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Royal/Gran Porto PDC LOONG review!! W/ Pics!


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#1 Kriswim

Kriswim
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    Posted 03 June 2009 - 11:25 AM

    Shannon Krista’s (Kriswim) Legal Wedding Review – Gran Porto Real / Royal Real Resort. May 2nd, 2009.

    Thank you to all the bides on this forum who have provided all the helpful information! By sharing ideas and concerns I was really able to better plan my wedding. I couldn’t have done it with out all you ladies! Hopefully, this helps you all as well!

    We were married at The Royal in Playa del Carmen May 2nd, 2009. ( Despite it being in the midst of the swine flu outbreak!) We had the ceremony at the Gazebo at the Royal and the reception on the beach at the Gran. All of our vendors were booked through the resort. We booked our wedding in February of 2008, so we were given 08’s pricing (big saver for us!). We stayed at the Gran Proto Real for 10 days. It was a cost decision for us to stay there but we absolutely LOVED IT!

    I am so glad we did a destination wedding. It saved us a lot of money and it was a lot less stress. It was something different and an event people will remember forever. Although the closer we got and people started canceling (b/c of the stupid flu) we were sad but still happy with our decision!!


    Resort:

    The resort was excellent. Our guests (and us) loved the staff and the resort. We ate all 5 restaurants, and they were good. (Il Pescatore – Italian, Marias – Mexican, the roof sushi bar, Beach Grill and Albatros – the buffet). In spite of the flu panic the hotel was Excellent. The service was like no other!!! Not one of our guests had any issues. Everyone loved being right by 5th!

    The pool area is awesome. The activities team really does try to get everyone having fun. Some people tired water aerobics and had a blast! This activity guy named “Chicken Little” was so funny! He rocked! There were fun bartending classes, bingo, bike tours, water volley ball, kayaking, Spanish lessons, dance lessons, mini golf, snorkeling, and water basketball!

    We were upgraded for FREE into an OCEAN FRONT view room – it was great!!!! What a view. We loved the extra space in the room and the extra balcony.

    Wedding:

    We originally had 40 people booked for the wedding. All but six were staying at the Gran. But by the time the wedding came around 18 people canceled. It was really sad and I cried but then I remembered why we were there – the most important thing was that Chris and I were getting married!

    We arrived Monday – plenty time ahead for our legal wedding, and met with Michelle on Tuesday. We made almost all of our decisions during this appointment. Our wedding was originally booked for 4PM. But we noticed that the sun doesn’t set until 7pm. We wanted pictures during sun set after the ceremony so we moved it to 5pm. So we could have the photographer for 3 hours and still get him for the reception.
    During our appointment with Michelle we also:
    -picked out our food – Stuffed chicken – cream of corn with Cilantro soup ( SOOO GOOD)
    -had our blood tests done (it was actually really easy) and had a really quick “physical” with the doctor (he asked us if we felt healthy, and if we had been to the hospital in the last 2 years...)
    -picked out our “free” centerpiece (she had a bunch of pictures and it came free with the ceremony package)
    - picked out the fabric design for the Gazebo at the Royal – she had lots of pictures to look at.
    -picked out the cake (Tres Leches – THE BEST CAKE EVER – everyone LOVED IT)
    -re-confirmed everything else (photos, videographer, miriachi band, dj)
    -picked out the music for walking down the aisle. (Resort’s music - canon in d)
    -I didn’t give her my favors until the day of the wedding and gave her the shells to decorate the tables on Wednesday.
    -asked about our food choices - she agreed with them and explained the other choices on the menu. She also mentioned that our menu choice was the most requested one.
    -Everyday I had a new count to give Michelle since people were cancelling and it was no big deal. On Friday I had to sign the contract (has to be done one full day before the wedding) She was so easy to work with!

