the west coast is the unstable part of Mexico.
Riviera Maya is ok. Of course one should always be street smart and respectful of locals when in a foreign country.
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Posted 21 June 2012 - 09:21 AM
the west coast is the unstable part of Mexico.
Riviera Maya is ok. Of course one should always be street smart and respectful of locals when in a foreign country.
Posted 21 June 2012 - 10:04 AM
OCT definitely attracted our attention, but your forum got me hooked on that hotel!
We got in touch with Ana (Wed-Co), sending her the wedding form partially filled up, but we've been anxiously waiting for a week now to hear if our specific date is available!! I realize that they are extremely busy but is it normal?
Do you know if they do morning ceremony over there? That is really what we want to do.
*The date: December 3rd 2012 ! Which will be our 12th year anniversary together, so it is the only non-negociable detail.
*The group: 30-ish people in all. (25% under 40 y.o., no kids)
*The theme: something blue something floral
*What we have in mind (so far, which might change in a bit):
- Having a casual civil ceremony on a rooftop terrace in the morning, then proceding to a reserved area at one of the restaurants for breakfast.
- Everyone can relax during the day. Good time for a couple's spa perhaps, and photoshoots?
- Then in end afternoon, we will have the elegantly dressed-up cocktail hour followed by the reception diner at a lobby terrace or at the creperie.
Now of course i expect that the plan might change for multiple reasons...
Have a great day!
Posted 21 June 2012 - 12:05 PM
I just got back from my honeymoon. Everything was amazing and I had the best of times
I am so thankful for all the information I obtained from BDW that I have decided to provide a full review of my wedding including flow and what I did and in some places recommendations from what I have experienced. I really hope it will be helpful for some of the future brides.I am stealing someone else's structure for the review as I thought was extremely helpful for me.
Our wedding weekend schedule and what I will be reviewing:
Thursday: Wedding rehearsal and lunch
Friday: Trip to Chichen Itza
Friday evening: Welcome party
Saturday: Wedding day
10am-2:30pm: Hair and makeup for me and 5 others
2:30pm-3pm: Pre-wedding pictures: groom and bride separate with their families and wedding party
4:45pm-5:30: Tequilla donkey
5:15pm-6pm: Bride and Groom pictures
6pm â€“ 7pm: Cocktail hour
7pm â€“ midnight: Reception
Sunday: Snorkeling trip
Ocean Coral & Turquesa: [Grade: A+++++++++++!!!!!!! ]
We researched over 50 resorts and visited over a dozen places in Riviera Maya and we knew OCT was the one 5 minutes into our visit there. The place was perfect (had great locations for wedding ceremony, reception, Ana was SOOO great and well prepared for the meeting, prices for guests were the best of all the other resorts we have seen).
The resort staff was very nice and professional with us (everything went right as planned), with our guests (everyone had a great time and some mentioned they will go back for personal vacation).
The wedding coordinators were just amazing. Ana Bautista was my main point of contact through the preparation but once we got there for the wedding but her other colleagues were wonderful as well. While at times I might have been frustrated because it took them a while to answer my emails, I might say that they had everything under control and you should not be worried at all because they really know what they are doing.
Room Rates: We negotiated directly with the hotel on room rates and got a very good price. It ended up being very close to what the hotel website was offering during the last couple of months before the wedding but much lower the rest of the time. We liked the idea of having some rooms blocked for our guests and we had a cut- off date by which we could cancel remaining unused rooms at no cost for us. I also liked not packaging rooms and air together for our guests and found that it ended up being much cheaper for our guests this way (total cost versus what the cost of packages that were offered to us when we were shopping around with different travel agencies). The resort continued to offer the negotiated rates even after we cancelled the remaining rooms on the block. We did pay a significant deposit to block the rooms (30% of the value of the rooms booked) but the all the money were used to pay our rooms and the remaining went into the cost of the wedding, which ended up being fine as we spread the cost of the wedding a bit over time.
Thursday â€“ Rehearsal & rehearsal lunch
We decided to have our ceremony done in a little chapel in Puerto Morelos, so rehearsal could only be done at 11am when the priest was available, hence rehearsal lunch instead of dinner.
