Review is up but I will put it here as well.....
We just arrived back home from our wedding and honeymoon at the Now Jade. Overall to me it was an absolute perfect day for our wedding on Tuesday 11.12.13. Iâ€™ll start from the beginning of our flight there through the 11 days of paradise. With a brief overview we were quite pleased with everything from the hotel, staff, food to our wedding. I am sure you have all read this before about the cups, the bars (especially pool bars) seem to lack cleanliness of cups, I witnessed while we were there that they throw the dirty cups in a big bucket of water (unsure if there are any cleaning agents in it) and then use a quick scrub brush and thatâ€™s it. We had cups made for our wedding guests and put them in our welcome bags, by far the best investment we made for them. Not only did the guests love them but it kept drinks colder, you didn't have to frequent back to the bar as often, and they weren't being cleaned with dirty water. My husband and I both had a case of Montezumaâ€™s revenge the 2nd day we were there (bad stomach cramping, diarrhea, very bloated) luckily mine wasn't as bad as his, and we were both over it in a day. Nobody else had any issues thankfully.
We had the divine package with 22 guest plus us, hired an outside photographer, Gonzalo Nunez, and used the house DJ for 3 hours. Ceremony at the beach 4pm, cocktail hour at the mix bar 5pm and ceremony on the carnival terrace from 6-9pm. Trash the dress with adventure photos (used from our package).
We decided to use destinationweddings.com for travel arrangements. In the beginning I was very indecisive on our location; however our date was set in stone. The Agent we were provided with was Andrea, and she was very thorough in finding a place that would accommodate everything I wanted, including our date. We had quite a few people book through them and some said it was difficult to get in contact with her sometimes and also questions that we had asked her, some went unanswered, and some were beat around the bush answers. We had some people book through other sites who said they were able to get it a little cheaper. The downfall to that site is once who sign the contract with the prices; they won't change even if you find it cheaper.
We flew American Airlines and I have no complaints. Customs both there and back were rather quick and easy.
Arrival in Mexico
We were greeted by Lomas Travel which is the company that works with destinationwedding.com, originally they had booked us with other couples but my husband emailed Pilar since private transfers were included in the divine package. They arrived about 15 minutes after we spoke in a stretch explorer limo, which impressed us. Some of the guests that booked through the website had some issues with waiting a while at the airport and then some it took up to two hours for them to arrive to our hotel, with all the other stops. My advice, get a private transfer if youâ€™re going to be on one of those large vans, unless you don't mind a longer trip to your destination and suggest it to your guests as well, its Mexico so you can always bargain the cabs down. On your way from the airport to the hotel, eventually you exit off the highway, it gets interesting here but don't judge a book by its cover. The roads are all dirt, and have tons of pot holes and its really bad if it rains for quite a few days in a row which can cause some flooding. However the town is cute, and if you want to souvenir shop, go into the town because things are a lot cheaper, it was $35 for a cab there and back from the resort with 7 people and the driver waited for us the day we went in. You may also be lucky enough to see a crocodile on your way, thereâ€™s swamp and marsh everywhere.
Arrival to the Now Jade
We were greeted with a cocktail and warm welcoming. They took our bags and we were swept off to the preferred lounge. The main lobby is pretty, colors theme seems to be pink and orange which went well since that was the colors of our wedding. When you leave the lobby to the outside the view is spectacular, the grounds are beautiful. The preferred lounge is nice, they have computers there if you need, they are very accommodating with anything you may want or need, and there is a make yourself a drink bar with better alcohols then at the other bars. There are also always snacks out as well. We had booked the ocean view so the only upgrade they could have given us was the governors suite, which we didn't ask about. They ended up upgrading my in-laws into that room which kind of pissed me off that they didn't offer it to us as we were the ones getting married there.
We had the ocean view preferred room, and it has a beautiful view. The Jacuzzi outside does look dirty but its stained from the water. If you decide to sit it in during the day it is a yellowish color, I believe due to the hard water. They sometimes didnâ€™t clean the room till 4pm which was fine since we werenâ€™t there most of the time and they do a turn down service. They also refill your mini fridge daily which is stocked with modelo beer, sodas and waters.
