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Review Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas Wedding


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#1 Jan2015wedding

Jan2015wedding
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  • 4 posts

    Posted 06 March 2015 - 03:01 PM

    RIU Palace Cabo San Lucas

    Royal Wedding Package

    54 Guests (50 adults and 4 children)

    Wedding: January 2015 - Gazebo

    Reception: Poolside Baja Norte

     

    I got most of my wedding information from this site or the wedding coordinator (once I received info about about 6 weeks before the wedding) and thought it may be helpful to provide a post-wedding summary.  I planned on writing a brief summary, but once I started writing it…well it is a little long.  If you have any questions about information that I did not cover, let me know.

     

    I was at the resort for 12 days, so I also had the opportunity to see the set up for a few others weddings, so I’ll add commentary from those too when appropriate.

     

    Thursday

    Our wedding was on a Monday and we arrived late on the Thursday before. 

     

    Friday

    We had our meeting with the WC on Friday morning.  Unknown to me until that morning, my WC was no longer with RIU, so we met a new WC.  However, thanks to the excel spreadsheets and the fact that all our communication was via email, the new WC was up to speed.  The meeting wasn’t very long – the main purpose of the meeting is to confirm all the details in person and then pay! However, I highly recommend bringing print outs of the important information such as tentative balance, seating chart, meal list, etc.  We also gave her a CD with our songs for the ceremony and we could (but weren't prepared yet) given her all our items for the reception (e.g. favours, etc.).

     

    Since we planned a rehearsal dinner in town, we did not use the semi-private dinner included with the package.  [I should note this dinner could come in handy even if you don’t need it for the rehearsal or wedding, since when you make A La Carte reservations at the resort it can only be up to 12 people, but the dinner included in the wedding package is up to 20 people].  However, we did request to have a welcome dinner at the buffet for 45 people.  Even though I requested it, and we discussed it at the meeting with the WC, I had a feeling they would not have anything set up.  I kept joking with my guest that “If you are the first one there, ask for a table for 45”.  Anyway, as expected there was no table/section set aside, but thankfully I just started pointing at tables and asking the host if we could have them, and we ended up with about six tables all together. 

     

    Since we did the Symbolic Ceremony, we did not need to get blood work done.  However, for other reasons, I do know where the doctor’s office is located, and it is very close to reception.  So it shouldn’t take very long to get blood work done if you opt for the Civil Ceremony.

     

    Sunday

    Instead of a traditional rehearsal dinner, we opted for a family dinner since we had some family members which were staying at a house not on the resort.  We had our dinner at Hacienda Cocina and it was fabulous!  Since we were a larger group we had to pre-order the appetizers and desserts, but everyone really liked it.  To be honest, there was so much food.  Probably could have skipped the desserts (or only had a few churros to share).  Many of our guests went to this restaurant on their own throughout the week, and everyone had great things to say.  P.s.the calamari is fantastic, but apparently only available for dinner.

     

    Monday – Wedding Day

     

    My husband dropped off our favours (which doubled as name cards), our seating list to be displayed for guests, guest book, music list (does and don’ts) to the WC in the morning.  I headed off to have my hair and makeup done at Suzanne Morel.  I do not know the names of the women who helped us, but they were great.  There was one woman who was coordinating and she took our instructions in English and also dealt with all the payments/receipts.  The other two women did not seem to speak very much English, but the information was well relayed as they did a great job with our hair and makeup.  My hair did not move from noon until I took my bobby pins out at 2am!  We were six people getting our hair done, but five also got their makeup done and we arrived at 10:00am and were out by 1:00pm.  As a forewarning the store front feels like it is in an industrial area, but we didn’t have a problem finding it, and the taxi ride was about 5 minutes.

     

    Once back at the resort, we had selected the 5 hour photographer package, therefore our photographer did “getting-ready” picture with my husband at 3pm and then came to meet up with me from 3:15-3:30pm, before our 4:00pm ceremony.  The WC requested that all guest meet in the lobby bar for 3:30pm and she would walk them down to the gazebo. The WC then came to meet up with me, my bridesmaids, flower girl and father.  We took a long walk around to end up outside but out of everyone’s sight.  The bridesmaids and flowers girls were sent ahead to wait for their music.  Then once they were finished the WC had my father and I move ahead to wait for our song to start.  Once you see the gazebo you will realize that the path down to the gazebo is quite long, which is why it is a two stage approach. 