We hosted our rehearsal lunch in John Grey's Kitchen restaurant [ Grade A+]. I wanted this event to be as informal as possible. We did not make any special decorations or music but it ended up being great.
Food was fenomenal. Would absolutely recommend this place if you want to get out of the resort at all. Food included a family style appetizers selection (salad, spicy crab cakes burgers, bbq chicken wings and one more things that I cannot remember- People raved about the wings and the crab cakes J ), an entr©e selection (pasta, fish, chicken and skirt steak â€“ everyone loved their food regardless of what they choose) and a family style desert (I can't remember exactly but I know they were delicious)
Staff was great, but service a little slow, although appropriate for a rehearsal lunch.
Friday â€“ Trip to Chichen Itza
We provided transportation for all guests and asked them to pay for entrance fee and any food/ drinks they want outside of some snacks that we brought with us.
Transportation: We used Grey Line Tours [Grade A] and got a bus for the day to take us and some of our guests to Chichen Itza and back. They charged us $650 for a 45 passanger bus for the full day â€“ I think it was reasonable (although thinking back I realized that we paid more because they subcontracted it to another transportation company named Tema, so probably could have gotten even a better price if we went directly with them). Bus was clean, had a bathroom on board and the driver was so nice!
Food: We went to Walmart the day before and bought bottled water (about 2 per person) and snacks for the bus ride (chips, oreo, other snacks). The bus came with a cooler so all the water was cooled before given to everyone. After the visit at Chichen Itza, the driver recommended a buffet for lunch very close by the ruins (it was a place where all of their organized tours to Chichen Itza stop there for lunch). Everyone enjoyed the food very much (it cost less than $10 per person).
Friday night â€“ Welcome drinks
We invited everyone to the lounge area on Friday evening after dinner to have a drink with us. It was the first night all our guests were at the resort and we thought it would be nice to have them meet and enjoy a cocktail together. It was very successful even if it did not require any preparation or extra costs. (open bar right there and music playing till 1am). We did not stay that late but some of the guests told us they stayed till the end.
TTD hair/make-up: OCT SPA - I used the resort SPA for my TTD photoshoot (these were included in the package) and while both hair and make-up were nice I did not love them [Grade B]
In the end I was really happy to have chosen Melissa for my wedding day.
Photographer: Photos in Cancun ( http://www.photosincancun.com/ ) [Grade: A+];
We found Derek and Lorena through BDW. They were reasonably priced and responded to my initial e-mail very fast. We met them during our site visit and they even took some pictures of us to show us how they work. We absolutely loved the pictures so decided to go with them. We booked them for full day coverage and TTD. They were great: professional, tireless and took lots of pictures â€“ we are really happy with the photos. We received all of our pictures on CDs two days after the wedding and now working with them to edit some of them.
My recommendation on photos: The only thing I would recommend (that I did not do and in retrospect I think it would have been better) is to prepare a list of all the must have photos (I mean all the combinations and special guests that you absolutely want to have photos with. I thought I would remember, but with all of the things going on, you forget things and I feel I would have liked to have more individual photos with a few of my guests)
Ceremony: Catholic mass at Iglesia de San Jose in downtown Puerto Morelos. Father Mario Gonzalez, email@example.com.
Padre Mario is one of the nicest people I have ever met. He was great and accommodating allowing us to shape the ceremony as we wished. He conducted the mass in English and had us out in 45 minutes with a full mass which was great
Iglesia de San Jose is a small church w/ an open garden next to the pews and provided for a nice yet special place for us to get married in Mexico.
D©cor for ceremony: We went with a simple d©cor (flower arrangements on the ends of the benches with organza in between benches and some more organza on the floors in the front of the church. I brought the isle runner from home (bought on Amazon for $30)
Since it was very hot and the church does not have air conditioning, we gave all of our guests palm tree fans which were much appreciated by everyone and they complemented our green wedding color.
Music: We used a string quartet that was great
Wedding planner: Leanne Marie Rogers (http://www.leannemarieweddings.com/) [Grade: A++++]
We decided to go with a planner for this part of the wedding day <ceremony> since it was outside of the resort and needed a lot more coordination that I did not want to be worried about on my wedding day.
