NOW Jade Wedding Review-
Carly and Bryan Nov. 12th 2010
Well here I amâ€¦a married lady finally! And I want to do it again and again! If you are a bride getting married at NOW Jade you will have an amazing wedding so stop worrying already! I was making myself sick and then got down there and I let everything go and trusted that it would all be great. Believe me when I say everything turns out better than you can dream. I was a very satisfied bride and my guests (56 of them) still keep telling me that it was the best wedding they've ever been to. So maybe they are just being nice and maybe I'm just partial, but it was freaking awesome!!
This review will just be text until I get more of our professional photographs done. I will post pictures soon.
Since weâ€™d been planning over a year ago, I will not be the best bride to ask questions about prices. The resort owners, wedding packages, and the wedding coordinator have all since changed. I was also lucky enough to have a fianc©, Bryan, who took care of most of the costs after the initial budget I did. He also did a ton of negotiating with the resort, with the wedding coordinator and with our travel agent at DestinationWeddings.com. We were so happy to have Sandra Casillas (currently the coordinator at NOW Sapphire) come back and do our wedding since we had been working with her so long before she transferred. She was amazing and went well above and beyond her job.
Here is how the schedule of events went (and small reviews of the restaurants):
Arrived on Monday- I met with coordinator. We went over details, how to arrange everything for the reception, picked out linens, and gave her my suitcase filled with wedding stuff. (programs, cake topper, schedule of events, decorations, table numbers, photo booth costumes and equipment, etc.) That night we had a fun dinner at Spice (Asian). The waiters made us to the silly tequila shots where the make you wear a napkin on your head then roll your head around in circles. Somehow they talked us into taking pictures with them and made the guys chug beer!
Tuesday- Bryan and I had a romantic breakfast in the patio of Mecure (French) which is only open to Preferred Club guests for breakfast. It took forever to get the food though. That day I had my hair and makeup trial. We took a cab to the airport to surprise most of the wedding party who arrived that day. We had set up a few vans to take us all back to the resort and filled them with beer and tequila. I donâ€™t remember much of dinner that night at Mercure (French), but everyone liked it. Apparently I ordered 3 plates of escargot all to myself. J
Wednesday- we took our attendant and parents out on excursions instead of buying them a thank you gift. Boys went on a fishing trip, and the girls went on a jungle adventure. That night we had our welcome party at The Mix Beach Bar. Dinner was a quick bite at the Carnival Buffet. It was Asian night and was delish. We also had fresh grilled fish and sides at the welcome party (see below).
Thursday- We got to relax by the beach and the pools. The cabana beds at the quiet pool are so comfy, but get there and stay there at 7am if you want one. Many guests went out on the jet skiing/ snorkeling trip and said it was fun but probably not the best snorkeling theyâ€™ve ever done. We had the rehearsal and dinner for all the guests at Tamarindo. That night there was an amazing fire show at the fountain courtyard.
Friday- was the wedding day! My uncle led a big group of us in yoga on the beach this morning. It was a great way to start the day. We got married at the Pergola at 4pm and then had a cocktail hour at The Mix Beach Bar. (the reception couldnâ€™t start until 8 so we paid for 2 hours of cocktails and hor d'oeuvres) The reception was at Castaways and lasted until 12. All the guests then lined up all the way down to the pool and we ran past them through sparklers into the pool- in tux and dress!! Our version of the get-a-car. JWe had the after party at our room!
Early in the week, a groomsmen went into Cancun and went to the liquor store and stocked our Presidential Suite with lots of drinks and mixers. We had people over every night (except the night before the wedding) and we made our own nightlife! The extra room was awesome for me so when I was ready to call it a night, guests could stay up all hours and feast on room service on the dinning table. J
NOW Jade Riviera Cancun Resort= A+
- You will not find a more beautiful, clean, lux resort for the price. Trust me! I saw 7 resorts all along the Riviera Maya before choosing Jade. The d©cor is modern and stylish- no traditional Mexican themes and d©cor here. Service was amazing, and food was so much better than I expected from reviews. Aaron the sommelier was fantastic to us. We ate at every restaurant since we were there for a week. Yes, you have to wait for your table, but itâ€™s worth the wait and you can just start dinner with a few cocktail at the lobby. The resort has a large amount of rooms, but I thought the layout was great and easy to get around to everything. There is always something fun to do and they have great entertainment/events every night. The only thing I wasnâ€™t impressed with was the gym. It was busy and hot and didnâ€™t have enough equipment. And this wasnâ€™t even peak season yet. So I just jogged down the beautiful beach instead. Upgrade to the Preferred Club- the service in the lounge is great. And if you can, and book a presidential suite- you will not miss the extra money- promise!