     

    The gazebo was great!  It was really pretty and very private!  It is at the corner of the property and there isn’t too much on the other side of the Riu Palace.  As I mentioned, we did a Symbolic Ceremony, which was essentially a regular ceremony but not legal.  I had exchanged some emails with Rev. Marco before going to Cabo and he sent me some example texts for the ceremony.  I edited and added some items and sent that off to him.   Honestly, he was great!  Everyone really liked him – he was a great mix of humour and serious. 

    After the ceremony, we had the champagne toast, did some group pictures then sent the non-wedding party guests to the lobby bar while we went to the beach to take some pictures.  The pictures turned out really well.  It is a beautiful spot.  In hindsight I would have taken some pictures with my husband somewhere other than the gazebo or the beach.

     

    After we finished up with pictures we met up with our guests at the Lobby Bar for about 15 minutes before having everyone head to the reception by the Baja Norte pool.  We had considered doing a private event between the ceremony and reception at the La Plaza bar, but decided against it in the end.  Again, in hindsight I probably would have done it, but no one who attended the wedding knew the difference.  I have no issue with the Lobby bar, except it is busier than you would expect, and if there is a sporting event (e.g. college football game on a Saturday) it will be packed.

     

    Next stop was the reception by the Baja Norte pool.  This is by far the nicest venue at the Riu Palace, but does come at an extra cost as you need to pay a site fee, pay per plate, and pay for open bar.  Even though we didn’t see the sunset from the reception, the area is well lit, and looks great.  The default for table set up was to offer us a sweetheart table, but we opted to sit at a round table with our wedding party.  The food was really good!  In my opinion it was the best food I had at the resort.  I was a bit nervous about it, since unlike other wedding venues you don’t get to sample the food before picking, but it worked out. 

     

    There was a podium for speeches, but we hired a DJ, therefore I’m not sure if that is the default.  We debated whether or not to hire a DJ, but in the end I’m happy we did it.  It made it less stressful and stopped people from running to the iPod and changing the song.  I am a bit particular about music, so I did put together a playlist as a back up, provided him a list of those songs so he had a general idea of what music we liked and provided him with a “Do Not Play” list.  Overall he was very good and people were dancing until they shut us down.  Also, at this reception spot, you get access to the pool bar.  The bartenders were great.  In hindsight (another one), I would have brought some money to tip the DJ and bartenders, though my husband told me that our guests were tipping the bartenders throughout the night.

     

    After the reception wrapped up around 11pm, some guests called it a night, while a group of us heading to the disco.  The disco is not bad, better than discos I’ve been to at other resorts, but they play a lot of house music, which is great if you love that kind of music, but definitely not a crowd pleasure.  The DJ adjusted the music a bit after we arrived, but didn’t really accommodate any requests.  The disco is also really warm, especially considering we were there in January (when it isn’t too hot). We still had a great time, but in the end this is the one part of the night I would have changed, but there are really no other options, so not sure what we could have done differently. 

     

    More specific notes

     

    Photographer

    As already stated we went with a 5 hour photography package.  The day we met the WC, we also met with a representative from the photography company.  The meeting was mostly about finalizing/confirming details.  For our 4pm ceremony, the photographer arrived around 3pm to take “getting ready” pictures.  She then headed to the gazebo to take pre-wedding pictures and then pictures throughout the ceremony.  After the ceremony we got a few pictures with the champagne glasses, and then started with the group shots by the gazebo.  After that we headed to the beach for wedding party pictures.  The pictures on the beach are beautiful.  It is a great spot, and I’m generally very happy with the pictures – I only wish there were more.  Since the 5 hour package only brought us to 8pm, they gave us the option of doing the first dance while people were still eating dinner, but we opted not to do that.  We did decide to cut the cake before she left, and she also went around taking pictures of all the guests at the tables.

