My husband and I got back from our wedding just over a week ago and we are already ready to go back. We were there for 7 nights and had a total of 39 people. The day of our wedding was the ONLY day it rained, go figure, so we had to move our wedding from the gazebo to the church. The church was still nice, however it was a little chaotic since they made the move from the gazebo to the church just an hour prior. I realized I had our wedding music at 2:40pm...our wedding was at 3:00pm. They ended up sending someone to get it but I don't think the first part of the guest seatings had our music. Someone came to take the bridesmaids to the chapel in a golf cart and then came back for my mom, the MOH and me shortly after. As soon as we got to the chapel they started sending the wedding party down the aisle and wouldn't let my mom in to sit down. She had to stand outside with the door shut as I walked down the aisle. As soon as I was up there they let her in to sit down. This was the only part I was upset about. Everything else ended up working out as planned. The sun came out, we got some great photos and our reception was amazing. If anyone else has rain on their wedding day, don't worry. That is the best sky for photos.
I paid extra to have the hair trial. I really liked my hair at the trial so I wasn't nervous about the actual wedding day two days later. When I arrived at the salon on wedding day the hair dresser acted like she had never seen me before and was asking me questions on what I was wanting my hair to look like...a little frustrating considering she did it two days prior. I showed her my previous photos and it didn't end up turning out like it did the first time. I really liked one of my bridesmaids hair so I gave her hairdresser an extra tip to fix mine after my hairdresser left. If I had to do it differently I would have left my hair all down and curly. It was still alright though. The wedding party's hair turned out great! Overall I was pleased with their services. We did opt out of makeup and decided to do our own, so I'm not sure how that service was. **I did buy one of the flowers to put in my hair and it turned out great! It lasted all night long, even after jumping in the pool.
*Tip: If you are doing makeup in the room after you do your hair at the salon, make sure to schedule a bunch of food/drinks to be delivered at a set time for the bridal party. They don't do this for you. We ordered quesadillas, chicken tacos, fruit and cheese platters, etc. I also ordered a few of the baker's baskets for early in the morning when the girls arrived so they could snack before we walked to the salon.
Our food was great. Out of all of the resorts I have been to in Mexico, this was by far my favorite. We did the filet and chicken option at the wedding and both were great! For the cake we just got the smallest option since dessert was served with the meal. We did the funfetti cake and had compliments on that as well. Our rehearsal dinner was at El Cocotal and turned out great too!
DJ: We went with DJ All Music and added on an extra hour. There were two guys working and they both did a great job.
PHOTOGRAPHY: Sarani. Love her. She is amazing, makes you feel comfortable and is hilarious. I cannot wait to see our photos! We had her for 6 hours and she had two assistants with her. I wish we would have had her longer so we could have gotten shots of us all jumping in the pool after the reception though.
TIPPING: As far as tipping goes, we ended up doing the following:
Off-site coordinator: $100 (Martha Pech-love her!)
On-site coordinator: $100 (Erin- she was awesome!)
Hairdressers: I paid for all the girls hair and tipped each hair dresser $30.
Servers (4): $20 each (our guests also tipped some servers and the bartender too)
Sarani's Assistants: $20 each
Golf-cart drivers: $5 each
COCKTAIL HOUR: We ended up getting the donkey bar. This was awesome and I highly recommend it. We got some great shots with Philemon the donkey. We had it set up to have at the gazebo where we were supposed to get married but since it rained earlier in the day we had it moved to the Tucanes Bar.
RECEPTION: We had our reception at Tucanes Bar. This area was great, right by the pool, absolutely gorgeous. We didn't have any decorations other than the bridesmaid bouquets at each table and the hanging flowers that we had at the ceremony on the head table. I would have liked to have the white Christmas lights but they are so expensive. It was still beautiful though.
GUEST GIFTS: We had maracas that said Mexico on them placed on the pews at the wedding for people to shake when we kiss. We also got koozies for everyone and had them in a basket on the guestbook table.
If you are the adventurous type I recommend going to Xplor Fuego (the nighttime one). It is about 20 minutes away from the resort and so much fun! You go zip lining, swimming and rafting in underwater caves and drive buggies through the jungle. We bought our tickets online before we went. www.xplor.travel/ They have a nighttime and a daytime excursion. We did the nighttime excursion on a Monday and pretty much had the whole place to ourselves. It was a blast! We also did the camel rides which was fun too.
ROOMS: We got the Swim-Up Casita and LOVED it. The Casita side is a little further away but it was nice because we had our own pool and bartender so our guests just came over to our area with us a few of the days.
Make sure you tell the parents of the bride and groom as well as the wedding party to tell the front desk that they are related to you/in the wedding/etc. They upgraded about 6 of our guests to the Casita side and a few of our other guests to swim-up rooms on El Dorado Royale side.
I'm sure I will think of more stuff to add later on, but if anyone has any questions, feel free to ask on here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! I will be sure to post my pictures once I get them back from Sarani! Does anyone know how long it takes? 1-2 months? I'm so anxious.