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#1251 jennib31

jennib31
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  • 48 posts

    Posted 14 June 2010 - 03:47 PM

    •The restaurants were very very good in our opinion. We are laid back and casual travelers (if you see our photos my husband is tattooed and only wears tee shirts, shorts and sneakers) I believe because of the season, we never encountered a wait at the restaurants and no one questioned our dress code. We were surprised that all the servers were very friendly and nice. All the uniforms were clean and pressed and everyone was genuinely happy to be there. We wanted to tip quite a bit, but only a $1 or $2 each time so it wasn’t too expensive. These servers deserved it!

    oEl Cocotel was wonderful – if you choose not to do the private dinner and pay extra this option is wonderful! Because we had 30 guests for the wedding we almost took over the place and made it our own. We made quick speeches and laughed and didn’t seem to bother anyone. I am still glad I had the private dinner but this was a wonderful and tasty option. The breakfast buffet here is the best I think!
    oJojo’s – this was our central meeting place for all the guests. Very good lunch and you can be under the roof or on the patio overlooking the ocean.
    oFuentes – “culinary theatre” This was kind of cool for one night with a larger table of guests. The food was great with many traditional Mexican options (rice, beans, fish) They had the mariachi band (which I loved because I couldn’t afford to have them at my wedding!) This was air conditioned.
    oJapanese – We went here 3 times  It was my favorite and had wonderful stir fry. The sushi is very Americanized but delicious. For the volcano roll which usually has some raw meat and hot spices – it was cooked crab with a spicy mayo. It was still very tasty though and my favorite. Also air conditioned.
    oWe didn’t have a chance to go to la fondue however my guests said it was very hot inside and almost unbearable.
    oThe two Italian restaurants were just ‘ok’. We had a chef’s tasting at the Italian restaurant near the casitas. Everything was tasty and the Chef was nice but it wasn’t a must-do experience. It made us happy from a culinary aspect that they have a greenhouse there and grow almost all of their own produce. It is very eco friendly

    •We used the bikes and snorkel while we were there. There was a bike tour everyday at 10am that goes around the resort and on trails however it was much too hot by that time. We rented the bike for 45 min at 8:30am when they opened.
    •The pool bars were a smash! We never got super tipsy (well one night) but we always had a tropical drink in hand! The drinks had plently of liquor and you can always ask them to double it. As another bride did, we brought “our guy” a $5 and he took care of us the whole time.
    •There were two main pools that we used – the Fuentes pool was near everyone’s rooms in buildings 55-51. This was the activity pool and perfect for singles and party people. They always had games, volleyball, catch etc in the pool. This had a pool bar too and fun hip hop music was always playing. We spent all our time at the La Isla pool which still had music but was more laid back. This pool had the beds around the pool (so you were still in the action). Also surrounding this central spot was the pizza grill which was perfect to get a bite. In the central square area they had live music or spa associates offering complimentary 15 min massages. We did not do the massage because after they try and sell you on the other services and I knew I wouldn’t buy. I also was surprised that this area had ceramics that you could buy and paint. It was the perfect escape when you had been in the sun all morning and wanted something quite and casual to do. P.S. Did I agree with the other review that the pool water was HOT. Hotter than bath water for sure. Go in the ocean to cool off for sure! Also the “whales’ in the ocean were really gross. But you don’t really notice after a day and they don’t show up in your pictures either.

    #1252 jennib31

    jennib31
    • Newbie
    • 48 posts

      Posted 14 June 2010 - 03:48 PM

      •To further comment – there was always something to do and see at the resort. I loved that they had entertainment, painting, games, and nightly entertainment at 9pm at the gacamaya bar. This was another central meeting time for people after dinner to watch the live music or show and say goodnight. (we had breakfast at cocotel, pool meeting place and then the guacamaya stage for late night!) Also they had spider monkeys. A baby lion and lizards that would be taken around the beach and pool for photos with people. You could purchase these photos for $10 each and they were displayed near the pottery table at the La Isla Pool. One day they had a guy chopping coconuts at the beach and you could get a drink made in one! It wasn’t very tasty but made for a wonderful photo opp! I really appreciated all these “extras” from the resort. I didn’t have to worry about my guests being hungry, bored etc.
      •The concierges at the resort sit in little huts all around the resort outside the rooms buildings. I believe they were helpful but they were also trying to sell you. Just like all other resorts – they are trying to sell their type of timeshare. If you sit through their 2 hour presentation and tour they give you $100 resort credit. We didn’t do it but it is something to beware of if you walk in there. They are very friendly and it is just their job.
      •We used the shuttles around the resort A LOT! We felt lazy but sometimes it was just too hot!!!!

