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Janelley100's Moon Palace Review 07/17/10


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#1 Janelley100

Janelley100
  • Jr. Member
  • 297 posts

    Posted 28 July 2010 - 08:15 AM

     

    Hello all!!!  Well we made it back and have recovered finally.  Thank you all for the ideas and inspiration you have given us over the past year...we couldn't have done this without you.  And thank you Tammy for creating this forum and being such a fabulous TA for us!!!  Now, on the review....I hope this is detailed enough.  It's funny what stands out after you get back.  Please feel free to ask questions if you have any....I'm still around!

     

    Summary:

    Miami Coordinator: Claudia

    On-Site Wedding Coordinator: Rosa Lily

    Wedding Date: Saturday, July 17, 2010

    Wedding Week: July 13 - 20 @ Moon Palace

    Ceremony: 1:00 p.m. Tucan Gazebo

    Reception: 6:00 p.m. Arrecifes Restaurant – Brazilian (on the Terrace)

    Photographer: Joseph Leonard (my brother-in-law)

    Guests: Bride & Groom + 15

     

    Travel Agent

    Well, most of you know have probably seen my posts regarding destinationweddings.com, so I won’t go into detail on my experience with them.  In a nutshell, they provided poor level of service – if any at all, and their pricing was higher than I ultimately received elsewhere.

     

    We started planning our wedding back in August of 2009 at which time we booked our wedding and hotel with the Excellence Playa Mujeres resort.  This resort was all-inclusive and beautiful in the photos with great reviews.  However, it was adults only.  Out initial thought was that most people wouldn’t come to our wedding....we were wrong.  Although our wedding was small, it was half made up with our teenage nieces and nephews.  So we cancelled our contract with Excellence and switched to Moon Palace.  Our best friends had been married there just two years ago, so we had a good resource of information and pictures to base our decision off of.

     

    After a great deal of complaints from our family members regarding TA at dw.com I took a chance and switched to Tammy Wright at Wright Travel (you know....our one and only Tammy who runs this site!).  She was awesome!!!  Not only did she always communicate with me in a timely manner, but she also saved us about $800 on our reservation.  Looking back, I’m not quite sure what our previous TA was doing to have our pricing that much higher. 

     

    She emailed all of our documents right away and responded to my emails when we found ourselves in a crunch on our return flight.  (See Airline)  I never worried after we changed TA’s and would recommend her in a heartbeat!

     

    Airline

     

    Our flights were booked through Continental.  Long story short, we decided to take my 9-year-old daughter with us in January.  However, we had already booked our flights back in August.  So to give you an idea on the pricing....our round trip tickets cost $258 a piece.  My daughter’s cost a little over $700 by itself.  Crazy how a few months can change the price so drastically!  The positive note was that she was free at the resort the entire trip due to their Kids Stay and Eat Free promotion.

     

    As far as service, Continental was great.  I had an overhead bin to myself for my dress and the flight was smooth.  No upgrades, but we were happy!  The trip back was pretty interesting as our flight from Cancun was delayed an hour.  We had 35 minutes to make our transfer through immigration, customs and get to another terminal in Houston.  But we made it!!!  I emailed Tammy our potential problem and she emailed me right way to make sure we were ok.  I believe if things had gone awry she would have stepped in and did what she could to get us home.  

     

    Hotel

    Aaaahhh...Moon Palace!  What a wonderful resort Moon Palace is.  I am not a very seasoned tropical resort traveler, so I don’t have much to compare it to...but here are my thoughts.  When we arrived we were picked up by the transfer company (they were holding a board with our names on it) and taken straight to the resort.  The ride was super short, maybe 10 minutes....but the thing I noticed was the road construction right in front of Moon Palace.  We found out that the construction is building a bridge over the current road to clear access directly to Moon Palace due to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change that will be being held at the Moon Palace on November 29 – December 10, 2010.  So for those of you planning weddings during that time I would recommend you talk to your wedding coordinators or travel agents about this.  I can only imagine that the hotel will be booked at a high level and have security like crazy!  See website (http://cc2010.mx/swb/)

     

    While we were there the Atlanta Falcon cheerleaders were also there to photo shoot their 2010 summer calendar.  Just for them they installed metal detectors at the front doors of the Sunrise section (where the cheerleaders were staying).  It was kind of bogus because we could walk right in through any other door in the hotel.  However, I imagine while the United Nations is meeting....the security will be much tighter.

