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#31 babigirl21

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    Posted 21 February 2011 - 09:58 AM

    Thank you Nsousa and Brenners,

     

    I think I'm split between Barcelo and Dreams Riveria.  I do like the options of Barcelo and it appears that people can pick a resort to fit their budget and since they are staying at one of the five resorts, there is no additional fees.  I saw on their website that it says no outside photographers allowed.  Nsousa, I'm pretty sure you have checked this area out.  Is the resort photographer of good quality and do they also have videography?  I just want to be able to meet all the needs of my guests (the families, party folks, and those on limited budgets) while still have a fabulous wedding.  Playa de Carmen is within a reasonable distance for people to go out at night.  I also do not want to exceed $12,000 (total to include our airfare/hotel for a week).  I would expect at least 50-70 guests and would look at one of the more expensive packages.

     

    I guess I will start reviewing the most recent post (6 months to present) of the boards for Barcelo Place and Dreams Riveria.  Thank you both!   


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    #32 nsousa

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      Posted 21 February 2011 - 03:04 PM

      Barcelo - if you stay at the Palace you can access all properties. 

       

      If you stay at Colonial or Tropical they are both very nice as well and will meet somewhere in the middle budget to satisfy all your guests, but i would contain all my guests to one property or the other -- or your party will feel very disconnected.  I don't recommend the beach/caribe bc some areas are not air conditioned and you are very limited on your dining options as well.  maybe for the very budget conscious, cooler month brides...but it wasn't for me.

       

      Whatever you decide, your whole party should stay at the same place...in my opinion.  Therefore, the same pool, beach, buffets, lobby bar, theater, etc.  Of course, they can wander off on their own, but at least you have a home base where you can all find each other.   The resort is big and letting some people stay at one end and some at the other will put miles between them. 

       

      I haven't heard anything good about the resort photographer, but I am very particular about photos and I just don't get the impression that they are the best you can get for your money.  Ivan Luckie had very reasonable rates and packages when I booked.

       

      I am looking for a reasonably priced videographer as well...so let me know when you find one!

       

      With the strawberry breeze package, I believe you could possibly stay below 12000.  If you are willing to have it in a reception hall, keeping the cost down would be easier.  Outdoor dinners will double your cost per person, however -- which can add up very quickly. 

       

      We had a budget set in mind when we started - and we are now 25% over...but we added in so many additional things that aren't necessities...just try to stay carefree and it will be beautiful.

       

      We considered every last tiny detail in that budget though.

       

      Start your budget as early as possible...refer to my post for a starter list:

       

      http://www.bestdesti...et#post_1550088



      #33 Brenners

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        Posted 21 February 2011 - 04:39 PM

        I agree with Nsousa.  We saw a room at the Colonial and it was quite lovely.  Also, I love the Colonial's entrance - total heaven with all the fountains!  Nsousa, I am going to check out your budget thread.  Thanks for sharing!



        #34 nsousa

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          Posted 21 February 2011 - 05:07 PM

          If you went to the Colonial or Tropical and never saw the Palace, you would definitely not miss a thing bc it is just as lovely on it's own. 

           

          The Palace is just the icing on a cake that already has delicious frosting.  ;)



          #35 babigirl21

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            Posted 21 February 2011 - 05:33 PM

            There are so many detail so thank you for posting a budget thread.  I do love the look of the Palace the most and like there there is premium alcohol compared to the other resorts.  So are you definitely locked in using the resort's photography?  We have family friend who is a photographer and will just have him at the wedding as well.  I'm split between the packages, but do agree that I can stay in budget if I went with the Strawberry Breeze package.  I like the chocolate sensation package only because you get the upgrade to the master suite and that is specify premium drinks for open bar, but I'm not liking the $9K cost of package at the palace.  


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            #36 nsousa

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              Posted 21 February 2011 - 07:06 PM

              Premium alchohol is a great perk - but at the end of the day -- ur in mexico - so drinks are often tropical drinks -- and how can those ever be bad really? 

               

              i am not using the resort photographer.  i hired ivan luckie and paid for a room for him and his assistant at the beach for one night.  as long as they are a guest somewhere on the resort the night of your wedding, you can use whomever you want.

               

              if you talk to your travel agent or wedding coordinator and promise to book a specified number of rooms, they will likely upgrade you for free....or even give you a free room...ask for it...put it in writing up front!  they want your wedding party to come there...  if you are bringing in 20+ room bookings, you better believe they'll hook you up for it!

