Royal Wedding Package
52 Guests (all adults)
Wedding: 5-12-12: Beach of the RIU in front of the quiet pool (Baja Norte Side)
Reception: Poolside Baja Norte
WC: Jatziri (she goes by Jazz)
Well Ladies Iâ€™m back! With a full report for you all too! I know that I utilized this site A LOT while planning, so I would like to give you my full review. Please keep in mind that I discovered that I am a complete Type A, detailed oriented psycho bride along the way, so I warn you that this will probably be a long review! I also wanted to note that it was very hard for me to plan in the beginning as far as a budget goes since you donâ€™t typically know how much things costâ€¦I am not being tacky, but I have included the costs in a lot of these areas. When I originally began my quest to plan a destination wedding, I thought we would only be spending around $4,000â€¦Costs add up real quick and we were at $8,100.00 when all was said and doneâ€¦this didnâ€™t include makeup, hair, travel, hotel stay, gifts, decorations or any other costs that comes upâ€¦
We arrived at the Palace on Tuesday May 8th. Ladies- This resort is AMAZING!!! I loved it, absolutely loved it. You have such a beautiful view of the rocks, and although you canâ€™t directly see the arch, you get a beautiful view of the rocks around it. I have to say that I had my doubtsâ€¦I got annoyed a lot at the RIU policies, and them trying to nickel and dime me. I had the thought many times â€œShould I have chosen Dreams instead?â€ No wayâ€¦ The RIU was great. I will go into my Dreams review later, as we stayed there for our honeymoon.
The staff at the RIU was also great. For the most part, they spoke very good English which was very helpful. They also keep this property super clean. The bartenders at the pool bar are so fun! I canâ€™t tell you how many times my guests went behind the bar, got on top and started pouring tequila shots into our mouths. They didnâ€™t care at all! Super laid back. We had 52 people and about 42 of them are around 32â€¦big drinkers. We for sure would have been kicked out of many other resorts, but the RIU was great to us J
Wednesday: I had already arranged to meet with Jazz prior to going to Cabo. I was very anxious to meet her, as she was my new WC. Keep in mind that I had been talking to Adriana since January of 2011, so I was quite nervous that she was so new to my needs. I brought down 2 suitcases full of decorations for her ( I know, over the top right?!) I could not help it, this site gives you so many ideas that I got carried away. I could see her getting a little overwhelmed while I was pulling things out, explaining to her where everything went. Itâ€™s a good thing that I was crazy planner and had a power point presentation already made up for her showing where everything went! (I have attached this; it was very helpful to her)
The meeting lasted about 2 hours, but Iâ€™m pretty sure it was because I had so much stuff to go over with her.
I only had one issue at this meeting: Originally we were going to do the Civil Ceremony but then decided not to since they wanted you to translate and get your birth certs appositled. I thought this sounded like too much work so I had e-mailed her and told her that we were going to switch to the Religious Ceremony so we wouldnâ€™t have to worry about it-She said no problem. Well I never got an e-mail from the people that actually make this change for you at the RIU, so we would have had to pay a fee to make this change since the judge was already booked for our ceremony. I panicked b/c neither one of us had our birth certificates with us-We ended up calling home and had them brought to us so it worked out. Lessoned learned though: Make sure you bring your e-mails with youâ€¦I had my ipad so it was helpful when I needed to refer back to prior communication. Jazz got them translated for us, I think we ended up paying $45.00 for this, so not a big deal. (You also get a copy of your wedding certifications in English as well.)
Thursday: When you are doing the Civil Ceremony you have to give blood- They do this right on the RIU property. Jazz walked us down to the Dr. Office and it took 15 mins. We were not charged adt. Money for this, I think itâ€™s included in the cost of the Civil Ceremony.