     

    Back to my opinion on hotel...so we arrived finally.  The drive in was beautiful...you are literally driving into a compound in the jungle.  Lizards and animals all over! We pulled up to the Sunrise section, the driver got our bags out and then the bell boy said...”Wait....they are at the Nizuc section.”  So the driver put everything away and we headed over to that section.  We pulled up...same thing...the driver got our bags, the bell boy tagged them and told us we could check in.  No cloth...no flower...no drink as I had always read on here.  (This is where my expectations had to just relax - or I would have started saying...HOLD ON!!!)  We checked in and they gave us our key, explained the resort and told us we could go with our bags to our room.  So we did....no mention of honeymoon desk...no mention of us getting married.  Hey, maybe they didn’t know.  SO we went to our room....LOVED IT!!!  We had second floor room in the Flamenco building with a partial ocean view.  It was fabulous!!!  The bellboy brought our luggage and showed us the room.  The mini fridge was nice...but we never touched the alcohol in the room.  Heck, we didn’t need to!  LOL  We were busy the rest of the day and decided to do all the other check-in items the next day. 

     

    The next day we checked into the activities desk to turn in the points.  We decided to go on the ferry to Isla Mujeres for shopping and the bus to Tulum.  We had previously booked a couple’s massage as well for that afternoon and had to check into the Spa desk to turn in our points for that.  (TIP: It is a long check in process for the spa if you don’t check into the Spa desk at the hotel and have your booking slip they give you when you arrive at the spa.  This is something my brother found out the hard way the day before!)  Then we checked into the honeymooners desk.  (I’ll tell you that we tried to do this like 4 separate times and either they were gone or they didn’t understand us when we tried to check in and kept pointing us to the activities desk).  Finally a lady understood that we were getting married (sheesh!!) and handed us two t-shirts and scheduled to send over “amenities” the next day.  The amenities were a bottle of champagne, a white rose on the bed and a small cake that said “Enjoy Your Honeymoon”.  (We weren’t married yet, but oh well!  LOL)

     

    We received turn down service 3 nights out of our 7 night stay and no cool towel animals or any other surprises that I remember.  All in all I felt as if the staff never really knew that we were there to get married.  We were just another couple with a kid on vacation.  But we had a great time and I would stay there again as the resort was beautiful.

     

    ***This review will be in several posts so please wait for them to post before commenting!  Thanks!



    #2 Janelley100

    Janelley100
    • Jr. Member
    • 297 posts

      Posted 28 July 2010 - 08:16 AM

       

      Activities

       

      OK, so planning activities for a group of people who aren’t all arriving the same day is a nightmare...especially when they have to be checked in to book anything with their points.  However, we did all manage to get on the ferry to Isla Mujeres on Friday together.  This was quite the adventure!!!  The ferry ride is super cool....but very, very loud as they do skits on a megaphone the entire way over and back.  So if you are thinking that you will enjoy the beautiful water and sounds of the waves...think NOT!  Then, as you pull up they will explain that you can either swim with the dolphins or go on a boat tour around the island for the next 3 hours before lunch.  If you don’t pick one of these options you basically sit there for 3 hours. I’m not kidding you!!!  Where they drop you off at is not in the town.  However, you can take a taxi to anywhere on the island...just remember to find out where your ferry will port when it makes it’s trip to the town portion of the island.

       

      So my family decided to take taxi’s to the town and rent golf carts to drive around in!  They were $45 a cart for 4 people.  This was a BLAST!!!!  We ate some of the best seafood on the island, enjoyed super cold cervezas and did a bit of shopping!  The water is so beautiful on the North side of the island!!!  This trip leaves at 7am and gets back around 4-5pm....and it is a LONG day!!! 

       

      Given all of that we decided to cancel our trip to Tulum as we were so BEAT!!!  We instead went up to Beach Palace for the day on Sunday.  They have a 12-4pm, 2-6pm and 5-9pm Courtesy shuttle from to Sun, Cancun and Beach palace everyday.  However, a taxi ride back from Beach Palace is only $24 one way for 4 people.  So we went at 12 and came back on our own around 7pm one night.  It was great!!!

       

      Wedding Coordinator

       

      What can I say...Lily was awesome!  She always communicated promptly, even 8-9 months out.  We met her the next day after arrival and walked through every detail.  She has a detailed list with everything you have already discussed via email marked down – so you are just confirming decisions.  She also took everything, including my dress.  I didn’t have to have my dress steamed, as the humidity was so high that she just hung it in a high closet for the wrinkles to fall out in.  It worked!  I did have to pick my dress up from their office the morning of the wedding, as they never delivered it to our room.  She was awesome though!!!  She directed the entire processional and told us exactly how it would go from start to finish...and it did!  We brought her a box from Bath & Body works and tipped her in cash after the wedding.

