Overall a good wedding but a few major hiccups.
We had a group of about 30 people all together at the wedding. 6 out of the 30 people could not stay at the Palace or the Santa Fe because it was "sold out" (tried to book about 3-4 weeks before wedding). They had to stay down the street at the Villa Del Palmar (not all inclusive). I later met a couple who booked their trip 2 weeks ago as a very discounted rate so I am a little upset that my husbands family had to stay off the resort when there were obviously rooms available.
Check-in/Transportation: Since we worked with a travel agency we had transportation from the airport through Telemar. They were on time and very accommodating with our entire group. The cab ride took about 35 minutes to get to the resort from the airport. Check in was no problem, we were greeting with drinks and a map of the resort. Our room wasn't ready yet so we had some lunch at the great buffet and then some drinks at the lobby bar. We checked back early to see if the room was ready yet and they put a rush on cleaning it so that we could settle in. Cute towel decorations greeted us on the bed.
Rooms: We were upgraded to an oceanview room on the 2nd floor because of our wedding package. I have to say, I wasn't too impressed with the rooms or hallways...they seemed a little outdated to me in comparison to some other hotels I stayed in. Just my preference. The oceanview room wasn't a true oceanview, more like a pool view and corner ocean view, still nice though. The room was cleaned and restocked every day and they made sure to ask if we wanted more towels every night. The cleaning crew work their butts off and do such a great job!
Food: Food was pretty good, lots of selection even for vegetarians (my whole family are vegetarians). The specialty restaurants were not my favorite because I am a picky eater. My favorite was the Italian lunch restaurant, San Jose (Mexican restaurant at night). Japanese restaurant entrees were good but all the restaurants have a very limited selection, you can choose from like 3 things. My husband enjoyed the steak restaurant. Neither of us liked the Krystal restaurant, too weird and hard to get into for a reservation. Pool side fajitas were bomb. We walked over to spend the day at the Santa Fe one day and the food was no where near as good. The pool side servers were very attentive and constantly asking if we wanted anything.
Rehearsal Dinner: We had our rehearsal dinner at the San Jose Mexican restaurant. We were supposed to have a semi private dinner on the terrace over looking the beach which was including in our wedding package but we showed up for our reservation at 8:30pm and was told that we would be sitting in the restaurant with the other guests because someone else had the terrace. I was upset because there was nothing special about our dinner, we were just in the restaurant at a long table like everyone else and I paid good money to have that semi private dinner. The food options were suckling pig, mushroom ravioli, chick and steak fajitas, and prawns as well as the buffet. It was just okay. The BIGGEST complaint I have is that they would not allow my husband's family (sisters and mother) on to the resort for the rehearsal dinner even with guest passes because they said they were at full capacity!! They tried 3 separate times throughout the day to pay for guest passes and spend the day with us and the security at the gate would not allow them in and would not even call the front desk to check and see if they were in the wedding party. They were extremely rude and difficult. Finally at 8:45pm after 4 attempts they got in but were told they could not come back to the resort the next day until after 12:30pm even though they paid a full day pass and it was the wedding day!
Spa: Ok....this is not a spa. I decided to have my hair and makeup done at the resort because I didn't want to travel to a salon on my wedding day and the resort requires a $300 outside vendor fee if you bring someone in (bogus). My hair and makeup turned out good but not great...I know I could of looked better and that is not feeling you want on your wedding day. The hairdresser/makeup artist (same person) did not speak any English so it was very difficult to communicate what I wanted even with lots of pictures. I showed up for my appointment expecting a full salon with a lot of hair and makeup gadgets that a normal person wouldn't have to make me look fabulous and what I got was 1 chair, 1 lady, 1 curling iron, and 1 can of hairspray. That's it. It turned out alright after several times of correcting what I wanted. I would not recommend getting you hair and makeup done at the RIU Palace salon.
Ceremony: Ceremony was at the San Jose gazebo. The ceremony was beautiful, music and everything went off without a hitch. The wedding coordinator (Jazz) did a good job. Reverend Marco did a great job, personal and funny at the same time. It lasted about 25-30 minutes. Everything was set up just like I instructed the wedding coordinator. NOTE: We went to see the ceremony space the day before the wedding and were SHOCKED when we saw a huge trashy massage tent and white van in plain view of the gazebo that would obviously be seen in all the pictures. It is not part of the resort and is technically on the next property so there is nothing that can be done about it but it would have been nice to know a head of time to prepare or bring something to hide the hideous eyesore. I am not exaggerating...it's bad.
Reception: We paid the extra money to have a private reception at the Baja Norte. This is by far the best decision we made. It was beautiful. There were 3 other weddings that night at the steakhouse terrace, beach, and mexican terrace...so many people commented how they were so thankful we paid the extra money because the other areas were just simply not as nice. I have to note something else that was very upsetting, we missed about an hour of our reception because the coordinators never told our guests when they could come down to the reception space from our cocktail hour in the lobby. The guests were supposed to be seated at 6:30pm and when we came to the reception to be announced as a new couple, there was not a soul in sight. It wasn't until about 7:20pm that I found my sister-in-law who told everyone to come down. Very upsetting. The wedding coordinator claimed she told everyone to come down but they were just having too good of a time sitting in the lobby at cocktail hour. Yeah right. Maybe I would believe that if there were some people down at the reception site, but not a single person including my mom was there. I really wish I had that hour back. The food at the reception was ok/good. As I said, my whole family are vegetarians so the wedding coordinator gave us 2 veggie options and 1 beef options which was nice (usually it's just 1 and 1). We had the stuffed eggplant, vegetable lasagna, and beef fillet. Asparagus soup was the best part. The resort DJ was good, I gave him a playlist to stick to and he did for the most part so no real complaints there. I did not use the resort photogprapher because I did not like their work I saw online. I paid the $300 outside vendor fee and got Gilda Badillo Photography. Phenomenal. Worth every penny. The cake cutting was another bust. First of all, they had nothing for us to cut the cake with when it came time. Our photographer had to find a mini pearing knife to cut the cake. We had no plates or forks either, we had to use our hands It was a disaster. We didn't get to eat a piece of the cake either. The head waiter said they would send 2 pieces up to our room but they never did so we never even got to eat out own wedding cake BUT everyone said it was very very tasty. The service was on point, drinks constantly flowing, shots being made, they made sure everyone was taken care of. The reception ended promptly at 11pm. We continued the party at the Pacho night club which was actually a ton of fun.
Overall it was a great wedding and a great trip with 30 of our closest friends and family!