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GRAN PORTO REAL wedding review May 13, 2008


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#1 aeroo

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    Posted 26 June 2008 - 01:34 AM

    Gran Porto Real Resort and Spa, PLAYA DEL CARMEN

    May 13, 2008

    Schedule of events:

    12:30-2:15 Hair and makeup appt
    3:00-4:30 Bride and groom photos in the town
    5:00-5:30 Ceremony and champagne
    5:30-6:30 Group photos
    6:30-7:00 Bride and groom photos on the beach during sunset
    7:30-8:00 Chinese tea ceremony at the reception site
    8:00-12:00 Dinner, slideshow, games, and dancing

    Number of guests: 36

    Wedding Coordinator: Micaela Rebelo
    Reception Coordinator: Walter Dagri
    Photographer: Cecilia Dumas

    Gran Porto Real
    -no need for a day pass for guests of other hotels
    -no fee for outside photographer (although this may have changed, not sure)
    -didn’t nickel and dime us for everything. In fact, there were a bunch of things that they did not charge us for, that I would have expected. For example, we rented a projector for the slideshow, extended our reception time to an hour extra, and got an extra main course for one of our guests. All of these things had a price tag on them but we were not charged for it. We settled the bill the day before the reception and never got charged more than that.
    -no deposit at all; just paid for everything upon checkout
    -We booked our flight and hotel directly through the hotel website which got us a better price since we booked them together. Since our guests were from all over the country, we just gave them the hotel name and they all booked separately. There was a group of ten that booked late and ended up using a TA to get a group price. 7 guests opted to stay at different resorts.
    -Stayed for 7 nights and paid $1300 per person including flight from Seattle
    -We arrived on Sunday, met with coordinators on Monday, wedding was Tuesday

    Private Indoor Reception
    We met with Walter the day before to go over the details and he also showed us the reception location. We had a few extra requests and he was able to accommodate everything. For example, they set up an area for our Chinese tea ceremony and even made the special tea for us using the ingredients that we brought. We opted for the indoor reception at the hotel ballroom and it was great. The walls were glass and were looking out onto the street. Food was fantastic. We had a 4 course served meal with open bar and I was stuffed after and couldn’t finish everything. We chose the salmon and the quality and presentation of all the dishes were stunning – equivalent to going to a high end restaurant in North America. We ended up extending the party for another hour. I don’t know how this happened, but at some point near the end of the night when we were dancing, some staff wanted us to fill out comment cards for the hotel before they would extend our party. This was not cool, but I think someone took care of that. I had my sister set up the centerpieces and namecard table beforehand and she did a great job. The staff could have done it too, but I trusted my sis more to do it. I had brought table number holders with me, but we just ended up using the ones provided by the hotel. I wish I knew that they had provided these so I didn’t have to buy any. We brought a laptop for our slideshow and also for the music. Everything hooked up to the hotel’s speaker system fine as well as the projector they provided for us. Cost was $40 per person for guests staying at the hotel, $50 per person for non guests, and half price for children under 12. Cost included taxes and tip, and we didn’t have to pay a penny more for anything else. We had a served dinner and had about 5 servers working the entire time, plus they set up our own private bar as well – all included in the per person cost.

    Ceremony
    We chose the symbolic/religious ceremony package which was $900. Since we had a friend officiate, it cost $750, but they wouldn’t let us just pay the lower price. Instead we had to spend the $150 on other stuff, which we spent on upgrading the cake, adding some flowers to the chairs, and adding flower petals to the aisle (from what I understand though, the prices and packages have changed now). After seeing the gazebo, we knew it was the place we wanted to have our ceremony. Funny, because when I looked at the photos the WC sent us, I didn’t like it all that much. I loved the white curtains on the gazebo – that just completed the look. I also liked doing it in the gazebo because our guests were able to sit in the shade. The site comes with a red carpet that goes down the aisle, but I had them remove that because I didn’t like the look. The rose petals were much prettier. I liked that we didn’t have to choose the ceremony site until we got there. The cost of the ceremony included setup for everything, the dj for the music, speaker setup, wireless microphone, etc. At first they put 18 chairs in the gazebo, which I thought was too cramped, so we changed it to 12. Everyone was very accommodating. They also had security guards on the beach to make sure people weren’t coming up close to the gazebo during the ceremony. Nice touch!

