Andrew and I attended a friends wedding at the Royal Playa del Carmen in April 2011- Two years later we said â€˜I Doâ€™ on the same beach Here is my planning thread. Super long but everyone helped me out so much, I wanted to return the favor as much as I could. Please do not hesitate to ask questions- PM is the best way to get in touch since it goes to my email. I promise to post any questions/answers I get on here. Also, I am a visual person so lots of photos. Enjoy!
SAVE THE DATES
A friend took our engagement photos on the campus of Michigan State University (Go Green!) I took one of the photos and made our STDâ€™s on powerpoint- which is a great alternative if you donâ€™t have photoshop or anything fancy like that. I ordered them from Vistaprint as postcards with my $17 for $70 Groupon. We were very happy with the results for how much was spent on them.
We had our wedding in Mexico followed by a reception in Michigan- which meant to separate STDâ€™s. The July reception one went to everyone invited to the reception in Michigan. Everyone invited to Mexico also had a magnet STD. It is a photo I took last time I was in Mexico with a custom stamp- also made by yours truly in powerpoint. I made little envelopes to put them in that had some information about booking.
And the Mexico Save the Date:
The Inside Read:
Passports are required to travel across the border
If you donâ€™t have one, get one
Final payments are due by mid-February
Send your flight itinerary to our Travel Agent so she can arrange shuttle transportation to and from the resort
Wendy Hicks: 707.794.9671
Wedding Website Password: tequila
Tha Magnet Itself:
For the Mexico invites, I made boarding passes.
I used the Boarding Pass template by aylee bits:
And four our reception at home, I had a template made by a seller on Etsy then had them printed through Vistaprint.
These were ready to go and were mailed out as soon as we got home from Mexico.
We chose Wendy Hicks of Wright Travel Agency as our travel agent, who I found through BDW. For those of you debating using a travel agent, DO IT! We are so happy with the services that Wendy provided to us and our guests. She was always just a phone call away for any questions- and Iâ€™m sure our guests had plenty! It was awesome knowing that travel was one aspect of the wedding we did not have to worry about. Wendy got us a fantastic group rate and was very accommodating with changes in the few months prior to the wedding. Everyone was sent a travel packet about a month before the wedding giving them all the necessary information, which put many of our guests more at ease. When we arrived in Cancun, there was an Olympus Tours representative standing just outside of the hotel holding a heart-shaped sign that said Marin & Andrews Wedding. We didnâ€™t have to wait long before we were shuttled to the resort in a 10-person van. The only bummer was that we dropped off two other couples on the way- we were just too excited to get to The Royal! Olympus had a designated desk at the resort where they would help you in booking any tours or excursions and also coordinated your trip back to the airport. The whole process was flawless and my guests were very impressed with the organization of the transportation. Also, I donâ€™t know if it was compliments of Wendy or the resort, but our room was upgraded (as promised pending availability) and we had the BEST room in the resort. It was close to the beach, facing the ocean, and our walkout was mere footsteps from the pool closest to Pelicanos. This may not be the perfect room for everyone, but for our group it was! Our friends and family gathered in and around the pool near our room everyday so we always took over that pool for the most part. Not to mention it was the pool with the swim up bar and volleyball net! We couldnâ€™t have been happier with our room location and our vacation wouldnâ€™t have been the same without it.
Here was the view from our room: (taken by my iphone, sorry about the lack of quality)
I made the logo for our OOT bags then had them printed through Vistaprint. The bags included:
Wedding Weekend Survival Kit (Kleenex, Mints, Water Flavoring, Advil, Imodium)
Imodium is HIGHLY recommended. I had at least 10 people pull me aside and thank me for putting those in the bags. Would have changed their whole trip!
Key & Tip Holder
Welcome to Mexico Card that read:
We had tags made that were tied to each bag:
I purchased small bags from a craft store and made my own labels for the Advil & Imodium. Below are the templates:
One the third or fourth day, one of our guests took a tour of the spa. There are two sides to the spa you can use- one for men and one for women. There is a cycle they recommend to cleanse your body from toxins- so we all, of course, took advantage of it. 10 minutes in the steam room, quick shower, polar plunge, 10 minutes in the sauna, quick shower, polar plunge then 10 minutes in the hot tub. I did it a couple times with a group of the girls while the guys did it next door and we had so much fun!
