Finally going to try and get some thoughts written out on my daughters wedding that we celebrated at NOW Sapphire mid-October. This forum was such a help to me in planning the wedding and I hope I can help some of you as much as I was helped.
If you are reading this on the NOW Sapphire forum, youâ€™ve probably already chosen this resort as your venue. If not, I can only say that we were very happy with our choice. We needed a resort that had a pretty wedding site, had a nice beach, would cater to having children, and was reasonable for our guests. We had 48 people attend, 17 of which were children, half under 5 years old! NOW met all of our requirements plus a few bonus things such as being close to the airport, great wedding coordinators, wonderful staff, a variety of food options and a great pool. We were unable to make a site visit so was at the mercy of our travel agent and actually what I could read on forums like this and Trip Advisor. We did our planning in a 4 month time constraint with very little problems. The advantage for us in using the travel agent was that she had actually been to the resort, she was able to negotiate a block of rooms for us and when we needed more, renegotiate, make immediate contact with the WC and get responses when we couldnâ€™t. She handled all of our guests requests for particular rooms and all payments to the resort went through her. We never had to deal with any of the issues of the bookings for the guests. She also was a go-between for us for all the wedding contracts with the resort for the deposits and wedding venue information. We did have preferred rooms and enjoyed having them very much.
We did not have contact with the WC for the resort until basically 2 weeks before the wedding, which started to get us worried, but as all the other brides have said before on this forum, not to worry, they have it all down and they probably have had any request there can be and handled it well. When we submitted our Wedding questionnaire, we had a lot of blanks that we werenâ€™t sure of, all that was taken care of at the meeting 2 days before the wedding and nothing seemed to be a problem. My daughter had the Divine Package and we used the resort flowers and photographer. We did bring our own decorations and table overlays and chair sashes (ordered from www.tableclothfactory.com , the overlays were $3.05 each and the chair sashes were .49 each and are available if anyone wants them). We were charged to put on the chair sashes but they did not charge extra to decorate (I brought a picture of what the tables should look like, and they did it exactly as I expected.) We had 5 large round tables set up on the north end of the beach terrace, that sat up to 10 people. One thing we did do that I havenâ€™t read about anyone else doing, is we set up a childrenâ€™s table in the middle of the 5 tables and put all the small children at that table with their parents at the tables around them. I made Wedding Activity Books for the kids, had crayons for them and ordered them chicken fingers, fries and ice cream. The cost for a childâ€™s plate is more than you will want to pay($31.50) but after trying to work it out many different ways, this is what we needed to do and it went surprisingly well! Our group came as a family to celebrate and felt that the kids were part of the family and should be there, but if you have enough days before the wedding for the kids to try out the Explorerâ€™s Club, that is also a wonderful option, but you have to give the WC your head count 2 days before the wedding and most of our group with children only came in 1 day before the wedding and did not have time to acclimate their children to the resort amenities before we had to pay for our head count. Otherwise, later in the week many of the kids did enjoy the Explorerâ€™s Club and the Core Zone and had dinner and movies there on several nights. If you have any questions about how all that worked, please feel free to PM me. But while we are still on the reception, we only went with one entry because we did not have the time to contact our guests to get choices. We chose the Surf and Turf, which was wonderful, we did have the dessert, with it, which did spoil the desire for wedding cake but between the cocktail hour, with the 4 appetizers and the full course dinner, the guests are very satisfied. All of the food was fantastic! We did cut the cake about half an hour after finishing dinner, after the toasts and first dances, had served it to the guest. We ordered the Tres Leches flavor and it was OK. There was a lot of cake left over and we have no idea what happened to it. If you are having over 25 guests, do not order a bigger cake. What they make will be plenty, especially if you have dessert with your dinner. If you want to enjoy it later, make sure that they save it for you also.
Let me back up to the wedding prep and wedding.
