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Kacengg's RIU Palace Cabo San Lucas Wedding Review (very long!)

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    Posted 20 November 2007 - 02:15 PM

    1.TRAVEL AGENT – Laurielee Rosser of Travelmasters North (Calgary, Alberta) – A+

    Laurielee was an absolute pleasure to deal with. Laurielee specializes in destination weddings and was an excellent source of information and reassurance. She answered every question I had promptly, never rushed, and always made me feel like a priority. She arranged a great package including the tickets and hotel voucher, letter with information and packing tips, as well some some magazines and additional information on Cabo for all of our guests. We also received free headsets and free drinks on the flight for all of our guests. I’m not sure if this was arranged by Laurielee but if so, it was very much appreciated. I would recommend Laurielee’s services to anyone!

    2.RIU PALACE – A

    The RIU Palace was an excellent resort! I was slightly worried after reading numerous reviews on various websites but was confident that every bride and anyone else I heard from had excellent experiences. Yes, the resort is very large but I never felt lost in it. I have never been on an all-inclusive vacation so I may not be the best reviewer but I was thoroughly impressed with the service and work ethic of the entire staff. The servers were always friendly and willing to do anything for you and the cleaning staff was busy 24/7. From mopping floors to cutting the grass and trimming the gardens to even painting the entire hotel! Everyone was extremely impressed with the a la carte restaurants but overall the favorite dinner meal was the buffet. No one in our group of 23 was sick and we were eating everything (salads, fruits etc.). A few of our guests that travel ALOT said this was the best resort they had been too and are planning to go back! My parents who have been against the destination wedding from day 1 said it was the most luxurious vacation they have ever been on. Yes, I will admit that there are some cracks in the walls and you may have to actually go to the bar to get a drink now or then by the pool but these were not issues to me at all. The RIU Palace was a true pleasure!


    So I’ve been dying for the past year to write an amazing review on my wedding at the RIU Palace but unfortunately I cannot do that. I have to believe that for the wedding portion, the Dreams girls made the right decision!

    As we all know the wedding coordinator I had been dealing with since Oct of 2006 left the resort approximately one month before my wedding. This made me slightly nervous as it seemed that Daniela had no information about what I had originally discussed through email with Adriana. I emailed Daniela constantly the few weeks prior to leaving to confirm the bonfire I had booked and ensure that our ceremony time and reception location was still booked for us on the proper date with no issues. I will admit that Daniela is much more responsive than Adriana was and this was very useful.

    THE BONFIRE – 2 days prior to leaving to Cabo, I received an email that stated we had a problem and I would not be able to host the bonfire as a part of our welcome evening due to Mexican government rule. I was upset and sent an email saying I had been organizing this event for a year and understood that this wasn’t her fault but I knew other restaurants and resorts were allowed to have bonfires so why couldn’t the RIU? She responded that forms had to be filed 6 weeks in advance of the bonfire date and that wasn’t done. She wrote the Adriana must not have known about it. I organized this with Adriana in November 2006! So we left it at that and scrapped the bonfire altogether.

    MEETING – On Tuesday morning we had a meeting with Daniela at 10:00. We were waiting in the lobby for her as she requested when at 10:10 I was getting worried that we were in the wrong waiting spot. I asked the front desk and they sent us to her office. I don’t know why she never came to get us and she never gave a reason or even recognized the fact she was late. I thought I was quite prepared for the meeting but was slightly flustered when we finished the meeting in 8 minutes! She ran through one page asking what kind of flowers we wanted, where was the reception, etc. We decided to reluctantly go with the beach location for the ceremony as we said we didn’t like the gazebo by the Mexican restaurant and she couldn’t tell us if there would be construction noise near the other gazebo which was directly beside the RIU Santa Fe which was scheduled to open on our wedding day. ONE NOTE: We were charged the $500 fee for a private reception for EACH dinner seating at the Mexican Terrace! Hence $1000! I don’t believe any other bride has ever been charged this so please keep all of your emails from Adriana (as Daniela won’t honour anything verbal). This issue is still being resolved. We then went to get our bloodtests from the doctor (this was easy and totally fine and while we were sitting there I realized that we didn’t cover the ceremony music. We went back to Daniela’s office and she added a trio to the order. In addition, we had 5 bags of decorations for the ceremony and reception. I told her that we should go through them on more than one occasion to show her what everything was and where it was supposed to go and she said ‘no, just write it out for me’. It wasn’t the length of the meeting so much as her nonchalant attitude that none of this was a big deal that got to me. I don’t think she smiled once.