    Wedding Coordinator
    We met with Micaela the day before the wedding to choose the flowers and confirm the ceremony location. She was very nice and accommodated our needs.

    Hair and Makeup
    I got this done at the resort spa and it cost $45 for hair and $45 for makeup. One woman did both for me and did a fabulous job. She even helped me to apply the fake lashes I brought. Good thing I brought the glue too, since she didn’t have any. One really cool thing she did was curl my eyelashes with a spoon! I had never seen that before! I was so happy because she made me look amazing and did such a better job than when I got my trials done at home. I was so incredibly happy with the way my makeup turned out!

    Photography

    We hired Cecilia Dumas who was an absolute pleasure to work with. She was so sweet and made us feel super comfortable. We got the 6 hour package which cost $1400. There was no contract to sign, just a 10% deposit to secure the date. We send the deposit through Western Union and there was no problem. We paid her in full when she arrived at our hotel room the day of our wedding. She came on time, which I appreciated. She brought an assistant too, who was also very friendly easy to work with. We did photos beforehand in the town and it was so much fun. She was good at directing and posing us when we didn’t know what to do. For group pictures, we wrote out a shot list of all the different groups of people we wanted to get formal pictures with. This definitely helped a lot in getting them done much faster and it ensured that we didn’t miss out on anyone. She was very good at directing all the people too. For the 6 hours, she took around 770 shots. She then chose 175 and edited them and printed them out. She sent me a disc with high resolution files of all pictures. I received the disc and printed pictures about a week after I got home. Before I hired her, I knew her editing style and thought that it was fine. It wasn’t exactly what I preferred to have, but I also could not afford to hire the more expensive photographers that could edit the pictures the way I wanted. So instead, I edited them myself and am 100% happy with the way they turned out. Overall, I am very happy with our decision to hire Cecilia. She was so easy and fun to work with!


    Disappointments
    1.In the wedding package, it states that we get a free room upgrade, which we did not receive. We got a Junior Suite and were supposed to get upgraded to a Junior Suite Ocean View. I know this was subject to availability, and they said that there was nothing available for the oceanview suites, but if we wanted the oceanfront suite, we would have to pay for it. I was really disappointed that they couldn’t just upgrade us for free, like I thought they would. Our suite was fine, but the fact that it faced a cement wall was not cool. In the end it didn’t really matter because we weren’t in our room that much anyways, but it would have been great to get the upgrade.
    2.The wedding package also states that we get a guaranteed king size bed, which we did not. We got two double beds instead. Mind you, we didn’t complain to the staff because we were just too tired after our flight and were just happy to be there. And then we didn’t want to pack up everything again and move rooms. It would have been nice to just get the correct room in the first place.
    3.I really don’t think the front desk staff really knows what is included in the wedding package or maybe they just don’t care. Because we got married there, we were entitled to a 5pm check out instead of the standard 12pm. The staff kept telling us that we had to check out at 12 until I insisted that we got married there and our package included the 5pm checkout.
    4.We didn’t get our cake topper back (which we brought there).
    5.We paid for the ceremony and reception at checkout and our credit cards got rejected. I didn’t know what was wrong, but in the end they had to split up the payments because for some reason they couldn’t put the whole amount through at once (we didn’t have any balance on the credit card so we knew it wasn’t because we were over limit and hubby had used the credit card that morning and it worked). So instead of putting the entire amount on my credit card at once, they had to swipe it 3 times with 3 different amounts that added up to what we owed. Good thing she thought of doing that! I recommend paying for it all at least the day before you leave in case something like that happens. I was starting to panic because we had to go catch our flight and the stupid credit card wasn’t working!

    All in all, I am very happy with the way everything turned out. Not everything was perfect, and there’s always some unexpected stuff that comes up, but the most important thing was that I married my man and we spent a great week with family and friends. Destination weddings all the way!!!! I’m so happy we got our intimate wedding that we wanted, in a beautiful location.

    By the way, the wedding packages and prices have changed since we had our wedding, so you’ll have to get the updated information from the WC.

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    #2 tlomlad

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      Posted 26 June 2008 - 01:41 AM

      great review!!!!!congrats

      #3 aeroo

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        Posted 26 June 2008 - 01:50 AM

        Some food shots. These are not the best pics, but you get the idea.

