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Iberostar Grand Paraiso wedding review - Nov. 14, 2009


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#1 sunset78

sunset78
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    Posted 23 November 2009 - 05:53 PM

    TRAVEL 9/10
    We traveled First Class to Cancun. We flew the red-eye from Fort McMurray to Toronto and then Toronto to Cancun. Everything was comfortable and the drinks and foods were good. We had 2 checked bags each, one carry on each (I carried my wedding dress), and I also had a large purse.

    We were one of the first to arrive into customs at the Cancun airport, so there was no waiting, and zipped through.

    Everyone had to fill out forms of recent/current health for H1N1 and hand it to a man that blocked access to the luggage and security area.

    All of our luggage arrived, and we waited in line for the luggage check area. They were really concerned with the amount of items we had and kept repeating "Only clothes?" I think about 5 or 6 times times. We said no, and that we had snorkeling equipment, wedding clothes and wedding related items, and clothes. I took the recepits of any wedding items with me incase I was searched. But we both got the green light and walked through without any problems.

    Our bags had to carted by one of the workers (since we reached the no baggage carts beyond this point area). A guy pointed us to a desk to ask about our transportation (Bookit.com/Best Day was the company), and of course they told us just look for the Best Day workers holding a sign.

    We found the Best Day company outside, and had to wait about 10-15 minutes for the van. It was a shared van with 2 other couples. The drive was fine to the resort.

    The Cancun airport experience was much more better than the other times we have experienced it. Even everyone else said it was really easy to get through, and it was everyone's first time going to Mexico.


    CHECK-IN 10/10
    Staff were already waiting at the entrance for us. One took our luggage, and another guided us to the front desk. We were given cool towels with champagne. We filled out some papers and they upgraded our standard room to an oceanfront room for free.

    We were then carted by our bulter to the room which was on the second floor of building 71. The butler talked about the resort during our drive and explained the room. Our bags were brought in a few mintues after we arrived in the room.

    We requested to have access to the wireless internet (no problems, it worked everytime). Plus they gave Mark an ashtray for smoking on the balcony.


    APPEARANCE 10/10
    Very beautiful resort. The furniture, the art, everything is incredible. And it is super spotless, the cleaniest place ever. I think it would hard to find any dust/dirt in the resort. Staff are always cleaning nonstop.


    ROOMS 9/10
    The rooms were beautiful and very clean. It was air conditioned as well. Beds were comfy and so were the pillows. It was weird to see the toilette in a glass stall. The motion sensor lights were nice, they turned on every time you opened the door to the room, but they would also shut off if there was movement (didn't know what was going on when we were on the balcony). Plus the balcony lights automatically shut off around 11 (I think), and they will not turn back on (all the rooms do this). The snacks and mini bar was restocked everyday. They gave what every you wanted.


    LOCATION 10/10
    We enjoy the Riviera Maya area. It's a pretty area and quiet.

    STAFF 10/10
    Everyone there went above and beyond for service. Everyone was always smiling, friendly, laughing, trying to make your stay the best possible.


    BEACH & POOLS 8/10
    There are 3 pools. We only experienced the main pool which is salt water. Definitely not crowded at all. Nice pool bar. The other pools looked nice as well, and never many people in them. Towels are readily accessible and they offered floaties to relax in.

    The pools closed around 6 which we though was pretty early.

    The beaches are clean with nice white, soft sand. Waters felt warm, but never had the chance to swim in it.


    FOOD/RESTAURANTS 8/10
    Breakfast buffet at the Bella Vista was good. Lots of selection. Suited everyone's taste.

    Never had lunch, but others did and said it was very good at both the Bella Vista and La Brisa. Many preferred the La Brisa moreso for lunch.

    Had the buffet for supper most times at the Bella Vista. Lots of selection again. Everyone enjoyed it.

    Ate at the Italian for the rehearsal dinner. This was a hit or miss. Some people enjoyed it, and some didn't (Mark and my dad are picky eaters, so this place didn't suit them).

    We ate at Toni's for our wedding dinner. Excellent food. Everyone loved it.

    Room service was good as well. Suited everyone's palette.


    BAR SERVICE 10/10
    Almost anything you wanted to drink was available. We noticed the huge difference in selection of alcohol went we visited the hotels in the complex.

    The waiters/bar tenders would check in every 10-15 minutes to see if you needed a drink. Even gave you nuts and popcorn, and refilled when it was getting low.


