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Melissa's (wilsoml2) Dreams Cancun 7/2/2010 Wedding Review


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#1 wilsoml2

wilsoml2
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    Posted 13 July 2010 - 07:29 PM

    Travel Agent – TA Jill – A+

    Jill was great to work with throughout the whole process. It was nice having someone else deal with our guests’ questions about travel so that was one less thing on my plate. The travel packets she sent us were great, too. We got a nice case to carry all of our documents in and several luggage tags for our baggage. I’m glad that I ended up not giving out luggage tags to our guests, so that’s something to keep in mind if you go with Jill! Overall, her service was great. She responded quickly to all of my emails, and helped us to deal with some travel issues (I’ll get into that later).

    American Airlines – B-

    While my DH and I didn’t really have any problems on our flights, one of my co-MOH’s arrived 6 hours after she was scheduled and completely missed the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. They boarded the plane on schedule then were forced to sit in the hot plane for 2 hours! Finally she said a man behind her told the stewardess that he had a heart condition and needed to get out of the heat so they let everyone off. They boarded a 2nd time to find out that the plane still wasn’t fixed, so they got off again. Finally, the 3rd time was a charm and they left the ground. I can’t believe the airline would do that to people, they weren’t even offered drinks!

    One positive is that AA only recently changed their baggage policy to one free checked bag, and since DH and I booked our flight before the policy went into effect, we each could check two bags for free. Luckily, I was able to stuff all of our wedding stuff into just 4 bags to be checked so we didn’t have to pay any extra fees.

    Some of my family flew with Continental Airlines. Their flight from Newark to Pittsburgh on the way home was cancelled. The lady at the counter told them that a notification was sent out so there wasn’t much they could do for them except get them on a flight the next day. My parents had to work so they had to rent a car and make the long drive home. I felt so bad since I didn’t hear of it until several days later. Jill called Continental and found out that the notification about the cancellation was never sent! She did get us a small refund, but I still can’t believe that the horrible customer service. I won’t be flying with them in the future.

    Cancun Airport and Transfers – A-

    Our plane arrived at the same time as 3 others, so it took us 1.5 hours to get through the airport. I think that seemed rather quick though when you think about how small the airport actually is. When I went through customs, they did stop one of my bags. Last time I was in Cancun, they didn’t scan our bags, we just went straight to the red/green light. This time, they scanned every single bag of every passenger. For the bag under question she just pointed to it and asked what was in it. I told the girl that it was favors for my wedding. You could tell she didn’t know much English, but she asked if they were like souvenirs. I said yes and she let me go. Then at the red/green light the guy asked me how much my favors/gifts were worth and I told him the value and that I had all of the receipts. He said that’s fine and let me press the light. Luckily DH and I both got green so we got through pretty easily. Just make sure to tell them that it’s your wedding and bring receipts along just in case!

    We didn’t have any problem with the time-share people. Our transfers were with American Express and when they found out it was our wedding they sent us in a van by ourselves. It was nice to not have to stop at a bunch of other hotels, but that’s what happened to most of our guests. They didn’t seem to mind. One thing that really irked me was the American Express guy at Dreams Cancun was really annoying. He told all of our guests that they had to stop by at some point to give him their flight information. When they did, he kept trying to sell them trips and stuff. For instance, he apparently thought my mom looked like she wanted to go on a bar crawl. Finally I started telling people to not bother going to talk to him and sure enough they still got a call the day before the departed to tell them when the van would come to pick them up. My advice is to stay away from that guy, American Express should already have all of your flight information if you booked through a TA. Now the American Express guy at Dreams Riviera where we honeymooned was much better and actually quite helpful. He even recognized us one morning when we were in the lobby and came over to say hi. I guess it’s just hit or miss with these guys.

    Wedding Coordinator Cecilia – A

    While I really want to give her an A+++++++ but there were a few things holding me back. The biggest thing being that we had scheduled our reception for the Club Terrace and when we got there it was still under construction. I really don’t mind that we had to change our wedding location, I’m just mad that she never said anything about it even though she had emailed me a week before we left to schedule our initial meeting. The second thing was that we had scheduled our rehearsal at 5 pm on July 1st. It turns out that Claudia also had a rehearsal at 5 and she showed up on time with her people. We let them go ahead, and finally Cecilia showed up at 5:30! She apologized that a meeting had run extremely late. Again, I completely understand, I just wish someone would have told us so we could have stayed out of the heat for a little longer!

    Cecilia helping us with the rehearsal.
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    Besides that, she was great. While I tried hard to be angry and stern about the previously mentioned grievances, she just has this calmness about her that makes you relax. I was fuming when she showed up at 5:30, but within like 5 seconds I had completely forgotten about it! Knowing how busy they are (she said they had 60 weddings in June and 48 in July) I probably only emailed her 10 times from the initial email inquiring about our wedding date. When I did, she usually got back to me within a week and much faster as the wedding came closer. You really just have to let go and trust that everything will work out.

