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Riu Santa Fe Brides, Post Here!

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#151 MayBride

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    Posted 08 June 2009 - 03:02 PM

    Hi Riu Santa Fe Brides....I didn't participate a whole lot in this forum, but learned a ton from reading your entries. Thank you. To return the favor, I wanted to write a review of my wedding experience at the Riu Santa Fe on 5/23/09. We arrived on Tuesday, 5/19/09 and were married on Saturday, 5/23 with 51 guests.

    To begin, we met with Erika the morning after our arrival to go over details and pay our balance. We chose the "FREE" wedding package and had a private reception at the English Patio. (We were married at 6pm on the beach). Now for some of the details:

    My bouquet and my groom’s boutonniere were included in the FREE package. I chose the lilac roses which were beautiful. They came wrapped in a white/silk fabric along the stems. His boutonniere matched, however it was dead and horrible looking within minutes after the ceremony. He took it off on the way to the reception so that it wasn't in photos anymore! We paid $12 or $15 per bouquet for each of my bridesmaids (5 bridesmaids) and decided to not order extra boutonnieres for the groomsmen (8 groomsmen)...which I'm happy about now after seeing my husbands!

    My bridesmaids, my mom and I all got our hair and makeup done at Suzanne Morel's (Cabo SPA - Suzanne Morel Face and Body Care). We were all VERY happy with the results. We each brought in photos of what we wanted and they did an excellent job of re-creating them. They will have someone there that speaks fluent English helping to translate to the girls doing hair/makeup. Also, my husband's Mom decided not to come to the salon last minute, but I had already paid for her hair/makeup (as required by the salon). Since I pre-paid, Suzanne does not refund any money, but in exchange, she did a French nail polish job on my Mom, my maid of honor and myself in addition to a 20 minute shoulder massage for the 3 of us, too, to make up for the money that we already paid for my mother-in-law's hair/makeup. I thought that this was nice. The Riu Santa Fe does not allow outside vendors into the hotel, so we had to take a $10 taxi to Suzanne's salon (which is very nice inside). Also, there is a florist right next door to the salon, where I ordered mini-orchids for our hair. It only cost $35 USD for 6 sets of 3 mini-orchids. They wire the flowers so that the stems remain stiff and they can be bobby-pinned into the hair. They lasted ALL day/night! Great idea!

    The only decorations that the Riu offers are bows on the chairs at the ceremony (gold/silver/purple-you choose) and a gauzey material on the alter. They were perfectly fine for me, but if you want more, you need to bring more. I did bring silk flower petals which they used along the sand pathway to the altar and on the dinner tables/cake table at the reception. I loved this touch (Wedding Rose Petals Silk rose petals, silk wedding bouquets, rose petals, wedding freeze dried petals.). I also brought a cake-topper for the wedding cake.

    There are tons of flavor/frosting options for the cake. The cake is simple, but super tasty!

    We had a PRIVATE reception/sit-down dinner at the English Patio. With 50 people, I wanted something private so that we could have music, a slideshow and best man/MOH speeches. I must say that this was one of the best decisions we made. We had this location from 6:30-10:30pm. The patio is absolutely beautiful. It is an open-air space located near the main lobby, which is about a 10-12 minute walk from the beach. It had a large fountain in the center and they arranged 6 round tables around the fountain. We had a big projector screen set up at one end of the patio for a slideshow of pictures which we rented from the Riu (~$500 for screen & projector). The DJ played our own playlist of music that we made on an iPod and gave to him. We had one of our friends, who is a sports broadcaster, be the MC for the night. After they kicked us out of the patio, everyone walked 100 yards to the main lobby bars and disco. My husband and I didn’t get a chance to see the disco. Our friends sent us off to our room before that point! Our friends had fun in the disco, but they did mention that it was pretty cheesy inside and smelled like vomit. It costs $500 for the English Patio, which includes the DJ. They typically charge $30-50 per person for dinner and you choose a menu option. We were offered free catering from the Steakhouse Restaurant instead of the $30-50 menu option, so we took them up on that. However, I don’t know that they normally offer this….I have a feeling that this was easier for them due to the low capacity from swine flu.

    We had our own photographers fly down from Los Angeles. To get around the whole “no outside vendors” policy, we paid to have our photographers (who are boyfriend/girlfriend) stay for a week at the Riu as part of their payment. This way, they were guests of the hotel and the Riu couldn’t say anything about them being outside vendors. (BluDomain, BluDomainhosting, Bluedomain, photography websites). They are unbelievable! I don’t have actual photos from them yet, but they showed me a slideshow sampling and I couldn’t be happier.

