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Old 11-20-2010   #1 (permalink)
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Our wedding in Playacar (11 days in Playa del Carmen - Nov. 2010)

UPDATE: Want to head straight to our professional wedding shots? Click Here.

OK, this is going to be a big one so buckle up The first post will be photo light, after that - tons of pictures and less talking!

Our journey to Playa started a few years ago as I had discovered and fell in love with the photography of Matt Adcock of Del Sol Photography. They are local to Playa del Carmen and made me fall in love with the location. When Adam finally proposed (after 7 years together) I knew I wanted to get married in Playa and I knew I wanted Del Sol to shoot my wedding.

So exactly a year ago, we took our first trip down to Playa. We met with 5 wedding planners and every single one of them was exactly the same. They wanted to put me into one of their packages in some resort and call it a day. I had one more appointment scheduled but as we only had 2 days left in Playa, I emailed to tell her to forget it, we just wanted to enjoy the beach (convinced all wedding planners down there were the same). She wrote back and said "Well let me come meet you on the beach".

We were staying at the Playa Maya and at 10am the next day, a beautiful, fiesty, Italian woman named Erica came shuffling across the sand. She says "First of all, I don't have any packages so just tell me what you want and we'll make it happen". I rattled off a few things, she says "Oh yes, and we could also do this and this and this". All things that were in my head but I hadn't said yet. In 10 minutes Erica had us convinced we could actually pull off our dream wedding (Erica Bressan of Weddings in Playa).

The next day (our last day in Playa) she came to pick us up and take us to look at Villas to hold our estimated 50 guests. All of the other planners said 50 was too many for a villa and we couldn't do it. Never tell Erica she can't do something.

She found 3 villas in Playacar Phase 1 with the capacity to hold us. But one was an instant match - Casa Chaac. It sits on 4 properties, sleeps up to 10, has an infinity pool overlooking the ocean and a huge yard with tons of room for a party. The reception would be held in the garden and the wedding on the main beach of Playacar. This is how it looked when we went to visit it last year:



And here we were on the main beach of Playacar on November 14, 2009. Exactly one year to the date before the wedding!

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My Wedding in Playa Trip Report

Last edited by jenC; 01-21-2011 at 03:50 PM..
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Old 11-20-2010   #2 (permalink)
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Day 1
Let's fast forward about a year as you'll see all of the results of our wedding planning later. We fly out to Cancun the Monday before our Sunday wedding on a 6:30am flight out of chicago. Check out the sunrise over the chicago skyline taken from the tarmac.


Our flight took off a little early and we landed 30 minutes prior to the scheduled arrival. We zipped through baggage claim and security, straight to the avis counter and took a shuttle to the Avis lot.

We wanted a car for the first day only because we had a ton of running around to do for the wedding. We got a car through avis for about $25 but after the $25 one way drop off fee plus almost $50 for insurance it winded up costing us $96 for a day with the car. Oh well.

Our first stop - lunch. Terminal 5 in chicago has no food or drinks past security so at this point we are starving. We decided we couldn't wait until we got to Playa so we got off the highway in Puerto Morales and had lunch at this place (the only place that looked open!)


We started with guac. Too onion-y for me. The only beer they had was Corona - boo


I got a steak tostada and a pastor taco


Adam got a chicken quesadilla


The rest of the food (besides the guac) was pretty tasty! The check:


We walked down to the beach before heading out. There was nobody out there!


Except this sad little 3 legged dog

Last edited by jenC; 11-20-2010 at 01:09 PM.. Reason: Adding dog picture
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Old 11-20-2010   #3 (permalink)
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Congratulations on your wedding. Love your pictures and trip report. Keep it coming.
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Old 11-20-2010   #4 (permalink)
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Day 1 cont.
Next stop - Vidrio Soplado to pick up glasses for the wedding. According to this map:
::: El Nuevo Triangulo de Cristal :::
It should be right on the corner of Calle 80 and the highway.
An hour later and we have not found it despite having driven up and down every street near Calle 80. We're starting to bicker so we give up and hope Erica can take us the next day.
We stop at a grocery store on Colosio just West of the highway. Prices aren't that great but we did grab a little beer.


At this point, we were just going to head to Casa Chaac and drop off our stuff but we spotted Covi and since that was our next stop anyway, we decided to go there first.

They are undergoing major renovations but are nearing the end of them and are almost ready to re-open. In the meantime, you just order at the counter.


