Date: March 27 â€“ April 3, 2010 (I will review honeymoon week at the end)
Resort: Occidental Grand Xcaret. Riviera Maya, Mexico
30 of us travelled together for our April 1st wedding. 29 adults and 1 child.
Travel Agent Dawn Fairbanks, Uniglobe Discover Travel, Guelph ON CANADA
Dawn was awesome. She helped us choose a resort and handled all of the bookings with minimal hiccups.
Airline Air Canada Vacations
Air Canada was great. The luggage allowance was huge! 2 bags per person @ 50lbs each. That was a saving grace for DH and I with all of the wedding stuff (and enough clothes for 2 weeks!). They also had the little tvâ€™s in all of the head rests with up to date movies and television shows which all of our guests appreciated.
Resort Occidental Grand Xcaret *ROYAL CLUB*
I think itâ€™s important that I point out that I my review is mostly of the Royal Club area of the OGX. Everyone in our group upgraded to the RC when we booked and it was by far the best decision that we made in regards to this trip.
There are only 45 rooms in the Royal Club area and it was like our own little paradise! There is a private pool and exclusive restaurant overlooking the ocean as well as upgraded wood pool lounge chairs and wait service. We tried a few of the a la carte restaurants in the bigger part of the resort but were pretty disappointed so we ended up sticking with the private restaurant for the rest of the trip.
Here's a view of the outside of the restaurant - overlooking the ocean
Our room was FABULOUS!! It was a suite with a living room/dining room and separate bed and bath. Standing shower and whirlpool tub. Two balconies overlooking the ocean on the 3rd floor.
The "living room" in our suite...
Wedding Coordinator Marialma
AMAZING!! DH and I met with Marialma the day after we arrived at the resort to sort out details. She is super organized and obviously loves her job. She took care of everything, every detail. She made our wedding better than I ever even imagined it could be. She also stayed at our reception until the very end and made sure that all of the extra decor and leftovers (including my stilettos which I abandoned as soon as the reception started) were brought to my room the next day.
We were married at 4:30 in the afternoon in the Oceanside gazebo. Marialma took care of making hair appointments at the spa for my bridal party and myself as well as my mother. I was slightly concerned about the quality of the hair styles that we may be able to get at a resort spa but as it turned out I had nothing to worry about. Everyoneâ€™s hair turned out amazingly!! I have A LOT of hair and was super concerned that they wouldnâ€™t be able to get it all up or it would end up looking less beachy and more â€œprom-yâ€. My stylist was a superstar, she seriously couldnâ€™t have done any better. I made sure to tip her very generously.lol.
The girls and I got ready in our suite, which was perfect. The only downside was that when we ordered room service my mom had to go down and bribe the restarant to go faster as they said it would be 1.5 hours for our food to arrive! They did end up bringing it up more quickly and my mom did return with a bottle of champagne, so all was not lost! We did our own makeup, which turned out fine. I always hate when someone I donâ€™t know does my makeup â€“ it just never turns out even remotely natural to me.
Marialma picked us up in a decorated golf cart for the ceremony! So cute. She had everyone else in place and ready to go when we arrived.
I had burned a cd of the ceremony music and given it to Marialma ahead of time. She waited with us and made sure everyone did everything as they should. They handled the music perfectly and each song was played exactly as it was planned. I thought the music was a bit loud when I was walking down the isle but I guess they wanted to make sure everyone could hear.
The ceremony was beautiful and the officiant was clear, concise and spoke remarkable English. We had asked for a non-denominational ceremony but they didnâ€™t have anything for me to review before hand so we just had to hope for the best! We were absolutely not disappointed! The whole thing was simply magical. I canâ€™t wait to see the video!
We chose to have a private reception ($50 pp) which I think was a great decision. I wish I had better pictures of the reception setup â€“ our photographer sent us teasers but there werenâ€™t any of the tables etc.
The centrepieces were even better that I had hoped for. I had originally wanted hydrangea for flowers but the cost was a deterrent (as was the fact that they had to ship them in from Canada..lol) so Marialma gave me some more local options and we ended up going with a type of carnation mixed with another flower that I canâ€™t seem to remember the name of... They turned out great though and Iâ€™m super glad that I didnâ€™t opt for the more expensive option â€“ we can have those at the AHR
We started with an asparagus soup which was wonderful and chose to have the surf and turf option which was filet mignon with shrimp and lobster sauce for the main course. It came with some kind of veggies and potato ( I think..to be honest, I wasnâ€™t hugely hungry at this point so I only sampled the dinner). Everyone loved the steak and we had tons of compliments on the food in general. The desert was some kind of cake with orange sauce which is not my kind of thing but DH seemed to like it.
We ended up upgrading the wedding cake to make sure that it could feed 30 people. We chose chocolate with white icing. It was pretty basic but tasted really good â€“ and it wasnâ€™t one of the more â€œimportantâ€ details to either of us. There is the option to upgrade to something more fancy if you would like to.
Holy smokes! These guys were awesome! Seriously , I would have a half finished glass of champagne and there would be someone replacing it. I actually stopped the waiter at one point to tell him that I wasnâ€™t done and he said that he was replacing it as it was too warm and I should have cold champagne...well, okay no arguments here!
It was pretty windy and some of our lanterns didn't survive...
We chose not to hire a DJ (as the cost was $800 for 3 hours) and just hired the sound system instead (for about $200). I burned a cd for the dinner music and another 2 for the dancing and Marialma switched them for us. This part actually really stressed me out. I spent a lot of time choosing music to try to appeal to the whole group and to keep everyone dancing. It turned out great and everyone had a fantastic time. There is an a la carte restaurant that is pretty close to the reception area and we even had random people up and dancing. It was super fun and the next day I had a bunch of other guests at the resort thank me for the music.