Isla Mujeres Palace Review- May 2, 2009
Posted 12 June 2009 - 02:27 PM
I finally got my review done! Sorry if it seems scatter brained but I wanted to be as complete as possible. Feel free to ask me any further questions you may have!
Isla Mujeres Review
Upon Arrival: When you get there you meet with Rebeca right away. It was so nice to finally meet her in person. She really does bend over backwards to meet your accommodations. We went over all of the details which took about 45 minutes. I think it was good to get this out of the way so I could start to relax and enjoy my vacation too! I sent some of the stuff I brought down with relatives so I had to give her stuff as my guests arrived. She took my ceremony brochures and did a good job of handing them out before the ceremony. I gave her my music on a cd and told her what song # to play when. Like #5 was for the bridesmaids to walk down the isle to. #6 was for the bride. #7 was for signing legal docs. I only had 4 songs to play while guests were waiting which I thought would be plenty was it wasnâ€™t! Our translator (a friend) had to re-write the translation as the justice of the peace changed the wording on him (it was different than what Rebeca emailed to me). So that took him about 10 minutes extra. So I was up in my room and heard my last song- so I made a friend run down and tell them to start with the first song again! Hehe
Blood Test- This was easy. You go into Rebecaâ€™s office and it takes about 10 minutes. I didnâ€™t think it hurt too bad â€“ just a little prick. The needles come out of a safe, sterile bag so that was my main concern. We never really got the blood results but since we were able to get married, I guess we were OK!
I got ready in my room, room 203. It was fun because I got to see the groomsmen escort the moms down the isle. I also saw the groom help his other injured groomsmen down the isle. (letâ€™s just say there was an accident with a golf cart and the driver ended up going to the ER for stitches. He was in a wheelchair for the rest of the week but Josh helped him hobble down the isle. The two surrounding groomsmen held him up for the ceremony).
Salon: Wilma did my hair- sheâ€™s from Beach Palace. I took a few pictures of hairstyles I wanted to her and she was able to replicate it about 90%. Her English wasnâ€™t the best but it was enough to get by. I took hair pins (crystals) with me and she stuck them in. I am glad I took the pins as they are what made my hair seem complete. Make-up was done by Ampulco. She is a full time gal at the salon. She also did my mani and pedi the day before. She is also a masseuse. Before going to Mexico I went to the MAC makeup counter at Nordstromâ€™s and had them do my make-up. I bought all the colors as well as the studio finish (a powder that acts like a foundation). This way it was light and easy to put on the day of the wedding and something I wouldnâ€™t sweat off in 2 seconds! MAC did a paper face drawing of what I wanted my makeup to look like. At first Ampulco was confused and didnâ€™t know where to put my colors (I had 5 shades of eye shadow). Also, she did it very dark at first- to the point where when I looked in the mirror, I felt like I had two black eyes! I asked her to make it lower on the lid and she covered up the darkness with a skin shade shadow. After we got back to the room my friend added a shimmer color under my brow and blended the shadows a tiny bit. It wasnâ€™t bad but it wasnâ€™t as good as I had hoped either. So, my advice to you, take a picture of what you want. Ampulco is very nice but there is a definite language barrier that is hard to get past when describing makeup. Also, I took a few small fake eyelashes that I bought from MAC. Do not have her put these on you. She went through almost the entire pack and I swear she ripped out more of my eyelashes than she added with fake ones! It ended up being so painful that I had to have her quit (I think she was plucking out the lashes instead of adding the other ones on). As I added my own mascara later, most of the ones she applied had fallen off. Again, test on yourself at home or have a friend do this part. My hair apt was scheduled for 11:30 which seemed totally early but it was barely enough time. If I wasnâ€™t happy with the hair, there would not have been enough time to re-do it! My main goal was to not feel rushed and I didnâ€™t.
