Super long review ahead!
I had my wedding on July 12th at 5pm. It was an amazing experience. I donâ€™t have pictures yet, but Iâ€™ll be sure to post some when they are ready. I do have one of me and my sister getting ready. Iâ€™m on the right; they did my hair and make-up at the spa to give you an idea of how it looked. I did bring my dress on the plane, in addition to a carry on and my purse and no one said a word to me. We flew American Airlines.
Pre-Ceremony Planning: Upon arrival, we received a note saying that we should meet with Gloria the next morning to finalize details. I packed lots of decorations, so I explained how I wanted them set up (very briefly). We picked out our cake, talked about how the next day would go, pretty easy. Gloria is extremely friendly and personable.
Ceremony: We did our ceremony on the beach at 5pm. It was cloudy, which was such a relief. It cooled off a bit and we didnâ€™t have to wear sunglasses or squint. I gave my Ipad to Gloria and they hooked it up to their sound system for the ceremony. My girls walked down to a Somewhere Over the Rainbow/Iâ€™m yours mix. It was super cute and beachy. I walked down to CannonD, but the steel drum version. After we were married, we walked back to Crazy Little Thing Called Love.
We had a lady do the ceremony (very sweet) and she stood in front of us for the beginning and behind us for the second half. I didnâ€™t mind at all. I donâ€™t think we were tiger striped from the gazebo thing (a prior concern someone had). We did the sand ceremony, I liked that and they did give us the vase/sand to take home.
Cocktail Hour: We had it at X-Lounge, which I liked a lot. The food was yummy and we went through lots of cocktails very fast, but they kept them coming. I brought turquoise, chevron patterned straws and they used this during for the drinks until they ran out. Service was excellent.
Dinner Reception: We had 4 different versions of dinner due to food preferences/allergies. They were very accommodating and got it spot on. The cucumber/avocado soup was my favorite thing that we had. We had our reception in the lobster house. Once Gloria got us settled in the reception, I didnâ€™t see her again that evening (which was fine). She was most accessible and present during the ceremony. They provided great service regarding serving the food and drinks. They did cut us off at 9.30pm, so my party moved to the martini lounge then the club for dancing. It was warm at the Lobster House, but there was a nice breeze. I didnâ€™t feel overheated at any point during the day or evening.
The cake- this seems to be a challenging area for some reason. It was not sitting out at the beginning of the reception (maybe because it would melt due to heat?). It wasnâ€™t brought out at all until we asked for it many times. My photographers had to hound the servers who kept saying, another minute or two.
I selected the cheesecake and thought it was just okay. I chose the square tiers and they had ribbon around each layer. In the picture, the ribbon was orange, which was perfect. They did it in pink instead, which I didnâ€™t like because my cake topper was turquoise. It certainly didnâ€™t look bad; I just am reminded of baby showers when I see pink and blue together in those shades. If I would have asked in my meeting with Gloria, Iâ€™m sure this could have been avoided. I wasnâ€™t super upset or anything, I just mention it so that you can be sure to specify if you have preferences.
Music: We brought our Ipad and a BOSE speaker. It worked great for the ceremony (used resortâ€™s sound system) and for the cocktail hour and reception. So this was a great way for us to save money
Resort in General: We stayed in the Excellence club (same suites, ocean view) to get the discounted wedding package. Iâ€™ve stayed at the resort before (2010). It was just as good, possibly better this time around. All of our guests seriously loved it, no one complained about anything (which was one of my fears going in). The food has improved since 2010. The Indian restaurant is awesome!! French was also delicious. The only things that werenâ€™t perfect (but again, not enough to upset us) were that they kept forgetting to re-stock our mini- fridge. In the heat, I found myself craving those salty lays potato chips at night and we rarely had them. Our key card stopped working a few times as well. Room service was good and very timely. The one â€˜negativeâ€™ if I can think of one about this resort, is that they donâ€™t accommodate large groups for dining (other than tepanyaki in Spice). If you go with more than 4 people to dinner, they do freak out.
The Beach: This seems to be an area of complaint on trip advisor because the water isnâ€™t â€˜as blueâ€™ as Cancun and there is Seaweed. There is a reef right off the shore, so you do lose that crystal blue color pretty quickly. There is seaweed floating in the ocean, but it was not enough to bother any of my group. The water is gentler in this area than Cancun, so while itâ€™s not as crystal blue, you donâ€™t have to worry about getting swept away by waves nearly as much. There were people that got stung by jellyfish and one by a sting ray when we were there, so just be careful. (Iâ€™m your mom now apparently :0))
Hair/Make Up: The gentleman did my hair, I didnâ€™t catch his name. It was super-fast, like an hour for hair and makeup. I have pretty fine hair, so that could by why mine was faster. He worked quickly and the results were amazing. I forgot to bring my anti-sweat wipe, but my makeup didnâ€™t budge at all. My hair also normally goes straight immediately and it withstood the heat, wind, etc.
Decorations: I brought chair ribbons, Mr. & Mrs. signs that I made, my cake topper, lanterns for centerpieces, flameless candles, starfish for inside the lanterns, mini-sand dollars, burlap table runners and mason jars for the centerpieces that I decorated with lace nâ€™ burlap. They set everything up just as I had imagined. It was perfect. We used the girls bouquets for the flowers at the dinner reception, so that we didnâ€™t have to buy flowers twice and it was awesome!
My only â€˜adviceâ€™ or tip, would be to make sure you carve out some time for you and the Mr. We only had 24 hours to ourselves at the end of the 8 day stay and I really wish we had changed resorts or encouraged people to come early and leave early (like a few days before us). While I dearly loved my vacation with family and friends, it wasnâ€™t a honeymoon. Weâ€™ll have to schedule a delayed honeymoon down the road!
Let me know if you have any questions! Overall, I wouldnâ€™t hesitate to recommend getting married here. Best of luck ladies, it's been a pleasure sharing experiences and ideas with you!