Part 1: Before Flying To Mexico
The perfect wedding that I envisioned is a destination wedding, somewhere warm. All the people closest to me would come together for a whole week of celebration.
This is what I set out to do for February 1st, 2024.
This was supposed to be the perfect wedding with the perfect girl, Anna.
1 Year Before
We started planning this wedding about a year ago, and after looking at a ton of options found a resort called the Grand Palladium Colonial Resort & Spa in Riviera Maya Mexico. It looked like the perfect place in terms of pricing, location, and venue.
Once we decided on this resort everything went downhill. We are now 5 days away from the wedding, we fly out tomorrow to a completely different country, and nothing is finalized.
We had reached out multiple times before the 4-month mark, asking if we could be assigned a coordinator. No responses. We called, and they said they don’t do phone calls, and everything gets planned via email. Finally, around the 4-month mark, we called and didn’t take no for an answer, and requested to speak to the manager.
4 Months Before
That’s how we finally got assigned a wedding coordinator. We thought this was when things would finally start moving along….. but then the coordinator didn’t respond to us for about a month.
After a ton of pleading we finally scheduled a call with the coordinator 3 months out from the wedding and most of the call went fine until we learned 2 crucial details.
- The first payment was due 4 months before the wedding.
- We wanted a catholic wedding and that took 6 months of preparation.
They didn’t seem to care too much about the late payment, but we asked if they could send us the payment link (spoilers we fly in tomorrow still not having paid anything after asking 10 times).
But the catholic wedding is what Anna has always dreamed about. Even though we aren’t too religious ourselves, we both grew up in religious households and for us, a wedding is synonymous with a church ceremony.
We absolutely grinded for the next 2 months, finessing meetings with priests, finding online courses, contacting our churches in Lithuania and Poland, and completing all the requirements.
It was an absolute grind, but somehow we got it done. And while getting the best-case scenario of one response a week from the wedding coordinator, and having to google how weddings work so we know what information they need, it seemed like maybe things were coming together.
2 Weeks Before
There’s one more aspect I forgot to mention. Anna decided to try a travel occupational therapy position in California for the 3 months leading up to the wedding. Our wedding was a destination wedding in Mexico, so whether we were home or not didn’t seem like it would matter.
In hindsight, it would have made things easier with the Church, but like we said: we got it done.
Or so we thought.
The week when we drove back home from California to Illinois (which was 2 weeks before we flew out to Mexico), on Tuesday we received a call from the church saying they didn’t send out the Church documents because they didn’t want to be responsible and we have to pick them up and ship it ourselves.
Annoying, but fine. No problem.
Wednesday we have a call with our coordinator to finalize everything.
The call goes well enough, she tells us to use UPS to send out the documents to the church in Mexico. We do it that day.
Thursday we leave for a 30-hour drive home. Friday 4 hours before we get home (5 pm end of work day), we get an email.
Hello, my beautiful couple,
I am writing to inform you that today is my last day working at this resort. My manager will reach out to you and assign you a new wedding coordinator.
What. The. Fuck.
1 Week Before
We get absolutely no communication from the Manager or anybody from the resort. Not that Friday, not the weekend, not even Monday. So end of the day Monday we start writing emails, calling the resort doing anything to get in contact.
After leaving 10 voicemails and a ton of emails we finally got one single email response from the manager assigning us a new coordinator.
Final Days Before
We thought, whatever, we will just figure it all out after we are there at the resort. However, we got one more last-minute issue.
The church documents that we sent, that we paid $70 to be there in 3 days, are being held in customs. It was supposed to arrive at the church on Monday. It’s now the Friday after…
We spent the whole week trying to figure out what the fuck is going on. After pleading for hours with UPS supervisors and the wedding coordinators, we may have deduced that the package was being held up because our coordinator didn’t give the correct phone number to the church, and customs needed to call them.
I don’t know why, but we managed to get the number for the church from our resort. We called them, and they didn’t speak English. After using Google Translate and trying our best to communicate that we needed them to call customs, I asked a friend to jump in on a 3-way call.
I think we got the information across to them, and hopefully, the priest calls customs and everything works out.
But at that moment, we were flying out along with 60 other people for a wedding, that we didn’t know was going to happen.
Part 2: In Mexico
We thought that maybe things would have gotten better when we were in person. Where we could talk to the coordinators face to face, and get to the bottom of all the issues. Wow, were we wrong. The next days until the actual wedding were some of the most stressful days of our lives.
Monday (3 days to go)
Saturday and Sunday were for traveling, and we made a few calls around but UPS doesn’t work on the weekends, and nobody else was able to help anything at all.
Monday we spent most of the day on the phone. We called UPS as soon as they opened and went on the biggest manhunt in UPS history trying to find our package. We got a number from UPS to someone who works in customs, but that person worked in the customs for travelers, not packages. Then that person got us a number for someone who works with packages, and then finally that person gave us a number to someone who works in the actual warehouse where the packages were being held.
Keep in mind all of this was happening with people who barely understood English, and you could tell talking to them, that they really didn’t want to talk to Americans (they didn’t know we’re Polish and Lithuanian).
After all those calls we were on the phone with the warehouse guy who told us that our package cleared customs 5 days ago, before we even left for Mexico.
What. The. Fuck.
We had him double-check, he even read off some info from the package that we didn’t tell him about, so it was confirmed that it cleared customs.
Then we called UPS and guess what they say? “We can’t do anything because it is stuck in customs”.
Now up until this point Anna has lost her shit with people on the phone multiple times these previous months. But this is when it hit a boiling point for me. One person was saying something, the other was saying something else. One of them was lying and given that we double and triple-checked with customs my hunch was UPS was the liar.
