CaraW's Wedding Review - Barcelo Maya Palace - May 13, 2010
Posted 02 June 2010 - 02:18 PM
Barcelo Maya Palace Resort A
The resort is beyond words, itâ€™s breathtaking. As soon as you walk in, youâ€™re jaw drops because itâ€™s just so beautiful, and you can tell that they put a lot of effort into keeping the place top notch. As soon as we went to the check out counter, our guests were already saying things like â€œitâ€™s SO beautiful!!!â€, etc. The resort is HUGE though, but we still bumped into someone from our group everywhere we went. The rooms are gorgeous! Our best man said it was the nicest hotel room heâ€™s ever been in. And itâ€™s definitely one of the top rooms on my list. The grounds are gorgeous, and the pool is big, and gorgeous. The beach is so nice, we did some snorkeling one day, and I wish I had done more because we switched resorts for our honeymoon (to the Valentin Imperial Maya) and the beach was really rough at that resort so we couldnâ€™t do any more snorkeling. The restaurants were so nice, and the food was delicious. My favorite was the French restaurant. I didnâ€™t get a chance to go to the Japanese, which Iâ€™ve heard is the best so Iâ€™m a little disappointed about that. My only issue with the restaurants is that they are so booked up so quickly, and thus we werenâ€™t able to get reservations into some of the al la cartes. Make sure that you book the restaurants as soon as you get there if youâ€™re staying at this resort.
Wedding Coordinator A+
My wedding coordinator for the past year and a half of planning was Gabriella. Gabriella was great to work with and though she was slow to respond to emails, she was very helpful. And I know that being slow to respond is a norm for Wedding Coordinators. However, the odd thing was that at the resort I didnâ€™t see Gabriella once. Instead, Wedding coordinator Karen was put in charge. Apparently sheâ€™s Gabriellaâ€™s co-worker. But though this seemed strange to me (Iâ€™m assuming Gabriella was just really busy??), the transition from Gabriella to Karen when smoothly, and Karen knew every detail that I had been planning with Gabriella for the past year and a half, and Karen was wonderful to deal with. She was so nice, so sweet and so accommodating. When I met with her the day after we arrived, we planned every detail in the office and it was really easy and very relaxed. I had just been at the pool, and went to meet with her. I donâ€™t think thereâ€™s any better way for a bride to plan a wedding!!! She helped me make decisions about the flowers, etc and I told her about the things I brought along with me (photos, candles, chair sashes, etc.) and she told me to bring them to her on Tuesday (this was Saturday when we met). I brought my own chair sashes and she said she would iron them, and get them ready for the day of the wedding. I canâ€™t say enough about Karen, I could go on and on about her and I donâ€™t have one single complaint. The day of the wedding she was there making sure everything went perfectly, and when the wedding was over she told me to go have fun with my friends, that she would gather all of my things and give them to me the next day. And she did. Everything went perfectly.
Welcome Dinner B
We had a welcome dinner that I had planned via email with Gabriela months in advance and we had it in the buffet. We asked to have a section reserved for our guests. When I checked in, Karen our wedding coordinator had found me at the front desk (this was the first time I met her) and asked if we could move the welcome dinner from 8 to 7 because at 8:00 it is extremely busy in the restaurant and it would be harder to section off an area for 53 guestsâ€¦. I found this just a little irritating because I had told all of our guests that it was at 8 and now I had to make sure everyone knew it had been changed to 7. We checked in at 5:30. I managed to tell most of our guests who were in the line up behind us waiting to check in, and some I had to phone. It went ok though, it was just a minor glitch. Some guests didnâ€™t know it was earlier, so they came late, which was unfortunate. Itâ€™s hard to keep track of 53 people. However, despite this glitch the welcome dinner was very nice, and Iâ€™m so glad we did it. It was a perfect time for everyone to share their excitement that we had just arrived in Mexico. Karen had reserved a really nice spot in the La Hacienda buffet for our guests, and stood at the front entrance for the whole time that we were there to make sure that no one else sat in our section, and to direct our guests to our area. It was really nice. We had OOT bags, that we wanted to give to our guests at this dinner, but we didnâ€™t have a chance to get them organized in time because of the time change of the dinner.