Flowers: Through my package I got my bouquet and the grooms boutanier included. I wanted a simple bouquet of red roses and this was one of the choices. I could not have been happier with how they turned out. The flowers were fresh and looked amazing. The flowers are made on the mainland and brought over- so I assumed they might be a little weathered- but they werenâ€™t! The hotel wants $115 per bridesmaid bouquet and I read on the forum somewhere about making your own. I ordered 2 dozen roses and brought my own ribbon and pins to make them myself. This worked out well except we were a little rushed for time. My hair appointment was at 11:30 and makeup was following that at 12:30. By the time we got back to the room, ordered roomservice (so I could get some food in my tummy) the afternoon flew by. So, my suggestion is to have a crafty person who can be mostly done getting ready and can make them when the flowers show up. Rebeca didnâ€™t bring the bouquets and flowers until around 2pm with a 5pm ceremony. I have a very crafty photographer I brought with me so he did most of the work for me!!
Palace Photographers & Dvd- This was included in our package. They showed up about 30-45 minutes early to take some pictures. They were both very nice but it was hard to understand what they wanted us to do at times. Her name was Kai and she had a very bubbly personality. She took some pictures of us before and after the ceremony but then was gone (none of the reception or catamaran). We got the prints on Wednesday morning and got a booklet of 36 prints and the CD of everything. For the most part, the pictures turned out wonderful. But knowing that this is her full time job, I was a little disappointed in the lighting on a few pictures. For example, she took a few pictures of me in the hotel room standing on the balcony. Of course with the sun slowly sinking into the sky, it was bright outside. All you can see is a washed out bride, with the thatch roof hanging down and a totally white background- not a site of the ocean near you! I found that some of the pictures were totally over exposed and we looked very washed out. I am not trying to complain as I did bring my own photographer with me and wasnâ€™t too worried about the pictures they took. I just hope they do a better job on people who solely rely on them. The guy who filmed for the DVD did a decent job. We are happy with the way the DVD turned out. When we were signing the legal docs we played the song â€œSigned, Sealed, Delivered, Iâ€™m Yoursâ€ by Stevie Wonder- they totally edited this part and played another song! Total bummer. We are very happy we got the DVD so that we can show others at home when the ceremony was like. My overall impression is a 8 /10 â€“ could be better but I guess I got what I paid for!
Dinner- We opted for the non-private event. We did our reception on Terrace #2 which is the closest to the ocean. There were only a handful of other guests at the hotel so it still felt private to me. I paid for red overlays on the table which was a nice touch. I brought my own vase crystal things that Rebeca spread out on the tables. I bought a few conch shells and large starfish from a lady outside the palace hotel- about 200 yards outside the gate headed towards the Dolphin Discovery. I think we paid $150 pesos for 8 items (about $14 US). I brought my own place cards with me and gave Rebeca a list of whom I wanted at each table. She executed all of this amazingly!!! I donâ€™t think the tables needed anything more. They werenâ€™t overdone or underdone. I was stressing about this detail until I saw the final product! Before we left home, Rebeca gave us a list of food choices for dinner. Since we know the hotel only has one place to eat, we decided to do a sit down meal and pick 4 items for our guests to choose from. We picked a salad, the three bean soup and then 4 meals: Rib eye, Chicken, Fish and spinach raviolis. We asked all of our guests before we went which item they wanted. The one thing Rebeca didnâ€™t tell me about early enough was that you have to make a card with a different color for each different meal- like red is beef, green is chicken, blue fish, etc. I had already made the table name cards for every guest and wasnâ€™t about to re-do them. Josh got crafty and printed out a picture of a cow, chicken, fish in a bowl, and a face made out of veggies and we gave these to Rebeca. She put each small picture under the overlay next to the person that wanted what item. It worked out well and everyone thought the pictures were cute. Just donâ€™t let people change seats or they wonâ€™t get the right meal! The food was great! Everyone really enjoyed the soup and I didnâ€™t hear any complaints about the food. The service staff is the same that you have on a regular night- so you get to know your waiters well! They were very attentive and I thought we had great customer service.
