“Summer passes and one remembers one’s exuberance.”
— Yoko Ono, the ultimate chill person/world-renowned artist.
Summertime is upon us, and yeah Yoko… I’m feeling exuberant! Aside from it being my birthday month and the start of my favorite season, this particular June has been extra special for me. I just woke up to the news that Destination Wedding Details has been ranked the #1 destination wedding blog in the world! The site was in good company on that list, so I am truly honored and over the moon!
But I certainly am NOT over… The Moon Palace Cancun! I don’t think I will be for a very long time. You see, I started this wonderful month with a destination wedding site visit to the Moon Place Cancun. I had the pleasure of touring all their wedding venues and immersing myself in the entire experience, learning about everything they have to offer. I was only there for a couple of days, so I barely scratched the surface but I’m so excited to be able to report back all the great stuff I saw and did.
Hmmm… how would I describe Moon Palace? Entertaining but low-key. Kid-friendly but romantic. Relaxing and a surreal slice of paradise that will make you feel at home… yes, this place has it all!
I’ve featured a real Moon Palace Cancun wedding on the blog, and it looked dreamy. But after visiting this property and meeting with their wedding planning team, I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that the Moon Palace Cancun is one of the best locations to have a destination wedding. If it’s not already on your list, you need to add it pronto. Allow me to elaborate…
First of all, if you didn’t know… I had my own destination wedding and honeymoon in Cancun 7 years ago! Because this area holds a special place in my heart, I’ve visited Cancun many times over the years. Being in the business of analyzing then reviewing and offering guidance on all things beach/destination weddings… I’ve seen my share of resorts that claim to be all sorts of superlatives. But I’ve grown almost a sixth sense when it comes to sniffing out the real deal from the phonies. It takes a lot for a resort to impress me, but Moon Palace Cancun absolutely blew me away.
The resort is about 15 minutes from the airport and another 30 minutes or so from the busy Hotel Zone. This means it’s neither a hassle to get to, nor is it in the middle of the hustle and bustle. You’ll feel like you’re in a world of your own. My first impression as we drove past the entrance, was that this was a massive property. It has 3 sections – The Sunrise, The Nizuc, and the Grand. Each section has its own lobby, check-in, pools, and restaurants. If you stay at the Sunrise or the Nizuc, you have access to both of their amenities – all wonderful.
The Grand operates as a separate resort and is a bit more high-end and luxurious. Something to keep in mind is that if you book at The Grand, you will have access to the Sunrise and Nizuc as well. Three for one deal. Yes, you can have it all! I stayed at The Sunrise and it was all kinds of awesome.
When traveling a great distance to get married, one of the top sources of stress is not feeling in control because you cannot see/feel everything before the big day. This stress is exasperated (usually) by an inability to meet with the service staff ahead of time. I’d argue that there is almost nothing that matters more when choosing a resort for your destination wedding than reputable service.
You could have the most beautiful venue and delicious food but it is the staff that will make or break your experience. And let me tell you, the Moon Palace Cancun had me at hello. As soon as I arrived on the driveway of The Sunrise, I was immediately greeted with a flower, a drink, and cold washcloth to combat the heat. The service only got better from that point forward.
One interesting fact I found out during my site visit, is that The Moon Palace Cancun is owned by a Mexican family that lives right in the resort. And it shows. I felt like I was being welcomed into someone’s home, a place they took much pride in. Every single staff member from the concierge to the bell boy was amazing.
All-Inclusive, All the time
Moon Palace ain’t joking when they tell you to just enjoy yourself. They make it pretty easy – there are top-shelf liquor dispensers in your room. IN. YOUR. ROOM. Also, FYI, it’s included. All-inclusive, all the time. Top shelf. Ok, you get it. If for some wild reason this makes you not want to leave your room (understandable), there’s 24-7 room service, wi-fi, unlimited calls to the U.S. and Canada so you can tell those sorry suckers who didn’t attend your destination wedding what they’re missing… oh, and snacks galore.
When you feel like seeing daylight again, your exuberant self will shine! There are actual physical activities you can take part in (if that’s your thing)! Swim with dolphins, scuba dive, paddleboard and end the day by doing some yoga to keep you grounded and in touch with reality… because after you see a dolphin, a sea turtle, and your fiancé in their skimpiest beach-wear in the same day… you’re going to need some assistance.