       

      Wedding Package

       

      We selected the Free wedding package and added on the horse carriage ride (so worth it!) and a bag of flower petals to throw after the ceremony.  Total cost $170.00.  I thought I would buy flower petals before we left and take them with me, but after a lot of thought I decided to cut my cost in half and just buy them there.  I didn’t care if I had petals all over the table at the reception since I was taking votives and table runners. 

       

      Save the Date & Invites

       

      We used Vista Print for a tropical Save The Date large postcard.  I think I had a coupon to get them half off.  Pretty cheap!!!

       

      Since all of our invites were going to family and a couple of friends, we decided to wait until we knew who were actually going.  Once we had the list of confirmed guests we bought a box of invites from Michaels and a flip flop luggage tag for each person in the family.  Everyone (especially the teens) loved the luggage tags.

       

       

      OOT Bags

       

      The OOT bags were pretty simple.  I found large mesh beach bags on a clearance shelf at Walmart one day.  They had an aqua and white tropical pattern on them and cost about $3.00 a bag.  So I bought all 8 of them.  Contents included:

      • Pepto packets, band aids, anti-bacterial gel and Tylenol travel packets in a Ziploc
      • Boxes of Chiclets gum
      • Packets of silly card games for the teens
      • Obnoxiously large sunglasses for each teen
      • Pashmina for each girl (ordered from the Pashmina thread)
      • Key holder and coil wrist band from OTC
      • Large tubes of aloe vera gel from Dollar Tree
      • Addressed and stamped postcard for each family to write a message on and put in the mail at the front desk back to us.

       

      Most small items came from Dollar Tree.  I purchased the postcards and stamps at the Moon Palace gift shop.  All in all I believe I spent around $120 for the bags and contents.  The favorite items were the pashmina’s and the aloe vera gel.  So many sunburns happened and no one really thought to bring any with them.  The smaller girls were always wrapped up in the pashminas when we were at restaurants or on buses.



      #3 Janelley100

      Janelley100
      • Jr. Member
      • 297 posts

        Posted 28 July 2010 - 08:17 AM

         

        Wedding Attire

        Bride – Dress from Helena Bridal....knock off from China. http://www.helenebri...Dresses/WD0645/   

        Paid about $230 including shipping.  Then had a local seamstress take it in (quite a bit) for $115.  This included two separate fittings and a carry on bag.  Shoes were silver sandals from Off Broadway Shoes.  They had a silver skull charm with cross bones on the toe.

         

        Hair feather and jewelry (earrings, necklace and bracelet) came from Icing (Claire’s type store in the mall).  I had a french manicure done on toes and nails at home before we went.

         

        The “something old” was a pair of skull charms that had been hanging on a small chain from my husband’s rear view mirror for years.  I snuck them out of his truck the night before we left...he had no idea.  Then wore them as an ankle bracelet on the wedding day.  When he saw them I thought he was going to cry....it was perfect!

         

        Bridesmaid – I let Dani pick out her own dress....and she picked out a short black flowy dress from JCPenney.  She purchased similar black sandals with a skull and crossbones charm.

         

        Flower Girl – My poor little girl is such a tomboy...so I found a cute white summer dress at The Children’s Place and some white lace bottomed Capri tights.  The dress looked very Mexican with the brightly colored embroidery on the side pockets.  It was perfect!!!

         

        Groom and Groomsmen – One evening we were at Gordman’s and found linen pants and matching shirts for $27 and $19 a piece.  So we had both guys meet us up there and try them on.  Luckily they all fit!!!  Then we got to Moon Palace and my husband found a gorgeous white cotton shirt in the gift shop for $28usd that he liked even better.  I’m glad he switched because it made him stand out a little more from the other two.  They all wore flip flops.

         

         

        Ceremony

        The ceremony was beautiful.  The song list was as follows:

         

        • Guests arrived – “Honor Him” by Hans Zimmer
        • Wedding party & Horse carriage entrance– “Now We Are Free” by Hans Zimmer
        • Bride entrance – “Bridal March” by Jonathon Cain
        • Signing of certificate/Sand ceremony/Kiss & Toast – “Earth” by Hans Zimmer
        • Exit – Chariot’s Rise by Lizzie West

        There are in ground speakers all around the gazebo, so you can hear the music as the horse carriage goes all the way around to the drop off point.  The funny point was as we went by the gazebo my husband refused to turn and look at me...he was already in tears.  But in the video you can see him turn around and look out after we went by.  Kind of sweet! 