      Ok now to the wedding!
      •I had Valeria as my planner and Celina as my on-site planner. Based on other reviews I printed my contracts, some important emails and the final confirmation of everything. Celina just read through the document and I did have to explain some things. She did try and upsell me on some wedding d©cor but we didn’t buy anything extra. I also brought candles, photo frames and favors. I dropped it off during our meeting and everything was wonderfully set up at the wedding. I felt very pleased with Celina and gave her a tip after. She walked through the whole wedding with us and I was at ease.
      •The day of the wedding I went to the Casitas spa to get ready. I had my hair, makeup and nails done. The nails really needed it because my manicure before had badly peeled. It was just ok. But the hair was PERFECT and the makeup stayed all day and all night. It is worth the extra money!!! I also paid for my MOB and MOH and MIL to get their makeup. Everyone looked great. We did have the bridal suite which was nice but it could only fit me and one other person. The 2 other ladies were next store and I wished it could hold everyone. We brought our dresses and everything to this room and got dressed. Then Celina came to get me in her golf car and we were off. The casitas spa is very far away from gazebo 55 so thankfully we had this ride!!!
      •I had the guitar player for the ceremony. This was very nice however I didn’t hear anything because I was still at the spa or was too nervous once I got there! But I think it was a nice touch. I only did the white isle runner and white sheers with plain white chairs. That was really all we needed and it looked wonderful. Earlier in the week we saw some other weddings that were colorful and bright with a lot of flowers or used the chapel. All were stunning – for us though it wasn’t worth the extra money with the ocean backdrop.
      •The minister was wonderful and had 99% of the ceremony memorized. She even added some that was very meaningful. I wish I knew her name because she was GREAT! Again I had printed the ceremony words and readings so the planner would have the exact things I wanted said.
      •This one is important ****** IT WAS HOT AS HECK ****** The reason we did the first weekend in June was because it was the first week of hurricane season and it was much cheaper. I am very glad we did this because the resort was only 30% occupied and we got great service/attention. But it was HOT!!!! I was SWEATING so bad in my long dress and my poor guy (whom I made wear a full suit) was DIEING! Our date, June 5 was a high of 90 with humidity that put it over 100 degrees. I really recommend to wear something flowy, short and comfortable. AND PLEASE don’t make your man wear a suit! In some of my photos you can see the best man sweat right through his shirt and my poor guy had to take off the shirt when getting ready because it was so bad. As soon as the ceremony and photos were done we went back to the casita and changed into a sort cotton white dress and him a white shirt and kaki shorts. I was really miserable, sweaty and felt ugly – I wish I had gotten a short dress (sad face)

