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Simistar's Secrets Maroma Wedding Review, Dec. 7/08


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#11 Simistar

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    Posted 28 December 2008 - 08:52 PM

    Resort Photographer
    Included in our wedding package was about an hour of photography with the resort photographer, plus 36 pictures in an album.
    The resort photographer is Juan Navarro, or rather, his company.
    We looked at his website and decided to hire an outside photographer instead.
    But, b/c SMB does NOT do substitutions in wedding packages (they’re very firm on this!) we HAD to use our hour of photography.
    So, since the photographer we hired was leaving by the start of our reception, we decided to have the resort photographer shoot some pics of our reception (cake cutting, first dance etc).

    First of all, it will likely NOT be Juan Navarro who comes to shoot your wedding. It will be one of his associates, so I think it’s really luck of the draw who you get. I know I read some girls were not impressed with the photographer they got through the resort.

    BUT, we had a fellow by the name of Edgar – who we were quite impressed with! He arrived early and stayed late, was not intrusive at ALL, and just snapped pictures for more than an hour of things as they happened.
    I wouldn’t say his pictures are of the same quality as some of the photogs on this forum, but they were really nice! We ended up paying extra for a CD of all the pics he shot.
    I’ll include some here, but if you want to see more, PM me. He said you can request he be your photographer if you’re going through the resort. If you ARE going that route, I would recommend him :-)
    (BTW, lots of the pics I have included in my review so far have been his pictures!)

    Also, the album they give you your 36 pictures in is quite nice! It’s black leather on the outside.

    Some shots he took:
    Click the image to open in full size.

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    Click the image to open in full size.

    #12 Simistar

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      Posted 28 December 2008 - 08:55 PM

      Outside Vendors

      We used three outside vendors… Photographer Michael Maurus, DJ Mannia (Carlos Martinez) and a band recommended by Sol Tomargo.

      We decided to use outside vendors for a few reasons…the main one being that it just took Cecilia too freaking long to respond with information on the resort’s vendors!!
      SMB charges a $90-$100/pp outside vendor fee. (So, if your photographer has an assistant, you will be charged for TWO people.)

      *** our biggest problem with our outside vendors on the wedding day – THE RESORT WAS INCREDIBLY RUDE TO ALL OF THEM!!!
      Every single one of them said they had problems even being allowed on the property! This, after we had talked to Cecilia in person about them, and had even sent her a list of their names and contact information weeks ahead of time. For the amount of money our group was spending at SMB, we were NOT impressed with how our vendors were treated!!
      For example, when the band arrived, the resort refused to even let them use a baggage cart to get all their gear to the beach. My DH’s good friend worked his ass off helping them carry all their heavy stuff to the beach! (which is pretty far from the main lobby!)

      In the end, Cecilia did NOT charge us ANY outside vendor fees because of how they were all treated. Which, once again, is great b/c it saved us lots of money, but really, we would have just liked to pay and have everything to go smoothly instead.

      DJ MANNIA (Carlos Martinez) – Click the image to open in full size.

      Click the image to open in full size.

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      Click the image to open in full size.

      I’d say, if it’s in your budget – BOOK HIM!!! Not having to worry about what music was playing, or whether an Ipod was working, was worth the expense, since correcting Cecilia’s mistakes was keeping us busy anyway, haha :-)

      #13 Simistar

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        Posted 28 December 2008 - 08:58 PM

        (Outside Vendors cont...)

        BAND – don’t think they have a name! Sol Tomargo also used them for her wedding.
        Jill Kirkland and Victor Espinoza are the husband/wife team that run the band, then there are about two/three others who play in the band as well.

        They arrived on time (despite being given a hard time by the hotel) and played beautiful music while people were being seated, as well as for my walk down the aisle, and for our exit! They then stayed and played during our cocktail hour, which if you read above about the terrible service during our cocktail hour, you’d know they were the highlight! :-)
        I am waiting to hear back from them as to the best way to contact them (I think their e-mail changed) and if anyone’s interested, will post their contact info when I get it.

        PHOTOGRAPHER MICHAEL MAURUS
        We booked him for 3/3.5 hours on our actual wedding day, plus an hour TTD session at the resort the next day.
        He was extremely gracious and understanding about how frickin’ behind schedule we were (b/c of the Great Hair Debacle of 08’, as my DH now calls it:-))...
        B/c we were so behind and it got dark really quickly, he offered to leave a half an hour early and make our TTD session the next day half an hour longer. Which was great, b/c it gave me a chance the next day to fix my hair and make-up the way I wanted it, do some pics in my real wedding dress, then change into my “trash” dress for some ocean shots :-)

        I’ll hold off on a full review until I see his pictures, which likely won’t be for another few weeks.

        #14 Simistar

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          Posted 28 December 2008 - 09:04 PM

          Miscellaneous

          Just some “extra” small things I thought I’d mention…

          - High tea! This is REALLY fun! (even if you don’t like tea:-)) They have this at the resort every day at 4pm in the main lobby, near the lobby bar. But no one knows about! They definitely don’t advertise it to the guests! We only knew about it b/c someone had mentioned it on TripAdvisor. They set out little sandwiches and mini fancy desserts and if you order one of the coffees with grand marnier, staff actually flamb© it -- or whatever it is they’re doing to it:-) And the coffees taste yummy ;-)

          Some pics...
          Click the image to open in full size.