    HOUSEKEEPING 10/10
    Roomed was cleaned twice a day. Once in the morning and once at night. The beds were made in the morning, and turned down every night. Used towels and bath mats were replaced twice a day. Everything was tidy and cleaned. Floors were always shiny and swept. Ashtray outside was emptied for Mark. Super clean room.


    ENTERTAINMENT/THINGS TO DO 7/10
    We were really busy half the time to really do much (waiting for people's arrive every evening, then head to supper, then maybe a few drinks, then off to bed). But some people complained about the alck of activities to do in the evening.

    There are somethings going on around the pool during the day. Water basketball, water aroberics, tai chi, etc. At the beach there are water activities to pay for... jet ski, parasailing, scuba diving. I don't think anyone did the golfing.

    Apparently the live show at 10PM in the theatres were pretty good. Some people went to that and enjoyed it.

    The pools closed early which some didn't like too much.

    At night you had to go to the lobby building to have drinks, there was no where else to go in the evening for drinks.

    REHEARSAL DINNER 7/10
    The rehearsal dinner was just a dinner only. The WC wasn't there. We had dinner at the Italian.

    We split our table up into 2 tables, though we were suppose to have one table. But whatever. We had 10 people there including ourselves, it was only the people staying at the Grand that went (the others staying outside the resort and others at Beach opted not to come because of the fee to the Grand). So we had our parents sit with us, and had the other 4 at the other table.

    I really enjoyed the food, as some others did too. But Mark practically ate nothing (he didn't mind the duck pate stuffed tortellini - I think that what it was called), as like some others as well.

    WEDDING OVERALL 8/10
    The wedding went pretty smoothly even with the little surprises and blips. I would have still done it all over again. At least they finally got the last names right...lol (We were called/posted as Mr and Mrs. Pitts sometimes, or Mr. Pitts and Miss Boutilier when it was suppose to be Miss Pitts and Mr Boutilier over days of our stay)


    WEDDING COORDINATOR (Martha) 7/10
    Martha visited our room the day we arrived to make an appointment to go over the details one last time and to give us the quote. We were to meet her in the main lobby around 11AM the next day.

    Anyway, turns out our romantic dinner I requested for 6:30PM the night we arrived was not scheduled, this was ok'ed via email in the paperwork. We showed up, but there was nothing. Martha just happened to be in my building at the time and I talked to Martha about it, and she said we needed to have the appointment before she could have scheduled anything. It would have been nice to know about beforehand, but she should use the set menu, and Mark was like "um, no"... he didn't like the food that was in the menu, and we ended declining to reserve the romanica dinner for another night. So we went to the buffet since it was to late to "reserve" the la carte restaurants apparently.

    The appointment was in the lobby bar. She had copies of the emails (as I) and the final paperwork to be completed. Basically all the paperwork was the same as the previous paper work. Except there were some surprises this time. Some we worked through and others we had no choice.

    - the flowers were going to be the same as I picked
    - the restaurants for the rehearsal dinner and wedding were all the same with same times (though we tried to change tried to change the rehearsal dinner to a later time, but couldn't)
    -the cake was going to be the same
    - they changed my hair appointment from 12 to 12:30 (no big deal)
    - told them that we gave money to the others for their passes (turns out there are actually 3 types of passes not 2 - a morning pass from 8 until 6, an evening pass from 4 until 3, and a day pass from 8 until 12... the end times about approximate, Mark accidently threw out this paper on me), prices for passes were different as well from what we were told (iberostar guests morning/evening/day pass - 55/65/120 and non-iberostar guests morning/evening/day pass - 75/85/160)
    - we had no choice except to get the DJ (we just wanted to use the ipod, and thought we could just use that), but she said inorder to use the stereo we needed the DJ (she said 70 for the DJ... ok, no big deal then)
    - we rented the Rhapsody bar which was 2 hours
    - we were told we were going to have to have a set menu (though in the papers is says if only over 15 people... we had 14 including us). I said a set menu isn't going to work. So if we split up the tables, we were not going to have a set menu, people could order from the regular menu and get what they wanted. Also we could get a table all together at the Italian for the rehearsal and not have set menus since there was going to less people at that one (the tables were split up once we got there and our original tables were given to another group).
    - the decorations were decided on... bamboo set up with 3 sets of flowers, palm tree plants (they actually didn't have them set up though), sand carpet with petals, turquoise sashes for the chairs.

