Here are my pics and few notes about my experiences! One link is the pro pics and one is the snap shots other people took. Snapfish: Share:Registration Snapfish: Share:Registration
On Site Coordinators - They were great! Very helpful when I decided to swap from the beach to plaza. They let me transfer the money from the dance floor to the candles, a very pleasant surprise! Gilberto was my coordinator and he was great through the reception to make sure everything went smoothly. They also helped us wrap us details we'd completely forgot, like ordering champagne for the toast.
S'more Party - We did this for our welcome party and everyone had a great time. They do a whole table of sweets and a bar set up on the beach with a small bonfire. They also had face painting for kids and a movie/tv show theme song game that someone from the resort hosted. Every had a great time at this - well work the money. We actually to decided to do this instead of a cocktail and I'm very glad we did.
Spa - I had a great experience the day of. From about 11a until the ceremony at 3:30 I was in the bridal suite. I had a hair trial back at home and they matched the picture perfectly. I also told them natural makeup and was very happy with the outcome. Great job on my manicure and pedicure too! They let me order room service to the bridal suite as well and brought champagne and chocolates, a very nice touch. At first some of the people seemed annoyed that so many people were going in and out to visit, but after an hour or so, no one seemed to care anymore.
Ceremony - We did the legal ceremony, and other than a name mix up in the beginning, it all went very smooth. We also had the classical guitarist, but honestly I don't remember hearing anything until after it was all over! He did have some sort of amplier playing music along with his guitar that I didn't really care for, but overall I think it was a nice touch. He played for about 15 minutes as guests were being seated so hopefully they enjoyed it. We also requested that the hanging flower arrangements from the deluxe gazebo be moved to sit on the paperwork table and cake table and they had no problem accommodating that. I also request for those arrangements and the bridesmaids (the $50 tropical bouquet) that they only use orange, yellow and red tones (no blue or purples) and that also did that with no problem. It was very windy and my veil kept flying around, but Gilberto had warned me to tuck in under my arm, and the judge also arranged it for me when were signing paperwork so it wouldn't interfere with those photos.
Photographer - We did a package from Mexican Wedding Photographers. I was a little hesitant since there were very few reviews on them, but I requested individual photographers portfolios and decided on Mike Razo. We paid for extra hours so we could offer the guests a chance to get family photos prior to the ceremony (we'll frame and send them as a thank you after). Because of that, we didn't get very many "getting ready" photos, but I'm was fine with that. We were very happy with the photos. My only regret is not leaving more time between the ceremony and reception for photos (we had about an hour). Mike actually met us at the airport on our way out to deliver our album, photos, and DVD with all the pictures. Everything worked out perfectly. I'm not sure if they're still an approved photographer, but hopefully they are because they were great!
Reception - Originally we were supposed to be on the beach but it was too windy so we moved to the plaza. I asked for months to have a picture of a centerpiece priced out, and with less than 3 weeks before the wedding I was told by JoZeen my special requests were delaying finalizing the details - even though when I made the request over 2 months before I was told by here I would get pricing in 2 weeks. In the end, I decided to bring my own centerpieces of lanterns and shells. On site they told me told me it would be $50 to set up the centerpieces, place cards and some fans I brought for the ceremony. That seemed pretty reasonable to me. For the food, we chose menu1b and swapped the dessert to tres leches. Originally we were going with one of the more expensive menus, but in the planning I got so frustrated I decided I didn't want to to give any more money to these people! In the end, it worked out great. The pork tenderloin was great and the corn cakes were a huge hit. The tres leches was amazing. We got the 20 -30 people cake for 47 people and not even a third of it got ate. Although I would complain they did not serve the cake well, even if people weren't hungry anymore. When people asked for the cake they'd take the used tres leche plate and serve it on there.
Music - for the reception we did the ipod and it worked out great. I put a cousin in charge of operating it and making announcements for the first dance etc and just created different playlists. In the end, everyone was just flipping through, including me, for certain songs and even plugging in their own iphones and ipods, which I though made it more fun because everyone for involved. They actually had someone sit by the ipod and amplifier all night. While he wasn't allowed to touch it, he would adjust the volume for each song, which was big concern of mine, but no need for anyone to worry about that!
The resort - we did a lot of problems with the rooms. Our toilet would never flush properly and we had to change rooms after it clogged 3 times. This wouldn't have been nearly as frustrating if we hadn't problems we had a check in. The upgrade that was supposed to be "confirmed upon arrival if available" - was available, but they wanted us to pay $80/night for it. Even when I showed an email from Fabio. I was told they got a hold of him and he said there wasn't a upgrade, but when I asked to speak with him, he was sunavailable. Then, when we agreed to pay the extra for one night and sort it out the next day when someone could get a hold of Fabio, the room was suddenly gone. That, followed by the toilet problems that evening and agian the next morning, left us off to a bad start. Then, when we moved rooms the jacuzzi in the new room was filthy and had brown water sitting in the bottom. After our problems, we met with the guest service manager and were told she was personally going to go through our guest list and have the rooms inspected before our guests arrived to make sure they didn't have any problems. We even ran into her in to lobby the next afternoon and an excursion and were told our guests had arrived and everyone was great. But when we started calling people 10 minutes later we found out all the problems: 2 of our guests had rooms that smelled like sewage. One actually had sewage overflow from the toilet into the room. 2 people never got minibars in the rooms even after complaining. One person had a broken patio door on the first floor at check in and couldn't go to dinner while she waited for it to be fixed. The other complication to the problem was that I didn't think they responded quickly enough. We were wasting time waiting for housekeeping, having to fight for new rooms for us and our guests. Even with the sewage flowing into the room, the guest was asked if they could call her back. Even though the resort wasn't even full, they made a huge deal out of changing any rooms if you were having problems. It took at least half an hour of time at the front desk, not the mention the time you lost packing and moving! I hate to worry you all, but I was under the impression all these problems I'd read about had been fixed. It was about a 20% chance in our case you got a good room, and those who did had a great time and even said they'd come back. As for everyone else, they were left with a very sour taste.
The good news is, the waiters, entertainment staff and bartenders are all very friendly and nice. The wedding was great and easy after all the frustration in planning with off site folks! The food was also very good for the most part. While certain people didn't like certain things, everyone found their favorite restaurant sand were very happy with the food.
Offsite Tours - We also did a few off site tours that were all great. We did a Lomas transport to the ferry in Playa one day(40 minute ride) and to it to cozumel (another 40 minutes) to go scuba diving with Sea Robin Diving. We also went diving one day with another shop in Puerto Morales. Puerto Morales was a very cute little town with some souvenir shops and much closer than Playa! The best tour we did was with Edventure Tours. We started at 7:30a, went to tulum, ziplining, cliff jump, snorkeling cenotes, snorkeling in the ocean at a sea turtle spot & snorkeling in a lagoon(my favorite). We didn't get back to the hotel until about 7p, but everyone had a great time. We had people from age 8 to 55 on the tour with us too! They also had an underwater camera and took photos of us all day for an extra $30, well worth it!
I hope this helps everyone. Even with the room problems, I was very happy the day of the wedding and they made everything very easy! While I will probably never go back to a Karisma resort, I wouldn't have changed a thing about the wedding, and that's why I was there in the first place!