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Originally Posted by Polina View Post
After speaking with Fabio today he said each reception location has a # of guests requirements and if the wedding does not fall within the requirement you cannot use the reception place, you can only choose places that you have the right amount of people for.

He also said we have send him our complete list ceremony and reception choices and other preferences 90 days prior to the wedding, then 60 days prior we provide the final list with any changes and 30 days prior the final payment is due. We can send him our preferences now but we cannot make a final request until 90 days prior. He will not be able to lock anything down for us before that. That goes for anything, flowers, DJ, locations, canopies, etc.
That is very valuable information to know. 76 more days until
I can do any actual planning. It will go fast though!

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Hi Everyone

 

I will post a resort review on TripAdvisor for the sake of brevity and a wedding review here. I still think this will be loooonnngggg....

 

A little background first:

My husband and I are a little bit older than some of you here, I think, AND this is our second, (and BEST) wedding. We traveled alone and did not have to plan for guests or receptions, dinners, etc. I found this resort on TripAdvisor and contacted a TA that was highly recommended here in town for prices. I don't remember exactly, but I don't think she had heard of Sensatori. I know a lot of people book directly or through online TAs but I wanted to have protection and support since it was my wedding.

 

My first contact with the resort was on the Karisma website via the "Live Chat" option. That is where I found out about the "Vows Renewal" package. Since we had our legal paperwork done here, and were traveling alone, we were eligible for this much cheaper package. For $1000 USD it included on-site wedding coordinator, tropical bridal bouquet and bout, bottle domestic champagne, and minister/judge. Also a simple beach gazebo. Haha, how that "cheap" package grew and grew and grew....

 

Next, I filled out an online form for the wedding and Fabio emailed me within a few days. We initially wanted 2nd week of October, but due to hurricane season being through October, we backed it up to first of November. Glad we did! As October came, and it was clear the resort was not open, my TA kept calling Karisma for updates. They said they would move us to Azul Beach, but we like to WING IT, so we did!

 

Nancy

I know what you mean about asking questions and getting long emails with virtually no answers. Very strange. Not important now that she is gone. Nancy at some point sent me an email asking about optional package items. I did not like the bouquets on the Lomas website, well, not as much as one I could directly pick out, so i emailed her a few I did like. She asked me to specify one and I emailed that one. I decided not to get too worked up about not knowing if the bouquet would look good or not, because, after all, we like to wing it!

 

Gazebo

I also specified Ivy wrapped gazebo, which is the 4 poles on the beach. I never asked about other sites on the property, I just wanted my toes in the sand! Anyway, nobody knew anything about alternates sites as it wasn't completed, as you know!

 

Time of Wedding

I sort of had a mini-freakout about the wedding time. I had chosen 4 PM initially. Well, then I read about how this part of the coast does not see true sunsets, and if you look at a map, you will see why. I also figured out, and Nancy did not mention it, that the time would change in Mexico the week of my wedding, so it is totally dark by 520 PM. So, then I started the email chain of getting it pushed back to 3 PM so the photos would be nice and bright. They had already booked the Minister so this was an issue right up until the week before we left, but it was changed for us.

 

The Minister/Judge

I really liked the minister that married us. I will later post a photo from another wedding held Nov 8, and the woman in the braid is the same woman who married us. I will post her name later, too. We asked for English speaking and we had to pay $50 extra for that. Ha.

This was our *real* wedding, if not our legal one, and we specified a truly Christian wedding and vows. Nancy emailed me the standard vows. I prepared something nice to say also, as Claudia (photographer) said there might be a time when the minister asks if we have something to say, so be ready!

 

Photography

I was very pleased with the comments and the website for Claudia Rodriguez. She was personally booked, but her brother Erik was available, as was someone from her husband's, Miguel Cantarall, videography business. (Have you seen his videos? WOW!!!)

I got tired of waiting for Nancy to confirm her, so I contacted Claudia through her website. She responded right away and sent me a paypal link for the $200 deposit. I chose a package off the Lomas website for photography and she quoted me the video price. She was very nice, she called me a couple of times, too. She was adamant about staying out of the sun before the wedding! Of course! I asked about the Trash the Dress sessions and she said once we got to Mexico we could discuss it. You can deal directly with her on that on prices, etc. because you will leave the property, most likely.

 

Spa

I booked through Nancy a manicure at 9 AM the day of the wedding.

