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Dreams Cancun review 11-9-08 LONG!!!


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#1 flygirl

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    Posted 14 November 2008 - 02:25 PM

    Well, we’re home and it’s cold here…I wanna go back sooo bad, it was the best vacation ever!!!!!
    So here’s my review…

    We arrived on Monday and met with Gaby immediately. I hadn’t picked out my food, flowers, or finalized the contract yet because the whole e-mailing process was so frustrating the weeks before we left. I just decided I’d do it all once we were there. So we quickly met with Gaby (who is a sweet heart by the way) and she set up a time for our blood work and for us to go over the contract and all of the stuff I brought (a lot).

    Bloodwork – no big deal…the doctor came to our room the next morning and she was done in less than two minutes.

    Met with Gaby on Tuesday and she arranged all of our salon appointments. She allowed me to swap my makeup for a trial hair run. FYI – there are only two stylists in the salon on any given day, so if you plan on having your whole wedding party get their hair done together – it’s not going to happen! We had two appointments at 11, 2 at noon, and 2 at 1pm the day of the wedding.

    We went over the food choices and I showed her pictures of the exact flowers I wanted and went over all of the stuff I brought down and everything was “no problem”. I’ve come to realize they say that A LOT because in the end the flowers were nothing like my pictures, the food was not what I picked out and she didn’t set up the things I brought the way I asked. But those are things you just have to accept when you plan a wedding in Mexico. When it came time to finalize the contract, she was running back to her office a lot making changes. Some times the numbers didn’t add up right, once it was in pesos, once it was in dollars, she didn’t have our deposit recorded as paid, she didn’t have things comped for us not using the photographer or cake, etc. But in the end (2 hours later) it all worked out. Just make sure to bring all emails where she states she’ll comp something and any receipts for your deposit because she had records of nothing. She also reminded us that included in our package was steaming of my our wedding clothes. My dress is all lace so it didn't need to be steamed, but my mom's dress did. So Gaby let us get her dress steamed instead. She told us to put the clothes out on our bed the next day and they would be taken and pressed and brought back in the same day. We forgot to do that. So she set the whole thing up again and the clothes came back looking very nice.

    So that was the end of the wedding planning. Now we just had to wait for our guests to arrive. We brought OOT bags and didn’t even ask Gaby about them. We tipped the concierge and she was able to have our bags sent to our guests room with their luggage when they checked in. Everyone loved the bags and were very grateful. We made a point to be in the lobby to greet all of our guests when they arrived (and we had about 40) so it took up a lot of time on the two days they all arrived, but it was fun to see everyone.

    Since we had such a large group, my dad made dinner “reservations” each night at a different restaurant for our group. He did it through the concierge and it was no big deal. They didn’t charge us extra or anything.

    The entertainment staff is AWESOME!!! If you participate in activities, they really get to know you and your group and that makes it so much more fun. We did about 3 hours of volleyball a day plus bingo, dance lessons, water aerobics, water basketball, etc. They have a different activity every night and I think we went to everything. While we were there, Monday was Monday night football, Tuesday was a Mexican fiesta on the beach with dinner and a show, Wednesday was karaoke, Thursday was a comedian, Friday was carribean night with a show, Saturday was a juggler, and Sunday I think was football (that was our wedding so I missed that night). The entertainment staff also takes a group to a different bar on the strip every night. You just meet them at 10pm in the lobby and they take you down there and help you bypass the lines and get in with a discount and they party with you for a bit, but then you find your own way home. It’s just a 5 minute walk. We went to Coco Bongo, Senior Frogs, and Dady O. All were fun, but be prepared to spend some money. Coco Bongo charges $60 at the door and it’s all you can drink. It’s kind of silly to spend that when you get “free” drinks at Dreams, but we did. Most nights though, we ended up at the lobby bar. They have a band that plays from 8:30-11:30 and they were so much fun. I noticed a lot of weddings that ended their reception early ended up at the lobby bar dancing to the band.

    Rehearsal – we had a rehearsal the day before the wedding at noon. We all showed up in swimsuits, etc. I had to get someone to call Gaby because I think she forgot. But when she showed up, she took charge and all was well. She had us run through the entrance and exit. I had been asking her all week for the ceremony script and she still hadn’t given it to me, so at the rehearsal, I gave her the vows and ring exchange I wanted used and she passed it along to the judge – no problem

    The day of the wedding, all of the guys went golfing at one of the courses included with the dreams stay. It was the one in playa del Carmen and they said it was the best course they had ever played at in their entire lives. My dad had made tee times for the guys to go to the Hilton (at $200/player) and a group we met said this course was ten times better than the Hilton, so he changed that very quickly and saved a ton of money. The golf is technically “included”, but they make you rent a cart which is $35 and it’s a cab ride to get to the course, so it’s about $50 to play golf at the course in Cancun. A little more at the one in playa del Carmen because the cab ride is longer. We had a guy play everyday and he just made tee-times the night before he played at the concierge at dreams – it was no big deal. It was nice to have the guys not at the resort that morning because we didn’t want to see each other before the wedding. My FI used the room included in our package the night before. He went to the front desk to get his key and they had no idea what he was talking about. He had to explain about the wedding, and how it was included in the package. They said it’s based on availability and they were all full. So we called Gaby and got her to come down and magically a room opened up…funny how that works.

