Dreams Cabo Wedding Review - May 2010
Posted 23 May 2010 - 02:32 AM
The Dreams Resort: A-
Cost: $175 pp per night including all taxes
Grounds & Rooms: This was our 2nd trip to Cabo and last time we stayed at Riu Palace. We did not do a site visit to Dreams but were trilled when we arrived and the resort was so beautiful. The grounds were well kept and the rooms were great. They were large and updated and most of them had a great view (some rooms have a view of the quiet pool but also the empty lot next to Dreams and the highway so definitely request a room on a higher floor that does not face this direction.) We received the free upgrade to the honeymoon suite. The only difference between this room and the regular rooms is the addition of a separate living room/dining room as well as an additional patio off the bedroom. The bathrooms and bedrooms are the same size as the regular rooms. The rooms at Dreams were nicer than those at Riu.
Food: There are 5 restaurants on site plus a caf© with coffee and pastries. They are not all open for each meal. Most days 2 were open for breakfast, 2 for lunch and 3-5 for dinner. There was also pool service for lunch on most days. The food is quite good but I wouldnâ€™t put it in the â€œgreatâ€ category. It think the quality is in line with other all inclusives. All of the drinks were good. Breakfast and lunch is definitely their strong point. I thought that the dinners and desserts were their biggest weaknesses. Compared to Riu the food is less abundant and the buffets are much smaller (bonus, I gained a lot less weight this time!) The breakfast and lunch at Dreams seemed to be of a little higher quality than Riu but I like the dinners and desserts at Riu better. Room service was always good and of course there were some standout dishes that were always fantastic (tortilla soup, seared yellow fin tuna, mahi mahi ceviche, tempura sushi rolls, chips and salsas, omelette bar, crab cakes, thai shrimp rolls, fajitas, calamari, chili chilaquiles, etc.)
Pool: There are 2 pools. The main pool has the infinity pool, slide, hot tub, a swim up bar and a large shallow ledge where you can sit. The quiet pool is smaller but also has a swim up bar and hot tub. Both pools have lots of mats you can float on. We LOVED the pools here and spent most of our days in them. We liked them better than the pools at Riu.
Service: Overall the service was great but we found the restaurant servers, cocktail servers and bartenders to be a little unfriendly. It took a really long time to get drinks or food at the pool and swim up bars and sometimes the service was a little slow at dinner. The rest of the staff was great (bell boys, front desk, spa, entertainment team, maids, room service, mini bar restocking etc.) Overall, the service was better at Riu though.
Entertainment: The entertainment team did a nice job of keeping everyone busy. We played water and sand volley ball, finger painted, carved fruit, made guacamole etc. They had a bungee for kids as well as nightly movies on the beach or by the pools. Members of our group also participated in mini golf, archery, bocce ball and croquet. The evening entertainment varied throughout the week. There was a beach band with fire dancers, brazillian dancing, Mexican fiesta night, Casino night and International night. The entertainment was, well, entertaining. It was pretty comparable to Riu Palace except at Riu they had a big stage with lots of cocktail tables so it was more of a lounge feel. At Dreams the location of the entertainment changed every night.
Check In/Check Out: Our check in ran really smooth and we were greeted with a cold towel and champagne. Check in was smooth for everyone in our room block. However, I should warn you that if you have anyone in your group who didnâ€™t book through your room block they could run into the same problem as our friends. We had one couple not go through the room block and when they checked in they were told that there was no room for them at the resort and that they would have to be moved to their sister resort down the street. According to Mariana, Dreams randomly selects guests for this who have booked through third party websites such as Expedia, Orbtiz etc. Luckily we were there when they checked in and were able to call Mariana who took care of it. Had we not been there though, there would have been nothing they could do. Our check out took nearly an hour because our wedding bill was wrong. Make sure you look at your bill carefully and convert it into us dollars to make sure the charges are what you expected. Mariana was able to come out and help us fix it but had we been running late to the airport we would have been in trouble so give yourself some extra time.
Spa: I had a facial ($120) a manicure ($45) a pedicure ($65) and a massage ($135) at the spa. Thankfully we had a discount and some hotel credits so I didnâ€™t pay full price for these treatments. The spa facilities were very nice but the services were only ok. The facial was good but not great (hardly any massage during the full hour). My manicure and pedicure looked good but were not very relaxing. I didnâ€™t even get a foot massage during my pedicure. Also, they have a very limited nail polish selection so Iâ€™d bring your own if youâ€™re picky. The massage was good but I only spent $95 on it. Had I spent full price I wouldnâ€™t have been happy. I had 3 friends get massages and 1 get a body scrub. They were all happy with their services but also used the vouchers.