     

    Cake

    I wasn’t very focused on the cake, but we ended up with a four tiered cake. We did not pay for fresh flowers or bring any decorations, and they improvised and used some of the flowers (I think from the gazebo arrangements, but I’m not sure).  Honestly it ended up looking really nice, but they didn’t serve it, and I have a feeling they rarely do since the reception time isn’t very long, and you get dessert with your meal.

     

    Flowers

    The flowers were beautiful.   Included in the Royal Package is the bridal bouquet, groom boutonniere, two flower arrangements for the gazebo and a bag of petals for the flower girl.  I also opted to purchase three bridesmaid bouquets. I ended up with pink and white lilies for my bouquet and white lilies for the bridesmaids (since their dresses were coral).

     

    Decorations

    I know that some people take decorations very seriously, but I’m not one of those people.  At an outdoor setting like the Baja Norte, you really don’t need very much – it is so beautiful already.  So the tables wouldn’t look naked, weordered one centre piece per table from Alina, and opted for a simple one with a candle in a cylinder vase with rocks.  I think they looked nice, and did the trick.  Alina had many options available, and in the end I emailed her a picture of one I found online and she had no problem provided me with something very similar.

     

    Off Site Guests

    We had a few off-site guests that came to the wedding, and we did not have any issue getting them on site.We had to provide their names ahead of time, and then was given the option of either paying the day fee or having them pay when they arrived.  We ended up paying to make it easier, but I assume since they have to get their bracelets at reception, it would have been easy enough for them to pay when they arrived. When they arrived they got day bracelets and were allowed on site any time after 9am until 11pm.

     

    Keep in mind if you have guests staying off site that you need at least 80% of your guest to be staying at the Riu Palace.  This is not a cost issue (as in you cannot pay to fix this problem) it is just one of their rules.  There was a point when I wasn’t sure if we would dip slightly below 80%, so I booked a room in the name of a couple I knew was not staying at the resort, and I was going to accept the room rental fee as the cost of dropping below 80%.  In the end we were safely above 80% so I cancelled the room.

     

    Beach Wedding

    While we were at the resort there were more weddings on the beach than weddings at the gazebo.  I think it is a personal choice, but I wanted to provide some details so you can make an informed decision.  

    1) Privacy: The gazebo is at a corner of the resort and about as private as you can get on the property, the beach site is very close to the Baja Norte pool (quiet pool).  If you get married on the beach, people in the pool will watch your wedding.  

    2) Sand: Please consider any guests that have mobility issues before making a final decision on the beach. I saw one wedding where a guest was using a walker on the sand, and it did not look like the safest situation.  Also, the sand at the Riu Palace is fairly coarse and not always that comfortable to walk on.

     

    Resort Bracelets

    Until a couple weeks before we headed to Cabo, I hadn’t thought about the fact that everyone staying at the Riu Palace gets a resort bracelet.  One document (I can’t remember which one) that the WC stated that the bride and groom could remove their bracelets for free but there was a $50 fee for everyone else.  I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do, so I never brought it up with the WC.  In the end the people who cut their bracelets, but keep them, had no problem getting a new bracelet the next day.  You need to go to reception with your old bracelet and ID.  If you lose the bracelet there is a fee to get a new one.

     

    Cost

    Having had a destination/resort wedding I can say that people frequently think the destination weddings are free/not expensive.  That is not really true.  I believe certain resorts may have better deals, but at the Riu Palace you are paying for everything and everyone who attends. As with any wedding, there are less and more expensive options.  If you have 20 guests or less and don’t mind having a semi-private dinner, it will be less expensive.

     

    Overall I have to say it was a fabulous day!  I would do it all over again if I could, but you only get the one shot, so make sure to enjoy!



    #2 sbodnar4

    sbodnar4
    • Newbie
    • 23 posts
    • Wedding Date:May 10, 2016
    • Wedding Location:Riu Palace Cabo

    Posted 07 March 2015 - 08:38 AM

    Thank you for posting such a thorough review!!! I am really looking forward to using the Baja Norte site as well as the Gazebo.

     

    I have a few questions if you wouldnt mind answering I would really appreciate it.

