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EDub007's Royal Playa Del Carmen Wedding Review

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Wedding Date - April 29th, 2011


Airport/Customs: A
On the inbound flight to Cancun, we were given a tourist card and a customs declaration form to fill out before we landed. At the airport, our first stop was be Immigration where the officer took take half the tourist card; we put the remaining half and passport in a safe place as we knew we would need them for the return flight! We headed to baggage claim were we found our luggage had already been unloaded to floor. Next, we went through customs. We put our bags into a scanner. I had brought home-made bouquets with me (lots of wires!), so they scanned my bags a couple of time before they let it go through. They never did open it. Next, we handed the customs form to the agent who asked us to press a large button. A green light means “go†and red means “inspection†in which case officials perform a quick baggage inspection. I was told one in seven people typically get red. We got green, but we had two couples get the red light (out of 30 guests total). Though both were nervous at first, they said it was a synch. After customs, we proceeded down a long hall lined with timeshare salesmen; we just keep walking and ignored them. Once outside, we located a representative from our shuttle company and showed them our transfer papers. The trip to the hotel took about 45 minutes because of construction on the highway; not bad.

Resort: B-
The resort is gorgeous and the location right off of 5th Ave in Playa is perfect. The rooms are all gorgeous with their own Jacuzzi, ample bar, iPod docks, and comfy beds. The housekeeping staff was excellent and a small tip went a long way. We especially loved the nightly turn down service with chocolates and your choice of an aromatherapy scent. The night of our wedding, we returned to a full Jacuzzi tub with rose petals in the water and all over the room and bed. Gorgeous! Our room came with a dedicated Cabana on the beach. Though beautiful, the beach at the resort is very small and crowded compared to resorts in Cancun, so our cabana was behind three rows of other cabanas blocking our view a bit.
The Royal had activities to suit everyone. My aunt and uncle booked tennis on the lovely rooftop grass court and other guests enjoyed biking, Pilates, volleyball, and nearby tours. Many just lay quietly by the beach and had a blast! Everyone loved the proximity to 5th and being able to walk along the shops and visit local clubs.

The food tasted good. Unfortunately, we had 10 guests get food poisoning over the week including me (the bride! - two days before my wedding). The symptoms were rough. Iâ€m not talking about a tummy-ache – Iâ€m talking Montezumaâ€s revenge (no one could stray from the bathroom – yuck!), but after visiting the resort doctor, we found it was food poisoning. He said it most likely came from food that was left out too long in the heat, growing gobs of bacteria. We reported it to the resort, but never received any response! Luckily, my fiancés dad travels to many third-world countries for work and was able to correct my issue with just two “magic†pills. I was good to go by the afternoon of our wedding – just in the nick of time! Other guests were not so fortunate. They were given pills from the resort doctor. Not only were they extremely expensive, but they also required 7 days to finish the treatment, no dairy products, and a mostly liquid diet. Many had to fly home still not feeling well. What made things worse it that we were all sick at different times throughout the week and had eaten at different places and times (not all together at the same restaurants). No one who was sick ever ate off the resort. That made us feel like the resort had a food storage issue. I was very disappointed that no one from the resort ever even contacted me or any of my guests during or after our stay!

Off-site Wedding Coordinator – Denisse Campos: B-

Denisse was fantastic at getting right back to me after every question I asked. I always received a response within a day, never more than two! However, I rated this B- because I was so disappointed with the lack of upfront information provided by the resort. I had to do all my own research to find out what to questions to ask (thank goodness I found this site!). They apparently have no brochures or information about what to expect. Though they do have some .PDF files that can be downloaded with some basic options and prices, the brochures really only get you about 20% there. My co-worker booked a destination wedding at another resort and immediately received a 20 page brochure with all the information she would need to get started. It even included a few pages for her to fill out and return to the wedding coordinator asking her basic information about what she would like for her wedding and reception. That would have been amazing!