Friday: After much kicking and screaming; we had our rehearsal dinner on the terrace of the Mexican restaurant at 8:30 for 22 people. ( I arranged this 2 months ahead of time with Jazz) This was a battle- If you are having a private reception at an area such as the Baja Norte, Baja Sur or the beach, you are supposed to be able to have a semi-private dinner for all of your wedding party (keep in mind itâ€™s based on which package you chose-The Royal is 15 people so they will charge you $25.00/person over the 15) since you are paying the $500.00 site fee and paying per plate. I donâ€™t know why this was such an issue, but it was. They will do whatever they can to make you have it in the buffet, but I didnâ€™t want it there. I really should have requested to have it earlier so we could watch the sunset, but I wasnâ€™t thinking. If given the opportunity I would request a 6:30 seating since the sun sets at 7:30ish this time of year. It was nice to have this dinner, although to be honest this was my least favorite restaurant in terms of food. They had us order off of the regular restaurant menu. Some of my guests that were not in the wedding party were able to make reservations for the same restaurant so it was nice that they were able to kinda join us.
Saturday: Wedding Day!!!
Hair and Makeup: Suzan Morale- Let me tell you, this lady has it togetherâ€¦.She wasnâ€™t going to let me or my sister leave the salon until we were 100% satisfied. Her workers do not speak English, but all I gave them were 2 hair style pictures I wanted, and I got exactly what I wanted. She comes and goes and tells them yes or no, and what to correct. She does an excellent job. Is this place expensive? Hell yes, I paid $230.00 for my hair and makeup, and another $120.00 or so for my sisters hair. Was it worth it? I think so! I got lots of complements! A cab ride to her shop only takes about 5 minutes. You have to ring this buzzer when you get to the shop, but our cab driver seemed to know what he was doing. My apt. was at 11:30 and I was out of there by 1:30. Here is a pic of my hair and makeup:
Flowers: Alina, RIU Palace contracted- Alina did an excellent job! She was very good about getting back to me very fast, which I really appreciated. The only thing I used her for was my bridal bouquet, rental of 4 vases for my centerpieces and the Huppah. Because we are having an at home reception next month, I was really trying to cut costs in Mexico. So, I went back in forth about just using the arch the RIU provides for you to get married under, or paying for the huppah. I am so glad I chose the huppah! The arch is kinda beat up, has some paint chips in it. Overall my costs to her was $482.00, which included the $50.00 set up fee for the huppah. I brought down my own beads to decorate with, you can see them in the attached picture. I got them from Hobby Lobby (in May right before I left) for $10.00 each. Keep in mind that these go on sale for $5.00 or ½ all the time or you can also use the 40% off coupon. I also brought Alina preserved orchids I got off of saveoncrafts.com to add to my bridal bouquet since they wanted a fortune for real orchids. For my bridal bouquets the RIU wanted $60.00 eachâ€¦I ended up contacting the old RIU florist and got them for $30.00 each. When you have 8 BMâ€™s you need to save somewhere! My mom and dad had to go to a questionable neighborhood to pick them up, but they worked out great. I think I would have been charged the $300.00 vendor fee had I wanted them delivered.
Photographer: Marcel Kaiser of Glez Photography-I spent hours online researching for photographersâ€¦I just wasnâ€™t into the RIU one. So, finally I came across Marcel. I really liked his work, and he was very good at getting back to me within a few hrs of contacting him. I have only received one teaser pic from him, so I canâ€™t say right now how they turned out-I should be getting them in June.
What I liked about Marcel: He was very flexible. I didnâ€™t know how long I wanted him for, and originally only hired him for 4 hours. Well, when you get married at 4:00, and your reception starts at7:00, things donâ€™t get crazy till after dinner. So, he was really cool and would come up to me every hour past our contract and ask me what I wanted to do. I ended up keeping him until 9:00 I think. He is also very responsive at getting back to you. I also had him shoot a TTD of us as well, and he was there and ready to go before we got there. So far I only have one teaser pic:
We also ended up hiring his videographer as well. It was nice because he was able to take still shots as well as the video. I wonâ€™t get this back until mid June, so if you are curious as to how it turns out, contact me then. He was only $300.00 for 2 hours, but he ended up staying 6 hours!