     

    1) I am concerned about flowers costing me a fortune. I had a genious idea of just going to costco and making my own bouquets because I have a pretty crafty aunt. The resort quickly turned this idea down saying I could not bring outside flowers onto the resort. Were you given any price sheets from the florist? If so, could you please forward them to me so I can add them to our budget?

     

    2) photographer- I am assuming you used the resort photogrpaher. Would you say that booking an extra hour or two with them would be beneficial? Did you do the video as well? Would you be willing to let me see some of your photos that the photographer took?

     

    Thank you!

     

    have a wonderful weekend!!!!



    #3 Jan2015wedding

    Jan2015wedding
    • Newbie
    • 4 posts

      Posted 07 March 2015 - 01:18 PM

      @sbodnar4 - I'm sure you will be happy with the gazebo and Baja Norte!  It is a great spot!

       

      1) For flowers, I wasn't given a price list. Since most of the flowers I ended up with were included in the Royal Package, I don't have much information, but each of the bridesmaid's bouquets cost $65.

       

      For centre pieces, I did requesting pricing information on a few options, so below is a list of the prices I was quoted

      - Mason jar with seasonal flowers $45/each

      - Set of 3 mason jars with a rustic vow and floating tea light $45/each set

      - Glass cylinder vase with river rocks and floating candle $30/each (these are the ones we went with)

      - Set of 3 of the above glass cylinder vases $75/each set

       

      I found Alina to be very responsive therefore if you do want more information, I'm sure she would send it to you.

       

      2) For the photographer we opted for the 5 hour package, and the pricing list also had a package 1 and 3 hour package.  I also wondering whether or not extra time could be added at a cost, and I have a feeling it could, but I never inquired. I'm not sure there would have been much benefit to extending by one hour, since we were eating during that period.  With a two hour extension, she would probably have gotten pictures of our first dance and the father/daughter dance and a few pics as we started to dance, but not sure it would have been worth the extra cost.  I let a few friends know ahead of time that the photographer wouldn't be there for the majority of the reception, so they took it upon themselves to take lots of pictures, and I love those pictures - there are a lot of candid dance pics. The only disadvantage with the pictures from some friends (not all), is that the lighting at the Baja Norte can look a bit like a spotlight in pictures (though it doesn't feel that way when you are there). 

       

      I should add that since we opted for the "getting ready" pictures, that ate into the 5 hour period.  If you aren't interested in those pictures, you would get an extra hour at the reception (though again not sure one hour would help as everyone is eating, but could make it cheaper if you only have to pay for one extra hour (5+1 hours) to have the photographer stay until 10pm).

       

      We did not opt for a videographer.  I hadn't planned it, but at the reception I started filming all the speeches on my phone (or asking someone else to do it).  I'm very glad that I did.  It is a personal thing, but after the wedding I didn't feel a need to see the ceremony again, but I loved watching the speeches again. I do not regret not getting a videographer, but since I ended filming the speeches, I do wish that I'd bought a little videocamera and filmed them in better quality. But realistically no one else really wants to see them, so the smartphone quality is good enough to bring back the memories.

       

      Yes, I can send you some pictures if you give me your email address. If there is anything specific you are interested in seeing, let me know as I have over 500 pictures, if not I'll hit what I think are the main points (e.g. gazebo, beach, Baja Norte) 

       

      Cheers



      #4 sbodnar4

      sbodnar4
      • Newbie
      • 23 posts
      • Wedding Date:May 10, 2016
      • Wedding Location:Riu Palace Cabo

      Posted 09 March 2015 - 07:22 AM

      Thanks for the info. My email is stephbodnar4@gmail.com..... i would appreciate anything you can send!

       

      Thank you!



      #5 ericajaane

      ericajaane
      • Newbie
      • 1 posts
      • Wedding Date:November 9, 2015
      • Wedding Location:Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas
      • LocationVancouver, BC

      Posted 12 March 2015 - 11:36 PM

      Thank you for all the information! So helpful to have a recent, thorough review. I am getting married November 2015 at Riu Palace and this review has really made me more confident in that decision! We are also having our reception at the Baja Norte Terrace. 

