I got married at the RIU in May...It was amazing! You will LOVE it there!
You really won't get to choose much until 2 months before. Even though your travel agent said beach wedding, you can still request to have it under either gazebo.
The florist you will work with is great, her name is Alina and she was very patient and did a great job. Its really hard not being able to know exactly what your wedding will look like until 2 months away, but you just have to trust that they do this all the time and are great at their jobs.
As for the semi-private vs. private locations: Its VERY confusing! Its like they need to come up with a flow chart so you can understand all of their policies. However, I think after planning my wedding for 18 months I got the jist-
1. Mar de Cortes (Steak house) (rent the whole thing if you have enough people to rent the whole place...I forgot how many that was I think 60 or 80 people is the min to close it)
2. Mar de Cortes (Steak house terrace): This is on the ground level, and you can walk out to the beach from here
3. San Jose (Mexican Restaurant): I think most people rent the terrace of this which is above beach level. I wouldn't want to rent out the inside of the restaurant because its enclosed vs. the steakhouse which is not enclosed and has a nice open air feel, but does have a ceiling.
4. Misaki (Japanese) This restaurant is enclosed as well. I don't think many people rent this out.
5. Medano (Buffet) Why would you want it here?
6. English Garden (This is the terrace of the Buffet) I don't think a lot of people rent this, its probably pretty busy around there especially since its around dinner time.
7. The Pacific Ball Room- inside
8. Baja Norte/Baja Suhr:Poolside I had mine at the Baja Norte. The only difference is that the Baja Norte is the quiet pool by day, and the Baja Suhr is the activity pool by day. So, its a little more private at the Baja Norte. I Loved having it pool side because it was beautiful and you are overlooking the beach and ocean as well...there was NO One around us once the reception started at 7:00 which was very nice.
9. The Beach: The set up tables right on the beach, either right by the Steakhouse restaurant or right by the Mexican Restaurant- This option looked nice, but i think i would rather have my tables on solid ground.
1. Steakhouse Terrace
2. Mexican Terrace
For the semi-private you only get these for one seating...either the early seating 6:30 or 8:30 I think they are both for 2 hours. If you want both seatings you have to pay for it.