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Jtds2713 Cabo Wedding Review

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#1 Jtds2713

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    Posted 24 November 2007 - 03:02 PM

    Hola to everyone! We are back from Beautiful Los CAbos! Now it is time to write my review. I think I will do it the way Susan did it because I would really like to make it as comprehensive as possible and hopefully it will help future brides. So this review will be in segments.

    WARNING about Sunset da Mona Lisa

    Hello Ladies! I just want to provide an update on Sunset da Mona LIsa. I e-mailed Emma about the charges on our credit card (e.g. $600.00 for 163 bottles of Fiji water which I did not authorize on top of almost $ 4000 dollars in alcoholic beverages! There were only 28 adults in our party and only about 10 adults in our party drank alcoholic beverages! It was mostly family in our group and we did not drink that much water) and I still have not heard from her. I had been advised by my credit card company to settle this with the merchant first but since I have not heard back from Sunset da Mona Lisa, I will take this up with my credit card company. I just want to warn all of you who are having their wedding at SML, be very careful! It is a beautiful location but I learned later from other sources that they have been known to have charges like this appearing on the credit card bill.

    RIU PALACE: B+ - The main reason I could not give it an A is because of the inconsistencies at the RIU Palace. Overall, customer service was not up to par to other RIU Palace we had been to. I had been to the one in Playa del Carmen and Cancun. We had several guests who would tip to get their drinks but the server will not come back. One couple were very displeased and lost two days of their vacation because their room did not have air conditioning, toilet flush did not work for two days, keys don't work that they had to change the locks and could not get in for a whole day! They were moved to another room and still the A/c did not work and when they were getting ready for my wedding, the water shut off when she was taking a shower and shampooing her hair! Other guests had commented that the customer service at RIU Palace was mediocre at best. The people at the front desk can be rude and abrupt. I consider the front desk to be the front lines in customer service and care. In general front desk staff was not consistent with attentiveness, friendliness or customer service skills.

    There were some at the reception desk who were wonderful like Jorge. My mother-in-law loved him because he was so professional, so courteous and would take the time to make sure that her stay was comfortable.

    Food at RIU Palace- A - The food was very good even at the buffet. I was impressed with the quality of the food for an all-inclusive.

    Our room had ocean view (we asked for an upgrade) and we did not lose anything. The housekeepers were always courteous and did a good job cleaning our rooms. Jed and I did not have any problems with our room at the RIU Palace.

    Location of RIU Palace- A - The location is excellent (very close to town) and the grounds were beautiful. The water in the pool was a bit cooler than expected, however, you could get used to it. The pools were clean.

    WEATHER: It was perfect during the day, sunny and in the 80's. Not humid at all. At night, it was cool sometimes too cool for me, like in the upper 60's. I wished I had gotten pashminas for the ladies had I known. Please get pashminas for the ladies if it is within your budget. They will make excellent and functional gifts.

    RIU SANTA FE: B- --It had just opened. Front desk needs major improvement. We had 6 families stay here and for 3 families, their credit cards did not work! They lost several hours of their vacation trying to settle the matter with the front desk and calling their banks. What was hard was they tried to tell me about it but I was getting stressed about the wedding to be of much help. One family arrived the night before the wedding and I just wanted to go to our room and rest.

    RIU Santa Fe is divided into two sections. The garden view rooms are located at the back of the RIU Palace. The ocean view rooms are located in front beside the RIU Palace. I would recommend to stay only at the ocean view rooms. From the back (garden view rooms), the walk was VERY LONG to go to the ocean. They need golf carts for a hotel this size. Most of my family stayed at the garden view rooms which were located at the back. There were NO ELEVATORS in the garden view buildings (only three floors but it was hard with luggage or if you have kids). The hallways in the garden view buildings are DARK - there were no lights! This could be dangerous in the evenings. There were three or four pools, a few in the garden view section and adult pools are in the front (ocean view). The pools were great, there was nice entertainment at the pools only in the garden view section. I did not see any entertainment in the adult pools section. The water in the pool in the ocean view section where they have a fountain and infinity view was very cold. Very few were in this pool.

    If you are staying at the RIU Palace you could eat at the Santa Fe. If you are staying at the Santa Fe, you could not eat at the Palace. At Santa Fe, Chinese restaurant did not have good food but the steakhouse had good food. Try to make reservations at the Steakhouse as often as possible. The food at the buffet was better at the Palace, many times we did not care for the buffet at Santa Fe. Breakfast at the RIU Santa Fe buffet was very good. Overall customer service was better at the RIU Santa Fe than at the Palace.

