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Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya Brides??


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#161 Melaina

Melaina
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    Posted 06 March 2011 - 09:12 AM

     

    Overall impressions

    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 yourselves… The stylist used Mac and she did both my hair and makeup. I tipped her $200 pesos.

     

    Flowers

    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.

     

     

    Photography

    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 shots… 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...

     

    Ceremony

    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!!

     

    The reception

    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.

     

    Post wedding

    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 day… 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 everything…  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!

     



    #162 Melaina

    Melaina
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      Posted 06 March 2011 - 10:37 AM



      Originally Posted by DianaKeelon 

      The palapa is beautiful, thanks again @kbodchill for sending the pictures. I will absolutely be booking the palapa for my wedding on November 25. 

       

      I am booking through Air Transat which includes 24 people and should be an extra $10 per person after that but I was reading in earlier posts that it is different if you have the palapa.

      Does anyone know for sure what the pricing is per person if you are booking an Air Transat wedding? 


      We did Air Transat -- every extra person came out to about $25. We had ours in the Italian restaurant, not the palapa.



      #163 Melaina

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        Posted 06 March 2011 - 10:40 AM

        Oh... and one more thing: I was NEVER asked to show my birth certificate at any point. All that worry for nothing ;)



        #164 Kbodchill

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          Posted 06 March 2011 - 11:41 AM

          Thank you SOOOOO much Melania for the wonderful review! All the details and tips are really helpful!

           

          I was kind of nervous waiting for the review. Good? Bad? Horrible? But its great to hear that you'd do it all over again, mishaps and all! (And of course, non destination weddings have mishaps too, right?)

           

          I really appreciate the info on the DJ, your hair and makeup, photography and so on!  I can't wait to see pics of the wedding!

           

          Congratulations again Melania!!

           



          #165 donnaalec11

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            Posted 06 March 2011 - 12:00 PM

            @ Melaina  Congratulations and so glad you had a great time.

             

            I am slightly concerned by your comments about the photographer though   I might look into getting a different one should anyone have any suggestions.  Could you also tell me which location is the best for getting married and is there any of them close to the palapa as i am having my reception there.  Can't wait to see your pictures.    



            #166 Melaina

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              Posted 06 March 2011 - 12:30 PM



              Originally Posted by donnaalec11 

              @ Melaina  Congratulations and so glad you had a great time.

               

              I am slightly concerned by your comments about the photographer though   I might look into getting a different one should anyone have any suggestions.  Could you also tell me which location is the best for getting married and is there any of them close to the palapa as i am having my reception there.  Can't wait to see your pictures.    

               

              Hi Donnaalec11! We only checked out the private beach location and it was perfect. My dad scoped out the chapel in case of rain and he said it was STUNNING. My aunt posted some pics this morning: I'll paste them below to give you an idea of the space. Sorry they aren't great :)

               

              198327_10150115996218498_537618497_6318115_5420229_n.jpg183758_10150115994393498_537618497_6318071_7364566_n.jpg189361_10150115994683498_537618497_6318077_4422605_n.jpg197331_10150115997178498_537618497_6318138_5183769_n.jpg
               

               



              #167 Melaina

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                Posted 06 March 2011 - 12:33 PM

                Oh, and I forgot to tell you about the drunk snorkeler... haha. Supposedly she floated right by our ceremony and when we first kissed she was like "YEAHH!!!" There were also a few onlookers, but my sister in law's spouse tried to bounce most of them out before the ceremony :)



                #168 ChristieG

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                  Posted 07 March 2011 - 08:08 AM

                  Hello Ladies,

                  I got back last night from 2 weeks at the Grand Sirenis and am now happily married. Our wedding was on February 22, 2011 and we had our reception in the palapa and ceremony on the beach in front of the palapa.

                  Overall Impression

                  The Resort is a good size, not too big as some people say. Prior to arriving I have requested a third floor room for myself and my fianc©. When we arrived at the GS, I got the impression they didn’t know that we were the bride and groom and when I complained about our room they suggested I go through the rooms assigned to our friends (we were the first to check in) and take one of their rooms. I was not happy with this solution and kept our second floor room they gave us while many of our guests got third floor rooms (they didn’t request them). I found front desk staff in general to be rude and not helpful at all.

                  The pools are great and the spa is nice. The animation staff are great and keep things interesting by the pool. The food at the GS is not up to the standard we are used to when we travel to Mexico. We’ve been to Mexico five times now and must say the food was not up to the standard we are used to. Also to make matters worse about 95% of our group got sick while we were there! I was one of the only ones not sick and that is only because I have a gluten allergy and found it hard to find things I could eat and packed some of my own food.

                  Wedding Planning

                  Araceli is very nice and easy to talk to. When we arrived we had a letter saying that we would be meeting the next morning but I asked to meet with her right away and she accommodated this request. Make sure that you take all your emails! They changed the price on a few items for me and they tried to tell me certain flowers were not included after they told me they were. Thankfully I had all my emails and it all got worked out. Also make sure that you know what is included in your package as they don’t volunteer anything you have to ask for it. We were supposed to get a courtesy room for the groom but we never did so he just got ready in the best mans room, not a big deal but annoying since it was something we were supposed to get.