    So while they were golfing, all of the girls made a last minute attempt to lose weight at the gym. The gym has nice equipment, but it is small and hot and particularly crowded between 7 and 8am. Then we hit the pool to attempt to lose our tan lines and that’s when it all turned south.
    DO NOT PLAN YOUR WEDDING 3 DAYS AFTER YOUR GUESTS ARRIVE!!!!
    The morning of the wedding, my brother who was a groomsman, my aunt, and another groomsman’s wife woke up with a horrid case of Montezuma’s revenge. We called the doctor and he gave them all a shot and some drugs, and he recommended my brother go to the emergency room because he was so low on fluids. The doctor said the shot makes the sickness worse before it gets better so there was no way any of those people were making it to my wedding. The doctor guessed that they had all arrived on Friday and it was now Sunday. He said the sickness takes 3 days to work it’s way out and they’d all be better on Monday. So needless to say my brother was not in my wedding and after a good hour or so of crying my mom composed herself and accepted it. One of our guests is a photoshop genius and promised he could paste my brother into a couple of pictures. My aunt and our friend’s wife were not as bad off as my brother, so they mustered the strength to come to the ceremony but they didn’t stay for the pictures or reception. So that was our drama for the week.

    So after we got our hair done, we all got ready in my room (my parents surprised us with a suite in the tower). Gaby brought up the flowers and they were bad. I wasn’t really into the flowers that much so it didn’t bother me, but for anyone that is, make sure they can get your flowers before you get down there. We had white calla lilies for the bridesmaids which were fine and orchids for the mother’s corsages (which were cheap looking and poorly put together). I had asked for those fire and ice calla lilies for my bouquet. The ones that start off pink/red and gradually turn to orange. “no problem”. Yeah. They were spray painted hot pink. Looked nothing like the picture I gave her. And we had paid for 4 corsages and she only brought me 3 and by the time we figured it out she said it was too late to get another one.

    Anyway…I had all of the groomsmen meet in the tower lobby at 3 and all of the girls were in my room. We used Vincent from Del Sol and he was incredible! He and his assistant showed up at 3. Gaby didn’t charge me a visitor’s pass for any of my vendors as long as they showed up an hour or less before the wedding. So Vincent stayed with us girls and his assistant went down to take pictures with the boys.
    I cannot say enough about Vincent…he was awesome! I had so many stupid requests that he complied with. He took my outrageous ideas and made them work. He was so funny too.

    Gaby called my room at 4 and told me it was okay for us to go down to the lobby. She had organized the seating of the guests and was awesome with the whole wedding party. We ordered a ton of extras for the wedding and it all looked beautiful. She let us get 6 sails comped for not using the cake and the gazebo d©cor comped for not using their photographer. Then we had two huge displays of white calla lilies at the gazebo entrance and chair bows. She put my program fans the petal bags in all of the chair bows. We definitely didn’t need the program fans. It was windy enough without people fanning themselves. When they say it’s windy at the gazebo…they mean windy! One of the bridesmaids had her skirt fly up over her head – good thing she was wearing spanks.

    The ceremony was flawless. The judge was great. She let my aunt know when it was time for the hand ceremony. She read the vows I wanted. She was easy to understand, etc. No problems there. After the ceremony, we had the champagne toast and then a group picture. Vincent was so great with our group. Everyone loved him. We took lots of “posed” pictures with grandmothers and aunts and parents, etc, so that took up a lot of time. My biggest regret is that we only had an hour to do pictures. I really wanted to go to the pier and the lighthouse and we ran out of time. I wish we had planned the ceremony for a little earlier so we would’ve had more time with the sun up. Oh well.
    We missed the cocktail hour (bummer) because of pictures but everyone said the mariachi band and the food was great.

    Gaby ushered everyone into the reception area (which we had at the garden). Then we walked in and the DJ announced us and we did our first dance. We used mannia cancun and he was the best! I had brought down a cd and my list of songs I wanted and had my maid of honor give it to him during the cocktail hour. His song selection was huge, the lighted dance floor was so much fun, and he was overall just a great DJ. He had recommendations for us when we should do toasts, etc. I highly recommend him.