    Here is a general overview of our wedding:
    -We didn’t do a rehearsal b/c the wedding party was so small and Michelle explained the process to us a few days before.
    -All week I could call her, email her or just run over to her office with questions and she got back to me right away! She was amazing.
    -My mom had trouble with her credit card – something about international transactions. But no worries! Michelle was there and worked it all out! My mom was stressing but Michele made it completely easy!
    -Friday we all met at Marias for dinner and had 2 tables set up for us. There were about 17 of us in all so it wasn’t a huge group. Since the resort was kind of slow – it wasn’t a problem! We bought our parents each a private dinner on the beach as a thank you. Since it was Chris’ parents anniversary that week they really enjoyed it.
    -We also bought them a nice piece of pottery from a local vendor. They really liked it.
    -We went over the Spa at the Royal ( SpAzul ) for the spa services.
    -1PM – Had my nails re-polished. They brought champagne to our room!
    My hair turned our awesome - I didn’t even go in with pictures. I just told the hair stylist I wanted it and up; it was perfect! I had small white orchids placed under my hair where my veil went – it was beautiful!
    My makeup was PERFECT! I felt like a Hollywood movie star!
    -She did all my services in 1 hour!!
    -About 2 weeks before the wedding I emailed Michelle with a list of everyone who wanted spa services. She booked the appointments with the spa ( must be done ahead of time b/c they book up – normally!)
    -Michelle dropped off the flowers and checked on us about 1 hr before just like she said – she came right to my hotel room! I didn’t even tell here where I was – she tracked me down!
    -We ordered room service so we could eat in the room and not have to rush off anywhere – such a good idea!!!
    4:30PM - Michelle checked on the gazebo and made sure the guys were there.
    4:55PM – We met at Michelle’s office and walked down to the gazebo. We met the judge at Michele’s office and luckily she spoke English – it was terrific!

    The wedding ceremony was beautiful. The legal ceremony in Mexico has such touching words. At the end, we signed the 3 copies, and did the finger prints on the papers. That was so neat! But I was afraid of getting ink on my dress! 
    We had the champagne toast, and chatted with our guests. Took lots of pictures and we even decided to do our cake cutting at this point so the photographer could get good shots and this way we wouldn’t forget about it later on.
    We got a few group photos in the gazebo, and then it was off to the beach. We gave our guests a chance to have their own photos - which they loved! We did photos with our families, and then they went off on their own. We did another hour or so of photos with our wedding party. Then we let them loose and did the rest of on our own. The photographer was very creative and really loved his work. Michelle helped coordinate all of this – thank goodness!!
    We then walked over to the Gran for the reception.
    The Mariachi band played for the first hour of the reception. By far the best part! I would HIGHLY recommend hiring them!
    Chris and I did a pre-first dance while the Mariachi band played a slow song! We got the best pictures!
    Then we sat down and ate. After the soup and salad we did our first dances and the after the meal we did the speeches. This was all down in the beginning so both the videographer and photographer could get pictures while they were still there.
    The service was OUTSTANDING – so fast and the food was hot!
    The food was excellent and the presentation was wonderful. The dessert was so good as well – we picked the chocolate shell!!
    The DJ was awesome. He picked out ALL the songs except 3 that we brought. A few were requested and he had them all!
    We bought maracas on 5th Ave and gave them out as favors! It was such a HUGE hit! We danced with them all night long – what fun!!!
    The DJ played for an extra half hour or so – one or two $20 bills helped – but since the resort was pretty quiet and we were the only wedding - it didn’t matter!
    Michelle stayed the entire time both the photographer and videographer were there to make sure everything went smooth. She helped run the entire event. I didn’t have to worry about a thing!
    Vendors & Pricing
    We loved all of our vendors!!
    Photography – Funever Photos - Photographer was Caesar – 2 hours plus we added an extra hour. He was really good.
    Videographer – 3 hours
    Miriachi Band - 45min - $450US
    DJ - 4hour package, (He was excellent!)
    Food/Drinks - $35 a plate
    Flowers: Pink Star gazers with off white roses! Perfect match to go with my bridesmaids dresses that were turquoise!
    Hair (updo) - $65
    Makeup - $60
    Nail Polish change - $25
    I got tips put on my nails at a spa next door to the Gran – Health Beauty Spa. They were really nice and much cheaper!!! $45 for my tips, $120 at the Royal!
    We bought the Luxury package at the Royal. So worth it! We had a couples massage on Monday and a private dinner on the beach at the Royal Sunday night. It was so romantic! It was the best steak I have ever had in my life!!!!!!