Resort Location= B
- The resort location has so many pros and just a few cons. Pros: Close to the airport (very quick transfers) and within walking distance to Puerto Morelos. It is set away from other resorts in a mangrove which has grown back to be a really pretty bird sanctuary. It is bordered on one side by a large rock jetty of the marina. Beautiful beach! Especially clean and clear of rocks compared to many resorts along the Riviera (but there are 2 main entry points that have been cleaned of most rocks). Cons: Next door was a dirt lot ready for development so some of the room views werenâ€™t pleasant. Itâ€™s not super close to either Cancun or Playa del Carmen but the taxi's are not expensive to get there. The entry way into many other resorts are grand and special, not the case here- you might wonder if your transfer van is going the right way.
Welcome Party @ The Mix Beach Bar= A++
- We had asked Sandra if they could grill the fish the guys would catch that day. We were just thinking we would just have fresh grilled fish and chips and salsa or something as a snack for guests arriving. The boys never caught anything! So the mangers ended up cooking an entire meal on the beach and then bringing it up to the bar and making the event private for 3 hours- for FREE. Food was so good- they even grilled whole fresh fish for us! We had no idea this was coming! Bartenders are quick and friendly and were making us special drinks all night. I also handed out my welcome bags. We decided to do these instead of traditional favors. Besides gifts and samples, I placed a brochure with a welcome note, event schedule, map, recommended excursions, and helpful Spanish phrases. Let me know if you would like the pdf of this- Iâ€™m willing to share.
Wedding Coordinators= A++
- Since we were booked with the former wedding coordinator Sandra, she came back and helped us during the entire thing (3 days of events!) She was amazing! She is kind and patient and really made me feel like my wedding and all the events leading up to it were important to her. I cannot give her enough praise. When I say she went above and beyond, I mean it! She went into Cancun to get us the best deal on sparklers and candles/ votives so we didnâ€™t have to worry about shipping them or bringing them in luggage. Trust that they will make your day more than you ever dreamed. Just help them out by compiling a list of questions instead of bombarding them with question after question every day. Oh and be patient. I know itâ€™s very hard, but they work so hard to make sure every bride is taken care ofâ€¦eventually
Wedding Rehearsal = C+
- It just could have been organized a little better by the coordinator, because Bryan and I were herding everyone and trying to make sure they heard what the coordinator said. I was not prepared as well and forgot my line up list and ceremony schedule. And no one really remembered what they were told to do anyway!
Rehearsal Dinner @ Tamarindo= B+
- Again a little unorganized at first but the service was awesome. Again, the restaurant manager and servers took great care of us. Everyone was invited since they were all traveling. We did a Mexican buffet this night and it was great. Drinks would not stop coming! The room is divided in 2 parts so it wasnâ€™t ideal for a group this big, but when it was time for speeches we just moved everyoneâ€™s chairs over to one side. We had them set up a projector to play our pictures and ran it off our computer (which actually fit in our safe- that never happens).
Hair and Makeup @ Renova Spa on site salon= A+
- I was worried about hair and makeup so I did a trial run. So glad I did. I got 2 days of beautiful hair and makeup! I also got to see how long it would take with my thick hair. So I rescheduled my â€œday ofâ€ hair and makeup for and hour earlier than Sandra booked. I think the price of the trial was $110 after the wedding package discount. Even though she didnâ€™t speak much English, I showed her pictures of what I liked and she took off with it. I wanted loose touchable hair so I was a little worried when she shellacked each strand before curling it. But it ended up being perfect and stayed up for the rest of the day and night even with my crazy dancing. I added a few false lashes and my own eyeliner and lips. My attendants and the momâ€™s got their makeup and hair done by my MOHâ€™s mother. This ended up being a wonderful surprise to me and my ladies!
Wedding Venue @ La Pergola= A+
- Beautiful and private-very hard to come by with a destination wedding. Many weddings we saw on the beach and or fountain area had so many gawkers and rude people walking through or near the event. They decorated more than I thought we paid for and I was stunned at how it all turned out. Go with the Tiffany/ Chivalry chairs instead of paying for all the bows and bow ironing fees and etc. I think its $7 a chair (including a colored cushion of your choice) versus $5 for a white covered chair with a bow. All I did was pay for the aisle chairs to be decorated with foliage and flowers and it was more than enough. It was not too windy, but I prepared and didn't wear a veil or my hair down. We got married right before sunset and it was gorgeous! We were blessed with perfect weather and an amazing sunset. Bryanâ€™s father married us in a symbolic ceremony. His uncle sang a solo for us. Instead of a sand ceremony, we had our momâ€™s come up and place each of their own flowers into a vase to symbolize the uniting of 2 families. At the end of the ceremony, all of our guest followed us down to the beach and were given champagne (I donâ€™t think we purchased this, but maybe Bryan sneaked it in?) for group pictures. It was perfect because the photographers stayed up on the terrace and shot pics down at us.