Leanne and her partner Maju were phenomenal. I did not have to worry about anything that day and they had everything ready as we discussed and I would say even better than I imagined. If anything went wrong, it was definitely not noticed by me, so kudos to them for their abilities.
Initially I was torn on whether I wanted a planner at all, but I must say that I am so relieved I ended up working with them. It takes so much stress off of your shoulders that day and even before when trying to find vendors for different things and of course coordinating between all of them on the wedding day
At the end of the ceremony, we had a surprise for all of our guests that no one knew about. We had a tequila donkey outside of the church and a mariachi band. My hubby really wanted a tequila donkey and this was the easiest way to incorporate it into the wedding. I must say that people enjoyed that very much and it was a good way to start the good mood. Also it allowed us to add something Mexican to our wedding (not really sure if a tequila donkey is something common at Mexican weddings but tequila and mariachi bands for sure are and the donkey was fun J)
We had a one hour cocktail hour in between the ceremony and the reception. We organized it on the opposite side of the lobby terrace versus the reception so that guests could not pick into the reception area before it was time to move there.
For food we mixed and match 7 different hors d'oeuvres from the different menus. I really did not check how they looked but did not hear any complaints from anyone. We only got food for 66% of the total number of guests and there was a lot of leftover. I would recommend getting maybe only for 50% of guests.
We also had a mariachi band to entertain us during that time. They were less professional than the ones we used at church and they wanted to leave after 25 minutes although they were supposed to sing for 45 minutes. Ana saw them and had them continue playing for the entire time they were booked
We used the end of the cocktail hour to take pictures with all of our guests in a location where the photographers set up a mini photobooth J
We had our reception on the lobby terrace and it was perfect! J The days before the weding it rained a lot so was very concerned about that. Villa Marina (that was my preferred back-up was booked and could not be an option and to put a tent out on the terrace was really expensive ~2,700). My hubby convinced me that we should just take the chance and see how it goes and I am so happy he did. We had no rain and the terrace is by far in my opinion the best place for the reception. It was AMAZING!
D©cor for reception: I picked just white and green as my colors, so all the d©cor was pretty simple but it ended up being exactly how I wanted. I brought a lot of the things that were used for the d©cor to save money (chair sashes, table runners, candle holders and candles, paper flower confetti). Ana did a great job setting them up and I am so happy with how it turned out. We used 8 seating round tables and we had a separate table just for the two of us so that we do not have to choose whom to stay at the table and allow our weding party to sit with their families/guests.
I really wanted to also use Christmas lights but in retrospect I would advise not to do it if you have the wedding on the lobby terrace because the terrace itself has lights on the wall that surrounds the terrace and they provide enough light even at night.
Food: Here is the only place where I have some dissatisfaction. I created a 4 course menu by choosing things from the different menus that were presented but I ended up receiving different salad and different desert at the wedding versus my picks. Of course no one noticed and food was good, but I am a little upset that I did not get what I wanted.
What we ended up serving: First course: Feta cheese and Balsamic vinaigrette salad (I had chosen Tomato and goat cheese pesto salad); Second course: Vodka and lime sherbet Entr©e: Surf and Turf (Beef filet and jumbo shrimp) or Vegetarian strudel; Dessert: Parfait de stracciatella (I had chosen Coconut and pineapple Caribbean cake). They also served a few little cookies to go with coffee after the food. It all tasted good but I had no appetite that night. From what I could tell, guests liked it enough! Some guests mentioned that the food served at the wedding was much better versus the regular food served at the resort.
Drinks: We had open bar throughout the reception and also put 2 bottles of wine on each table that we purchased at Walmart because we did not like the house wine.
They prepared for us a green drink that they used to welcome our guests in the reception area which was so nice. I would not say that the drink itself was good, but it created a nice effect given that green was our wedding color. This was a complete surprise for me as we did not discuss it in advance. I loved it!
Cake: Cake was delicious!!!! We picked the strawberry one. Ana did a good job decorating it too.