    She also does her job well and knows what looks good. Our reception was absolutely beautiful, I couldn’t believe what she had pulled off. We did tip her at our first meeting, and while I don’t think we got a ton of ‘free’ things, she did add little things here and there to make things look nice that we hadn’t paid for. For instance, we only paid for 5 lights under the tables, but she had also put lights under some of the side tables as well, like for the cake and favors. We also only paid for 4 centerpieces, but she ended up giving us a 5th for our sweetheart table.

    For trades, I didn’t use the flowers that came with the package since I had brought my own. I asked her to instead make some floral arrangements to go on the pillars of the gazebo and they looked great. I also didn’t have my hair done at the spa since my mom did it and instead they let me switch that out for one of my MOH’s makeup. Other than that, I didn’t really ask for anything else, although maybe I could have.

    Flowers on the pillars.
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    Finally, after paying our bill and leaving for our honeymoon, we realized that she never took out our $500 deposit. When we emailed her about it, she asked us to send the information again about the wire transfer. While I’m annoyed that this was never confirmed despite my inquiring about it several times, she is trying to work it out with us. I don’t necessarily blame her though, it seems like there is a lack of communication between departments at Dreams. Hopefully we’ll get our $500 back soon enough!

    Rehearsal Dinner – Paloma Bonita – A+++

    I originally didn’t want to do a rehearsal dinner since I thought people would want to have as much time as possible to do other things while in Cancun. In the end, my MIL really wanted to do it, so I agreed and I’m glad I did.

    Cecilia got me in touch with the public relations manager, Paola who set the whole thing up with us. She reminded me that Paloma Bonita does take reservations while none of the restaurants in the resort will. We had 37 guests, so just walking in to one of the restaurants was not really an option. Plus, we were all guests at the Dreams so we received 20% off our total bill.

    While the restaurant is not air conditioned (and it was HOT that evening), the atmosphere was great. They have a mariachi trio in the evenings and since we were the largest group there, they spent quite a bit of time with us. My MIL even danced with one of the waiters! They also gave us the huge sombreros to take pictures with and everyone loved that. The best thing though was the food. They brought out assorted appetizers for each table so everyone could try a bit of everything. For the main course I ordered the Chicken Oaxaca and it was incredibly good. DH had the fajitas and he said they were decent. At one point, Paola came over and said hi. She even kissed me on the cheek, so sweet! I feel bad because I didn’t recognize her until she was leaving but I was impressed that she made the effort to stop by. Overall, everyone really loved it and I’m so glad we did it. I’m also glad that DH and I didn’t have to pick up the bill!

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    Paola saying hello.
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    View from the restaurant.
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    Mariachis
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    Wedding – A+++

    My wedding was amazing from start to finish. There were little things here and there that weren’t quite right, but overall I loved it.

    At 9 am I went down to the spa for a manicure. I tried doing my own French manicure and it was horrifying so I figured I’d splurge on myself a little. I had Doris and she was very sweet and did a great job. I think I also had her for our couples massage, so she really was a woman of many talents.

    My french polish after a spa manicure.
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    Afterwards, my MIL came down to talk to me. Apparently DH had some sort of allergic reaction the previous night (he had his complimentary room so we didn’t spend the night together) and had to get a shot from the doctor. She said he was feeling better but still had some itchiness in his arms. We still don’t know what happened cause he’s not really allergic to anything that we know of. Anyways, she calmed me down and assured me that everything would be okay. The doctor gave him a prescription for an antihistamine. P.S. The charge for the doctor was $150. I couldn’t believe how cheap that was especially for a visit in the middle of the night! In the States that probably would have cost at least an arm and possibly a leg.

    Anyways, I left for our room feeling a little better, but still worried. The ladies joined me in our 2-bedroom master suite (Jill can’t usually book that room, but she got us a sweet upgrade!) pretty much the rest of the day. My MOHs came up around 10:45 and I gave them their gifts. My mom came over around 11 and we ordered room service. At 12 my mom started doing hair and I like how everything turned out. The one thing I would change about mine is that my bangs started to come loose in the wind, make sure to pin those things down ladies! It wasn’t too bad but in some of our pro pics my hair started getting wrapped around my tiara and I didn’t like them as much.

    Living room of 2-bedroom suite. Balcony is in the background.
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    View from our balcony.
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    Bangs going crazy in the wind.
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    More coming...