    RiU Santa Fe had a miniclub. The location was in the back where the garden view buildings were. It was very nice. It had a playground, kiddie pool, small treehouse.

    BEWARE: One of our guests had money stolen from their room at Santa Fe. She had her money in her wallet which was inside her purse and in the drawer. Make sure you put your valuables in a safe place. I had lots of cash in a safe in our room at the Palace and we did not lose any money.

    Due to the inconsistencies at both RIU hotels, I wished we had all stayed at Dreams!

    RIU AIRPORT TRANSFER: C+ - INconsistent! Three of the families who had arranged for airport transfers were not picked up from the airport. My brother and a friend's family were not picked up and had to pay more than a hundred dollars for the ride to Santa Fe. They all had kids and were not very happy about this. They were also not reimbursed by the hotel for the cab ride they had to take to get to the hotel. Jed and I were lucky because we didn't have any problems regarding airport transfers. Make sure to arrange for transfers 5 days prior to your arrival in Cabo and for pick-up, 2 days prior to leaving your hotel. All our guests had pre-arranged their transfers but some were still unlucky and were not picked up. The pick-up from the hotel was better. Everyone was able to avail of the transfer from the hotel to the airport.

    Here is a question I received from sodria regarding Airport Transfers:


    I read your review - great review by the way. I absolutely love your TTD pictures, you look gorgeous.

    I wanted to ask you, I'm getting married at the Riu Santa Fe on March 22nd. I know guests have booked their reservation directly through the Riu web site and I wanted to try to avoid some of the transportation issues you experienced. Do you suggest that I called at least 5 days prior our arrival and confirming them?

    Also, can you tell me anything about the Steakhouse? I know you said you liked it. We're planning on having our wedding dinner there, first we thought to do it at the Asian restaurant, but Mark wanted the steak house.

    One more thing if I may. So you can use your Riu pass and eat at the Palace?

    Thanks again for all of the feedback,
    Sandra "

    Hi Sandra,

    Thank you for the wonderful compliments!

    REgarding RIU Santa Fe, our guests who had experienced difficulties actually booked 5 days in advance. But they had problems anyway. So there is no guarantee. It is a hit and miss. Our observation is that for those who arrived early before 1 pm, they did not have problems. My brother and friend all arrived later in the afternoon and early evening. So if you have people in your party arriving later, I suggest you go to the front desk of RIU and inform them that you have guests arriving later and they need to be picked up. Hopefully you are arriving early to take care of this.

    The steakhouse is good, at least when we were there it was the best specialty restaurant. No, you cannot use the pass for Santa Fe to eat at the Palace.

    Is it okay with you if I post this on BDW so others will see my reply too?

    Best to you!


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    #2 Leia78

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      Posted 24 November 2007 - 03:52 PM

      Thanks for the detailed review! Keep it comin'...w/ pics please!!!!!!!

      #3 Leia78

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        Posted 24 November 2007 - 03:53 PM

        Originally Posted by Leia78
        Thanks for the detailed review! Keep it comin'...w/ pics please!!!!!!!
        I'm so sorry to hear about the mishaps at Riu, I hope your ceremony and reception at Sunset da Mona Lisa went well!

        #4 MsShelley


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          Posted 24 November 2007 - 04:01 PM

          great review, more pictures please!

          #5 Jtds2713

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            Posted 24 November 2007 - 04:27 PM


            Suzanne Morel: A+ - Suzanne was a true lady. She was so professional, so understanding. She truly understood the stresses that a bride can experience when it is so close to the wedding day. There was a major incident with the best man and one of my other guests (they were not on their best behavior the night prior to my hair trial) and I was crying for four hours from 5 am to 9 am on the day of my hair trial. When I got to my appointment at Suzanne's, she asked me if I would prefer to just have the hair and make-up for my wedding day at the spa instead of my hotel so I can be away from whatever stress due to the incident. ADRIANNA who was such a sweetheart did my hair and make-up. The TTD pictures above were from hair trial. Since my hair and make-up will be done nicely from the trial, I wanted to have pictures of it so I decided to have my TTD prior to the wedding. This was not my wedding dress, it was a Maggie Sottero dress for the TTD. Bradley Frasier did an absolutely wonderful job but I will write the full review of Bradley later.

