Originally Posted by lilly129
Hey Ladies - here's my review of the resort - please feel free to ask me any questions! I will also post my pro pics as soon as I get them!
Dreams Riviera Cancun Wedding Review
Wedding Date: 9.18.10
Continental Airlines â€“
Iâ€™m elite with continental so the night before we left I was upgraded to first class and I called the elite line and got my fiance upgraded for $59. We did this to ensure I could hang my dress in the closet up front. Once we boarded, I hung my dress in the closet but the flight attendant said she was concerned because the dress was longer than the closet and it was getting wrinkled, so she cleared out an overhead bin in first class and laid the dress out flat then guarded the bin with her life which was incredibly sweet!
Travel Agent â€“
We used Heather with Berman Travel to help up pick a resort and book travel for our guests. About 80% of our guests used Heather. She did an excellent job and about a month before we left, she rebooked almost everyone at a lower rate for their room. In addition, Heather arranges transportation for all our guests through American Express so there is no worry about guests having to negotiate for cabs or getting stuck listening to a timeshare presentation. Once our guests got to Dreams, those who had booked the lowest category room (Tropical/Garden View) were all upgraded to Ocean View rooms and offered further upgrades if they chose. So for example, my mom was upgraded to Ocean View and then for an additional $30 a night was told she could have a plunge pool room. Which of course she chose and loved. Our return travel was already taken care of through Heather with American Express â€“ their vans were clean, on time and the drivers were friendly.
Arrival at Dreams â€“
My fiance and I were booked in the preferred club honeymoon suite so we were escorted to the preferred club to check in. No wait and our room was ready immediately. We had travelled to the resort before and knew what to expect â€“ so the rooms were beautiful and clean. The honeymoon suite is in the middle of two master suites. The difference is that the master suite has a kitchenette and a separate bedroom â€“ the honeymoon suite does not have a kitchen or a separate room but is VERY roomy and has a little sitting area as well as a hot tub on the balcony and a larger balcony then a standard room. There have been complaints about lack of privacy on the balconies â€“ THIS HAS BEEN FIXED. They were in the process of installing walls between the balconies, our entire side had been completed and they were almost done with the other side when we left. So donâ€™t stress about lack of privacy on your balcony. Also, we took quite a few pictures by this wall because itâ€™s pretty dark stained wood similar to what you see in the pictures for the stairsâ€¦
Occupancy while we were there was I swear about 30% until the Mexican Holiday on Wednesday evening where I think it got to about 60%. It was amazing â€“ we never worried about crowds or chairs. The palapas on the beach were available throughout the day and the service was impeccable.
The food is great in all of the restaurants â€“ we primarily had breakfast at the buffet and lunch at Oceana or Seaside Grill which had the same menu for lunch.
All but three of our guests were able to check in as soon as they arrived â€“ most arrived around 1 or 2pm so this was great. The three that werenâ€™t able to check in immediately were able to check in shortly thereafter, we just went and had lunch and they went back and were ready to go.
Meeting With Gaby â€“
My fiance and I had pretty much finalized everything with Gaby two weeks before the wedding date â€“ sheâ€™ll ask for you to email her the pictures of the flowers you want, the final number, final menu choice and if youâ€™re using her for d©cor sheâ€™ll want that info as well. We used Deco Cancun so she had a copy of our proposal and just confirmed that information with us. The fact that we emailed all of this to her prior to our arrival meant that our meeting with her was shorter and we were able to spend that time on the beach with our guests â€“ so we greatly appreciate that.
Our meeting with Gaby took about 45 minutes, we went through the contract and all the extras that I had requested and then we scheduled our blood tests, meeting with Ivan from Doremixx and did a walk through of the locations we chose. When we got to the deck we discussed the layout of the reception, she was perfectly happy to do whatever I asked. I had brought down a sketch of how I wanted the layout to look and she took that as well as my table cards and escort cards. I hadnâ€™t finished the programs, fans and maracas and I didnâ€™t bring my cake cutting set or toasting flutes to this meeting, so I left those in her office a few days later while she was out. I left a post it note telling her to call if she had any questions, she called and said she could figure it all out â€“ and when I got to the reception everything was laid out perfectly.