    Next day we decided that we wanted to take the risk and move our ceremony to the more intimate gazebo setting. Erik went and told Adriana to move the location to the gazebo by the RIU Santa Fe and the Palace’s gym/spa as well as to have 2 white roses for my hair (this wasn’t covered at the meeting – it was my 3:00 in the morning ‘oh my gosh I forgot’ wake up call). On Thursday, I wrote out 3 pages of notes on what we covered at the meeting including ceremony time and location and all of the decorations in the bags we dropped off and what was to go where and a seating plan. Yes, we lugged down lots of stuff! This was delivered to her and I thought everything was a go.

    WEDDING DAY – On the wedding day I had my hair and make up done at the resort. Make sure you have inspiration pictures for your hairstyle. My hair turned out ok but not like what the pictures looked like. In the end I definitely couldn’t have done any better and was pretty happy with it. The make up was a whole other story. I was nervous about the makeup from past reviews but I thought it couldn’t be worse than what I could do. BOY, was I mistaken! I asked for something very natural and I won’t get into details but I was completely embarrassed with what she had done. It wasn’t just the colour choices it was the technique, or lack thereof, that made the application very poor! Don’t get your makeup done there! In the end I wasn’t charged for the makeup as I think the manager noticed my head down the whole way out and my rubbing all the stuff off my lips. I walked to my room with my head down the entire way and promptly washed my face completely!

    It was now about 2:00 and Juan was coming at 3:00 to do pictures. Juan went to the guy’s room at 3:00 and came to mine at 3:20. At this point I still didn’t have my flowers and hadn’t seen Daniela at all. At 3:30ish. Daniela came to the room with the flowers and put them down in the vase along with two HUGE stargazer lilies for my hair….I’m talking the size of my head. I told her that I just wouldn’t use them and not to worry about it. She said she had roses downstairs and would bring them to me just before I walked down the aisle. Looking back now I realize that I didn’t get any photos of me getting ready with Juan with hair flowers. Oh well. Next I actually looked at the bouquet and what I considered the most atrocious holder of all….it was shiny gold plastic! I asked Juan if he had seen anything like that and he said no and admitted it looked hideous. He even said that that is what they use for ‘poor, Mexican weddings’. I was so mad as we all know these weddings are not cheap. Due to the delays with the ceremony (I’m getting there) we grabbed some brown ribbon I had leftover, got out the glue gun and tried to fix the ugly gold holder the best we could. Juan also noted that the pollen (not sure if that’s the right word) on the inside of the lilies was not cut off. The issue is that they stain your dress orange! They had already stained a few of the lily petals and I am so glad Juan caught that as I already had a teeny, tiny orange spot on my dress. I cannot imagine what I bride would do if her dress was all stained from the flowers prior to the ceremony. Juan was actually pretty upset at this point and requested that I tell Daniela.

    AT 3:50 Erik comes running up to my room in a panic yelling through the door that the ceremony was set up at the wrong gazebo! I was like ok, let’s move it! I mean there were only 20 chairs to set up and a table for the signing and sand ceremony – how long could it take? At 4:10 Erik runs up to the room again and asks if it’s ok if all of the guests stand as the judge had another wedding at 6:00 and had to go. I thought that was pathetic and didn’t understand what was going on for the last 20 minutes but said ok. Let’s get going. In the meantime, Daniela kept saying we never told her what gazebo we wanted (yet she still never asked) although Erik had and when Erik pointed it straight out to her on the information I wrote out for her as she asked – she stated that ‘she didn’t read that!”…are u kidding me? At 4:12, Juan and I were heading downstairs as we thought the ceremony had to be just about ready to go and I received a phone call. It was from reception telling me that the message from Daniela was that ‘If I did not go downstairs immediately my wedding would be cancelled!’ I have to admit at that point I was so angry as I thought that was so beyond unprofessional. First to get someone to rely that message and secondly, you could have simply asked me to come downstairs and thirdly, my room was like 2 seconds from where she was and she could have come and got me. Regardless, we head downstairs to find total chaos and all of our guests standing around outside. So I proceed to stand in the stairwell for 30 minutes watching everyone standing and sitting outside the spa waiting to see what was going on. Daniela came and brought me 4 roses for my hair and a boutonniere for my dad. Well, the boutonniere had a pin that was at most an inch long (not a proper pin) so the boutonniere barely stayed up or on at all. Throughout the whole ceremony, Erik’s boutonniere was falling upsidedown. My hair flowers had no pins and a stem of not more than an ½ inch and they continuously fell out of my hair. By the end of the ceremony alone I think I had 2/4 hair flowers and Erik’s and my dad’s boutonnieres were gone. Also while I was still waiting in the stairwell the hair flowers kept dripping all over my hair (ruining the curls) and back and dress. My friend took one out and it was full of water inside. Gee thanks!

