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I found this site to be very helpful when we did our destination wedding, so hopefully this will be my “pay-it-forwardâ€. Get ready for a LONG REVIEW…

 

Here is a link to a slideshow of some of our pics (pics by Vincent from Zasil, and I made the slideshow) This is a password protected video on Vimeo

 

Here is a link to a few of the pics from our week that are primarily of the venues. Most of the pics of the actual wedding are by our professional photographer, but I added in a few from our guests that give a good idea of what the venue looks like

Picasa Web Albums - lkmuir - Playa Del Car...

 

My husband and I got married in Playa Del Carmen on January 3rd, 2009 and it was UNBELIEVABLE!! We had 101 guests who all came down for the New Year and stayed through our wedding. We had events planned all week, so I have a bunch to review. My BIGGEST recommendation is to take at least one trip to Playa to see everything before you make any deposits. I PROMISE it is worth it.

 

We originally planned to get married at the Blue Parrot Beach Club, but we ended up getting married at XCaret Eco Park instead. My mom and I took a trip to see Blue Parrot a few months before our wedding and I decided it wasnâ€t right for us. We got married January 3rd (HIGH season) and even when I saw a wedding at Blue Parrot during the low season; it did not feel private at all. Blue Parrot is right in the middle of the busiest section of the beach, and the beach is very narrow. The wedding my mom and I watched was set up on the beach, and there was a CONSTANT flow of people (all in their bikinis and Speedos) walking just behind and in front of the ceremony. I honestly wanted to cry for the bride. The lounge area (where they sometimes have receptions) is also not very private. Doing a reception on the beach-front palapa might be a little better, but the Blue Parrot beach club doesnâ€t close down the “club†for a wedding, so there is still club music going on. We had already put a deposit down on the Blue Parrot for our wedding, but Paula (the coordinator at the Blue Parrot who is WONDERFUL) let us move our deposit to do our rehearsal dinner their the night before instead.

 

We did a BRIDAL LUNCHEON at La Casa Del Agua and it was BEAUTIFUL!! We did it in the morning so they didnâ€t over-charge us (we just paid for what we consumed) and they let us have a whole private area (we had about 50 ladies come). They sent us the menus ahead of time and we chose a few item (that were the cheapest) and made up our own abbreviated menus for all of the ladies to choose their meal at the luncheon. The service was pretty slow, but it was a nice lazy morning (and we had the alcoholic beverages flowing so everyone was happy). We were on the terrace (the “beach view†side of the restaurant). Their prices were really expensive to do anything at night (we looked at doing the wedding reception there and I think it was overpriced for that). Overall, I would give them a good review and we were very happy with it.

 

We did a welcome dinner at Zenzi beach club, which is a really nice (newer) beach club not far from the Blue Parrot Beach Club. The club is really nice, but the owners are TERRIBLE. I would stay away from that place. It turned out ok for us, but it was a HUGE headache leading up to the wedding. The event coordinator changed 3 times in a 6 months span, and no one could ever tell us what was going on. Just a few weeks before the wedding (after itineraries had already been sent out to our 101 guests) the owner told us we couldnâ€t do our event their anymore. In the end he let us do it, although he wouldnâ€t make it private for us like he had originally promised and didnâ€t have ANYTHING set up when the guests arrived. We did a Mexican buffet at sunset for all of our guests, then they set up a screen on the beach and we played a slideshow of my husband and me. The guests didnâ€t know there were any problems and said they had a great time. They also said the food was wonderful. Overall, we would NOT recommend Zenzi beach club.

 

We did our rehearsal dinner at the upstairs palapa at Blue Parrot (the VIP terrace) with only 40 guests (wedding party and family) and that turned out very nicely. The food was good and not too expensive, and the VIP terrace is very nice (although it was VERY windy the night we were there). We had a Mexican trio play for a cocktail hour, and then we had a DJ play music during dinner. This was good because the DJ had a microphone we could use for people to make toasts. They had a nice set up, with round tables and chair covers with light blue bows. Our only complaint was that the SECOND our time was up, they literally took our chairs out from under us and kicked us out.

 

Once the Blue Parrot club gets going, the music is REALLY loud (the young people did a lot of clubbing their, but the older guests stayed away). If you are planning a wedding at the Blue Parrot, I would just make sure to check it out ahead of time and make sure it is what you are looking for. It feels very different in real life than it does in the pictures.