Well, we did OOT bags for our guests and I must say, I almost wish we hadnâ€™t done them. It was more of a hassle than it shouldâ€™ve been and caused some unnecessary stress. Since we couldnâ€™t hand them out at the welcome dinner we tried to think of another way that we could hand them out. We finally decided that we would see if the resort would deliver them to the rooms while our guests were out so that the bags were waiting for them when they came back to the rooms. We talked to the front desk and they gave us a list of the room numbers of our wedding party. We went back to the room, and asked for a bellboy to help us out. When he got there, I felt so bad because there were something like 35 bags that needed to be delivered and he kind of had a look of shock on his face, but he was SO nice and didnâ€™t hesitate to say he would do it for us no problem, he told us heâ€™d let us know when it was done and off he went, no complaint, and he did a wonderful job! We gave him a pretty decent tip because we really appreciated it and it was a big job! Our guests were so happy to come into the room and see the bags sitting on their beds waiting for them. We got so many hugs and all our guests told us how nice it was. In the end, Iâ€™m glad that we did it, but it really was a pain! lol
Getting Ready (Spa) A++
I am so glad that I got my hair done at the spa, they did such an amazing job and I had so many compliments on my hair, it was perfect. I went in there knowing what I wanted (I meant to bring pictures but forgot them at home) and I told them what I was thinking of. The only thing that we did though was my MOH brought a big barrel curling iron, because all they have is the little skinny curling irons and I wanted big curls, not ringlets. Iâ€™m sure they couldâ€™ve done a good job regardless if they used our curling iron or not, but she used ours and it turned out great. It was an up-do and they did a fabulous job! All 3 of my bridesmaids and my mom got their hair done at the same time as I did. My MOH hated her hair, but I honestly thought it looked great, but she went back to the room after and fixed it up a bit. My sister disliked her hair and changed it up when we got back to the room also. However, my other bridesmaid loved her hair and it looked beautiful! And my momâ€™s hair was also beautiful. All in all, we were happy and it was nice to get our hair done all at the same time. There is only 1 spa at this resort, and itâ€™s at the Barcelo Caribe (one of the 5 Barceloâ€™s). We had some confusion as to where it was when we were looking for it, but we eventually found it. For future brides, you should take the tram to the Caribe as itâ€™s quite far. When I left, a lady (I believe she was another wedding coordinator) told us to wait one minute and sheâ€™d be back with a golf cart. That was really nice, she drove us all back to our rooms so we didnâ€™t have to worry about waiting for the tram.
Photographer Check-In F
The Barcelo has changed their photographer policy that states that no outside photographers are allowed on the complex, however they changed this back in July of last year, and our wedding coordinator sent us an email that stated if you have already booked a photographer before last July, you can still use him instead of the resort photographer. I verified with the WC that everything would be ok and she assured me it would be. Our photographer was Ivan Luckie, (who was phenomenal, BTW.) and his wife was the 2nd photographer. So on the day of the wedding our WC told me that we would have to pay a day pass for our photographer and his wife. The day pass is somewhere around $100, maybe just under that. This wasnâ€™t a huge issue to me until I realized Iâ€™d need a day pass for the next day also for him & his wife because we were doing the TTD session on the Barcelo beach in the morning. So that would be $400 for the 2 days and 2 photographers. I asked our WC if I booked a room for him & his wife, if that would be a better option and she said yes. I had to go back to the resort and phone the Barcelo because the front reception told me I would get a better rate if I phoned instead of booking at the front desk. So I phoned from my room, which seemed to go smoothly, I was told that he had a room at the Barcelo Tropical (the resort right next door) and he could check in at noon when he was planning on getting there, and could walk around the resort as he pleased. He was going to come to the spa at noon and take some photos of me getting my hair done. So my then fiancÃ©, now husband () had gone to the Barcelo Tropical at noon to make sure that Ivan was able to check in alright and that everything went ok. When he got to the Tropical front desk however, they told my husband that Ivan did not have a room at the Tropical, and that his room was at the Colonial. So my husband ran to the other resort, hoping to run into Ivan along the way but unfortunately he didnâ€™t, and when he got there they told my husband that he needed to pay up front for the roomâ€¦ when they told me on the phone that we would pay for the room when Ivan checked out. I gave my visa number over the phone. My husband wasnâ€™t prepared for that and didnâ€™t have a wallet on him or anything, so he had to phone his mom at her room (I was already at the salon getting my hair done) and see if she could come and pay and we would have to pay her back. In the end we had to get his momâ€™s friend to pay for the room, and paid her back. What a hassle. My husband was frantic, and Ivan had the same hassle when he was checking in. It was totally unorganized. When he got in ok, I was just finishing up at the spa and I think he snapped maybe 2 pictures because he wasnâ€™t able to get there until 1:00.