On-site Wedding Coordinator – Denise: B-
My onsite visit with Denise was fantastic (so I thought). She asked lots of detailed questions to make sure my day would be setup just the way I wanted. I had brought huppa fabric, chair bows, programs, fans, and had ordered rose petals for the isle. All of it was setup nearly perfect. Unfortunately, like any wedding, a few things did go wrong.  During this meeting was the first time I found out that cocktail hour comes with hâ€orderves. I had never heard that before! Denise showed me a menu and we picked at random. Boy did I feel dumb since Iâ€d scheduled it for the hour following my wedding, just before my reception. Unfortunately, hardly anyone ate dinner since theyâ€d just eaten lots of appetizers. Next, I had wanted the programs and fans wrapped beneath the fabric of the chair bows, but instead, I found out someone was there handing them out; not a big deal to me. Also, I had asked to rent vases for the reception dinner tables so I could reuse my bridesmaids†bouquets as centerpieces. I specifically asked for a size suitable for a hand-held bouquet and reiterated that during my on-site meeting. The vases that ended up on the tables were huge- 24 inches tall and 8 inches diameter. The bouquets looked so ridiculous in those vases and I was embarrassed and disappointed. We had also discussed the schedule for the day and I felt good that she understood exactly what we would do. Unfortunately, our schedule fell to junk too. Denise was coordinating three wedding happening simultaneously. She stopped by immediately after out ceremony to see how things went. I was happy so she said sheâ€d come back by after appetizers to drop off the microphone for speeches. She didnâ€t return until we had already served desert. She apologized profusely, but my fiancé was a bit annoyed as he felt like our guests were sitting around wondering what to do next! The cake cutting and dancing all started late and I felt like we lost precious reception time.


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Spa: A (nails)/B (hair)
I had a pedicure and manicure done the morning of my wedding. It was so relaxing and the cosmetologist did an excellent job! What a great start to the day! I had decided to forgo the trial hair, which I wouldnâ€t recommend. I had brought a picture and the result was not quite there. The requested style had some separated pieces of hair in the front to add interest - more romantic looking. The style I received was basically swept straight back – boring in the front - more sophisticated. I know the stylist would have adjusted it if I had asked, but my bridesmaids convinced me it was fine. I should have gone with my instinct! I ended up adjusting it to separate out some front pieces and add a side part to make the front more interesting. My hair was style was okay – not terrible - and I received lots of compliments, but it wasnâ€t quite what I had wanted. All of my bridesmaids had selected a style from the spaâ€s book and all of their hair came out excellent!

Requested: Hairstyle_requested1.jpgHairstyle_requested.jpg




I brought my own bouquets that I made at home. They were all made with Real Touch flowers so they looked and felt pretty amazing – about as close to real as possible. Though I would have loved to have real flowers, I just couldnâ€t swing the $750 they wanted to charge for 4 bouquets and a centerpiece. Ouch! I spent less than $85 on real touch flowers because I found them all at Hobby Lobby for 50% off. It did survive multiple tosses into the sand at the request of our photographers!





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Ceremony (5 pm): A+
We had a legal ceremony and talked to Denisse ahead of time about incorporating a sand ceremony and a sea shell toss. Mexican legal ceremonies are very strict, however, and Denisse said it would either have to be at the beginning or the end of the ceremony. We decided to forgo the sand ceremony. No regrets there as the legal ceremony was beautiful and perfectly adequate for our needs! I was very disappointed in the beginning that I could not reserve the gazebo for our wedding. I really thought I wouldnâ€t like a beach ceremony as well as the gazebo. As it turns out, I just loved getting married on the beach! I was extremely worried about the wind as it had seemed pretty extreme on a few nights before my wedding, but it was just perfect.


Cocktails and appetizers (5:30 – 6:30):
We used central beach to have cocktails and appetizers. The set up looked lovely, and the food was delicious! They had cute cocktail tables with umbrellas for shade.



