Hello Valentin Imperial Brides!
Iâ€™m so very jealous that you still have your weddings to look forward. I got married at the Valentin on May 7th, and couldnâ€™t be happier with the experience. My review is long overdue, but here it is!
Iâ€™ll try to write a very detailed review here, but please feel free to reach out to me with any questions.
I chose the Once in a Lifetime packaging because we had a total of 66 coming down to the wedding. We booked the Emerald Suite, and Ana surprised us with an upgrade to the Diamond Suite, which was beautiful! We had a 4 person hot tub on our huge outdoor patio, which was very useful for a couple of impromptu late night parties. Since we had so many people coming down, we planned a private welcome party near the pool, a private rehearsal dinner, and reserved the French restaurant for the reception. I wouldnâ€™t change a thing!
The resort is beautiful and very well kept. ALL of our guests absolutely loved the facilities, including the food. The staff is so helpful and friendly. We found that most people went above and beyond for us. Because we ended up staying at the resort for 10 days and had such a large group, we got to know several staff members very well, and they totally made us feel like VIPâ€™s.
The Wedding Coordinators:
I was assigned to Ana. I wasnâ€™t sure about her at first b/c she seemed a little unsure of herself and timid, but I got to love her once we arrived. Ariadna helped Ana a bit with our wedding, and they were both extremely knowledgeable, efficient, and professional. They didnâ€™t miss a single thing that I asked them to do, and thatâ€™s after I dumped a huge suitcase of stuff I wanted them to incorporate into the wedding set-up.
We had a private event at one of the pool bars on Thursday night from 8pm â€“ 11pm. It was really annoying to pay per person for an open bar at an all-inclusive resort, but the set-up was beautiful and ended up being worth it. Ana organized for someone to come by and take everyone through a tequila tasting where we tasted 4 different types of tequila and hear a little history on tequila. They also set up a cigar seller there (we pre-purchased cigars for our guests), who was rolling the cigars in front of our guests. We rented white lounge furniture and tiki torches, which looked beautiful by the pool.
If you have a larger group, I highly recommend getting together at the quieter pool (near #35 on map). We brought down inflatable floating beer pong table rafts and organized a little tournament on Friday afternoon. I brought down iPod speakers too. So we had a little private pool party with pretty much our own private bar b/c this pool area tends to be so dead. The guests really loved this, and it allowed people to get to know each other better through the game.
We invited 30 people for a rehearsal dinner on the Mexican terrace. I wasnâ€™t expecting anything special, but once again my expectations were exceeded. They had reserved the entire terrace for us, and set up 3 round tables with white linens. They even threw in simple, but cute centerpieces on all the tables. The food was delicious, and they kept everyoneâ€™s wine glasses full. We paid $85/table for this.
I had Itzel do all of my services, and sheâ€™s one of the calmest, sweetest people Iâ€™ve ever met. I did have her do to my trial hair and make-up, and she was wonderful. I wouldnâ€™t have any anxiety about her doing your hair or make-up. Sheâ€™s very capable! The rest of our spa experience was spotty to say the least. We had a $50 spa credit with our package and a Swedish message. We also got gifted another Swedish message from my husbandâ€™s boss at work, and received some unforgettable couple experience through our travel agency when we booked the room. We had so many random issues when trying to actually use all these services. It would take too long to explain here, but nothing about booking services at the spa was easy. The final drop in the bucket was when they blatantly messed up my husbandâ€™s appointment and forgot to book it. He had a slip with the appointment time, but when he actually showed up, they had no record of the appointment in the system. My husband is a pretty easy-going guy, but this was the last straw for him. He complained to the head concierge, and they added a 30 minutes soak in a â€œromanticâ€ hot tub to our last massage service. Although this hot tub thing was kind of weird, I did appreciate the gesture. In short, I would just be very careful when booking your appointments and making sure that your credits are being used. Iâ€™m pretty sure that my $50 credit was never actually applied to any of my services.
I absolutely LOVED my bouquet. My colors were coral and aqua, and they actually died the flowers to match my bridesmaid dresses perfectly. I wasnâ€™t in love with my bridesmaid bouquets, and just happened to see them a few hours before the ceremony. I hated to be a bridezilla, but Iâ€™m so glad that I spoke up and told them what concerned me about the flowers. Some of the roses looked like they were dying, and I didnâ€™t like how few white flowers were in the bouquet. Without saying a word, the wedding coordinators called up the florist and swapped out some of the dying roses with more white flowers and made a few other tweaks I asked for.
We paid $365 for a huppah and were happy that we did. It made the whole scene look that much more beautiful. We also opted to pay extra for the violinist. I was concerned that he wouldnâ€™t be loud enough, but that was totally not the case. The music was perfect. Ana made sure that everyone ran smoothly.
The set-up was gorgeous! I brought down some seashells and asked Ana to make centerpieces with them. She did an awesome job by just putting some sand and sea shells into small round vases. It turned out really cute and cost NOTHING! The Mexican trio also did a great job. The guests really enjoyed that. The only problem was that the appetizers were ALL gone after about 10 minutes. Iâ€™m not sure if our group was extra or what, but I was really embarrassed that the food was gone so fast. I tried to order more, but couldnâ€™t find Ana or any servers. If this is important to you, Iâ€™d have a conversation up front with your wedding coordinator and approve extra appetizers if the first set runs out.
The French restaurant was perfect for our 66 guests! The food was ok. We ordered the surf and turf. The ceasar salad and the lobster bisque were great, but I didnâ€™t have a single bite of my steak b/c Iâ€™m super picky and didnâ€™t like the way it looked. We got the DJ for 5 hours, and it was SO worth it! He was awesome and really kept the party going. He was set up on the upper level and threw out random party favors throughout the nightâ€¦balloons, masks, glow sticks. The guests loved it!
We picked two tiers for our case: tres leches with chocolate filling and white cake with strawberry filling. Both flavors were awesome. The case was super moist and delicious. I didn't love the way it looked, but oh well.
We decided to use Blue Lens Caribe. It was an ok experience. Our photographer was Mirko. He was definitely very impersonal and never even bothered to learn our names. However, he was obviously very familiar with the resort and knew exactly what he was doing. I love our pictures, and that's what really matters. It was also fairly cheap for what we got. We paid $2K for 147 edits photos, 800 total photos, a DVD slideshow, and hour-long video. We had the photographer and the videographer from 5pm until after the bouquet toss. My biggest issue with them is that we still don't have our video. The copies they gave us were scratched, so they shipped us three more, but it was the slideshow, not the video! A little frustrating, but not the end of the world. This is my favorite picture that Mirko took.
Things Iâ€™d keep in mind:
- I recommend that you bring a bunch of cash for tips. We found ourselves tipping more than we expected to because we were so happy and impressed with the service. We ended up dipping into the cash we got for the wedding.
- Prepare envelopes with tips ahead of time for the day of the wedding and give to Ana. We were obviously kind of busy the day of the wedding, so Iâ€™d forgotten to tip the violinist, the minister, and the mariachi band. I ended up giving the cash to Ana to give to them after the wedding, but should have just had the enveloped ready the day of the wedding.
- Try to arrive a few days before any of your guests to prepare all the details. I feel like I was always running around with errands instead of enjoying my guests right up until the wedding. I wish we would have gotten there on Monday before any of the guests arrived on Wednesday.
Hope this was helpful. Please PM me with any questions.