I tried out the Flow Rider and had so much fun! Full disclosure… I wasn’t brave enough (translation: coordinated enough) to use a stand-up flow board, so I did the bodyboard. The staff was so patient with my newbie status… but also coached me on best practices so my swimsuit wouldn’t fly right off. They keep you classy at Moon Palace! When we come back, and I hope we can soon… I will definitely be doing this again.
After a long day of successfully avoiding a nip slip, or worse, you’ll have worked up an appetite! No matter what you’re in the mood for, they’ve got it. Mexican (and you’re IN Mexico, so yeah… it’s legit), Italian, Brazilian, seafood… or dessert! Whatever time of day, whatever mood you’re in… if you’re trying to get a snack by the pool, get a drink in the lobby between events, or sit down for a romantic date for old time’s sake… they got you!
My absolute favorite meal was at Momo. Hibachi is fun regardless, but the service and meal were top-notch here. Everyone from the hostess to the waiter to the manager, who made a point to visit with us and hear about our trip, were eager to create a great experience for us. The chef was so present, putting on a show-stopping performance for me and my family… yes, with exuberance! We had shrimp and teriyaki chicken… which sure, sounds like something you can just get anywhere, but I SWEAR it was absolutely delish. Quick break while I look up their Yelp page to give a shout out…
Once you’ve had a bite to eat, you can finish with a nightcap (or let the party begin) at The Pub, Skybar, or Noir. Ever heard of a marshmallow martini? Mmhm, didn’t think so. Tell ‘em Cynthia sent you.
Transportation within the resort
Remember, I told you that this property is massive? I wasn’t kidding. Also, the whole “all-inclusive” thing? Not kidding. They have golf carts with drivers to take you from point A to point B when you need it. All you have to do is dial 0 from your room phone or any phone in the common areas and someone will pick you up in a matter of minutes to take you to the resort lobby, the pools, or any of the restaurants. It was pretty cool – okay, REALLY cool.
They also have air-conditioned buses that will shuttle you from one lobby to the other. Yeah, the heat is great when you’re plopped down on the beach, but sometimes you need some AC. This is especially convenient if your wedding guests are spread out throughout the resort and need to get to your ceremony in their heels. You don’t need a sweaty bridal party (think of the photos!). FYI – each bus holds about 40 people.
So this ain’t no cookie-cutter, every-room-is-the-same type of place… but I’ll tell you about my stay. I stayed in a Deluxe Garden View room which also offered a partial ocean view.
There was an in-room whirlpool bath in front of the balcony that gave us a very “hot tub at sunset” vibe. No, it wasn’t in a different room, not in the bathroom, but literally, you could just hop out of bed and into the bath to enjoy the sunset/sunrise. When you’re ready to dry off, you can hop out onto the balcony to relax in the hammock with a good book – or your honey!
Okay also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a friendly reminder about the top-shelf liquor dispenser! Forget a champagne toast – get yourself a vodka with a twist!
Anyways, you’ll find some of the expected amenities are there- but at Moon Palace, they’re anything but typical. The provided shampoo is by Chi, including a thermal protective treatment AND flat iron. They’re not denying the beach’s ability to frizz you out – but they got you covered! You and your entire bridal party are set to primp and prep for the photo session.
Lagoon Style Pools
I have never seen so many pools in one place – ever. It feels like the entire resort is surrounded by lagoon-style pools. They’re everywhere. And they are gorgeous. There is an abundance of beach chairs and palapas so you never have to worry about finding a place to sit. One of the pools at the Nizuc even has a really cool slide!
Here’s a little video I took of one of the pools.
Sure, to YOU your wedding is the show of the week… but any good destination wedding offers a full week of fun. The Moon Palace knows how to put on a world-class performance. During my stay, I got to enjoy shows at both The Sunrise and Nizuc’s outdoor stages. These are not your cheesy, run of the mill hotel shows. The production value exceeded my expectations – and man, there’s variety!
On our first night, we enjoyed a classical opera type show and the next night a Vegas type Michael Jackson show that was absolutely amazing. They also have some really great fire shows, break-dancing, and even play host to pop artists such as the beloved Backstreet Boys.
As romantic and surreal as Moon Palace sounds thus far (and it is), it’s also family-friendly! AKA kid-friendly. VERY important to note if you plan to make your wedding kid-friendly. I traveled with my husband and 2 small kids (ages 6 and 2) and they ALL had a blast at this resort. This wasn’t one of those places that claims to be family-friendly but ends up feeling just… kid tolerant. There was actually a ton for the kids to do! They have a really fun kids pool at The Sunrise with slides, pirate ships, and all kinds of fun stuff. On the Nizuc side, there is a big slide that my 6-year couldn’t get enough of.