            Suzanne had suggested that for my wedding day, I should come to the Salon as early as possible so there is enough time to get all the services done. On my wedding day, I was still stressed out from the previous day so I was late and I got there at 8:30 ( I had an 8:15 appointment). I decided to have a massage and bronzing done. The massage was wonderful but to be honest, I don't think the bronzing cream worked well for me. I have brown skin to begin with so perhaps it will work better for caucasians. Time flew and we realized that since I had two other services done, there was not enough time for hair and make-up. Adrianna did a wonderful job with my hair but there was not enough time for make-up. I had to be at the Sheraton for pre-wedding photos with Juan at 1:00. Suzanne suggested that I take Adrianna with me for touch-ups and she only charged me $ 50.00 for the whole time that ADrianna will be with me and this was from 1:00 until 4:00! This is where I think Suzanne Morel really did an outstanding job! While at the Sheraton Adrianna finished the job with the make-up, we had our pre-wedding photos at Sheraton, and did the touch up at Sunset da Mona Lisa prior to the ceremony. I made sure to order lunch for Adrianna while at the Sheraton ( who was several months pregnant-- 7 months?) and gave her additional tip. Before I forget, there was minor construction outside the spa at Suzanne Morel and since I did not have my bridesmaids with me, the whole staff (3 ladies) was helping me so my gown did not get dirty!

            For hair and make-up, you cannot go wrong with Suzanne Morel. And if you are booking Suzanne Morel, please ask for ADrianna and please say hi to her for me.

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            Click the image to open in full size.

            #6 Jtds2713

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              Posted 24 November 2007 - 04:45 PM


              Bradley Fraser: A+++ - We had our TTD with Bradley! Wonderful man! We met with Bradley at the Sheraton. He asked me what I was prepared to do and what I wanted to do for the TTD. I told him I did not want my hair and face wet right away and I wanted pictures of us at the rocks of PItahayas! In his e-mails he told us he had been dreaming of shots since this was his first TTD. Judging from the pictures we received it sure did not look like it was his first time! We got more than 200 pictures and 70 of them are my favorites! Jed is teasing me that every single picture is my favorite, it was so hard to narrow it down. He was a very personable man, so down-to-earth, and his pictures are so beautiful. He was so patient and he made us feel very comfortable. He was the one communicating with the staff at the Sheraton on our behalf. We received our DVD after only a few days and there are no copyrights restrictions whatsoever. He told us that we devirginized him for the TTD and it was his pleasure working with us. Judge for yourself as to what rating you should give Bradley.

              Click the image to open in full size.

              Click the image to open in full size.

              Click the image to open in full size.

              Click the image to open in full size.

              Here is the link to Kodak Gallery to see more of our TTD pictures with Bradley Fraser: Sign in to Kodakgallery.com create photo gift, make digital Kodak prints, and more
              I hope it works!

              #7 Jtds2713

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                Posted 24 November 2007 - 05:36 PM

                Juan Carlos Tapia: please see Jessica's & Jed's (Jtds2713) Slideshow by Juan Carlos Tapia and you be the judge! :-)

                Best to all!


                #8 Jtds2713

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                  Posted 24 November 2007 - 06:06 PM


                  Muriel Olsen of Fiestas Los Cabos: A+: Muriel's greatest strength as a wedding coordinator was during the wedding day itself. Muriel and I exchanged a ton of e-mails since June when I hired her. I had already booked my vendors: Juan for photography, Lunas de Fuego for firedancers, Sam Perches for videography, Reverend Marco as officiant, Sunset da Mona Lisa for wedding location, DJ Ricardo as DJ. What I really needed help was with florists, decorations and day-of-coordination. I have to be honest that a lot of the prices I was being quoted were expensive (like the florist) but I realized that these were the prices in Cabo. Once I made it clear to Muriel about my budget she was willing to work with me to find better prices. Still I realized nothing could beat the cost if I do the decor myself. Almost everything was DIY projects. I brought everything down to CAbo (we had 13 boxes and suitcases) and thanks to family and friends who agreed to take them, we did not pay a cent for extra luggage.

                  I did not have my computer with me in Cabo so one time I had to call her at 7 am in the morning (I knew from past communications that she was up quite early and responding to e-mails at that time) to let her know I dont have the brown ribbons needed to hang the chair decor to the back of the chair. Muriel was incredibly patient about these things. Especially when it was close to the weddings, our communication was excellent. The night before the wedding, I called her at 10 pm to inform her of last minute changes. I realized in working with Muriel, if you need or want something, just let her know and she will work with you on it.

                  We met a few days prior to the wedding. I had about 5 or 6 boxes of decorations for her. I thought the boxes were very organized, I made a list of what I want in the altar table, receiving table, guests table. Some of the decors were last minute DIY projects and some she has never even seen even in pictures but due to our constant communication, during the wedding day, she did not miss anything.