      #1253 jennib31

      jennib31
      • Newbie
      • 48 posts

        Posted 14 June 2010 - 03:48 PM

        •Then we went to Tucanes Bar for the cocktail reception and dinner. The resort had golf carts waiting for most guests after photos to take to the reception area. All the hors d’oeuvres are butler passed and everyone was offered drinks by the servers. When we got there – all sweaty and gross  - we had champagne and drinks ASAP! The Tucanes hut was a bit hot though as it did not have fans underneath. With all the bushes and plants there wasn’t much breeze. BUT because the Tucanes is right next to La Isle restuarnat and pool bar, the food was fresh and very tasty. I feel this was one of the best restaurants and everyone was surprised of the food quality. We had a salad with shrimp, and filet for dinner. The filet was tender and not tough at all – actually cooked perfect! Sometimes in banquets they use cheaper quality meat and soak in vinegar to make it tender but this was NOT the case. Then we went right to the cake for dessert. The cake was actually tasty too! We had chocolate and strawbeery. If I could do it again – I would order a MUCH smaller cake. I paid for the $300 one for all 30 people and it was WAY too big. I wanted it to look cool with the two tiers but it wasn’t that big a deal and I could have saved there. But I swear it was actually tasty!!!!
        •My dad gave the servers $40 to split and then they came out with the trays of shots and cocktails. We weren’t a big party group but that kicked off the night  I used my ipod and brought my own speakers – I was very glad for that. Their resort speakers were $250 and looked similar to mine! I did a mix of 1 hour of Spanish guitar, sanata and beach music and then some faster, fun songs for dinner. It was perfect and we were very happy. I had a big beach bag and all our junk in there that my mom kept. Around 10:30 we packed up and moved to JoJo’s bar and then to the guacamayas bar for the live music. AND THEN! The rege guy performing called me up on stage! Yikes! Lastly to end the night because me and my guy didn’t have the official first dance at the party – (he is NOT a dancing guy) at the guacamayas place the DJ called us up there and my friend requested our song – wow it was really cool!
        •Our photographer was “Moments that Matter”. Now if you asked me the day before the wedding I would have told you I spent too much. It was $2,000 for them (husband and wife team) and then $500 to the resort. But after I viewed the photos I see why it was worth it. The resort photographer is very nice and does a great job as I heard from the other bride but I was glad I had 2 people and 2 perspectives. If I had more money, I would have gotten another hour of their services. I highly recommend them as photog because my photos were ready as soon as I arrived back in Chicago. Their artist views were spot on and helped mold the emotion of the day – totally worth it 

        I think that is it! Again it was 100% the right place for us! It was nice not having a full resort – it wasn’t empty either though! We always had other brides and parties to chat with and met people from all over the world! Hubby did a fishing trip but other than that we stayed right on the resort and got our moneys worth!

        Here is a breakdown of our costs
        Dress and Suit - $800
        First class flights direct - $2,000 WORTH IT! (my guy is pretty big and I’m not tiny either!)
        Room at the hotel ½ in reg room ½ in casita - $3,300 (for a total of 7 nights)
        Free ceremony
        Ceremony upgrades of isle etc - $242
        Spanish guitarist - $500
        Flowers and spa treatments - $350
        Photog and fee - $2,500
        Cocktail reception private - $370 (30 ppl)
        Private 3 course dinner - $1,134 (30 ppl)
        Cake - $250

        $140 for his fishing trip
        $200 in tips

        Hope that helps! Please ask questions if I forgot anything – again friend me on facebook for candids! Here is my prof photog site. What do you think?!
        http://www.pictage.com/853954

        #1254 rpingree001

        rpingree001
        • Jr. Member
        • 264 posts

          Posted 14 June 2010 - 04:48 PM

          Quote:
          Originally Posted by jennib31
          •Then we went to Tucanes Bar for the cocktail reception and dinner. The resort had golf carts waiting for most guests after photos to take to the reception area. All the hors d’oeuvres are butler passed and everyone was offered drinks by the servers. When we got there – all sweaty and gross  - we had champagne and drinks ASAP! The Tucanes hut was a bit hot though as it did not have fans underneath. With all the bushes and plants there wasn’t much breeze. BUT because the Tucanes is right next to La Isle restuarnat and pool bar, the food was fresh and very tasty. I feel this was one of the best restaurants and everyone was surprised of the food quality. We had a salad with shrimp, and filet for dinner. The filet was tender and not tough at all – actually cooked perfect! Sometimes in banquets they use cheaper quality meat and soak in vinegar to make it tender but this was NOT the case. Then we went right to the cake for dessert. The cake was actually tasty too! We had chocolate and strawbeery. If I could do it again – I would order a MUCH smaller cake. I paid for the $300 one for all 30 people and it was WAY too big. I wanted it to look cool with the two tiers but it wasn’t that big a deal and I could have saved there. But I swear it was actually tasty!!!!
          •My dad gave the servers $40 to split and then they came out with the trays of shots and cocktails. We weren’t a big party group but that kicked off the night  I used my ipod and brought my own speakers – I was very glad for that. Their resort speakers were $250 and looked similar to mine! I did a mix of 1 hour of Spanish guitar, sanata and beach music and then some faster, fun songs for dinner. It was perfect and we were very happy. I had a big beach bag and all our junk in there that my mom kept. Around 10:30 we packed up and moved to JoJo’s bar and then to the guacamayas bar for the live music. AND THEN! The rege guy performing called me up on stage! Yikes! Lastly to end the night because me and my guy didn’t have the official first dance at the party – (he is NOT a dancing guy) at the guacamayas place the DJ called us up there and my friend requested our song – wow it was really cool!
          •Our photographer was “Moments that Matter”. Now if you asked me the day before the wedding I would have told you I spent too much. It was $2,000 for them (husband and wife team) and then $500 to the resort. But after I viewed the photos I see why it was worth it. The resort photographer is very nice and does a great job as I heard from the other bride but I was glad I had 2 people and 2 perspectives. If I had more money, I would have gotten another hour of their services. I highly recommend them as photog because my photos were ready as soon as I arrived back in Chicago. Their artist views were spot on and helped mold the emotion of the day – totally worth it 

