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boutiquebride

So lost... HELP!!!

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We got engaged early in the summer, and started thinking about a destination wedding right away. We had a few criteria, so it made it easier to know where to start: we wanted a small boutique hotel, all-inclusive and it didn't matter to us if it was adults-only or not. We also knew we wanted as luxurious as we could find, and hopefully no buffets or the large resort atmosphere with tons of tourists around. Authentic, but absolutely gorgeous, world's most beautiful beaches, clean and top-notch world-class service.

 

As far as locations went, we knew we'd have guests from all over the world (US, Canada, Europe, Middle East), so it had to be easy to get to (no obscure Caribbean islands). Finally we zeroed in on the Mayan Riviera, and hired a TA.

 

That's when our progress stopped. There are so so many options in Mexico! We first looked at Azul Beach, but then we found out how the most beautiful beach in Mexico is Maroma, and started looking at properties there. The first guess was El Dorado Maroma, which seemed to satisfy all of the above criteria. But when I got the price list of EDM, I was so surprised! $1500 for a DJ? My entire budget for the reception/ceremony/rehearsal is $10,000. There was no way I could have the experience of a lifetime with that budget being at EDM. Then I called up the main Sandals number, did a big phone consultation, and realized that for 50 guests (that's how many guests we expect), we could have a free private rehearsal dinner followed by two hours of open bar, an hour long cocktail session the next day, a two hour long reception dinner and then four hours of DJ and open bar, all for about $10,000.

 

I know most brides here don't seem to talk about budgets too much, but the budgeting aspect really really matters to me. We just bought a house and fully furnished it, and it really doesn't make sense to us to spend too much money on the wedding. My total budget is $20,000 and half of that goes towards bridal/groom wear, our flights and hotel fees and our photographer (another aspect of the wedding that REALLY matters to us).

 

I know I'm on a budget, but I don't think it's unreasonable to expect an absolutely amazing destination wedding experience for $10,000. When I saw the Sandals prices, I started reconsidering our most important criteria (small boutique hotel, most beautiful beaches in the world, etc.) Our TA suggested Negril and Whitehouse if I do decide to go the Sandals route (which aren't even in Mexico... so there goes the location decision too!)

 

I'm so lost, and our wedding month is November 2011. The clock's ticking and people need to be sent STDs so they can start planning/budgeting. Help, please??!!

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Hi Boutiquebride

 

Welcome on the forum.....you certainly can get lost in here.

 

My travel agent was not much help either, I just dont think they provide the service they used to.

 

I agree that Maroma has beautiful beaches.  That is why I choose Secrets Maroma Riveria Maya.

 

You should be able to most certainly do you wedding there.........I believe it to be one of the top 5 hotels in that strip.(but that is only my opinion)

 

It is adult only, small, but not tooo small. very elegant rooms........and i researched just about every resort in that stretch i think.

 

FYI: all the very little things add up.......you have to think to yourself........Do i really neeed it?  Will THAT really matter?  I started out with one idea of what I wanted and ended up with a completely different agenda.......I also went about $1,500 over budget.....so give yourself a little cushion.

 

If you decide you are interested in Secrets Maroma let me know......I am getting married May 5,2011.  Which is Cinco De Mayo......and I have no idea.....LOL

 

Nemmerz

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Hi Nemmerz,

 

Thanks for your reply! I was initially interested in EDM because they only do one wedding a day -- I don't think that's the case with Secrets Maroma, right? I actually started looking at Secrets today, and I'm pretty interested. The beach at EDM seems absolutely breath-taking though, but I guess you pay the premium for the prettier beach?

 

How many guests do you have? And what's the best way to get their price breakdown? Their wedding package online is pretty detailed. I'm trying to find out how much it would be to get one of the packages (ultimate, I think?) for 50 guests instead of 20... Did you just e-mail them through their link online?

 

Tell me a bit more about your experience with them, please. At this point, I'm seriously considering Secrets Maroma instead of EDM.

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the best thing would be to figure out the top 3 things that you want for your day, and then be relaxed on the others. I think it's hard to find a boutique hotel in the world of all inclusive hotels in Mexico....you and your guests will have an amazing time where ever you end up, and Nov isn't a high tourist season so any hotels should be a bit on the empty side.

 

Good luck!

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I have similar concerns with budget.  We are actually doing out entire wedding for $12,000.  That includes everything wedding related from the save the dates all the way up to to travel and reception.  A lot of the resorts have wedding packages and promotions that help you stay on budget.  For example, at Palace Resorts if your guests book a total of 75 nights or more you get free unlimited events (welcome coctail, reception, rehearsal dinner, reception, etc) and your 7 nights stay gets refunded after your stay.  It was definitely a big factor us picking Moon Palace for our wedding.  Take your time and do some research on here.  This site definitely helped me more than my travel agent.  Good luck!

