Well, as it is tradition to write a review of weddings, here is mine!
WEDDING DATE: May 19th, 2011
WEDDING LOCATION: The Royal in Playa del Carmen, Mexico
NUMBER OF GUESTS: 18
First of all, I have to say that this was by far the best experience of my life. I am so happy the way everything turned out. It couldn't have been more perfect.
We gave each couple a beach bag of goodies including: a welcome booklet, a sudoku and crossword book, Spanish translation book (free on line), blowup beach ball, Frisbee, Nerf football, 2 squirt guns, Kleenex, a deck of cards, gum, lotion, mirror/brush, hand sanitizer, a "beach kit" including chap stick, aloe, and sunscreen, and a "hangover kit" including tums, Imodium, alka seltzer, pepto bismol tablets, emergen-C, Tylenol, and gator-aid packets. Everyone loved the gift packs. I saw everyone using the bags and beach toys, and was told that the beach kit and hangover kit were put to good use.
My husband and I are from Colorado and booked our trip through Genie Travel. Dale Borchelt was our travel agent and she was awesome! The had been to the Royal in PDC before and told us how amazing it was. (she did not let us down) Most of the guests booked through her, and she made sure everyone was close together on the flight and our rooms at the hotel were close together.
We flew Frontier Airlines. I assumed that I could take a dress in my garment bag as my carry on. I decided to double check (2 nights before we left) and was told that they do not have a place to hang my dress and it would have to be in a carry on luggage, or I would need to check it. Of course I was stressed out!! My dress is big and I couldn't fit it in a carry on luggage. The thought of checking it made me even more nervous. In the end, I was able to squish my dress in a carry on. (I wasn't too nervous about that since I had already paid for a steam press at the hotel) This actually worked out better because I didn't have to carry my dress though the airport, it was very nice to just pull it. But for future brides, I found out at the airport that I could have carried it on with me, they would have placed it in the overhead bin on top of other luggage or in one by itself. (I wore my veil from my bachelorette party and the flight attendants gave us free drinks and snacks) very nice!
Our travel agent booked us all on the shuttle through Lomas Travel. They were fantastic. When we arrived we were told to look for the guys in the white and teal outfits. They were very easy to spot and were holding a big sign that said lomas travel. They led us all to the bus very quickly. (a piece of advice- they shuttle sells coronas on the bus 2 for $5) very good deal, and it is nice to have a cold drink to the hotel. (it takes about an hour from the airport to the hotel)
I can not say enough about this resort. It was amazing!!!!! We checked in with the romance concierge right away, which made check in very easy. We booked a master suite so we could get the free wedding. The room was AMAZING!!!! We walked in our room and there was a bottle of champagne and a cake for 2 that said "happy honeymoon". The bed was dressed in rose pedals. They also put rose pedals on our bed almost everyday. Our room was on the garden side, which was nice. My husband and I love the pool, so I think next time we would stay on that side. (although, it is not a far walk, so really it probably wouldn't matter). Everyone at the hotel was extremely nice. The pools were wonderful. I loved the swim up bar. We probably stayed in that pool most of the time The food was also fantastic. Asiana was by far everyone's favorite restaurant. Most of the time we had a large group going to dinner together. All the restaurants could only have a 8 as max number of people sitting together. But, they always gave us 2 tables very close together. So it was never a problem. I have heard some people say they had to wait forever, but for us this was never the case. I don't know if we went to dinner at the right time, but we always were seated right away. Probably the only restaurant we didn't care for was spice. The food was good, but no AC in there. El Mediterrano is basically the same restaurant as spice, but it has AC. So if we felt like eating at a buffet, we went there. The only complaint about the restaurants were from the guys. At most restaurants (and I think all for dinner) the men had to be wearing long pants and close toed shoes. (although one of our guests came down in pajama pants and the hotel slippers and they were fine with that) so, it is not like they have to dress up! they women can wear what ever they want. Overall, the hotel was just amazing. My husband and I are already planning on returning for our 1 year anniversary!