       

      Just a couple questions. Did you do open bar? We are debating on having open bar as my fiance thinks it's a bit much to pay for open bar at an all inclusive resort. Is there a bar nearby that will be open at that time? 

       

      Would you be will to send some pictures? Especially of Baja Norte and your centrepieces? ...ericajaane@gmail.com

       

      Thanks so much!



      #6 Jan2015wedding

      Jan2015wedding
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      • 4 posts

        Posted 13 March 2015 - 06:42 PM

        @ericajaane - I just sent you some pictures of the Baja Norte reception area.

         

        Yes, we did an open bar and also yes there is a resort bar which is open and not too far away.  That being said, I realize that is a cost question, so it doesn't make sense for everyone, but I'm happy we did the open bar. The main reason being that the pool bar that you get with an open bar is very close to the reception area, therefore you are always within sight. The resort bar, is back at the resort and up a flight of stairs.  Although the resort bar isn't overly far, I'm fairly certain there would have been a group of guests (and my husband) that would have headed to the bar and never come back to the reception area.  Also, since the reception isn't very long, I would have regretted spending time going to the bar (and not dancing ;-)).  With the open bar I could head to the bar to chat and still hear our reception music playing, and then head back to the dance floor when another song I like was being played.   

         

        Cheers



        #7 BrandiNR

        BrandiNR
        • Newbie
        • 8 posts
        • Wedding Date:May 28, 2016
        • Wedding Location:Riu Palace Cabo
        • LocationTennessee

        Posted 04 May 2015 - 06:32 PM

        Thanks for your detailed review. I'm a Riu Palace bride for May 2016 @4 Beach wedding and Baja reception. With your hair and makeup how was the quality I'm debating on booking with Suzanne off the resort and the resort salon. If you don't I would like photos of the reception area as well and your hair makeup bnr2780@gmail.com. As far as decorations for tables are you able to bring outside decorations and use things they may have as well? Thanks in advanced for any information planning a destination is overwhelming because you are putting your vision in someone else's hand with little feedback or contact from them.

        #8 Leibest22

        Leibest22
        • Newbie
        • 1 posts

          Posted 12 August 2015 - 01:33 PM

          RIU Palace Cabo San Lucas
          Royal Wedding Package
          54 Guests (50 adults and 4 children)

          Wedding: January 2015 - Gazebo
          Reception: Poolside Baja Norte
           
          I got most of my wedding information from this site or the wedding coordinator (once I received info about about 6 weeks before the wedding) and thought it may be helpful to provide a post-wedding summary.  I planned on writing a brief summary, but once I started writing it…well it is a little long.  If you have any questions about information that I did not cover, let me know.
           
          I was at the resort for 12 days, so I also had the opportunity to see the set up for a few others weddings, so I’ll add commentary from those too when appropriate.
           
          Thursday
          Our wedding was on a Monday and we arrived late on the Thursday before. 
           
          Friday
          We had our meeting with the WC on Friday morning.  Unknown to me until that morning, my WC was no longer with RIU, so we met a new WC.  However, thanks to the excel spreadsheets and the fact that all our communication was via email, the new WC was up to speed.  The meeting wasn’t very long – the main purpose of the meeting is to confirm all the details in person and then pay! However, I highly recommend bringing print outs of the important information such as tentative balance, seating chart, meal list, etc.  We also gave her a CD with our songs for the ceremony and we could (but weren't prepared yet) given her all our items for the reception (e.g. favours, etc.).
           
          Since we planned a rehearsal dinner in town, we did not use the semi-private dinner included with the package.  [I should note this dinner could come in handy even if you don’t need it for the rehearsal or wedding, since when you make A La Carte reservations at the resort it can only be up to 12 people, but the dinner included in the wedding package is up to 20 people].  However, we did request to have a welcome dinner at the buffet for 45 people.  Even though I requested it, and we discussed it at the meeting with the WC, I had a feeling they would not have anything set up.  I kept joking with my guest that “If you are the first one there, ask for a table for 45”.  Anyway, as expected there was no table/section set aside, but thankfully I just started pointing at tables and asking the host if we could have them, and we ended up with about six tables all together. 
           
