The resort is MASSIVE and holds a lot of people. This also means that the GS puts on an enormous number of weddings (on my wedding day, I was told that there were three weddings: one at 3 p.m., mine at 4 p.m. and one at 5 p.m.)! The food is pretty good, but it's tough to get reservations in the restaurants and impossible to find lounge chairs by the pools.
Before the wedding
When we arrived, Cecelia had left us a welcome note stating that our blood tests would take place the next morning at 9:30 a.m. and we were to meet with her at 11 a.m. She also told us to bring our four witnesses and any reception collateral with us to our meeting (our witnesses weren't arriving until after 11 a.m., but Cecelia was very flexible with meeting with us separately and then with our witnesses a day later).
The blood tests went fine. We were surprised that the medical hut didn't take credit cards (they asked for USD -- we only had pesos on us due to the law about USD, and the conversion they gave us was BAD). Total cost for the two of us was $180. Be sure to bring a photocopy of your passports to your blood test -- we had to run around, trying to find a photocopier down there!!
When we met with Cecelia, she went over everything we wanted for the wedding and we signed off on all the extra charges (DJ, private reception, extra people at reception and judge's fees). They just add these fees to your room and you can pay them at the front desk anytime during your stay. There wasn't any surprises at our meeting and man, I can tell you that these women WORK HARD. They start at 9 a.m. and stay until the reception ends (ours was 11 p.m.). I have to say that after seeing how smooth they run the weddings that I was a little embarrassed of all the emails I had sent them ahead of time about the little wedding details. Hehe.
The wedding day
We had a lot of reception set-up stuff and Cecelia said that Patrick could have access to the Italian restaurant during the day, before the wedding, to arrange everything. I learned later that there was a huge snafu that morning, and they refused to let him set up until 3:30 p.m. (our wedding was at 4 p.m. and he was set to arrive at the beach at 3:30 p.m. eek!). A few diagram sketches later, my mother in law and a few guests set up the restaurant. A bit stressful, but I never knew a thing!
I was so, so happy with my hair and makeup. The spa is gorgeous there! I brought hair/makeup inspiration pics with me, and I think she did a better job that what I had given her. She ha a lot of trouble with the hair (I had no idea I chose a difficult style) and it did fall out a bit at the end of the night. The appointment ran a bit later than I anticipated (12:30 to 3 p.m.), so my photographer was a bit rushed in getting back to the boys to take photos of them getting ready. You might want to book a little extra time for yourselvesâ€¦ The stylist used Mac and she did both my hair and makeup. I tipped her $200 pesos.
Our flowers were supposed to arrive at our room at 2:30 p.m. At 3:30 p.m. (when the boy's and our guest's shuttle was due to leave), I turned to my bridesmaid and asked if she'd seen the bouquet or boutonnieres. No dice. Cecelia wasn't answering her phone (because she was running all over for our wedding!) and I set my bridesmaid out to track them down. Around 3:45 - 50 p.m. they showed up. This made the boys late, but it didn't really matter because our judge didn't show up until 4:30 p.m.!! He was at another wedding at the palapa and ran late. Grr. Good thing I gave our guests fans to keep them cool, and he ended up being really funny and (thankfully) spoke English.
I was surprised about how small my bouquet was (the ones I mad for my bridesmaids were bigger, hahaha), but they nailed the coral colour request (roses) and they were beautiful. They used the same coral roses for the boutonnieres and were perfect.
The Euphoria package includes 25 photos and, since we brought our own photographer, we asked the resort fotog to take shots of our guests post-wedding, during the cocktail party. At first this was fine, but I heard later that she threw a fit the morning of the wedding and insisted that, due to "contract regulations," she could only take photos of the wedding. We didn't want her in the way of our photographer, so the groomsmen got all the shots of them at 4 p.m. when they were waiting for the judge. The next day we went to the photo lab and got to look at the shots, writing down the photo numbers of the ones we wanted to keep.