    When she gave us the quote it turns out the DJ was 70 per hour not just 70 she told us. So it was 140 for him.

    The day of the wedding I tried to get a hold of her and she wasn't going to be in until 1, but I would still be getting my hair done. I didn't get to see her until about a hour-hour and a half before the wedding when she arrived with the flowers and boutineers and corsages (I was suppose to have 3 boutineers and 2 corsages, but got 4 boutineers and 1 corsage).

    I know she tried her best, and know not everything can be perfect.


    COST 7/10
    The resort cost was affordable to us.

    The wedding cost more than we though it was going to be. The dj and high price passes were unexpected.

    They try to get you to pay in peso, but we requested US dollars... which was coming out higher than the quote as they were trying to convert it over (almost 400 more). We said we want to pay what we are quoted not what they were getting from the conversion.

    Mark has the paper quote (I'll repost the final wedding cost later), but I think it was around 3800 US for the blessing wedding package, Rhapsody bar rental, the photogrpahers passes, violinist, DJ hire, my hair plus MOH, my mom, his mom, and his sister's hair, the extra boutineers and corsages, the bamboo gazebo, petals for the carpet, 3 sets of flowers for the bamboo gazebo.


    FLOWERS 9/10
    I thought my flowers were beautiful. I got stargazers, white calla lilies, orange lilies, and green orchids.

    Maid of honor had orange lilies and green orchids, the boutineers were all green orchids, and corsages were an orange lily with green orchid.


    WEDDING MUSIC 8/10
    We went with the violinist. We went with the basic songs for the wedding because I didn't know what songs he would have known. He played pretty well. It was loud for everyone to hear since he was hooked up to a speaker.


    PHOTOGRAPHER (Claudia Rodriguez) 9/10
    Her and Erick did our wedding. They are great. They showed up about a hour before the wedding. She took some shots of me getting ready, of course the wedding, then some pics on the beach and around the resort. They even stayed a little bit after to get some pics of the first dances (we booked her for 5 hours so 8 was the end time, but the reception didn't start until 8:30) We weren't too sure if we were going to be doing a TTD since she Sundays are the busiest for Cenotes, but we managed to find one for us... the place was actually closed for Sunday, but she managed to get the guy to let us in for the TTD. So it was her, erick, and 2 other assistants there. They were all great, and funny.


    PHOTOS (no rating yet)
    Should have them in December (middle or late)... takes about 4-6 weeks.


    SPA/HAIR 8/10
    There was some confusion on where the hair was suppose to be getting done because the Grand has it's own spa, but apparently that wasn't open? And it was done at the Shopping Center.

    I got to the Spa around 12:30, but they were running late. It was after 1 when they started.

    I had a picture of my hairstyle I wanted, and they did fairly close to the pic.

    I was probably done in little over a hour. I was extrememly worried about the time when I was done, but I was back in the room around 2:30.

    Everyone else was late getting started on as well. But everyone's hair turned out nice and wasn't late for the wedding (the main thing...lol)


    TIMING OF THE DAY 8/10
    I had it at 4PM... originally picked 4:30. I actually wish I picked 3:30 because once 5 PM came it got dark fast so we didn't get many pics on the beach.


    CEREMONY 9/10
    Mark and his BM were at the gazebo. My MOH walked down while my dad and I waited back hidden from everyone. My dad was crying while we were standing there waiting. I couldn't look otherwise I would be bailing before I was waling down the aisle. I gave him a hug. I walked barefoot (and was barefoot pretty much the entire wedding...lol - dress hid my feet, but I had a huge blister on top of my foot that was cause from my sandals from walking around the entire comples one day... and my foot swelled up on top of it.)

    The decorations looked beautiful. I loved it and so did everyone else.

    The music as loud for everyone to hear.

    The pastor was great. The speech he gave before the wedding vows was beautiful... made some people get teary eyed. He talk about love, the celebration, how he see the love and devotion in our eyes and body language... he spoke to us then spoke to everyone. Mark cried during the vows which made me cry... then I cried again during my vows. Lots of crying everywhere I think.. lol.

    There were lots of people in the balconies watching, people at the huts sat up and watched, and apparently there were even people taking pics. I never even noticed any of them until the very end when we went and got our champagne.


    DINNER 10/10
    Toni's was a huge amazing. Everyone loved the food. Even the pickiest eaters loved it. Mark ate 2 meals...lmao. I'm glad I picked Toni's. Eeryone got to pick the foods they wanted. Started off with appetizer's, then the meal. They served the cake after the meal.

