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review of our wedding and why we chose the Al Cielo Hotel

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#1 itsme7396

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    Posted 09 March 2007 - 07:05 PM

    (Caution: I just read this over… its pretty long winded… sorry…)

    Everyone has been asking for a review of our wedding and why we chose the Al Cielo Hotel… so here it goes…

    Like I said in an earlier post I wish we knew about this site before we got married... there's a lot of info on here that we had to figure out on our own... hopefully we can help anyone else having a destination wedding in RM, Mexico...

    We were married last Friday Mar. 2nd at the Al Cielo Hotel on Xpu-Ha Beach, about 20-25 minutes south of Playa Del Carmen… if you don’t know PDC, its about an hour or so south of Cancun airport… we had a party of 60 come down from the NYC area... since the Al Cielo Hotel only has 4 rooms, most of the guest stayed with us at the Grand Palladium Kantenah... while others stayed in hotels right in PDC... we chose the Palladium because it was only a 5 minute drive from the Al Cielo... I’ll get into why we chose the Al Cielo for the wedding later, but if you’re looking into having a wedding not on a resort, check them out… awesome hotel and restaurant, with awesome people… Andres (owner), Olga, Leilani…

    When we first decided on having a destination wedding, we looked at a lot of places… and I mean a lot… Hawaii… Puerto Vallarta… Cabo… Jamaica… Bahamas… USVI… BVI… Bermuda… Aruba… our first choice right from the start was Cabo San Lucas, Cabo Surf Hotel or the Marquis Cabo would’ve been our choices for the wedding, but after going through flights and rooming, it just would’ve been too much for all our guests… so with that, Puerto Vallarta and Hawaii were out as well… as for the places in the Caribbean we looked at, Rockhouse in Negril, Jamaica was a place we were interested in, but they were completely booked for the weekends we asked about… St. Thomas/St. John, we looked at, but reviews on service turned us off… this is about the time when frustration set in… trying to find a place that all our guests would love and wouldn’t be too inconvenient for them to attend…

    At this point were we still avoiding the Riviera Maya, just because of the Cancun/Spring Break image we had… but after being introduced to someone that had a destination wedding in RM, we decided it was worth a checking out… they had their wedding at the Maroma Hotel, and they just kept on about the service they got inside and outside the resort… We looked into the Maroma as well, but they were booked for our weekend …and after reading general reviews of weddings all over the RM and the Playa Del Carmen area, we decided the RM would be the place… so the search began for a resort to have the wedding at…

    Why did we choose the Al Cielo Hotel over the big all-inclusive resorts? Well we decided early on that we wanted a more intimate / private setting for the wedding and reception, which had to be on the beach, and where it would be just us and no on-lookers… we looked up and down the RM for any all-inclusive resort that could provide that… most didn’t… what they offered was a ceremony on their beach or gazebo, then a roped off section for the reception in one of their restaurants/buffets… but the ones that did, either didn’t allow kids, were too far from PDC, or just didn’t seem to catch our attention… out of the all-inclusive resorts that we did consider, were Azul Beach Hotel, and the Grand Esmeralda (after reading recent reviews of Grand Esmeralda, thank god we didn’t choose to have it there)… so from there we decided that we and our guests would stay at one of the many all-inclusive resorts, and we would have the wedding somewhere else that was more intimate… side note: we did host a welcoming party at Grand Palladium…

    The hotels that we were considering to have the wedding at were, Maroma, the Ikal Del Mar, Amansala Hotel, Hotel Esencia, and the Al Cielo Hotel… each hotel was small and catered to what we were looking for… if you have the chance, check out each hotels’ website they’re all gorgeous… our only problem with Ikal Del Mar and Esencia, was that they required a certain number of rooms be booked at the their hotels in order to have a wedding there… as for Amansala, it was just too far from PDC (1 hour), and Cancun (2 hours)… we knew that we would have a few people staying up in Cancun for our wedding… so Tulum, where Amansala is located, would be too far… The Al Cielo Hotel turned out to be a perfect fit for us… And after having our wedding there, if we had to do it again… there wouldn’t be any other choice but the Al Cielo Hotel…

