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Review of Occidental Grand Xcaret Wedding... LOOOOOOOONG


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#1 Can'tHardlyWait

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    Posted 02 July 2008 - 03:14 PM

    Hi ladies… It’s taken me a while (I totally apologize for that) but I finally finished my review of my wedding at Occidental Grand Xcaret. Here is a link to some more pictures (including those below): Click the image to open in full size.

    Click the image to open in full size.

    Click the image to open in full size.

    #2 Maura

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    Posted 02 July 2008 - 03:19 PM

    wow galit your chuppah was really something else! congrats girl, we've missed you around here!!! i cant wait to see more photos!!!

    #3 Gen Snipes

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      Posted 02 July 2008 - 03:20 PM

      the ceremony set-up is BEAUTIFUL. what a great location

      #4 Can'tHardlyWait

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        Posted 02 July 2008 - 03:24 PM

        Music

        I highly recommend using the company that the hotel recommends. We met with Leo, one of the managers at the company during the site visit, and quickly nailed down what we would need as far as music and equipment for the wedding. Everything went very smoothly. Right after the site visit, we exchanged emails and signed contracts.. Then, sometime in February we sent Leo a list of about 200 songs we wanted played at the wedding so that he could download them in time for the wedding. With the exception of a few Hebrew songs, his DJ found every single one and had it available at the wedding. We met with the DJ on that Thursday and confirmed all the details… no fog machine, no YMCA, etc… I couldn’t ask for more. Our guests still rave about how cute the DJ was at the wedding and how great the music was… he even tolerated our drunken friends wanting to play DJ at random points in the night!

        Aside from a DJ and music equipment, we also needed a projector and screen for the rehearsal dinner slideshow. When we arrived at our rehearsal dinner Saturday night, I was shocked to see the size of the projector screen… it was HUGE (see pictures) and our guests were blown away!

        Click the image to open in full size.

        Mariachi band – we had a mariachi band for the cocktail hour at the wedding. I didn’t even know they were there until after their set was over because I was too busy running around saying hi to everyone… Still, all the guests thought they were fantastic and I am happy we had them.

        Click the image to open in full size.

        Food

        Generally - The one good thing about OGX is that because of its size, there is a huge variety of food. Even the pickiest eater could find something to eat. If I had to give the food at the resort a grade, I would say B- …it was good, but nothing to get excited about.

        Reception – Being from NY, food is a HUGE deal at a wedding… normally people don’t even eat the food at the reception because the cocktail hour is so ridiculously good. I had stayed at other Occidental hotels in the past, so I didn’t expect to be blown away. During the site visit, the food manager – Jean Baptiste (he is VERY French!) – had set up a tasting for us. We tried 15 hors d'oeuvres, 2 salads, 1 soup, 4 entrees, and 3 desserts. I was happy with the quality of the food… much better than what was available at the buffets around the resort! For the wedding, we went with a vinaigrette salad, cold asparagus soup, choice of lemon chicken, mahi mahi, or surf and turf, and a duo desert of chocolate lava cake and tiramisu. I can’t remember eating any of the food at the wedding, but I remember seeing it on the tables and it looked really nice… all the guests said they liked it (especially the chocolate cake).

        Click the image to open in full size.

        Click the image to open in full size.

        Rehearsal dinner – I wasn’t terribly concerned about the rehearsal dinner food because I figured the focus would be on all the speeches, music, and slide show. We went with the Mexican Buffet and everyone loved it. I was worried that it would be just like the food at the buffets that everyone had been eating all weekend, but it was definitely a lot better! Oh, and I have to tell you to check out the tres leches cake in the pictures… it’s in the shape of Chichen Itza!

        Click the image to open in full size.

        Click the image to open in full size.

        Click the image to open in full size.

        Alcohol

        I know most girls wouldn’t give this its own category, but it was important to us so I thought I would share my experience. OGX serves “premium” (Absolut vodka, Jose Cuervo, Johnnie Walker Red) liquor throughout the resort and at weddings, but you have to specifically request it when ordering. For the wedding, we wanted certain top shelf liquors, so for an additional $15 per person (per hour), the catering manager added Crown Royal, Kettle One Vodka, 1800, Johnnie Walker Black, and other bottles to the bar. We didn’t realize the upgrade was PER HOUR, which was a bit of a shock the next day when we were reviewing the bill. No one kept it from us or anything – I think we just didn’t realize... anyway, it definitely makes a HUGE difference so if you decide to upgrade remember that!

        We also upgraded the wine, which we had to buy “per bottle.” They had bottles ranging from $10 -50, and we chose accordingly. There was a minimum number of bottles we had to pay for upfront (which was based on the size of our wedding) but then any amount after that was based on consumption. I didn’t try the wine at the wedding, but I know we got our money’s worth in liquor…Every wedding is different, but we knew our guests liked to drink… and everyone really appreciated the upgrade!

        Click the image to open in full size.

        Ice Sculpture

        Just another testament to how the staff at OGX, at the direction of Marialma, went all out for us. Despite the ridiculous temperatures, I decided Steve’s wedding surprise should be a giant ice sculpture of the University of Florida Gator. Apparently his brother had a huge ice sculpture of the Duke Blue Devil at his wedding a few years ago, and Steve had always wanted one at his own. So before we arrived, I had sent Marialma a few pictures of the Al E. Gator, Florida’s mascot, and she said: “it could be done, but I am not sure how long it will last.” I don’t think I need to tell you how quickly that poor alligator melted, but the look on Steve’s face when he saw it was priceless… he couldn’t believe I got him an ice sculpture at our Mexican wedding!

        Click the image to open in full size.