 

We did our wedding at XCARET ECOPARK and it was UNBELIEVABLE!! Seriously, my guests still havenâ€t stopped talking about it. It ended up costing more than Blue Parrot would have, but it was worth it. I know every girl thinks that her wedding is the best, but this venue was literally the COOLEST think I have EVER seen in my life!! We did our ceremony at the Chapel, St. Francis of Assisi, and it was PERFECT. It is an open-air palapa that is an officially sanctioned Catholic chapel, although we are not catholic. My uncle did the ceremony (we actually got legally married in the USA before we left, then my uncle conducted a symbolic ceremony in Mexico). We had the XCaret trio play (XCaret wonâ€t let you bring your own musicians) who were ok (not worth the money we had to pay for them, but better than pre-recorded music would have been).

 

We hired Patricia Biedma from Artevelas [patriciabiedma@gmail.com] to set up candles down the isle (which Iâ€m really glad we did). She was wonderful and extremely helpful (always answered e-mails very quickly). Artevelas can set up big beautiful candles at any venue that will allow it, so this would be something I would recommend as a nice touch to any wedding.

 

XCaret wouldnâ€t let us start the wedding until 6pm, which is probably good so there are no tourists around for the ceremony, but it meant that the whole thing was after dark (since we got married close to the shortest day of the year). XCaret offers a cocktail hour down on the ocean, but we decided against that. It costs extra to use the venue, plus it would have cost extra to have the alcohol and potentially appetizers. We decided to go straight to the reception after the ceremony and start dinner, and I think it worked out great and the guests seemed to think so as well. The walk to the reception is SO COOL!! They set up tiki torches everywhere and you walk past some Mayan ruins, then down this huge spiral path with a big bonfire in the middle of it (itâ€s hard to explain, but it is SO COOL!) Then you walk through this CAVE and over a glass bridge, where servers are passing out margaritas, then suddenly it opens up into this HUGE reception hall (La Isla). It has a palapa roof, but it is 3 or 4 stories high. I did not see any pictures ahead of time that did this place justice. There are rivers that run around the edges of the hall and they have floating candles set up. The lighting is UNBELIEVABLE! Any time there was a toast or anything, they would put spotlights on my husband and I. The lighting for the dancing was incredible as well. The chairs are the leather sling-back chairs that are all over Playa, and they have cobalt blue dishes. The hall is huge, so it might feel overwhelming for a group smaller than 70 (and I think XCaret had a minimum number of guests needed to do a reception here). We hired the XCaret DJ (who was also very expensive, but ended up doing a great job). We had the dance floor on the stage, which was also very cool. They have AC in the hall, but we were still all sweating up a storm from dancing so much by the end of the night. The servers were incredible. When they first came in to serve dinner, they all walked down this huge ramp with fire on the platters and made this beautiful entrance. The hall is rustic and elegant at the same time. XCaret is incredibly organized and professional, so it was great for my husband and I to just enjoy the whole thing. Our coordinator was Veronica and she was great. I know that a couple of the other coordinators are not as good, so request her if you can.

 

We had Vincent from Zasil photography do the photographs, and this guys is AMAZING. He is this kind of over the top French guy who lives in Playa and is a real “artist†type. Some photographers stay out of the spotlight, but not this guy. He had our guests laughing and playing and was all over the place, climbing trees and rolling around on the ground to get the perfect shot. My guests still talk about Vincent, and a number of my friends have talked about flying him to the US for their weddings. You can look at our wedding pictures to see if you like his work.

 

We used Mike Cantarell from Cancun Wedding Videos for or videographer. We had an appointment set up for a couple of days before the wedding to pay the deposit and set all of the final details for the wedding and he never showed up. I e-mailed him a bunch of times in the days before the wedding and never heard back from him. Then, the day of the wedding, some guy with a video camera showed up to XCaret saying he was Mikeâ€s cousin or something and he videotaped the wedding. It was ok but nothing special, and the lack of communication was very scary the days before the wedding, so I wouldnâ€t recommend him. Plus, I think there are some better videographers in Playa.