 

It is one week before we leave. We do not know if it will be open. Carolina calls me, I think because my TA knows I am nervous. She assures me it will be great. Whatever.

 

OK-time to go!

Saturday-Arrival at Sensatori

As we approach the side road leading up to the resort, I can see that they probably aren't 100% ready for guests. I will not post a review of the resort here, but I will post a link to my review on TripAdvisor when it goes up.

 

We are the 4th couple to arrive.

Let me make a note here about the wedding that was held Saturday night. From what we understand, this was an employee/friend of the owner who was married. If you have seen the photos, the man marrying the young couple is the Italian owner of the Azul resorts and the groom is possibly an employee of his at his palentology dig sites. According to some lists we saw, there were approximately 55 rooms booked that first weekend with about 48 of them COMPED for the wedding. That is why the guys over at TripAdvisor have been so upset about the reviews. Probably are a bit skewed.

 

Gilberto

Anyways, we arrive around 1230 and are scheduled to meet with a wedding planner around 300. We come back to the lobby at around 300 and meet with Gilberto, the planner for Azul Beach. Carolina is also around, but Gilberto handles us. (The G is pronounced like H for all you non-Espanols). He is young and we find that he is actually from Los Angeles. Awesome! Me and Gilberto:

 

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Totally irrelevant thought:Gilberto and I are similar heights if you notice. My husband thought everyone in Mexico was so petite. Everybody there thought I was Mexican. Stacey and Gilberto:

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He asks if we would like a tour. Since no one else had done that we accepted. And then after we thought about it, we wondered what the heck all the other guests were doing to figure it all out...

 

Beach Gazebo

He took us down to the beach and showed the wedding spot. I think they were still building the permanent poles...Here is a photo of the spot later in the week:

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If you look closely you can sortof see the permanent concrete beach bbq bar in the foreground. I used it to lay all over for wedding pictures....ha

 

Bridal "Suite"

Then he took us to the spa to view the bridal suite. Saturday night's bride was getting ready so i didn't take any photos but here is a photo from the Spa later.

 

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You are actually looking at the pedicure stations but just to the right is an elevated room with a long mirror. Really just a section off the main room, not very big and I think the lighting is poor. But they were in there using it. Don't know if this is the permanent area or not.

 

Coordinator Meeting

Then we got down to business. We reviewed the photos I had emailed Nancy. He had them in his file. He confirmed the Ivy wrapped gazebo and bouquet choice. He asked what color tulle on the gazebo and what color ribbon on the bouquet. We discussed having a flower petal aisle and I decided to go with it for $100 more. We confirmed Claudia Photo and the time of the wedding. He said someone would come to my room about 10 minutes before the ceremony to get me. My husband could either go ahead out to the beach or walk with me. He said the photographer would generally arrive one hour prior to the ceremony. He asked about dinner options for that night and wanted a candlelight dinner by the beach prepared for us, but for the money, and the resort being 90% empty, we figured anywhere would be just as pretty and private. We paid our balance on the photography as we had only paid the $200 deposit and we were finished!

 

Music

OK nobody asked me about music. I assumed there would be none in the basic package. Gilberto asked us what he should play when I am walking, when we are signing the certificate, and when the ceremony is over. I tell him I want the traditional classic music for the first 2 and he suggested U2's Beautiful Day for the end. Crazy we didn't know to pick that but OK.

 

Please see my review for Sat night/Sunday. Kind of comical but I did meet with Gilberto/Carolina informally in the lobby on Sunday and said we were considering moving to Azul Beach. They said, we were their first bride and groom, everyone was so excited about Sensatori, yes, we could move but not to worry, they thought it would be great. So, we stayed.

 

Wedding Day-Monday

Dress Hanging in Room

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Manicure

I arrive for my 900 AM manicure. 5 people are seated at the desk and greet me warmly, but as in other parts of the the resort, I am not sure what any of them were actually doing...

There is confusion, but they finally decide, yes I have an appointment. They sit me in the aforementioned pedicure/manicure area and within 10 minutes, another woman comes around for the manicure. It becomes immediately apparent I am the very first guest. Ever. There is no running water, contractors milling about, and no nail polish remover. They dig for more colors, as the spa is not actually unpacked yet. Yaye. Long story short, after my cuticles are cut until they are bleeding, they run to Azul Beach for remover and my nails are painted with no primer, the manager comes over and offers a free massage for all the trouble. My manicure takes 2.5 hours. I sigh deeply and go back to my room and remind myself that it is opening week. Of course, everyone is so super nice and wants to please! I tip anyway. Cost-$55 I will spare you a photo.

