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I believe the photographer, is a new rule.  I had previously arranged to bring in a Photographer with Maria, which was ok with Lupita when I fwd her the email.  I will not be getting Married until May 31, 2011.  If you had previous arrangement I would say keep all you emails, just in case.  I also agree Lupita has been very good a responding to emails.  Does anyone know the view from the garden area?

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Hi Thanks for posting your review.  It caught my attention because like you, I will have at least 60  guests.  My fiance and I were also planning on the Italian restaurant for our dinner.  What did you do after dinner? We are considering the disco.


Any info is appreciated :)


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thanks! hmm i think i had seen that no photographers statement when i was planning and all i did was ask and was also informed about the day pass. fyi u will have to pay for the photographers pass and their assistants pass as well if they have an assistant. 


btw not sure if i mentioned it in my review but Lupita is great! i loveddd her! she is very sweet natured.. and caring. She seemed very professional and organized and "on top of things". i am sure she will do a great job! Looking back on it i guess she was being trained during my wedding. I thought she was just Maria's assistant. 


not sure if the last question was for me but after our italian buffet semi private dinner we had the "beach cocktail dance party" on the beach. :)

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I just asked Lupita about using our own photographer and she siad it was fine.  If you are bringing one onto the resort you must pay the day pass for them as Dreamyeyez stated above.  We are using FI mother as she is a photographer and luckily we dont have to pay anything as she is already a guest at the resort.

Hope that helps!


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Hi Kray41, here a picture Lupita sent me of where we could get married in a garden.I don't know where on the resort this is so I don't know the view, sorry.


Originally Posted by Kray41 View Post



I believe the photographer, is a new rule.  I had previously arranged to bring in a Photographer with Maria, which was ok with Lupita when I fwd her the email.  I will not be getting Married until May 31, 2011.  If you had previous arrangement I would say keep all you emails, just in case.  I also agree Lupita has been very good a responding to emails.  Does anyone know the view from the garden area?


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Hi everybody!


I got married at Sandos Playacar on November 24, 2011. Yup, just last week!


We had a group of 27 people, and we arrived at the resort late in the evening on Sat Nov 19th. We were so excited to see the beautiful lobby, but then began the check-in nightmare! It was completely unorganized and chaotic, but after about an hour, we all headed off to our rooms. We had booked the standard rooms because we wanted to be close to the beach and the action. Nobody mentioned during check-in that the actually put us in the junior suites. So as we made our way to our rooms, we quickly discovered that they had stuck us at the very back of the resort, absolutely as far away from the beach as you could be! When I went back to the front desk, they tried to convince me that we should be happy for the mistake because we were in better rooms. Iâ€m sure some people would appreciate the upgraded room, but we specifically selected the standard rooms for location and were absolutely furious that they moved our entire group without even mentioning it to us. The worst part was that they had stuck us in the adults only section, so the members of our group with kids were put in a totally separate location, away from everybody else! After much fighting with the front desk, they finally agreed to move our entire group to the standard rooms (2000 block building) but told us that we would have to wait two days. So on Mon Nov 21st we were finally moved to our proper rooms. They moved all of our luggage for us and it went smoothly but we really never got an acceptable explanation for why it took 2 days to get us into the rooms we had booked 8 MONTHS in advance. The standard rooms were very nice and we loved the central location, so it was all good after the move.


A couple good things did come out of the room mix-up. First, because we were initially placed in the junior suites, our whole group ended up with the gold wrist bands, instead of the blue wrist bands that we would have got if placed in the standard rooms in the first place. The gold wrist bands granted us access to the premium lounges, which had excellent drinks and snacks (and air conditioning). We ended up spending a lot of time in these lounges. Also, because of all of the problems, Lupita gave us some free extras including a private beach dinner for my husband and I (which was AMAZING!!!) and also surprised us with a sand ceremony for no charge, which we loved and have the jar of sand as an amazing keepsake.


As for the actual wedding, it was perfect and Lupita was amazing. We had the ceremony on the beach, and then we had dinner at the Italian restaurant. We got really lucky because, although we hadnâ€t booked a private reception, the Italian buffet was shut down due to a broken oven so we got the whole place to ourselves, complete with a microphone and sound system. We just had to go through a set of doors to get food from the main buffet. It was perfect! The flowers were beautiful and the cake looked and tasted so good! After dinner, we danced the night away at the disco (which was super fun every night we went there)!


I had my hair and makeup done at the resort. The hair turned out alright but my makeup was awful and I ended up having to wash it all off and do it myself so they didnâ€t charge me. The girls in the salon seemed alright but they didnâ€t speak any English so it was impossible to explain what I wanted. Lupita and the salon manager ended up showing up at my room with another girl to help fix my make-up so it ended up alright.