          I think that is it! Again it was 100% the right place for us! It was nice not having a full resort – it wasn’t empty either though! We always had other brides and parties to chat with and met people from all over the world! Hubby did a fishing trip but other than that we stayed right on the resort and got our moneys worth!

          Here is a breakdown of our costs
          Dress and Suit - $800
          First class flights direct - $2,000 WORTH IT! (my guy is pretty big and I’m not tiny either!)
          Room at the hotel ½ in reg room ½ in casita - $3,300 (for a total of 7 nights)
          Free ceremony
          Ceremony upgrades of isle etc - $242
          Spanish guitarist - $500
          Flowers and spa treatments - $350
          Photog and fee - $2,500
          Cocktail reception private - $370 (30 ppl)
          Private 3 course dinner - $1,134 (30 ppl)
          Cake - $250

          $140 for his fishing trip
          $200 in tips

          Hope that helps! Please ask questions if I forgot anything – again friend me on facebook for candids! Here is my prof photog site. What do you think?!
          http://www.pictage.com/853954
          Thanks for the post! It sounds fantastic and that you had a beautiful wedding while also being smart with your costs. I so appreciate you posting your breakdown of costs as it helps give me a guide. You spent about what I am hoping to spend.

          I'll check out your pics but thanks for the great post!!

          #1255 cross

          cross
          • Jr. Member
          • 198 posts

            Posted 15 June 2010 - 02:14 PM

            Quote:
            Originally Posted by jennib31
            •Then we went to Tucanes Bar for the cocktail reception and dinner. The resort had golf carts waiting for most guests after photos to take to the reception area. All the hors d’oeuvres are butler passed and everyone was offered drinks by the servers. When we got there – all sweaty and gross  - we had champagne and drinks ASAP! The Tucanes hut was a bit hot though as it did not have fans underneath. With all the bushes and plants there wasn’t much breeze. BUT because the Tucanes is right next to La Isle restuarnat and pool bar, the food was fresh and very tasty. I feel this was one of the best restaurants and everyone was surprised of the food quality. We had a salad with shrimp, and filet for dinner. The filet was tender and not tough at all – actually cooked perfect! Sometimes in banquets they use cheaper quality meat and soak in vinegar to make it tender but this was NOT the case. Then we went right to the cake for dessert. The cake was actually tasty too! We had chocolate and strawbeery. If I could do it again – I would order a MUCH smaller cake. I paid for the $300 one for all 30 people and it was WAY too big. I wanted it to look cool with the two tiers but it wasn’t that big a deal and I could have saved there. But I swear it was actually tasty!!!!
            •My dad gave the servers $40 to split and then they came out with the trays of shots and cocktails. We weren’t a big party group but that kicked off the night  I used my ipod and brought my own speakers – I was very glad for that. Their resort speakers were $250 and looked similar to mine! I did a mix of 1 hour of Spanish guitar, sanata and beach music and then some faster, fun songs for dinner. It was perfect and we were very happy. I had a big beach bag and all our junk in there that my mom kept. Around 10:30 we packed up and moved to JoJo’s bar and then to the guacamayas bar for the live music. AND THEN! The rege guy performing called me up on stage! Yikes! Lastly to end the night because me and my guy didn’t have the official first dance at the party – (he is NOT a dancing guy) at the guacamayas place the DJ called us up there and my friend requested our song – wow it was really cool!
            •Our photographer was “Moments that Matter”. Now if you asked me the day before the wedding I would have told you I spent too much. It was $2,000 for them (husband and wife team) and then $500 to the resort. But after I viewed the photos I see why it was worth it. The resort photographer is very nice and does a great job as I heard from the other bride but I was glad I had 2 people and 2 perspectives. If I had more money, I would have gotten another hour of their services. I highly recommend them as photog because my photos were ready as soon as I arrived back in Chicago. Their artist views were spot on and helped mold the emotion of the day – totally worth it 