Erica had negotiated us some nearly wholesale prices to stock up for the wedding and we already had our spreadsheet with everything we wanted to order from them. Here's what we got:

10 - TEQUILA GRAN CENTENARIO PLATA 700 ML
2 -TEQUILA GRAN CENTENARIO REPOSADO 950 ML
3 - TEQUILA GRAN CENTENARIO AÑEJO 695 ML
14 - TEQUILA JIMADOR REPOSADO 950 ML
2 - TEQUILA DON JULIO 1942 750 ML
3 - TEQUILA HERRADURA AÑEJO 750 ML
10 - LICOR CONTROY DE NARANJAS 1000 ML
10 -RON HAVANA CLUB BLANCO 750 ML
1 - RON HAVANA CLUB AÑEJO 7 AÑOS 750 ML
1 - RON FLOR DE CAÑA AÑEJO 5 AÑOS 750 ML
1 -VODKA OSO NEGRO 1000 ML (hoping nobody would want to drink vodka in mexico. We were wrong - we wound up buying 6 more bottles...)
6 - VINO TINTO CHILENO MAI CABERNET SAUVIGNON 750 ML
5 - VINO BLANCO CHILENO MAI SAUVIGNON BLANC 750 ML

Adam hands him his credit card to check out. Declined.
Hands him another. Declined.
I get mine out. Declined.

We had already called our banks to tell them we were in mexico and would be charging a lot for our wedding but they thought it was suspicious anyway. Adam spent 30 minutes on the phone with the credit card company before it finally went through. At this point, we'd been at Covi for well over an hour. While Adam was busy on the phone, they took me on a tour of the new facility - it's going to be gorgeous!

Finally, let's load up the car!




Whew, ok, that was a stressful few hours, let's go check into Casa Chaac. At this point it's 4pm. We landed at 9:30am so it's been a long day. All the stress melts away when we get to casa chaac though. I love it so much more than I remembered it! This is going to be a great place to have a wedding.



We grab a few beers, throw our bathing suits on and take a quick dip in the pool before we have to unpack.

Couldn't relax too long though as we had a ton of shopping to do still. We drive over and park in the Walmart parking lot and then walk to El Fogon.



Oh how I've missed you El Fogon.

They always start you out with:


and then the bean soup comes out. Yum!!!!


I got the arrachera norteña, Adam got something similar but with Pastor that the waiter recommended.



You will see one of these again later - at our wedding!!! We were so in love with the pastor at El Fogon, we asked Erica to get us one for the wedding - and she did!



We went to walmart, filled 2 carts full of beer, checked out, loaded up the car, came back in for produce. Very disappointed, bought a bunch but then decided to go to Mega.

Mega had limes twice the size of those at Walmart for 1/5 of the price. They also had grapefruits at 1.5pesos per KG! Holy Crap. We bought about 100. I'm not lying. Our family are big grapefruit eaters/drinkers so we used them to make fresh squeezed grapefruit margaritas all week.

When we got home, we assembled our gift baskets for our guests.


All of our guests were staying at villas or condos in Playacar Phase 1. We got two different sized coolers depending on how many people were staying in each villa and then filled them accordingly. We figured the coolers would come in handy to help people carry beer to the beach.

Each cooler contained:
  • 1 950ML bottle of Jimador Reposado
  • 1 3L bottle of grapefruit soda
  • Limes
  • 1 Bag of sea Salt
  • Recipe cards to make a Paloma with the above ingredients
  • Beer
  • Custom Beer coozies
  • Chips
  • A welcome letter and a print out of our wedding map.
Quantities of most things varied depending on the number of people staying together (anywhere from 2-4 in a condo to 6-8 in a villa).

My friend Rob is demoing how to put a paloma together:

Add tequila:

Juice of half a lime

A pinch of salt

No Rob, we said a pinch! Yikes...
Top with grapefruit soda and stir

And enjoy!

But since Rob added way too much salt, he had to get some sugar out... Oh man.. this is not how you make a drink Rob!

Last edited by jenC; 11-20-2010 at 01:17 PM..
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Old 11-20-2010   #5 (permalink)
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Day 2
As everyone knows, it is impossible to sleep in in Playa. So we're out the door by 8:15. We stopped by the offices of Playacar Vacation Rental to drop off the gift baskets. People will start arriving today!!!
While we still have the car, we drive north to La Cueva del Chango.


Oh man, do I LOVE this place. We lucked out and got the table next to the turtles!



The kitchen:


I ordered the oatmeal. I would eat this every day of my life. It was so filling, I couldn't even eat half of it!


We ordered a side of the fried bananas with cheese and sour cream - these were so unique and delicious.


