We've been back a week now and I figured I should finally sit down and write my review!
Our wedding was Nov 28, 2012, strawberry passion package, Ceremony at the gazebo at 3:00, Reception at 5:30 on the Beach
We booked the Palace for our destination wedding because I fell in love with the Gazebo and HAD to get married in it, the rest is history! We had a total of 26 guests go, most stayed at the Colonial, we stayed at the Palace along with a few other people, about 4 rooms I think were there in total.
We arrived and attempted to check in at the front desk and were told we were Club Premium and were taken to the Club Premium room to check in. We aren't sure if Air Transat had anything to do with it (Because we had MAJOR problems with them and our group booking and eventually ended up complaining to a supervisor) or if it was the resort but we were upgraded to club premium and an ocean view room for the full two weeks we were there, when originally Victoria, our coordinator, had said the upgrade was not possible for two weeks.
Palace vs Colonial - we loved the upgrade and would only ever stay at the Palace if we were to go again, we would likely even go for the Club Premium because their service is so amazing! Not a single guest staying at either resort had any complaints, everyone absolutely loved the Barcelo. Everything including the bell boys were helpful in getting us transportation vans to town and everything!
Wedding Coordinator: Victoria Vazquez - AMAZING!!! She called our room the day we arrived and arranged with us to meet at her office the following morning, we went there and went over all the details of everything, picked flowers and cake and round tables vs square tables, etc. It was a very quick and painless meeting. We paid our invoice right then in the club premium lobby...I will warn you, if you speak no spanish, they will hand you the Visa machine, and as I do in Canada I hit "OK" then was about to put in my pin # when it declined. THe girl at the desk goes "declined, another card please!" LOL! Well I had set my card up to be 100% ok to use n Mexico, so I explained to her I needed her to try again which she did and I realized she had hit OK and I just needed to enter my pin. My husband nearly had a heart attack when it said declined, lol! THe following day, the day before our wedding we took two carry on suit cases to Victoria and showed her a couple pictures of our centrepieces and their set up as well as our guest book table set up and she just nodded her head yes to everything and we were out of there.
I had my hair and make-up in the package so I decided to go to them for it and save a ton of money on having another team come in. Myself, my maid of honour, bridesmaid, flower girl and flower girls mom all had hair done. They did a great job on everyone's hair, everyone loved their style. I loved my hair as well and my makeup was great. We brought our samsung tablet with pics on it and showed them the pics and they got to work! Only thing I would suggest is give more time! We thought we had plenty of time since the spa said each service was not much more than an hour but we were there for much more than 2 hours and then it seemed to have our day rushed afterwards! I also wanted to have mimosa's for us and they said they charged $7 each, I was like "um, NO!" lol! Had I known I would have brought the bottle of champagne I had in my room! Another issue I had with them was that I was trying not to be seen by my groom on the wedding day so I asked for a ride to the Spa, I wasn't sure when I called that they understood what I wanted at all, they never showed up to pick us up so we ended up walking. When we told the girl who drove us to my room afterward what our building was named it was like she had never heard of it and had no idea what we were talking about, so we guided her back to our room.
We used Juan Navarro and are SO happy we did! Him and his assistant Daniel were so fabulous to work with! They showed up to our room a little early, and just got to work. Juan eased my nerves about rain when I asked him if he thought it would rain he said "I checked the weather and it says 30% chance of rain so I say it won't, if it was 60% I would say it would likely rain!" He was right and it did not rain! yay! They didn't stage any shots in our room and we just got ready and they worked around us. We also did a TTD with Juan the day after the wedding and it was amazing as well!
We used Playa Weddings and had Paul and his assistant there (unsure of his name). They were super friendly and great and were just like figures in our room capturing shots as we did our thing. Juan and Paul worked together to get certain shots of things like the sunset or lighting or whatever so it was very nice!
**Sometimes I found it tough because my maid of honour and bridesmaid and mother weren't so used to the guys all being in the room and I don't think they realized that there were things they could capture if we did them, such as a champagne toast, mom giving me my jewelry gift..etc. I had to prompt everyone like "hey, why don't we do this now...." sort of thing because they were so oblivious or just stuck in their own heads.
Wedding Ceremony - Symbolic
We had initially asked for the keyboard and bassist but Victoria told my husband there was something wrong and so they brought the violinist for us. I am not sure what she played for everyone else to walk the aisle but I had Canon in D and it was great!
The justice of the peace was great and spoke perfect english...although he had an issue with my name, Charity, so it sounds like my husband married Sherry instead, but no biggie! We had a speech for my husbands mom, it was "These are the hands.." but what we didn't know was that was part of his whole talking thing he said to us, haha! When it came time he whispered "you have a speech from someone" and we just said "no" and he moved on. He was good at telling us what we were doing, quietly, so that we didn't look awkward if we weren't sure what was next.
Wedding Reception: Coral Beach
Our reception was to be on Coral Beach, I loved the location but the back up was the banquet hall, so when Victoria asked me if I wanted to place our reception inside because it might rain I was in tears asking for any other option other than a banquet hall! I did not choose Coral Beach originally, we were just told that's what we got so we went with it. Victoria ended up pulling something out of her hat and we were moved to the beach in front of the Coco Bar with the back up to be the activity area where the pingpong tables are under a palapa. We lucked out at our whole day was PERFECT with no rain so we partied our butts off on the beach. They do amazing things and comb the heck out of the sand so its the softest sand with no rocks or anything! When I saw our reception I was amazed, Victoria did amazing with our centrepieces and our welcome/guest book table. She is awesome! I am a vegetarian so I did not eat the surf and turf everyone else had but I heard amazing things about it, people raved about all parts of the dinner...lobster bisque soup, ceviche appetizer and all! The biggest hit was the raspberry tiramisu dessert, we didn't get to have it because we were sneaking in some night pictures in the gazebo, but everyone was talking about it for days after the wedding. We went with the one tiered cake in coconut flavour and it was delicious! No one ate it that night so Victoria had it taken to the kitchen and it was delivered to our room the next day at 3pm as we requested and we were able to give everyone some when we met in the Colonial Lobby that evening.The wait staff and bartender were so great, no one ever had a drink half full as they were always replenishing them, and they remembered everyones drinks too! Our reception included 3 hours, we added another 2 hours initially and then when they told us we had 15 mins left we looked and saw how much fun everyone was having dancing so we extended it by yet another hour! After that hour was over the Disco was open so we went there!
We did an iPod and were happy with that decision. We had a cleaned off iPod with only two playlists on it, one was Dinner and one was Dance, this way no one could play anything we didn't want played because those two lists were the only options. We only had one per on try to look through the iPod for "50's music" haha! Making the playlist was tough but we got a ton of compliments on it. Until we told our guests that it was us that made the playlist and it was an iPod no one knew there was no DJ, lol! We put a lot of effort into our playlist, including finding spanish versions of songs we love and including them, and people liked that touch and were asking us to send them the songs when we got home! I will post our playlist for anyone who wants it. Their sound system is great and they let you control the volume!
I think thats about it...our honeymoon week was nice and relaxing and I can't imagine that we even thought for a second not to extend our trip for the second week!
Feel free to ask away if you want more details on anything, I will post pics in another post.