I recently got married at the GSP last week and have just arrived home. It was the most amazing day of my life and I would like to thank the wedding coordinator Araceli for making it all happen. She is so wonderful. When you begin the planning process, it takes longer for them to respond to your emails (but they do!). As your wedding gets closer and your issues become higher priorities, you will get a response quicker. The other thing is that you can make small changes at your meeting with the coordinator once you arrive at the resort. I chose a package that included dinner only for 20 but we had 26 guests in total (some booked last-minute). Araceli was able to make a reservation for our entire party the same day! Keep in mind, it will be more difficult to change dinner or ceremony sites (these are booked months in advance) but they can help you make small changes. She was also able to change the colour of my flowers the day before the wedding.
We chose to have our wedding ceremony at the sunset gazebo because it was more private and our reception at the chill-out lounge. This was INCREDIBLE!!!! I requested the red carpet removed at the sunset gazebo so it would look more natural and beachy-rustic.
On the wedding day, I chose a 2pm ceremony time because I was worried that there would not be enough time for photos after the ceremony (5pm sunset time in December). This was perfect! We had approximately 2 hours to do photos after the ceremony, including extensive group photos and couple photos throughout the resort. The resort is very large so it may be best to jot down a few places that you would like to have your photo taken so you are not wasting time looking for somewhere to shoot (although the entire resort looks great).
I got my hair done at the salon with my mom. It is a bit on the pricey side (90US per person) but they did a good job making sure that my hair would hold in the heat and humidity. I would bring a picture of exactly what you want. They do have photos that you can chose from but they tend to be a bit out-dated or too traditional (they are mostly updo, not much half up half down choices). I am confident that they can copy any style - you just have to show them exactly what you are looking for. I had my friend do my makeup because I am very natural and did not want to look too made up. I would suggest a make-up trial if you want to use the make-up service at the spa because it was not too expensive (approx 70US). My appointment was at 10:30. We were done at approximately noon. I had tried to curl my own hair the day before and my extra-hold hair spray from home did not keep my curls in the humitidy. I was very happy with the results from the salon. My hair turned out exactly what I wanted.
From noon until 2pm, I got ready with my bridesmaid. They delivered sparkling wine to my hotel room but it was so hectic getting ready, we did not get a chance to enjoy it. At 2pm, Araceli arrived in my hotel room to drive me to the ceremony site at the sunset gazebo. She brought my flowers and my bridesmaid bouquet. The boutineres were delivered to the suite where the groom was getting ready earlier in the day. My flowers were exactly what I wanted, a simple all-white bouquet of roses. There was enough room in the cart for Araceli, my parents, my bridesmaid, and the flower girl and ring bearer. It was fun to drive in a golf-cart throughout the resort.
If you do not want sand in your shoes, the sunset gazebo is perfect. There is a a wooden walkway out to the chill out lounge and then there is a wooden walkway that connect the sunset gazebo to the chill out lounge. You can walk out to the gazebo without walking on the beach or getting sand in your shoes. Most guests will access the sunset gazebo by walking through the chill out lounge (they will not need to walk in the sand). It is set right on the beach and there are only a few beach club guests in the area so there will be fewer spectators than in the riviera gazebo. The DJ played all the songs exactly at the right moments. If you label your ipod songs and give a list to Araceli, she can pass on the instructions.
After the ceremony, bottled water was provided for the guests while we did the group photos. We did some photos on the beach and then walked throughout the resort to do a few more photos.
Between the ceremony and reception at 6pm, my guests rested and got changed and then met up to have a few drinks at the sunset lobby bar because this is free. If you want to have a formal cocktail hour, you will have to pay. Since we knew we would be doing photos, we chose to inform our guests to meet up informally at the lobby bar from 4:30-6:00. There is a shuttle that takes guests from the lobby to the chill out lounge. Just before 6pm, our guests took the shuttle to the chill out lounge.
The chill out cannot be reserved prior to 6pm. That is because it is a beach club during the day for paying guests. At 6pm it was dark but the set up was amazing! The main deck is an open-air deck and there are a few smaller decks connected to the side. We sat most of our guests on the main deck and left an open space for dancing on the deck. There is lighting throughout and you can hear the ocean and feel the breeze. It sets the perfect atmosphere for a warmer destination wedding reception. If you look up, you can see the stars while you are sitting or dancing on the deck. Our guests could not stop talking about what an amazing atmosphere the chill out lounge is at night.
We hired the DJ. We did not bring any of our own music. He played top 40 and we told him what we did not like. Also, he took requests throughout the night. We played some retro music and that was very popular with our older guests. The DJ does not do any announcing. You will need to bring your own MC. Overall, we were happy with the DJ. He was able to figure out what our crowd liked very easily. You can chose to bring your own playlist and he will play that if you do not want to leave it to chance with music. They provide a wireless mic and this worked really well for speeches.
I did not want my guests to dance on the sand (some are older) so we did not have a dance on the beach. I also decided against ordering the dance floor because we had a small party (36 guests) and we all fit on the deck very easily. It was more fun to dance close to each other and the DJ set up right on the deck where the dancing took place.
The food was AMAZING for the wedding buffet. I wished I had more time to eat. It was the best food during my whole time at the resort. There are so many choices of meats, sides, salads, and desserts. We ordered the cake from the resort and it was really good. We chose the 3-milk flavour, which is a mexican version of vanilla cake with vanilla icing. Again, I wished I had eaten more of the cake. They set it up in such a nice way and it stayed warm throughout the evening. I chose to serve dinner as soon as the reception started because I did not want the food to become cold but this does not seem to be an issue. We chose the grill menu and the steak was SOOOO GOOOD!
For decor, I brought a few table runners and votive candles. I did not bring any flowers. The atmosphere is already so beautiful that you do not need to bring extra decor. I also brought a few picture frames to hold the table numbers and did a simple seating plan. I stressed out about these details but it was unnecessary. Even if I did not plan the seating or decor, it would have gone perfectly. I don't think anyone would notice that there was no extra decor because the space is already so atmospheric. My best advice is that if you are going to bring decor, please bring ONLY THINGS THAT YOU ARE WILLING TO THROW OUT AFTER. When the wedding was over, I did not want to bring anything home with me. It was so much work packing the candle and table runners and a few picture frames. I purchased most items from ikea for under $1 so I was happy to leave them behind. I spent $200 on various decor items that I thought I needed. In the end, I brought $70 worth with me to Mexico and left it all behind when I was done. DO NOT STRESS over these minor details. The wedding will be beautiful regardless of what decor you decide on. Araceli set up everything at the reception according to my instructions. She was FANTASTIC!!!
Overall, GSP was able to delivery my perfect wedding. I am not a detail-oriented bride but I had a vision of saying my vows right beside the ocean in a beautiful gazebo and then hosting a fun and intimate reception outdoors but NOT on the beach. This vision came to life and was beyond what I could even dream.
Im not sure what the current prices are but I will provide a rough estimate of my costs for 36 guests (in US currency):
wedding package (renewal) $800
tiffany chair rental $220
Chill out party $4000
Hair for 2 $180
extra hour to extend party to 11pm $300
DJ (I think it was $800 from 6pm - 11pm)
Tips for all help: $200US
Photographer day pass $400 (2 x $200US)
Photographer $1700 for 4 hours
I will continue to browse the forum now and then to help out any brides with questions. Please do not hesitate to post questions on this forum. I planned my entire wedding using the info on this forum and I would be happy to pass along my knowledge and experience. I had the wedding of my dreams and I'd love to help you do the same. Good luck planning brides and grooms!