Just got back from our wedding on Saturday, and also like the others had a fabulous time!
For our wedding favors, we did gift baskets. We purchased bubba kegs for everyone (which went over well!) and handed everyone a booklet with a `directory` for them to fill in room numbers for other guests travelling with us and also with a wedding day timeline, to tell everyone where to be and when since I dont think it is communicated very well from the hotel. Since we had 41 people travelling with us, this was the easiest way to make sure everyone showed up! I also included some do not disturb signs from Martha stewart and dry erase markers for everyone to leave on their doors to communicate to others where to find them. I also brought fans with me and Alejandra had no problem setting them up on chairs the day of the wedding. Finally, we also made a seating plan for dinner and she was able to set this out for us as well.
The spa was phenominal. I was worried about my hair style and had made contact with them before arriving for a hair trial the day before my wedding. There was a little bit of a misunderstanding and they accidentally booked me in for a makeup trial, but were incredibly accomodating and changed it around for me. They only had 2 people available to do hair and 2 for makeup at any given time, so it was beneficial for me to make those appointments by email before arriving as we had 8 people to get through. I would suggest doing this if you have more than one or two people who need appointments. Everyone looked fabulous and the spa staff were so sweet, I`m glad that I didnt have to worry about that on my wedding day.
As far as our wedding 'package' here goes...
I was blown away with my flowers, they were beautiful...!
We got married at 2 pm on the gazebo (it is located steps from the ocean and they dress it up beautifully without having to purchase any extras). For my music I brought what I wanted on both an Ipod and a CD, and by far the CD was the easier way to go for this portion. I wrote on the front of the cover which number was for the boys walking, the girls walking, and then for myself. I couldn't actually hear the music for everyone else from where I was standing, so I just have to assume it was done properly, but for when I walked it was right on cue. If you make a CD and bring it down, just make sure it isnt a re-recordable version.
For dinner we chose to have everyone in the a la carte restaurant La Vaqueria (the grill). The decor was just ok, but the food was fabulous, and everyone commented so. We had one vegetarian and he also really enjoyed his meal. For our menu we chose the Princess Salad, the Tail of Beef Juice soup and the grilled chicken breast. The tail of beef juice soup sounds strange, but I think it was the best part! It was like a thick beef consume, delicious! Dessert was so so, but they brought out our wedding cake for dessert also. The cake was decorated beautifully and tasted amazing and they had no problem adding our own cake topper.
Dinner was only supposed to be until 7:30 (you only get 1.5 hrs in the a al carte's) but they were in no hurry to kick us out at 7:50. We were in more of a hurry since for our reception we booked a beach dance party from 8-10pm. That was a good compromise for us since we didnt want to spend money on a private dinner but still wanted to spend time on the beach. It was AMAZING! We payed for a open bar, and sound set up. For this portion I'm glad I had my ipod, it was easy to hook up my play list and I had extra music ready incase the playlist wasn't going over well with the guests. We were able to do informal speeches, and a bouquet toss and garter grab. And it was worth it to pay for the open bar since there is no where to get drinks very close. The only downside is that the nearest bathrooms would have been a few minutes walk away from the beach towards the resort.
We met with Alejandra the day before the wedding, and I do wish I had pushed for a rehearsal as things didnt end up exactly the way I wanted for the ordering of the bridesmaid's and groomsmen and that would have been easy to fix had I done the rehearsal. The reason I didnt push for it was because it was so hard coordinating 11 of us in the bridal party with Alejandra (she is a very busy lady!). So if I had to do it again I might ask my bridal party to meet the wedding coordinator with me to plan another time to do the rehearsal. You dont find out what time you are meeting the wedding coordinator until you get there, and then its hard to arrange last minute meetings with everyone involved. We brought walkie talkies which were super helpful at close range, but since the resort is so big they didnt help much if you were very far apart (ie the beach to the rooms or lobby).
Room service for breakfast the day after our wedding was included, and it was so nice to sit on the balcony with a bottle of champagne and review the night before!!
That's about it for the wedding, now for the resort itself....!
AMAZING, and I would go back in a heartbeat. The food was good at the buffets, got a little tiresome towards the end, but no one in 40 people got sick that I am aware of. For a la carte's we tried Mamma Mia, La Hacienda and La Vaqueria and they were all great.
The staff are amazing, beautiful people. Everyone went out of their way to be friendly and accomodating. NO complaints about customer service.
We got massages on the beach, (ask for Jasmine, she was fabulous) and you can really bargain them down if you have a group of people going at the same time.
We stayed in a swim up room, and it was great. For the days that you want to sleep in, but want to get a prime location for sitting out in the sun, the swim up rooms are the way to go. You always have a spot at the pool and its easy access if you need a change of clothes, bathroom break etc. We stayed outside of the swimup bar and it was a prime location (check out the all you can eat soft serve ice cream on the other side of the bar.... yummi!) It was also a good gathering spot for all of our guests, since they knew were to find us!
Hope this helps, and gets you excited about your own weddings! It is a wonderful place to be married!!!