Hey! My fiancé and I got married at the Riu Santa Fe just last week! We had a total of 82 guests and everyone had a blast! I will share some info here but please feel free to ask any questions at all!
Travel: We traveled from Philadelphia-Phoenix-Cabo. We traveled first class and I was hoping to hang my dress in that area. However, the hanging area was very narrow and my dress did not fit. The plane did not have any closet either. Luckily, the couple across from us did not have any carry on bags so we were able to put my dress in the their overhead compartment. Traveling with your dress is not fun! On the way home, we put my dress in a suitcase and were much more stress-free!
Travel Rep: We used Apple Vacations and I'm glad we did! They had things well organized and there were representatives on site (Amstar) that knew us by name and we could go to them with any departure questions or to book tours. I recommend booking any tours/excursions through the resort/your travel agent. The 2 tours we booked on the beach were sort of disastrous!
Check-in: We had no problem checking in. We arrived early but our room was ready. We got an ocean view suite in building 7. My only complaint is that we were on the second floor so we could see the rock formations but a higher level would have had a much better view. They offered to switch us to the third floor but we didn't want to repack and unpack again! There are Jacuzzi suites in the corners of the resort that have great views that they offered if we paid more but honestly it's way too hot for a Jacuzzi anyway so it wasn't worth it for us! About 70 of our guests all checked in on a Saturday and it was a bit hectic but understandable for the number of people. Some of the rooms were ready while others were not. Guests either got a drink from the Sports Bar nearby or went to the pool until their room was ready. We had a welcome bag for each room and also handed those out as guests arrived.
Meeting the wedding coordinator/photographer/DJ: Our wedding coordinator was Guadalupe. When we went to meet her on our assigned day we couldn't find her. She said to meet in the lobby which is rather large and we had no idea who we were looking for! Word of advice- find out who you are looking for and where exactly you are meeting prior to arriving! Eventually, we had the front desk call her and she claimed our meeting wasn't until the next day. Regardless, she came to meet us an hour later along with the photographer. Those meetings went well even with the time/date mess up! We met with the DJ the day before the wedding and again had the same issue. We had no idea who we were looking for. Luckily, I had my phone on me and he emailed me and told me exactly what he was wearing. We eventually found him. That meeting was simple and went well too. Two days after our meeting with Guadalupe, she emailed me that she had to change our plan for the dinner/reception. I was sort of frustrated as all the info I had for our guests reflected the original plan but at that point there was nothing I could do. The original plan was to have dinner at the Steakhouse followed by the reception at the Tequila Bar. She told us the Steakhouse could not accommodate our 82 guests and we ended up just having everything at the Tequila Bar (which worked out better).
Hair/Make-Up: We had 9 girls total getting their hair done and 4 girls getting their make-up done. They could only do 3 at a time. The earliest appt was 10:30 and I was set up for the last appt slot at 1:30. All of the girls including myself liked our hair. I did not like my make-up at all! However, I honestly never wear any makeup (other than bronzer and mascara) so it just made me look like a different person! The other 3 girls said their make-up was "okay" but they were not really impressed. I also had a French manicure and pedicure done at the salon and that turned out great!
Photos: We got the 5 hour photo/video package from the resort photographers (4pm-9pm). They started with the groom and groomsmen at 4pm in their room. They then came to our room at 4:15 and got a bunch of "getting ready" pictures. They took pictures throughout the ceremony and reception and were very nice!
Ceremony: Our ceremony began at 5. At 430, all of the guests and the grooms/groomsmen met at the Tequila Bar. Once everyone was gathered, everyone went down to the beach and got seated. Guadalupe came to get the girls around 4:50. We came down to the pool area and were out of sight from all the seated guests. The music then started and we all came out. The ceremony probably lasted about 15-20 minutes. There will be guests at the pool bar watching. They were respectful for the most part (just clapped and cheered at the end). After the ceremony we did the champagne toast and got pictures on the beach.
Reception: Our reception was from 7-11pm at the Tequila Bar. We started with introductions of the bridal party and we then did our first dance. After that, everyone sat down and we ate. They had a buffet set up for us- Steak, Chicken, Shrimp, Sides, and Dessert. After dinner, we did speeches, dancing, cake cutting, and the garter/bouquet toss. The bartenders at the reception were wonderful (we did tip them well). We had some hotel guests that tried walking over to our reception area and they escorted them out. The DJ did a great job during the ceremony. I gave him a list of songs and he added some of his own. I think our entire bridal party was on the dance floor from start to finish. It was extremely hot especially with all the dancing! Our bridal party and some guests ended up jumping in the pool with our attire on at the end of the night! Some guests went to the Disco once the reception ended at 11. We just went back to our room which was decorated with rose petals.
That is all I could think of right now... if anyone has any specific questions I would be happy to help! <3