    We also had become friendly with Luis and Roger during our week stay so we requested them for the wedding. Luis was one of our waiters and Roger was our bartender. They were incredible. Luis never let your drink get less than half full. He’d take it out of your hand and replace it with a fresh one. Roger is a shot king. He can do some incredible things with coconut rum. We got both of them and Gaby on the dance floor at one point. I am so glad we requested them because they were both a blast. Roger was sending us shots when we were dancing that we didn’t even order! Plus they were yummy shots 

    We had a few hiccups at the reception. The flowers. I had shown Gaby a picture of the centerpiece I wanted. It was three different vases. One had calla lilies, and the other two had different colored roses. When we were discussing flowers, I said I wanted it just like that but not with roses. I wanted orchids and hydrangeas instead. “no problem”. I got roses. The centerpieces were still pretty, just not at all what I wanted. And she put them on a round mirror. I didn’t bring a mirror. We didn’t talk about the mirror. I didn’t like the mirror. Oh well. I had also brought some little candles that I bought online that came in little clear gift boxes. I explained to her on our meeting day that I wanted the candles removed from the boxes and lit on the tables. They were still in the boxes on the tables. It was no big deal because it was way too windy to light them anyway – but come on! And I had brought luminaries and a guest book that she set out but she didn’t set up. It was just wayyyyy to windy for little things like that.
    And finally the timing of the reception…our package was from 6-9, but the DJ was scheduled until 11. I refused to pay an extra $10 per person per hour to have the reception go longer, so I was just going to sneak it by her. I thought I had read somewhere that people never saw gaby again after the wedding. So we were planning on just tipping the bartenders and waiters and asking them to stay later once gaby left. Well, gaby was on to my plan. She asked me why the dj was scheduled until 11 and our reception was only until 9 and I said that was the only package he had and that we would be leaving at 9 (still thinking she would go home and we’d stay as late as we wanted). She said that we could stay out in the garden as long as we wanted and keep the party going until 11, but we’d have to get our own drinks from the tower lobby after the waiters left at 9. Works for me. Well, I’m not sure what happened, but I looked at the clock and it was 10:30 and all of the waiters and Gaby were still there! My dad said no one asked him if they should stay late and he didn’t pay anyone to stay late, so I hope we don’t end up with a bill. I’m not sure if Gaby thought we were trouble or what, but she did not leave after the wedding, she was there the whole time.

    All in all, the wedding was a blast. If I had done it in the states, I would have gotten exactly what I wanted as far as flowers and d©cor, but that’s the price you pay with a destination wedding.
    If I had to do it over again, I would have…

    •Seen the flowers much earlier in the day when there was still time to change things
    •Had the photographer stay later because he left right after dinner and we had some crazy things happen after he left
    •Planned the wedding a little earlier, so we would’ve had more daylight for pictures
    •Not schedule the wedding 3 days after my guests arrived (all three of them were fully recovered the day after the wedding)


    Oh, and I had totally forgotten that our package included a videographer. He came up to me during pictures and asked me for my room number and said my video would be delivered before we left. Thank god i was still semi sober because i thought to ask him if he could use particular songs with the video and he told me to write down all of them that i wanted. I really love playing with video and pictures so i asked him if there was anyway for me to get the raw unedited footage and he said it would be an extra charge. So we arranged to get the money to him and he gave us the tape from his camcorder. I totally didn't even need the tape. He did a great job with the editing and the video was waiting for us in our room (with our marriage certificate - fun surprise) the day before we left.

    I've uploaded some of our pictures here...
    View Album

    #2 Soon To Be Mrs. Gomez

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      Posted 14 November 2008 - 02:55 PM

      Congratulations. You looked very happy in your pics and I love your dress and the flower in your hair.

      #3 Jenn3878

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        Posted 14 November 2008 - 03:13 PM

        CONGRATS!! Welcome home! You looked so beautiful!! Thanks for sharing your review and pictures :)

        #4 cougs

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          Posted 14 November 2008 - 03:17 PM

          your party looks like a blast! love the light-up dance floor ... wish there was room in our budget for that kinda stuff! we're just using an ipod.

          i was under the impression that you could only be legally wed on a weekday, because you couldn't get the judge on weekends? that's why ours is on a thursday! i'm so glad someone on here finally did a legal ceremony! i got the judge's speech part of the ceremony from claudia, but the part of the vow exchange isn't included ... i'm guessing we have to provide our own? i wonder what they would have done if you hadn't provided vows? were yours written as a "repeat after me" kinda thing, or did you just read them from a paper?

          thanks also for all the golf info. tom and his family all love to golf ... when he found out greens fees are included he already said he's gonna golf the morning of the wedding!

          congratulations!

          oh one more question: how much did he charge for the unedited video footage?