    Advice/Tips

    The only advice I could give is NOT to stress – They do everything for you!
    We had made OOT bags for everyone and gave them to the front desk at the Gran each day our guest arrived. It ended up being so easy – I couldn’t believe I was stressed about it. The front desk even made me copies of my welcome letters for free!
    We bought a lot of the snacks for the bags at the local wal-mart – then realized form locals that the local MEGA grocery store was better and cheaper!! I would NOT go back to the wal-mart!!!!!!!
    We could walk to both. We took a cab back from wal-mart only b/c we had so many bags but it was only $3!
    It really was sad that many of our friends and family canceled b/c of the swine flu but in the end – we had a BLAST! Everyone kept coming up to us saying it was the most fun they ever had at a wedding! So worth it!
    Another tip – if you need your dress steamed so it far in advance – I waited until Thursday (wedding on Sat) and found out that Friday was a holiday in Mexico so no one was working that day! They couldn’t steam my dress. At first I was upset – but it didn’t matter!! It was windy on the beach and you couldn’t tell at all ( plus it really wasn’t that bad!)
    I was EXTREMLY happy with my decision to have my wedding split between the Royal and Gran. It was perfect!
    Hope this helps other brides. Let me know if you have any questions – I will be glad to help out in anyway I can!!
    Here are some non professional pictures:
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    **Shannon** 40 people BOOKED! (but only 23 made it b/c of the Swine flu Pandemic )

    http://i300.photobuc....Wedding352.jpg
    My Wedding Review: http://bestdestinati....-w-pics-43618/

    #2 olsontco

    olsontco
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    • 185 posts

      Posted 03 June 2009 - 11:27 AM

      Thank you for all your help!!!! Your wedding looks beautiful!!!!
      Soon to be Mrs. Howell

      #3 *Nadine*

      *Nadine*
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      • 5,466 posts

        Posted 03 June 2009 - 11:29 AM

        Congrats! Very thorough and helpful review!! More pics, you look fantastic!

        #4 JOSIE

        JOSIE
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        • 1,792 posts

          Posted 03 June 2009 - 12:42 PM

          Thanks for the review!! The ceremony set up was beautiful and the water (and you!!) look amazing!! Congrats on being a MRS!!!
          11.28.2009

          #5 ilovemypitbull

          ilovemypitbull
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          • 39 posts

            Posted 03 June 2009 - 12:56 PM

            Wow, what a gorgeous wedding! Thanks for the detailed review! I'm thinking about the Gran Porto for my wedding and couldn't find very much information so this is really helpful. Be sure to post more pictures when you can!

            - Jen

            #6 Erika J

            Erika J

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              Posted 03 June 2009 - 01:00 PM

              Shannon, Everythings sounds like it worked out well and you were surronded by loved ones.

              Can you post any close ups of your or your BM bouquets??

              #7 H&F

              H&F
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              • 361 posts

                Posted 03 June 2009 - 01:25 PM

                Great review and you look so happy! Congratulations!

                #8 ~Stephanie~

                ~Stephanie~
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                  Posted 03 June 2009 - 01:41 PM

                  Shannon- I was waiting for your review! Congrats! It looks like everything went perfect. I'm sorry you lost some guests, I know when you and your DH checked in on the Royal thread during your stay that you were upset, I'm glad everything still turned out. I will PM you with a couple of questions. Can't wait to see your pro-pics! You look beautiful, I love your hair!
                  ~Stephanie

                  Our wedding websitewww.mywedding.com/stephanieandmichaelbailey

                  #9 Kriswim

                  Kriswim
                  • Jr. Member
                  • 186 posts

                    Posted 03 June 2009 - 02:53 PM

                    Hey Erika,
                    I will try to find some close ups of the bouquets...I'll see what i can find!
                    **Shannon** 40 people BOOKED! (but only 23 made it b/c of the Swine flu Pandemic )

                    http://i300.photobuc....Wedding352.jpg
                    My Wedding Review: http://bestdestinati....-w-pics-43618/

                    #10 DanielleNDerek

                    DanielleNDerek
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                    • 18,452 posts

                      Posted 03 June 2009 - 02:58 PM

                      Sorry you lost some guests because of the swine flu but i'm really glad everything else went great and your wedding sounds perfect. Congratulations!
                      ***Married November 6, 2008***Gavin Born February 28th, 2010***
                      Paradisus Palma Real Wedding Review
                      Our Professional Wedding Pictures on Snapfish




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