There are multiple restaurants at The Royal. A couple disclaimers:
The last time we visited The Royal, men were required to wear pants and close-toed shoes to dinner. When we arrived, our romance concierge told us they have loosened up on the dress code. Men could now wear nice shorts and sandals, along with a button up or polo shirt. Our guests were happy about this but many of them had already packed pants and shoes.
Also, it is VERY difficult to get a large group together for dinner. One night, we did manage to get a group of 16 or so at two different tables at EL MEDITERRÃNEO (which is buffet style). Maria Maries does take reservations but you must do it days in advance if you want a large group and some nights they wont accommodate you regardless.
The best way to go about dinner is to split up into small group for dinner but meet at the lobby bar before or after dinner for drinks (we usually were there before and after to chat with all of our guests- its exhausting being the bride & groom!)
Pelicanos- Pelicanos was steps from our room so we went there often. It was everyoneâ€™s favorite spot for lunch. The food was great (esp the salmon- but not so much the pizza) and you couldnâ€™t beat the view!
Tapas- Tapas is right next door to Pelicanos- under the same roof. There isnâ€™t as much of an ocean view but it is still nice to be outside enjoying the breeze. We only went here once and the food was good- not great. They serve small appetizer dishes so between four of us, we ordered 2-3 small appetizers a piece. We did not receive everything we ordered but were content with our meal and arenâ€™t much of complainers so we ate, left a tip and just chose other restaurants for the remainder of our meals.
Asiana- Asiana was by far a group favorite in terms of type of food. Their stir fry and fried ice cream are to die for! Our group had some sushi lovers and said their sushi wasnâ€™t anything to brag about but thatâ€™s not what majority of people ordered so it was fine.
Maria Maries- Another group favorite. Like I mentioned, you can make reservations here so a lot of our group would make a reservation for a small group each night. The food was great and had a wide variety of choices to make everyone happy.
Spice and EL MEDITERRÃNEO- These were the two buffet style restaurants. We always went to one of these for breakfast. They have most basic breakfast foods- waffles, pancakes, eggs, cereal, toast, muffins, etc and lots of fresh fruit. They also had a made to order omelet station which was always my breakfast of choice.
The 24 Hour Lounge- This place was great for late night munchies, quick drinks, a quick bite to eat, and a small breakfast or coffee in the morning. We found ourselves there often late at night. Our group enjoyed pool and there are a couple pool tables in there. Also, it is super air-conditioned! Always a nice spot to get out of the heat for a minute or two.
Room service- Room service food was decent. It was nice that our room was right near the pool so we would order a couple plates of nachos for everyone to much on throughout the day. It was super convenient since you technically arenâ€™t allowed to eat at the pool.
I had my hair and makeup done by Alicia at Spazul- and WOW! I was super impressed as were all of our guests- I even got a comment on how good it looked from my dad! (If you knew him, youâ€™d understand- it was a big deal). She really did a fabulous job! During the appointment, I mentioned to my mom that my French pedicure was chipping a bit. Alicia immediately stopped doing my hair, walked away and came back with a bottle of white nail polish and took 5 minutes to touch up my nail polish. She really went above and beyond all of my expectations!! I would HIGHLY recommend her!
Our on-site wedding coordinator was Lorena. We met her the day after we got in town and went over everything from the wedding agenda to the food, the music/DJ and the flowers. This is also when we were able to give her the decorations we brought for the wedding. We brought coral colored organza chair sashes and table runners as well as raffia fans for each of our guests during the ceremony. The set-up of all of this was perfect on the day of the wedding! I had mentioned that we were going to purchase maracas as favors but hadnâ€™t had a chance yet. We forgot to bring them to her prior to the wedding (whoops!) but she showed up the morning of the wedding asking if we still were thinking about doing the maracas- which were all ready to go!
One disappointment: I never got back the chair sashes or table runners. If they offered them to other brides, it wouldnâ€™t be a problem but Iâ€™m sure they just ended up in the trash or are going to charge an arm and a leg for rentals.
We decided to go with the Classic Wedding package and ended up having 50 guests plus the bride and groom.
