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lm3682

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About lm3682

  1. lm3682

    Turks & Caicos Wedding Planner

    I would also look at the Sands resort for a reasonable lodging option. They have regular rooms up to three bedroom condos. We got a great group rate there (across all room types) and it was quite reasonable for the island. All of our guests (~35) stayed there, which made it so much more fun (and convenient) for us during the days leading up to the wedding. A ton of watersports equipment is included in the rate, which a lot of our guests took advantage of, and the on-site restaurant, Hemingways, is very good and fairly reasonable (we had our rehearsal dinner there - the actual wedding and reception were at Seven Stars).
  2. Congrats on your wedding! I got married at the Seven Stars last April and used bougainvillea for my bouquet, corsages, boutonnieres and my centerpieces. I also got them through my package, so it was Niki/the hotel that made arrangements with the florist. I had no problems with anything drooping or wilting, especially the bouquet. The hotel kept the bouquet in the fridge in my room right up until I needed it. And then the whole ceremony and pictures only takes about an hour anyway and then you're basically done with your bouquet. But I also didn't notice any issues with my centerpieces either. If I had any issue, the groom's boutonniere got a little mushed, but I think was mostly from hugs after the ceremony. I was more concerned that the flowers wouldn't look all that special in arrangements but I couldn't fathom paying to ship flowers in (which is the only other option). Turns out, I absolutely loved my arrangements - bright pop of color, island-y, not too 'done' or formal, but very pretty for my beach wedding. Hope my two cents helps!
  3. For our reception, we got a band, Press Gang. On set breaks, we used our Ipod and their speakers. The band was a little more 'funk' than I expected (think Stevie Wonder Superstitious) but still a pretty good band that got people out dancing. They were willing to take requests and were pretty flexible with letting us use their equipment. Then on the set breaks we did some 80's/Michael Jackson and some current music like Rihanna. We had a steel drum player for the ceremony and happy hour, than an acoustic guitar guy (Correy Forbes) for the dinner. Music was a big deal for my husband...
  4. Yes, the ceremony was on the beach, in front of the hotel. Our cocktail hour and reception were on the deck area parallel to the beach. The dinner was on a small patio area between the pool the hotel. I had been concerned about having to move the guests to so many different areas but it worked out really well because it kind of signaled the start and end of each part of the night. Nobody lingered over coffee while we were trying to the reception going, etc. I tried to attach some pictures so hopefully you'll be able to see the areas.
  5. We and our guests all stayed at the Sands hotel, which was an excellent property for our needs. Great location, reasonable prices, excellent casual restaurant right on the property, great stretch of beach, complimentary water toys, walking distance to other restaurants, etc. I'm sure you can read the reviews on TripAdvisor about the actual hotel - there are nicer hotels and this is a moderate level hotel but that's what I needed for my group of guests. It turned out to be perfect for us. Then my husband and I moved to the Seven Stars for our wedding night and a few nights afterwards. It's a gorgeous property and the we're planning to go back for our anniversary.
  6. I had five hours on the day of the wedding and one hour at the rehearsal dinner. The five hours got me through putting my dress on/last minute getting ready pics, family pics on both sides before the ceremony, the ceremony, pictures after the ceremony (was so glad we did a group shot with all guests - was totally woth the few minutes of organizing!), a one hour cocktail hour and through our dinner, which included a few speeches and cake cutting, then our first dance and parent dances. He left at that point, so we did not really do any 'reception' pictures. While I'm sure more reception pics would have been great, we didn't want to spend the extra money. Niki had me meet with him and the videographer (from Tropical Imaging) a couple days before the wedding and they walked through the property to see where the wedding would take place. This helped make sure everyone was on the same page for the event. From everything I could tell, both the photographer and videographer worked fine together, didn't get in each other's way and knew where to be at what time.
  7. I worked with Eye Spice (Jon Nickson) for my photographer and he worked out great. I chose him because I thought his pictures are less 'art-sy' and he was also a little more reasonably priced. I appreciate the gorgeous shots that Tropical Imaging takes, but many of their shots seem more artistic (for example, a close-up of a brides neck, with the groom's hand on her shoulder). I knew those would be nice to look at it, but I would never frame those types of pics. I wanted pictures of us at our wedding and Jon captured those beautifully. He was quite flexible as well. He communicated promptly with me via email, was willing to take a 'must-have' list of photos and turned the photos around to me before I even left the island. This was really great to get to see our pictures so quickly while we were still on the high of the wedding. We bought the rights to the photos so we got a CD of about 500 pictures (we had him come for an hour of our rehearsal dinner and then on the big day, from getting ready through to our first dance). He's very quick in taking pictures - not much posing, but kept it moving so we had plenty of time to go to our own cocktail hour (per our request). He got some great sunset shots. Probably the only thing I wished he would've have done was to more vocally 'get people together' and ask them for some shots during the cocktail hour. He was definitely in the background, which was fine for most of the wedding, but I wish I would've have requested a few more candids of our guests. I think had I done this, he would have had no problem with this request. I was very pleased with our photos though and have a whole wall of them in our house.