          Since we did the Symbolic Ceremony, we did not need to get blood work done.  However, for other reasons, I do know where the doctor’s office is located, and it is very close to reception.  So it shouldn’t take very long to get blood work done if you opt for the Civil Ceremony.
           
          Sunday
          Instead of a traditional rehearsal dinner, we opted for a family dinner since we had some family members which were staying at a house not on the resort.  We had our dinner at Hacienda Cocina and it was fabulous!  Since we were a larger group we had to pre-order the appetizers and desserts, but everyone really liked it.  To be honest, there was so much food.  Probably could have skipped the desserts (or only had a few churros to share).  Many of our guests went to this restaurant on their own throughout the week, and everyone had great things to say.  P.s.the calamari is fantastic, but apparently only available for dinner.
           
          Monday – Wedding Day
           
          My husband dropped off our favours (which doubled as name cards), our seating list to be displayed for guests, guest book, music list (does and don’ts) to the WC in the morning.  I headed off to have my hair and makeup done at Suzanne Morel.  I do not know the names of the women who helped us, but they were great.  There was one woman who was coordinating and she took our instructions in English and also dealt with all the payments/receipts.  The other two women did not seem to speak very much English, but the information was well relayed as they did a great job with our hair and makeup.  My hair did not move from noon until I took my bobby pins out at 2am!  We were six people getting our hair done, but five also got their makeup done and we arrived at 10:00am and were out by 1:00pm.  As a forewarning the store front feels like it is in an industrial area, but we didn’t have a problem finding it, and the taxi ride was about 5 minutes.
           
          Once back at the resort, we had selected the 5 hour photographer package, therefore our photographer did “getting-ready” picture with my husband at 3pm and then came to meet up with me from 3:15-3:30pm, before our 4:00pm ceremony.  The WC requested that all guest meet in the lobby bar for 3:30pm and she would walk them down to the gazebo. The WC then came to meet up with me, my bridesmaids, flower girl and father.  We took a long walk around to end up outside but out of everyone’s sight.  The bridesmaids and flowers girls were sent ahead to wait for their music.  Then once they were finished the WC had my father and I move ahead to wait for our song to start.  Once you see the gazebo you will realize that the path down to the gazebo is quite long, which is why it is a two stage approach. 
           
          The gazebo was great!  It was really pretty and very private!  It is at the corner of the property and there isn’t too much on the other side of the Riu Palace.  As I mentioned, we did a Symbolic Ceremony, which was essentially a regular ceremony but not legal.  I had exchanged some emails with Rev. Marco before going to Cabo and he sent me some example texts for the ceremony.  I edited and added some items and sent that off to him.   Honestly, he was great!  Everyone really liked him – he was a great mix of humour and serious. 
          After the ceremony, we had the champagne toast, did some group pictures then sent the non-wedding party guests to the lobby bar while we went to the beach to take some pictures.  The pictures turned out really well.  It is a beautiful spot.  In hindsight I would have taken some pictures with my husband somewhere other than the gazebo or the beach.
           
          After we finished up with pictures we met up with our guests at the Lobby Bar for about 15 minutes before having everyone head to the reception by the Baja Norte pool.  We had considered doing a private event between the ceremony and reception at the La Plaza bar, but decided against it in the end.  Again, in hindsight I probably would have done it, but no one who attended the wedding knew the difference.  I have no issue with the Lobby bar, except it is busier than you would expect, and if there is a sporting event (e.g. college football game on a Saturday) it will be packed.
           
          Next stop was the reception by the Baja Norte pool.  This is by far the nicest venue at the Riu Palace, but does come at an extra cost as you need to pay a site fee, pay per plate, and pay for open bar.  Even though we didn’t see the sunset from the reception, the area is well lit, and looks great.  The default for table set up was to offer us a sweetheart table, but we opted to sit at a round table with our wedding party.  The food was really good!  In my opinion it was the best food I had at the resort.  I was a bit nervous about it, since unlike other wedding venues you don’t get to sample the food before picking, but it worked out. 
           
