Brooke's Paradisus Riviera Cancun Wedding Review
Posted 30 November 2009 - 07:38 PM
Our wedding ceremony and reception at the Paradisus Riveria Cancun was absolutely beautiful. Echoing what others have said, Perla did pull it off in the end and put on a fabulous event for us. And even despite the threat of Hurricane Ida (I was a wreck the week before), the weather was absolutely gorgeous.
With that being said, there were still some frustrations leading up to our big day. I will first talk about the wedding itself and then about the resort. We arrived late afternoon on Tuesday the 10th and were extremely eager for our Wednesday morning meeting with Perla. We invited our parents and officiant (one of our best friends) to join us for the meeting. We were all ready at 10am. Perla comes out to introduce herself and tells us she will be ready in 20 more minutes. We all reconvened 20 minutes later and she was still not ready. In the end we waited for almost 2 hours. Our families were not pleased and my father-in-law ended up interrupting her in order to start our meeting. In this past year of planning, Iâ€™ve gotten used to the concept of â€œCaribbean timeâ€ â€“ but I was hoping to be more of a priority once onsite. I do know she is incredibly overworked, but there are at least 3 other Romance staff members in her office.
However, once the meeting was underway, things went fairly smoothly. I wish I hadnâ€™t stressed out so much in the months preceding about furniture layout, colors, flowers, cake, etc, because though I had meticulously mapped out everything we wanted or thought we wanted, many of those decisions were made at that meetingâ€¦and were expertly carried out for the wedding. Iâ€˜d say my only real complaint about Perla aside from not being prompt would be the lack of confidence I felt before the wedding. Her slow response time worried me and often she would forget attachments and other details that I previously communicated to her. But, how do I begrudge her now? She delivered an amazing ceremony and reception and all of our guests (including us) were certainly wowed!
Luis from Swank also dropped in on our meeting to make sure we were all set with equipment. He is great! I definitely recommend working with him. He was even at our wedding the entire time ensuring there were no technical problems. We did the iPod thing and it was perfect! I was initially worried about how it would all work out, but Luis was onsite as well as another person to â€œmanâ€ the iPod and equipment. He was able to fade each song in and out. It was like having a DJ, but only playing our music.
We used the location on the far north end of the resort by the Tequila Restaurant. Our ceremony was on the beach and the chill-out chic lounge set up with white furniture and a Bali bed was set up next to it on the beach as well. It was very sexy - I highly recommend this set up! We had dinner on the terrace which overlooks the set up on the beach. And the dancing alternated between the terrace and the beach. We almost went with the dancefloor platform on the beach, but it was an additional $1000. Perla even said it wasnâ€™t worth it. So glad we didnâ€™t do it.
The following is the timeline we followed and it worked really well for us:
4:30pm â€“ 5pm > Ceremony
5pm â€“ 6:30pm > Cocktail hour and wedding party pictures
6:30pm â€“ 7:00pm > We were announced, then our first dance, then father-daughter dance and mother-son dance
7:00pm â€“ 7:30pm > Buffet dinner
7:30 â€“ 8:00pm > Speeches
8:00 â€“ 10:00pm > Dance Party
We actually added an hour on. Honestly, ending at 9pm is just too early. I suggest adding on that extra hour. Then afterward, a big group of us ended up at the Fun Club and danced until 2am. It was the first night it had been open since we arrived, so that worked out really well.
I also wanted to mention that we did our Welcome Dinner at the Caribbean Marketplace buffet on Thursday evening. Perla reserved the space for us and this actually worked out really well. It was considered part of the all-inclusive; therefore, it did not cost us anything to host it there.
Now on to the resortâ€¦the good stuff first. The resort is absolutely beautiful! It is very clean and the architecture and landscaping is gorgeous and lush. We had a second story ocean-front room with a balconyâ€¦A-MAZING! Seriously, upgrade if you can. Itâ€™s worth waking up to that view every morning and lounging in the hot tub in the evenings.
We were pleasantly surprised by the nightly entertainment. Most nights there was a live band in the lobby bar - which is all open air. And the theatre performances included a Michael Jackson tribute and Cirque Du Soleil-style act.
