Recently returned from my wedding at the Riu Palace in Cabo San Lucas on November 15 and it was THE MOST amazing time of my life! I want to re-live it every day. I will never forget how much of an amazing wedding we had.
Travel Agent: We went with Liberty Travel as our travel agent. Our wedding guests booked through a link that the agency provided and I was able to download a report to see who signed up (this was perfect because I provided it to the hotel to prove that at least 80% of the guests stayed at the hotel, per the contract). It also helped me with RSVPs. No need to follow up on missing response cards if they booked their room . Liberty Travel also arranged for everyone's ride to and from the airport which worked out great. The only snag with this one was that there are TONs of agents at the airport trying to pick up the arriving tourists and some tried posing as our car service. However, since we were one of the first people to show up in Cabo, I texted our guests to warn them about this and remind them to verify who they are taking a ride with.
Hotel: The rooms were amazing! We had an Ocean Front Junior Suite which was fine for us because we didn't spend a ton of time in the room. Also, it was centrally located to everything. The hotel is HUGE so getting from one place to the next was a workout! Good for me so I could fit into my dress, but not so great for my grandma. However, she had a wheelchair so she had assistance getting around. I definitely recommend any elderly guests bringing or renting a wheelchair to get around the hotel. Also, don't drink or brush your teeth with the tap water. A few people got sick (bring Pepto and any sort of meds you can think of, just in case) and my in-law (who is a doctor) believes that caused it. Also, be sure to secure your restaurant reservations so you don't have the buffet every day for dinner. We really enjoyed the food.
We gave the front desk welcome bags to hand out and it worked out great. Our friends and family said the bags were placed in their rooms. The only sucky part is that it costed us $3 per bag for them to give them out.
Hair Salon on site: My bridesmaids and I got our hair done at the salon on site and they did a fantastic job! My appointment was at noon (ceremony at 4). I showed my stylist a picture of the style I wanted from my phone and she got right to work on it. She nailed it, and pretty quickly too. She didn't even have to stare at the photo for long. My mom and my sister said the same thing, and they have pretty high standards. The salon can take on 3 hair appointments at any given hour so book your hair appointments as soon as you can, which I believe is 3 months prior to the wedding. You'll have to pay 50% of the bill up front to hold the appointments. I did my own makeup so I can't speak for the makeup artists on site.
Florist: We went with Baja Flowers (provided by the Riu) and they did an excellent job! I sent photos to Alina of the bouquets and centerpieces I wanted and she said no problem! She nailed it. The only thing I noticed is that the boutonnieres were a little heavy. They seemed to be weighing down the groomsmen's jackets. Not a huge deal though .
Photographer: We went with the hotel photographer and she was on time and did not waste any moment directing us on the poses and variations of photos. I can't wait to see the photos!
DJ: We went with the hotel DJ and he did a great job!! Everyone was dancing the entire time. I looked around at one point and everyone was on the dance floor. We asked to meet with him beforehand and he had my list and asked me what songs I definitely did't want to hear. He also asked me if it was OK to take requests from others. He played all the correct songs for our introductions and first dance. A lot of our friends said he did a great job with the music.
Wedding coordinator: We had Ana Maria and she is the sweetest person ever!! As we got closer to the wedding date, she was more and more responsive to our emails and I could see that she puts care and emotion into her job. She offered up lots of ideas and suggestions for us without us even asking. We met with her a few days before the wedding to confirm our details and choices. We did a cake tasting (yum!) as well. She had all our information organized. I also gave her our toasting flutes, cake servers, welcome bags, wedding favors, table number and name cards and it was all there at our reception. No exceptions!!! We loved her so much, we brought her on the dance floor at one point . We also made sure to thank her by getting her a gift certificate to Hacienda Cocina y Cantina (great spot for dinner!).
Btw, I've seen some people mention in their reviews that they wished there was a rehearsal. For us, we found that it wasn't necessary. Ana told us exactly what time she would bring us the flowers, and pick us up for the ceremony and she was on time. Then she was right there directing each of us when to start our walk to the aisle. Every step of the way, she directed us so there was no confusion at all of what to do.
Ceremony: We were initially going to have the ceremony at the San Jose Gazebo, however, the grass was a little torn up from the hurricane. There were some bald spots and construction going on right out of the gazebo, so we opted to move it to a beach ceremony on the quiet side of the hotel. We made this change just a few days before the wedding! The beach ceremony was gorgeous! The only odd part was that some hotel guests overlooked the ceremony from the infinity pool but it didn't matter to me once the ceremony music started . It was also fun when they cheered at clapped at the end. The view from the beach ceremony was absolutely stunning. A few days prior, there were some cruise ships that blocked the view of the rock formation, but they were gone on the day of the wedding. It was so breathtakingly beautiful. Our ceremony was at 4pm which was perfect. The temperature was so comfortable and we had enough sun light to take photos afterward before the sun set. We used the hotel Reverend Marco and he was great! Very sweet and gave a lovely ceremony. He provided us with a few different ceremony script options and said we could mix and match or customize how ever we wanted. He was also on time.
Violinist: We went with the hotel violinist (Wioletta?) for the ceremony music and it was sooo perfect. She played the exact songs I asked and I received a TON of compliments on how it set the mood for the ceremony. I walked down the aisle to A Thousand Years and there were no dry eyes in the crowd. She didn't miss a beat.
Reception: We chose Baja Norte for our reception and it was stunning! Like I mentioned earlier, everything I gave Ana for the reception was right there and ready when we showed up. The food presentation was very nice! They had our names carved into watermelons which was a nice surprise ha! There were hotel staff who took great care of us. They carried my food plate to our table and always kept our drinks filled.
Fire Dancers: We decided to add an extra touch and hired 3 fire dancers for 20 minutes. Our wedding guests were definitely surprised and loved it! They made a few minor mistakes but overall, it was a great show! We watched them perform on the beach from the balcony at Baja Norte (for safety).
Overall, I had the most amazing time of my life. Everything was just beautiful and it completely exceeded my expectations. During our first dance, my husband was like "I cannot believe this is our wedding. It is SO amazing!" Our family members and friends were stunned as well and I have received sooo many compliments on it. We had a blast! Now everyone is talking about how we should all go back for our first anniversary hahah.
Let me know if you have any questions!!! I definitely recommend having your wedding at the Riu Palace in Cabo and if you can, request Ana for your coordinator. I can't speak for the other coordinators, but she was the perfect person for us .