Got married at Sandos 5/18/12 and we had a great time! We booked through DestinationWeddings.com/FunJet, which was a lot of help as far as all of our guests travel and bookings. The resort is nice, but it's definitely not the best in certain areas. The food wasn't impressive and my fiance and I actually got sick one day from it. Also the rooms aren't the best. I stayed in all 4 of the room options (long story). The beach rooms are fine, nothing special. The bed and pillows are very hard, but I was still able to sleep ok. It was nice being close to everything. The haciendas are fun because they have the pool out back, but they are not much different from the beach rooms aside from having a little extra room and a pull out couch bed. The Riviera rooms are a little nicer as far as decor and such, but I don't think they are that much better than the haciendas. The pool on the Riviera side is a lot quieter and that was nice. We stayed in the adults only side for our honeymoon night and that those are definitely the nicest rooms. The pillows are actually soft and the bed was decent. The resort always had lots of fun activities going on and the nightlife was fun each night with a show each night and everyone hanging out at the meeting point. That was always a fun time. Our guests all had a great time at the resort and the price is much more reasonable than many other resorts. However, we had a LOT issues with rooming. All of our guests came in on different days and such and pretty much all of our guests except maybe 2 or 3 out of 33 had some kind of issue with their room. I spend about 2 days in the lobby trying to get things sorted out with the front desk and trying to prevent further issues with incoming guests, but they always got it wrong. It was very frustrating because I spend a lot of time prior to arriving making sure everything was in order. When I arrived at the resort, they didn't even have a room for me (the bride) until 3 days later. Fortunately they weren't booked so they placed me in another room, but I was supposed to have an adjoining room with my bridesmaids and it got all messed up because they got everything wrong with rooming. Between all of our guests we pretty much had every issue you could think of. It was a very very frustrating time and I lost a lot of time with my friends and family trying to figure it all out. Fortunately each guest didn't have to spend much time on it as I did. I talked with other brides at the resort and they didn't have any problems at all, but their guests all came and left on the same day so it was easy to book them. So I would just say if you have lots of different schedules and rooming with your guests I would be cautious and make sure they have it right.
As far as the wedding...we had the most beautiful day we could have asked for. It rained several times during the week and we were a little nervous about the weather whether it was going to rain or be uncomfortably hot (especially for me as I'm from SD where it's not so hot and very dry so I'm not used to humidity). Our wedding day was absolutely perfect weather. Wasn't too hot, no rain, and clear skies. The wedding coordinator, Lupita, was great to work with beforehand and got back to me quickly through our email correspondence. Once at the resort she met with us again to make sure we had everything figured out. She was very accomodating to make sure we had everything we wanted. After doing a lot of research on photographers we ended up going with the resort photographer. We had planned to get one off the resort, but then we learned there was a large fee to bring a photographer from off the resort (the first time we asked about it there wasn't a fee). The pictures from the resort photographer looked really nice and the price was significantly cheaper from the other photographers. You don't have contact with them about your wedding until you arrive at the resort. We get there and we were put with a guy who didn't know English well and he was trying to tell us what we had to do for our wedding. I knew exactly what I wanted and I explained it to him and I had even written out different shots that I wanted. He was set on doing things his way and it made me very upset because I was the one paying. Also, the prices changed from the pricing sheet we were given. They increased significantly. We were very upset at this point as everything was different than what we had been told perviously. So we went and talked to Lupita who let us talk to another photographer lady. She allowed us to get the package we wanted for the price we were originally told (it was an $800 difference). It was a terrible experience, but we finally got it worked out. Our actual photographer ended up being great. It would have been nice to meet with the actual guy beforehand, but he still did a great job and we were pleased. For the price we paid it was worth it. But now with their increased prices I would say that it would probably be better to just get a photographer from off the resort as the prices are now more comparable to them and they are probably more likely to cater to your wants compared to the resort photographer who is also concerned about running the photoshop at the hotel. The wedding setup was really nice and I loved our flowers. The one thing I don't like about Sandos is that the wedding area is right next to all of the lounge chairs. It's at the end, but there are still a lot of people there at 5:30. Fortunately there are photo editing tools and the photographer did a decent job at keeping people out of the photos, but there are plenty of photos of old men in speedos watching our wedding and I'm not super impressed with that! I asked about having it at another location on the beach, but that's the only place they let you do it. If you want a quiet wedding away from onlookers, this is not the place. I knew this coming to the resort and I was never excited about it, but I knew we had to go to this resort as many of our friends and family were on a tight budget.
The ceremony was nice (my fiance's dad did the ceremony) and then you go back to the wedding hut for a toast. I didn't want this portion and I told Lupita that in the emails, but then when we were there at the meeting she said we were doing it so I was like whatever not a big deal cause it was included so we just kind of stood there for a few minutes and then went and did our photos. We had our dinner at the Italian Buffet. We were supposed to have speakers there for toasts and such, but they didn't have them set up for us and we didn't find this out until we were ready to do them. They offered to bring them, but it would have taken too long that it wouldn't have been worth it. That was really frustrating because we planned a lot differently because of that (originally they told us we couldn't have speakers in the Italian buffet). The cake was ok, not great. We had the strawberries with hard white chocolate. We had our reception at the disco hall. We didn't have near enough time there, but they charge by the hour and we didn't want to spend too much on it if we didn't need the whole time. We still had a great time at the disco and did all the reception stuff and finished with dancing. We had a really great time at our wedding. A lot of the brides at Sandos had really great experiences with their weddings. I'm glad we did the destination wedding, but we did have a lot of issues with Sandos as far as booking and the wedding. It was nice having them do all the decorating and such, but it was not near as easy and perfect as a lot of reviews and such that I read. I'm not sure if it was just me having different requests they weren't used to or if I was just unlucky and they skipped over me a little. If you just stick to doing whatever they tell you to do then I'm sure it would be perfect, but if you want to change things up a little and they haven't done it before don't count on it happening right! I wasn't impressed with the communication with Lupita the day before and the day of the wedding. There were many frustrating things, but at the end of the day we had a really great time, a great wedding, and we're married now! Sandos was nice, but not fairytale perfect, at least in my own experience.