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Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya Brides??


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#81 Kbodchill

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    Posted 29 January 2011 - 11:34 AM

    Round three: Wedding stuff!

     

    First off, I have to say: although there doesn't seem to be a lot of information online regarding GS weddings, don't be fooled! GS has weddings EVERYDAY! I can confirm that there was a wedding every single day that we were there and a few times, there were TWO weddings in one day! So for those of you that weren't sure if other people were doing weddings there, they definitely are.

     

    From what we noticed, most people were choosing a ceremony on the North beach (where they have the bamboo canopy set up) which is semi-private. Yes, people can come and watch, but it is definitely a bit out-of-the-way, off the main beach and down the side a bit. These ceremonies seemed to be around 2-3. Personally, I found it was still a bit too hot at those times and my fiancĀ© and I are thinking of a 5 pm ish ceremony. (We are not concerned about pictures because we'd probably arrange to do posed pics the next day, and trash the dress ;)

     

    Most couples also seemed to choose a restaurant for their reception. We saw wedding parties at the Mexican, Italian and Japanese restaurants, although we were told that you can rent any restaurant you'd like. We also noticed that some people booked off the whole restaurant, while others, did not book off the whole place. I personally found it weird that some couples decided not to rent the whole place. Even with a smaller group (10-15 ppl) I think it would have been better to have the whole place to themselves (the Brazilian and Mediterrainian restaurants are the smallest, and would fit these groups nicely).  It was strange to see wedding guests on one side of the restaurant and then a smattering of couples and groups on the other. Another thing we noticed was that some people had their receptions EARLY. We had reservations at the Japanese restaurant at 8:30 and a wedding party had already left the restaurant prior to this! What would the guests do at that point...?

     

    I suppose I should clarify: my vision of a wedding is a ceremony sometime in the afternoon-early eve, followed by an evening supper, followed by dancing and partying with guests into the night. No offence to anyone who choses otherwise :) This is just what my hubby-to-be and I decided on. We just couldn't figure out where the guests would go by 8:30 if the reception was over? The evening show? The disco doesn't open til 11...?

     

    From what I saw of the flowers (table decorations) they were lovely. Mostly lilies, although I know you can choose others.

     

    The brides that I saw also looked beautiful. I cannot confirm who did their hair or makeup (whether Sirenis spa, or someone else) but they did look fantastic. After visiting the spa, I don't have any doubts about their ability to do a good job. Very classy place, just bring a picture, I'm sure they'll do a great job!

     

    FYI: our whether was off and on all week. Just as cloudy as sunny! Prettymuch no rain though!

     

    Next up: the Palapa and the coordinators.



    #82 corbeil

    corbeil
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      Posted 29 January 2011 - 04:52 PM

      This is great, thanks Kbodchill!



      #83 corbeil

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        Posted 29 January 2011 - 05:54 PM

        You can actually apply for a VIP card after you get back home; that is what we did. I emailed them and got an application form, scanned it and sent it back. I got my VIP number right away and I got the card in the mail a little while later. My mom and sister have done the same now so we all have the card before we go down next month. If anyone wants the email address I can look it up.



        #84 Kbodchill

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          Posted 31 January 2011 - 03:21 PM

          Thanks for the info Corbeil! They were really adament that they wouldn't send it in the mail so I was worried that certain people I know would find themselves in the same situation we did, which I really wanted to avoid. If you can post the email address, that would be great :)

           

          And the conclusion of our stay:

           

          We met with Araceli on Sunday morning and the first thing she did was set us up with a hotel manager to check out all the locations in the golf cart. I think she set us up with him (Louis) because 1. she's SO busy and 2. our tour also included the presidential suite and the spa.

           

          Locations:

           

          -Obviously, all the restaurants, any one, although Louis cautioned that the Steakhouse and the Cajun may be too large, even with a dancefloor and everything.

           

          -North beach ceremony location (I already mentioned this in a previous posting, semi-private, bamboo canopy)

           

          -Snack bar beach reception location -- This one I wasn't too thrilled about because of the privacy issue. You're prettymuch surrounded by gawkers on all sides, including those in the snack bar, those on the beach, and those on the walkway that runs beside the snackbar. I missed the receptions that were held here but I did see the set up for one reception, and it actually looked very nice: round tables, white linens, additional lights set up. It was very classy and elegant. You know, now that I think about it, I'm sure privacy wouldn't be as bad as I thought. After all, the beach clears out around 5-6, and the snackbar closes too (4 or 6, I can't remember).

           

          -The church: The church is very nice, and faces the water. It is quite far out, behind the disco, and you need a driver to get you there. (A bit of a long walk... = completely private) We only took a quick look just to see because we're not having a Catholic ceremony. Only catholic ceremonies may be performed there because it is a certified Church. There is also a very large Jesus hanging over the alter.

           

          -the palapa + palapa beach: We *loved* the palapa (huge, open, elevated gazebo with pointed thatch roof). It is beside the church, behind the disco and in front of the water. (Got that? lol) The manager told us it was only about 2 years old. For those of you that haven't seen it, it is a raised up, circular structure all made of wood (wood plank floors, smooth wood railing) with that thatched tiki hut ceiling I mentioned, which is very high. Underneath are the bathrooms (3 stalls each, modern) and a kitchen. There is a rectangle bar set up on one side of the palapa, and we've been told that it can seat 100+. Or 50 + dance floor or whatever. There is also a private, rocky, sparsely palm-treed beach that (we're told) is lit up at night. Awesome. The manager said cocktails can be done on the beach or in the palapa, and the same with the dinner too (as in, you can have it on the beach if you want). I believe you can also have the ceremony done on the beach there too, which we are considering cause I think we want a later ceremony (5-6).