 

Closer to Wedding Time

I become distressed because I realize no one has contacted me today. I nix getting ready in the spa due to the issues above, namely no water, and it depresses me as I did not want to get ready with my husband. Whatever, I get over it because I realize I am in a beautiful country with my beautiful fiancee and who cares about a subpar manicure. Finally my hotel phone rings. It is Erik, my photographer and the videographer and they are in the lobby. I still think it is wierd that it is never discussed how anyone will contact you if you aren't sitting by your hotel phone. Oh, and the voicemail system at the hotel hasn't been turned on yet. oops.

 

In short order, Gilberto calls to say he is bringing up the bouquet. I am now officially nervous and excited!

 

Here is the bouquet photo I found online:

 

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Here is what Gilberto brought me 2 hours before the wedding:

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I was really shocked! I think it's pretty darn close!

 

I asked for an Ivy wrapped ''gazebo"-what they call the 4 poles in the sand. Here is my inspiration photo:

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I don't have a professional photo of mine yet, or even a non-professional photo because I didn't have our camera at the ceremony, but here is a crappy pic of what the gazebo looked like that night at our candlelight dinner:

 

a>

 

He sort of got it right. I still had to pay extra $500 for the ivy and it WAS real. They placed the bamboo walkway in an "L" shape leading up to the gazebo and threw out wet mango rose petals right before I walked up. Hopefully when I post the professional pics you will see how, hopefully, lovely it was! He could not place the bamboo sticks on the top, however. There was no table inside the gazebo at the time of the ceremony or tiki torches. The table was off to the side.

 

To be continued in next post....too many photos...

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The Ceremony

At ten minutes until 3, no one had come. Erik leaves to get some shots on the beach and Stacey and I decide to go down to the bottom level of the resort. We run into Carolina and Gilberto, who takes Stacey away. I wait with Carolina and her ever-present walkie talkie until they are ready. She tells me just how to hold my veil so it won't fly in my face (it was quite windy that day) and off we go when we get the signal. I will post pics when we get them, but it was breathtakingly beautiful, Stacey was standing down with the minister. He had a chance to talk with her for about 5 minutes and told her how important Jesus Christ was to us and made sure she understood to emphasize Him. He also told her this was not a Vow Renewal, but our real wedding. When I got down to the spot, and yes I wore flat Silver sparkly sandals, we faced each other and listened. The minister had the whole ceremony memorized and it was beautiful; much better than I imagined. We went over to the side table to sign the Certificate of Marriage (symbolic) and then it was over! Beautiful Day, indeed! She did not ask if we wanted to say anything special, so when we did the champagne toast, I told Stacey I wanted to say something. Of course, my long speech became about one sentence because I started crying so hard which made him cry. Later, we heard everybody at the resort (10 people, haha) had gathered at the retaining wall to watch and were crying with us! Awwwwww!

 

Photos

Erik kicked it into gear and had me laying all over rocks and jumping around and Stacey throwing me. He would show us the screen on his camera when he got something really special and WOW, he made me look like a tall supermodel sometimes! Oh, I am 4'11''...We actually decided against the TTD session because all of ours were so candid with no family members to photograph. Erik and the videographer were so easy to work with and wanted to know where we wanted to shoot and what we liked and Erik has perfect English. I think they actually stayed over time. Funny story-as we were walking around getting new places to shoot, a girl and her parents stopped us and said, "Are you a real bride? Or just models?" We laughed so hard. We hung out with them the rest of the week; they were from Jersey and she is getting married there Summer 2009. They kept calling us "the models." Hardly.

 

Here is what we looked like HOURS after the wedding with fallen hair and dirty dress. We took these so they aren't too fantastic:

My hot husband:

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Me

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Check out the "Pinch Bustle" ... very nice...

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Dinner

Carolina came up to us in the lobby after the last round of photos and said she had a surprise for us and to meet her in 30 minutes. She made me close my eyes, and they took us down for the private candlelight dinner in our gazebo. No charge. Very beautiful. We had 3 waiters, Hector was our favorite! You saw the one photo above of the dinner. The prepared a 4 course meal with wines and champagnes and printed our names on the menu. It was very nicely done and we were grateful. We felt the only people in the world.