        #5 Can'tHardlyWait

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          Posted 02 July 2008 - 03:26 PM

          Photographer

          Aside from saying “yes” to Steve and picking OGX, Elizabeth was my very best wedding decision. In fact, I found Elizabeth right around the same time that I fell in love with a really beautiful but really expensive wedding dress. My husband told me I had to make a choice… I could either have my dream photographer or my dream dress. Needless to say, I went with Elizabeth… best decision EVER! From our very first conversations via email, she was so sweet and helpful… she even emailed me ideas she liked from other weddings! Before the wedding, I sent Elizabeth a long list of “important pictures” and even though there were a lot, she said she would make it happen. On the day of the wedding, Elizabeth and Lindsey (her fabulous assistant) showed up on time and ready to work. Not including family, we had 9 bridesmaids and 9 groomsmen… they definitely had their hands full! The entire time, they were completely professional and easy to work with… our entire bridal party was amazed at how calm and collected they were despite the HOT weather and large group of (sometimes uncooperative) people.

          We also did a “Trash the Dress” shoot… what a blast! Once again, Elizabeth and Lindsey were such troopers, getting up at 6am to catch the sunrise. I am expecting my pictures any day now, and I am completely confident that they are going to be amazing.

          Videographer

          I didn’t really care about having a video of the wedding, but friends and family said I would want a video so I went along with it. We used Cancun Studios, which is located in the lobby of OGX. Although we had instructed him to “stay out of site” during the ceremony, our videographer stood right in front of us the whole time and was pretty much in every picture… in his defense, we had our guests arranged in a circle around the Chuppah, so there was no way to avoid him. I wish I had specifically told him to remain seated during the ceremony…Elizabeth literally had to pull him out of the way so that she could get a few clean shots! I might change my after I see the video, but as of right now I wish we had skipped the video. It’s not really a reflection on Cancun Studios… for me, pictures were so much more important and the idea that he may have ruined them bothers me.

          Decorations

          Thanks to the wonderful people on BDW, I had a million and one ideas about how I wanted my wedding to look. Unfortunately, making those ideas happen in a foreign country was the trickiest part of my wedding. If you are on the fence about going “all out” with decorations, I would suggest thinking twice. I would do it all over again if I had the choice, but it was A LOT of work and stress. Long story short, I wanted 5 things: (1) Chinese lanterns across the ceiling at the reception; (2) tiki torches around my beach side rehearsal dinner; and (3) Christmas tree lights on the trees at the reception; (4) square vases with candles in them along the wedding aisle; and (5) white fabric to cover the buffet area of the Beach Club (where we got married).

          We first dealt with a company called Sarao which was recommended by Marialma. As soon as I received an emailing quoting $17.50 per tiki torch (we needed 30), I knew they wouldn’t work out! After months of back and forth, Marialma put me in charge with Zuniga, another company. They wanted $3,000 for the Chinese lanterns… clearly that wasn’t happening! After a lot of stress, Steve got Aldo – a manager at Zuniga – on the phone and he made everything work out. We ended up spending close to $2,000, but he was able to get me exactly what I wanted and I think everything turned out beautiful.

          If you are determined, I would definitely recommend Aldo from Zuniga. After a few emails, he knew exactly what we wanted and had everything ordered for when we arrived. At our meeting on Thursday, we made some last minute changes and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.

          Click the image to open in full size.

          Click the image to open in full size.

          Click the image to open in full size.



          Hair and Makeup

          I didn’t use the spa at OGX for wedding hair or makeup because my mother in law brought her own hair and makeup people from NY, but I did go for some spa treatments. I had a body wrap the day before the wedding, and I didn’t like it at all. After she applied each layer of “stuff” the technician had me to go shower… I never had a chance to relax because I showered 3 times during a 50 minute treatment! I did get a massage on the day of the wedding which I thought was pretty good. The only thing was, I was so busy running through checklists and to-do’s in my head that I don’t think I relaxed for one second! I also got my wedding manicure and pedicure. My only advice is if you choose to do this on the day of your wedding, make sure you plan on being there for a while. I think my massage, manicure and pedicure kept me in the spa for almost 3 hours!

          #6 Can'tHardlyWait

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            Posted 02 July 2008 - 03:33 PM

            WOW... I can't believe I got it all out! I really hope that future OGX brides find this review helpful. I can't tell you how much I relied on BDW in planning this wedding... I am not exagerating when I say that you girls gave me the confidence to believe that I could pull something like this off

            On a side note, I left linens and decorations stuff with Marialma and Edith, with the hope that they would keep it for future brides who might not be able to purchase and ship as much as me. If green and pink are your colors, there are 150 green sashes and 150 pink napkins just waiting for you! I also left huge silver chargers, candle holders, etc... just keep it in mind!


            Oh, and feel free to PM me with any questions. I still have my binder of lists (I even have a list of all my lists) and information about the wedding!

            #7 Chiquita

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              Posted 02 July 2008 - 03:53 PM

              Wow.. fantastic review Galit! How did your guests like their OOT bags? :)

              Oh and FYI.. everything looked FABULOUS.. you did a great job!

              #8 DanielleNDerek

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                Posted 02 July 2008 - 03:56 PM

                Wow everything looks amazing. I love the table setup for the reception and the cake was beautiful. You had an incredible wedding.
                ***Married November 6, 2008***Gavin Born February 28th, 2010***
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                #9 JennyK

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                  Posted 02 July 2008 - 04:37 PM

                  wow wow wow! Gorgeous! That Chuppah is one of the most beautiful I've ever seen!

                  #10 Leslie-Xcaret09

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                    Posted 03 July 2008 - 02:43 PM

                    YEY!!!!! So happy to "see" you!! I dont know how I missed this yesterday but I cant wait to read your review when I get home! Thank You so much for posting the review and congratulations!!! I cant wait til I get a chance to look at your pics




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