Mariana â€“ wedding coordinator at Dreams: A
Cost: Free with Dreams basic package
Mariana was fantastic. She is very organized and smart. We met the day after we arrived and I gave her all of my stuff in suitcases and we went over all of the details. I had a panic attack when this huge convention moved in the day before our wedding and she did a great job of assuring me that my wedding would not be affected. She also scheduled the pressing of my gown and his suit. They both turned out perfectly. She can take a little long to return e-mails but sheâ€™s really busy. Donâ€™t worry, you havenâ€™t fallen off the radar.
Florenta Flowers: B+
Cost: $1200 (1 bouquet, 1 toss bouquet, 6 boutonneires, 3 corsages, 6 bridesmaids bouquets, 5 centerpieces, rose petals for ceremony and reception, 8 empty vases for bouquets, 1 hair flower and cake flowers)
I worked with Lola and Rosio at Florenta Flowers. Overall I found them easy to work with and willing to work within our budget. Our flowers looked fantastic but I had to give a lower grade because they werenâ€™t exactly what I ordered. I was supposed to have light pink orchids in my bouquet and they were purple. My centerpieces were supposed to be all hot pink roses and they were varying shades of pink roses. My other centerpieces were supposed to be densely packed orange lilies with no greenery and they had lots of greenery in them. Again, donâ€™t get me wrong, all of the flowers were beautiful and no one knew they werenâ€™t exactly what I ordered, but it still bugged me a little. If you go through Florenta and you get married a Dreams you will get a small credit towards your bouquet and grooms boutonni¨re so make sure you ask for it.
Gilda Badillo â€“ Photography: A
Cost: $2100 (6 hours of photography plus all of the pics on CD with copyrights)
I havenâ€™t seen her pictures yet so Iâ€™m just grading on how it was to work with her. She was fantastic! We met a couple of days before the wedding and she told us where to be and when so she could get the pictures she needed. She showed up on time with 2 assistants and started working right away. She was very responsive to my direction as well when I really wanted a particular shot. Everyone in our group thought she was a riot. Plus, she and her assistants are really sneaky! We never saw or heard them taking pictures. I would highly recommend her but as I said, I havenâ€™t seen the pics yet. She said they would take about 4 weeks.
Rev. Marco â€“ Officiate: B+
Cost: Free with Dreams basic package
Rev. Marco was really nice and easy to communicate with through e-mail. Overall he did a great job on the ceremony and came prepared with all of my notes. He was easy to understand and added some humor to the ceremony as well. I had to give him a little lower grade though for 2 reasons. First, he barely showed up before the ceremony started which gave my fianc©e a little bit of a panic attack. I didnâ€™t even know of course but Scott was worried. A nice 15 minute buffer would have been appreciated. Also, when we originally spoke, he said that he would read my script exactly as I had written it except for a part at the end where he would give us his own message. However, he added more things than this to the script. Some of them I was fine with, like his intro. and a special tribute that he had us pay to our parents. However, he asked â€œwho gives this woman awayâ€ when I had specifically left that out because I think itâ€™s archaic. It caught both me and my Dad off guard. He also added â€œwith this ring, I thee wedâ€ to our ring exchange when we had only wanted it to say â€œwith this ring I pledge to you my unconditional loveâ€. Again, it was an intentional omission on my part and adding it back in was not what I wanted and it caught us off guard. I would recommend him but if you are very picky about your ceremony script maybe discuss this with him ahead of time.
D.J. Mijares: A+
Cost: $1250 (music and sound during ceremony, guitar and singing at cocktail hour, music during reception)
D.J. Mijares was amazing! Everything about the music was perfect. All of our ceremony music was timed perfectly and he is really talented at the guitar and singing which we had him do during cocktail hour. He played all of the songs we wanted him to and also did a great job as MC throughout the evening. We met a couple of days before the ceremony and he even suggested some songs for specific parts that we hadnâ€™t thought about like our entrance and exit songs. He brought an assistant with him to help him set up all the equipment at the different locations. We e-mailed him our ceremony music files ahead of time. He also sends you his list of songs so we went through and noted the ones we really wanted played. I would highly recommend him.