                  Araceli took us to go see the wedding locations and we chose the beach in front of the palapa. We wanted to do our ceremony at 4 pm and reception to start at 6pm but Araceli really encouraged us to push our ceremony back. I didn’t understand why until I saw the location and realized that they have to shuttle all the guests out there and if you have an hour and a half between the ceremony and the reception there is nothing for them to do and no where for them to go since it’s a little hot and far to walk back to the main part of the hotel in heels! We decided to have cocktails and appies from 5-6 in the palapa and then start everything at 6pm as planned. The additional cost for this was $325 pesos per person. By choosing the drinks and appies our guests were then able to order blended drinks which I found out they were originally not going to be served at the reception.

                  Wedding Day

                  Everything went very smoothly and on time. We were lucky that we were the only wedding that day so we had 100% of Araceli’s attention. I went and got my hair done at 1pm and when we were done the spa called Araceli and she picked me up in a golf cart with my flowers and drove me to my room. The groom and groomsmen were picked up at 3:15 and driven to the ceremony site, followed by all our guests and finally a 3:55 they drove me and my bridesmaid out to the site. The ceremony site and palapa were extremely private, we didn’t see anyone else the entire time.

                  The minister exceeded all my expectations and the ceremony was great and everyone loved her. After the ceremony we did the champagne toast followed by a group photo and then when the wedding party snuck off to do photos Araceli made arrangements for everyone to make their way into the palapa. All our guests enjoyed the cocktail hour and it was nice as it gave them a place in the shade to socialize.

                  Hair

                  I booked my hair appointment for 1pm and it took her an hour and a half. The lady who did my hair did an amazing job, she doesn’t speak much English and I forgot my photos of how I wanted my hair done, but she had pictures to show me and it all worked out.

                  Flowers

                  I was very happy with my bouquet and bridesmaid bouquets. Mine was much smaller than I had expected but all in all it was fine. We had pink and white roses and a bunch of green flowers and leaves. I was very happy.

                  Photographer

                  We used Claudia Rodriguez and would highly recommend her. She was amazing and put together a quick slide show to show us and our group at the reception some of the photos. The photos that we saw were soooo good, she by far exceeded my expectation.

                  We went and saw the pictures taken by the resort photographer and were very happy we didn’t use them. They had taken 130 photos of our wedding ceremony and we were supposed to pick 25, at first we thought how can we only pick 25 until we saw them and well it was hard to come up with 25 of them that we wanted. When I went back to pick up the photos they tried to hand them loose to me, I had to then remind them they were supposed to come in an album and after it being pointed out they “remembered” that I was supposed to get an album and asked me to come back.

                  Food

                  The food at the wedding was very good. We had the lobster soup to start, the fruit salad and then guests had a choice of steak and salmon. We chose the brownie with ice cream for dessert and it was a huge hit. Everyone also said that they loved the wedding cake. I have a gluten allergy so I brought my own cake mix and they made me two little deserts, one to cut for the cake cutting and one to eat. My special deserts looked great and it was a nice of them to do at no charge and it allowed us to feed each other cake.

                  Music

                  We rented the sound system equipment and brought an ipod for the wedding ceremony and our laptop for the wedding reception music. They provided all the cables and there was someone there to help out and show our guest in charge of music how to do everything.

                  Decorations

                  The decorations were great and everything was set up as I had requested. We asked that they wrap the palapa in fabric to help with the wind, which they did and it made a huge difference. We brought out own place cards, center pieces, photos for the guest sign in table and so on and Araceli made sure they were all put out exactly as we had requested.

                  Extra charges to remember:

                  -          Pre-dinner cocktails and appies - $325 pesos per person

                  -          Rental of music equipment $400 pesos per hour

                  -          Rental of the palapa $11050 pesos for 4 hours

                  -          Each additional hour of open bar and palapa rental $60 pesos per person per hour

                  -          Dinner for the extra people not included package $715 pesos per person

                  -          Flowers on the cake $250 pesos

                  -          Minister $4500 pesos

                  -          Carpet for ceremony $325 pesos

                  -          Entry to resort for outside photographer $1000 pesos per person

                  -          TAX!!! I had to pay $5000 pesos in tax.

                  It’s hard to think about what else to write, so if anyone has any questions please feel free to ask and I will be happy to answer them. Although I wasn’t happy with the stress leading up to the day and the difficulty with communication and planning, it was all worth it as everyone worked out exactly as we wanted and we both say we wouldn’t change a thing!



                  #169 Melaina

                  Melaina
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                    Posted 07 March 2011 - 08:39 AM

                    Tax?? As far as I know, we were never charged any tax for the services... That's really strange. Also, just looking at my receipts here and our judge fee was $5,200 pesos while yours was $4,500. Also, don't forget the blood test fees: $180 USD for both of you.

                     

                    I agree with ChristieG's comments on the service. Aside from the wedding coordinators, we found the staff very unhelpful and rude. (For example, when my mother in law checked in -- who is also a travel agent and booked all 40 of our guests -- they bluntly told her that they had no idea who she was and she didn't have a room. Gah!) 



                    #170 denita

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                      Posted 07 March 2011 - 09:24 AM

                      @ChristieG

                      How much was the photographer, you are now the second bride that was not impressed with the resort photgrapher.  I almost wonder if they don't put forth the effort in taking good pictures because they know there is another photographer you are using however having said that I am not sure I want to take a chance :)






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