    They had the flowers from the bamboo gazebo on the tables which looked quite nice.

    We had to kiss twice when people clinked their glasses, and everyone in the restaurant clapped when we kissed. It was funny.


    WEDDING CAKE 9/10
    The cake was a basic white frosting cake with flowers on top. It was a chocolate cake. Mark didn't like the other types offered. But the chocolate was delicious. Not your typical chocolate cake and the frosting was really good too (I don't normally like frosting).

    After the meals, Mark and I cut the cake. Cut a small piece then feed each other. The waiter then cut up the cake and gave everyone a small slice each. A lot of others got more, but cut off huge slices for themselves.lol.


    RECEPTION 8/10
    The DJ was ok. He wasn't told he was suppose our ipod. Anyway, we gave him our ipod to play our songs. Though I still didn't see the point of hiring one.

    We had Then by Brad Paisley for our dance, then Shining Star by The Manhattans for father/daughter dance, and Twenty Years Late by Aaron Lines for the mother/son dance.

    People came in occassionally for drinks and sat at the bar.

    I had to ask the DJ twice to play only the ipod songs in my list otherwise he'd just play what ever he wanted.

    I was actually surprised that people danced as often as they did considering there was ony 14 of us. So I'm glad I did book the Rhapsody. Though 2 hours flew rather quickly.

    CONCLUSION
    The resort is amazing and the wedding did look beautiful. The resort is super handicap friendly as well (Mark's is in a wheel chair). This was everyone's first trip outside of Canada (except us) and people are already planning on going back to the Iberostar already. I was worried about my mom because she's not a traveler at all, and this trip was going to make or break any future trips... and she loved it. My parents plan on going back to the Grand in Jan-Feb 2011. Mark's sis is planning to going to one of the other ones with her husband and 2 kids. But this trip sparked the traveling bug for everyone.

    Check out was pretty simple and smooth.

    HIGHLY recommend the Iberostar Grand for a place to stay and to have a wedding.

    #2 *Nadine*

    *Nadine*
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      Posted 23 November 2009 - 06:03 PM

      Congrats! Sounded like you guys had a great time. Now, where are the pics?? hehe

      #3 sunset78

      sunset78
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        Posted 23 November 2009 - 06:07 PM

        The Grand Resort
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        Our building - 71
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        View from the balcony
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        Bamboo gazebo
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        Groom and BM (sun is in their eyes)
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        MOH walk
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        The walk
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        Flowers
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        Ceremony
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        I do
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        #4 sunset78

        sunset78
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          Posted 23 November 2009 - 06:08 PM

          Champagne for everyone
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          Photos
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          Wedding Dinner
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          Wedding Cake
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          First dance
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          #5 sunset78

          sunset78
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            Posted 23 November 2009 - 06:09 PM

            I have only a few photos so far of the wedding. I can't wait to see the professional ones though. :)

            #6 ~Keira~

            ~Keira~
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              Posted 23 November 2009 - 06:52 PM

              Yay. Great review and fantabulous pictures. Can't wait to see more!
              ~Keira~**formerly KLee147**

              http://i794.photobuc....E_0170-1-1.jpg

              #7 sunset78

              sunset78
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                Posted 23 November 2009 - 06:56 PM

                Oh, forgot about the romantic dinner

                The WC managed to allow us to tweak the romantic dinner to suit Mark. So we had the romantic dinner at 9 on a Sunday (Nov 15)


                ROMANTIC DINNER 9/10
                This was a candle lit dinner outside the La Brisa. It was a 5 course meal, and it turned out to very good. I was glad the changed the menu abit for Mark. We drank 2 bottles of champagne. The waiter was hilarious. The dinner went great.

                #8 sunset78

                sunset78
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                  Posted 23 November 2009 - 07:06 PM

                  The rehearsal dinner - Italian
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                  Romantic dinner - Outside La Brisa
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                  Our room on the wedding night
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                  #9 Erika J

                  Erika J

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                    Posted 23 November 2009 - 07:32 PM

                    I cant see the pics at work, so I will have to look again from home, but your review is fab, lots of great details!

                    #10 egsarah

                    egsarah
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                      Posted 23 November 2009 - 07:36 PM

                      Great Review! We are honeymooning here in a few weeks so its good to know that someone really enjoyed it!




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