What I didnâ€™t like about Marcel: I didnâ€™t feel like he was giving instructions as to what photos to take next. He really left it up to me. I am sure he got the idea that I knew what I wanted, especially since I gave him shots that I wanted the day before. However, I got really overwhelmed giving orders to our wedding party of 20 people, so I needed someone to take over and give directions for me. I think it added more stress to my day. I am sure the pictures will be fantastic though, so no worries.
I will say that getting married at 4:00 and having the reception at 7:00 was niceâ€¦I felt like we might have too much time in-between, but by the time my husband and I were done taking pictures it was 6:30. I am pretty sure the rest of the guests just hung out at the lobby bar and drank while this went on, I have no idea!
The ceremony: My wedding was scheduled for 4:00 on the beach in front of the quiet pool. Jazz had all of the guests meet in the lobby bar at 3:30. She took all of them down and had them seated around 3:35â€¦I must say this-it was 93 degrees and sunny out so most of them were not happy to sit and wait that long. I know they do this to keep things and people on time, but Iâ€™m pretty sure I was running behind since Marcel was still taking pictures of meâ€¦I think they sat and waited for a good 40 mins. As the bride you donâ€™t realize this, and I donâ€™t think there is much you can do. I would say to bring the raffia fans for the ceremony if possible, b/c at least they had those to use on themselves. The ceremony was set up perfectly, and it was great. There was only 2 small things:
1. I had bought and snuck in through customs freeze dried rose petals that the guests were to throw on us while walking back down the aisle. Well no one threw them on us, so I got on the mike and had a fake re-do so we could capture the pic. Just make sure if you have these, tell someone to announce it to the guests before the ceremony starts so they know what you want them to do with them.
2. The Champaign toast- I hadnâ€™t thought of this, so I just grabbed the mike and said thank you for coming and announced the group pic that I wanted to take. Had I thought about it, I would have had my dad make a toast. It was just awkward!
Here is a picture of the set up:
Signing the docs
The Baja Norte Reception: This was such an awesome place for the reception! There is no one around you. They rope off the entire Baja Norte Bar (this is the pool bar by day) and you get the whole area to yourself. Jazz did an amazing job decorating with everything I gave her! I sent 2 of my bridesmaids to help make sure that everything was correct. I highly suggest this if you are a crazy planner like myself-then you will know it is done right.
We had dinner option #3: Cesar salad, cream of broccoli soup, almond chicken and a brownie for desertâ€¦It was delicious! ($35.20/pp I think)
After seeing others pictures I was worried that the area would not be bright enough, and I also want somewhere to hang my paper lanterns that I had boughtâ€¦So, I went to Big Lots and bought 8 boxes of lights for $10.00 each and brought a whole suit case of them down! This is just me being crazy, but I was glad that I did because I really liked my lanterns and how it all looked. Jazz had her men put them up, and I wasnâ€™t charged any extra for having them. Looking back though, I think the DJ lights would have been bright enough, but nowhere to hang the lanterns.
Here are some pics:
Guest Table Set Up
Part of the Head table
The cake: I had white cake with strawberry filling. I was really stressed that I wouldnâ€™t have enough cake for all 52 of my guests, and was considering ordering more. I am so glad I didnâ€™t pay the $8.00 per person for more because they didnâ€™t even cut and serve the cake! We cut it for the picture, but then ended up taking the entire cake back to our room. I am pretty sure that the servers were having too much fun dancing with us that they forgot to cut and serve it! Everyone was up dancing after dinner anyways, so I am pretty sure no one would have ate it anyways. Cake Table pic:
The DJ: Jazz set him up from the RIU. I donâ€™t remember his name, but he was GREAT! I was worried after reading reviews, and was very happy with him. We made a playlist to play during dinner and after that he was on his own. I was super impressed, and danced all night-everyone did, it was so much fun! We were going to have our friend DJ with a play list so we didnâ€™t have to pay the $640.00 (yes, they raised this as I was originally quoted $540), but it was totally worth it. I would also suggest that you get the lighting package, I think its $640.00 vs. $600.00 and it was worth it.
