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Excellence Riviera Cancun Brides?

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#181 Jill Conner

Jill Conner
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    Posted 26 November 2012 - 07:21 AM

    You'll have to ask the wedding coordinator for the options for cocktail hour.  The available locations vary depending on the day of the week and the events the resort has planned.  I had my wedding on a Friday, and I was given the options of the pier, Garibaldi Square, and the Foyer.  I had my cocktail hour @ Garibaldi Square.  I had read in previous posts that the foyer was HOT, and I wanted to be able to take pictures between the wedding & reception on the piers, so it was a process of elimination for me.  Our guests actually ended up asking if they could end our cocktail hour early and go to the Lobster House (our reception site) because they were sweating to death in the square (apparently there was no air movement).


    I'm sure it might be possible to have cocktail hour on the beach... maybe not directly next to where the ceremony was held, but I'd say it's worth asking!  In any case, the closer you can have the cocktail hour (and reception) to the water, the more likely you & your guests will be to have a breeze, and the more comfortable you will be! 


    I have no idea what restaurant is closed on Saturdays, but the wedding coordinator should be able to provide this information.  The location you choose will be yours for the night (closed to other guests at the resort), so you don't have to wait for other guests to finish eating.  Our wedding ceremony was at the Beach Gazebo @ 5pm.  Cocktail hour was from about 5:30 - 6:30pm, and then we all went to the Lobster House after that.  Our photographer suggested we do all our "special dances" prior to dinner while the sun was still up (he said the lighting would be better), so that is what we all did.  Then we sat down for dinner, had a few friends/family members give speeches/toasts. 


    The resort did not "set up a dance floor" per se, but the tables were arranged so that there was a large open area that we turned into our dance floor (see pictures below).  


    I would highly recommend the Lobster House if it is available.  We had a great breeze during our entire reception, so there were no problems with the temperature.  I guess I should also note our wedding was June 29th, 2012... right in the middle of Summer! 


    I can't speak to the foyer, but if it was anything like Garibaldi Square everyone would have been miserable.  Again, I heard in this forum that the foyer can be un-Godly HOT, but maybe one of the other ladies here can provide more insight.  And ALL of the locations will be pretty private!  No worries there!


    Happy planning & congratulations!!!


    Here are some pics (not professional, just from my friends).  If you do need help with a photographer, I'd be happy to suggest JUAN NAVARRO!!!



    Above is a pic of the dance floor area just prior to dinner.  You can see there is a huge area cleared of tables.  We opted to have our friends DJ our wedding, so you can also see the speaker provided on the left (that is one of our guests in the tan pants & white shirt).  You can also see the proximity of the bar to the dance floor (for when things got a little more crazy later in the night). 



    Above is a picture of our dinner table.  We had 20 guests at our wedding, and we opted to do one large table rather than 3 small round tables.  My husband and I also sat at this table with our guests.



    Above is a pic from the "dance floor" later in the night! 




    #182 ampanda52

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      Posted 26 November 2012 - 08:37 AM

      Thank you so much for posting these pics and your insight!  My wedding is Sat, July 27, 2013.  I was given the options of Barcelona, the Foyer or Garabaldi Square.  Although I really like the look of the foyer, I chose Barcelona because it has a/c.  I hope I made the right decisions.  :)  Feel free tp post any other pics, I'd LOVE to see them!




      #183 Tibbetts2B

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        Posted 27 November 2012 - 09:16 AM

        Hello ladies!


        Our date is coming up (3/29/13) and so far we have confirmed photographer (Juan Navarro!), booked DJ (DJ Mannia), booked rehearsal dinner, and sent in all of our legal paperwork.


        Gloria told me the same deadline as far as flowers/menu/etc. She asked for about two weeks notice on our final menu/flowers/decorations. Gloria provided me a flower catalog and menu options via email. DJ Mannia also requested playlist/music info 15 days prior. Still working out those details :-)


        Aside from any outside vendors you might be using, it sounds like payment for wedding package, extra flowers, decorations, DJ, etc is all done once you arrive in Mexico.


        So far we have 12 folks booked (including me and my fiance) and are expecting another 10-20. Hard to plan some details (favors/welcome bages/etc) without knowing the headcount yet, but I suppose that will play itself out.


        Glad I found you girls again!


        #184 rhiham

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          Posted 27 November 2012 - 02:17 PM

          Wow, love the pictures!! Okay so I got confirmation today from Gloria on our locations: beach gazebo for the ceremony, beach setup under a tiki hut type cover ("las Olas") for the cocktail hour, and Barcalona restaurant for the dinner/reception! I loved the pictures of the foyer for reception, but Baracalona is air conditioned and after a day in the sun for the wedding I thought that was a better choice. I also have a ton of hair...I don't want to be a total sweaty mess haha Now for planning decorations...yikes! o_O

          #185 TauruSmith

          • Jr. Member
          • 198 posts
          • Wedding Date:May 18, 2013
          • Wedding Location:Now Sapphire

          Posted 10 December 2012 - 06:19 AM

          I am using DJ Mannia and Juan Navarro as well. Can't wait to hear how everything goes!