As for the resort, it was very beautiful, especially the beach. The drinks were really good (very strong). As for the food, some people in the group loved it and some people not so much…but there was lots of variety!


As I mentioned previously with the rooms, if you want to be near the action then youâ€ll want to book the standard or ocean front rooms (room numbers in the 1000s or 2000s). If you prefer peace and quiet and a slightly nicer room, then the junior suites are good but be prepared for a lot of walking and taking shuttles to get anywhere. To avoid the problems we had, I would call a few days prior to arriving at the resort to confirm that you will be placed in the rooms you booked.


If you wanted to go with the garden area for the ceremony instead, it was quite beautiful and just steps from the beach so you can still see the ocean. It was quite shielded from the wind also so it may be a good option if you are concerned about that.


Overall, our experience started out very rough but finished strong, and we left Sandos with a good feeling! Like most brides, I stressed a lot leading up to the wedding, but in the end, it was all good and I married the man of my dreams on a beautiful beach - what could be better than that!?!

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Thanks for the review!! Im getting married on May 5 and am so concerned about the hair and makeup..did you bring in photos for your hair? Was the beach ceremony pretty windy..would you recommend having your hair down with it being so windy?


Also, for your reception did you rent out the disco? Im still up in arms on what to do after and will have a 9 year old child with us as well. SO not sure what to do after the ceremony..any information would be great!!!!

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Hi, Do you mind sharing the approximate cost of your photographer? My fiance and I are going back and forth with the idea but it all comes down to the budget!!


Originally Posted by Pinz View Post

Hi ladies, it is finally here - my detailed wedding review.  Video of ceremony coming soon!


Wedding Review – March 1, 2011 at the Sandos Playacar, Mayan Riviera

Wedding Coordinator:

I have to start my review with Maria because she was one of the top reasons we chose this resort.  She responds to emails within a day or two (which is unheard of with most wedding coordinators in Mexico) and she is really flexible – you can do anything at this resort.  Maria is amazing, you will not be disappointed!  She looks after every detail with ease.  She works very hard to make sure your wedding day is stress free.    I was pretty relaxed but being the organized freak that I am, I was worried about stupid little stuff like the delivery of flowers and getting my dress steamed.  While at the spa she delivered the flower for my hair and when I was done the flowers were waiting for me in my room.  She is organized, efficient and there for you! Do yourself a favour though and send her your guest list and other details two weeks before the wedding.  This way you can have your rooms together if you want and any other special details.  Also Maria works so many hours and days without a day off and does not complain one bit.  If you can squeeze a monetary gift for her in your budget she will greatly appreciate it (and not expect it).


Mayan Ceremony:

This was the best wedding planning decision Jay and I ever made!!!  I totally recommend the Mayan ceremony!  Our guests were amazed and we know that our ceremony will be remembered by everyone forever.  It is really hard to describe but it was such as spiritual and cultural ceremony, it really connected Jay and I in a different way than I ever imagined. A few notes about the ceremony – it has to be at sunset (ours was at 5:30) so you will need to get your pictures taken before hand, it is in Mayan, not English, but it is so spiritual that you donâ€t need translation.  The ceremony is about 45 min long including the Mayan performers.  The performance was sooo amazing though.  There are a few different price points but we got the entire package.  It was $1400 USD for the Shaman, musicians and performers.  It was worth every penny!  Since we were not using the resortâ€s contracted minister, we went with the free wedding package and just added everything on.  This turned out to be cheaper for us.  I will try to attach a description of the ceremony to this posting.  We are also in the process of editing our wedding ceremony video, when it is done I will post the link to it on YouTube.

The Mayan Ceremony is a symbolic ceremony so we got hitched in our living room a few days before we left for Mexico.   This also gave us the chance to “elope†with our best man/maid of honour.  We had fun with it and decided on a football wedding theme – super fun!    



We went to the Italian Buffet.  The food was similar to the regular buffet but they had an area separated for us and servers just for us.  I got to pick the table arrangement, we did a grand entrance, they put our wedding favours on the table and we even cut the cake.  If you want to save some cash I really recommend this option – it is FREE!



We went with the disco.  It did not smell like cat pee like others say.  In fact, we partied in there most nights.  The DJ played the music we wanted and they made it look nice for our reception despite the graffiti walls.  A year ago, Jay and I went to Mexico to check out the resort.  When we did the disco was painted yellow.  When we go there for the wedding, it had been painted white and people were given markers to write graffiti everywhere.  So while it was not really nice to look at, it was super fun and all of our guests really enjoyed writing on the wall!