Food and Restaurants
The buffet is okay, they definitely give you a lot of different options and there is usually something for everyone. At lunch they have a fresh white fish which I have to admit was probably the best thing at the buffet. For breakfast you can also go to mercure which is just okay, they have most of the same stuff at the buffet; there itâ€™s just slower service at the restaurant. Lunch you can also do castaways, which food was pretty good there, the fajitas were delicious. The dinner buffet we only had once for the rehearsal and I think it was Italian and everyone seemed to be enjoying it. Capers (Italian) and Mercure (French) were by far the best for dinners. Spice (Asian) was good; the hibachi puts on a good show. Tamarindo (Mexico) was okay and CinCin (Mediterranean) was awful, although the decor was pretty cool looking, I don't recommend that place.
Meeting with Pilar
Pilar had set up our meeting for 4 PM the following day, which my recommendation is try to make appointment as early as possible if you like to enjoy your drinks by the pool, because as much as I wanted to avoid drinking, itâ€™s quite difficult. So our meeting was maybe 30 minutes long, I brought all my decorations and set ups in a suitcase. We had paper lanterns, sashes, table runners, cake topper, sand ceremony, sand dollars with everyoneâ€™s names for seating, a signing picture frame which we had made with our last name cut out to put pictures in. We also had my husbandâ€™s grandfather who is a preacher write out our ceremony; we were having my mother read and my sister sing during the ceremony. We printed it out and gave it to her. I explained I wanted the sashes tied in bows on the chairs, the runners to be orange on 1 table and pink on another. We had 22 people so two long tables worked out perfectly, one was the pink table (family) and other was orange (friends). Also I wanted the lanterns to run the aisle on the beach however, she stated she was unable to get those lantern holders and although she tied them to the chairs, the lanterns were so big. I had purchased 16, 18, and 20 and if you want to do the lanterns down the aisle, I think 10â€ would be much better. I asked her to set up the sand dollars on each side of the signing frame so people could grab their shell and sign the frame. Going over flowers with her we were purchasing 3 bridesmaids bouquets and 4 boutonnieres. I asked about spray painting the white ones and she said she could for free, and if I wanted to come by the next day she would have some color samples for me which she did. We went with orange for the girls and pink for the guys. (Girls dresses were pink and guys shirts were orange). That day I completely forgot to discuss flower arrangements because we were going to go into town and get some fun colored vases and have the girls split the flowers into those. When I went the next day to speak with Pilar, she was not there (I found this out A LOT) Carmine mainly helped me, this was due to her pregnancy, she seems to be due soon. She had the flower options there and when I was talking about centerpieces she told me just to use the medallions from the ceremony and then we will have our own centerpieces which all are included in the divine package. She put me at ease with assuring me that everything will be beautiful and she make sure that everything goes smoothly. Her English is not the best BUT itâ€™s not the worst and she understands a lot. I dropped off my dress and my husbands suit and waited for the rehearsal the day before the wedding.
We met in the lobby around 5:30 PM (as told to do so by Pilar) and she was nowhere to be found. At about 5:45 I called from the lobby and Carmine said she was on her way. Carmine took us through; it took all of about 15 minutes. She took us back into the lobby bar and we met the rest of our group and off the buffet for dinner. They had a table set up for 20 of us, it worked out well.