Includes Bride & Groom + 15 Guests
$1050 â€“ Package Base Price
$400- Weekend Surcharge
Champagne Toast & Cake â€“ Includes B&G + 15 Guests
35 real guests x $5 = $175
3 vendors x $15 = $45
Cocktail Hour â€“ Includes only B&G
50 x $10 = $500
3 vendors x $25 = $75
Private Reception - Includes B&G +15 Guests (but those 15 must be upgraded)
Upgrade 15 Guests x $15 = $225
35 Real guests $30 = $1050
3 vendors x $60 = $180
Notes: Private Reception is a 3 course menu and open bar for 3 hours w/ background music, location, tables with white table cloths, chairs with white chair covers, dance floor if requested. (Minimum 20 guests)
ONE Extra Hour Reception- Not Included FOR ANYONE
52 Real guests x $10 = $520
3 Vendors x $25 = $75
Just a heads up: There is a $400 if you donâ€™t have your reception and or/cocktail hour immediately following your reception.
CEREMONY ON THE BEACH AT PELICANOS
My brother got ordained online and performed our wedding ceremony. We wrote the script with him prior to coming to Mexico. He did a wonderful job!! Other than standing right in front of us a few times, and one small slip up that made the whole crowd laugh, the ceremony was flawless. We are so happy that we chose a close family member to marry us than to have a random do it. We did not do a rehearsal, but Lorena (our wedding coordinator) and Derek (our photographer) walked everyone through it and gave us a few pointers. I was the most nervous about falling in the sand while walking down the isle. Note to future brides: if you are going to be walking down a sand aisle, get your dress shortened a bit extra in the front. I was sinking in the sand so I was stepping on my dress the entire way. No bloopers though- thank God!
The set up was beautiful! There was a burlap runner with starfish and seashells along the aisle. The coral organza chair sashes I brought looked great and the raffia fans were perfectly placed on each seat. We opted for the Tiffany Chairs- which are free but they do not tell you this. They look great with the beach setting. The resort really did a great job.
[Detail FYI: The huppa fabric is 8 meters (26.25 feet) total. It is comprised of three lengths measuring 1.20 meters (3.9 feet) x 3 lengths-which equals 8 meters total (each length is 2.6 meters or 8.5 feet).]
I came across two cam-views of the beach you may want to check out:
Immediately following the ceremony, we started cocktail hour (champagne and cold appetizers). I couldnâ€™t tell you if everyone enjoyed this because we took off taking photos but I know there was a lot of champagne involved!
RECEPTION AT THE BEACH AT PELICANOS
Hands down best wedding reception I have ever been to. Biased, yes. But we had multiple people tell us the same thing.
I broke down each part below
We didnâ€™t expect the wedding dinner to be phenomenal- and it was ok.
Spinach soufflÃ© with blueberry sauce au white wine flavor (SP-3)
Beef fillet tournedo with fresh wild mushrooms sauce (SP-3)
Paris chocolate shell stuffed with fruit au white Cinzano flavor (SP-2)
[Detail FYI: Height of the round tables used for receptions 74 centimeters (29.1 inches). Width of the round tables used for receptions 1.80 meters (78.9 inches). The back of the chair is 45 centimeters tall (17.7 inches) by 92 centimeters wide (36.2 inches). The distance from the ground to the seat is 47 centimeters tall (18.5 inches). The Royal recommends no more than 7 (ideal) to 8 (maximum) guests per table.]
The wedding cake was delicious! I believe we went with some sort of Hazelnut. The day after the wedding, I opened up our â€˜magic boxâ€™ and there was the remainder of our wedding cake! We had about 10 people over that night to share one last piece of wedding cake with us before we had to leave. It was even better than the first taste- considering I was able to enjoy it with a fork.
We immediately booked Ivan as our wedding DJ since we had seen him in action at our friends wedding two years prior. Let me just say that Ivan did not disappoint!! Andrew and I sent him a list of must play songs, which he played about 90% of. He did a fabulous job reading the crowd and played music accordingly. We had a very rowdy group who loved to dance and there was not a dull moment. I was having so much fun that I didnâ€™t even leave the dance floor for a pee break because I knew every second I spent away from the dance floor was fun that I was missing out on. We did not opt for the light-up dance floor- the wooden one was perfectly fine. There were plenty of lights from the DJ to keep the party going. Ivan also brought glow sticks for everyone- which made for some amazing photos and our friends had so much fun with them. And he did fireworks! We were completely surprised- I thought those were an additional cost. Very impressed! We even have a photo of Andrew giving him a thumbs-up while the fireworks were going off.