My daughter was very pleased with the spa and her hair and makeup, they did a beautiful job, she gave them an idea of what she wanted and that is how it came out. We also had a Bridal Breakfast the morning of the wedding with the brideâ€™s cousinâ€™s and close friends. We gathered together in the Preferred Lounge, which had a nice set up for it and although we did not tell them a head of time we were going to do it, they were very accommodating of us. Something like this could also be done very easily in the main lobby or a section of the buffet, we didnâ€™t want to be charged to set it up though and those are some of the little things that are sometimes hard to know how you should handle it. Another bride was also doing something with her attendants that morning though and we almost were overlapping, so it probably would be a better idea to ask ahead of time or even coordinate it through the WC who may have some ideas from other bridal parties that work well.
Our ceremony was on the beach between buildings 4 and 5. We reserved the palapas earlier in the day that lined the walkway to the ceremony site to make sure no sunbathers would be lounging in our ceremony space. I have to say, that no matter where you are on the beach, the sunbathers or beach walkers have no regards for the wedding ceremony and will watch or walk right on by and make no attempt to walk around the back to avoid being a part of your ceremony. It is aggravating, so make sure your photographer can definitely delete unwanted objects or people in your pictures. Otherwise you are so caught up in the beauty of the moment of your wedding, it really wonâ€™t bother you nor will you notice. We have the prettiest picture (Iâ€™ll try to download them) of my daughter with her father walking to the ceremony under an arch of palm trees that can only be done at this spot. She did not have attendants but instead had her 3 young nieces all be flower girls. We ordered the nautilus shells (www.conchking.com) for their flower baskets and they were beautiful! You do not need a sound system for the ceremony, that comes with the package and they have a microphone for the officiant. We gave them an ipod with a playlist of the prelude music, the processional music, the bridal march and recessional music, which worked very well. Instead of the sand ceremony or lighting a unity candle they did the Godâ€™s Knot ceremony, which is a braiding of 3 cords, a symbol of the bride, groom and Christ, woven together as one. A very nice reading was done to tell the significance of it. We had a female officiant and she also made the ceremony very special with a couple of different religious readings. She stood back on the aisle so that the guests only saw the bride and groom under the chuppa during the ceremony, which was also nice for pictures. Immediately after the ceremony was over, the resort staff served a champagne toast to all the guests, which we were not expecting and I believe, was in addition to the toast served at the reception. We were only charged for 1 toast but had 2.
We did have a small sound system that the groom brought to use at the reception and did not hire a DJ. With our group having so many children and parents, a party atmosphere wouldnâ€™t work for us. We did see bridal groups during the week that had moved their party to the lobby later in the evenings, partaking of the bar there and the dance club.
We did not hire an additional photographer after reviewing what the resort offered, but I would definitely recommend paying for at least an extra hour of photography time or negotiate to buy all the pictures they take on a disc. The package came with 24 pics that they put in a nice bound book that we got before leaving and a videographer, who does take pics for about 2 hours, starting with the brideâ€™s prep and through the ceremony. The disc ended up having at least 80 pics on it, which now we can use to make our own books and not be limited to just 24 pics. That photography company also does not have the ability to edit the pics, but we can also do that since we got the disc. Definitely make a list of all the pics you want though, because I can guarantee you will miss something special or important if you donâ€™t.
Additional comments on staff are that we felt that as a wedding party we were catered too and couldnâ€™t have been treated nicer. Ivan, the beach concierge set us up every day with beach palapas and Bali beds by the pool. Room service was great, The resort is immaculate!
One more last note, our Welcome BAGS! We put the following in them: sippy cups with lids and straws bought at Dollar store and then personalized with vinyl lettering, lanyards and key holders for room keys, sand buckets and sand toys for children, biodegradable sunscreen for swimming at the reefs and the cenotes, aloe, kleenex, hand sanitizer, Avon Skinsosoft insect wipes, tums, beach balls, and snacks. The biggest hits were the personalized cups and the lanyards and key holders.
Our final review is that we had a fantastic week at NOW Sapphire, the wedding turned out beautiful, better than we expected, the reception flowed nicely, the decorations were as we expected, and yes we would recommend it in a flash to anyone asking.
I do not have the pics taken from the photographer available will have them in about 3 weeks. I promise to post a few more that show the ceremony and reception when we get them to give you a better idea of how it looked.