           

          If anyone wants palapa pics, let me know!

           

          I can't believe I wrote this much and didn't get to Araceli yet! Ugh! lol, another day! NOt much more to go, just comments on the information she gave me, my impression of her, and so on! Thanks for being patient! I'll update again soon!

           



          #85 Kbodchill

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            Posted 31 January 2011 - 03:24 PM

            I forgot to talk about the spa and the presidential suite -- I suck! Next time. I hope this commentary is helpful for you guys, I realize a lot of it is my opinions and such :)



            #86 kileelaine

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              Posted 31 January 2011 - 05:21 PM

              Wow! Thank you so much for taking the time to write the review, it helps A LOT!! I would love to see any pictures you are willing to share, especially of the palapa!

              kileelaine@gmail.com

               

              Can't wait for you next edition! Thanks again



              #87 ChristieG

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                Posted 01 February 2011 - 09:04 AM

                Kbodchill - The info is sooo helpful. We booked the palapa for our dinner/reception and you just answered all the questions I had about it (washrooms, bar and so on ).



                #88 corbeil

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                  Posted 01 February 2011 - 10:36 AM

                  ChristieG - can I ask how much extra the palapa was to rent. I emailed the resort but I haven't heard back yet.



                  #89 ChristieG

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                    Posted 01 February 2011 - 02:12 PM

                    Corbeil  -It was  $11050 pesos for the private location and $715 pesos for each addition person not included in the package. You get the palapa for 4 hours for that cost.

                     

                    I emailed the wedding coordinator last week and still haven't heard back either.



                    #90 Kbodchill

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                      Posted 01 February 2011 - 03:56 PM

                      @ Kileelaine: I'll send the pics tonight :)

                       

                      I'm glad this is helpful :) :) :)

                       

                      OKAY -- so lets finish this!

                       

                      After our tour we went to Araceli's office (shared office) and she started off by giving us all the hotel's package and pricing:

                      -Presidential ceremony

                      -Platinum ceremony

                      -Gold ceremony

                      -Silver ceremony

                      -Free ceremony (offered with 30 rooms booked)

                      The package descriptions are all available online (but if anyone wants prices, just msg me)

                       

                      We also talked about the package through Transat, which the Manager Louis had mentioned. Basically, you can book this one and add anything from the other packages to it (all you pay is the difference). Ex: instead of dinner at an A La Carte, you can pay to use the palapa (which I was quoted the same as ChristieG, 11050 pesos)

                       

                      We were also given the non-restaurant menu, which is free for the first 10 ppl. Again, like ChristieG posted above, its 715 pesos per person. For the life of me, I can't remember if we were doing a conversion to USD or CAD, but we came up with 65$ pp. Then, if you want to upgrade to Lobster, its 95$ pp.

                       

                      We asked a bunch more questions, most of which I don't remember. Here are some individual prices we got for other things, both in pesos and USD/CAD (sorry):

                      DJ: 650 pesos/hour

                      Extra hour with DJ: 60$

                      bell-boy service for the day (with a golf cart): $300 pesos

                      mexican trio or violinist or saxophonist for the ceremony or reception: $5000 pesos

                      Bride's hair at the spa: $1440 pesos

                      Bride's makeup at the spa $892 pesos

                      Bridal party bouquets $500 pesos each

                      Extra Boutonnieres: $200 pesos each

                      No room delivery fee for packages to be delivered to guests -- she said to tip the bellboys well though.

                       

                      Araceli was able to fit us into her schedule again the day that we were leaving (thurs) to ask a few more qs. She was _really_busy, and we really appreciated it. She also managed to get my parents (who were visiting from another resort) a sight visit on the spot, which was awesome.

                       

                      I really liked dealing with Araceli, she seemed very nice, knowledgable and professional. She also told us that she loved her job -- which is great to hear. HOWEVER, she's got it pretty rough right now. As we all know, Blanca is gone, and I wasn't able to get more info about that. Araceli and one other person (???) were handling ALL the weddings, of which there was at least 1 and sometimes 2 a day. I never saw this other person! Both she and Louis told me that they were hoping to get one other person hired very soon (this week or next) but I don't know if they had someone for sure or whether they were just hoping. Araceli works very hard. She starts at 9 and doesn't finish til late in the evening. She also told us that she has a two month old at home.

                       

                      She was going through some email and I asked her how many she had to reply to, and her response was : about a hundred ! I joked that she needed someone to answer her email and she agreed with me. Obviously, the problem right now is that they are  understaffed. She told us that she was physically meeting with 1-2 brides a day as well (for meetings of at least an hour, usually longer) and of course, seeing to all the arrangements (at least one wedding a day). I suppose I'm just trying to make the point that Araceli is working as hard as she can with the time and resources that she has. I know that doesn't help if your wedding is coming up and you need questions answered, but I just wanted to let you know that she's not ignoring anyone on purpose.

                       

                      On a final note, while we were on the bus headed back to the airport, we spoke with a couple who went to a wedding at the palapa --- they could NOT stop talking about how beautiful the wedding was, I think the word "magical" and "unbelievable" even came up. They said it was just amazing, that it was like no wedding they had ever gone to. (I know I'm really selling the palapa here, but its not just the location that makes the wedding great) They indicated that the service and the food was excellent (regular menu, not lobster) and that the decorations were lovely.

                       

                      What a great way to end our trip... I hope all our guests have that reaction!

                       

                      Ladies... I think its all gonna come together in the end! All loose ends will be tied (eventually) Just be open to some bumps in the road (they happen at ALL weddings) and enjoy yourself!

                       

                      Okay, review finished.

                       

                       

                       

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