  8. Oh, sorry for misunderstanding your question. I solicited a few bids on my own, but not all of them. I contacted a few vendors myself and also found some 'quotes' on this forum to help validate what I was paying. I found a steel drum player to be about $100 cheaper on my own. When I mentioned it to Niki, she matched the price. I also found a Jetsetter hotel price that was better than what was in my package and she matched it (I didn't really feel this was overcharging, they just happened to run a special after I had booked.) Otherwise though, the prices aligned with what I could get on my own. I also had a couple instances where she flat out told me to book something myself (photographer, the guest shuttle to the wedding) because having her do it didn't make sense. So while I may have paid more here and there, I don't feel I got overcharged. Yes, the 20% stings, but I do feel I received a value in having Niki coordinate with everyone. I had enough on my plate to not worry if the cake was going to get there in time and who should they contact when they arrived, etc. etc. I was quite focused on price overall for my wedding, but did have to relax a little bit and not worry about getting the best price on every line item or I would've driven myself crazy.
  9. Hi, sorry for the delay, just saw your response. I got one bill from the Seven Stars for all the services they booked for me. I did not pay the vendors individually. My quotes and the final bill were itemized though, so I knew what each aspect cost. For instance, the cake was quoted higher than I expected/budgeted, so I asked for a layer to be removed to bring down the cost a little. I did pay one lump sum deposit to hold my date, paid a second installment about 30 or 60 days before the wedding and then paid my bar bill (we went by the drink, not open bar) when we checked out of the hotel after the wedding. They took care of paying the appropriate amounts to each vendor from what I had paid them. The payment process was quite easy this way; I didn't have to worry about missing any vendors. The only exception to the above was the taxis that our guests used to go home from the reception. The hotel arranged them, but we just gave every couple $10 to pay the driver. Using the taxis had actually been a (very) last minute change I made to the plans (I made the change from a shuttle to the taxis the morning of the wedding - which Niki graciously and effectively managed). Hope that helps! Let me know if you have other questions...I wholeheartedly recommend the hotel and working with Niki for a wedding.
  10. PS - About 15 of us ate at Bay Bistro one night and had an excellent meal. We had friends eating all over the island, including many of the really high-end places and many people thought it was the best restaurant on the island. If their catering is anything like the restaurant, the food will be great!
  11. Hi, We got married in April in the Turks and had all of our 35 guests stay at the Sands. We had our rehearsal dinner there as well. (The ceremony and reception were at the Seven Stars). I also used Eye Spice for my photography. For my group, the Sands was perfect. Great location, reasonable prices, excellent casual restaurant right on the property, great stretch of beach, complimentary water toys, walking distance to other restaurants, etc. I booked a block of rooms directly through the Sands and had people call them (at their call center in Florida) to book. I was able to get reduced rates on all the room types. People who wanted bigger rooms could choose those while others could select the smaller less expensive rooms if preferred. The only thing I wanted to change was the release date. Our wedding was April 9 and the room block was released in mid-January. I wish they could have kept that open for a little while longer. They did still agree to honor the rates after the release though, so it didn't become an issue. I'm sure you can read the reviews on TripAdvisor about the actual hotel - there are nicer hotels and this is a moderate level hotel but that's what I needed for my group of guests. It turned out to be perfect for us. Our rehearsal dinner at Hemingways was excellent.They were extremely flexible with us and everything turned out great. We had the entire deck area and they set up a bar just for our group. The manager was a little 'island-y' in that he was a little relaxed in booking everything, but I will say it all came together exactly as promised. They were extremely accomodating in a special menu and even took requests from the guests as they ordered. Very pleased with the dinner. We and our guests also ate at Hemingways throughout our stay and thought it was a great restaurant. The views are super, food is quite good and the prices are more reasonable than most other places we found. I had guests that ate all three meals there and really enjoyed it. Eye Spice (Jon Nickson) worked out great. The main reason I chose him is that I thought his pictures are less 'art-sy'. I appreciate the gorgeous shots that Tropical Imaging takes, but many of their shots are more artistic. I knew those would be nice to look at it, but I would never frame those types of pics. I wanted pictures of us at our wedding and Jon captured those beautifully. He was quite flexible as well. He communicated promptly with me via email, was willing to take a 'must-have' list of photos and turned the photos around to me before I even left the island. This was really great to get to see our pictures so quickly while we were still on the high of the wedding. We bought the rights to the photos so we got a CD of about 500 pictures (we had him come for an hour of our rehearsal dinner and then on the big day, from getting ready through to our first dance). He's very quick in taking pictures - not much posing, but kept it moving so we had plenty of time to go to our own cocktail hour (per our request). He got some great sunset shots. Probably the only thing I wished he would've have done was to more vocally 'get people together' and ask them for some shots during the cocktail hour. He was definitely in the background, which was fine for most of the wedding, but I wish I would've have requested a few more candids of our guests. I think had I done this, he would have had no problem with this request. I was very pleased with our photos though and have a whole wall of them in our house. Hope that helps!
  12. lm3682

