Although I haven't posted much on here prior to my wedding, I did a lot of reading on here and I figured the least I could do was share some of the information about my wedding. Hopefully this helps and feel free to contact me with any questions...
I got married at Excellence Riviera Cancun on July 22, 2013. The wedding was absolutely perfect and I couldn't be happier with the choice I made.
Basic Info: My husband, myself, and all of my guests arrived on Saturday July 20, 2013. We had our wedding on Monday July 22, 2013. In total, including ourselves, there were 19 people. Our guests stayed until Wednesday July 24.
Wedding Coordinator: My wedding coordinator was Gloria. We started planning our wedding in January. In the beginning, she answered all of my questions very promptly and we booked the resort within a week of contacting here. For the next few months, we didn't speak too much as the wedding was fairly far away. She always got back to me quickly when I did reach out to here. Over the last month prior to the wedding, I had about a million last minute details and she always got back to me within 24 hours. She was able to accommodate literally everything I asked for. I couldn't be more pleased with her service. The day we arrived at the resort, we met with her for about 20 minutes. The day of the wedding she picked up all of the decorations I brought. She arrived at my room about 1 hour prior to the wedding with flowers. She was so kind as to even lace up my corset dress; when she arrived at my room my MOH was in the process. We hadn't practiced this prior to arriving so she was moving a bit slowly. Gloria had my dress laced in under 2 minutes perfectly. She made sure everything was perfect for the ceremony, the cocktail hour, and the reception. About an hour into the reception she said she would be leaving. This was totally fine because at this point, we were already dancing and her services really were not necessary.
Ceremony: We chose to have our ceremony on the pier at 5pm. I think everything went perfectly. It was a bit windy, but not too bad. The wind was actually refreshing as it is July in Mexico so it can get pretty warm. Everything for the ceremony went well. No complaints at all.
Cocktail Hour: Initially we had chosen to do our cocktail hour on the other pier. However, once the ceremony was over everyone migrated to the beach/bar (Las Olas I believe). We were doing photos there so it seemed easier. Immediately, Gloria noticed this and moved all of the tables from the pier to the beach by the bar. I asked the guests afterwards which they would have preferred. They said they liked the beach better because it was shady, right at the bar, and there were chairs right by the bar. The pier was very sunny still and it probably would have been hot for the guests. (note: I was not at the cocktail hour because I was with my photographer taking pictures so I don't know much else). The guests complimented all of the appetizers as well as drinks. They offered any drinks you could think of, including frozen drinks. Upon completion of the ceremony, there was a server with an entire tray full of frozen drinks for the guests.
Reception: I chose to have the reception at Barcelona. To make things easy, I chose to have one meal for everyone since we had no preferences or allergies. We had the filet with shrimp (substituted shrimp for scallops). Everyone said the steak was the best one they had at the resort. We had creme brulee as the dessert which everyone loved as well. We had a vanilla cake with strawberry swirl. The cake was excellent. We actually had no problems with cutting the cake as we did it before the meal (for photography reasons). Unfortunately the cake did not get eaten because everyone started dancing. I wish I would have paid more attention and asked the servers to cut and serve the cake. I e-mailed Gloria a picture of the cake I wanted in advance and it turned out perfect! In the beginning, drink service was a little bit slow. Our group had some drinkers in it. We finally explained to the waiters that there would be a lot of shot drinking; they accommodated it without a problem and brought 3 bottles of Grand Marnier to the reception and served shots without a problem. We used DJ Mannia. He did a fantastic job. One of my bridesmaids actually sang a special song for us and it sounded great. Once everyone started drinking, we had a few karaoke songs (at their request for fun) and the DJ completely accommodated it. In addition, there were a few songs that I thought of that we wanted to hear that he did not have (as I did not tell him prior to) and he downloaded the songs right on the spot. I will say that the reason I chose Barcelona was because it was air conditioned; however towards the end of the reception it was extremely warm in there. I'm not sure if they didn't have the AC on or what it was, but no one seemed to mind. It did, however, seem cooler outside rather than inside towards the end of the reception. Overall, the reception was perfect. Gloria had all the decorations perfect and everyone had a great time. I wish I could do it again!
Salon: My bridal party all went to the salon to have our hair done and make-up done. All of the girls had their hair done and myself and my MOH had our make-up done as well. I had Elias do both my hair and make-up; he was absolutely wonderful. I showed him a picture of how I wanted my hair done and he made it perfect. I didn't have a picture of my make-up; I told him natural/smokey eyes and it turned out perfect. I chose to have my hair up because of the win and humidity. It lasted all night without a problem. Not a single complaint!
Photographer: I used Juan Navarro as my photographer. Unfortunately, I haven't received my photos yet so I don't have much to say. Juan was very friendly and professional. He had a lot of creative ideas for photos and was able to do everything I asked. I also had photos taken by the resort photographer as they were included in my package. I will be honest... I was completely unimpressed with the photos. He came during the cocktail hour to take pictures of the entire wedding group since I would be away with my photographer. When I went to select my 24 included photos, he had only taken 44 total and many of them were duplicates. I didn't even like 24 photos. He neglected to take pictures of all of the groomsmen together. He took no pictures of my parents together. Many of the pictures were unprofessional (ie: he would take a picture of two of the bridesmaids and included in the photo would be the end of table with empty drinks on it). I would not recommend anyone to use them for their primary pictures. Now, I can't say if he didn't take many pictures because he knew I had another photographer. But whatever the case may be, I was disappointed.
Resort: Everyone LOVED the resort. It was bigger than we expected. There were tons of pools. The pool bar was great and always lively. There were plenty of other quiet areas. The beach was huge and there were always chairs. The restaurants were fantastic and barely had any wait. The only problem with the restaurants was that they cannot accommodate to large groups. If you plan to have a large group you need to make arrangements with Gloria prior to arriving. We did upgrade to the Excellence Club, for the discount for the wedding. I thought it was worth it for the discount, but otherwise I didn't see the need for it. The spa was also wonderful. We did the hydrotherapy, which was an awesome experience, as well as a couple's massage. Everyday the spa has different specials so make sure to check the specials out before you book. Every night there was entertainment in the common area; I enjoyed all of the shows. It was a great place for everyone to meet after dinner and have drinks. There was also a bar that opened after the shows. Each night was a different theme and it was definitely fun to hang out.
OOT Bags: I did do OOT bags for my guests. I packed everything in an additional suitcase. My bags were small tropical print backs from Dollar Tree; everyone loved the bags and used them all week to carry their stuff to the pool. I made a bag for each couple or each single person. Inside, I included a raft for each person, a plastic tumbler with a decal on it for each person, a koozie for each person, 1 aloe gel, 1 pepto bismol, 1 bottle of ibuprofen, 1 tide pen, 1 lint roller, and a welcome letter. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the bags and used everything in them. To get the bags there I did use an additional suitcase (which also had my decorations in it). I included a letter in the bag which stated that the items were for gift bags for wedding and were not for re-sale as well as a confirmation letter from the resort for the wedding. I am glad I did this because there was a letter in the bag that said it had been inspected in customs; everything made it through though which was awesome.
Overall, my wedding and trip was fantastic!! I wouldn't have changed a thing and I would recommend this resort to anyone. Feel free to message me or respond with any questions; I'd be happy to help anyone!