Here is a picture of us getting down!
Fire Dancers: This was a last minute addition to our plans. We wanted to surprise our guests so we hired two dancersâ€¦ a little note- both Mawiko and myself hired 2 fire dancers, and they sent 3 of them instead. This is a nice bonus. They were $400.00 for 20 minutes. The DJ knows exactly what music to play for their performance. They were really cool, but I think most of my guests were too drunk to remember them!
Overall my assessment of Jazz is that she is AMAZING!!! She was my new BFF! She works extremely hard, usually from 11-11 every day except Sundays. I really appreciated her hard work, so be sure to tip her as well if she does well for you. We also went to Walmart and bought her a bottle of Jagermiester, as this is her Favorite! Just a warning, I could not find thank you cards @ Walmart, so be sure to bring one from home. Here is a picture of what she looks like:
We decided to greet our guests as they arrivedâ€¦we were able to coordinate with the Apple rep and she would tell us when they were in route. I didnâ€™t want to sit around in the lobby waiting, so it was nice. Our guests also really appreciated it. The resort is HUGE so it also may have been hard for them to find us as well. We handed out our welcome bags as they arrived as well, so it was nice to get that out of the way.
Our welcome bags:
Reservations: They will let you make reservations for a few days in a row. Make sure to tell your guests this. The buffet was really good, but the specialty restaurants are great. You literally have to be up at 7 am to get into Crystal, but make them if you can, the food there is really good.
Enjoy your day!!!! I was so preoccupied with how everything was going to turn out, and so worried about every detail that I never really took the time to appreciate my day. It goes by so fast ladies, so please please sit back and enjoy it!
I was curious before we left about what types of fun things there were to do while we were in Cabo. We ended up doing a few things:
1. Went downtown to Cabo Wabo. This was really fun. Itâ€™s expensive thoughâ€¦like $45.00 for a bucket of beer. They had a great band and Iâ€™m glad we went. We also went to another bar where they hang you upside down and feed you shotsâ€¦this was fun! We felt safeâ€¦there was a group of about 10 of us. Like any city, I would just stick together.
2. My husband and 7 others went deep sea fishing the day of the wedding. They caught a ton of fish and the resort cooked it for us. It was very very good. I think it was about $100.00/guy
3. Lovers Beach: This place is amazing! So fun to go swimming and to take pictures. You have two options to go here:
1. You can book through Apple at the resort for $40.00/person which includes your transportation to the marina, the water taxi ride, a cooler (empty you must bring your own beer and ice from the resort) and an umbrella. 2. Take the water taxi right from the RIU beach for about $10.00/pp.
4. Zip lining: We booked this through the Apple Rep for $99/pp. It was SOOOOOOO FUN! Wow, I was worried but it was great. Just a suggestion-do the early morning trip (they pick you up around 8:30 and you are back by 12:00) You are in the desert and its HOT there. I canâ€™t imagine if we were out there past 1:00 it would be really hot and miserable.
5. Sun Set Da Mona Lisa: Wow, this restaurant was amazing. It has the best views of the arch and you can actually see the sun set as well. Make sure you call and make reservations. We made them for 6:45 and the sun set at 7:30 so it was perfect.
We stayed here for our honeymoon from Monday-Friday. I have to say that itâ€™s a nice resort, but I really liked the RIU better overall. There are a few reasons, but the biggest one is that itâ€™s far from downtown and you donâ€™t have the view of the rocks. The ocean is also really rough so there are no water taxiâ€™s out front like there are at the RIU. The food was very good here and I did like that you could have a sit down meal for lunch instead of the buffet like the RIU. There were more kids at Dreams also, which I was surprised at. I also didnâ€™t like that you had to get up kind of early to reserve a chair, where the RIU had bigger pools so this wasnâ€™t an issue. The resort dies down a lot at night, so we were kind of bored past 9:00.
~I have a ton of pics on facebook, so let me know if you need more and you can find me on there.~
Ugh! Thats it for now, sorry for such a long review, I hope this helps!