We just got back from Mexico and I've got to say....We absolutely loved it! This is probably going to be a long email, but I'll try to give the highlights and tips as condensed as possible...
1st, we DID get upgraded to the roof top excellence club ocean view for the week!! Excellence club was SOOOOO worth it...they treat you like royalty...and even have a full bottle liquor menu if you don't like what's in your room!! They are there for snacks, fruit, desert, turndown service with little mariachi figurines every night, champagne every day, flowers, and just plain check on you to make sure you are doing well! We got there before our room was ready and they gave us a room while we were waiting...who does that??? We didn't really use the rooftop until the day before we left because of activities and weather but it was fantastic when we did...not sure we'd need that level of room again, but definitely the Excellence Club!
Now....Nayeli was ALL OVER IT!!! Absolutely no complaints or worries as far as she is concerned! She met with us on the Tuesday before the wedding as planned and had EVERYTHING in order, including our invitation that we mailed down. We went through every single little detail including drawing how we wanted our favors of margarita glasses and maracas laid out on the table. We gave her ribbon for our napkins, menus(our menus had the guest name on it and doubled as their place card-also had the individual meal choice on there), the margarita glass favors(with the ribbon tying the favor tags color coding who got what meal.), she had the spreadsheet and PowerPoint of who sat where, what they were having and who they were(bridal party). There was not 1 mistake at dinner! We even had 1 guest who had beef but no scallops and hers came out correct! She also had ALL of the other details...we dropped off a lot of things for her, explained it all and it was all there! Sand in the vase for the sparklers, photos of my Grandparents, postcards in their tray, Mayan book, markers, moved the talavera platter/bowl from the ceremony to the reception and filled it with extra maracas. She NAILED it! We also met with her and called for her a few other times for things and she was available shortly after we called. We had our witnesses sign everything as they came in and did our blood test with no issues. She got a hold of us when she had some questions and even took pics with her phone of the Talavera once she unwrapped it to make sure she had the right pieces for things! All of the bags were delivered to rooms, welcome cards were in everyone's packet at check in and those who arrived at 7:30 am for the excursion had their bags delivered to their rooms before they got back. And how about the fact that Nayeli knew who people were by last name when we introduced them to her!!??!!
The only issue we had that day was the weather. In the morning and through the afternoon, the rain was coming down SIDEWAYS! UGH! Nayeli came to see me in the Spa while I was getting my hair done to give me options. This was my moment to internally combust! She CLEARLY saw my anxiety and said we'd wait until the very last minute to make a decision on the ceremony in the Gazebo, or we'd have to move it to the area where they have the ping pong tables....they move the tables and decorate everything, but after 2 years of planning, that's the last thing I wanted! She also told me that they had to start setting up the reception so it would have to be inside the CECO Terrace vs outside, and the cocktail hour would be under the covered part of the Terrace vs the X-Lounge...not ideal, but what can you do. Well after lighting the Mayan candle in the room and thoughts of sacrificing our friend who was "ejected" from Tulum, (a story for another day) the only issue was running the ipod down late-literally as people were gathering (My MOH forgot to do this) and the CRAZY wind!! Nayeli called 30 mins before we were to go to the gazebo and told us she'd be there in 20 mins with the flowers...right on time and they were beautiful-after all that worrying! When I left the room, I looked down at the Gazebo and there was a ladder there! They were putting the curtains back up-no wonder they didn't want me to look! The wind brought them down and Nayeli and Lleny had someone there in a second to get it back up(Frank filled me in). They also had to soak the rose petals to weigh them down so they didn't blow away! Like I said...the wind was CRAZY! I had my hair down...I hate it up, and it was everywhere...We had to tuck my veil in the back of my dress at the ceremony! So....not being able to control Mother nature, if you don't mind your hair up,go that route! I had a flat iron and curling iron in the bathroom at the reception as part of the bathroom emergency kit and had to "fix" several times.
