Originally Posted by lcraney
And here is the bride's perspective with a few more bride-y things...
My new husband pretty much summed up our experience in his review, but I will add some things I think will be helpful to brides-to-be.
We felt a bit like we were headed to the gates of Jurassic Park when our transportation shuttle pulled up to the hotel. It is a very secluded area and the building does look kind of weird like a fortress when you enter the property. The pay off once you enter the lobby is worth it, but be prepared for that weirdness at first. Ultimately, we were happy that our hotel was more intimate and further away from the city of Cancun. We visited the sister property Dreams Cancun to swim with Dolphins during our honeymoon, and it was on the main Cancun strip with all the hustle and bustle. That would have been too much for our guests, I think. DRC was just simpler. It was a little private paradise!
Preferred club check-in was lovely, we were upgraded, so not sure how much it is to have it but it was really handy for the free wi-fi and getting assistance easily when the lobby check-in area was crowded. They treat you so well when you first arrive, you feel so special. It was awesome!
The hotel is beautiful. The swim-up bar is cool and a great place to hang out with friends all day. Just bring lots of sunscreen! All us winter white Chicago people were getting fried!
It was great. All the rooms are beautiful, our guests were very impressed. Ours was a full ocean view and bigger than other rooms which was helpful for getting ready the day of the wedding. However, it was weird that they put us in a room on the complete opposite side of the hotel from where our wedding was. I was really hoping to be able to just walk right out of the room and down to the beach, but they had to come get me and I had to walk all the way around the crowded pool to get to the wedding. Kind of fun because people clapped and stared, but also kind of inconvenient to me and my bridal party. If I had thought of it earlier, I would have asked to be moved to the other building closer to the beach wedding area. We were in the 2000 building, and the beach weddings are right in front of the 1000 building. So be aware of that.
They were so sweet to us, and we got flowers and champagne and fruits and nice things periodically during our stay. Everyone at the resort is so very kind and helpful. They work hard and make your experience so wonderful overall. Also, tipping went a long way in every situation. We brought plenty of cash for that and it was worth it!
El Patio was perfect. The manager was very attentive and good to us. Changing the time from 8pm to 6pm was toughâ€”we had a handful of guests come late or miss it entirely, but it made for a more intimate affair because the restaurant was not full at all and we had plenty of time for speeches and mingling. Food was great, service was perfect. Best choice for the rehearsal dinner, in my opinion. And the lobby bar was always the best place for a large group like oursâ€”we all hung out there until late in the night. It was awesome.
Went great, Veronica is awesome and friendly and easily fulfilled any request we had for the wedding. We went over everything together and I had a spreadsheet (thanks to another bride on this forum who kindly emailed it to me!) with all the info we had confirmed via email. Also had old emails just in case. Came in handy, I had to refer to old emails to prove a cost she quoted that was different than she was showing me now. We added some fun things like lanterns and tiki torches last minute when we realized we were under budget, which was great to be able to do. But honestly, less is totally more with d©cor. Everyone only sees the ocean and the infinity pool and the beautiful food spread. Everything else is just icing on the cake. No need to get crazy with matching stuff and tons of table accessories if you donâ€™t want to deal with bringing it all to Mexico.
Veronica was always available to help me and if I needed something, she followed up quickly and easily. I was surprised how little I needed to do once we met and gave her all our stuff and explained how we wanted it.
I should note that we had planned every little detail to ensure that very little could be misinterpreted. We had a big binder and lists galore, which helped the wedding team a lot. Every detail had been addressed or thought of on our side of things, so they had instructions that were clear and easy to follow. (My husband and I are both planners, what can I say?) We had a timeline of the reception flow, and copies to give to DJ and servers and WC. We had instructions for the order of our ceremony songs in English AND Spanish just in case. We had CD backup of every song we wanted and ipods with playlists just in case those failed. We had plenty of copies of our ceremony and a photo wish list and lists of items that needed to be on the ceremony table or reception table, etc. It was all annoying to do before the wedding, but the pay off was a relatively stress-free wedding day.
We did it the morning of the wedding. Took like 20 minutes, Veronica was quick and simple and everyone figured out the route and timing fine. Our officiant was not there but that did not matter, we had already gone over our ceremony with her so she knew her part fine. Our parents were able to rehearse then head off to their massage appointments at the spa. (Speaking ofâ€”the spa was AWESOME! I highly recommend getting a treatment there. You could spend all day in the relaxation pool, and I had the best shower of my life in their indoor-outdoor private showers with plants and trees surrounding you! So peaceful and relaxing!)
I was a nervous wreck most of the wedding weekend so eating was tough. The food, while better than most all-inclusives, was not agreeing with me. So I was unable to eat much at all until the reception. (And I am glad I got my appetite backâ€”the food for our reception was the Caribbean Buffet and was delicious!) So the day was a struggle for me. But luckily the spa environment during my hair/makeup was soothing with calm music and a nice atmosphere and I started to feel better while getting ready.
I did a 230pm appt for my 530pm wedding, and I had a lot of extra time in the end. I had Roquel (I think that was her name!) and she had been working a TON that weekend, but was still super nice and super fast. My hairdresser friend who was with me during my appointment could not BELIEVE how fast she got my hair up and secure with a flower and everything. It was impressive.
