Wedding Review- May 9, 2013
I can't believe my wedding was almost one month ago and it was absolutely amazing. Resort
The resort is absolutely beautiful, it is also a great size. Not too big, not too small. We were told the resort was at 90% capacity when we were there but you would have never known it. With 4 pools and the beach there is always a lounge chair somewhere :-) The staff was great, everyone was so nice and it was so clean. The guest rooms were nice and comfortable and the maids do a great job keeping up the rooms. Food and Drink
The food is okay, not the best I have ever had but not the worst and I have been to approx 5 other all inclusive resorts. With 6 or 7 different restaurants you will never go hungry. The drinks were good ( lighter during the day, stronger at night) Personally I am not a big drinker but no one had any complaints. There are some liquors that are reserved for the privledge members but everyone was fine with the regular liquor. There was still name brand liquor such as captain morgan, stoli and bicardi to name a few that were included without any additional charge, so it's not like it's stuff you have never heard of. ( one recommendation is to bring bigger cups maybe even put them in your welcome bags if you make them) I bought personalized tumbler cups with straws for my bridal party and they were a big hit. ( They keep the drinks cold and minimize the # of trips to the bar because the drinks are bigger!)
Like many of the previous brides have stated, before we left our communication with the wedding coordinators was spotty at best. We hadn't heard from the coordinators in nearly 2 months which was making me nervous but once I got to the resort, I understood why. Almost everyday in the 10 days we were there, there was almost 2 weddings a day one day they even had three, The wedding coordinators work very hard to make sure everyone's wedding is beautiful. Most of them work between 12-15 hours a day so I could see why they aren't always able to answer e-mails proptly. Ana is the initial point of contact when you contact the wedding office at the resort, she may be your coordinator but although we communicated through her until we got to the resort our coordinator was actually Cynthia who is the sweetest woman and she did a fantastic job.
The day after we arrived at the resort we were able to sit down with Ana and go over every detail. You will probably be sent some options for flowers, cakes and such ahead of time but once you get there, there are many more options. I waited to pick flowers until then, when they didn't have flowers in the color I wanted (turquoise blue) I was able to pick the flowers I wanted and have them dyed that color. You are able to pick your cake round or square, add ribbon and fresh flowers and pick the flavor which were, vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, pineapple or coconut. ( you can do different layers different flavors if you want) The size of the cake depends on the package you get. We chose a strawberry layer and vanilla layers, I believe they only cut into the strawberry layer and although I was too busy dancing to eat a piece, everyone else said it was delicious! They do have some options for centerpieces but they weren't exactly what I wanted and seemed to be overpriced approx $90 per table We bought all the stuff from home and carried it with us on the plane, that way we could have what we wanted and saved alot of money too. We probably spent $200 total on enough centerpieces for 5 sets. Our reception was on the lobby terrace and you are able to chose your table set up. We had 33 people at ours so we chose to do a large square table instead of doing a head table and smaller tables ( we just thought it would be strange to have 10 people at the head table and only 2 other tables and we prefered to allow couples to sit together) Our guests complimented the set up because they liked that everyone could see everything. (just a thought if you have a smaller wedding like we did) We had the paradise package and so my hair and makeup was included, Litsy in the spa did a wonderful job, I should recommend though that you hairspray your hair again before your ceremony because my curls fell out after a couple of hours due to the wind. My wedding was at 5 and my hair and makeup appt was from 1-3 so that gave me plenty of time to finish getting ready. Approx 1/2 hour before the ceremony starts your coordinator will deliver your flowers and your bridesmaids flowers to your room and someone will deliver boutineers to the men. When it is time to start going down to the ceremony your wedding coordinator will escort you and go out of her way to make sure your groom or guests don't see you ahead of time. We had our ceremony at the beach at 5pm and it was absolutely beautiful! I think 5 was a perfect time because it was not too hot and it was close enough to dinner so that people didn't have a long wait time in between the ceremony and the reception. We had a legal ceremony so there is a specific structure to the wedding and what the officiant says but we were able to add our own vows as well as a sand ceremony which gave a very personal touch. The ceremony lasted approx 25 minutes. After the ceremony the coordinator hands everyone champagne and there is a toast. We then did pictures on the beach with family and friends and then everyone left the beach and my husband and I took pictures alone. We opted not to pay for a cocktail hour because it would have been nearly $1000 with drinks and hor dourves and it was close enough to dinner that we didn't feel we needed it, Instead everyone was escorted to the lobby bar to get drinks(as it is an all inclusive resort) and then they sat on the lobby terrace until it was time to be seated at the reception. Everyone was absolutely fine with the informal "cocktail hour" Our reception started at 7 because I wanted to make sure we had enough time for pictures. (we probably would have been okay starting at 6:30 but either way, no one complained about the wait.) After we were announced we sat down and dinner service started shortly after. For dinner we had surf and turf (steak and shrimp which everyone loved and we were actually able to get our vegetarians salmon and they also raved about that. Dinner does take awhile because of the multiple courses so I was glad we opted to add an extra hour to the 3 hour alloted reception time. If we hadn't I don't feel like we would have had enough time for dancing so I would definitly recommend it! It was worth the extra $10 per person for the hour. Even after the 4 hour reception a few of us headed down to the pool bar for more partying as they usually have a DJ down there. Outside vendors
for 2013 the outside vendor fee was $300 per vendor and you had to pay $60 for each guest pass. We hired an outside DJ and and outside photographer but I believe it was well worth it.
We hired MayanVibes / DJ Bijan to DJ our reception, I would definatly recommend him. We sent him a list of approx 20 songs and he filled in the rest with music that everyone enjoyed. I danced all night. We also hired Samuel Luna of Samuel Luna Photography as our photographer, we don't have all of our photos yet but I will attach a link to the teasers that he sent us so that you can get an idea of his photography. There are a few pics of getting ready, ceremony, reception and the last part is trash the dress. Videography
I was going back and forth about whether or not I wanted to spend $1000 on a video of the wedding, but I am really glad I did. We did use the resort videographer, which allowed for free streaming of your wedding online so that people who couldn't make it could watch at home. My co-workers and some of our friends and family that couldn't make it were all able to watch and were glad that even though they couldn't be there, they still felt like they were a part of it. The vidographer shot 4 hours of video and edited it to approx 1 hr and 20 mins, it says the video will be 40 mins but it was longer. The video includes the whole ceremony which is nice because although pictures capture alot, it is nice to be able to hear our vows again. He also went around with a microphone during our informal cocktail hour and had people express their well wishes which was very nice. The downside is he didn't edit the video as I would have, there was a little downtime and I wish he had captured more dancing at the ceremony but all in all it was very nice. The wedding was beautiful and it was well worth the stress and over a year of planning. One recommendation I have is that if you forget anything during your planning meeting and happen to remember before the wedding and you want to add it and you mention it to your coordinator, make sure you remind her again as close to the wedding as possible.
I made a sign that I wanted displayed at the beach and it never made it there and I also asked for fondant free cake and the frosting was fondant. ( they did try to make up for it by sending a cake to our room on our last night that had regular frosting.) I wasn't too upset about the small things missed because the wedding was beautiful and I realize that these ladies work so hard to make sure all of us brides have the perfect day. They are bound to miss a thing or two here and there, it's almost expected after having approx 10-12 weddings a week and working for 2 weeks straight sometimes without a day off but if it is really important to you just make sure you remind them. :-) Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have! I would be happy to answer questions on anything I may have missed. I created a small slideshow to share. Enjoy!