Oh… and my kids lost their collective minds when they entered the playroom. This place is amazing. All ages are welcome but if your kids are over the age of 4, you can leave them there and the trained staff will keep them entertained while you dip off for some adult time. Absolutely CLUTCH while on vacation! All-inclusive almost NEVER means having a built-in babysitter on staff… but Moon Palace has ‘em. Oh yeah, back to the play area – it has a climbing structure with a ball pit, a mini-movie theater, a little horse carousel, a playground, arcades, dollhouse, creative area… basically, your child won’t even realize you’re gone – and that’s the point! Sneak off for an adult drink, or an adult visit back to the room for a “nap.”
Moon Palace Cancun Wedding Venues
Ah yes, of course. The whole reason I visited the Moon Palace was so I could do a site visit to their destination wedding venues. I met with Eligio Cejin from their Groups/Wedding department and as soon as I met him, I instantly felt like I had known him my entire life. Man, he’s good. He took me on a golf cart to tour the entire resort and the wedding venues. That alone was a treat!
Moon Palace Cancun Wedding Gazebos
First up was the oceanfront Bugambillas gazebo. All I have to say is WOW. I’ve seen photos, but this place is so impressive in person. It holds up to 80 people and although it’s not air-conditioned, there is a really nice ocean breeze (and remember, flat irons in the rooms to combat the frizz).
The next venue I checked was another gazebo which looks almost identical to the first, except this one is glass-enclosed and air-conditioned! It also has a really long aisle for you to make a grand entrance – if you’re the traditional, or attention-loving (nothing wrong with that) bride. When I arrived, there were some employees setting up for a wedding later that afternoon. That was really neat to see how quick, organized, and dedicated the staff was behind the scenes. They say your true character lies in what you do when no one is watching – and I got a genuine glimpse of Moon Palace’s character!
Moon Palace Cancun Wedding Catholic Chapel
Finally, Elijio took me to the Catholic Chapel and holy wow – this place is stunning! They were setting up for a wedding when I got there as well, so there were men all over. I loved seeing the staff in their element once again. There was fabric draped from the ceiling and I could tell this chapel would look amazing once it was set up. This may be a fun fact you haven’t considered, but there are very few oceanfront catholic chapels in Cancun. I know this first hand because I searched high and low when I was getting married. So, if you want a Catholic wedding with an ocean view, this is a great option!
After your ceremony, you can have a cocktail hour or reception in one of the adjacent terraces in the garden… or right by the oceanfront. You’re in Cancun, and it’s your wedding. Do what you want!
Moon Palace Wedding on the Beach
And then, there’s the beach….
I’ve been to Cancun many times and I’m used to the gorgeous crystal clear turquoise blue water everywhere you go. I was surprised to see that the beach water at the Moon Palace is not as clear or blue as other parts of Cancun. When I asked the staff about it, they explained that the second largest barrier reef is located right off the coast of the resort and it pushes a lot of seagrass to the beach. That’s also why the water isn’t as clear and why there’s so much seagrass on the sand. That being said, the staff cleans several times a day and if you’re not comparing to other beaches in Cancun, it’s still more beautiful than a lot of other beaches around the world.
So if you don’t want to have your wedding in a gazebo, and you’ve been dreaming of exchanging vows with your feet in the sand, you can choose one of several Moon Palace Cancun beach wedding collections. They even have a free wedding collection if you book more than 14 room nights!
Their weddings are not cookie-cutter – they’re not holding you back, or telling you what you can/cannot do. They will customize it to anything you can dream of. From theme and vibe to the nitty-gritty – flower choice, color palette, menu, and more – it’s truly YOUR day, unrestricted. You can get the full scoop on all their collections here.
Moon Palace Cancun Wedding Showroom
Last but certainly not least, we ended the tour where it will all begin for you as a bride and groom – the Moon Palace Cancun wedding showroom. Like everything else at the Moon Palace Cancun, the wedding showroom was impressive.
Encore Audio Visual and Dream Art Photography are their preferred vendors and they both have offices at the Moon Palace. In fact, all of their coordinators and vendors have an office here so it’s a one-stop-shop and assures that you will have a well-coordinated event.
Here’s a photo of the Wedding Manager…
And some photos of the showroom where you can check out your different options such as table décor.
And this is the room where you can change into your wedding gown….