    Turks & Caicos Wedding Planner

    Turks Bride - We got married at the Seven Stars in April with 35 guests and were very pleased. Even thought I'm very Type A, I had done all my planning remotely (never visited the property) and was just hoping everything would come together. They really exceeded our expectations and did everything possible to make sure things were the way we wanted them. They were very responsive in the planning process and everything on the night of the event ran very smooth. We really felt we could just enjoy our wedding. I had worked with Niki, the onsite wedding planner for everything, and she was great. She also worked with Bettina on the night of our wedding because Niki was several months pregnant. Bettina was quite engaged that night and I thought she was great. She had not been involved in the planning (at least to my knowledge) but she was up to speed on the whole event. I did not feel like I had gotten a switcheroo or anything like that. I booked nearly everything through the hotel. They booked our music (three different bands/musicians), flowers, cake and the pastor. They gave me the name of a guy for transportation and we booked our own shuttle from the guest hotel to the Seven Stars. The hotel arranged taxis home for the guests. We booked our photographer and videographer ourselves. The venues that the hotel set us up in were outstanding (we had one area for cocktails before and then dancing later, then another area for the dinner, plus the beach for the ceremony). The food was much better than I expected (I had just assumed good to slightly better than average 'wedding' food because that's what you pretty much seem to get a at a wedding). We got lots of compliments on it. My family in particular would not have said it was good just to make me feel good, and they thought it was great - the appetizers and steak especially. People raved about the coconut cake (the hotel had booked it through a third party baker). I had given them a picture of a cake and said 'just make it look kind of like this' and they matched it exactly. We also had four pies that the hotel chef had made and they were excellent. Service at dinner was very very good. We had one bartender for the drink service after dinner and while he did a great job, he probably could've used a bar back, if not a second bartender. We stayed at the hotel after the wedding and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's a gorgeous property (and very impressive when your guests walk in around the pool). We're planning to go back for our anniversary. Overall, we highly recommend the Seven Stars for a wedding!
  13. We got married at the Seven Stars in April with 35 guests and were very pleased. I've been meaning to write a review because we just had such a great event. Even thought I'm very Type A, I had done all my planning remotely (never visited the property) and was just hoping everything would come together. They really exceeded our expectations and did everything possible to make sure things were the way we wanted them. They were very responsive in the planning process and everything on the night of the event ran very smooth. We really felt we could just enjoy our wedding. I had worked with Niki, the onsite wedding planner for everything, and she was great. She also worked with Bettina on the night of our wedding because Niki was several months pregnant. Bettina was quite engaged that night and I thought she was great. She had not been involved in the planning (at least to my knowledge) but she was up to speed on the whole event. I did not feel like I had gotten a switcheroo or anything like that. I booked nearly everything through the hotel. They booked our music (three different bands/musicians), flowers, cake and the pastor. They gave me the name of a guy for transportation and we booked our own shuttle from the guest hotel to the Seven Stars. The hotel arranged taxis home for the guests. We booked our photographer and videographer ourselves. The venues that the hotel set us up in were outstanding (we had one area for cocktails before and then dancing later, then another area for the dinner, plus the beach for the ceremony). The food was much better than I expected (I had just assumed good to slightly better than average 'wedding' food because that's what you pretty much seem to get a at a wedding). We got lots of compliments on it. My family in particular would not have said it was good just to make me feel good, and they thought it was great - the appetizers and steak especially. People raved about the coconut cake (the hotel had booked it through a third party baker). I had given them a picture of a cake and said 'just make it look kind of like this' and they matched it exactly. We also had four pies that the hotel chef had made and they were excellent. Service at dinner was very very good. We had one bartender for the drink service after dinner and while he did a great job, he probably could've used a bar back, if not a second bartender. We stayed at the hotel after the wedding and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's a gorgeous property (and very impressive when your guests walk in around the pool). We're planning to go back for our anniversary. Overall, we highly recommend the Seven Stars for a wedding!
  14. lm3682

    Hair and Make-Up in Turks & Caicos?!

    In April, Shenique charged me $200 for makeup only (I did my own hair) and then I tipped her 20%. My makeup did look great but the price still seemed steep to me. I wanted a 'fresh' look so there was nothing fancy, no fake eyelashes etc. But there just aren't a lot of options on the island. I considered doing it myself but a) that's not exactly my area of expertise and I do feel she understood the heat and humidity and made sure I didn't melt out there!
  15. lm3682

    Grand Cayman OOT bags

    One thing I did that guests loved were drink coupons. I worked with my hotel and pre-paid the hotel bar for a drink per person. Then I made up cute coupons (ran them by the hotel so they knew what the coupon looked like) and added them to the bags. Guests definitely used them! Plus the coupons were easy to pack up and get down to the islands.
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