And Adam got this 2 egg thing with all kinds of sides. Chaya, mushrooms, oaxaca cheese, ham, beans, etc... He loved it. Especially the mushrooms.




The morning light shining into this place was gorgeous!






We'll be back twice more before we leave. One more time for breakfast and once for dinner.

On the way back, we stop at this fantasic fruit market:


It's located here:




We bought fresh squeezed juice, garlic (as both Mega and Walmart were out), avocados, Dried Jamaica flowers (to make Aqua de Jamaica for the wedding), loads of peppers, and mint (for mojitos)

We took everything back to the villa, then had to go turn in the car and walk back to Playacar. Even though we had to meet Erica at noon, we were so hot, we jumped in the pool for 20 minutes.

Erica came over with the 2 chefs who will be working the wedding and we finalized the menu.
We had rented 2 Taco Carts, a pastor spit, and a churro cart. We would do steak, chicken, and fish tacos. The Al pastor tacos with pina, guac, ceviche, rice, beans, salsas, fresh fruit (fruit cart style), and churros pressed fresh to order. Everything would be cooked out on the carts in the garden made to order except for the cold stuff which would be pre-prepared.

We then begged Erica to take us to Vidrio Soplado and she agreed and laughed at how awful their map was. The only way she found it last time was by calling them.

----
Oops.. next pictures aren't off my camera yet, I'll be back in a few minutes.

Last edited by jenC; 11-20-2010 at 04:13 PM..
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Old 11-20-2010   #6 (permalink)
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Great start! This is going to be a good one. Congratulations on your wedding! I can't wait for the next installment....hurry!!
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Old 11-20-2010   #7 (permalink)
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Day 2 (Tuesday) cont.
Ok, so even though the map says Vidrio Soplado is at 80th, we're now here, heading North out of Playa:


(Calle 106 - that road sign off in the distance is for Grand Coral)
At that point, if you look to the left, on the other side of the road you see this:


Yay! We found it!






All of the green glass is still on sale we buy 25 each of three different styles plus 4 green pitchers. I think it was less than 1300 pesos for all of it. It was going to take them a while to pack it all up so we leave and it's all dropped off to us at the villa tomorrow. Here's a sneak peak of what they will look like later in the week as they're ready to become our centerpieces/wedding favors:


On the way back, we stop at a hardware store to buy wood and nails to make signs for the wedding. Here's our friend Carrie painting them Friday evening.



Erica drives us back to Casa Chaac, we relax for a few minutes, it rains
but only for 3 minutes


and then - look some of our friends and family have arrived!



The new people who've just arrived are in need of a Walmart run so they leave to shop and hit up El Fogon while we have a dinner with our family at Yaxche.





We started off with the delicious lime tortilla soup. 70 pesos....a bit much for soup but it is super yummy.



My mom got some kind of seafood pasta thing


I got the crispy duck tacos


Adam had a sour-orange marinated pork thing. It was just ok.


Someone got this shrimp thing


But the big winner was this flank steak. It melted in your mouth. Nobody could believe the cut of meat. Absolutely incredible.


It had been another long day for everyone so we headed back to Casa Chaac for some cocktails and then hit the sack.

Last edited by jenC; 11-20-2010 at 10:41 PM..
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Old 11-20-2010   #8 (permalink)
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Oh my, this is SO much fun to read! You two sound like a great couple.

Can't wait for the next installment.
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Old 11-20-2010   #9 (permalink)
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Day 3 - Wednesday
My family booked a deep sea fishing trip and promised to come back with lots of food to feed everyone.
See how hopeful they are, here in Puerto Aventuras.




They paid for a package that included half trolling and half bottom feeding and were looking most forward to bottom feeding as they'd heard it was much better this time of year.
But this is all they catch



And they aren't allowed to keep it for some reason. They keep asking the captain to take them bottom fishing but he says he didn't bring any bait and doesn't know how?!? They aren't happy but figure it was just a bad fishing day. Until they get back to the port and every other boat is loaded with fish and the people are all raving about the bottom fishing. This makes them very angry since the package they paid for included a few hours of bottom fishing. They go and complain and a different captain offers to come pick them up the next day at noon and take them out bottom fishing.
They were all very excited to see the dolphins in the port though.


Apparently someone accidently dropped a beer coozie into the area where the dolphins were. The joked to the dolphin "hey, wanna flip that up here?" It circled it for a few seconds, then stuck its nose underneath and flipped it up to them on the dock. They couldn't stop talking about it when they got home. Had they caught 100 fish, I think they would have still enjoyed that moment with the dolphin even more.

Meanwhile, Adam and I with his parents went to have breakfast at Nativo.