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Picking the place is the hardest part!!  But honestly, I think it is hard to go too wrong.  There are many beautiful places and resorts you can get married at that you and your guests will love.

 

I'm getting married at Azul Sensatori.  I definitely think you could have your ceremony/reception at this place and a lot of others for 10K.  The DJ is expensive, but the meal is roughly $30-40/pp, which does not add up to that much for 50 people.  That still leaves you over half of your budget for flowers, decorations, chairs, set-up fees, favors, etc.  I think all the Karisma/Azul/El Dorado properties have the same costs, so I honestly think you could do EDM for 10K or less.  But it all depends on what you are looking for and what is important to you. 

 

You'll find the right place for you, and wherever you end up, it will be wonderful and a great time for everyone!  Good luck!

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I speak with either Valeria or Cecilia, mostly Cecilia.......the WC's.  They are OK with getting back to me, usually 2 - 3 days, but sometimes that seems like a lifetime, so on occasion I will call them.  They are fantastic on the phone.  I got international calling on my cell for $4 a month, so I feel comfortable calling when I dont want to wait for an email.  So if you want to know if 20 people over is a problem, sometimes try and give them a call.  The phone number is listed on their site.....NOW they do answer the phone in spanish and you have NO idea what they are saying, just ask for the WC and they start speaking english..... :)

 

I am having a small reception 10 -12 people.....and really I am not a fussy bride........I just want a simple wedding on the beach, no music or cocktail hour....i figure we can just hang out all the bar.........geez, its all inclusive, but i realize when you are dealing with a larger number of people it becomes more of a concern...............I have heard fantastic things about Maroma Beach and Cecilia, i have research that area to death from........Iberostar, Grand Palliduim, Dreams resorts, Barcelo, Bahia, Sandos resorts, Now resorts, and RUI resorts.........i have seriosly spoken to every WC from all those resorts.

 

So if you are considering any of those, i can also help out :)..............Secrets Maroma is more than I wanted my guests to spend.......but I gave in because the resort is just fantastic, service in known for its excellence, Maroma beach is ranked one of the most beautiful in the Riveria.  Their rooms take your breathe away.

 

If you upgrade your room too, you can get your package for free.  I upgrade my room to the Preferred Suite and got my Paradise Package for FREE which essentially is a trade off, you get a much better room and your wedding for free. (extra stuff not included of course....ex. stereo systems and what not)

 

I felt this one WAS FOR ME.......but other are correct..........Figure out what is most important to you and what you can afford....My opinion you need to start speaking with the WC to get a feel of what extras will be. Since your party is larger I would think you would get better ROOM rates, but pay for extras in the wedding so it may balance out. :)

 

But do your research.................I changed resorts 3x before I finally said..........Maroma is IT for me......

 

Have fun with it.........you have TIME......my wedding is May 5.....OMG.which is Cinco De Mayo...how funny is that.....LOL  And i just started planning now in November..........

 

Oh I was told Maroma does 2 weddings a day............but i find those answers arent always correct........

 

Good luck.....keep in touch....

 

Nemmerz

May 5, 2011

Secrets Maroma

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Thanks a lot everyone. This is great. I'm getting such good insight through your responses!

 

Nemmerz, since you've done all this research, do you know how far the 'clubs/bars' area in Playa is from the Maroma beach area? I think I have a top three list now: EDM, Azul Beach and Secrets Maroma. One of the things I'm concerned about is keeping my young guests entertained (and by entertainment, I don't mean Michael Jackson shows, etc. --- those resort acts are so cheesy!) I know at the end of the day, my guests would want to venture out into the town for partying at least 2 - 3 times during the week. Just want to know how much cab rides would cost to the nearest clubs district.

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After reading your last response my place might not be the best option.  I am getting married at Ceiba del Mar - has the option to do AI or not.  You use whatever vendor you wish and there are many to choose from so you will be able to negotiate your prices.  It is a small resort (88 rooms) with true Mexican authentic feel BUT there really isn't a night life.  It is only about 25 minutes from Cancun and very close to Puerto Morelos (not much happening there but some restaurants and bars).

 

Good luck!

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OH yes, the nightlife...............Playacar has PLENTy of that,.............i have heard many stories on some of these forums regarding the night life there!!!

 

I think its only a 20min taxi ride...............maybe 10US dollars to get there.........dont quote me on that.........I know you can negotiate prices with the drivers.

 

Many people that stay at the SANDOS resort right across the street from the town Playacar have gone to CLUBS down there and have a BLAST..I have heard many good things about the clubs there.........alot of the brides go there late in the evening after they have been married or for a Bachlorette party.

 

I will have to find out the name again..........its a "catchy" name.........

 

What about in the CANCUN direction too.........I havent looked in that direction, but Secrets Maroma is only a 20 min. ride from airport....there has gotta be nightlife there too...........

 

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