    #2 wilsoml2

    wilsoml2
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      Posted 13 July 2010 - 07:30 PM

      Wedding continued…

      We did makeup at 3 pm (ceremony at 6). I have to say, I wasn’t super excited about mine, but I hardly ever wear makeup so I think I just wasn’t used to it. It didn’t help that I had a guy doing my makeup and he didn’t appear to know what he was doing. He kept asking the other girls what colors to put on me and how much to put on. I don’t know a ton of Spanish, but I could tell when he was asking ‘mas o menos?’ about my eye shadow. Plus he was sweating like a maniac! I felt it drip onto me several times! Everyone else loved it though, so I can’t complain too much. I did love my MOHs’ makeup, I thought their ladies did excellent jobs.

      Bridesmaid’s makeup
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      My Makeup
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      After makeup we started getting dressed. It turns out that neither of my MOHs know how to iron that well so I ironed their dresses for them. Of course they teased me but I didn’t mind since it kept my mind off of being worried about DH. Our wedding ceremony was supposed to be at 6 and there was another one at 4. Of course, the one at 4 ran WAY late and didn’t finish up until 5:30 so I started panicking. They got things turned around pretty quickly though and I think we only started 10 minutes late.

      The ceremony was great. We had Gino Hidalgo as our officiant. I believe he’s a minister, but DH and I are not religious so we sent him a script that I wrote (more like pieced together from other people’s ceremonies!) and he read through it beautifully. If you don’t want anything religious, I highly suggest writing it yourselves or find something on the internet that you like to give to them or else they’ll just do their standard ceremony which does have scripture. A couple of people commented on how much they liked it which made me happy.

      Gino (holding the yellow folder) and the gazebo setup.
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      Anyways, DH and I did not cry, although I think we both were fighting it when I first got up to the gazebo. He squeezed my hand tight and from that point on I knew everything would be great. My friend Beth did a reading and she did such a great job. They had a mic so everyone could hear her. Yes, we did have the sound system, I think it’d be silly not to have it. I wish they’d just include it in the package because you really would not be able to hear a thing without it due to the wind.

      Walking with my dad and step-dad.
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      Knowing that everything would be great.
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      My friend’s reading.
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      One thing that I’m not pleased with is that apparently during the ring exchange the videographer was standing between us and my parents, so they couldn’t see a thing. My step dad was disappointed that he came the whole way to Mexico to watch the ceremony on a dvd.

      Click the image to open in full size.

      More coming...

      #3 wilsoml2

      wilsoml2
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        Posted 13 July 2010 - 07:31 PM

        Wedding continued…

        After the ceremony we walked back down the aisle. Our champaign toast was not waiting like we thought it would be. Cecilia was standing nearby so we motioned to her about the drinks and they brought them out as soon as possible. I guess most ceremonies last longer but ours was short and sweet! We had a toast and hugged all of our guests then started on the group pictures. I’ll discuss the photographers below.

        The Kiss.
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        Back down the aisle.
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        Signaling for our champaign.
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        Finally got it!
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        Receiving line
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        Some group pictures.
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        More coming...

        #4 wilsoml2

        wilsoml2
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          Posted 13 July 2010 - 07:32 PM

          Wedding continued…

          We were a little rushed because the sun was setting, so we quickly ran over to the lighthouse (just DH and I, we didn’t have time for bridal party pictures, too). Afterwards we got back just in time for the end of the cocktail hour. I wanted to get some pictures with the mariachis and they were still there. I was a little disappointed because we wanted the mariachi trio but got the carribean trio instead. It turned out that it was the same guys from the night before at the rehearsal dinner. Everyone still enjoyed them so I tried not to get upset.

          A few lighthouse shots of many. The rest can be found here: Click the image to open in full size.

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          Coming back from the lighthouse.
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          Picture with the Mariachis.
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          Cecilia’s assistants came for us around 7:50 and led us over to our new reception location, the spa terrace. It was nice because it was more private from the rest of the resort and had a nice high wall to keep the wind down a bit. When I first glimpsed the reception, I was so incredibly happy. Cecilia did an amazing job with the layout, and everything was perfect. I gave her a huge hug.

          This picture can’t do it justice!
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          We waited for everyone to go in and take their seats before we made a grand entrance. We also decided to do our first dance right away. We had taken dance lessons and had a choreographed dance to ‘Brighter than Sunshine’ by Aqualung. We messed up a few things but no one seemed to notice. Everyone loved it though, they said it was more interesting than watching us spin in a circle!

          First dance.
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          More coming...

          #5 wilsoml2

          wilsoml2
          • Jr. Member
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            Posted 13 July 2010 - 07:34 PM

            Wedding continued…

            Dinner was served, it was good but my stomach was upset so I didn’t eat much more than a taste of anything. We had the Caeser salad, parmentier soup, Dreams Trilogy and strawberry cheesecake. Some guests said it was the best food they had all week, although apparently the shrimp was incredibly salty. I don’t like shrimp so I never would have noticed! Afterwards we did the cake cutting (the vanilla cake was delicious!) and started dancing. We had a blast! The garter toss was hilarious, the DJ made DH take the garter off with his teeth, so at least everyone got a good look at my blue crinoline! Our Brazilian friend caught the garter, you should have seen his face when he realized he had to put it on some girl’s leg!