          There was a podium for speeches, but we hired a DJ, therefore I’m not sure if that is the default.  We debated whether or not to hire a DJ, but in the end I’m happy we did it.  It made it less stressful and stopped people from running to the iPod and changing the song.  I am a bit particular about music, so I did put together a playlist as a back up, provided him a list of those songs so he had a general idea of what music we liked and provided him with a “Do Not Play” list.  Overall he was very good and people were dancing until they shut us down.  Also, at this reception spot, you get access to the pool bar.  The bartenders were great.  In hindsight (another one), I would have brought some money to tip the DJ and bartenders, though my husband told me that our guests were tipping the bartenders throughout the night.
           
          After the reception wrapped up around 11pm, some guests called it a night, while a group of us heading to the disco.  The disco is not bad, better than discos I’ve been to at other resorts, but they play a lot of house music, which is great if you love that kind of music, but definitely not a crowd pleasure.  The DJ adjusted the music a bit after we arrived, but didn’t really accommodate any requests.  The disco is also really warm, especially considering we were there in January (when it isn’t too hot). We still had a great time, but in the end this is the one part of the night I would have changed, but there are really no other options, so not sure what we could have done differently. 
           
          More specific notes
           
          Photographer
          As already stated we went with a 5 hour photography package.  The day we met the WC, we also met with a representative from the photography company.  The meeting was mostly about finalizing/confirming details.  For our 4pm ceremony, the photographer arrived around 3pm to take “getting ready” pictures.  She then headed to the gazebo to take pre-wedding pictures and then pictures throughout the ceremony.  After the ceremony we got a few pictures with the champagne glasses, and then started with the group shots by the gazebo.  After that we headed to the beach for wedding party pictures.  The pictures on the beach are beautiful.  It is a great spot, and I’m generally very happy with the pictures – I only wish there were more.  Since the 5 hour package only brought us to 8pm, they gave us the option of doing the first dance while people were still eating dinner, but we opted not to do that.  We did decide to cut the cake before she left, and she also went around taking pictures of all the guests at the tables.
           
          Cake
          I wasn’t very focused on the cake, but we ended up with a four tiered cake. We did not pay for fresh flowers or bring any decorations, and they improvised and used some of the flowers (I think from the gazebo arrangements, but I’m not sure).  Honestly it ended up looking really nice, but they didn’t serve it, and I have a feeling they rarely do since the reception time isn’t very long, and you get dessert with your meal.
           
          Flowers
          The flowers were beautiful.   Included in the Royal Package is the bridal bouquet, groom boutonniere, two flower arrangements for the gazebo and a bag of petals for the flower girl.  I also opted to purchase three bridesmaid bouquets. I ended up with pink and white lilies for my bouquet and white lilies for the bridesmaids (since their dresses were coral).
           
          Decorations
          I know that some people take decorations very seriously, but I’m not one of those people.  At an outdoor setting like the Baja Norte, you really don’t need very much – it is so beautiful already.  So the tables wouldn’t look naked, weordered one centre piece per table from Alina, and opted for a simple one with a candle in a cylinder vase with rocks.  I think they looked nice, and did the trick.  Alina had many options available, and in the end I emailed her a picture of one I found online and she had no problem provided me with something very similar.
           
          Off Site Guests
          We had a few off-site guests that came to the wedding, and we did not have any issue getting them on site.We had to provide their names ahead of time, and then was given the option of either paying the day fee or having them pay when they arrived.  We ended up paying to make it easier, but I assume since they have to get their bracelets at reception, it would have been easy enough for them to pay when they arrived. When they arrived they got day bracelets and were allowed on site any time after 9am until 11pm.
           
          Keep in mind if you have guests staying off site that you need at least 80% of your guest to be staying at the Riu Palace.  This is not a cost issue (as in you cannot pay to fix this problem) it is just one of their rules.  There was a point when I wasn’t sure if we would dip slightly below 80%, so I booked a room in the name of a couple I knew was not staying at the resort, and I was going to accept the room rental fee as the cost of dropping below 80%.  In the end we were safely above 80% so I cancelled the room.
           