Okay here goes nothing; I will try to remember all the details because I know the more I remember the more it can help future brides! We had our hair and makeup appointments set for 10 AM for myself, my bridesmaids, and mothers. Originally they my maid of honor was not going to get her make up done and then she decided to and although they were booked, they accommodated her. They tell you to pick a picture, so try and pick something before you go and bring the pics with you. I had my pictures ready for both hair and makeup; we were getting married on the beach so I decided to do it all up as it is windy. It wasnâ€™t a perfect 10 but Iâ€™d give it about an 8, and it stayed the whole day, with lots of hair spray and bobby pins. Everyone was overall happy with their hair, make up on the other hand both my moms complained it was too dark. Which I tried to explain it looks great in pictures but they were uncomfortable with it so they toned it down a bit back in the room. I also didnâ€™t like the way she put on my lashes so I took them off and put them back on in the room. We were done just about 12/1230 and we headed to my mother in laws room to get ready. My photographer was already there, Gonzalo Nunez, which I will leave another review for. I havenâ€™t seen his photos yet they take a few months but as for now I am so happy with that decision. He sat down with me to discuss certain pictures and lighting throughout the day and how we were tight on timelines because of the lighting. He started doing his thing and taking photos of getting ready, I did have to call twice to push to have my dress sent up. Carmine arrived shortly after with our flowers, which were so beautiful. I had all white calla lilies with orange ribbon and my husbands late mothers handkerchief wrapped around. The girls had orange calla lilies with pink ribbon. 2pm Gonzalo left us to go take pics of the boys and we were to meet downstairs at 230 for our first look pics. Iâ€™m glad I decided to do this as it took a lot of the pressure off at the ceremony. I wanted it just he and I on the grounds, but it was bright and Gonzalo said the lighting would be difficult. So with everyone around we did it in the main lobby. I was worried at first about all the people but being in this moment, it didnâ€™t matter if there were 2 people or 2000, for me it was just him and me. Around 330 we were taken our separate ways for the ceremony at 4pm on the beach near the preferred pool. The videographer came up to me to introduce herself and thatâ€™s the last I remember of her. We used the violinist, which I loved. We had Veronica to read our ceremony and she read everything perfectly. She was very clear on speaking and did not stray from what we gave her. Request her if possible! The sand ceremony, 1 vase for each of us didnâ€™t fill our entire photo box and it turned out okay, because unless you hot wax the top, it will move around your way back home. After the ceremony Carmine took everyone to the mix bar and we took some photos. We only took photos for about 20 minutes and by the time we arrived to the mix, the apps were gone. As far as I know everyone enjoyed them. Our choices were shrimp ceviche, tomato and mozz. al pesto, beef brochette and mini tamales. Our signature drink was a pink or orange margarita which was good. I donâ€™t know if there was music playing at this time but it didnâ€™t seem to matter. Carmine then took everyone for the reception on the carnival terrace at about 6pm. Everything was set up just the way I explained, they hung the lanterns and the medallions were a great fit at the two long tables. Our sweetheart table was set in the middle of the two long tables with the dance floor right in front of us. We used the house DJ for our 3 hours, and they did our entrance songs perfectly, as well as all the first dances, and general music. We gave them a list of must plays and they played everything even the dinner music we wanted. Food we had the shrimp and scallop in coconut milk and lime marination (it was okay), lobster bisque (delicious), beef filet and shrimp or salmon (only tried the beef, again delicious) and the chocolate souffl© (was a bit dry). I think the cake was pretty good, we had the lemon twist mello with raspberry filling. To be honest I donâ€™t really remember it all that well, and I donâ€™t think everyone got cake but that may be because everyone was dancing and they were asking if people wanted it or not. Also they didnâ€™t put my cake topper on the top; it was off to the side. Overall it was truly the perfect day, and I think the ONLY thing I would have changed would have been to switch our reception location from carnival terrace to the bamboo room, even in November everyone was soaked in sweat from dancing. Also in the beginning we were going to extend the time for an extra hour but decided last minute not too and I am so happy we canceled it, because honestly after 3 hours of food and dancing, everyone was ready to change and go drink at the bar!
Trash the Dress
We used the adventure photos for our trash the dress which worked out great for us. He did it early in the morning and although he was a little strange, and said he hasnâ€™t done many of these sessions, I didnâ€™t really expect much from some reviews on here. We ended up with some really great shots!
I canâ€™t express how happy I am with how everything turned out. Advice to upcoming brides, RELAX, it will all be perfect. Soak up every moment and take time to look around in these special moments because it does go by so quickly. I will post some more photos as soon as I am able to especially when I get the professional ones back as I made sure to tell him that I wanted photos of the set ups!