The ceremony couldnâ€™t have been any better. I had imagined the ceremony since I was engaged in August of 2008 and it exceeded my expectations. We got married in the Gazebo at the Palace and they did an amazing job of setting everything up. I had a photo of my dad (who passed away a few months ago) and they put it on a table in the gazebo, along with our sand ceremony and a very nice collection of flowers. Our WC was there through the whole ceremony keeping an eye over everything, and making sure that everything went perfectly. She directed my bridesmaids & I down the aisle and told us when to go. We had the guitarist for our ceremony music and I LOVED himâ€¦. He was fantastic!! He played a nice song while my bridesmaids walked down the aisle, and changed the song when I came down the aisle. I get tears in my eyes just thinking of how beautiful the ceremony was. Our minister was so nice, and he had a beautiful service. We did the sand ceremony and everyone thought that was the neatest thing! No one had seen it before. I am so glad we did that. We were originally going to do our own vows, but the morning that we were leaving our house to catch our flight I tried to open my vows document on the computer and it wouldnâ€™t open!!!! I tried to do it from the resort too one day and same thing. I thought about re-writing them but we didnâ€™t have any time, so my husband and I decided to just do the standard vows. We told our WC a few days before the wedding and I was a little worried that the minister might not realize it was changed and put the microphone to my mouth asking me to say my vows and thereâ€™d be silenceâ€¦ lol but he knew, and everything was perfect.
The reception was so fun, and they did a wonderful job of setting it up and it looked beautiful. We had our reception in the Palmeras Grill, itâ€™s an open-air grill and it was very nice. We had the strings of white lights wrapped around the poles in the grill, which looked so nice and elegant. However it was super windy that day which was a little irritating when we were trying to eat and our hair was blowing in our faces, etc. But I guess thatâ€™s can happen when itâ€™s in an open-air grill. The reason why I gave the reception a B- was because it was short. I wish that the Barcelo didnâ€™t have a time limit on the receptions, we had paid for the extra hour on top of the reception so we had the grill for 4 hours, until 10:30pm. However, 10:30 came so fast and I was sad to leave the reception. The food was OK. We had the shrimp cocktail, lobster bisque, chicken and Portobello mushrooms, and white chocolate tiramisu. The chicken was delicious, it was stuffed with mushrooms and everyone loved it. The lobster bisque was soooo good. But I wasnâ€™t the biggest fan of the shrimp cocktail. It was neat how they presented it though, it was served in a coconut. Our headwaiter at the reception, Carlos, was fantastic. He was so nice, and fun, and was always on top of everything. We had maracas at our reception for people to shake when they wanted us to kiss. After a few people shook the maracas, Carlos came up to us and said, â€œIâ€™ve noticed that when they shake the maracaâ€™s, you have to do something, but why donâ€™t they have to do something also?â€. He suggested that whenever someone shakes a maraca, they have to do a tequila shot. Haha. It was a great idea, we agreed but said only Â½ shots so people werenâ€™t loaded before dinner even started. (lol). So from then on when someone would shake a maraca, Carlos would run over to them with the tequila bottle and tilt their head back, and heâ€™d pour it in their mouth. It was so funny!!! Our guests got a real kick out of it, and there were a few less people willing to shake the maracaâ€™s when tequila was thrown into the mix. After the speeches were done, my husband surprised me with the mariachi band. I canâ€™t stress enough how amazing the mariachi band was, it was something that I wanted all along, since the beginning of our planning, but I decided to give them up when we were finalizing our plans because we were getting short on money. Just when we were about to start the dancing, the mariachi band came parading in and went straight onto the dance floor and began to sing. It was such a beautiful surprise and I loved it so much. Our guests had the greatest time with the mariachi, they danced in front of them and it was so fun. They are SO amazing. Probably one of the best parts of the reception.
Overall, the resort was gorgeous, the wedding was everything I couldâ€™ve imagined and more, and I am so happy we picked the Barcelo Maya Palace. I should be getting my pro pics soon and I will upload them as soon as I get them.
Let me know if you have any questions about anything!!
Thanks for reading!
Posted 02 June 2010 - 02:28 PM
I was at the Barcelo last year and abolutely loved it.
Posted 02 June 2010 - 04:29 PM
Posted 02 June 2010 - 04:31 PM
Posted 02 June 2010 - 04:57 PM
If you don't mind I have a few questions for you (I'm relatively new to the forum so fogive me if some of the answers can be found elsewhere) :
- The lights you mentioned at the reception, did you bring them or have to pay for them, or were they provided free of charge?
- Is there a particular reason you chose the grill over the beach for the reception? We are not even sure what our options are! We are looking at the Strawberry Passion package also.
- You mentioned dancefloor, did they have an area sectioned off for this?
- Where did you buy the macaras?
- Do you have pictures online that I can see?
Thank you so much and congrats on becoming a Mrs!!
Posted 03 June 2010 - 01:04 AM
Cara + Jason | Wedding and Trash The Dress Luckie Photography | Wedding photographer | Riviera Maya | Playa de Carmen | Cancun
Posted 03 June 2010 - 03:21 AM
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