have 2 different flavors. Only half the cake was eaten and we had 30 guests, but it was sooo yummy! We brought our own cake topper and they added flowers to the cake that matched my bouquet. After dinner we had speeches, then our first dance, cut the cake, and father/daughter dance. We used an ipod for the music and it worked perfectly. Also, there is no need for a dance floor. We all took off our shoes and danced the night away with our toes in the sand. We paid for an extra hour so the reception went from 6:30 â€“ 10:30 pm. A train picked us all up and took us back to the Colonial lobby.
Overall, the day was wonderful and I wouldnâ€™t change a thing. It was perfect for us. We had a lot of fun and it was one of the best days of my life!! Romantic, beautiful, magicalâ€¦so many words to describe the day. Now I get to spend the rest of my life with my best friend J
I will post some pictures that my family took of the wedding soon. The pictures from Ivan will take up to 2 months, but Iâ€™m sure it will be worth the wait!