         

        After we arrived, Lily was standing at the end whispering for me to stay seated and let my dad get out and come around to give me his hand.  Then as I stepped out of the carriage she stepped around the back and fixed my train.  She gave my father instructions at that time on how to hand me off to the groom.  Then the bridal song started and we walked.  It was amazing!  The breeze was nice and the birds were doing their typical chirping (you will see).  The day was perfect!!!

         

        My officiant had very good English and read the modified script exactly as we emailed it.  My daughter was a part of our sand ceremony (representing all of the kids between us) and everyone cried when she stood up to pour her portion.  As we kissed, the pop of a champagne bottle went off and we were all toasting soon after.  Then Lily lined everyone up outside and we walked out with flower petals being tossed.

         

        Afterwards we all walked over to the grassy area in front of the ocean and took pictures for a while.  The wind was blowing pretty good at this point so my hair (which I wore down) was blowing everywhere!  The pictures still came out wonderful.  Then we all went back to our rooms, put swimsuits on and headed to the pool for the afternoon....it was the best time we had in the pool as a group!!!  

         

        Photography

         

        My brother in law is a professional photographer and he provded the photography for our wedding as a present.  With our budget, it was a blessing!  I just saw all of the shots last night for the first time and was blown away!  I will share as soon as he is done editing.

         

        We did go up to Beach Palace the next day on the free shuttle bus and took our wedding clothes to do a TTD session.  This was so much fun and the pictures came out fantastic!!!  Also, while shooting people were watching and saying congratulations the entire time.  Then a beach vendor walked up and acted like he was trying to sell us some jewelry.  My husband and BIL both said “NO, we aren’t interested”, but the man took my hand and said “For you, today, is free” as he hooked a very pretty silver dolphin bracelet around my wrist.  We tried to pay him and he said he just wanted a picture with us as payment.  So we did!  I haven’t taken that bracelet off since we have been back. 

         

         

        Décor

        We went very simple and didn’t want too much with suck a small group.  I ordered aqua chair sashes and table runners from CV Linens http://www.cvlinens.com/.  They arrived in about 2 days and were very reasonably priced.  A table runner was placed on the alter.  I requested to have two arrangements on the alter versus a free bouquet (since I brought my own flowers).  It was no problem and came out very tropical looking. 

         

        Flowers

         

        Due to the cost of flowers at Moon Palace, I decided to make my own bouquets and other arrangements.  They turned out perfect and cost me about $100 to make overall.  I probably spent about 2-3 hours making them all after watching youtube “how to” videos.  It was fun and I have my bouquet hanging above our dresser now.  The free bouquets I traded in for arrangments for the alter.

         

        Cake

         

        We had the cake delivered to the reception dinner instead of the ceremony. This worked much better because no one was hungry for cake at 1pm in the hot afternoon.  Instead the cake was on a small table next to our seating area.  The cake was large and looked exactly like the Free cake picture they sent out (cream colored with the peach colored roses on top).  They did wrap the bottom with the black ribbon I provided.  My only hesitation before I saw the cake was that our friends said the cake was covered in fondit when they got married...and it had fallen over to the side a bit.  Well, our cake only had fondit roses and was instead iced in a whipped frosting with strawberries inside!  It was fabulous!  (Although all cakes in Mexico are “wet”....and we never got used to that.  We kept saying...as soon as we get home we are buying a “real” cake!)

         

        Reception Dinner

         

        The dinner was very nice.  We had reserved the semi-private terrace outside of the Arrecifes restaurant and the table runners and votives were decorating the table, along with the small “Something Blue” candle at each place setting.  The food was fabulous and service was great.  I had read it can be slow service sometimes, but we did not experience this.  The waiters were always right there filling up our wine and champagne glasses and food was plentiful.  The presentation was interesting and the breaks between meats allowed for multiple toasts!!!

         

        The flower centerpieces from the ceremony were supposed to be at the reception table somewhere, but they didn’t make it.  I’m not sure what happened to those centerpieces after we left the gazebo.  However, the table looked wonderful and everyone had a great time.  The kids went to the nightclub after dinner and the adults went down to the lawn chairs by the beach and smoked cigars and drank champagne for quite a while afterwards.  Fun times!!!