    Apparently the entire time the confusion was going on outside, Daniela did nothing and just kept saying they didn’t have time to move the ceremony. Then threatened repeatedly to cancel the ceremony or delay it over 2 hours til all the guests got all over her and she realized that wasn’t going to work. When it was initially recognized that the ceremony was set up at the wrong location, our guests started moving all of the chairs and flowers and the fans and bubble wands that we made while Daniela just stood there doing absolutely nothing! Finally the ceremony got underway and as I am walking down the aisle, Erik is still handing out the fans and bubble wands to the guests until he saw me and just tossed them on the grass. The ceremony went fine, we signed the documents and the judge rushed off. The only notes here were that there was nothing to wipe the ink from the thumbprints off on….I used the tablecloth – oops! Also the last witness name on the documents was incorrect. I had originally sent Adriana the documents required with only 3 witness names until we decided who the fourth would be. I resent this same document to Daniela later on when asked and forgot to forward her the email that listed our last witness. Instead of contacting us to ask who it was she randomly inserted Erik’s fathers name on the documents. Regardless, we got the original 4th witness to sign under his name. I just wish she would have asked us if she didn’t know. After the judge left my uncle proceeded to perform our sand and hand ceremony. He also added a special blessing at the end that was perfect. We had group photos on the beach and that left us only 25 minutes (instead of the expected 1.5 hours) for photos of Erik and I due to sunset. Although, I am sure Juan got some great shots we were so rushed and definitely missed out on some I wanted. Finally, we were off to the terrace for our reception!

    RECEPTION- the reception area was set up somewhat similar to our instructions. There were a few issues not worth getting into. Daniela didn’t match our seating chart and we ended up over 8 people away from our parents so we couldn’t talk to them at all. Also, out of the 50 luminaries we gave her, only 20 were set up. The biggest issue arose when she came to see if everything was ok and I said that the IPOD was missing. She said she didn’t have it. She brought in the bags and packaging for the decorations we gave to her but I was not going to sort through all that stuff in front our guests. In addition she apparently left all the leftover decorations and bags at the reception and no one saw them and they were thrown out. I wanted to go through them the next day to see if the IPOD was just in the bottom of one of them. It was never found and I am so thankful that we finished burning cd’s the morning we left. It was difficult to work with the cd’s but it was ok in the end. I have asked Daniela and her management to take some responsibility for the missing IPOD and she said that she never had it in her hand so she wouldn’t. Well I could’ve proved it was in those bags I left with her if she would have allowed 10 minutes to go through them with me! The wedding cake was a whole other issue – I didn’t upgrade my cake because I just wanted a plain white circle cake with stargazer lilies on it and a starfish cake topper I made and well, I heard the cake there was disgusting. I also supplied Daniela with a picture of what I wanted and it was literally the simplest cake ever. When they did bring out the cake, I was beyond embarrassed. It was a small, bar cake with white icing and GREEN maraschino cherries and slices of plum (I think) and strawberries on it. It really looked hideous and I can only imagine what my face looked like. It also tasted terrible! I took a little finger full of icing and stopped there and my aunt tasted it too and asked if they put salt in it? A while later Daniela came to ask if everything was alright because she was going to go and I told her I was a little disappointed in the cake. She said she told me it would be a small cake. Fair enough, but if you cannot do anything similar to the picture I gave you – just tell me! COMMUNICATE!!!! As well I showed her the flowers and an example of the pollen that hadn’t been cut off and she blew it off like it was no big deal. I told her that it will stain someone’s dress repeatedly and I have to honestly say she didn’t care. Be careful of the flowers!