            I think that is it! Again it was 100% the right place for us! It was nice not having a full resort – it wasn’t empty either though! We always had other brides and parties to chat with and met people from all over the world! Hubby did a fishing trip but other than that we stayed right on the resort and got our moneys worth!

            Here is a breakdown of our costs
            Dress and Suit - $800
            First class flights direct - $2,000 WORTH IT! (my guy is pretty big and I’m not tiny either!)
            Room at the hotel ½ in reg room ½ in casita - $3,300 (for a total of 7 nights)
            Free ceremony
            Ceremony upgrades of isle etc - $242
            Spanish guitarist - $500
            Flowers and spa treatments - $350
            Photog and fee - $2,500
            Cocktail reception private - $370 (30 ppl)
            Private 3 course dinner - $1,134 (30 ppl)
            Cake - $250

            $140 for his fishing trip
            $200 in tips

            Hope that helps! Please ask questions if I forgot anything – again friend me on facebook for candids! Here is my prof photog site. What do you think?!
            http://www.pictage.com/853954

            I tired to view your pics and it says they are not available yet. Am I doing something wrong?

            #1256 punkie569

            punkie569
            • Jr. Member
            • 255 posts

              Posted 15 June 2010 - 04:43 PM

              Quote:
              Originally Posted by cross
              I tired to view your pics and it says they are not available yet. Am I doing something wrong?
              I got the same message. Bummer! But I did see the pics on facebook and I was really impressed. Can't wait to see more!

              Jennifer did they have the ceramic painting all the time or just certain days? I did something similar before and I loved it. I'd like to be able to tell our guests about this if you had more info. Thanks!
              Two lives, two hearts joined together in friendship united forever in love

              #1257 jennib31

              jennib31
              • Newbie
              • 48 posts

                Posted 15 June 2010 - 04:57 PM

                Yes the painting was everyday and the guy got there at about 10:30am. It was really nice and even if your not artistic they turned out great!

                The photos are giving me trouble too.... thats the only link I have though. ..:: Pictage | Registration ::..

                Heres another link copied and pasted!

                #1258 BagLover21

                BagLover21
                • Newbie
                • 74 posts

                  Posted 15 June 2010 - 10:19 PM

                  Jennifer,

                  Thanks so much for the awesome review!!! What time was your wedding?
                  http://i732.photobuc..../Picture21.png

                  Born: Jasmin Mia Allen on November 21, 1979
                  Married: Jasmin Mia Hodge on August 7, 2010
                  El Dorado Royale ResortRiviera Maya, Mexico
                  www.mywedding.com/jasminanddarius2010

                  #1259 rpingree001

                  rpingree001
                  • Jr. Member
                  • 264 posts

                    Posted 15 June 2010 - 10:37 PM

                    I saw in your review that you received a free ceremony. What were the requirements to get the free ceremony? Was it just staying in an upgraded room for 7 nights or what?

                    I'm trying to get mine booked and they are requiring 7 nights in a casita to get the free ceremony so just curious if this is a new requirement or what.

                    Thanks!

                    #1260 jennib31

                    jennib31
                    • Newbie
                    • 48 posts

                      Posted 16 June 2010 - 10:06 AM

                      We had the ceremony at 5pm. The other great thing about the slow season is we were the only wedding that day - normal days in peak season have 4-9 weddings per day!!!

                      We did the free ceremony and were 'supposed' to have the 7 nights in casita. I negotiated that becuase we have the 30 person private reception and dinner. I also got 15% off the food and beverage costs becuase we booked 15 rooms.




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