Riu Palace Riviera Maya March 2009 wedding
Posted 01 May 2009 - 10:30 PM
First of all thank you to all who have written about the Riu Palace Riviera Maya in Playa del Carmen. The reviews helped tremendously and were very helpful.
1. logistics to get to the RPRM:
- I booked the rooms directly from the Riu and was sent vouchers for the shuttle bus from the airport to the RIU; some of the vouchers was wrong which had us worried a little...
I guess what I want to say is, if you are worried about the shuttle bus give the Riu a call a day or so before to tell them again when you'll arrive - no need for the actual vouchers. A company called HotelBeds in blue uniforms will pick you up. The drive is actually closer to 1 1/2 to 2 hrs to get to the hotel.
2. check in and rooms:
- thought everything was great
- we wanted to pay for all our guests which could only be done on the date of arrival (given that the rate changes according to the daily USD/Peso rate); so with the guests arriving on different days we spent some time at the check-in counter.. but the staff was super-friendly
3. hotel and beach:
- beautiful, beautiful
- we had not been an an all inclusive place before so this was absolutely amazing to us.
- the Con Manolo morning buffet was great! The evening buffet also not bad (we had an all-you-can-eat-lobster night one evening). The Chilis has afternoon snacks etc. you definitely won't starve and thereâ€™ll be Guacamole and fruit juices non-stop.
- It is true that it's hard to make restaurant reservations. Most were booked out 3 or 4 days in advance which is a bit annoying given that most of us were there only 3 days, so make your way over to the restaurant reservation line on the first day and make as many reservations as possible.
4. meeting with wedding coordinator:
- reviews here were right; Email contact with the wedding coordinator took a few days but once you meet the coordinator (ours was Rebecca, different from Ael who I had emailed with) it became apparent how organized they were; within an hour they got it all sorted out
- we chose the flowers which was a bit spontaneously (they showed us 4 pictures and said you can change the colors of the flowers so we just made it up);
- re. music we had one song and then chose a second one from them;
- regarding the service (we had a symbolic wedding and given that my husband is jewish and my family is Christian we did not want any reference to Jesus or the whole spiritâ€¦) we simply indicated what we wanted but frankly, we had no idea what exactly to expect; my dad gave us a blessing so we had said that we wanted this to be part of the service
- re. the photographer we went with the 80 picture on CD package
- other stuff was confirming the restaurant (Chilis â€“ the best indeed!) and we made a last-minute decision to have a cocktail hour at the havanna bar (best idea ever!!)
- also decided on decorations
5. wedding day
- had hair and make-up done at the remora spa and even though I had spent days thinking about what hair-style to have, eventually just picked a photo they had for an updo (it was very warm so that helped my decision also); for make-up just said â€˜naturalâ€™ â€“ I was very happy with the result
- Juan Carlos the photographer came into my room with my parents in and took some photos pre-wedding
- then another wedding co-ordinator picked me and my dad up; they are very well organized, have walkie talkies etc.; very professional
- little issue was that the music stopped when my dad I walked down to the gazebo but didnâ€™t much matter
- the service turned out to be perfect. Our minister, Eduardo Flores, knew how to strike the right tone between humour, seriousness and spirituality; could not have been better had we met him and spent 10 hours telling him about us beforehandâ€¦ he also knew exactly when to ask my dad to give his blessings.. we highly recommend him! His English also was excellent.
- Juan Carlos is a very very good photographer, very professional; he will guide you through the resort and suggest different poses which really do work very well.
- itâ€™s funny, I am pretty sure he did photoshop some of the beach photos because everyone elseâ€™s photos has people bathing in the background; I think he took care of it, but in a perfect manner
- I wonâ€™t be posting photos here but (bit paranoid about privacy on the internet) but believe me that they are beautiful. Check out his gallery http://web.mac.com/jcmag (some of ours are on there too)
- the 80 picture package was good, although I could have taken more (he had taken 300 and shown us the 190 nicest; I narrowed it down to 130 and my husband had to do the rest â€“ couldnâ€™t even bear looking.. however, Juan Carlos keeps the photos for a month, so if you change your mind and want to order more later that is also possible. For us, the 80 were actually perfect because our family also took a lot of photos of us..
7. Cocktail hour and dinner
- since our wedding was at 2PM (it was actually very hot! But still better than the rain two days before our wedding..) we decided to have a cocktail hour from 4pm to 6:30pm and dinner I think was at 7pm at the Chilis
- the cocktail hour was actually a great decision; at $8 per person they put out champagne, excellent finger food and we had our own corner in the Havana bar; that was really nice (and we had almost not even done it)
- the dinner at the Cilis was excellent! Food was outstanding and so was the service. There was a meat and seafood choice and the desert was excellent!!
- we did have a simple wedding cake (needed that â€˜cutting-the-cakeâ€™ photo) but the Chiliâ€™s desert was way better
8. Other stuff
- we had 10 guests including 2 kids which was a small but very comfortable size; can recommend this to anyone!
- our wedding day was a bit hot (mid March) which makes me wonder about the summer months, but you can cool down during the cocktail hour inside
- we only started planning the wedding in December and reading about other bridesâ€™ 1 year or longer planning was a bit worried, but all worked out wonderfully; no need to get stressed; itâ€™s really all about just signing up and then deciding the rest there
- oh, regarding decorating, I had read that others had their decorations set up by the wedding coordinators; in our case they said we should do it ourselves; was ok in our case (only 10 guests) but if you have 50+ guests this could have been annoying; would tell them in an email upfront and offer to pay a bit extra thenâ€¦
- we had two kids among the guests (3 and 6 years old) and the resort was great for kids; they had kids activities and were very kid tolerant
- re. tipping; even though itâ€™s all inclusive, we did tip (the Chilis, the rehearsal dinner, room service etc.) no need to do it but people are happy
- almost forgot, we had also a welcome/rehearsal dinner at the Don Manolo the day before the wedding which was also nice; they had us in a private section and had a band come in also (beautiful harp and guitar banad). Was very nicely done!
To conclude, I would recommend the RPRM to anyone for their wedding. It is going to be beautiful, you will feel relaxed, the service you are getting will be extremely professional and friendly, the photos will be super beautiful, and you are getting a good deal for your money (when you compare this to a wedding in the US). So, thumbs up for the RPRM.
I hope the swine flu wonâ€™t negatively impact their business too much either.
They do such a good job and deserve good business. Just thinking about the Riu and our wedding day makes me happy.
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