          #186 rhiham

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            Posted 10 December 2012 - 08:49 AM

            Seems like so much is happening! After getting confirmation from Gloria on our locations a couple weeks ago, I have also been in touch with Wendy from Wright Travel who is coordinating all the travel and group reservations for us - she has been SO great to work with, and secured us some awesome rates!  I would highly recommend her for anyone who is considering using a TA to coordinate travel and accommodation arrangements.  :)


            Also, I have been going through Ana de Roux for our invitations...I found her on etsy but after searching around, I see that many have used her here as well.  She's listed in the invitation vendor section and there are some reviews.  So far I'm really happy with her too...we are getting "boarding pass" invitations that are absolutely beautiful! 


            Hope everyone else's plans are going well!  Keep us posted!

            #187 Tibbetts2B

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              Posted 12 December 2012 - 09:15 AM

              Hi Jill,


              First of all, your wedding was so so beautiful! Congrats and hope you are enjoying your newlywed bliss! We will have a very similiar arrival schedule, guest list, and location setup as you, so I hope you don't mind me picking your brain a bit!


              You mentioned your "welcome cocktails", is that something you set up in advance or did you all just show up at the same bar/same time? And did you do a welcome bag/kit? It sounds like such a lovely idea, but ugh having the drag goodies down there and spend the money seems like a hassle. I was thinking just a printed schedule and handwritten welcome note may do the trick?


              Your decor at the reception was so pretty! Did you go over options once you got down there? I prob won't know exactly how many tables/centerpieces/etc I'll need until shortly before we travel. Did they have options for different color napkins/table runners/etc?


              We are using Juan Navarro as well and couldn't be more happy with how responsive he has been so far!


              Any other tips or "what I wouldn't do again" thoughts are always appreciated!


              Thanks so much,


              #188 ampanda52

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                Posted 13 December 2012 - 08:42 AM

                I'm following all of this as well, so keep posting!!  I'm having Welcome Cocktails at the X-Lounge July 25 the Thursday before the wedding, July 27 the ceremony on the beach, cocktails on the pier and reception at Barcelona. 


                Welcome Cocktails are something the resort gave to us for the amount of people we have comig to the resort.  If you have a Travel Agent, you may want to ask them if they can negotiate that for you.  It is an hour and includes canapes and can be held in a few locations. 


                I'm using the hotel photographer.  their photos aren't my favorite but they are in our budget range since we are using DJ Mannia as well.  I have about 55 people coming so I need to cut corners as much as possible!


                I love hearing others plans and reading about past weddings on here.  Thanks girls!

                #189 Jill Conner

                Jill Conner
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                  Posted 13 December 2012 - 06:23 PM

                  I originally wanted a "welcome dinner" (in lieu of a "rehearsal dinner") the evening before our wedding.  Gloria said this would not be a problem, and the resort would be able to accommodate our 20 guests at one table in one of the restaurants... BUT we had to have a "set menu".  I thought this sounded WAY too much like our actual reception dinner we would be having the next evening.  


                  We wanted our guests to be able to enjoy their time at the resort apart from our wedding, and we wanted to allow "free time"... we didn't want them to be scheduled every minute of every day!  We decided just to pick a bar (we picked the Martini bar) and have everyone meet for a "welcome cocktail" the night before the wedding.  Our guests did not all arrive in Mexico on the same day, so this was an excellent for everyone to get together prior to the big day!  We each had a drink, and then went to the restaurant of our choice for the evening.  We all met back at the bar after dinner. 


                  This was NOT something arranged by the resort.  We just thought it would be a fun way to get everyone together.  Of note, Gloria mentioned that the resort restaurants are not able to sit more than 6 to a table.  One of the nights, at the Mexican Restaurant Agave, the hostess was able to put our party at two tables (one of 6 and one of 14).  This was a HORRIBLE experience.  It took almost two hours for us to get our food, the staff seemed overwhelmed, and I felt terrible since we'd originally been told this wasn't possible.  The restaurant staff said they usually don't seat that large of a party because it is too difficult for their kitchen staff/wait staff/etc.  I wish they would have told us we had to break-up our party/split our tables.  SO, if you decided NOT to do a "welcome dinner", but one of the restaurants says they can seat you at one, large table... I would avoid this.  It was still nice chatting with our friends and family for 2 hours... but we were all starving! 


