So we just got back from spending three weeks in Mexico. Two weeks at the Grand Sirenis for our wedding and one week in Cozumel for our honeymoon. First of all, we used an agency called Romantic Planet Vacations who searched for resorts in our price range, they set up a website for our wedding where guests could book, they sent out reminders for payment deadlines, and they even called us with a price change of almost $200 on every one’s trips because prices went down! Have you ever heard of that?? They helped organize our out of town guests to get to the destination as well and we were give a free spot for each 11 guests, so we actually got my husband’s sons trips paying taxes only. I highly recommend them, there was no stress on our part with the booking and organizing of guests! Each of our guests also got $10 credit for food or drink on the plane with Air Transat, for both flights there and back!
We were originally only going to book one week at the resort, but we asked how much it was for the extra week and it only cost another $500 per person for the entire week so a small group of our party booked the extra week! This was fantastic because we were able to get oriented with the resort before everyone got there and we were able to greet all of our guests upon their arrival. The resort is pretty big but not terrible. We have stayed at much larger resorts and we have stayed at smaller ones. You can walk just about anywhere in the hotel within 10 minutes. The spa and the disco are far from everything so you need to take the free shuttle for those but the shuttles ran very regularly and the drivers were very good about stopping and letting you on if they had space.
First thing to realize is that the hotel tells you they cannot guarantee that your guests will be in the same building. And they likely will not be. We were spread out between 3-4 buildings and I have to be honest I was quite frustrated to start with because we had asked and asked and asked again right up until the morning of our guest’s arrivals and we still did not get to be together. I found this was absolutely not a big deal, we found that our group had regular congregating places at one of the pools, at the Beach BBQ and in one of the lobbies, it was never hard to find people.
We gave out gift bags when people arrived that included the following things:
· Ear plugs, in case you are near the ‘happy couple’ or any happy couple…
· Flashlight, so you can find the toilet if the power goes out.
· Aloe, in case you didn’t heed my advice about the sunscreen
· Wet ones, keep these with you so you can wipe up after eating, drinking or spilling.
· Clothespins for hanging up wet clothes
· Q-tips for getting sand out of your ears and nose
· Vaseline for whatever you need it for… don’t wear on lips in sun
· Playing cards
· Woolite, in case you need to wash something
· Emergen-C, if you are feeling under the weather from booze or a flu bug, this is a great little remedy to help with dehydration and it is FULL of vitamin C.
· Sanitizing wipes… um to sanitize stuff.
· Alka Selter- just in case
· Pepto Bismal – for the other just in cases…
· Advil – for even more just in cases… day after swim up bar day?
· Post card, addressed to us, this is going to be our ‘guest book’, pop it in the mail before you leave Mexico please, you can bring to the concierge and they will tell you where to mail.
· 4M – Morck’s Magic Mosquito Mix… there is Deet in this, works great around your ankles at night to avoid bites.
· Some helpful Spanish phrases
· Guest list with room numbers so you can find your new friends!
· Itinerary of the week’s events
· Do not disturb sign for day after wedding
· Welcome letter
My husband and I did not plan excursions for the group. We had a group that were quite capable of planning their own activities as they saw fit. And since they were only there for a week, we wanted them to feel like it was their vacation too and not just all about our wedding. They seemed to appreciate that. The only mandated things that we did were the rehearsal dinner and the wedding. This did not stop the group from spending time together. People would book their own ala carte’s and then we would each migrate to the lobby bar, and hoard chairs for our large group. We had many laughs each night in those lobby bars. Tip those waitresses well, they continuously bring you free drinks all night. They took very good care of our group each night.
We had our wedding on the Friday of the week, having our group there Sunday to Sunday. This wasn’t planned specifically but you do need to be there for three days prior to wedding as per Mexican laws. But having the five days together before the wedding was excellent because the group really bonded and had a great time together throughout the week which made our wedding dance so much fun! Our wedding guests are already talking about a reunion next summer!
Be prepared for some business to be taken care of while you are there. So we had to do our wedding appointment with the coordinator when we got there. Do this earlier in your week so that you have a few days to get the things done that need to be done. We broke things down and tried to do one or two things every morning around breakfast as we were in that building for breakfast and this way we didn’t eat up our whole day. Let’s see if I can remember everything:
1. Wedding appointment where you make all your final decisions and pay for everything.
2. Your need your passports and tourist cards (in passport from customs) which they will make a copy of.
3. You will also need copies of these to go to the doctor for your blood test, which costs $250 cash USD. This is in the medical centre which is close to the tennis courts.
4. Your four witnesses need to bring their passports and tourist cards to the wedding office to sign forms.
5. You need another $200 USD cash for the wedding coordinator to have your documents translated into English so your marriage can be legal in your country.
6. Give any favours or place settings that you want set up for your wedding to the coordinators, they will have them set up for you.
7. Go and see the photographer and pay for your package, book your times for wedding day and trash the dress day if applicable.
