This is ridiculously long but it is everything I could think of describing in detail and I wish I had been able to find a review like this when I began planning for my wedding. Yes, the chapel is gorgeous. Here is my review on each category and then overall experience.
Both properties were clean and laid out well. It was a typical resort feel and all our guests enjoyed it. It is not 5-Star as they claim though. Many people upgraded to beachfront walkouts and thought it was well worth it. The standard rooms are nothing special. We upgraded to the Presidential Suite (asked for a major discount since we were the bride and groom) and this was awesome! We had an attached room that the best man and a couple others shared. The hotel is VERY strict. We had two bridesmaids that flew in a day before their husbands and were planning on crashing in someone's room to save them money on that one night and the hotel reception, security, managers etc. noticed their lack of wrist bands and hunted them down and made us add them to rooms. They both arrived late in the evening and were only going to sleep before their reservation started but had to pay anyway. Which is fine I guess bc rules are rules but just don't expect to get away with anything. There is only one restaurant that accepts reservations that accommodated our 55 person group into 5 large tables. The other restaurants would not seat any more than 10 at any one table and even when we only wanted one of the tables to have 12 they refused until I yelled in Spanish at the manager. They need to be able to make exceptions for special events such as weddings where you bring them so much business. Even the smallest requests were denied or had to be fought for.
Was good but not exceptional. I think everyone in our group thought it was pretty good, despite how many buffets they have verses A la carte. Even the buffets had stations where they would grill up your choice of raw meats and such. I even asked for cheese and chicken quesadillas out of the blue and they gladly made them for me. All the waiters, bartenders and bell boys etc are wonderful.
Awful, terrible, worst service ever. When I say Flora is bad I mean she is the worst professional I've ever dealt with. She has no style, no class and is just a downright witch. She will not reach out to you...ever...even though she is suppose to start working with you 30 days before your wedding. I finally reached out to her two and a half weeks before the wedding by phone after my emails went unanswered. She will not give you the information you request and just really doesn't do any work for you. I asked for a program schedule for the mass so I could provide my guests (most were not Catholic) with a program I was going to make so they would know what was going on but Flora said she couldn't get me one. So instead my guests sat there having no clue what was going on because the priest was awkward with his English and couldn't be properly understood most of the time. He had a very difficult time translating meaning properly. He also did not ask, "who gives this woman to this man." Finally, he did not do the traditional vows but something less instead. Anyhoo, Flora has no idea how she should treat a bride. I was sooo laid back and couldn't get even the simplest requests met. For example I upgraded my cake from the standard small one that came with our package and she would neither credit the smaller one toward the cost nor give us the small one as a groom's cake. Also, a champagne toast for 15 was included in my package and she refused to give it to us for only 15, she said we either needed to pay for each additional guest over the 15 or forfeit the included 15. We asked for just the bottles to be sent to our room for us and she wouldn't do it, even though we had PAID for that in our package. I had to throw a fit and tell her we would send all our guests to a cocktail hour after the ceremony and do the toast with only family (which happened to be about 15 people) because we had paid for it and the package was a signed, binding contract. Oh and finally lets not forget that I had the Villas Terrace confirmed with the THREE previous off site coordinators AND contracted but when we arrived she said we were reserved at the rooftop terrace and that was the only thing available. I lost it and yelled at her and told her we would get a full refund and not do the reception there then and she said there were no refunds to which I replied I would do a charge back because in the US you get what you pay for or you don't pay. I emailed her my contract right then and told her she better have the Villas Terrace set up for us and she did because there wasn't even a reservation conflict with another reception at all. I will say that if you go through with all this at these properties you initially state that you do not want to work with Flora under any circumstance. The other coordinator we saw in the office seemed sooo much nicer, stylish and easy to work with than Flora.
Amazingly beautiful. This will not disappoint. It is even prettier in person. Absolutely perfect.
Was just okay. Like I said the language barrier caused confusion in context because Spanish can not be translated literally word for word into English, it is kind of backwards and context was lost at times. I speak fluent Spanish so I knew what was going on but most all of my guests were lost. You absolutely MUST make them find or create a schedule of the wedding mass proceedings so that you can make a program for your guests that let them know what is going on and when to stand, sit, speak, etc. It will be 100% worth it. I really wish I would have pressed this issue but I was too laid back at the time. Overall it was okay though...definitely memorable. If you want him to ask who's giving you away or want special vows- make sure they know and do it, I wish I had. He also didn't have us exchange rings after the vows...we did it much later. It was like mass, then vows, then mass and then at the very end rings and kiss. Weird but it was okay I guess.
We had a private reception on the Villas Terrace and it was gorgeous!! We brought our own colored satin chair bows ($0.89 ea. to buy on line instead of the $4 or $5 they charge at the resort to rent) and also jeweled candle holders, votives and candles. We also brought our own tall, skinny glass vases for floral arrangements and had Flamingo florist in central Cancun make arrangements for us (I brought a picture and vases to them) and then we had them meet us down the street from hotel the day of the wedding to drop them off to us. If you have them or anything delivered from vendor other than the resort itself the resort will want to charge you $350 for each outside vendor. We got 3 large arrangements for the tables, 7 bridesmaid bouquets and 7 boutonnieres in our colors all for $150...the same items would have totaled $1500 through the resort. We brought several other personal touch items and that made it more special still. I would recommend bringing some of these types of items should you choose to have a private reception (which IMO is TOTALLY worth it). Also we brought our own escort cards in two different colors so that we could have two entree choices for guests (they chose when they RSVP'd) and the different color cards at the place settings signaled the wait staff as to who had what. I chose different items from different menus to make up my menu, you just have to ask the off site wedding coordinator you work with early on to give you more menu options and put one you like together.
$850 for 3 hours scared us away because we knew we could have the same speakers set up by the resort and play ipods to save that money for more spending/shopping on our European honeymoon, but it was 200% worth the money! DJ Doremixx (Ivan & staff) were amazing! They had lights, cold fireworks, balloons, glow stick bracelets, and funky props they handed out at different times throughout everyone dancing and it made it so fun and special. Our guests danced the whole entire time and had such a blast...they talked a lot about how awesome the DJ/reception was. We gave him our music for first dance and he mixed it perfectly (there were 2 songs) and at the end when we finished with a dip they set off cold fireworks at exactly that moment...guests went crazy! I highly recommend the DJ if you decide on a private reception.
There were a TON of unnecessary hassles created by the on site wedding coordinator Flora and the hotel reception staff that made the few days before the wedding VERY stressful. BUT when it was all said and done the day of was close to perfect. It was a battle but it all came together in the end and was worth it. If I had to do it all over again I would have asked for a different wedding coordinator a few weeks out or possibly even chosen to have only the ceremony at the chapel and stay at a different hotel with the reception at the other hotel. Yeah, I think that would have been best. Choose a different hotel to stay at and also have your reception there. Only book the chapel for the ceremony and bus your guests from your hotel to the Church for just the ceremony and then back to your hotel for the reception. There are lots of better hotels with MUCH better service that have phenomenal reviews from BDW brides for receptions. So if you can, go that route. If you are like me and want everything at one hotel than do it here but make sure you are clear ahead of time about EVERYTHING you expect and have it in EMAILS not just verbal commitments.
Sorry this was so long but I wanted to let you all know how everything really was and I wish someone had done it for me when I was planning. Hope this helps!! Happy planning to all!!