Cake: After the ceremony they made us go to the hammock area to take pictures with the cake and do a toast. It was nice to have champagne as it was really hot outside! You pretend to cut the cake (if you want to save it for after dinner) and the hotel photographers take pictures of this. I asked for the bottom layer to be chocolate and the top to be white. Rebeca didnâ€™t understand what white cake meant so we clarified this upon arrival. We picked vanilla as the top layer. When we actually cut into the cake, it turned out to be a white cake with chocolate filling. So I am not sure if they donâ€™t have chocolate cake or if itâ€™s a cultural thing. Before going to Mexico, I sent a picture to Rebeca of how I wanted the cake to look. She did a great job of executing this. She had fake shells made out of chocolate that we got to eat. Overall, I canâ€™t complain much about the cake. It wasnâ€™t my dream cake but I think Americans have a different definition of what cake is. I brought my own cake servers and champagne flutes. I gave them to Rebeca ahead of time and she had everything ready to go. The cake was very hard when we tried cutting into it after the ceremony and we ended up bending the knife! They told us just to cut it later and feed each other a chocolate shell from the top for the pictures.
Ceremony: We did the legal ceremony and our friend was the translator. WE started about 10 minutes late due to the wording being changed (different from what Rebeca emailed to me). We went over the basics on how the ceremony would go on the first day we met with Rebeca. As my dad walked me down the isle, I suddenly was like â€œwhere do we go? Where do I stand?â€. We just stumbled our way through it. The weird part was that I assumed the JOP would stand up front with us but she stood in the middle of the isle- halfway down with our guests. Then our translator was in the back under a tree by the sound equipment. I felt like I didnâ€™t know where to look the entire time (besides at the groom of course). When we went to sign the legal documents I forgot what name I was signing. I think in the states you write your new last name, but in Mexico you write the full name on your passport. I had to clarify with Rebeca while Josh was signing. The music was loud enough and I could hear it up front. The hoopa was bamboo like sticks with white cloths draped over them- then green ivy draped over that. My package acme with two flower arrangements at the base of the hoopa. Rebeca also added two heart shaped vases with orchids in pink water on the table. I didnâ€™t think anything else was needed in such a beautiful setting. After the ceremony the guests were given cold towels for their necks which was a VERY nice touch!! WE took a large group photo then all the guests went to the bar for a drink. Oh, the waiters make sure you have a drink in hand before the ceremony! Our guests always had a nice refreshment to keep them cool during such a hot time of the day. We then took photos with our bridal party and family and then went to the catamaran. It felt a little rushed but I am sure every bride has felt this way.
Catamaran- This by far was the highlight of the day (besides being married of course). Everyone of our guests told us what a memorable wedding it was. The stock the boat with alcohol and itâ€™s almost a booze cruise. We sailed south for a while and then turned around using the sail to take us back north. By the time we reached the north point, the sun was setting- such amazing pictures. This lasted a full 1.5 hours and was the perfect amount of time. We had small appetizers for people to eat which was nice. We didnâ€™t bring any music with us btu they had a CD with good stuff on it! People were dancing all over the catamaran. One question people ask- itâ€™s not big enough for people to sit on very well. You have to walk on a skinny path to get on the boat but there are employees to help you along. I got around just fine in my dress even with a train. There isnâ€™t really a place below deck to relax, itâ€™s just one large top area that you need your sea legs for!
I loved this resort and it was just perfect for us! I hope this helps you brides make some decisions! Good luck
Posted 12 June 2009 - 05:28 PM
Posted 18 June 2009 - 02:21 PM
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Posted 01 August 2009 - 12:48 PM
Posted 10 August 2009 - 09:28 PM
By the way, thank you for your post! Great information!
Oh, and one more question, which package did you choose? Just curious if you were happy with it...
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