    Our first visit to Al Cieolo was the Monday before our wedding… from the moment we set foot on the Al Cieolo’s sand… we fell in love with the place and the people there… Andres, the owner was very cool… he was the first one we met when we got to the hotel… Olga, the restaurant/event coordinator, was very receptive to our wishes and very easy to work with… and Leilani, the hostess, was just a blast to hangout with…

    As for the wedding day… we believe it went off without a hitch… we had the wedding on the beach, then had the cocktail hour in the restaurant… which is just an open air thatched roof building… I believe we were supposed to have the cocktail hour on the beach as well, but it was bit too windy for it… so they just moved the tables around so there was more room… as the party started, we had open bar, so everyone was at the bar drinking… we hired two DJs, so if people weren’t at the bar, they were on the dance floor dancing all nite… as for the food, some guests told us they were licking their plates cause the food was so good… hahahahaaa… so I guess it turned out to be an awesome wedding… everybody kept telling us it was the best party/wedding/vacation they had ever been on…

    We just wanted everybody to have a good time… they all spent a lot of money and time to share this day with us and we just hope they had as much fun as we did… by what we’ve been hearing I think they did…

    Oh I forgot to mention we had a welcome party at the Grand Palladium Thursday nite… the nite before the wedding… Thanks to Dafney, the group coordinator at GP… she helped us set up the private get together with apps and open bar… she also helped us set up day passes for those that weren’t staying at the resort…

    I also can’t forget to thank Erica and Maria (Weddings in Playa Has Experienced Wedding Planners to Coordinate Destination Weddings, Receptions and Mayan Ceremonies in Playa del Carmen Mexico) our WCs for making this unforgettable wedding

    Thanks for listening… if you have any questions just ask away…

    Julie&Jeff... (del Sol Photography)

    Here are a few links to the people that helped make this wedding happen:
    Playa Weddings - Videography in Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya
    Weddings in Playa Has Experienced Wedding Planners to Coordinate Destination Weddings, Receptions and Mayan Ceremonies in Playa del Carmen Mexico
    Al Cielo Hotel A Charming Small Beachfront Hotel Xpu Ha Beach Riviera Maya Mexico
    Sol Tamargo Photography Wedding Photojournalism
    matt adcock photography


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      Posted 09 March 2007 - 07:39 PM

      Your pictures are beautiful. You looked amazing and it looked like it was such a great day!!!!!!

      Are your dresses from J.Crew? I think mine are the same color, but the Whitney style!

      #3 Christine

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      • Wedding Date:July 20, 2007
      • Wedding Location:Napa, California
      • LocationReno, NV

      Posted 09 March 2007 - 07:44 PM

      your pics are beautiful, thank you for sharing.
      Christine + Will (married 7/20/07) + Ainsleigh (born 6/25/08) + Nolan (born 11/9/10) + Delaney (born 12/31/13) = One Very Happy Family!

      #4 Sarah


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        Posted 09 March 2007 - 07:45 PM

        Awesome review Julie, thanks so much for sharing!

        #5 from_nyc

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          Posted 09 March 2007 - 08:19 PM

          Gorgeous! Such a beautiful wedding! Great review too!

          Wanna plan mine?!

          #6 Jessalyn

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            Posted 09 March 2007 - 09:58 PM

            Great review Julie! Thank you! It is so helpful to read other people's experiences!

            Your wedding was beautiful and I love your photos!!

            My new man....Donovan

            Wedding photos and avatar by Jonathan Thrasher Photography - www.jthrasherphoto.com
            Our wedding slide show www.jthrasherphoto.com/slideshows/jessalynhttp://tickers.Ticke....k/27c1/age.png

            #7 itsme7396

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            • 90 posts

              Posted 10 March 2007 - 12:11 AM

              thank you all for all your great comments... i'll tell you, it wasn't an easy process... but thankfully it worked out...

              SPRINGBRIDE: yes they were J.Crew... and the groomsmen wore Banana Republic...

              #8 OneLove

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                Posted 10 March 2007 - 12:23 AM

                great review..thanks for sharing..!

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