          Beach Wedding
          While we were at the resort there were more weddings on the beach than weddings at the gazebo.  I think it is a personal choice, but I wanted to provide some details so you can make an informed decision.  
          1) Privacy: The gazebo is at a corner of the resort and about as private as you can get on the property, the beach site is very close to the Baja Norte pool (quiet pool).  If you get married on the beach, people in the pool will watch your wedding.  
          2) Sand: Please consider any guests that have mobility issues before making a final decision on the beach. I saw one wedding where a guest was using a walker on the sand, and it did not look like the safest situation.  Also, the sand at the Riu Palace is fairly coarse and not always that comfortable to walk on.
           
          Resort Bracelets
          Until a couple weeks before we headed to Cabo, I hadn’t thought about the fact that everyone staying at the Riu Palace gets a resort bracelet.  One document (I can’t remember which one) that the WC stated that the bride and groom could remove their bracelets for free but there was a $50 fee for everyone else.  I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do, so I never brought it up with the WC.  In the end the people who cut their bracelets, but keep them, had no problem getting a new bracelet the next day.  You need to go to reception with your old bracelet and ID.  If you lose the bracelet there is a fee to get a new one.
           
          Cost
          Having had a destination/resort wedding I can say that people frequently think the destination weddings are free/not expensive.  That is not really true.  I believe certain resorts may have better deals, but at the Riu Palace you are paying for everything and everyone who attends. As with any wedding, there are less and more expensive options.  If you have 20 guests or less and don’t mind having a semi-private dinner, it will be less expensive.
           
          Overall I have to say it was a fabulous day!  I would do it all over again if I could, but you only get the one shot, so make sure to enjoy!


          Hey I'm thinking about havingy wedding too in cabo, but I'm on a budget, could you give me an estimate of how much you spent? I'm trying to narrow my options down. Your wedding sounded beautiful congratulations!
          Thank you!

          #9 Jan2015wedding

          Jan2015wedding
          • Newbie
          • 4 posts

            Posted 10 September 2015 - 07:21 PM

            @BrandiNR

             

            Sorry for the very late reply.  I clearly don't check back very often.

             

            Hair and makeup was great with Suzanne and I have no regrets.  They were very professional, and did a great job with everyone's hair (we were six).  My hair and makeup lasted the entire day and evening. 

             

            For decorations, I think they have no issue with you bringing your own decorations, though I don't know the extent to which they will set them up.  I was planning on bringing my own, but when I factored in the extra luggage fees, it wasn't worthwhile. They don't have anything available as part of the package, but the flower vendor has a large selection of centre pieces. I opted for one of the simpler centre pieces and think it was enough, because the scenery is so great at the Baja Norte, you really don't need much.  They also bring over you flowers from the ceremony, so you have some flowers by the entrance.

             

            Hope this helps


            @Leibest22

             

            Based on the research I did before the wedding, I don't think that Cabo is one of the less expensive "all-inclusive" options, but I only have info on the Riu Palace, so hopefully it helps. At the Riu in Cabo you need to pay for the ceremony, which depending on your package, costs about $2,000-$3,000.  I did the Royal Package which was about $2,000 but then had to pay $28 per person for everyone over the 20 people included in that package.With the package you can do a semi-private dinner, therefore if you opt for that dinner option, there could be no other additional cost.  

             

            We opted for a private dinner, therefore there were unavoidable costs such as the site fee ($600) plus a per plate fee (about $40-$50), and then some additional fees, such as open bar ($20/per person), and DJ and lights ($700), which I know that based on my research not everyone decides to get.  However, I'm happy we did both, since we probably would have lost have the crowd to the bar upstairs if we didn't do open bar, and the DJ was great, and made music one last thing to worry about the day of the wedding.  

             

            Also, for the rest of the day, there are other optional fees for flowers (bouquets), hair and makeup and photographer ($1,000-$2,000 depending on package).  

             

            Hope this helps.



            #10 samFEB2016

            samFEB2016
            • Newbie
            • 26 posts
            • Wedding Date:February 20, 2016
            • Wedding Location:Riu Palace Cabo

            Posted 05 January 2016 - 05:53 AM

            Hi @Jan2015wedding!

             

            Who was your wedding coordinator? I have heard some horror stories form other brides with communication and lack of help on the wedding day and am getting nervous about it!






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