    The day after the wedding, I sent her a note in response that with all the issues we had with the ceremony and other issues on the wedding day that she had to take some responsibility for something. She never did and never will which is the most frustrating part of this whole experience. She really doesn’t care and gives off the attitude that this really doesn’t matter and it’s not a big deal. The problem is – is that it is a big deal to every bride!

    I truly thought that we had the bad luck of the week with Daniela but I must say that I had other brides mothers approaching me because they were concerned about her prior to their daughters/sons wedding day. Afterwards, I heard every wedding party complaining about at least one thing or another relating to Daniela. Honestly girls, I truly recommend that unless they get another coordinator, not to stress yourself out with a wedding at the RIU unfortunately. The lack of communication, care, and tack is really unbelievable.

    Please remember this is just my wedding experience as I can tell you that other brides with Adriana as their wedding coordinator had good reviews.

    4.JUAN CARLOS TAPIA – Photographer

    Juan was great to work with and was truly supportive and comforting to me during all the chaos prior to the ceremony. His experience with weddings in general was a huge asset. I didn’t rate him as I haven’t seen the photos yet and know he was limited with the time but I’m sure they will be fine. Thank you ladies for all the honest reviews on Juan in the past year! In addition, Juan did have an assistant with him at our wedding so he obviously is trying to sort through the past issues as he has stated. As always at this point, I would definitely recommend Juan.

    5.DINO GOMEZ – Videographer

    Dino was another godsend to me on our wedding day. After changing our minds about a thousand times we hired Dino for 1 hour to just video our ceremony. He was so great and laid back with all the delays. On numerous occasions I apologized for everything and he would just tell me to relax and not worry as I was the bride. Once again, I haven’t seen the video but I can only comment that his attitude gives him a huge recommendation from me.

    6.MAYE CORTINEZ – Firedancers – A

    My fingers are getting tired here! I only hired Maye to arrange the firedancers for me for our reception entertainment. She was fine to work with and sent her assistant, Gabby, to meet with us to determine where the firedancers should set up. They arrived exactly on time at the right location with drummers in hand (they were supposed to perform to a cd). Maye was a great help and was always offering any assistance she could provide.

    7.SUNRIDER TOURS – Sunset Cruise - A+

    We took our group for a Sunset Cruise as a portion of the welcome evening. We received a group rate of $41/person for our group of 21. This was an excellent event and the staff was great. I think everyone really enjoyed this outing…..be ready for some tequila shots though. This really was one of the highlights of the week. Definitely recommended!

    8.PEZ GATO – Snorkeling Tour – B

    We arranged a snorkeling tour for 15 of our guests through the Sunquest representative at the hotel. We went with Pez Gato to Santa Maria Bay. This was a good adventure again with a fun crew. Be ready for the tequila shots (As always in Mexico). I have never snorkeled before so I had a good time but for experienced snorkelers. I assume the snorkeling anywhere in Cabo is not great in comparison to the Caribbean or such. A few people in our group weren’t feeling well after snorkeling but we hadn’t eaten anything yet so I’m completely unsure why.

    Overall we are married and a large majority of the week was amazing! I will admit that I spent the next week after the wedding waking up at 4:00 in the morning reconsidering some of our decisions regarding the wedding. Unfortunate but true. At this point, it’s over and I have good memories of the special moments and am so glad I did a destination wedding!
    Kim & Erik
    November 9, 2007
    RIU Palace
    Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

    #2 Christine

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    • Wedding Date:July 20, 2007
    • Wedding Location:Napa, California
    • LocationReno, NV

    Posted 20 November 2007 - 02:25 PM

    Kim I am so sorry you had such problems with the hotel, that is such a bummer.
    Christine + Will (married 7/20/07) + Ainsleigh (born 6/25/08) + Nolan (born 11/9/10) + Delaney (born 12/31/13) = One Very Happy Family!

    #3 JulieG

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      Posted 20 November 2007 - 02:36 PM

      Oh Kim, I feel so bad for you that you had to deal with all of that. Thank you so much for writing this review as everyone needs to know what happened. I suggest you put this review in as many places as possible, Trip Advisor, The Knot, everywhere. People need to know who incompetent this WC is and not plan their weddings there.

      I am so glad you got married that day and you have a great vacation.

      I can't wait to see the pics, Juan is an amazing photographer. We know they will be perfect.