Hair & Make-up:

I had my hair and makeup done for the wedding at the Resort Spa.  Hair was $100 and makeup $60.  My hair turned out great but I hated my makeup and had no time to redo it myself.  Also the hair stylist/makeup artist (same person), did not speak any English at all so do yourself a favour and bring a picture of how you want your hair and makeup done (unless you speak Spanish).  I said natural for makeup which she interpreted as brown and I found myself rubbing a lot of it off and adding my own blush.  Maria will make your appointment for you which is convenient.



We decided to hire a private photographer (Dean Sanderson).  We really struggled with this decision because I always told myself that I only needed one good wedding picture and we did not want to spend a lot of money.  Guess what?  You will want several amazing wedding pictures to choose from and that is what we got!  Plus the resort photographer is not going to touch up the colours and lighting in your shots – Dean will!  He is quick to get them back to you to – 3 weeks, a lot of my friends waited 2 months.  I was so anxious I checked my email every day in anticipation!


My only complaint was that since our ceremony was at 5:30 we had to do pictures at 3pm when the sun was in a bad spot.  Not the photographerâ€s fault but not a great time to shoot pics at the beach.  A lot of pictures have squinty eyes syndrome.  Also ladies, make sure you scope out the resort first for any cool wedding picture spots.  Dean is good but this may very well be his first time on your resort.  He has great tips though like drink a lot of water 24 hours before the wedding and bring blotting papers to the photo shoot.


Dean was also really good to work with, and has reasonable rates – contact him directly for more details.  He is also getting more into underwater photo shoots so we decided last minute to go to a cenote with him the next day and “trash the dressâ€.  Sooo cool and it was a really really fun day.  By the end of the day we felt like Dean was also friend, not just the professional photographer.  He is very personable and we soon discovered that we had a lot of the same interests –and food allergies! And my dress was not ruined at all!  The cenote is fresh water so it actually cleaned it a bit – lol. 


If you want to check out my wedding pictures, I uploaded a few of them to Flickr:



The Resort:

Overall, I would highly recommend this resort.  I have been to several resorts in Mexico and this is in my top 2 for sure.  The layout of the resort is second to none, the staff is great, the drinks and food is good too.  The beach is wide and has nice sand.




This is my biggest piece of advice – stay in the beach section!!!!  While the Riviera section has fancier rooms with Jacuzzis, it is far from everything.  The swim up bar in that section is also super lame because all of the action is in the beach section of the resort!  Maria upgraded Jay and me to an oceanfront room which was amazing.  We set our alarm to get up and watch the sun rise almost every day.  The rooms are close to the beach, pool, restaurants, disco, sports bar, etc.  If you are really concerned with having the fanciest rooms on the resort and you want a really quiet wedding celebration then the Riviera section or Haciendas are for you, if not STAY IN THE BEACH SECTION!!!!


Exchange Rate

This is where the resort screws you big time.  Their exchange rate is different in different sections of the resort (store, spa, front desk).  For example at the Spa, prices are posted in US dollars but you cannot pay cash at the spa.  When you go to pay at the front desk, they convert everything into pesos at their rate.  Then when you go to pay in USD they convert your USD back into pesos at their rate (donâ€t forget that buy and sell rates are different).  Anyway, we felt like we got totally screwed and I made a big stink about it when we were checking out.  Honestly, the best rates were by using our credit card.  Do not exchange you money at the resort or withdraw from their bank machines.  Go to Playa and shop around, you will save a lot of money. 


Wedding Budget:

Ceremony $1400, Hair/Makeup $160, Flowers $233, Photographer (used private), Dress Steam ~$35, Day pass for photographer $77, Disco $700, Cake, wedding toast and dinner were free


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Hi Alyssa,


I wouldn't stress too much about hair and make-up. I'm very particular about what I like, so that is probably why I wasn't totally satisfied. The important thing is that they really cared and wanted to make me happy - both Lupita and the salon manager (can't remember her name) were awesome and wanted to do everything possible. I would definetly bring some pictures for your hair, and for make-up too if you can.
Wind wasn't a problem on our wedding day - in fact, it was very hot and we could have used a nice breeze! However, most other afternoons on the beach were quite windy. The ladies at the salon used a lot of heavy-duty hairspray, so they are prepared for windy conditions should they arise. The garden ceremony area was very beautiful, and just steps from the beach so you could still see the ocean. It was quite shielded from the wind. As long as there isn't another wedding on the same day, you could probably wait until you arrive at the resort to make your final decision.
We didn't bother paying to rent the disco. After the ceremony, our guests just hung out in the main bar area while we took photos all over the resort. Then we all met up for dinner, and went and danced the night away at the disco afterwards. You can hire a babysitter through the Kid's club at the resort -  a few of our guests with kids used the service and they were very happy! We had a small enough group (27 people) that we didn't need to rent a space! Also, it was fun hanging out around the resort in our wedding clothes, as lots of other guests would approach us with well wishes and congratulations - super fun!
Let me know if you have any other questions!

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