While the resort offered lots to do as far as entertainment, it was nice to leave campus and go party in Playa del Carmen. This place is FUN! Just arrange a shuttle with one of the bellhops and negotiate a price. Luckily, my husband speaks a little Spanish and is good at negotiating. We went down twice â€“ itâ€™s about a 35-45 minute drive. Both times we went to the Parrot Club. Great spot right along the water â€“ we danced in the sand all night. They even had fire dancers! Also lots of great shopping and the prices are much more reasonable than the booths set up in the evenings at the resort.
Now the not so goodâ€¦The reservations for the restaurants caused us and our 50 guests many headaches. When we first arrived, there was a large â€œGet Out of Debtâ€ convention (the irony, I know!) at the resort which crowded the restaurants and made reservations nearly impossible to get. Since we were unable to get reservations on that first night, we complained to Perla and she arranged for David Gonzalez, the food and beverage manager, to attend our Wednesday morning meeting. We felt we had some leverage since we were bringing in 50 people â€“ a pretty substantial number considering the size of the resort. He attended the meeting and arranged for reservations at several of the restaurants to accommodate all of our guests for both Wednesday night and Saturday night. However, both nights when we showed up at our respective restaurants, there were no reservations. I will say the restaurants did end up accommodating us each time, though we had to wait at times an extra 30 minutes. It was frustrating to us and to our guests who spent a lot of money to be there and were excited to try these <<cough>> â€œworld-classâ€ restaurants. (Food was good, but not â€œworld-classâ€). To screw up one reservation for a few guests one of the nights, I can forgive. But to screw it up for 50 guests for two different nights â€“ not cool. And David Gonzalez never did offer us an apology.
The rest of the resort staff was AWESOME! The maids, the waiters, the bellhops, front desk - they were all incredibly friendly and helpful. To some degree, they made up for managementâ€™s incompetency, namely David Gonzalez. (My letter to corporate in regards to him is next!)
A few other random things to note:
1. There is no ATM at the resort. We thought we had brought enough cash for tips, but of course we went through that within 3 days. We would have tipped a lot more had there been an ATM onsite, but instead we had to wait until we went to Playa Del Carmen to get money out.
2. On Saturday (the day after our wedding), there were two weddings. I had heard that they only do one a day. We saw two that day.
3. We loved that our wedding was on Friday night as opposed to Saturday night. If you have it on Saturday, your guests will most likely fly back home on Sunday. It was great to get to spend the entire next day recapping with all of our guests.
4. Bring insect repellent!
5. Felipe at the Lomas Travel desk is awesome! Seriously, he really impressed us. Iâ€™m still not sure how he could keep it all straight, but he knew everyone who was associated with our party and knew them all by name! Heâ€™s the person we all scheduled our excursions through. He hooked us up with a short trip down the road to Maroma Paradise for an afternoon of parasailing and couples messages on the beach. I highly recommend this!!! (I wish I had gotten Felipeâ€™s contact info (last name, phone or email) to submit a thank you. If anyone thinks of it, please send it to me. Thanks!)
6. This is a must - schedule a photo shoot at the Photo Shop desk. Itâ€™s right next to the Lomas Travel desk with Felipe (to the right of the lobby bar). The photo shoot is free and the pictures are $10 each, though the more you order the better the deal. We shot with Ernesto on the beach and at the gazebo over the pool and our pictures are beautiful! We purchased 15 of them and we love them! Itâ€™s especially nice since we havenâ€™t seen our professional ones from the wedding yet.
Since Iâ€™m still considered a â€œNoobâ€ on this forum â€“ LOL - and unable to add attachments, I've posted pix to my website at: Brooke & Andy Wedding | November 13, 2009
I hope this information is helpful for the other Paradisus brides out there. I know Iâ€™ve relied heavily on the reviews and posts of the brides before me and itâ€™s nice to finally offer mine. I do apologize for the length; brevity is not a strong suit of mine. But I figure in this case, itâ€™s best to be as thorough and informative as possible! Please let me know if you have any questions that I could try to answer.
Congratulations & Good luck!
Posted 30 November 2009 - 08:18 PM
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