Suzanne Morel: A+
Cost: $240 for my hair and makeup
My hair and makeup turned out better than I could have imagined! 2 girls showed up in my hotel room right on time and set up in my living room. One girl was the hair and makeup artist and the other was a translator which was so appreciated! I showed her a picture of how I wanted my hair and makeup and I kid you not, 2 hours later she was done and it looked perfect. She didnâ€™t mess up, didnâ€™t have to start over, nothing went wrong. It went so smooth and everyone commented on the way both my hair and makeup looked. If youâ€™re thinking itâ€™s not worth the money, it is. It made such a difference in how beautiful and confident I felt that day.
Percussion Limanya â€“ fire dancers: A
Cost: $400 for 2 dancers with recorded music for 15 minutes
These guys were awesome! I really wanted to do fire dancers but couldnâ€™t afford Lunas De Fuego. I found these guys and although they didnâ€™t have my exact package as an offering I asked if they could do the 2 dancers to recorded music for $400 and they said yes. They sent 1 female and 1 male dancer who were both excellent. They had a large variety of instruments and everyone loved them. This was definitely worth the money and added a really memorable element to the evening.
Sweet Dreams â€“ Cake: A
Cost: $385 for a 2 tiered cake (10â€ and 8â€)
I worked with Deena at Sweet Dreams and she was fantastic. Sometimes she takes a little long to respond to e-mails but itâ€™s fine because all that really mattered to me was how my cake turned out and she certainly delivered! My cake looked exactly like the picture I gave her and tasted delicious. My bottom tier was lemon cake filled with lemon curd and fresh berries. My top tier was coconut cake filled with whipped cream and fresh pineapple. The entire cake was frosted in vanilla buttercream (which looked just as smooth as fondant) and tasted delicious! Since my cake was not very big I was concerned that it would look to small on the cake table. I asked her to make sure that my tiers were tall and My God those tiers were like 10 inches tall! It looked so cool and looked like a good sized cake. I have no idea how the staff cut it but they did. Plus, we were able to order the cake through room service or the restaurants all day the next day which was a nice bonus since we didnâ€™t eat it all at the reception. We had a free cake from Dreams that was included with our package so we ordered a small Groomâ€™s cake. It was not nearly as good as Deenaâ€™s. If you care about the way your cake looks and tastes go outside of the resort. I would definitely recommend Sweet Dreams.
Baja Video â€“ Videographer: A
Cost: $300 for 2 hours of raw footage
Baja Video Productions Cabo San Lucas Wedding Video Services, romantic destination wedding videos in the los cabos area, Cabo San Lucas, San Jose Mexico
The videographer arrived on time and took raw footage starting half an hour before our ceremony through the end of the cocktail reception. We wanted to edit it ourselves and save some money. He hid a wireless mic on Scott and Rev. Marco during the ceremony and it all came out crystal clear on the video.
Ceremony & cocktail hour: A
Cost: $29 per person
We had our ceremony at the Gazebo and our cocktail reception at El Patio and it was beautiful. I was worried about El Patio being open and us having onlookers but we didnâ€™t at all. The staff had sectioned off an area for our event so no one was over there but us. We did the silver tiffany chairs and I had brought white fans to be laid out on the chairs and they were (everyone used these during the ceremony and reception by the way. Definitely worth it.) Mariana was also nice enough to bring over some of my centerpieces from the reception since I hadnâ€™t ordered any flowers for the ceremony. I did order rose petals for the walkway and they were sprinkled down right as the ceremony started so they didnâ€™t blow away. I also asked Mariana to set up a table in the gazebo for our sand ceremony and she did and it was perfect. The sound system that the DJ provided worked great. Mariana had the wedding party enter behind Himitsu and then instructed everyone when to walk. It was perfect because we were all hidden until we walked out. After the recessional the staff was waiting with champagne for everyone which was a surprise and greatly appreciated!
Cocktail hour was great as well. We got to try most things and everything was good. They had the appetizers set up stationary with some tables and chairs around for people to sit at. We ordered chips and salsa with guacamole, cheese with grapes and nuts, beef tostadas, shrimp ceviche, chicken and cheese turnovers, beef brochettes, chile poppers and the vole au vent with sea food.