                  As far as welcome bags, yes, I did make welcome bags for all our guests.  Most of our guests were couples, so we had one bag per room.  I bought these really nice North Face bags online (www.zappos.com)... the girls were using them as beach bags all week.  I figured they weren't a complete piece of junk, so they could use them after the wedding.  My sister-in-law actually uses hers as a diaper bag!  Although I could have gotten some less-expensive custom bags, I didn't think anyone really would want a "Jill & Bryan's Wedding" tote after our big day!  Our wedding colors were also orange, white, and tan - so this KIND of matched!?






                  I got each of the girls a Tiffany's necklace with their initial (these girls are my best friends in the world, and I wanted to get them something special - if I had a traditional wedding they would have been my bridesmaids and I would have been buying them jewelry anyway!). www.tiffany.com




                  Bryan got all the guys a pair of Frogskin Oakleys (BIG hit with the guys! - we picked out a different pair depending on what we thought each guy would like!).  





                  We also put these t-shirts in the bags for the guys (we're from Cleveland).




                  And we had signs made for the doors (except they said BRYAN & JILL) @ this Etsy site: http://www.etsy.com/...ref=seller_info




                  We went for some big-ticket items in our "Welcome bags" because we didn't want to drag a bunch of CRAP to Mexico, and we didn't want to have our guests have to drag a lot of CRAP back home!  We did however, provide, a small bottle of ibuprofen, a lint roller, hand sanitizer, a chapstick, tums, and a nail file in the bag as well.  AND we had a schedule of events for the guests (this was EXTREMELY limited - we really didn't know what was going on ourselves! - it basically said where the wedding was, and that it started @5pm followed by the reception and cocktail hour.  We also had a welcome letter.  And finally, and this was probably the most helpful part... we had a blank list with all our guests names printed on it.... as our guests arrived, Bryan and I filled in each guest room number on ALL the sheets.  This was a GIANT pain in the butt, but everyone knew which room all the other guests were staying.  We were spread all over the resort, so it wasn't like we were all in one wing or something.  It was extremely helpful!  We hand delivered each of our welcome bags (rather than having them waiting in the rooms) because we thought it was more personal.


                  Bryan and I had ONE suitcase with personal items, and a second suitcase with all our "extra stuff".  We carried on the sunglasses and necklaces because we didn't want them to get lost.  On our way home, we put the first suitcase inside the second (now empty) suitcase and checked one bag. 


                  In addition to the items for the welcome bags, we brought some additional things from home.  We actually had an entire small carry-on bag full of hand-painted maracas (hilarious & wonderful!),







                  wedding programs, seating cards for the dinner table, a thank you for the dinner plate,




                  the orange chair sashes (I got them at www.tableclothfactory.com - WAY cheaper than what the resort charges for them!  One chair sash is included in the wedding package, but I wanted two... sigh!  We also brought woven fans for our ceremony. 


                  Now I know this seems like A LOT... but we seriously had all our personal stuff (clothes) in one bag (checked), one bag of extra stuff (checked), a carry-on bag of maracas, sunglasses, and necklaces, and I carried on my dress.  I think we were pretty light packers! 


                  Enough for now... I'm excited for you girls!  Lots of good reading material on this site! 


                  (Also, I know I haven't written my formal review of JUAN NAVARRO yet, but again, can't stress enough how WONDERFUL he was!)


                  Until next time... 


                  Oh yeah, real quick: one more thing: I DID NOT give ANY instruction to the resort staff on how to set anything up.  They have done this 3 million times for weddings, so I gave them some creative freedom.  The table centerpieces were provided with our package.  The resort decided how to place the fans, programs, maracas, how to tie the chair sash's etc.  It was actually really fun NOT planning all these details and being surprised myself how beautiful everything looked!!





                  #190 Tibbetts2B

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                  • 8 posts

                    Posted 14 December 2012 - 12:40 PM

                    Oh my goodness, you are a SAINT for giving us all such great info!!


                    You had some might lucky guests...your welcome bags sound amazing! We will have somewhere btwn 35-45 guests, so they'll have to make do w/ some snacks, an itinerary, and water :-) Everything looked so beautiful, and I've decided to "attempt" to take your advice and let the pros take care of most the details :-)


                    So just a few more questions...I promise!


                    1. When you rented just the sound system, it included the music player, speakers, and microphone? And w/ your reception did they pack it all up right at 3 hours or is it a bit more flexible?


                    2. I have a bit of a shoe situation. My fiance is 6'7"...and I am not :-)  I'm curious if you wore shoes or thought you could have managed wedges at the ceremony? If not, I could just go barefoot and my dress will be a bit long and then put on the shoes for the reception. I asked Gloria and she said they have "fabric like" aisle runners but nothing w/ any sturdiness. Is the sand packed or do you think you would have flopped on your face?


                    Any other brides wear wedges/shoes during the ceremony?


                    Thank you thank you thank you!

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