In this review: documents, before & during the wedding, music, I'll try to include everything.
About us: laid back travelers, allergies to dustmites and lactose (intolerance), first time getting married, first time in Mexico
We chose Palladium because we had 54 people coming to our wedding, from retired couples to young families. We felt Palladium offered enough amenities for all our wedding guests at no extra cost, and we heard the food was great. Everyone that came to our wedding was happy with our choice, including us! Please see my review for the resort in general (coming soon) for more details about the resort itself. This is more for wedding information.
Map of the resort: http://www.resortsmaps.com/popup.html?maps/map-GrandPalladiumRiviera-RivMaya.jpg
KEY WORDS: Bodas = weddings in Spanish! When at the resort, remember this word!
DOCUMENTS & PAPERWORK
-you need to email a copy of both your passports so the Palladium wedding coordinators can process paperwork to prove neither of you were previously married (it's a new law there)
-you DO NOT need your long birth certificates. The Palladium wedding coordinators said we did, as did both Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada and the Mexican Consulate in Montreal but it turns out we never used them. I don't quite understand that but I spent >$300 to get them. Better that than needing them and not having them....
-you only need your tourist cards (you get that on the plane) and your passports to be married in Mexico
-your witnesses need their tourist cards and passports. Witnesses, when they arrive at the resort, should bring their passports & tourist cards to go visit the wedding office (back of the White Sands lobby) to complete a form with their names, addresses, years they've known the bride/groom--that's it. I read they had to take a trip to town--nope, it's that easy!
-witnesses can be parents and family members. Our witnesses were parents, a brother and a brother-in-law
-you get a choice whether you want to say your own vows or not. We chose not.
BLOOD TESTS & OTHER MEDICAL TESTS
-No, you cannot get these tests done in advance in Canada or elsewhere.
-Yes, you need to have a blood test done there. You pay the doctor / assistant directly in cash ($220 US per couple). They gave us some Spanish lessons for free! The medical test is done in the wedding coordinator's office (at the back of the White Sands lobby)
-No, you do not have to have this CIR / lung test anymore. That changed when we arrived.
-The Palladium wedding coordinator has the medical test appointment set up for you when you arrive. The information is included in a welcome letter you receive when you check in.
MEETING WITH THE WEDDING COORDINATOR
-bring your passports, tourist cards and any other information you want to bring, wedding dress & suit if they need pressing
-after the blood test, we sat with the wedding coordinator and finalized all the details
-we reviewed our decorations and flower choices, dinner and cocktail party locations
-we reviewed the total cost and she printed us a copy of the expenses
-we decided upon the order of the ceremony (flower girl first, then ring boy, etc).
-the wedding coordinator explained where the bride would be walking down the aisle
-we chose the Crystal Package. Palladium provided our travel agent (who also acted as our wedding coordinator) with the package from 2012, so it was out of date. All it meant was that we were not entitled to breakfast in bed.
-interestingly, the package states that fees for the Justice of the Peace are included, yet we had to pay him in cash--not sure how that happened
-we DID get an upgrade to a junior suite in the Kantenah building. It looked like the standard suites only it had an additional living room attached to it, with a white sofa and some chairs. And a king sized bed! We received some decorations of rose petals the night of our wedding and a free gift (sandals and a T-shirt) from the gift shop. We received a letter upon our arrival for a special dinner with a set menu but it was only on certain days and at 9:00PM so we declined.
FLOWERS & DECORATIONS
-decoration choices will depend on which wedding package you choose.
-they sent us 6 choices for chair decorations (emailed photos). We chose the vivid blue ribbons on white chairs--absolutely lovely in the sun!
-they sent us around 15 pictures of sample bouquets and 5 sample pictures of boutonnières. I requested a bouquet that I found on the Internet, and they said they'd make it for $25US per flower. (Ouch!) So we opted for one of the bouquets in the sample pictures. They made matching boutonnières with the same kinds of flowers as the bouquets, which was wonderful.