            Cake cutting
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            Dancing with balloons from DJ Doremixx
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            Garter toss.
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            Oh, DH and the groomsmen had gone out that morning and bought a ton of cigars to share with everyone. It was great seeing my Dad let loose with a cigar and whiskey in his hand. Everyone seemed to enjoy it, hopefully everyone liked my personalized matchbooks! One thing that I noticed was missing was my cardbox, Cecilia must have forgotten it. It turned out no one brought any cards, so it was fine!

            Overall, everything was fantastic and simply amazing. Little things went wrong but most of them ended up being fine in the end. I cannot say enough about the people that work at Dreams, they made the entire trip and I feel that many of our guests were impressed. As for cost, I believe we paid under $6000 which included 37 people. Couldn’t ask for much better!

            Photography – Juan Navarro – A++++

            Alex and Tony from Juan Navarro Photography did our wedding and they were great. They gave good direction and made us feel very confident in their work. I knew our pictures were going to be awesome before I even saw them. My only regret is that we didn’t hire them for longer than what our package included! We met with them at Dreams Riviera Cancun the following Wednesday evening (July 7th). They gave us our album and the pictures were awesome as expected. They told us they had more and I was excited to see them but I figured they’d just be more copies of the 60 that we got with our package. As soon as I saw the thumbprints I knew I was wrong and that we were going to buy that CD no matter what. They had taken 1029 pictures! Once we quickly went through them, we asked how much and they came back with $500 at first. I had heard some of the brides on here said they paid way less than that and I had told DH to expect them to go high. He said he wouldn’t pay more than $300, they said $350, but cash. It was a deal!

            Most of the ceremony pictures from above and all of the lighthouse pictures were taken by Tony and Alex. I love them!

            DJ Doremixx – A+++

            Although our time seemed much too short, the DJ was awesome. I didn’t catch the name of the actual guy but we had so much fun. Everyone commented on how well they mixed the music. I think at some point we had sent a song list to Cecilia and she must have passed it on to them because they played a lot of our favorites, even during dinner. They were also very adaptable since we didn’t give them any kind of timeline. We basically walked up and told them what we wanted to do and they did it for us! Again, I just wish we could have danced for longer!

            Dreams Cancun – A++++++

            Some people complain that the resorts rooms are old and in need of an update, but I think they are still great. Sure, it’s not as modern as Dreams Riviera Cancun but the location and service just can’t be beat. It’s surrounded on 3 sides by water so you have a beautiful view no matter where you are. I also like how it’s more spread out so there’s always somewhere else to go if you don’t like the atmosphere. The staff is also amazing, you recognize someone everywhere you go and they recognize you, too. We walked by some guys fixing a light in one of the halls and even they made a point to say hello.

            That’s it, sorry it was so long! In the end, I wouldn’t do anything differently, except maybe keeping my DH from having an allergic reaction to something the night before our wedding. I’m not sure that could have been helped though and in the end it was fine. One other quick suggestion, we did the zip lines at Selvatica and they were AWESOME! Unfortunately it was pouring rain the whole time but we still had a blast. It actually made me feel pretty hardcore doing it in the rain! Check it out!

            #6 MysTea

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              Posted 13 July 2010 - 07:37 PM

              Wow! what a beautiful clear and sunny day! (crossing my fingers mine is the same way!) Congrats!!
              **Dreams Palm Beach HERE WE COME!!! 11.01.2010**

              #7 wendyjd

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                Posted 13 July 2010 - 08:07 PM

                Sounds like a wonderful wedding. Congrats!!

                #8 Shoesiesluvr

                Shoesiesluvr
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                  Posted 13 July 2010 - 08:39 PM

                  Awww Congratulatons Melissa! you were such a beautiful bride and looks like you had a wonderful wedding!
                  Congrats again!
                  He's the Ying to my Yang...the Peanut Butter to my Jelly....the Oreo to my Milk...the Cheese on my Pizza...the i to my Phone...the Cream in my Coffee...the Jiggle to my Jell-O...the Star in my Sky...He's my BFF & I married him on 09.25.2010
                  My Planning Thread

                  #9 atrott

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                    Posted 13 July 2010 - 08:52 PM

                    Beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing your review. Congratulations!

                    #10 *tinkertoy*

                    *tinkertoy*
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                      Posted 13 July 2010 - 08:52 PM

                      YAY! Congrats!




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