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We booked our trip from April 16 - 23 in the middle of June last year with a travel agent I had met at a wedding tradeshow here in Vancouver. I am in the travel industry myself but didn't want to be the person responsible for everyone's booking. I do it for work, and decided against the stress of 35 people's vacations all being in the bride's hands. After a lot of extra work on my part, we had a good group of 17 people confirmed. We flew with Air Transat, and the Bride and Groom flew Club Class, which we loved!! The staff at Air Transat were amazing, and as soon as I walked on the plane they took my dress and offered to hang up for me! Both of us agreed if we flew AT again, its club class all the way! You get extra luggage allowance, speedy check in, and can pick you seats in advance. As I was taking down extra decor for the wedding the extra weight was a huge bonus.
We of course used AGI, the guys are great as usual, fast service to the resort with a quick pit stop at 7-11 to pick up some road pops. Love the new 12 passenger vans, and so nice knowing that you can just get in the car and leave and not wait for some huge bus.
So we arrived on the last day of the monsoon that week. The majority of our group was staying in the White Sands, so we were dropped off there. I guess cause of the rain, the bell boys said to just have a drink in the lobby and they would get someone to run us over to the Royal section in 15 mins. Not a big deal for us, we were happy to enjoy our first margaritas. The problem came when we finally made it to the lobby of the Royal Suites. My sister (and maid of honor) and her boyfriend were told that the mayan suite they had booked had been given to someone else and was unavailable. This of course upset them, upset myself and I'm sure disrupted the other guests in the lobby. After finally getting to talk to the manager/supervisor, it was discovered that the suite they had booked was not in fact given to someone else, but rather was suffering from the effects of the rains storms and had water damage issues. Had the girls at the front desk just said this from the beginning, I feel the trip would have started off on a much lighter note.
Loved it. We were in building 69, third floor with a view of the water and wedding chapel. I was more than thrilled as this was in my email request to the resort! My sister ended up getting placed in the 1 bedroom suite, 1 floor lower, and although they were disappointed in not having the outdoor shower, the size of the room worked great for us getting ready prior to the wedding. Our housekeeper Lucio was amazing, with the most creative towel art I have seen! We were in the room once while we were there so it was interesting trying to use our limited spanish to speak with him. Nice young guy who seemed to really enjoy his job. I'm not sure of the fellow who was driving the carts most days when we wanted to go to the beach, but he was a blast, sort of like a roller coaster ride when you were with him. We were hoping he was the one picking us up to take us to check out to say what a treat it was riding with him, but only got to do a wave as he zoomed by us!
Aria was our wedding contact for our Big Day. We met with her a few days before to finalize the last minute details, choose some different flowers as the ones I had picked a month or two earlier were not going to be available. At our meeting we gave her our extra decor for the tables and wedding cake, as well as place cards, and wedding favours. For the place cards we had menu's made up showing the 4 courses of our meal, which each persons name at the top of the card. The cards were of the same style and graphics from our wedding invites. Our favors were personalized M&M's (my NH's favorite candy), put in clear boxes with hearts on them. I never got really formally introduced to the person conducting our vows, but it was truly the most beautiful service in terms of the vows he had said, everyone had commented on them on how it wasn't just the normal stuff that was said, but really got you to think what a marriage was all about. He was so into what he was saying we found ourselves just staring and listening,truly mesmerizing. He had to tell us to stop looking at him and look at each other!
The dinner portion was held in the Grand Azul, with a 4 course meal which was fantastic! Started with Greek Salad and Creme of Mushroom Soup (best soup I have ever had period), then a Steak with Mushrooms Sauce. The steak was slightly overdone, but probably our fault as we were running late after the photos. The only downside I can say about the wedding, is that the waiters did not come around to re-fill drinks or water, one of my friends ended up running and refilling for us. We weren't chugging the drinks, I think I had maybe 3, over the entire 1.5 hours it took to serve the full meal. The waiters only dropped the first drink off, and the rest my friend ended up getting for us. The other was that the Mic was broken, so it was really hard to hear the speaches our family and friends had for us. We used an ipod for our music, and I wish we could have stayed and danced in there all night! Everyone loved the food! I felt that the Grand Azul was a bit far from where most of us were staying, and our area did not overlook the pool so I found it quite dark. Looking back I wish I had paid the extra money for the lights in the white ceiling treatment.
Overall, we had an amazing trip, with memories to last a lifetime with friends and family. The resort was exactly as we had remembered it from the year previous when Marc had proposed. I had only wished more of our friends/family were staying in the royal section, as I felt we did not spend much time there as I would have liked because we were always headed to the beach or White Sands pool to catch up with the others. We only ate in El Jardin twice the entire trip (first night - sat accross from Doglovers and consoled us as we were quite bummed with the weather and the whole check in fiasco), and on our last morning for breakfast. I still think about the angel hair pasta with lobster, it was one of the best pasta dishes I have had! Guess we will have to make our anniversary trip back to the resort
Things I would have changed:
- Used a different Travel Agent; to say she did not do her job was a huge understatement. I won't go into specific detail, but it was a constant struggle to get accurate information (this only became apparent once we had paid a deposit), she in the end booked 3 people into a standard room which had no pullout sofa, when they had clearly requested that with her, and then charged the 3 people the price for double occupancy. Too bad for her one of the people that was booked into the room is a lawyer, so this should be interesting in how it all works out. When we originally booked she had promised that in order to secure my booking with her, that she would personally pay for our upgrade to the club section of the plane. This she did not confirm until 3 weeks before we left when I finally got my documents from her (which I also had to chase down cause she forgot to send them to me). Also a discrepancy with documents showing that we were to get a discount at the spa, which she in error had provided to us, when it was just for the White Sands people (Air Transat Imperial Club). This we did not find out until after paying for our spa treatments.
- Brides to be, practice walking down the isle or even video tape how fast you walk prior to the wedding. I practically was running to the alter, and was actually funny watching our video afterwards. It felt like i was moving slow motion in the moment, but it was VERY quick when watching it play back. You can actually see one of the photographers running just to get ahead of us to take pictures. Here is the YouTube link if anyone wants a quick giggle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOR9lauY8Tc
- In terms of the wedding reception, I almost wished to cut costs that we had done dinner at one of the restaurants, and then booked a private space to do dancing and garter tosses, cake cutting, etc for cocktails. I think this was just as I was a little disappointed in the area we were in was so dark and hard for pictures. We were in the corner by the alligator cages, and I was told that we were going to be overlooking the pool, as I had originally requested to be in La Laguna instead. Not a huge deal at the end of the day, but just different from how I pictured it. Next time, even if just for the pictures I wish I had paid the extra $150 to have the white lights, just so it brightened it up a little.
If anyone has any questions please let me know, once I figure out how to post pictures on here I can include some shots people had taken. We had an absolutely wonderful time. Future brides do not worry, these ladies have everything under control and are seasoned experts. All of them always had a huge smile on there face, and meant business when keeping passers by and looky loo's out of your way when about to walk down the isle.