      #4 NHPT

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        Posted 20 November 2007 - 02:36 PM

        ugh kim i seriously cant believe that all of that happened to you ON YOUR WEDDING DAY! i mean its one thing to have stressful travel, etc but that much drama on your wedding day is inexcusable and i am so sorry for you. that wedding coordinator sounds awful- have you contacted the manager because they deserve to know that they are going to lose LOTS of wedding business if diana continues to work this way......
        well congrats on the marriage and kudos to you for being able to maintain your cool...i am not sure i would have been able to
        Destination Wedding Cabo San Lucas (3-29-07) Proud Momma to Avery (3-21-08) and Gracyn (10-12-10)

        #5 JaimeLynne

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        • 4,791 posts

          Posted 20 November 2007 - 03:37 PM

          Wow, I am so sorry Daniella was such a horrible wedding coordinator for you!!!!

          Have you (or your TA) tried contacting the General Manager? I cannot believe how unprofessional she was!!!!!! That is absolutely ridiculous. Her nonchalant attitude reminds me of the WC we met at the Iberostar Mayan resort in the Riviera Maya. I am so glad we got to do a site visit to avoid something like this.

          It sounds like Juan was a great support for you - kudos to you Juan!!!!

          Thank you for your extremely thorough review ~ I am sure it will help future brides!!!

          ~ Jaime & Martin ~
          "Rain or Swine! 2-0-0-9"

          We had 24 people attend our wedding in Las Caletas, Mexico on May 24th, 2009!

          We all stayed at The Marriott in P.V., and Honeymooned at The Royal Plantation in Ochos Rios, Jamaica!

          #6 Wisco4

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            Posted 20 November 2007 - 04:45 PM

            I feel like punching this Daniella woman. She is in the wrong profession!

            I agree with the others and say you should make this info known to any bride looking to get married there. You have definitely solidified my decision. We are staying at the Riu and were contemplating having our wedding there or at our first choice, Sunset Mona Lisa. My mom was pushing towards the Riu because it would be "easier" to have it where we are staying.

            Thank you so much for posting this thorough review!

            Can't wait to see Juan's pics of your wedding, I'm sure they will be amazing!



            #7 boscobel

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              Posted 20 November 2007 - 04:48 PM

              I have tried to repsond a few times today, but the forum won't allow it for some reason :-P.

              I am so sorry you had to deal with all the on your wedding day! I am glad that in the end you feel good enough and are happy with your decision, but that WC needs to be fired.

              #8 TATrisha


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              • Wedding Date:April 11, 2008
              • Wedding Location:Gran Bahia Principle Akumal
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              Posted 20 November 2007 - 04:53 PM

              Wow, that sucks! Really bad! I agree, contact upper management at the hotel. That is just wrong! Well, at least you are happily married now and it sounds like you do have a lot of good memories from your vacation.


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              #9 BEACHBRIDEMA

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                Posted 20 November 2007 - 05:32 PM

                Kim I am so sorry that things didnt work out for you. The is too bad that Adrianna left, she was nothing like the new coordinator. That is too bad about the IPOD, when I gave my to Adrianna she put a sticker on it and locked it up. That is unacceptable that they just threw out your decorations. I hope you can get some things resolved with Riu and get some money back
                <a href="http://s162.photobuc...entation2-2.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i162.photobuc...entation2-2.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>Wedding slideshow: http://www.juancarlo...com/sarah18/...

                #10 KACENGG

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                  Posted 20 November 2007 - 05:35 PM

                  Thanks for the comments girls. At times I was sure that I was just overreacting to small things but then it all just accumulated and made me cry over and over after the wedding. I have very strong feelings of dislike towards daniela. I did contact management by email (as I didn't get anywhere talking) regarding that someone take some responsibility and looking for a refund for the extra reception charge and IPOD but they didn't even reply which seems somewhat common. I have sent this review to my TA and am awaiting a reply from her. I'm sure she will try to battle for something for me.

                  Wisco4 - I'm glad this review has helped you but I have to say the RIU is a wonderful resort and everyone should love it....I sure did. Keep your ears open because if the wedding coordinator does change - it may be a way better experience.

                  I am also going to send this review in a letter to the RIU head office as the management at the RIU in Cabo ignores everything.
                  Kim & Erik
                  November 9, 2007
                  RIU Palace
                  Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

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