Cost: $29 pp, $200 for lanterns, $8 pp for tiffany chairs, $3 pp for sparklers
We had our reception at the quiet pool (Oceana Terrace). We were so glad we did it here and not at the main pool near the beach. It was so private and we only saw a couple other people walk by the entire night. Plus, there is a large ledge in the pool where the water is only about 6 inches deep and people danced in there all night. It was an unexpected bonus! The tables were set up exactly how I asked as was the cake table and the sign in table. The lanterns were hung as requested and the bar was set up to the side. The entire set up was perfect (centerpieces, candles, favors, menu, tiffany chairs, etc.) Dinner was served promptly as we sat down. We did the basic menu with the following: crab cake, mixed greens salad with cherry tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, beef filet with mashed potatoes and vegetables, chocolate mousse. The crab cake was to die for! I dare say it was the best part of the meal. The salad was salad. Nothing special but tasted good. The main entr©e was hit and miss. Some people commented that cutting through their steak was â€œlike butterâ€ because it was so tender. Other people said theirs was tough. Some peoples were cooked medium rare. Others were cooked medium to medium well. I ordered the chocolate mousse based on the reviews on this site, however, I didnâ€™t think it was spectacular. It seemed a little like cafeteria food to me for some reason. I think because itâ€™s served in a little square cut out from a pan. My husband had ordered the strawberry tulip with gran marnier because he doesnâ€™t like chocolate and his was much better! I wish I had ordered that for everyone. Only 3 things went wrong during the reception. First, I had ordered chicken nuggets and fries for the 2 kids at the reception and they were served the adult food. By the time I noticed it was halfway through entrees so it was too late to say anything. Second, they brought out the wrong wedding cake. I have no idea whose wedding cake I had or who had mine but they corrected it in about 15 minutes. Third, they were supposed to bring out champagne with dessert so we could start toasting. I had Scott ask them twice and both times they said ok but it never came. By the end of dessert there was still no champagne so we just toasted without it. This was a bummer because this put us about 15 minutes behind which cut 15 minutes out of our dancing time. Plus, whatâ€™s a toast without something to toast with? The only other weird thing was that any time you would leave your spot at the table to go dance, the servers would take your drink and cake. Seriously, I would go back to get a drink of water or bite of cake and it was gone! And it wasnâ€™t just me, it was everyone. Multiple people commented that they only got to have a bite or 2 of their cake before it was taken. After the toasts we danced, cut the cake, tossed the bouquet and garter and had the fire dancers. For our exit we had purchased sparklers from Dreams ($3 each). They passed them out during the last song and had everyone light them on the tiki torches. Everyone formed a tunnel and we ran through it. It was so fun and definitely worth the $100. The sparklers were big too so they lasted a long time. Even though there were a couple of mistakes during the wedding they were not disruptive enough to ruin what was an otherwise perfect day. We truly believe we had the most amazing wedding!
Vacations for Less - Travel Agent: A
I originally contacted Tammy from this forum to be my travel agent and she referred me to Teresa Stauring at Vacations for Less. I found Teresa to be very easy to work with and she took good care of all of my guests and our room block. We had a 10 room block (which is the minimum). We had booked 11 rooms until about 2 months before the wedding when 3 rooms had to back out of the block. Teresa was able to convince Dreams to allow us to keep our block at only 8 rooms without any penalties. She was also able to secure $200 in resort vouchers for all of my guests. I also contacted her when my friends had trouble with their check in and she immediately wrote an e-mail to the resort making sure it didnâ€™t happen to any of our other guests. I was very happy with how this worked out and would definitely recommend using a travel agent (Tammy or Teresa) if youâ€™re doing a room block. It gives you â€œsomeone in your cornerâ€ if anything goes wrong at the resort.
Epic Transportation: A-
Cost: $17 pp each way to and from airport
We booked our airport transportation through our travel agent and she used Epic. They were on time and professional, however, I thought they were a little overpriced. Most other shared shuttles cost around $12. Plus, when they pick you up to go to the airport they pick you up way too early. They picked us up 3 hours before our flight was supposed to leave and itâ€™s a 20 minute drive to the airport! We waited after we got through security for nearly 2 hours before our flight left. I know they just donâ€™t want to be responsible for someone missing their flight but I would have much rather taken a cab and had 2 more hours of pool time!