Cocktail Hour @ The Mix Beach Bar/ = A++
- This ended up being a 3 hour cocktail hour instead of the 2 we had planned because the ceremony was shorter and guest pictures were over so soon- we ran out of sunlight. I heard no complaints!! I was really worried about guests having to wait 3 hours before the reception, but it gave everyone a chance to mingle, drink, change shoes/ clothes, and dance! We had a Caribbean trio included but they ended up having the Mariachi band play- in the package more expensive. Somehow we even got a second Mariachi band to play. First they wore white and then came back in black. Cool! We missed all this with taking portraits mostly in the dark. It wasnâ€™t a problem even though I worried so much about losing light so fast. We also missed most of the cocktail hour with portraits and, to um...wellâ€¦ we planned a long cocktail hour so we could sneak off and have the fun that we know we would have been too tired for later that night. JHighly recommend doing that! By the time it was over, our guests were well lubed up and already dancing!
Wedding Reception @Castaways restaurant= A+++
- I know my rating system isn't great, but I can't help it. I was in shock when I saw how it all turned out! We had amazing service and they would not let anyone stop drinking. The servers were dancing and having a blast too! The restaurant manager even got on a chair and poured tequila in everyone's mouths!! Again food was great (no buffet) and we negotiated having multiple dinner entrees options within a set menu. We had to ask all our guests if they wanted Steak and Shrimp, Vegetarian, or Ahi Tuna. To let the servers know who had what, we wrote it on the on the back of the escort cards. She printed a small menu at each setting and made it look like a scroll to open. The room is divided into 3 separate areas by short wooden decorative walls. So we had the head table in the middle section along with parentâ€™s tables. The dance floor and DJ were in one section and the other section had the rest of the tables. It worked out perfect even though I was worried it was separated. The cake was set up at the entrance at the beginning and we even had a little homemade photo booth set up on the entry terrace. This consisted of a blue sheet I brought and hung up with a table filled with costumes. My guest book doubled as the instant camera photo album. It was a hit! The cake table was moved into the dance area for the cake cutting and serving. I did have to ask the manager to cut the cake and place the plates on the cake table. The place is huge and has its own bar- a big plus for larger weddings. The decorations were stunning. Someone said it can be windy because it's open on all sides but we did not have that problem except at the main entryway where our cake table was set up with candles that a few blew out. Tiki torches all stayed lit all night. She went way above and beyond what I asked
for. All I wanted was twinkle lights and I got them! Lots of them! This was my set up:
Wedding Flowers= B+
-I had white calla lilies with vermeer callas in the center. It wasnâ€™t really what I sent her in my pictures and descriptions, but who cares? They were beautiful. The groomâ€™s boutonniere was supposed to be different from the rest, but what can you do? The bridesmaids had a small cluster of all white callaâ€™s. The columns of flowers and the centerpieces were way more grand than I thought came with the Luxury package because the wedding book just isnâ€™t great about showing the flower options. I hope they fix this. But in the mean time, this is just one of those things a destination bride canâ€™t control.
Wedding Cake- B
-Didnâ€™t look very pretty but the taste was amazing! I got the Bella Matrimonial cake. I had numerous guests go back for thirds! Of course the cake didnâ€™t look like any of the pictures I had sent, but it was kinda funny anyway. Lumpy, low layers, draped in fondant and wrapped in ribbon that looked like it was a too tight belt- they ran out of the ribbon I gave them. I made the cake topper and that distracted from the sad cake. J
Ceremony Musicians- F
- Guitarist never showed up! Enough said. But Sandra sprang into action and got a sound system set up really last minute and I have no idea what they played because I was floating on Cloud 9 where you apparently canâ€™t hear anything except your heart pounding. This delayed the ceremony a few minutes and our soloist had to sing unaccompanied. They gave us our money back and it bugs me more now than it did the moment she told me. Our guests didnâ€™t have a clue.
Wedding Officiant= A++++++++
- This was Bryanâ€™s father. My new Dad! We had a symbolic ceremony and I loved that I had control over how the ceremony went. Everyone could hear fine because we had a mic and speakers set up, otherwise the waves would have been too loud. He did a great job at stalling while my new uncle had to break into our room to get the vows I forgot on the table!! Give a copy of your vows to the wedding coordinator and/or officiant!!
DJ Carlos Martinez and MC ??? with Mannia Cancun= A
- The DJ set up some awesome lighting and did a great job. The MC (forgot her name) did a pretty good job also. I was expecting them to organize things a little better, but we all danced the night away! I gave them a schedule and songs to play at each event. I also gave them a no-play list. I told them some of our favorite songs we would like played and told him, just get everyone dancing and if people arenâ€™t on the dance floor, change songs. So he did at the one song that had everyone yawning. You might want to ask them to cut your first dance and father/ daughter dance short since it gets really boring for guests- we did not do this and I feel it took up way to much time. The DJ didnâ€™t play our entry song when we came in but right after we were already in the restaurant so we kinda danced along and then took the mic to make a short speech and then announce that dinner is served.