Through all the pleading we made no progress on that front.
We also had our first meeting with the new wedding coordinator. The meeting went fine for the most part, and she was nice and trying to help the whole time.
The big thing up in the air was the church ceremony. We were told that worst case scenario, they already talked to the priest and he would be able to perform a symbolic ceremony if we couldn’t figure anything else out. I remember asking if this symbolic ceremony would be exactly the same as a regular one, except not official on paper. They answered so confidently that yes it definitely would be.
We also left with a potential route for this to be fully real. We had to contact the diocese that prepared our papers in California and have them email a written letter that stated they sent out the papers on time and that the package was stuck in customs.
After some calls we were able to get in touch with the California diocese and the person helping us (shoutout Nina) was by far the most helpful person throughout this whole process. She was able to get those documents and send them within like 30 minutes. She was our savior that week.
At this point, we thought we had everything secure for the wedding to happen.
Tuesday (2 days to go)
We were now 2 days before, going into our final meeting with the coordinator (or so we thought) to finalize everything for the wedding and make our first and final payment to lock everything in. Remember, the first payment was due 4 months before the event.
When we came in our coordinator said she had some news from the church in Mexico. The papers we sent were not enough for a catholic ceremony, but we could still have a symbolic ceremony. However, the symbolic ceremony would be a regular “Sunday” mass.
What. The. Fuck.
A regular mass? “Yes, and you cannot wear your wedding clothes, so no wedding dress”. I honestly couldn’t understand how she was able to say these words to us with a straight face. Did she really think this was an option? To have a wedding that’s a regular mass without even wearing the wedding dress or anything?
So we dug deep into this for a while about why the papers weren’t enough, and what kind of papers would be sufficient. We were informed that if the papers were resent with an official seal from the diocese that might be sufficient.
So back to trying to get more documents and other things to make this wedding happen. Nina once again was the nicest person I think I’ve ever interacted with over the phone. She went above and beyond and sent a ton of papers to help us try and make this happen.
The new papers were sent within an hour or two, and after another few hours of asking the wedding coordinator to call the church in Mexico, they said those papers would be enough to have a real Catholic ceremony!
At this point, it seemed like the wedding was going to happen. We went to pay finally and went back to our room to exhale the breaths we had been holding for all these months.
And then we had another surprise. There was a UPS worker who was in charge of the packages in Mexico that we contacted over a week ago who did not help us at all. He was also a very exclusive man, because nobody had his phone number. Not UPS. Not customs. Nobody.
Well, we finally got an email from him after we messaged him a bunch of times. The last message was telling him that customs said they released the package a while ago.
His email said, that they had the package and it would be delivered tomorrow. The day before the wedding.
Wednesday (The Day Before Wedding)
We finally had a slightly less stressful day, where things seemed like they maybe were coming together. We held our fingers crossed all day, hoping that nothing else would go wrong. And our papers did get delivered that day.
Our wedding coordinator had one more surprise for us on the day of the wedding. A few hours before the wedding was supposed to happen we got a message from her that the Priest wanted to have a meeting with us before the ceremony.
I called and messaged him, but no response.
Then 2 hours before the wedding was about to happen, while Anna had already left to get ready, I got a call from the priest. He said we couldn’t receive communion since we hadn’t completed confession.
Thankfully he was flexible and said he would be able to complete confession with us 15 min before the wedding started. All this was planned while me and Anna were separated, scrambling to iron suits, get ready, meet photographers, take getting ready photos, etc.
We ended up doing that and had our church ceremony.
The actual wedding was beautiful, and things went well for the most part.
Two things did go wrong during the wedding though.
- The wedding favors we spent 3 hours putting together the day before was forgotten about, and the guests didn’t receive them. Not a big deal but annoying.
- One of the workers dropped a wine glass and glass shattered everywhere. Shit happens, but that wasn’t the problem. Someone came to clean it up and sweep the glass away but did the worst sweeping job I have ever seen. They tossed the glass all over the floor, making it worse than it was before. We talked to the coordinator and the manager and pointed out a bunch of pieces of glass all over the dance floor. She kept sweeping it poorly and gave us dirty looks whenever we mentioned the glass pieces that were missing. This went on for like 15 minutes. And there was still glass that we could see. Someone ended up cutting their foot on the glass that night.
In general, though, the wedding was beautiful and I’m at least happy that we were able to pull it off, and I did get the result of marrying my beautiful wife.
Day After Wedding
You would think all the stress would be over when the ceremony and reception were over. But the wedding coordinator called us the day after to give us some more news.
She showed us 2 receipts, added them together, and showed us that the 2 receipts didn’t add up to the correct total that we owed. She said we had to pay an extra $1640. I caught this right away because remember, we only paid once, two days ago.
I told her that and showed her my bank charge and the charge matched her total. She was able to find the correct single receipt right away and we didn’t have to pay anything extra.
This is fine, but how would you, not double or triple-check that you have the correct totals before calling somebody in to request such a big sum of money?
The whole theme of this was that we had to learn everything on our own throughout the whole process. We had to face a bunch of no’s throughout every part of the process and only after repeatedly digging deeper, did we get any possibilities of making this wedding happen.
Me and Anna are very persistent in achieving our goals, and without this persistence, this wedding would not have happened.
I am so proud to call her my wife, and with the immense amount of stress and challenges, we were able to accomplish something I don’t think many other couples could. I can’t wait to see what we will accomplish in the rest of our marriage.
As for the Grand Palladium resort, the rest of the service people we dealt with, do better.