The smoothies were so good. Nobody could remember which one they ordered so we just shared them all. Wow! Addicting



Breakfast was:

Chillaquilles (Adam said they were his fave in Playa), arrachera quesadillas, and a spinach and cheese omelet with practically an entire harvest of spinach!

After breakfast we walked across the street to the DAC market to pick up a few things and then across Constituyentes to the Mega for more produce, pool floats, more beer, and more grapefruit soda (on our quest to find the best...) We also picked up rotisserie chicken, fresh made tortillas, queso, a few salsas and even though we'd been making our own guac so far, this one looked pretty good and we were feeling lazy.



It was hot so we all headed back to Casa Chaac to go swimming. Adam made me Mojito to sip while i floated and read a gossip magazine!



When my family was back from fishing we dragged everyone to the ocean. The water was so warm that pretty soon, both of our familes and all of our friends were out jumping waves. Our drinks were running low and as we got out of the ocean we saw some movement up at Casa Chaac. After a brief second of panic that someone was in the house, we realized it was two of my girlfriends who had just gotten into town. We were hungry, they were hungry, so we headed back up to the villa for some spontaneous appetizers.

My mom shredded the roitisserie chicken while my brother and his fiance squeezed dozens of limes to make a pitcher of margaritas.


We pulled out the guac, the tortillas, some chips, the queso, sour cream (there is nothing like the sour cream you can get down in mexico!), salsas, sliced limes and the shredded chickens and everyone made their own tacos.



There is 1 litre of tequila in that margarita pitcher

Cheers!


Hence, after that pitcher, everyone lazily and drunkedly lounged around the pool.



Our other friends came over and Dustin managed to get out here:


To take this picture:


After a few more hours of lounging, we cleaned up and got ready for dinner. As we were waiting for the cab, this little chihuahua dressed in a hoodie named Max ran up to us.



This would be the first of many times that Max came to visit us. Max loves a party and wanders around Playacar until he finds one. He even came to my wedding! (Where his owners finally came to find him. But not 15 minutes after they took him home was he back).

We went to dinner at La Bamba Jarrocha since everyone was craving fish and we didn't get any from the deep sea fishing excursion.


Erin ordered the Sangria. She loved it. I am not a fan of mexican sangria (every single one i've had is mixed with lemonade)


We ordered the large fish platter (I think the one for 5-6)

And a fried snapper and fried grouper.
It was so much food! Here's Adams dad with the left overs


(which got turned into fish tacos for lunch the next day).

Last edited by jenC; 11-20-2010 at 10:45 PM..
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Old 11-20-2010   #10 (permalink)
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Congratulations on the nuptials! && Thanks for taking the time to share...it's going to be a good one, I can tell
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Old 11-20-2010   #11 (permalink)
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Day 4 - Thursday

My brother woke up super early and headed to the juice guy with two pitchers. One for Orange juice, one for grapefruit. Adam fried up some eggs, chorizo, and various left overs and we all had breakfast on the patio.



As soon as we were finished a few of us got in the pool and I decided to try out the underwater housing for my Canon G9.






We were going snorkeling in Akumal the next day so everyone wanted to practice. Does anyone else find this picture hilarious?





As we're swimming, we hear some more familiar voices - look, more friends are here!



At noon, a driver comes to get my family + 2 friends to go out bottom fishing. I would say they had a much more successful day!






Loads of red snapper and trigger fish



A majority of our friends are now in town so it was too many for us all to go out to dinner together. So we form dinner groups and we get together to figure out where everyone is going.

Everyone comes over to Casa Chaac for cocktails






Then we try to figure out where everyone's decided to go to dinner. Surprise, surprise, we've all chosen El Fogon. So, what the hell, 30 gringos invade El Fogon.









Dave tried to order a double margarita. He got a double double-margarita instead.

They were actually delicious!

And I'm not sure what happened here, but Erin got two drinks too.


Food!








We decide to walk back and some folks stop at an ATM. Everyone in this picture is named Erin/Aaron.


We stopped for walking beers of course.



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Old 11-20-2010   #12 (permalink)
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Sounds like a wonderful wedding.

Last edited by heater; 11-20-2010 at 07:18 PM..
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Old 11-20-2010   #13 (permalink)
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Wow! What a dream wedding experience! I want to be your friend. Thanks for taking the time to share. I can't wait to read the rest.
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Old 11-20-2010   #14 (permalink)
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Lovin the report! Looks like an awesome wedding vacation!!!
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Old 11-20-2010   #15 (permalink)
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Loving it
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