Oscar Nunez of Oscar Video= A+++
- He was amazing! We originally only booked him through the wedding package and it would only have been the ceremony covered, but I begged Bryan to hire him for the whole thing. So we paid him cash for the rest of the night. It was well WORTH IT!! Bryan was dead-set against it- hence the begging. He has now seen the video and the light! Oscar created a 2 Disc DVD of the entire thing (prelude, ceremony, pictures and portraits, cocktail hour, a 4 hour reception, and a few silly interviews from guests with this huge toy microphone) and also the highlight reel we were able to post online. Bryan canâ€™t stop showing everyone the video so heâ€™s glad I begged too JOscar was friendly and professional. Every time I looked around and thought I wish we could get a photo of that, Oscar was there getting video. He also edited all the videos in less than a week. I was very impressed with what we got.
Oscar Video- link
Blane Cooper Harvey Photos= A+++
- A personal friend that agreed to come to our wedding and shoot for 4 days straight! We flew him down but he is based in Denver. To see some of his work check out our link to our website and look under photo albums. He did an amazing job on our engagement photos and I canâ€™t wait to see his wedding photos! Let me know if you want his contact info.
Alejandro? of Positive Photo Studio= C+
- The photos turned out great. Nothing amazing but I was not worried since we brought our photographer with us. Honestly, Iâ€™m not sure why we decided to use the resortâ€™s photographer just because it was included in the package. It was nice that he had experience posing and knew where to go to get good shots around the resort. He just was not personable and I think he said 2 words to me- including me having to ask his name (maybe he didnâ€™t like being the #2 photographer?). The main problem was after I picked out my 50 photoâ€™s, he was supposed to deliver them to use before we left, and never did. It took 3 weeks to get the album and CDs when they were ready the day we left. Oh well! I also donâ€™t think he is their top photographer at the studio, but maybe Iâ€™m mistaken? Positive Photo Studio- link
Robbie of Alltournativeâ€™s Jungle Maya Expedition= A++
- If you want an all day, fantastic adventure, go on this tour. I had done tours that included the Mayan ruins and cenotes before and decided to do something a little different. We had a large group so got a private tour and Robbie was our guide. He was friendly, and funny, and put up with 10 women gawking at him and taunting him the entire time. We had an amazing time and it was something Iâ€™ll never forget. Alltournative.com-link
Ziplines, repelling into a cenote and floating around, mayan purification ceremony, biking through the jungle, snorkeling and swimming in 2 different types of cenotes, hiking through the jungle and learning about the plants and history of the area, riding on a Unimog (so much fun!), and a buffet lunch of yummy home-made Yucatan food. This tour combines so many things into one day, that I highly recommend it.
Lomas Travel= A
- We first used Lomas travel when we went down the Riviera Maya to check out wedding venues a year ago. We had an entire day with a driver and guide showing us each of the resorts we wanted to see, arranging lunch, arranging meetings with the coordinators, and giving us advice. We had such a good experience with them, that we booked our tours and our transfers with them for our wedding. Our travel agent surprised us and arranged the transfers to be a limo. Woot woot! And of course it comes stocked with champagne and beer. Iâ€™m not sure why but our travel agent booked our guests transfers through American Express and they had a few nightmareâ€™s with the service and not showing up on time/ almost missing their flight home. So donâ€™t use American Express unless you have to, instead use Lomas. They also can coordinate weddings or you can order equipment and decorations through them.
Lomas-travel weddings- link
Diane with Destinationweddings.com= B+
- So overall our experience using destinationweddings.com was great. I would recommend using them if you are having a destination wedding for many reasons. 1- they act as a travel agent and a negotiator. 2- they have a interest free payment plan. 3- when using a travel agent you can (and should!) purchase trip insurance and have a person to call to fix any problems for you. There were many problems let me tell you, from missed flights, to Air Mexicana going under, and a very overbooked resort. Diane was able to take care of all of it when guests used her for flights and rooms. 4- they create a website and a travel page that guests can use to get a quote or communicate with Diane. The only downside was that DW.com uses contract travel agents so we got an agent (Diane) who didnâ€™t always get back to guests with quotes and questions. But for the most part she was helpful and prompt. destinationweddings.com
- this website creator would have gotten an A+ had it been free for all the things I wanted (online RSVP to multiple events, page control and passwords, tons of space for pictures and downloads, music, polls, quizzes, and guest book) You can check it out and steal ideas if you want J
Carly and Bryan wedding website