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Beach Reception (6:30-11:00): A
My reception was on central beach. Originally, I was really stressing about decorations thinking I needed to add a lot and wondering how I was going to rent or bring it all. In the end, I decided to keep it very simple and save some money – after all, we would be on the ocean anyway! The chairs had bows on them and I rented vases for $5 per table to put my bouquets in as a centerpiece. Had the vases been the right size, this would have gone off without a hitch. The rest of the table decorations were setup beautifully and provided at no extra cost by the resort; this included the dishes, linens, and candels. The servers we had for our beach reception were awesome. The staff waited on us hand and foot as far as drinks and food. We used an iPod for music, which worked out well except that the staff member who was only supposed to be watching the iPod was skipping through my playlist picking out the songs to play. He skipped all the slow songs except one which made me a bit mad as many of the older family members only danced that one time. It took me awhile to notice it though, so most had left by the time I realized what was going on. There was a wireless microphone set up for us for speeches and I rented an amazing light-up dance floor in the middle!
The reception was supposed to last no longer than 3 hours (9:30).
Unfortunately, (as I mentioned earlier) our schedule fell to junk since our WC was coordinating three wedding happening simultaneously. She stopped by immediately after out ceremony to see how things went. I was happy so she said sheâ€d come back by after appetizers to drop off the microphone for speeches. She didnâ€t return until we had already served desert. She apologized profusely, but my fiancé was a bit annoyed as he felt like our guests were sitting around wondering what to do next! The speeches, cake cutting and dancing all started late and I felt like we lost precious reception time.


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Overall Wedding Experience: B
Though I am happy with my wedding and I have so many fond memories, there a few items that, hindsight being 20/20, I wish I could change. First and foremost is privacy. I knew that this resort cranks out weddings and I knew I might not be the only wedding that day, but I did not understand to what extent. Every day we were there, our vacation was slightly interrupted by weddings – as many as nine per day. There were two other wedding taking place within an hour of mine and my reception was wedged in the middle of two others, separated only by a groups of cabanas and beach chairs. We could hear the mix of music from all there receptions and see them though the cabanas. For the most part, you didnâ€t notice as you were so focused on your own to pay too much attention. However, if youâ€re like me and you were thinking youâ€d at least be the only wedding during a time slot or have a sense of privacy for the reception, think again. Itâ€s silly, but for me it made it all feel a little less special watching all those brides and grooms getting hitched day after day. Silly, I know, but I couldnâ€t help feeling that way! If I could go back, Iâ€d pay extra to get married in a more private location and pick a resort that guarantees only one wedding per day, or at least per time slot, (they do exist!). The food poisoning for so many of my guests was also a big issue. Though there is nothing I could do about it, I felt guilty that it happened as I had selected the resort and was so very disappointed in the lack of acknowledgement and response from the resort.

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Out of Town Bags:
I took pictures of pretty much everything I included. When I started, I decided to make everyone a simple customized beach bag (this is one of the things I seem to always forget to bring with me!) I then tried to pick out a couple cute items to put in it; the flip-flop luggage tag, the sea shell candles with matches (every room at my resort has a spa tub, so I thought they would be romantic). Next, I also decided to include a handover kit; ibuprofen, Emergen-C, G2 mixers, Rolaids, and sore throat remedy (works for the “hangover voice†- lol). Next, I was decided to add a few items that people are likely to forget but would come in handy; travel kleenex, aloe vera, shout wipes, q-tips, bandaids, and hand sanitizer  (I also tried to find  bug repellent but  had not luck). I then ended up adding the toothbrush, paste, floss picks, sunblock, and chapstick (SPF 15) since those would be important items if forgotten. I just about threw in a razor too, but decided I was getting carried away. After all, there is a Wal-mart within walking distance to our resort! Since I didn't fill the bag completely, I bagged the items together; one bag marked as a "hang-over" kit and one as toiletries". I put the kits in the beach bag, folded the sides of the bag around them, and tied it all together.

Hindsight being 20-20, I wish I had just stuck with unique and fun items; bags, luggage tags, candles, bath salts, G2 mixers, and personalized koozies. I also love the postcard idea I read about in this post!


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Ceremony music:
One of the weddings the day before mine used a trio to play the music during their ceremony. They were absolutely amazing! I had pictured a tacky mariachi group like you find at home in some Mexican restaurants, but it wasnâ€t like that at all. The music was so beautiful and carried perfectly across the sound system. I used an iPod for my own ceremony and wish I could go back and change that after hearing the trio. They would have been work the money!

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Here's what the rose petals looked like in the sand. The sea stars were provided by the resort. I brought the chair bows and huppa fabric. I decided on my wedding colors in part by what looked good on my bridesmaids (red head, brunette, and blonde) and I knew I wanted vibrant colors to add to the beach scene. I then matched the flowers to the dresses and went from there with all my decorations. The guys wore ivory and only their flowers matched the girls.


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