Our blood tests were scheduled for Wednesday morning â€“ it took about 10 minutes, super easy. Our witness also went into Gabyâ€™s office and presented their tourist card and passports that day to complete the paperwork. There is quite a bit of paperwork with a legal wedding â€“ just be prepared for that.
Welcome Party â€“ we had a welcome party scheduled for Thursday â€“ we had printed our invitations and welcome letter to state 7pm, location tbd. When we met with Gaby she informed us that the resort was having a outdoor dinner for all the guests because it was the Mexican Independence Day so we were going to be in El Patio and we could choose two entrees. We actually chose the entrees when we arrived that evening. Alsoâ€¦we had to change it to 6pm because thatâ€™s what the restaurant manager requestedâ€¦which was fine, we got the word out to everyone no problem. And we had the Mariachi â€“ super fun, highly recommend.
Rehearsal Dinner â€“ We decided to go off campus for this. We visited the Amex Office the day we arrived and booked two vans for 22 people, it cost about $170 and they would pick us up at 6:15 and drive us to Playa where we had a reservation at La Casa Del Agua for 7pm. Thursday was the day Tropical Storm Karl decided to cause some issues â€“ mostly cleared up by 1:30pm so we got some pool time in and never felt â€œcooped upâ€.
So the vans from American Expressâ€¦at 6:15 I had concierge call Amex and after some discussion they announced theyâ€™d be there in 5 minutesâ€¦at 6:40 they showed up. Slightly annoying, but not a huge deal because itâ€™s Mexico and weâ€™re on vacation so whatâ€™s the hurryâ€¦only the older folks realized instead of getting back at 9:30 theyâ€™d get back around 10 or 10:30 and some of them were not really happy about that.
The food and service at La Casa Del Agua was amazing â€“ although I have to admit the majority of our guests had been there since Tuesday and it was a young group so we may have enjoyed ourselves a little too much earlier in the week so by 9pm on Friday night we were all pretty lame and tired. I wish we hadnâ€™t been so tired so that we could have enjoyed playa a little more!
Spa â€“ Myself, my 3 bridesmaids, 1 flower girl and the mother of the groom all had their hair done in the spa â€“ our appointments started at 1:30 and we were done by 2:45. The total cost was about $200 â€“ my hair was free and as part of the package, the rest of the girls were 15% off. My fiance and I just put this on the wedding bill. The women in the spa do a great job with hair. I canâ€™t comment on makeup because Iâ€™m very picky so I used my own and did it myself. In addition to doing our hair they let us sit in the bridal suite and do our makeup while others were getting their hair done â€“ it was very nice and relaxing.
My advice is to bring a picture of what you want. I brought a picture that I got off juan navarroâ€™s blog I believe â€¦ and they did it perfectly and quicklyâ€¦clearly they do a lot of hair for weddings. I just caution you that there is a slight language barrier so pictures are better then trying to describe what you want unless your fluent in Spanish.
Flowers â€“ While I was in the spa, my flowers were delivered by Gaby to my room. I was absolutely FLOORED. They looked exactly like the pictures I had sent her â€“ EXACTLY. I loved them and I was sooo happy. My bridesmaid bouquets were clearly spray painted pink thoughâ€¦be preparedâ€¦it wasnâ€™t noticeable until you touched them and some of the pink came off. My centerpieces were perfect as well â€“ here are some pictures:
I took these pictures the morning after â€“ so thatâ€™s why they arenâ€™t so fresh. And the fog is thanks to the humidity clouding up the camera lens.
Ceremony â€“ The ceremony was scheduled for 5:30 pm on the beach. At approximately 3pm I noticed the floating iceberg and trampoline were still in the waterâ€¦myself and a bridesmaid made several calls to get them removed and my fiance spoke with Gaby who told him they couldnâ€™t move them. The good news is my photographer looked over and said â€œoh they wonâ€™t be visable in your picturesâ€ and she was rightâ€¦so slightly irritating but in the end didnâ€™t make a difference. Gaby came to get me about 5:30 once all the guests had been seated and then mentioned that the JP was not there yet. So the ceremony was slightly delayed but probably only by 15 minutes. I wasnâ€™t worried about time. We had given Gaby a cd with music to be played while guests were being seated â€“ it was about 18 mins which they played twice, then we had songs for the processional, document signing and recessional. The music was all played correctly and on time â€“ no problems at all. I did not see a videographer and I didnâ€™t realize until after the ceremony at which point there was nothing I could do â€“ I should have confirmed that with Gaby â€“ so my fault on that.