 

All in all, it was great, and we were very pleased. I will post some other pics for you now. I met Andrea, who was the 4 PM wedding on November 8. I will not post her photos out of respect but it was on the beach and her colors were beautiful-I think a hot pink and kelly green? Really nice. We met earlier in the week and she was pretty anxious and upset about the calamity of the newly opened resort. I did not talk to her after the wedding, as we left Sunday, but she saw us watching closely and we waved vigorously and she seemed very happy. One comment-they did a legal wedding and had a microphone. Their female minister spoke very poor English and sort of halted her way through the ceremony. Our minister officiated the 5 PM wedding (see pic below) and she was MUCH better. Don't know if you could choose but her name is Alina Monroy, Minister, Community of Faith Church. Her email is actually printed on my certificate too: carranzamonroy@prodigy.net.mx.

 

a>

 

I will post this bride's photo as she is not on the site, but I will keep her name private. I wanted you to see her flowers, colors, aisle and chairs for those that want to see samples.

 

Here is where Andrea's reception was held, same as the owner's friends' wedding reception. It is in the center of the resort, behind Zocolo:

 

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The 5 PM bride had her reception INSIDE Zocolo, like everyone likes, BUT the resort was at about 10% capacity. The outside patio was availiable for dinner for non-guests. The patio would be fine for a reception, not sure about where to dance? The bar is right to the right of this photo and it is right up from the beach gazebo. Here is the patio:

 

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Nobody last week chose this option, but the Rooftop Garden Patio is beautiful. It is just not down near the beach, but up off the lobby at the front of the resort:

 

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Two Last Photos

One of the pool beds they were finishing midweek:

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and another showing how close Secrets Silversands is to Sensatori. This is looking just over the fence at the south side of the resort. We almost snuck over there a few nights to check out the nightclubs but never did:

 

a>

 

 

Things I would do over (maybe)-really short list

*I really missed our family and my 14 year old son especially. With resort being so empty, it was very romantic, but we craved a little interaction later in the week. That is why we stayed 2 extra days, when all the Americans were coming in for the weddings because we met them and were having fun with them. So, perhaps I should have brought my family!

 

*Pinned my veil better

It blew off twice during my ceremony as the wind came out of nowhere! But it was funny and probably made some funny photos!

 

*Had my hair down for some later photos with no veil

 

I hope this can help you guys. Bottom line: the resort will be a First-Class facility in a few months. I believe everything you will read about in my resort review will be taken care of soon. You have made the right decision! Andrea might disagree! We will look forward to her review as well....

 

Best of luck and contact me for more specific questions anytime.

 

Jennifer

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tracy_S View Post
I actually contacted them as well and asked for their pricing and they told me that they do not deal with Karisma hotels simply because of the fee they place on their brides. The 500 dollars they don't agree with.. so I think for reasons on policies, that would be my understanding as to why they don't use them or refuse to work at a Karisma hotel. Hope that helped!
Hmm... I've heard a different reason from my TA: apparently the Azuls/ El Dorado got tired of Del Sol being late or not showing up several times and people/wedding parties having to scramble last minute to get a photographer. So the hotel banned them which in turn caused a lawsuit.. I could understand that the hotel would not want to get a bad reputation for someone else's mistakes... as to what really happened, who knows...

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Jenn:

Your photos look amazing (it sucks, I have to leave right now, but I will finish reading your whole review later) - Congratulations on getting married!!!

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Jennifer-your review is amazing. I know I will have to read it again since there is so much valuable information! The pictures you have posted are great. Totally have me craving more. Did you have Claudia's husband video? I'm still trying to decide on that. I would love to see it, if he did.

Very good to know about the minister. I'll be sure to ask about Alina. Did the resort provide the symbolic certificate or did the minister? That's a really nice keepsake to have.

They did excellent matching your bouquet!

Many congratulations on your marriage. It looks like a beautiful wedding!

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thanks for your review, jennifer. i felt like i was there with you.. can't wait to see more pictures (btw, i can't believe you have a 14 yr old son, you look amazing)

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polina View Post
Does the deposit refer to the deposit to hold the date or deposits for the private dinner?
Polina,

Their is only ONE deposit at the time your date is confirmed. Unless I am unaware of another one.

-Shannon

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