    Erika arranged for us to have a dinner at their Mexican restaurant for 30 people the night before our wedding. Most of our wedding guests arrived, making it a group of 50, which didn’t please the restaurant too much! They accommodated us nonetheless, and we had a great time. We also had a brief run-through on the beach at 6pm on Friday, which was completely un-organized, but we got the job done.

    My OOT bags contained a palm fan with a ribbon attached that had our names/wedding date and a “Welcome to Cabo” tag, a personalized deck of playing cards that just said “Riu Santa Fe May 2009”, a personalized shot glass that said “Cabo San Lucas May 2009” and had a heart design, lip balm, advil, tums, sunscreen, pet cancer awareness bracelet (a personal cause of mine), pack of gum.

    My overall experience was great. I truly have no real complaints looking back. My only advice is to make sure that you email Erika 2 months prior to your wedding date to confirm your time/date/location. For some reason, they cancelled our wedding by accident and we found out 2 months prior after 50 guests had already booked. After a few email battles, they got us back on the books, but changed our time from 4pm to 6pm (which we actually preferred). Also, the day of the wedding, it was difficult to get a hold of Erika. We had to call the front desk 3 different times asking when we were going to receive our flowers because we wanted to take some bridesmaid photos before the ceremony. Also, when it was approaching the ceremony time, we could not locate Erika, and I had no idea when we were supposed to head down. I didn’t want my husband to see me in my dress by accidentally crossing paths on the way down! One of my bridesmaids had to run down to confirm that everyone was seated and the guys were ready. Just work out these details when you meet with her! Again, I really want to emphasize the fact that we had an AMAZING time. I would highly recommend the Riu Santa Fe for a group event with friends/family. Please feel free to email me with any questions that you have and I can send some pix, too. (ashlie4980@aol.com) Good luck with your weddings!

    #152 MayBride

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    • 4 posts

      Posted 08 June 2009 - 03:21 PM

      Also, I forgot to mention that we honeymooned in Cabo at the Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Holistic Retreat & Spa. I HIGHLY recommend this place for your honeymoon! Absolutely tranquil, relaxing and gorgeous! No children are allowed at this resort.

      #153 CarlySR

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      • 67 posts

        Posted 08 June 2009 - 04:12 PM

        Ashlie I found you! How funny, thanks for the review, it's lots of help!!

        #154 MissFitzy

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        • 21 posts

          Posted 09 June 2009 - 11:29 AM

          Tons of help !! Great Review !! Just starting the planning process so it is great to hear the tips and experiences of others !!!

          Thanks :)

          #155 janina01

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          • 21 posts

            Posted 09 June 2009 - 06:11 PM

            Originally Posted by lgarner83
            Carly- a ton of our guests are coming from TO/Mississauga/ Burtlington! I'll still post pics too, for sure :) As for honeymoon, we're still discussing!
            I'm really glad that everything is working out for you even though it's not what was originally planned. You're so positive and that's awesome! You will be a beautiful bride... all best wishes! :)

            #156 janina01

            • Newbie
            • 21 posts

              Posted 09 June 2009 - 06:17 PM

              Originally Posted by MayBride
              Also, I forgot to mention that we honeymooned in Cabo at the Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Holistic Retreat & Spa. I HIGHLY recommend this place for your honeymoon! Absolutely tranquil, relaxing and gorgeous! No children are allowed at this resort.
              That was an AWESOME review MayBride! Super helpful and more so that you've made us lean our decision more towards going with the English patio instead! I can't wait to see your beautiful photos!

              #157 red789

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              • 37 posts

                Posted 24 June 2009 - 07:02 PM

                Quick Question - did anyone do their speeches at the steakhouse? I have about 60 guests so im not sure if everyone will be able to hear. If it would be strange with other guests there. Are you seated right by ther guests or sort of on your own on one side of the restaurant? Any info would be a great help, I have the option of waiting until our home recpetion for speeches, i think they would be better in the moment


                #158 brookefouts

                • Newbie
                • 27 posts

                  Posted 29 June 2009 - 07:53 PM

                  did anyone get married in the gazebo at the riu santa fe?

                  #159 Bali83

                  • Jr. Member
                  • 221 posts

                    Posted 18 July 2009 - 04:00 PM

                    Great review!! Do you have any pics? Would love to see them!! Did you have to pay much extra for the "free wedding"? I'm also wondering if there is a guest limit? We are expecting approx 35ppl...is there any additional charge for food, cake etc?

                    #160 Bali83

                    • Jr. Member
                    • 221 posts

                      Posted 19 July 2009 - 12:17 PM

                      Does anyone have any pics of the basic reception decor included in the "free pkg"? We are having the wedding ceremony at the Sunset Mona Lisa...then coming back to the Riu for the reception dinner & probably renting the Disco. I'm curious about the flower options offered in the free pkg...are they nice? Does Erika send you choices to pick from?

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