After I walked down the aisle, the JP pulled us inside the arch and went through how she would be running the ceremony and confirmed our witnesses names â€“ kinda strange but I understand itâ€™s different because itâ€™s a legal ceremony. We had given Gaby our vows and how we wanted the ceremony to flow but we knew in advance because itâ€™s legal we really couldnâ€™t do much to change it. I was glad she let us read our vows but I wanted to say something separately when we exchanged ringsâ€¦which she didnâ€™t doâ€¦so Iâ€™d say we stumbled through the ceremony which was mostly only noticeable to Ron and I and not our guests. If you do a legal ceremony, make sure you have music playing for the document signing because it does take a bit of time and it could be awkward if there wasnâ€™t music playing.
Cocktail Hour â€“ We had our cocktail hour on desires terrace with the Caribbean Trio. We were able to spend about 20 minutes at the cocktail hour â€“ I had no idea what time it was but I was pretty sure our timeline that we gave Ivan with Doremixx was destroyed. Luckily theyâ€™re used to that. I canâ€™t comment on the food because someone had dropped guacamole right by the food and I wasnâ€™t going to risk walking over it to get foodâ€¦but the Caribbean trio was excellent and the guests all said the food was great.
Reception â€“ We were seriously 45 minutes behind by the time we got the reception. We made one mistake. We gave Ivan a detailed timeline of the reception and when we got to the reception one of the servers asked my husbands brother for a copy of the timelineâ€¦my fianc©s brothers both look just like him so the server got confused and Sean didnâ€™t know what he was talking about so walked away from himâ€¦whoops. I highly suggest you give Gaby two copies of your timeline and sheâ€™ll share it with the staff. The good thing is the dj would announce what was next and the staff would Johnny on the spot. For example the dj announced the speeches would start and the staff ran over to tell him to wait 5 minutes while they poured the champagne. Then the cakeâ€¦Ivan announced the cake cutting and staff asked for 5 minutes to bring the cake out (they have to keep it refrigerated obviously). Not an issue at all because I admit that was totally my fault for not giving Gaby that timeline upfront.
Food â€“ we chose the Caribbean buffet which was excellent. I didnâ€™t get to eat that much but I can tell you the crab salad was delish, the ceviche was excellent and the sea bass was good â€“ would have been great but we had so many people talking to us that it sat on my plate for 15 minutes and got a little cold. I didnâ€™t try the show cooking items but they looked really good.
The Cake â€“ we chose tres leches â€“ delicious!!!! And Gaby did a great job because it looked EXACTLY like the picture I sent her. And by the way â€“ neither Ron nor I knew how we were supposed to cut the cake so thankfully our photographer explained it to us J
The service at the reception was amazing â€“ anything we wanted they made for us. My glass was never empty and Iâ€™m pretty sure my husbands wasnâ€™t either!
We chose to hire a cigar roller â€“ the woman who works in the cigar shop will set it up for you. It was $300 and they were there for 2 hours rolling cigars and then they bring a box of already rolled cigars. You pick the cigars from two choices that she gives youâ€¦we actually had him roll one and bring the other already rolled which I recommend, gives your guests some options.
We extended the reception for an extra hour â€“ so 4 hours total and we used Ivan with Doremixx â€“Iâ€™ll write a review for him separately but he did an amazing job and the dance floor was never empty.
Here's a picture so you can see the table - it's not that great but hopefully it helps...I ordered the tablecloths, napkins and chairs from Deco Cancun:
All in all â€“ I loved my wedding, it was perfect, it was exactly what I wanted and if I had it to do overâ€¦Iâ€™d do it exactly the same.