        #4 Janelley100

        Janelley100
        • Jr. Member
        • 297 posts

          Posted 28 July 2010 - 08:17 AM

           

          Overall, we had a great time.  The resort was beautiful and very accommodating to our group. My expectations from reading reviews were pretty high and most items were fulfilled...but there were some small details that I ultimately had to relax my expectations on in order to have a wonderful time. 

           

          Here is a link to just a few of the over 700 photos taken from our trip.  I will a link to more when I get them. http://geojoe.zenfolio.com/p906622515 

           

          Good luck to all and feel free to ask any questions you like.  



          #5 vgirl17

          vgirl17
          • Jr. Member
          • 315 posts
          • Wedding Date:April 24, 2010
          • Wedding Location:Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort, Cancun, Mexico
          • LocationVacaville, CA

          Posted 28 July 2010 - 10:33 AM

          Great Review! Congrats!!!!



          #6 alison15

          alison15
          • Jr. Member
          • 356 posts

            Posted 28 July 2010 - 11:04 AM

            Congratulations!! What a great review.  Just a few questions if you don't mind

             

            1. Who did you order your table runner and chair sashes through?

            2. Which gazebo did you get married in?

            3. You said in this post and another that your expectations were high and there were a few things that you had to relax your expectations on? Are you able to elaborate at all?

             

            Now I just need time to look at your pics 700!!!  I am sure they are awesome, you are so lucky to have your BIL take them for you. 
             



            #7 alison15

            alison15
            • Jr. Member
            • 356 posts

              Posted 28 July 2010 - 11:06 AM

              Ok I just started looking at your pics, Love your dress!! So pretty.



              #8 KimmyD

              KimmyD
              • Jr. Member
              • 351 posts

                Posted 28 July 2010 - 11:09 AM

                Thanks For the Review! Great Pics! Can't wait to see more.


                http://global.thekno...rs/tt4304d.aspx
                28 Booked + Bride & Groom
                78 Room Nights!

                #9 Janelley100

                Janelley100
                • Jr. Member
                • 297 posts

                  Posted 28 July 2010 - 11:33 AM



                  Originally Posted by alison15 

                  Congratulations!! What a great review.  Just a few questions if you don't mind

                   

                  1. Who did you order your table runner and chair sashes through?

                  2. Which gazebo did you get married in?

                  3. You said in this post and another that your expectations were high and there were a few things that you had to relax your expectations on? Are you able to elaborate at all?

                   

                  Now I just need time to look at your pics 700!!!  I am sure they are awesome, you are so lucky to have your BIL take them for you. 
                   

                  1. Sashes and table runners came from CV Linens.  I just added a link to their website in the review under Decor.  We used Aqua - Standard Width Satin Chair Sashes and Aqua Satin Table Runner.  They looked great!!!

                   

                  2. Tucan Gazebo - Farthest gazebo to the south in the Nizuc section.  It has a super long brickstone walkway and the carpet they laid out was a tan color (not the red as they have in the photos).

                   

                  3.  This is a hard question for me because I think we all have varying levels of expectations when planning.  As well, some details are very important to some and those same details could mean the slightest to others.  So, I suppose that after reading the reviews ALL over the place like everyone else....and paying the prices to go to an upper end resort...I assumed that "small" details would just BE.  For instance, a smooth checkin with someone acting like they knew you were there with a group to be married....like they knew you were the bride and groom.  In fact, all of the details of check in....not just here's your bags, go to the front desk and then be escorted to your room.  Isn't it supposed to be handled just a little bit above the bar?  I assumed so and don't feel as if they achieved that with us.  Or how about little details in the room.  Turndown service?  For some reason I thought this was a nightly part of our room package....but alas...it didn't happen.  A surprise in our room?  Such as....a bath...or flowers...or SOMETHING?  Not this time.  These are just a couple of the details that I recall off the top of my head.  

                   

                  All in all....we were very pleased with the resort...the food, the rooms, the pools and the people.  You never walked by a staff member without receiving an "Hola".  It was very nice!  Looking back, I wouldn't have done anything different given our family group that we went with.  Everyone was taken care of and ultimately left happy!  However, we are looking forward to taking a trip with just the two of us to a slightly more secluded spot next time.  IT IS what you make of it and we MADE it a Fantastic time!!!!!!!

                   



                  #10 asbarret

                  asbarret
                  • Jr. Member
                  • 217 posts

                    Posted 28 July 2010 - 11:36 AM

                    Great review! Off to look at pics




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