In the spirit of this forum, and a thank you for all of the advice I received from other destination brides here is my review for youâ€¦
Gran Porto Real Resort and Spa was the perfect location for our beachside wedding.
The wedding coordinator, Lilia, was fantastic and is always there to put you at ease. Elsy was also great help every step of the way until we were transferred onsite to Lilia. GPR brides, as others have noted, you have nothing to worry about, our wedding went smoothly and everything was perfect.
Ceremony - Oceanside Gazebo
The gazebo is lovely for a small ceremony, the view is beautiful and the soft white curtains are perfect to create a more private space. The gazebo is also more comfortable for the guests because they can sit in the shade and this part of the beach is also quieter. Personally, we preferred this gazebo to the one at the Royal after seeing both when we were there. We also brought our own music on CD which worked out great. We customized our ceremony with a couple of readings and it was not a problem. After the ceremony we had our champagne toast and cut the cake (yummy!) then had our photos taken. We recommend taking some pictures on the pier.
Reception â€“ Il Pescatore Restaurant
Our dinner after the ceremony was at Il Pescatore Restaurant, they kept the space where we were private, and the dÃ©cor was exactly what we were looking for covered in rose petals and candles. We had one long table and a small table was set up beside for flowers, name tags and our guest book. The service was also excellent. All of our guests enjoyed the food, especially desert, the Parisian chocolate shell with fruit and Cinzano flavour! Delicious!
Cocktail and Dancing â€“ Oceanside Gazebo
We also had a cocktail and dancing in the gazebo after our dinner with mariachis for a second hour that were a lot of fun. The set up was great with a couple of smaller tables, two tall tables, and enough room for a dance floor big enough for everyone. They also set up a bar and canapÃ©s. It is very nicely done. We brought CDs and had no problems with the music either until we were finally cut off. Then we just continued our celebration inside.
The flowers were beautiful! I upgrades my bouquet and it was worth it â€“ loved it! The centrepieces were lovely too.
My tips to future GPR brides:
Book lots of time for your spa appointments over at the Royal. Several of us went to the spa at the Royal 4 hours prior to the wedding at 5pm (perfect time for the ceremony in spring!) thinking this was more then enough time for a mani/pedi and hair. The service was great, but brideâ€™s keep in mind you will probably need more time then you expect, it was cutting it short when I got back to get ready. I heard from other bridal parties at the resort (there were many!) this is a common hiccup in the day that may leave your groom sweating or thinking you might be swimming awayâ€¦
Also you might want to schedule for a little extra time between the ceremony/reception/cocktail if you are having these.. we kept a 30 mins cushion between dinner and the cocktail/dancing and still we were a little behindâ€¦ but it is your day! So enjoy it!
Overall, the service at the resort and cleanliness are excellent. We mostly had oceanview rooms facing the boulevard/ocean and none of our guests had any noise issues or complaints. A couple of guests were in the other end with rooms that looked more recently renovated, but some of the junior suites are a little tired. We enjoyed the food at all of the restaurants and especially room service. I recommend trying the various juices, fresh omelettes, huevos rancheros or where they cook fresh stir fry â€“ you select the meat, veggies and sauce.. we had no complaints.
Mariaâ€™s restaurant was also great in accommodating our large group and the food was delicious. Try the tortilla soup for startersâ€¦ everyone also enjoyed Il Pescatore, the Italian Restaurant and Albatros.
We had the honeymoon oceanfront dinner - it was totally worth it. Our spot was very private with a beautiful view of the ocean and setting sun. The food was excellent.
All and all we would do it all over again. For a quieter, family resort right on the beach, only a couple blocks to 5th Avenue shopping and near the ferry to Cozumel, us and all of our guests had a fantastic experience and we had our dream beach wedding.
Happy planning destination brides! Enjoy the fun!