8. Any other last minute details for or from wedding coordinator, they work hard to make sure your day is AWESOME. Trust them, they do great!
When we arrived the week before, we asked one of the ladies in the wedding office to take us to the different wedding locations around the resort so that we could choose where we would get married. We hadn’t decided this before we arrived and that was okay. So Tania, who wasn’t even our coordinator, had time, she got us a golf cart and took us on a little tour. As soon as we saw the Palapa, we were sold! That beach in front is completely private and beautiful and the Palapa is spectacular. So this is where we decided.
We chose the Presidential package because when we decided on the Palapa, and a private reception dinner with a DJ and bar, all of those prices added up and the Presidential package had so many great perks.
Had my hair and make up done by resort spa. And they did a fantastic job! Lasted all evening in the heat and sun. The make up artist did exactly what I asked of her, no more, no less. I felt that I looked pretty great! Lol The package included wine and appetizers immediately following the ceremony. We had considered maybe organizing more food, but it wasn’t necessary, people ate what was there and then we headed in for supper.. so no issues. I don’t think people would have missed the food if it wasn’t there so don’t feel like you need to add it if it isn’t part of your package.
We booked the Mariachi band for 45 minutes also included in the presidential package. This was great, people kicked up their heals during the cocktail hour on the beach while the photographer got shots of everyone. Everyone loved the Mariachi band!!
Our wedding was at 5, finished at 5:30, then formal photos with group for about a half hour
Mariachi band came at 6 until 6:45 and then we moved into the Palap for a few drinks and dinner started at 7.
We had the DJ for three hours included in our package and this was enough. He played our music for our ceremony and then moved into the Palapa for the party… DJ played music for dinner and then the dance started. We only gave him our few important songs, otherwise he ran the show and did awesome! Our wedding group danced the night away. He read the crowd too, and played requests. He has several thousand songs… it was great! No complaints at all we had a great time! He wrapped it up around 10:15 and our party continued over at the disco which opens at 10:30. We did not pay for an extra hour for DJ which we were contemplating, it wasn’t necessary. With the DJ, you get speakers and mics, quite high quality cordless mics… people were interrupting the music all night to talk about us… it was a bit of an open mic. Fun!
Our songs included:
Walking down the Isle Somewhere over the Rainbow/What a wonderful world compilation ~Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwoʻole
Registry signing I’m Yours ~Jason Mraz & I do ~ Colby Caillat
Walking Out Hey Soul Sister ~ Train
First Dance The Way I am ~ Ingrid Michaelson
Parent Dance Ho Hey ~ Lumineers
The flowers were gorgeous, the Beach BBQ was delicious, and the Cake was pretty and delicious!
The spa pass for 10 people was awesome! I had 17 ladies in my guests, so we paid for the extra 7 and all 17 of us went to the spa and had a nice afternoon in the water circuits the day before the wedding. Everyone really enjoyed the different tempered pools, the massage chairs, the massage spouts etc. It was a nice way to spend the day together.
Hubby and I also got an afternoon at the spa where we spent three and half hours being pampered together… We had a private room where we had a steam room together, and then a nice bubble bath together while the massage therapists rubbed our shoulders and our temples, and then we each had an hour long massage, and then a snooze on a heated vibrating water bed. It was very relaxing, we did this the day before all of our guests came!
Express laundry service does not include steaming of your dress which I had thought it would. It is just laundry, you get a load of laundry done. So this was great for us because we were still going on a honeymoon for a week but for people heading home, it isn’t necessary.
Free internet for the week was great because wi fi is NOT cheap at the Sirenis and Lilian arranged that we had it free for both weeks not just the week of our wedding.
We did the rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding with the entire group of 33. We chose the Brazillian Restaurant for this because when you book Ala Carte’s as a group you have to order the same for everyone. The Brazillian has a generous salad bar for people who are not big meat eaters but for those that like meat, you get about 9 different types of meat brought to your table and everyone can choose what they like. It was a hit for our group!
One of the coolest things that happened to us was that we got moved to the Presidential suite for our last two nights. The hotel was high capacity so it worked out that we could give up our regular room and get this Pres. Suite for two nights. This was so fantastic because we were able to enjoy the romance and beauty for our wedding night but then the next night we actually shared it with all of our guests and had a cocktail party. The Pres. Suite has a fully stocked bar and a kitchen, two bathrooms, living room etc. This was a Bon Voyage party for our group! Don’t count on this happening for you… but it just might?
I know this is pretty long, but I wanted to make sure I included all of the details that made things perfect for us. I will also attach our professional photos online portfolio. Some aren’t great, but some are spectacular!
Let me know if you need anything I have kept all of my documents and things of the sort. I will respond to specific questions too. I do not mind sharing prices or amounts we paid for things either so don’t be shy to ask.
Edited by Okotoksbride, 21 August 2014 - 11:20 AM.