Booking Your Moon Palace Cancun Wedding
I went ahead and asked Elijio a bunch of questions about their wedding booking process (you’re welcome) and here’s the scoop. The Moon Palace Cancun books approximately 15 weddings per week during their peak wedding season (i.e. June). That sounds like a lot but you have to remember that they have a lot of venues – and remember when I said this place is HUGE. There is only one wedding per venue per day. So, your wedding venue is only your venue, on your day. There is ZERO feeling of “turn and burn.” You don’t have to worry about having another wedding party walking into your venue as you’re walking out.
Also, they have 5 coordinators at the resort. Elijio’s wife happens to be one of the coordinators! Curveball, this is a family-run business!
Fairy Tale Weddings
Last, but not least, is my absolute favorite perk of having a wedding at the Moon Palace Cancun. When you get married at Moon Palace, you have the option to arrive at your ceremony in a horse and carriage! Cinderella vibes. This deserves a second of reflection…
How often is that actually offered… anywhere?
If you’ve trekked along this far with me on my journey through the many… mannnyyy benefits of booking a Moon Palace Cancun wedding, then your mind might be made up. I truly enjoyed my stay. If you’re considering having your destination wedding at Moon Palace, make sure you contact the folks at Vacationeeze. They hooked me up with this trip and they have a ton of experience planning destination weddings at the Moon Palace Cancun.
Have you heard anyone having difficulties communicating with the wedding department (the third party based in Miami) as they seem to have poor response times and not very attentive? They seem to go through coordinators a lot as well as I’m already on my fourth. The people actually at the resort seem really nice and passionate about what they do. However trying to deal with them over the phone is irritating, absurd, and at this point makes you want to cancel. Any advice as I do want to have the wedding at this resort is beautiful.
We were Palace resorts #1 agency in Jamaica last year and have heard similar issues from a few clients. I was just in Cabo with the woman that now manages the wedding department for them. We just had several conversations about this issue. What I can tell you is that I have 2 or 3 of the planners there that we “request” for our clients. As you know you first deal with one of their sales team, then they send you to a designer. They are actually based in Mexico. As you get closer to the wedding date they will make an introduction to the actual person that you will meet when you arrive. My experience is that you need to give them 24 to 48 hours to respond. If you are working with a travel agent that is experienced in planning weddings there they can probably be of some help. Let me know if I can be of any help.
Hi Jack, my daughter is getting married at Moon Palace next April 2019 and is voicing some angst about not getting great concrete responses from the people she is talking to about her wedding plans. could you share the name of the planners you request for your clients? this would be greatly appreciated.
I’m getting married there May 2018. Which would you choose, ceremony at the Gazebo or beach?
The Moon Palace is a gorgeous resort and I absolutely loved it. But if I’m being totally honest, their beach is not the best one in Cancun/Riviera Maya. The second largest barrier reef is located right off their coast which pushes a lot of sea grass to their beach. The staff at Moon Palace cleans it every day, several times but there’s still quite a bit of sea grass on the sand and the water isn’t as blue as other parts of Cancun. The gazebo is absolutely gorgeous and you get a nice panoramic ocean view without being so up close that you notice the seagrass. So if it were me personally, I’d choose the gazebo. 🙂
Hi Jess! Have you been there in late July? How’s the weather there and would you by any chance know what time it gets completely dark? Thank you!
I meant to say Cynthia, sorry….long day at work :/
My last visit to Cancun (and the Moon Palace) was in June. The average weather in the summertime is in the 90’s (Fahrenheit) with a lot of humidity. The Moon Palace is right by the ocean so there was always a really nice breeze even when it was hot. It rains pretty often too in the summer. And the sun sets around 7:30ish so it should be completely dark after 8pm. Wunderground is a great site where you can see historical weather for any location going back as far as even 20-50 years. You just enter “Cancun” for “location” and choose a date in the past (i.e. July 20, 2017) and then it will show you what the weather was like on that date. You can view the weekly weather that year or the monthly or even daily. It’s awesome and really helped me when I was trying to see what type of weather to expect for the time of year I was getting married. Hope this helps! 🙂
This is the very gorgeous place to photography your wedding.
Wow! This place looks and sounds AMAZING!! Thanks for sharing your experience. It’s so hard to decide on a venue. I’ve been on the fence debating between a few different resorts, for weeks but it’s so helpful to hear about your experience at Moon Palace. How was the weather this time of year?
So glad you found it helpful! It really is amazing. 🙂 The weather was fantastic. It was warm, but the resort is right on the beach so you’re always getting that nice ocean breeze. It also rained a few times throughout the week but never for longer than 20-30 minutes.