-they get it all ready and have the flowers / boutonnières delivered to the rooms in which the bride, bridemaids and the groom & his groomsmen are getting ready in the morning of the ceremony
-you can choose whether you want flower petals for your flower girl (we said yes) and there are 4 colours to choose from
-you can choose whether you want a carpet to walk down the aisle with or not (it was red, so we said no because our chairs were blue and white). I told my mom to make sure she wore sandals because I saw a video of a lady who wore high heeled shoes, and she kept sinking into the sand.
-there are 4 choices: beach pergola, beach gazebo, garden gazebo, church
-I was worried about security--people walking by in the back of our pictures. All of these locations are secluded, so they're aren't many people wandering in the background. They did not provide security to rope off the area. Have a look on the map--the beach gazebo is at the south end of the resort (Letter I near Punta Emilia bar (XXX)) and the beach pergola is at the north end of the resort (if you walk from La Jarra bar (XXI)) towards the water, it is there)(it is not indicated correctly on the map). The church and garden gazebos are letter 'I' to the right of the Colonial lobby
JUSTICE OF THE PEACE
-the Palladium wedding coordinator offered to give the Justice of the Peace his fee, since I didn't want to be carrying around money and paying people during the happiest day of my life. I think his fee was $70US in cash. He did not speak English so the wedding coordinator translated.
-it says in our wedding package that fees for the justice are included--I don't understand that part
-you can choose between a private reception with a set menu (between $55-65 US pp), à la carte restaurant or buffet restaurant
-we picked the buffet, which was no additional cost. The wedding coordinators suggested the Kabah buffet, in the Riviera building because it is very big. They were right--they reserved a section for us (no decorations) and we had a great time. The restaurant was pretty empty, so it worked well
-my main worry was that we would loose that group feeling in a non-private reception, but that was not the case. In fact, the other resort guests were quite happy for us so it was nice.
-if you choose the buffet option, you cannot have music or a microphone for speeches. We did that at our cocktail party after
-you have 4 choices for a cocktail party ($5US pp)
-we wanted somewhere for all of us to hang out after the wedding dinner so we chose a cocktail party at La Laguna restaurant--there is a rounded part of the seating area that they decorated and sectioned it off. There was nobody around so it was private. The pool was empty too. The bartender was nearby for drinks. They had a music system set up with a microphone for speeches
-our cake was served there
-our travel agent, who also acted as our wedding coordinator, said you could change your choice for the cocktail party at the last minute
-we requested whether we could reserve any seats together at the nightly theatre entertainment at the resort, because after the wedding reception dinner, we wanted all our guests to still be able to hang out together. We were not able to reserve a bunch of seats so our travel agent / wedding coordinator in Canada suggested a cocktail party which was reasonably priced and was in my opinion, an excellent choice. We could dance, talk, say speeches and cut our wedding cake.
WEDDING DRESS & SUIT PRESSING
-bring your wedding dress and suit / tuxedo to the wedding coordinator's office (back of White Sands lobby) at least 2 days before the wedding to have them pressed. Bring the room numbers you will be getting dressed in on the wedding day, so they know where to drop them off
-they have a salon there in the Spa building (M on the map). You make an appointment, you have to pay them directly i.e. you can't charge it to your room. They have sample pictures you can choose from or bring your own ideas. She said not to use conditioner the night before when you wash your hair.
-the prices for the spa are well, equivalent of what you could pay here in North America for special hair styling.They can email you a price list.
-Palladium has an onsite photography boutique, Photopro (http://www.hotel-shops.com/photopro/gp/). The wedding photographer is not there everyday but only for weddings. You don't meet him until your special day.
-they offer several photo packages. We picked the silver package because we wanted pictures of us before the wedding, when we were getting ready
-for an additional $350, we purchased the entire set of digital pictures he took. It was just too difficult to pick only 60. He burned them all to DVD and we got our 60 prints
-if you choose Photopro, visit their office (Kantenah building) before your wedding to confirm and check any important details. You can request special pictures on the form (in the box at the bottom). We had 54 people come to our wedding, so we requested a group photo
-the photographer got some great shots of us and the group; he was really good
-he took us to Las Rocas (the saltwater pool, S on the map) after the ceremony for pictures.
