These guy know what they are doing. We were married last week and our biggest problem was that it was slightly windy. Seriously, that's it. I've been to over ten weddings of friends and family over the past decade and this one was BY FAR the easiest. Now, we're easy going beach people, but even so, this was damn near carefree.
Almost carefree, but not quite. Here are tips if you're coming in the near future:
1. We were there in 2011, which was the year of a lot of beheadings up near the Tex-Mex border. Kinda scared off some tourists. To make up for that, unbeknownst to us, everyone who stayed with Palace Resorts Spa (and Cove) received some promotional "credits" for their room. This amounted to free money. We were there for a week and they gave us $1500 in credits. Incredibly, they let us apply it to the wedding. As if it were US cash. Our guests used theirs on totally extravagant things normal people would never do: my brother and his girlfriend took a bath in chocolate in the Spa. My sister was able to use hers to take my niece to Wet N Wild for free. Other people used them to upgrade rooms or to go on excursions. Honestly, I was flabbergasted. I thought it would be some sort of scam or only partial pay, nope, just like cash. Although there is no refund, so use it or lose it.
2. Now, for the wedding itself... We arrived on Wednesday, met our Planner (super nice, she worked with several others in a separate office devoted to weddings) for about 45 minutes to choose/verify: flowers, boutineers, aisle carpet, and bouquet. We went with the Ruby Package and the red looked awesome. The following day we went back over for blood tests that took up 10 minutes of our day. Easy.
3. Saturday was our wedding. Friday it was windy. Really windy. I was worried but it didn't matter. We were married at 4 PM and there was a slight breeze. However, at 5 PM another wedding took place at the same spot and the wind had definitely picked up. It seemed like it got windier as the night approached, but maybe not. Anyway, girls should think about hairspray and tying their hair up.
4. You have to wear a bracelet. Everybody does, for drinks and to prove what room you're in (the place is monstrously huge). The staff cut off the bride's but not mine. Those things are a $75 charge if you lose them (street value I guess) but they did say the bride and groom could remove theirs and it was a free replacement, day of the wedding only. I just didn't feel the need to push it. Ask your coordinator to bring scissors to the ceremony.
5. During the ceremony my wife held her fresh roses up against her dress. Afterward we noticed slight red stains. Fresh flowers can stain, particularly in humidity. Be warned.
6. As do thumbprints. In Mexico, to seal the deal you both put your thumbprints onto the wedding certificate. Then they hand you a cocktail napkin. Not a wet wipe or even a wet towel. From them on I had to watch wear I put that thumb so as to not leave black thumbprints all over my wife's dress. Again, ask your coordinator for a wetnap or something.
7. At the very end they lit off "fireworks" (roman candles). Remember that slight wind? Sparks landed up the train of the bride's dress and... in the face of a bridesmaid. Nothing happened other than surprise, but again, be warned.
8. It is BRIGHT on a Saturday afternoon in April in Cancun. We had a lot of squinty pictures. Address this right away with the photographer and videographer. They tried their best but it wasn't their fault, it was just really bright out there. Be mindful of where the sun is for your photos.
9. Oh I forgot. They told us they would need a minimum of 3 days to process the photos and DVD after the wedding, and they don't work on Sundays. Apparently only the wedding people don't work because from what I witnessed everyone else at the resort didn't stop, at all, any day. We left Wednesday late morning and neither was ready. They'll ship it to you of course, at a cost of $65 (again, credits work here too, surprisingly). I got the feeling 3 days was a bare minimum and a full week was normal.
10. Personally, I hate tuxedos, so no one wore one to my wedding. Instead I just told all the men to go with khakis and a white shirt. Simple, right? I should have specified UNTUCKED, like me and my best man wore ours. Not a big deal, but in some of the photos it looks... distracting. If you want a uniform look make sure you tell everybody, personally, and more than once. I think I had to tell my brother five times before it sunk in he didn't need to bring a suit down to sweat in.
11. Oh, and on an aside, there is a "monkey safari" every other day. We were all excited about this to go with some friends but it didn't happen on Sunday. On Monday, all we did was walk down the driveway. Sure enough, monkeys live right on the property. Anyone can do this. Just be quiet and walk down the main driveway looking into the trees. That's it.
12. If you want to bring a piece of cake back THINK AHEAD. We didn't. Nor did we consume all the cake. We only finished the top layer and then gave the rest to... well, whoever. Kitchen staff I suppose. We should have taken the whole thing back to our room to nibble on for the next few days. It was delicious. Also, we somehow lost our personalized cake topper. Don't know how, or where, or WHY really, but it wandered off never to be seen again.
13. Oh, and be ready to bring bottles back. They kept dumping champagne on us, and there was a complimentary bottle of wine in the room. We brought back three bottles from the hotel, plus a few tequila bottles we bought out on the town. I should have thought ahead and packed an extra bag just for freebies and gifts. And, once again, you can use up credits to buy booze too. My Mom finished off her credits with wine bottles (priced at $50 and up, but when it's free or nothing, might as well!).
Finally, I've been to Mexico and stayed at other resorts. This one is actually all inclusive. None of that reserve a table, or only two of the total seven restaurants, or anything like that. You could eat wherever, whenever you want and the food was 5-star quality. This place is far and away the best I've ever stayed at. But that's THIS Palace Resort. We took the free shuttle to another one (they run everyday between the others, just to let people see what they're missing, or not, as the case may be) and it was just standard Mexico fare. Not bad, but not totally above and beyond as this place. Highly, HIGHLY recommended. They were awesome, the wedding was superb, everybody had a great time. We were very happy with the whole thing. If I can swing those credits again I'd go back for an anniversary celebration.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A blend of relaxation and adventure awaits you at this adults only retreat. Set in the Riviera Maya overlooking the aquamarine Caribbean Sea, enjoy 1,266 luxurious accommodations with double Jacuzzi, balcony (most with hammock), and 24 hr. room service. Among the facilities to highlight is the state-of-the-art spa offering a perfect day of pampering. Guests can also enjoy seven restaurants, several bars, a disco, outdoor/indoor pools, and unlimited tours as part of the all-inclusive package. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Aventura Hotel Palace
- Aventura Hotel Puerto Aventuras
- Mayan Riviera Palace
- Adventure Spa Palace
- Hotel Mayan Palace
- Adventura Spa Palace
- Aventura Palace Spa
- Aventura Spa Palace Riviera Maya
- Aventura Spa Palace Resort
- Aventura Spa Palace Mexico