The only complaint I have about Ivan was that for the first dance, I specifically emailed him and wrote on our wedding timeline (required to be filled out for the DJ) that our first dance would be my dad and I followed by Andrew and his grandmother joining in half way through the same song. Ivan got on the microphone and requested to have the groom and his mother to the dance floor- who has passed. Then Andrew had to yell across the floor to ask him to say his grandmother instead, along with me and my dad, which then made the entire dance the 4 of us and the surprise for Andrewâ€™s grandma was ruined.
Pricing for the DJ was $950/3 hours + $150 for each additional hour but since he is booked through the resort, there is no vendor fee. Score!
The staff during the wedding was fabulous. During the champagne toast, there was not an empty glass on the beach. The servers were pouring endless amounts of champagne to anyone who wanted it. During the reception, our friends told us that they would order one drink and every time it was gone, the server would bring them another of the same- even if they were on the dance floor- talk about service! They would also come to the dance floor with trays of shots- always a group pleaser.
Just be cautious if you have a card box or table. We had a box of sunglasses as favors and I saw one of the servers take a pair and stick them in his pocket part way through the night. This didnâ€™t bother me too much because they were somewhat inexpensive, but Iâ€™m sure they would take a card or two if they had the opportunity. We even gave them tips before the night started to keep everyone happy! And then he went and did thatâ€¦
My bouquet and Andrewâ€™s bout were compliments of the resort (included in our package). My bridesmaids bouquets and our centerpieces were ordered from Flores Riviera Maya ( http://www.floresrivieramaya.com/eng/ ). They did a fantastic job! My mom met them in front of the resort at noon on the day of the wedding. One of the bellboys helped her load up the flowers and brought them to our room. The wedding coordinator recommended that we left the centerpieces in the room until after the ceremony due to the heat. I am super lucky to have some all star friends who grabbed the flower centerpieces from our room during cocktail hour and placed them on the tables!
I cannot say enough good things about our photographers!!! Photography was the most important detail- since it is the only thing you are left with when all is said and done with (aside from my wonderful husband!). I definitely did my research and decided to go with Photos In Cancun. We did a 6 hour package plus videography and TTD the next morning & it was worth EVERY PENNY! Derek and Lorena were phenomenal. They were very easy going and made us laugh the entire day. They were in contact with the wedding coordinator the whole time so we wouldnâ€™t be off schedule and managed to get some amazing shots. We woke up before sunrise the morning after our wedding (eek!). Iâ€™d have to say we werenâ€™t feeling our best but the photos were worth the lack of sleep. After our TTD session, Derek and Lorena met us in the lobby of the hotel and gave us a few flash drives of every photo they took! Talk about a fast turn-around time. We chose to spend the entire plane ride home looking at the photos and reliving the memories. We were able to choose 250 photos to have professionally edited. I was convinced the photos couldnâ€™t look any better than they already did- but Derek and Lorena proved me wrong! We love all of our edits and canâ€™t wait to share them with our friends and family!
The videographers also did an amazing job. Andrew and I almost didnâ€™t go with a video but would have regretted it more than anything. So happy we decided to spend the money. Again- worth every penny. We had a reception in Michigan 2 months after we returned from Mexico and played the video for everyone to see! They absolutely loved it!!!
For those of you who are interested, our video is on YouTube:
My MOH made an amazing guest book. She brought a Polaroid camera and had everyone snap a photo of themselves then write their well wishes next to their photo.
Sunglasses for everyone!
The Back of the card said:
Instead of tapping your glass,
heres a system with Mexican class.
Stand and shake with all your might
to see the groom kiss his bride tonight!
Some people have asked about tipping. Technically, tips are included but The Royal went the extra mile and everyone got a tip from us!
I got my bracelet, earrings and hair flower from Olini on Etsy. Great prices and stellar work.
Chair Sashes: LingSupplies on eBay
Raffia Fans: Koyal Wholesale
Waterproof Card Holders: ebay seller yallstore
Wrist Coils: ebay seller elle1999bebe
Finally, here is something fun I saved that I came across:
Put Your photo on a Destination Wedding Magazine Cover
And I will leave you with a handful of wedding highlights/favorite photos:
(Shot and edited by Photos In Cancun)
Mr & Mrs!