I don't mean to scare the girls who are planning on using the resort photographer, but, really, the photos were AWFUL. Horrible shadows, closed eyes, cheesy posed shotsâ€¦ Your milage may vary, but photos are so, so important to us (hence why we brought out own photographer). If those were my only shots of the wedding, I'd be devastated. They stuck the photos in an album (no digital copies) and we'll send them to family later on...
The site is beautiful! There's three beach sections at this resort -- two public ones and then the ceremony site way at the left (it only takes about 15 minutes to walk there, but they shuttled us there on the golf carts). I was worried that our guests would see me drive up on the cart, but the little road is protected by shrubs and the path curves up to the site. Our chair sashes and canopy thingy was turquoise and beautiful!
As I said earlier, the judge was late, so I stood at the bottom of the path for a long time while my fotog took some shots (we were losing light fast!). Once the judge arrived, the ceremony started. Cecelia cued all of us to go out at the right time which was awesome. We gave our music to Cecelia on a CD at our first meeting and they handled everything.
They had a mic set up for the judge and for us to say our vows -- perfect. The set up was a bit tight -- we only had 30 guests (plus 10 in the wedding party), but they set up 40 chairs. Since we wanted to stand in front of the canopy thing (for photo reasons), this meant we were practically in the laps of our front-row guests. You might want to request a bit more room for your wedding, though it did add to the intimacy.
One strange thing that happened: when Patrick was reading his vows, the waiters were putting out the appies and champagne flutes for post-wedding. They opened a bottle of champagne and the cork POPPED out had hit my father in law in the head. It was hilarious, but they really should've waited until AFTER the wedding!!
Our reception was set to start at 6 p.m. in the Italian restaurant. As Murphy's Law goes, the DJ was nowhere to be found, meaning me and the hubby had to wait outside until 6:35 p.m. for our entrance. They finally located him, but then he had to set up all his equipment (and he was wearing his blue pool outfit -- short shorts and a t-shirt. hot!). Overall, the DJ was a COMPLETE waste of money. We already had all our music burned on CDs, so all he had to do was make sure there were no malfunctions. He was gone half the time and when he was there, he did everything wrong -- played my first dance song during dinner, played the wrong song for the father-daughter dance, started the reception with the wrong CD of music. So, girls, save yourselves the money and just rent out the equipment and assign one of your bridal party peeps to look after it.
The food was AMAZING and the service was incredible. I absolutely recommend the Italian restaurant for groups up to 60 or so. It's probably the smallest of the restaurants which added to the intimacy. The decor was fantastic, too. I'll post pics once I get them back. We tipped the crew (three waiters) $600 pesos and Cecelia $500 pesos.
When we got back to the room, they covered the bed with rose petals and filled the jacuzzi with rose petals and bubble bath. They left a fruit platter, champagne and tequila (we saved the tequila -- going to drink a shot of it on every anniversary until it runs out!). We didn't get the promised breakfast in bed the next dayâ€¦ got hungry one hour after it was supposed to arrive and headed to the snack bar.
We met with Cecelia in the evening the day after and she asked us how our breakfast in bed was (haha). I could tell she was a bit mortified (since everything they COULD'VE done wrong, went wrong), and she set it up for 8 a.m. the next day (this one was late -- this was our last day so we gave up waiting at 8:35 a.m., though it was waiting for us in our room at 10 a.m. when we went back for our bags. They tried at least!). Don't forget to get your marriage documents from them before you leave -- we nearly left them thinking that they'd mail them to us. If anyone knows what to do with them now, let me know! I think I have to get them translated??
I *think* I got everythingâ€¦ All in all, it was a wonderful experience and so many people said that it was the most beautiful wedding they'd ever seen. I think most of my complaints come from the fact that this place is HUGE, the service isn't great (aside from the wedding coordinators who were fabulous) and they're stretched so thin due to the amount of weddings they put on. I would absolutely do it all again, mishaps and all. It was a wonderful week and one I'll remember forever!!
Again, if you have any additional questions, please feel free to post!