Sun Rider â€“ Sunset Cruise: A+
Cost: $1,650 for a private charter for 32 people
We used Sun Rider for our welcome dinner the night before the wedding and they were fantastic! The boat was a private charter with a lower and upper deck as well as a bow. The cruise left at 5:30 and arrived back around 8:00. It was open bar and all of the drinks were really good. They had bathrooms on the boat as well. Of the 32 people on the boat only 4 got sick which we thought was pretty good. FYI, you get less sick if you stay on the top deck. They cruise out past lovers beach and the sea lion colony and then around to the pacific side. They come back around and cruise around the bay until sun set. They played really fun music and everyone danced. Around 6:30 they served dinner and it was literally one of the best meals we had on our entire trip! They have a grill and buffet set up right on the boat where they cook everything. Dinner was chips and salsa/guacamole, steamed vegetables, Mexican rice, refried beans, corn tortillas and chicken/steak skewers. At about 7:30 they surprised us by giving me and Scott dorky bride and groom hats and having us dance in front of everyone. They then performed a dance they had choreographed and it was hysterical. They then pulled the crowd in and had everyone dance with them. Everyone on the boat was in fits laughing. It was such a great end to an already fun evening.
Cabo Outfitters â€“ Kayak & Snorkel trip to Cabo Pulmo: A+
Cost: $125 per person including transportation, gear and lunch
Scott and I took this trip the day after everyone left for some alone time. It was by far the coolest thing Iâ€™ve done in both my trips to Cabo. Cabo Pulmo is a marine reserve about 2 hours drive north east of Cabo. Our 2 guides (Casey the owner and Carlos) were amazing! They were so knowledgeable about the area and so funny. Plus, we were the only ones who had booked that day so we got a private tour by default. You snorkel at 2 different bays and then visit a sea lion colony where we were able to jump out of our kayaks and snorkel with them. It was incredible! There were 4 or 5 sea lions swimming all around and under us. Had we not been with such experienced guides, we wouldnâ€™t have known how to get the sea lions in the water and how to safely swim with them and keep the kayaks in tow. The snorkeling at the other 2 bays was also great. The visibility was good and the waters were calm. The fish were in abundance and we got to hold living starfish which Carlos dove down and got for us. After we arrived at the last beach Carlos had set up chairs, a blanket and an umbrella for us to relax on. It was a nice unexpected surprise! Lunch afterwards was yummy fish tacos at a beach restaurant. The owners of Cabo Outfitters, Casey and Stacey, used to be part owners in Baja Wild and then broke off and started Cabo Outfitters. These guys do other tours as well and I would definitely recommend them.
What I would do differently
â€¢I would have had our photographer come an hour earlier just to take bridal photos. Since I didnâ€™t have bridals done at home or anything I thought I would be able to squeeze in shots of me during the day but it was so busy with family, bridal party and couple photos that I didnâ€™t get very many of just me.
â€¢I would have the photographer stay until the end of the reception. I had her leave half an hour early to save money but I wish we had professional photos of the sparklers and our exit.
â€¢I would either have the videographer stay until the end or have a friend video tape the reception. Our viedographer only stayed until the end of cocktail hour and in retrospect I really wish I had the toasts, our first dance, the cake cutting, the bouquet and garter toss and the fire dancers on video. To save money, I could have just asked a friend to video tape it. Just something.
â€¢Not done the out of town bags. We loved the way that our out of town bags turned out but I wish I hadnâ€™t done them. They cost $400 and took a TON of time to put together. They also took up an entire suitcase that we had to lug down there and pay to check. Plus, they were difficult to get to everyone. We gave ours to Mariana but the hotel still took nearly 2 days to get them all distributed. Then we had to carry them to the welcome dinner to give to the people who werenâ€™t staying at Dreams. Overall, it just wasnâ€™t worth it. Some people commented on them but others didnâ€™t say anything. I would have rather spent that money on extra photography or videography time.
Well this is the end of my very long review. I hope it was helpful and please let me know if you have any specific questions. Happy planning!
Posted 23 May 2010 - 09:26 AM
Posted 23 May 2010 - 10:46 AM
Posted 23 May 2010 - 11:17 AM
Posted 23 May 2010 - 05:09 PM
Posted 23 May 2010 - 11:45 PM
Posted 25 May 2010 - 06:03 PM
| Originally Posted by Alex Teas |
Cost: $29 pp, $200 for lanterns, $8 pp for tiffany chairs, $3 pp for sparklers
The only other weird thing was that any time you would leave your spot at the table to go dance, the servers would take your drink and cake. Seriously, I would go back to get a drink of water or bite of cake and it was gone! And it wasnâ€™t just me, it was everyone. Multiple people commented that they only got to have a bite or 2 of their cake before it was taken.
Posted 26 May 2010 - 11:33 AM
There are LOTS of photos on there from our entire vacation and I know that most of them won't be of interest to you all but hopefully you can scan through and find the wedding ones.
I'll post the link to the pro pics. once we get it.
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