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Riu Palace Wedding Review - May 2010


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#1 mitzy7

mitzy7
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    Posted 23 May 2010 - 05:59 PM

    Since this website was so helpful to me in my planning, I wanted to give my feedback on my wedding experience at the Riu Palace in hopes to help future brides.
    I warn you in advance that this may be long, but I will use sub headings so hopefully you can skim through for what areas you are interested. Here we go!

    Customs
    Please read this if you are thinking of bringing welcome bags for your guests. We brought all the components to make up our welcome bags in one suitcase and of course got search. They can tell right away when they x-ray your bags if you are bringing in goods, so it may cause a red flag. BRING YOUR RECEPITS!! Thankfully I read on this website from another bride to bring my receipts and they let us go through. They told us they wouldn’t have let us bring in our goods if we didn’t have them. You are allowed $300 per person that you are travelling with.

    The Resort
    I am so happy we were there in May. The Palace was only 1/3 full so we had the run of place. Always room by the pool, we could get into any of the a la cart restaurants whenever we wanted and the service was fantastic. I swear they cleaned our rooms twice a day. And someone was always calling you from the front desk to make sure everything was ok, or to see if there was anything else you needed. I have been to numerous all-inclusive resorts before, but have never received the attention and service like we did at this resort.

    Wedding Coordinator
    So I originally started my correspondence with Daniella, who if you don’t know, has been promoted to work at another resort. I then started to receive emails from a new coordinator named Karla, who always took forever to get back to me (and for the record I never met). Then I received a new contact by the name of Monse a few weeks before my wedding. All I can say is she was fabulous. She took care of everything we needed and even went above and beyond. We had our private reception at the steakhouse terrace and she even cleared all the chairs from the beach so we could have a dance on the sand if we wanted too. We had our first dance in the sand and it was so beautiful. As long as you have your reception booked, the rest of the details can be done closer to your wedding date, so no need to stress!

    Wedding Location
    We had our wedding at the San Jose Gazebo. If you are going to get married at one of the gazebos, this is definitely the one to choose. The other one is exactly the same, but located right next to the pool and swim up bar of the Sante Fe resort (which is busy). The San Jose gazebo is way more private and at the other end of the resort. Really the only on-lookers you will have over there are maybe a few people in their rooms. The beach is nice as well for a ceremony, but I guarantee that you will have numerous on-lookers. The set up was right in front of the infinity pool, so there was at least 50-100 people watching each beach wedding. Another thing to note is the sand on the beach is not the soft white sand. It has more of grit to it. So remember your guests will have to walk across the sand to get to their chairs. But I am sure the photos would be beautiful from this location.

    Ceremony Time
    We got married at 6pm, which was perfect! All over guests were very thankful that we didn’t get married sooner, as it is very hot. We saw a wedding at 2pm and 4pm, and you could see how much everyone was sweating. Especially if your poor groom is in a suit! We still had tons of time for pics, as the sun didn’t set until around 7:30. And our reception started at 8pm. The only downfall of having a later reception is that the restaurants all close at 11pm. So if you were getting married at 4pm, you could start your reception at like 6 till 11pm. But honestly, we had more than enough time for everyone to eat, speeches, cake cutting, a first dance, and bridal party dance. At 11pm, we moved the party up to the lobby bar, which over looked the ocean. I think our guests welcomed the change in scenery.

    Hair & Make Up
    I went off the resort to get my hair and makeup done, as I had heard mixed reviews about the resort spa. I went to Suzanne Morel, which is no more than a 5 minute cab ride away. They were fantastic there. I absolutely loved both my hair and makeup. I have pin straight hair, so it is hard for people to get my hair to do anything. They did such an incredible job and are very professional there. They will not let you leave the spa until you are 100% satisfied with everything. They may cost a little more than the resort, but honestly it is worth the extra money to ensure you love your hair and makeup. I would highly recommend them!

    Sound System
    I know I was very nervous how the music would work if I was brining my own iPod or CD. They will have a sound technician there for you to fade in and out your songs that you walk down the aisle too. The groomsmen, bridesmaids and I all had different songs and he blended them flawlessly. I also had a sand ceremony and brought a song for that as well. I just made a play list of the songs for the ceremony and he followed it. They will also set up a sound system for your reception. They will give you full control of the system so you can play whatever you like, whenever you like. We just put one of the groomsmen in charge of music and everything was great. They also will give you a wireless mic for speeches.