                  During the wedding day, Muriel worked with an assistant (Elsa? Sorry MUriel I forgot her name!). I asked Muriel that I would like one person to be with me just in case I need to remind them of something. Her assistant was so attentive-- I had water when I needed it, she relayed my last minute instructions to Muriel, she calmed me down and gave me the perfect cueing for my walk down the aisle. Muriel and her assistant were at Sunset 4 hours prior to the wedding to set up. Everything was perfect!!! I had forgotten my vows but this was not their fault. The decor and set up were exactly how I had envisioned them to be. Throughout the night, Muriel and her assistant stayed and after the wedding they took care of all the packing of decor. Whenever I needed anything Muriel was there to take care of it.

                  My only regret was that I wished Muriel was there during our rehearsal at the RIU. This was not her fault because I did not ask her to be there and it was really last minute. Originally I didnt think we will need a rehearsal but as I added more readings in our ceremony I made a decision to have a rehearsal. I also wished Muriel and I did a tour of Sunset da Mona Lisa and she and I talked about this but we never actually made the appointment to do this.

                  My whole family was very happy with Muriel, especially our parents. My MOm is very hard to please and she told Muriel that if and when she and my stepfather decide to have a wedding, she would like MUriel to be her WC. I don't think you can get a better compliment than that.

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                  Click the image to open in full size.

                  #9 Jtds2713

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                    Posted 24 November 2007 - 06:37 PM

                    Sam Perches (Videographer): - I have not received the video from Sam yet but I know that we will be very happy with his work. I am so grateful that we hired a videographer and I am even more grateful that it was Sam. Now I know that it is true that the ceremony and reception will go by so fast and I am just so grateful that our wedding was captured on video.

                    Sam has outstanding professional demeanor and work ethic. He was very good in responding to e-mails prior to the wedding. He assured me that Sunset da Mona Lisa will be an outstanding location for our wedding. He even asked me about his attire during our wedding day. I told him our wedding is more formal and he showed up in nice white shirt and dark pants and shoes. I kept asking him about his choice of entree but he refused to eat and told me that it was during dinnertime that he can review his shots. I felt that he and his assistant were shooting the whole 5 hours that we hired him. I am pretty sure he even stayed longer than 5 hours, and we truly appreciate the extra time he gave us. After the wedding, he sent me an e-mail about the progress of his work. Jed and I are eagerly awaiting our video from Sam.

                    Update: Our wedding video can now be viewed on YouTube. Here is the link: Click the image to open in full size.[/IMG]

                    Click the image to open in full size.

                    #10 Jtds2713

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                      Posted 24 November 2007 - 07:07 PM

                      Reverend Marco Arechiga: A+ We felt blessed that Reverend Marco was our officiant. I have heard of officiants not showing up or being too bossy. Reverend Marco was very personable and had such a jolly presence. We met a few days prior to our wedding and Reverend Marco had the ceremony prepared in a folder and provided me with a copy. He knew Jed and I would be saying our own vows but he also had a vow prepared for us to use in case of any mishaps. I was so grateful he did because I had forgotten my vows and I just repeated after him. He told us our wedding is going to be beautiful based on the readings and other rituals I have incorporated in the ceremony. Our ceremony was a combination of Filipino and Irish WEdding Traditions.

                      Here was the order for our ceremony:

                      Wedding Party Procession
                      Remembrance Poem - poem about my Dad who is deceased read by my sister before I walked down the aisle (courtesy of Shelley - beachbride -- thanks much!)
                      Bridal Procession
                      Declaration of Consent
                      Rose Presentation - poem read by Best Man about how grateful we are to our Mothers and we presented roses to our mothers (poem courtesy of BDW)
                      REading - 1 Corinthians 13 - read by my sister
                      Lighting of Unity Candle - by our parents - Irish Wedding Tradition
                      Exchange of Vows
                      Blessing of Arrhae - Filipino tradition - coins to symbolize prosperity
                      Placing of Veil - Filipino tradition to unite as one
                      Placing of Cord - Filipino tradition
                      Exchange of Rings
                      Blessing - two poems: one read by our Godparents and Irish Wedding Blessing by Jed's Mom
                      Declaration of Marriage
                      Presentation of the Couple

                      The Best Man forgot that he was going to read the Rose Presentation but my sister just gave him a copy of it and he did a wonderful job reading it. All my readers read beautifully. I forgot my vows but I repeated after REv. Marco who had a vow prepared. I forgot to tell the Reverend that I didn't have sponsors for the Arrhae and so he called for the Arrhae sponsors but he just continued after he realized we didn't have any. Overall, his wonderful smiling face and pleasant personality made our wedding ceremony more beautiful.

                      [IMG]Click the image to open in full size.[[/IMG

                      [IMG][IMG]Click the image to open in full size.[/IMG][/IMG]

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