Now for the why I really love Nayeli part...the weather was clear for the moment but still a little iffy, but like I said, she saw my disappointment. We ended up being able to do the cocktail hour at the x-lounge and they MOVED EVERYTHING back outside at the CECO Terrace last minute so we could have the reception out there!! The only downfall again was the wind...the pictures we brought had to lay down and the photofalls to clip the postcards to them had to be weighed down. We were supposed to have lighted columns that change color, but we couldn't do them because of the weather. She still had the path lined with tiki torches and flags and the fountains were on and lit...it was beautiful! There were also some cool touches we added last minute...we had tequila shots in champagne glasses waiting for the bridal party at the end of the ceremony-one of my bridesmaids asked for this at the rehearsal, Kir Royal and Tequila Sunrises were passed out at the cocktail hour -our colors, and Nayeli had them make Margaritas to fill our favor glasses...something we didn't think of but our guests LOVED it! We had 31 people so the Ceco Terrace was perfect for us, and we filled it up.
The only thing I would do over, would be to have the DJ signal us an hour and 15 minutes before the end of the night to ask if we want to extend the wedding. We did, but we forgot to tell them because we weren't aware of the time. The MC came to me 5 minutes before the end to tell me we were doing the last song! I asked then to extend it, but it was too late...the bar staff was closing up. We ended up going to the disco, but many guests didn't make it to much longer after that anyway. Our cake was the "tree" that we wanted...maybe too many flowers but it's what we asked for, not in the "selections, and they did it for us! But again, weather is really a factor down there...things melt and droop...it is what it is, unless you are inside, you cake will not look as perfect as they do here in the states, but MAN was it delicious! Each layer was a different flavor and all yummy!
All other events of the weekend went off without a hitch! The excursion to Tulum/Playa Del Carmen, the welcome cocktails at the X-Lounge, all of the Spa appointments, rehearsal dinner at the Mexican Fiesta- 3 big tables were reserved for us, and brunch on Sunday.
We had the in house photographer, Juan Carlos, who was awesome-(Also known as bluelense)! We had Lino, one of his photographers, come to Tulum for the day and take welcome cocktail photos, they were at the spa the next day, rehearsal dinner Friday night, and ALL day for the wedding. We also did a Trash The Dress session in Isla Mujeres 2 days later. We have a video of the ceremony, photo book, slide show, edited photos, and EVERY single photo they took!! We spent less then some of the outside vendors charge for JUST the wedding day! Our pictures totally capture the vibe of the weekend and are very us. He also came to deliver the photos to us on the Riviera Maya during our honeymoon. They were great!
Overall, an amazing experience! They will COMPLETELY customize your wedding to reflect you...Excellence, the photographer and DJ!
Some tips from Nayeli....
It's easier for her to help you when you know what you want! The more organized you are and can send pictures and ideas to her, the better it will be to have your vision come through. If you have no vision, or wait to the last minute then it's going to be tough and you'll probably get some multiple choice sort of answers. (of course some things are always last minute, but the more you can do up front, the less anxiety you'll have) Your wedding will be beautiful regardless because these people REALLY know what they are doing.
Also, they are INSANELY busy....she was explaining how there were 30 weddings 1 week in April and there were a slew of weddings the week we were there and 3 on our day!! 1 at Beloved, 1 at Villa Balam Ha and ours at Excellence. Nayeli was there a few times and Lleny was there when she wasn't. There was also a MASSIVE convention coming in the day before we left that she was in charge of...like I said...BUSY! Somehow she still managed to see us 3 times the day we left and made sure to say goodbye. I really can't say enough about all that Nayeli did for us and for me. She was such a calming force and has a way about her that always had me at ease...not an easy thing to do! I know it's so much easier to say it will all work out when your on this end of the wedding process...over...but it really will. Every guest LOVED Excellence and the wedding and said it was the best that they'd ever been to. It doesn't get better than that! I am thinking that if you are getting married during off season, you will have even more attention! I'm not sure the staff there get too many days off during their peak seasons...we saw some people at breakfast AND dinner somewhere else! Nayeli has off some Sundays and usually emails at night from home...I feel awful about ever being cranky while I was waiting for emails...I had no idea what kind of constant running they do.
PAY IN PESOS!! We got the final bill and everything was better than we expected. We paid via credit card charged in pesos, and literally saved over $600 because of the day's conversion rate, once we saw our bank statement!! Everywhere in Mexico, they would prefer dollars vs pesos, but it is in your best interest to pay in pesos....over the course of 2 weeks, we saved a bunch this way!
Here is the slide show they made of our weekend...it sums it up beautifully!
I'm sure there are a ton more details I can share with you, so let me know if you have any questions!
Happy planning everyone!!