-he is happy to include your requests for photos, example, I asked for one of us sitting on the rocks at Las Rocas and it is one of my favourites!
-you make an appointment with your photographer when you want to view and choose your pictures (since he is not at the Photopro boutique everyday-he works for 7 different resorts)
KEEP IN MIND FOR PICTURES
-our ceremony was at 4:30; the sun set at 5:30, so it was getting dark fast. The photographer was quick and got a lot of pictures (almost 300) before it got too dark. He rarely used a flash, which is great since I think it makes the faces look bleached.
-go look at the resort in advance to see where you'd like your pictures taken. Ask the photo boutique where the photographer will take pictures and go visit the site
-Palladium offers some live music, I believe a flutist for $475 for 45 min.
-since we were in Mexico, I just have to have live Mexican music. Our travel agent / wedding coordinator suggested Musicancun out of Cancun (www.musicancun.com). They were AWESOME. We hired a trio for $475 for 45 min. to play during the ceremony. We paid in advance by PayPal because I was NOT going to be paying people on my wedding day. They arrived and set themselves up without us having to do a thing. They were ready and waiting. It was the best enhancement to the wedding--the music was wonderful. See our pictures.
-we requested a cake not made from dairy, since I'm lactose intolerant and happily they could do it! I was happy that I'd be able to eat my own wedding cake
-advice: if you're going to request a non-dairy cake, please ask for margarine and soy milk (they have both at the breakfast buffets, so I know they have them at the resort). For us, they used a syrup (jarabe) and while the thought was sweet, the cake was too--I mean really sweet.
ON THE WEDDING DAY
-the Palladium coordinator is with you the entire ceremony, throughout supper and until the end of the cocktail party.
-getting ready: your photographer will show up at the rooms you indicated at the specified times to take pictures
-the wedding coordinator will send a white cart to pick you and your wedding party up from the salon and bring your room to get ready
-then she has a cart pick up the bride and her party and another for the groom and his party to bring them all to the wedding location
-at the wedding location (we chose the beach pergola), the wedding coordinator has everything set up. Tell your guests to be there 1/2 hour in advance
-the wedding coordinator cues you when to go where, she has a little radio so if ever you forget anything or need to change something, she will radio it in. For example, our ring boy got shy when he realized he had to walk down the aisle so we had to call his cousin to walk with him.
-that went by really fast!
-the Justice of the Peace said his part, the wedding coordinator translated
-we both said "I do". We decided to be bilingual and say them in Spanish and English ("Yo acepto)
-we signed 3 pages of the wedding certificate and put our thumb prints on all 3 pages.
- the wedding coordinator called up our witnesses one by one and they signed each page
-done! Kiss the bride and we were served champagne!
-we hung around for a bit, then the photographer took over and captured our pictures before the sun faded. The pictures were gorgeous with the beach in the background
Guests were carted over to the Kabah for supper by a white cart courtesy of the wedding coordinator.
We headed to Las Rocas with the photographer to get pictures of just us done
We joined the wedding guests at the Kabah for supper. Then the wedding coordinator escorted us all to the cocktail party. We left before the end, but she stayed to be sure everything was OK
THE END! I hope I answered all your questions; I found it unsettling while planning the wedding from Canada because I didn't know what to expect and sometimes answers were not that clear. Things changed immediately once we met the wedding coordinator (Vanessa). It was clear they do weddings on a regular basis (we saw on their calendar they did almost one a day) and this was routine-they know what they're doing, they are very proficient and trustworthy. On top of that, Vanessa is charming and an absolute pleasure to work with. If you have her as your wedding coordinator at Palladium, you are in good hands-relax and enjoy the process. They take care of everything for you and make your destination wedding what it is supposed to be--a dreamy, enjoyable event under the Mexican sun!
Please don't hesitate to contact me with further questions if you desire.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.