Music: Doremixx (DJ Temo). (http://www.xcancun.c...emixx/home.html). [Grade: A-]
Overall he was good and I would recommend them for a wedding: fantastic music selection, our guests danced non-stop, they brought props that everyone loved. There were a couple of things that ticked me: I asked them not to play more than 2 songs of Romanian music at a time (I am Romanian) and had to go and ask him to change after the fifth he was playing at one time; after that he never played it again all night till I asked him to play some at the end of the night; he did not speak too much, not that was needed but I would have liked him to act more as an MC than he did.
We also got a lit up dance floor but I thought it was a little too small for my wedding group (about 65 people and the dance floor was 3.75x3.75m about 12x12 ft). People really liked it and they danced both on the dance floor and on another area right next to it. I recommend it!
Snorkeling Trip: [Grade A+++++++]
We organized a snorkeling trip on Sunday afternoon. We booked through the travel office located on the left of the reception desk on the Turquesa side. Antonio was our travel agent and he managed to find us exactly what we wanted. We booked a private tour on a catamaran including transportation to the marina and drinks on board (water, soft drinks and beer) for about $1,500. (the equivalend of 30 guests at $50 per guest). It was an amazing trip and so much worth the money we spent. Everyone had an amazing time and people still rave about it. We sailed, snorkeled and flew/jumped from the spinnaker for about 4 hours total. At the end for $100 they provided me with all of the snorkeling pictures and all the videos they took during the spinnaker fun. Spinaker is some kind of parasailing with the exception that it takes you from the water and brings you back into the water and looks like a swing.
Well, so this was a lot, but I hope it will help some brides planning. Please let me know if you have questions and I would be happy to answer them. I will post more pictures from the wedding later when I manage to reduce the number form the total 2,700 that I got. I will end now with a picture of me and my hubby J
Posted 21 June 2012 - 12:09 PM
I only paid day passes for the hair and make-up ladies since they were staying for a short period of time, so not too bad
Posted 21 June 2012 - 12:24 PM
My fiance and I are penciled in for our wedding date, have the group discount and contract from OCT and are about to send out the wedding invitations.
How did everyone else handle the invites and contract? Do you give your guests a couple weeks or a month to put a deposit on a room? Then sign the contract with OCT?
Please let me know how you ladies handled it!
Posted 21 June 2012 - 12:37 PM
@AnaS: Congratulations! And thank you very much for all the useful infos!
Posted 21 June 2012 - 12:44 PM
I signed the contract and paid the deposit but made clear in the contract what the date is by when I can cancel the block without penalties (for me it was 2 months before the wedding). In my case people took a while to book their rooms. As we were approaching the date when we had to cancel all remaining rooms I reminded everyone with an e-mail to book their rooms.
Posted 21 June 2012 - 01:16 PM
AnaS- Wow Wow Wow Wow!! You look absolutely gorgeous on your wedding day. Love the hair, love the dress.. but mostly your photos show how incredibly happy you both are. Congratulations!
Thank you for the detailed review. This is beyond helpful for all of us up-coming brides! Your decor and colors looked so pretty; and the church is absolutely stunning! Oh and love the tequila donkey. What a fun twist!!
That dance floor is really cool too - can I ask how much that cost?
Thanks again for a great review. It brings so much confidence in the resort!!
Posted 21 June 2012 - 01:25 PM
The dance floor was $700 and while at the beginning I thought it was a bit expensive and as I said not too big, I think it was worth all the money. People loved it!
Posted 21 June 2012 - 02:17 PM
Originally Posted by kleenotes
Camilla S. I agree with Sandy! While planning my wedding I have learned to really follow your instincts. I know that sounds cliche, but it is so true. If there is a little voice inside your head telling you what to do: Listen to it. You won't regret it.
I think both of your color options would be beautiful in pics. The bright colors make gorgeous photos, but so do the soft! I think you really can't go wrong with your ideas! Your mom's fav. color is yellow? That is so sweet to consider using it!
Good luck to you- we patiently awake to see what you choose!
@ kleenotes - Thank you so much for responding. You're so sweet! I'll keep thinking about it and will let you girls know what I've decided as soon as I feel comfortable with this whole colors thing! ha
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