We had Lili as our wedding coordinator. She was very nice and friendly. She put us both to ease when we met her. We had an appointment with her the day after we arrived. There we both had our blood tests done and went over the schedule. Our 4 witnesses needed to be there as well to give her copies of passports and tourist cards. We changed a few things last minute and she was very accommodating. The day before the wedding we gave her a suitcase full of personalized items that we wanted for our wedding. We had showed her what everything was, and she had set it out even more perfectly then I imagined for our wedding. The only thing I wish she would have told us before was since we were from the united states we should probably pay to have our wedding certificate translated in English. I had checked prior to leaving, and was told a Spanish marriage certificate would be fine here, but when I went to go change my drivers license, I was told it has to be in English. (although the social security office took the Spanish copy...) Now we have to fax our marriage certificate back to the hotel to have it translated, and they will mail us a English copy. ($120.00 now vs $30 if we knew about it there). Also, we had two guests that came in from another hotel. (they were both in the wedding) Lili told me that they could be there with us (from 11:00am until after the wedding) and when they got there, the hotel wouldn't let them in, so they had to pay for the day pass.
I scheduled my hair appointment for 12:00pm the day of my wedding. I did not bring a picture of what I wanted but I had an idea. They have pictures there and I chose 2 that I liked and the lady at the spa sort of Incorporated both. She did an amazing job! My mom and bridesmaids also had their hair done, and everyone looked amazing.
I did not care to have a ton of flowers. Only my husband and I had some. I chose the bird of Paradise bouquet from the resort (which turned out so beautiful) and he had an orange Gerber daisy as his boutonniere. Both were so nice.
We had our ceremony on the beach by Pelicanos. If your choosing a beach ceremony, I would highly recommend this location. It is definitely more private then the central beach. We did have people on the pier watching us, but I did not mind. Everything turned out perfect. The lady that married us was very nice, she had a few poems she said during the ceremony. Very nice touch. It lasted about 20 min (estimate) which was perfect. I didn't want a long ceremony.
We went with the free wedding (because we booked a master suite) and paid extra for a private reception on the beach. Our reception was on the beach by Pelicanos as well. Since we had a small group we decided not to hire a DJ. And I was so glad we didn't. We had music on an ipod and one of our friends took it over. We could have hired someone from the resort to do that, but our friend really wanted to. It was perfect! The wait staff at the reception was amazing. They were very fast about bring out each course. (which I wanted) they also made sure no one ever had an empty drink. If you were even close to having one, they brought out a new cold drink. We asked for shots for everyone a few times and they were very quick about that. We had the regular wood dance floor, and that was perfect. Everyone danced through out the night. It was so much fun.
Since our dinner included dessert, we went with the resort signature cake. (which was plenty) After everyone ate, we still had about 1/2 the cake left. I had asked for the flowers on the cake to be a different color, and they were able to do that. We chose strawberry for the cake. It was sooooo good! The best cake I have ever had! It had fresh strawberries in it and was so moist!
We hired an outside photographer. His name is Gonzalo Nunez. He was AMAZING!!! He came at 1:00pm and stayed until after the reception. He brought an assistant and they took so many pictures. (we found out later he drove 10 hours to come) He was so nice and directed us really well. He started in my room with the girls and then went to the guys room. He was not afraid to get in the dance floor when everyone was dancing to get some pictures. I can not say enough good things about him. (he was also cheaper then most photographers I had seen) I would highly recommend him if anyone is still looking for a photographer!!!!
Our group went on two excursions. The snorkel tour. (which was awesome) and Xel-ha. If anyone has not decided on going on an excursion, I would recommend Xel-ha. So beautiful!!! Everyone loved it!
Overall, everything was perfect. I couldn't have dreamed for a better wedding. If anyone has any questions, please let me know. I will also be posting pictures soon.