Valentin Imperial Maya Review by Sarah Do
Posted 03 December 2009 - 01:03 PM
I recently had my wedding at Valentin Imperial Maya on November 21st. We stayed at the resort from November 19th-November 28th.
We did NOT have a legal ceremony at the resort. We had a symbolic ceremony. It is the same thing except you don't have to go through all the legal pitfalls and hassles of making your ceremony legal in Mexico. Instead we had someone we new officiate a quickie informal ceremony in California (where we live) to handle the legality of our ceremony.
Resort: I could go on and on about how fantastic the resort was, but this isn't necessarily the forum for that. Lets just say that the resort was fabulous and beautiful. Food was great and service was excellent. On a side note: I am aware that it is an all inclusive resort, but please people; bring money for tips! Most of the staff make only $6 a day. They get a special check on Tuesdays for included gratuity, but it isn't much. They appreciate even the smallest amount like a $1 at a meal. I noticed that Americans don't really tip. The Europeans and Canadians do, but Americans as a whole weren't leaving much of anything for these people who are essentially your servants. Anyway....enough of that.
Check In: Check in went VERY poorly for us. We have 10 people including us checking in. The resort could find us on their computer systems and could see from our passports that we were who we said we were, but they were very rude to us like they didn't trust us. They kept saying that we needed vouchers to check in. Eventually, we figured out that vouchers mean our email confirmation. Now keep in mind, we had everyone's confirmation code, but that wasn't enough for them. We had to go to the business center and print out the emails just to be checked in. While we were doing that, they checked 6 of our guests in WITHOUT the emails. It was very unorganized all around. The main lady that was helping my Fi and I finally said "I cannot help you, you need to go somewhere else." My advice would be to come prepared for check in. Have emails printed out as confirmation codes are not enough.
Wedding Planning: I am not a bridezilla so wedding planning was a cinch for me. Communication with Ariadna was always quick and efficient. We only did the simple moonlight ceremony for $899 usd. We sent in an $800 deposit and received a receipt of the deposit by email. I planned everything in advance like cake, flowers, location etc over emails alone and everything happened the way I wanted it as promised. When we arrived at the resort we met with Ariadna and went over everything again just to be sure. Our wedding was supposed to be at 5:00pm, but when we got there, we realized it was almost dusk/dark by then. We asked her if we could possibly move it up to 3:00 so that we could have sun and she said it was no problem. She was so amazing overall and really seems to care about making everything as perfect and hassle free as possible.
Pre-wedding Stuff: Press service came and picked up our wedding attire the morning of the ceremony and we received it back quickly. When I arrived at my room to wait to be picked up, my bouquet was waiting for me.
Ceremony: Our wedding was at the beach with a simple set up. We didnt ask for anything decadent or over the top the since the beach alone was beautiful enough. Ariadna was there to make sure that I walked where I was supposed to and didn't get lost. I was very nervous, but luckily there was a beach bar right on my way, so I took a shot of vodka on my way down.
The music we picked out was playing right on cue and my lovely soon to be husband was waiting for me. The ceremony itself was beautiful and it turned out better than I could have imagined. The champagne toast afterword was perfect.
Minister: The resort provides a minister Kiko Flores. I had never met him, but had communicate with him over email. My husband and I wrote our own vows and program for the ceremony which he allowed. The way he spoke really brought our words to life. Overall, he was great and a kind soul.
Reception: We opted to save our money and have a reception at one of the restaurants. We were a small party so we didn't necessarily care about privacy. We asked to just have a normal dinner at the lobster pot with their typical menu. We didnt have to wait when the restaurant opened and were brought right to our table. We received fabulous service and all the champagne we could drink. Afterward, we had our cake brought out and cut it. It was actually kind of nice being in the normal restaurant with all of the resort guests because in a way it felt like they were celebrating with us too! We got the 3 milks cake. I liked it, but some of our guests didn't care for it as it is a little rich. If you have a larger crowd with more diverse takes, you might be better off getting vanilla or chocolate instead.
After wedding: We received a nice champagne breakfast the next day. It was really more food than we could possibly eat, but it tasted great. We were supposed to receive a fruit basket and never did. We also never received any towel art the entire time we were there. It was funny to us because every day we were there, all of our guests got animals or swans or rose petals. We didn't particularly care that we didnt get these things, but it is important to point out that they were a part of the package and we didnt get them.
Photography: Now this was a huge surprise to me. Ariadna told us that we would have photographers come to the wedding, but that they would only take photos. If we didn't like their work, we didn't have to buy it; and if we did like it, we could buy it. We brought family along with camera specifically so that they could get pictures and we wouldn't be buying, so all in all we were a little skeptical. The name of the company is Blue Lens and the owner Dennis was there with a partner. The photo shoot was super fun and since it was hot we ended up doing a TTD session. We just got to have fun and enjoy each other and the photographers did their thing. We met with Dennis later that week to see the pictures. We were happy with the photos our family took so we were only figuring on getting one or two pictures from Blue Lens. We know how expensive photographers are so we weren't holding our breath. Now, this is where I was surprised. The pictures were AMAZING. I figured that they wouldn't take as good of pictures because there was no guarantee of getting paid, but I was wrong. We ended up loving the photos they took of our ceremony and the TTD session after. They even made a DVD slide show that was so cute and set to the perfect music. Now for pricing. If it isn't obvious now, I should explain we are total cheapskates. And in comparison to all of the radically expensive photographers we looked at in Mexico, they were the best. We paid only $500 for ALL of the digital copies of our photos. We had a little over 600 photos all together. You cannot get a deal like that anywhere else with any of the other companies in that area. And we didn't have to pay some ridiculous fee to have a photographer show up and take pictures at our ceremony. Please ask Ariadna to book them for your ceremony. You will NOT be disappointed.
Conclusion: Aside from a few minor glitches, the whole wedding and honeymoon was fabulous. I couldn't have asked for anything better. Please reply to this thread or PM me if you have any question about anything I may have missed.
Have a great day and may your wedding be as fabulous as our was!!!!!!
Posted 03 December 2009 - 02:16 PM
On a side note the same thing happend to us when we checked it. They were not rude, but I thought it was a little odd. ANd your right, it was as if they didnt believe we were who we were.
Posted 04 December 2009 - 11:17 PM
Posted 06 December 2009 - 04:25 PM
Honestly, I have no clue what kind of system they had set up. That was the least of my worries. All I know is that we gave them our ipod with the wedding songs on a playlist and they played them accordingly. Other than that, you got me.
As far as a formal contract goes,I wouldn't worry. Over all, they are very organized there. Ariadna is great at what she does and there is only one wedding on any given day. That way things don't get messed up.
As a side not to anyone planning a destination wedding, if you are a super controlling type A personality, this is not a good choice for you as a wedding. I am really laid back and I went with the flow. Here is how I see it. It isnt "my" day. Its "our" day. And when you get down to it, its really only 15 minutes of "our" day. No need to get too worked up over stuff. The important part is the marriage itself. Not the wedding. Wow....I sound like an after school special.
Anyway, let me know if you have any other questions.
Posted 06 December 2009 - 04:26 PM
Please see the following link for photos and the like.
Tan and Sarah - The Knot: Wedding Web Page Builder
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