          #5 Samantha S

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            Posted 14 November 2008 - 04:25 PM

            Flygirl-- what a great review!! THANK YOU for the detail! I am so sorry that your guests got sick and your flowers weren't as expected. Everything else sounded wonderful. So happy to hear Gaby did a great job. She is super sweet, the email thing is just beyond frustrating when it is urgent. I'm leaving on Sunday so I will probably come up with more questions but are you saying that the tower terrace was windy too? I was hoping it would be less so there.

            Who did you use for transportation to and from the resort and did you like them?

            I'm surprised you were able to make salon appointments that late in the game. Gaby told me to wait until we meet with her but if there are only two people in the salon-- I could see that being tricky.

            What time did you start getting ready and did you have adequate time?

            THANK YOU!!!

            #6 flygirl

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              Posted 14 November 2008 - 05:27 PM

              Quote:
              Originally Posted by mummergirl
              your party looks like a blast! love the light-up dance floor ... wish there was room in our budget for that kinda stuff! we're just using an ipod.
              Flygirl-- what a great review!! THANK YOU for the detail! I am so sorry that your guests got sick and your flowers weren't as expected. Everything else sounded wonderful. So happy to hear Gaby did a great job. She is super sweet, the email thing is just beyond frustrating when it is urgent. I'm leaving on Sunday so I will probably come up with more questions but are you saying that the tower terrace was windy too? I was hoping it would be less so there.

              We had our cocktail hour on the tower terrace and it wasn't too bad, but the garden was REALLY windy. Once dinner was over and we got to dancing the wind really helped cool us off, though.

              Who did you use for transportation to and from the resort and did you like them?

              We used some guy named Charlie that my dad has used in the past. He's from Houston and lives in Cancun now. Not sure what the company is though.

              I'm surprised you were able to make salon appointments that late in the game. Gaby told me to wait until we meet with her but if there are only two people in the salon-- I could see that being tricky.

              It seems like the only people using the salon for hair appointments are weddings. So no, it wasn't too tricky. I have a feeling if you wanted to get your hair done and they were booked by a regular guest, gaby could move some things around to accomodate you.

              What time did you start getting ready and did you have adequate time?

              The first time i got my hair done (trial run) it took 1 hour and 45 minutes, and the day of the wedding she was able to do it much quicker (1 hour 15 minutes). So I had showered and had most of my make up done when I went to my hair appointment. My hair was done at 2:15, so my mom and bridesmaids and i all went to my room to finish getting ready. we ordered room service for lunch. Our photographer showed up at 3:00 and took pictures of us finishing getting ready and then we had another hour to chill out and do pictures. Plenty of time.

              THANK YOU!!!


              #7 Cancunbride2009

              Cancunbride2009
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                Posted 14 November 2008 - 09:00 PM

                Thank you so much for this information!! Your pictures are beautiful and I found your review really helpful. I do have a few questions:

                1) In terms of the dance floor that you had, did you just order the dance floor or did you have to order the lights seperately?

                2) So sorry to hear that some your family members were sick, do you know if it was something particular that they ate or was it just the change in food in general? We will be arriving on a Sunday morning and the wedding is on a Thursday afternoon, so I am crossing my fingers that nobody gets sick!

                3) We were planning to have our reception on the beach, I am wondering if this would be too windy based on your review?

                Thanks again and congratulations!

                #8 Angel

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                  Posted 14 November 2008 - 09:01 PM

                  Congrats and great review. Looks like you had a great time.

                  #9 BC Bride2be

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                    Posted 14 November 2008 - 09:21 PM

                    thanks for great review!! you looked amazing!

                    #10 flygirl

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                      Posted 14 November 2008 - 11:11 PM

                      1) In terms of the dance floor that you had, did you just order the dance floor or did you have to order the lights seperately?

                      We got the dance floor from Mannia Cancun - it was $350 I think. They set it up with the lights, etc.

                      2) So sorry to hear that some your family members were sick, do you know if it was something particular that they ate or was it just the change in food in general? We will be arriving on a Sunday morning and the wedding is on a Thursday afternoon, so I am crossing my fingers that nobody gets sick!

                      It wasn't anything in particular that they ate because we all ate meals together. It was just a case of weak stomachs. You should be fine 4 or 5 days later.

                      3) We were planning to have our reception on the beach, I am wondering if this would be too windy based on your review?

                      I don't think it's as windy on the beach. The garden is open to all of the elements. It seems like the beach is kind of blocked in by clifs and rocks.




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