          Click the image to open in full size.

          - Dress Steaming/Ironing: the resort can do either steaming or ironing. (I was worried before going that they only ironed, as my dress could ONLY be steamed). This was included in our package for my dress and for my FI’s suit/tux. They took them both one afternoon and returned them that night. But a heads-up! They left my dress hanging out in the open! Luckily I went into the room first, so I could hide it before my FI came in!

          - Some girls have asked about the different ceremony locations at the resort, so I thought I’d include a few pictures to give an idea…

          The wedding gazebo, by the pool (it looks a LOT nicer when it's decorated!)
          Click the image to open in full size.

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          Arch/gazebo on the beach (that's included in the price of the package!)
          This isn't our wedding set-up BTW..this was a few days later:-)
          Click the image to open in full size.

          Click the image to open in full size.

          #15 Simistar

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            Posted 28 December 2008 - 09:05 PM

            And Finally….

            Overall, we had such an AMAZING time! As did all our guests! There were definitely some things I wish would have gone differently (mainly my hair and make-up! :-)), but the big picture was lovely.

            It was not always easy getting there, however… It can be hard to communicate and get answers from Cecilia…though from what I’ve read on here, that’s pretty normal for most resort WCs in Mexico :-)

            I would recommend this resort in a second as a vacation spot. Would I recommend it for a wedding? Yes and no :-) Yes, if you have the time and patience to constantly follow up with Cecilia. And if you are having more than say 15 people for your wedding, once again, my main recommendation would be to make room in your budget for an outside WC. Or, make sure you constantly keep on Cecilia about the details, or assign someone in your group to.
            Then again, if you are VERY laid back and don’t get care about details (like whether the sound system you ordered gets set up :-)) then it’ll be fine.

            Not a good place for you if you’re extremely detail-oriented and get frustrated easily :-)
            Then again, you do have the help of this forum as well:-)

            If we had it to do over again, we would still have a DW. It really made our wedding about having the whole week with family and friends, rather than just one night. And we had so much fun, not just on the wedding day :-)

            Click the image to open in full size.

            #16 Simistar

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              Posted 28 December 2008 - 09:31 PM

              Quote:
              Originally Posted by michellepicksbrent
              Thank you for sharing such a detailed review from your wedding! I'm sure it will help many future Secrets Maroma brides-to-be. And I must admit that I got a bit of a giggle when I read about your DH's pedi experience :P
              Yeah -- a lot of our guests thought it was funny too:-)
              In fact, he STILL has some poink on his toes..
              :-)

              #17 bumbles

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                Posted 28 December 2008 - 09:46 PM

                Quote:
                Originally Posted by Simistar
                Snorkeling – I booked this with Mexico Blue Dream, Playa Del Carmen, Mexico and I HIGHLY recommend them! They come recommended on TripAdvisor, and they did not disappoint. It’s run by a French husband/wife team and they’ve been operating the business for years. They PERSONALLY take you out on the tour and make sure everyone’s comfortable and knows what they’re doing! (We had a few in our group who had never snorkeled before…)
                We did the Yal-Ku Lagoon excursion which was beautiful and includes a stop in Akumal to swim out to the sea turtles – VERY cool.
                Cost was about $40/pp.
                Your wedding was beautiful! Many thanks for the snorkeling recommendation -- I've been looking around for one and MBD looks great. Did you make reservations online and then just show up at the Dive Center the day of the trip?

                #18 rdhbride

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                  Posted 28 December 2008 - 09:53 PM

                  awesome detailed review:) congrats!

                  #19 Simistar

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                    Posted 28 December 2008 - 10:08 PM

                    Quote:
                    Originally Posted by Fanny
                    Your wedding was beautiful! Many thanks for the snorkeling recommendation -- I've been looking around for one and MBD looks great. Did you make reservations online and then just show up at the Dive Center the day of the trip?
                    You should totally book with Mexico Blue Dream!:-)
                    Because there was a group of 10 girls going, I was nervous about just doing it all online...I e-mailed them first at:
                    info@mexicobluedream.com

                    They got back to me right away and even offered to arrange for a van to pick us all up at our resort -- at no extra cost!
                    I had to pay a 20% deposit to hold the day/excursion, which I did through PayPal.

                    You should maybe just e-mail them first and let them know what you're interested in and go from there...
                    But seriously -- everyone who went had a GREAT time! (even the older ladies who aren't big snorkelers:-))

                    #20 Jennifer Davis

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                      Posted 28 December 2008 - 11:05 PM

                      Fantastic review! Thanks you! So kind of you to take so much time out to write it!

                      Even though the pink nail polish and the "great hair debocle" were probably not so pleasant during, the thought of it all made me smile while reading and I'm pretty sure will end up being lasting fond memories and conversation pieces for you both!


                      Comgratulations on an awesome wedding! Looking forward to seeing the pictures!

                      P.S. I have to admit I'm more than mildly freaked about my hair and makeup next year now after hearing your story!




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