 

Vanessa Jaimes did the flowers and she was FABULOUS!! It was difficult ahead of time to communicate what I wanted, but Vanessa sent me a picture of some flowers she had done at XCaret in the past, and I just said I wanted the EXACT same thing. They were UNBELIEBABLE!! She also did arrangements at the chapel for the wedding. I had NO idea what to expect for those flowers, but it turned out PERFECT. They are a little modern (not very traditional). The day of the wedding, she called saying that the flowers she had ordered for my bouquet came in and didnâ€t look very good, so she changed the kind of flowers in my bouquet the day of the wedding. I donâ€t even remember what they were, but they turned out wonderful!! She was not cheap, probably comparable to US prices (and I know she has a minimum she charges for doing weddings) but I would recommend her 100%!!

 

We had Irene from Caribbean Blue Weddings arrange transportation for our guests to and from the wedding and do the cake. She charged WAY too much, got my bridal party COMPLETELY LOST the day of the wedding (despite my obsessive-compulsive directions explaining where they needed to get in XCaret), then the cake got there 2 HOURS LATE (2 hours after the reception had already started). I had really wanted the cake set up so the guests could see it as they entered the hall. The cake was BEAUTIFUL (exactly what I had asked for), but I wouldnâ€t recommend these people. They werenâ€t organized and couldnâ€t figure out why I was upset that the cake was 2 hours late (it was an $800 cake, I just wanted people to be able to see it before we cut into it). They also tried to tell me that my bridal party hadnâ€t gotten lost. I would strongly recommend AGAINST these people.

 

We had our guests choose their own hotels, so they stayed all over Playa Del Carmen. There are literally hundreds of little “boutique†hotels, so I would recommend taking a look at them in person before choosing where to have your guests stay. Although our wedding turned out very well, I would also recommend against trying to do it during high season (we werenâ€t able to get our guests good deals because of that). We REALLY loved Playa Palms, although I think it got loud at night because it is right in the middle of the “club†district. None of our guests stayed a La Tortuga, but we ate there a couple of times and it looked really cool. Delfin was very CHEAP! We had about 20 guests stay there. A group of 5 of my friends got the suite and paid $20 a night each. It was clean and simple and right on 5th ave. A couple guests stayed at all inclusives, but we didnâ€t see them much because they stayed at the hotels the whole time (since they had already paid for all of their meals etc). We had a bunch of guests stay at Xamen Ha, which is a condo complex just south of the city. It was much calmer down their and they had a nice pool. The beach tends to disappear down there, so it is not great if you love the beach. The beach is MUCH wider north of the city, so if that is important to you, find a place up there. There is a TON of new development, so Iâ€m sure you could find a nice condo up there for a good deal. My family and bridal party all stayed at Villa Sacbe which is condos and it was SO COOL!! Really, unbelievable. Villa Sacbe, El Taj, and Porto Playa are all the same builders, and each unit is a private owner. The complexes are VERY small (maybe 9 condos??) and just outside the complex doesnâ€t look very nice, but inside they are great. They are all right next to each other, and right in the middle of town. It is a short taxi ride to Wal-Mart, so you can buy food since there are full kitchens at the condos. My husband and I stayed at the Blue Parrot suites which were really nice, but I think a little overpriced (and not as unique and Villa Sacbe).

 

Hopefully this was helpful!! Again, here are some pics to check out…

 

Here is a link to our wedding video, password is: playadelcarmen This is a password protected video on Vimeo

 

Here is a link to a few of the pics from our week that are primarily of the venues. Most of the pics of the actual wedding are by our professional photographer, but I added in a few from our guests that give a good idea of what the venue looks like

Picasa Web Albums - lkmuir - Playa Del Car...

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I first have to say that the wedding was sooooo beautiful. This location is one out of 3 that we are looking at. Did you recieve a price list for the trio package? If so can u send it to me. Thanks so much

 

Stephanie sspiris@gmail.com

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Oh wow ! Your wedding looked so amazing ! The venue was stunning ! The flowers were art ! Your dress was flowy ! You were beautiful ! The candles make me jealous ! Your pics are incredible !

 

Wow ! Congratulations !

 

Just not to make me regret mine - how was the food ? (Please tell me so-so) wink.gif

 

Byt the way, what is the password to the slide show ?

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Great info, I am thinking akumal so I can cater it at CEA and save money. Do you think they would just do a ceremony there at the church...so pretty for photos but it has to be at night? Did they give u the option for just a ceremony. You were a gorgeous bride! Congrats!

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