        SALAD

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        SALMON

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        RASPBERRY TART DESSERT

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        There was also another dish, but no one got a shot of that. Food quality was amazing!!! So so yummy. I was quite worried about it since food was very important to me, but it exceeded my expectations!

        #4 MsShelley

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          Posted 26 June 2008 - 07:07 AM

          great review, it looks so beautiful there!

          #5 Jen_S

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            Posted 26 June 2008 - 08:11 AM

            Congrats everything looks perfect
            Our Honeymoon In Ireland!!

            #6 BillysBride

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              Posted 27 June 2008 - 06:51 PM

              Wonderful review! You looked fantastic! (and so relaxedd! How did you pull that off??)

              I pm'd you a question about Cecilia. Hope to hear from ya soon and congratulations!!!
              Savannah

              http://i17.photobuck....inecollage.jpgThe Fab Four (my quads) Meryn, Kellen, Nico & Layla
              http://global.thekno...rs/tt265ad.aspxhttp://www.mywedding...nnah/index.html20 STD's w. pre-lim RSVP sent 6/15/09: 7 "Yes" so far/10 guests total!

              #7 foxfirejg

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                Posted 29 June 2008 - 10:30 PM

                Wow! Your wedding looks like it was fantastic! I just started considering this resort, and I was wondering if you have any tips on booking and how much things cost? Also- how did you rate the beach while you were there? The pictures look great, but I don't know what the current status of the beach is!

                #8 aeroo

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                  Posted 30 June 2008 - 02:28 AM

                  Quote:
                  Originally Posted by foxfirejg
                  Wow! Your wedding looks like it was fantastic! I just started considering this resort, and I was wondering if you have any tips on booking and how much things cost? Also- how did you rate the beach while you were there? The pictures look great, but I don't know what the current status of the beach is!

                  The beach was not the greatest; there were sandbags in some places. What we usually did if we wanted to go in the ocean (if we weren't lounging by the pool), was go next door to use the beach at the Royal. It's much better there; however you can't use their chairs. If you walk past the Royal though, there's a spot with a bunch of hut like umbrellas that you can use for free. The beach at the Gran Porto is fine though if you want to relax in a loungechair or hammock, but not the best for swimming (although there were still lots of people swimming there). I knew this ahead of time though, so it was not a problem for me. Our priority was to be close to 5th ave so that our guests could wander off in the town if they didn't feel like being on the beach or pool, which they really enjoyed doing.

                  I didn't use a TA to book. I just booked the room and flight through the hotel website. You can get a discount if you have 10 or more people, but the discount isn't that significant. I did get 10 of our guests a group rate through a TA. The Gran Porto books up pretty fast, at least for the less expensive rooms like the Junior Suite. The people that booked later had to get the more expensive rooms because that was all that was available. Depends on the time of year too.

                  #9 Kriswim

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                    Posted 30 June 2008 - 10:11 AM

                    Hi!
                    Thanks so much for this review! I am getting married at the hotel and I am nervous about so much! This puts my mind at ease. I have decided to use a TA b/c we have about 60 people all staying at the hotel. I emailed Micaela and she said that there was no discount for groups. But i had heard there was! Wierd. maybe she misunderstood. I will let my TA handle it now.
                    Thanks again for sharing all this information - it will come in handy!
                    **Shannon** 40 people BOOKED! (but only 23 made it b/c of the Swine flu Pandemic )

                    http://i300.photobuc....Wedding352.jpg
                    My Wedding Review: http://bestdestinati....-w-pics-43618/

                    #10 aeroo

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                      Posted 30 June 2008 - 01:49 PM

                      Quote:
                      Originally Posted by Kriswim
                      Hi!
                      Thanks so much for this review! I am getting married at the hotel and I am nervous about so much! This puts my mind at ease. I have decided to use a TA b/c we have about 60 people all staying at the hotel. I emailed Micaela and she said that there was no discount for groups. But i had heard there was! Wierd. maybe she misunderstood. I will let my TA handle it now.
                      Thanks again for sharing all this information - it will come in handy!
                      Unless the policy has changed, you can definately get a group discount for a group of 10 or more. When I was inquiring about it through the hotel, I dealt with the reservations people, not Micaela. She might not know about stuff like that.

                      The TA got a pretty good discount for my family who were travelling together too.




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