The makeup was way more than I usually wear and she used colors I was apprehensive about, but once she was finished and I looked in the mirror, I started to tear up. I had never seen myself look so stunning. She did such a great job trying to match my fair-skin-turned-golden tan due to 3 days in the sun before the wedding. I left feeling like a goddess!
We had plenty of time to get me in my dress and even get my bridesmaidsâ€™ hair done and enjoy some champagne and snacks. Anel from Adventure Photography came and took a bunch of photos that turned out lovely.
Eventually Veronica came to get us about 10 later than she said. I was getting antsy but the timing worked out well and we probably only started the ceremony like 5 min late, tops. Everything was set up perfectly and Linda the officiant was there and is just such a lovely lady. We had met with her earlier in the week and I am glad we got to meet earlier so she knew us a little better. She has a great presence and did everything we wanted for the ceremony (even the wacky stuff we requested!). An absolute pleasure to work with, for sure.
My husband had brought our friend who speaks Spanish over to the music tech before the ceremony because we knew from past reviews that the tech spoke little English. We explained a simple timing cue to make sure our music started correctly, and the tech got it just right, which was a relief. It was really helpful to have someone bilingual help us out and the wedding guest was happy to do it!
As for the ceremony--we laughed, we cried, we dealt with some killer wind on the beach and even a fat guy jogging in the background (the wedding team tried their best to stop passersby during the ceremony, but he snuck past them, what can you do?) Everything was still stunning and lovely and personal to us, which made it special.
The toast afterward was great. The wedding team had all the champagne ready at the right time. Giving Veronica a copy of the ceremony probably helped that timing a lot.
By the time we were doing pictures on the beach, my hair flower petals had blown away and only a few straggly pieces were left. I had brought some fake ones JUST in case something happened, and I am glad I did. They came in handy and my buddy replaced the dead ones with the fakes and we kept on doing pictures.
We only left ourselves about 45 min for pictures, which was tight, but doable thanks to Anel. She was so good she kept getting the picture perfect the first time and moving on. It was incredible. She was so creative and kind and made us look so great in the photos. Picking the best ones was so hard but we did not want to pay another $15 each for over our allotted amount and we had just done the basic package. We got 136 pics with the package and settled on 150 total and paid a little extra. Worth it to keep those few that were so awesome we could not let them go. I requested Anel based on reviews on the forum and I would highly recommend her as well. She lived up to the hype and there is a reason she is so great at her jobâ€”you can tell she loves it!
We had showed Veronica and her team what we wanted them to set up for the reception, and they took notes and it was done perfectly. I trusted them to make simple centerpieces and they did a great job! One bird of paradise per table in a tall vase was a surprisingly gorgeous centerpiece. We did not need anything more. The food was great and the light up dance floor was fun (though for our group of 62, too small). When the fireworks went off, we were not expecting them, and we got lots of photos of our shocked faces, which was cool. But the danger factor was a little dicey. I am glad no one got hurt. One table was just a little too close to the dance floor and the wind was high that night, so it was inevitable that some sparks would fly. Still a great moment of the night.
Our dance floor never stopped. DJ Maurcio had all our CDs and songs downloaded. He played everything just how we wanted, and threw in a few dance mix versions of songs too, which gave it his own spin and surprised us. That was fun. And he mixed from one song to the next which was at times silly and other times worked awesome. He followed our reception flow and announced our wedding party pretty well. We could barely hear from the other side of the deck, so the announcing part was a little messy. And my name is hard to pronounce for Spanish speakers so he said it like everyone does, incorrectly, but I did not care. He got our new last name right and that is what mattered to us.
Cake cutting was great. They served the cake but most people were dancing all night so only a few people ate it. Lots of tequila shots were had from the great bartenders. We had personal servers who took great care of us all night. The night closed with a good closing song but I canâ€™t remember what it was.
After the reception we thought Desires would be good, but turns out that night it was pretty lame so people just went back to the lobby bar which worked fine. We finished the night happy, amazed, and tired!
The wedding was exactly what we wanted, and we spelled it all out for the wedding team so that little could go wrong. But that is just us being anal planners. If you are easy going and trust the Dreams staff, you will not be sorry. Even if we had not been as prepared as we were I know that the wedding would have been every bit as magical due to the hard work of the hotel staff. They know exactly how to make your day classy and fun at the same time. And the location is so beautiful it is almost impossible for anything to be disappointing.
My husband mentioned that we tried to change hotels for the honeymoon to get away from guests after the wedding. We were so spoiled by our treatment at DRC, and the food and d©cor and overall vibe, that we turned right around and changed all our plans so that we could go back and finish our honeymoon back at DRC. We did not even upgrade or anything, just got a standard room and kept it simple. It was worth it. We snorkeled and ate at the Habachi Grill in the Japanese restaurant (awesome!) and lounged in the infinity pool for hours. A wonderful end to our fairytale wedding experience at Dreams Riviera Cancun!
If anyone has questions, feel free to ask away. Also once we get our photo link I will try to share it here.
Dreams was truly a dream come true for us!