               

              dont pay that much for a package - all that money for what?  everyone gets the same menu, alcohol, service, venue, and views.  what are you paying for -- chocolate body paint?  everyone at the barcelo palace gets VIP treatment...it's a luxury hotel -- you are premium no matter which room you are in.  i promise...its not worth $9000.   How on earth are you going to stay below 12000 total with a 9000 package?  there is so much additional that you have to still pay for above and beyond the cost of the package!  (or am i missing something with the budget you mentioned earlier?)

               

              Don't get all hyped up over the fancy fluff those packages promise.  usually all those packages do is throw in stuff you can go pay less for on your own ... ask for whatever you want!   As long as its reasonable they will work with you.

               

              PS: Premium alcohol is stocked at all the bars - get in good with the bartender and give him a generous tip and i guarantee you get extra shots of whatever you want in your cup...it's not like your different color wristband means they are rolling out the red carpet for you and serving your drinks in fine china.  it's really not that much of a difference.

               

              can anyone else chime in with their experience?  i dont want to give you the wrong advice but thats how i see it.



              #37 Brenners

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                Posted 21 February 2011 - 07:09 PM

                If you stay at the Palace and your family and friends stay at a lower level hotel, then your guests can get a day pass to visit the Palace.  However, it is expensive for them to do that so keep that in mind.



                #38 babigirl21

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                  Posted 22 February 2011 - 10:22 AM

                  I wasn't sure what the difference was at the palace between regular and the preferred club (other the standard club services).  My FI, family and his friends are really the ones I'm concerned about with the alcohol becasue they will drink regular non-fruity drinks like cordials/regular martinis) and it will matter to them.  Please bear with me, I'm a newbie with all of this so I'm just trying to figure out what it a must with the packages and what I can do with out.  It does appear that I will still have to figure in photography/video/DJ so you are right @nsousa, I do not want to spend a small fortune on a higher package and still have to pay for 45 additonal people/dj/photos etc.  It's great to know there is a loop hole for the photography/videography and you do not have to use the resort.   

                   

                  So even if your guest stay at a lower priced Barcelo resort, I have to pay for a day pass for them?  That sucks.  I was under the impression that they would be allowed to attend the wedding ceremony/reception at the Palace for the day. I do believe that the palace is resonably priced for all my guest to stay there.  @nsousa, can you email me at l_jnelson@yahoo.com.  I know we are closer in proximty (I'm in Maryland and you are in New Jersey) and I have questions about travel.  

                   

                  So if the strawberry breeze package includes dinner on the beach why would it cost more than having it in the banquet hall?  Is there additonal charges I don't know about with this?  I prefer to have my wedding ceremony at the gazebo or in a location that I can wear high heels.  If weather permits, I would love to have the reception on the beach. 

                   

                  Thank you guys so much.  You have been such a blessing to me to understand this whole process.   


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                  #39 Brenners

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                    Posted 22 February 2011 - 08:18 PM

                    I am sorry Babygirl.  I did not mean to confuse you.  Your guests are allowed to attend the wedding and reception for free regardless of which hotel they stay.  They will however need a day pass any other day if they want to join you at the Palace and they stay at one of the less expensive hotels.  I am looking at  Barcelo as well and that is one thing that is a concern for me - making sure that all our guests can spend time together at one place whenever they want.  Having to pay a day pass is not cheap so something to keep in mind.  I don't know all the details about the reception and location prices.  My FI and I need to put together our list of questions and send them to the resorts we are considering.  Once I get back my information, then I will definitely share with you.



                    #40 babigirl21

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                      Posted 23 February 2011 - 10:34 AM

                      Okay.  That is great to know.  I'm hoping I can get a great group rate for my guests so they can all just stay at the Palace (I became a barcelo member so I can get all the emails about discounts).  I'm going to give around a 1 year notice of the wedding to guests and hopefully find a great travel agent that will offer 3-5 nights packages (hotel and transfers).  I'm also happy to know that we can choose an non-resort photographer as long as they are staying in the hotel overnight. 

                       

                      If all the guests cannot stay at the same hotel then maybe I can coordinate a welcome cocktail hour at the Colonial (I think that's were the disco is located).  I can have all my guests meet at a bar around 8:30 or 9 for a meet and greet.  The older folks can hang out for a while then go back to their rooms.  The party folks can just go to the disco afterwards.  I will definitely make sure that parents and bridal party at least stay in the Palace. 

                       

                      We are talking about taking a 3 night trip to Cancun in the next few 2-3 months so we make our selection on a resort.  I'm very impressed with Barcelo.  And after thinking about it, I like the fact that it is located away from Cancun.  I want my guests to have a different experience from the norm.  Everyone has visited Cancun at least once but I dobut they have been to Playa de Carmen and there is a great nightlife and activities there for folks if they choose to venture off the resort.   


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