    Flowers
    All I can say is that they were beautiful. I had a mixture of calla lillies and roses. I didn’t see a single bride the entire week I was there that didn’t have beautiful flowers. The flowers they use on your gazebo for your ceremony will also be used at your reception.

    Wedding Cake
    I didn’t get the fondant icing, so of course the cake didn’t look as pretty as a traditional cake. But what is was lacking in looks, it sure made up for in taste. Everyone was talking about the cake. I was very pleasantly surprised how good it was. We added fresh flowers on ours to match our ceremony flowers, which was a nice touch.

    Food
    The food at the Palace was much better than most all inclusive resorts. My fav restaurant at the Palace was the Japanese. It was fantastic. Our reception dinner at the steakhouse was great as well. I think my least fav was the Mexican, which I am kind of shocked about since so many people have raved about it on here. Maybe I just went on an off night. But it does have the most stunning view of all the restaurants. You can’t even go wrong with the buffet. I think there was only one night there that I found it kind of blah. The rest of the nights were great.

    Photographer
    We used the resort photographer (Mango Productions). We had a fabulous photographer. As soon as we were finished one shot, she had already planned her next shot for us. We got so many photos taken during our time with her. We left before we could get our photos from her, but one week to the day of our wedding, the photos arrived by courier at my house. Very impressed! And they provide a website to all of your guests where they can view all the photos online.

    Over all, our wedding was a great experience. I must say that I think it actually exceeded my expectations, as I didn't know what to expect planning most our of destination wedding via email. I really don’t think you can go wrong by having your wedding at such a beautiful location.

    If I have missed anything or anyone has any other questions about anything at the Riu Palace, please let me know. I am more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

    Good Luck with your wedding planning!

    #2 mlabbe

    mlabbe
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      Posted 23 May 2010 - 06:08 PM

      Great review, thank you for sharing! Congrats on the big day, can't wait to see the photos!

      #3 Cindy*

      Cindy*
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      • 2,655 posts

        Posted 23 May 2010 - 07:01 PM

        Thanks for the detailed review. Congratulations on your wedding!!!

        #4 loua4

        loua4
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        • 397 posts

          Posted 23 May 2010 - 08:15 PM

          thanks for the detailed review. I am getting married at the Riu Palace in Bahamas. It is nice to know that the company looks after it's weddings. it makes me a little nervous. But I cannot wait!!!

          #5 AishaB

          AishaB
          • Sr. Member
          • 2,350 posts

            Posted 23 May 2010 - 09:10 PM

            Very indepth review. Thanks for taking the time to share. Congratulations!
            BDW the best place for my TYPE A personality!

            #6 Lolita29

            Lolita29
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            • 426 posts

              Posted 23 May 2010 - 09:27 PM

              Great review, definitely sets my mind at peace as i'm getting married here too, May 14, 2011!! Did you do center pieces?? Do you have any pictures you can share with us??

              #7 gettingmarried

              gettingmarried
              • Jr. Member
              • 174 posts

                Posted 23 May 2010 - 10:53 PM

                Great review, put some of my nervous to rest!! What kind of cake did you get? I'm getting married there in July.

                #8 mitzy7

                mitzy7
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                • 61 posts

                  Posted 23 May 2010 - 11:28 PM

                  Quote:
                  Originally Posted by Lolita29
                  Great review, definitely sets my mind at peace as i'm getting married here too, May 14, 2011!! Did you do center pieces?? Do you have any pictures you can share with us??
                  I did not do center pieces. The table was really full without them. Plus at the steak house they place several serving platters throughout the table which they placed their seafood platters on. One of the sprays of flowers was placed by the bride and groom and the other was placed on the cake table.

                  If you were to do a centerpiece, I would keep it small, or maybe candles would be nice. I don't think you can go wrong either way:)

                  #9 mitzy7

                  mitzy7
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                    Posted 23 May 2010 - 11:32 PM

                    Quote:
                    Originally Posted by gettingmarried
                    Great review, put some of my nervous to rest!! What kind of cake did you get? I'm getting married there in July.
                    I was nervous too.. especially with the change in Wedding Coordiator, but I promise it will go great! You will have a beautiful wedding:)

                    As for the cake, we had two tiers. Both were marble and each had a different filling. One was hazelnut and the other was tiramisu. But, talking to other brides, it doesn't seem like you can go wrong with any flavour. Everyone I talked to seemed to really enjoy what they had, so I would go with your favourite flavour:)

                    #10 jaynreneewed

                    jaynreneewed
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                    • 184 posts

                      Posted 24 May 2010 - 07:31 AM

                      thank you -very helpful




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