Thank you all so much for all the helpful tips and information that you have provided here on this forum as I was planning my wedding for the past year. Our welcome coolers, welcome books, song lists, etc etc all turned out fabulous! Thanks again for all your input!
We got married in Aruba at sunset on May 11th on the beach in front of the Marriott Stellaris Casino & Resort and it was amazing! Our reception was there as well on the La Vista patio on the beach. Our 39 guests are still talking about it and everyone had such an awesome time! We are so grateful for everyone who had a part in making our special day and evening perfect for us in Aruba. We have nothing but wonderful things to tell you about all of them and really wanted to share this with you if you are considering or planning on having your wedding in beautiful Aruba. :-)
Here are some details....Our wedding coordinator was Desiree Bikker at the Marriott and she did an excellent job satisfying all our expectations and going above and beyond for us overall. The ceremony & reception set up was perfect for us and everyone's feedback has been nothing but positive of course! As part of our ceremony we had a sand mixing ceremony, cut our cake on the beach, and did the signing of the certificates. My long bouquet of calla lillies for myself and my 2 bridesmaids were exactly what I pictured & always hoped for. The cake we cut on the beach was decorated with the lillies too...so beautiful. For our reception, we had a cocktail hour with butlered hors d'oeuvres. After cocktail hour, we did our introductions, first dances, and toasts. For our dinner, we had heavy hors d'oeuvres on cocktail tables and a few long tables so people could eat and dance continuously. We had slices of cheesecake and slices of pineapple cake delivered to each seat after dinner for dessert. Our wedding cake we cut on the beach was brought up to our room after we cut it, but it was much bigger than we thought so we were able to share it with our guests the rest of the week! We thought all the food we selected worked out great...it was all delicious!! Doing heavy hors d'oeuvres made it a little more difficult to figure out how much food we needed so I think we had a lot that was not eaten. I am glad we decided on doing it this way though... we are just sorry that we didn't take all of our left over food with us after the reception. :-)
Victor Winklaar was our photographer and he did a wonderful job. He is so professional and such a nice guy. He just went with the flow and was very flexible with his time with us as well. We are currently in the process of picking our photos from the proofs he sent us and it is quite a challenge since he took so many great ones. We had him take pictures 2 hours before the wedding as well so we didn't have to take so many after the ceremony, and we could head to our cocktail party soon after. I strongly recommend this if you don't mind seeing your bride or groom before the wedding. It provided us with many more pictures. Us, our parents, and our wedding party even were able to hang out at the bar in La Vista for 30 minutes when we were finished with the pre-wedding pictures, & we all relaxed before the ceremony. Unfortunately, one thing we forgot to do is make a list of picture requests to give to our photographer. I was so focused on other things that I forgot to do this and overlooked it. I would recommend doing this if you have specific pictures that you want.
Reverend Robert Gibson was superb! Our guests couldn't stop saying how great of a job he did and how it was the most beautiful ceremony they have ever attended. He is such a great guy and we are so happy that he could perform our wedding ceremony.
George Jacobs was our videographer and we are thrilled that we hired him. Before we left the island, he brought over our finished video so we were able to take it home with us. We gave him a cd with 5 songs on it and he set it to those. It was great because after we returned home from our honeymoon in Ireland, we had an At Home Reception in our town in Virginia and we showed the video for all our friends. Everyone loved it!! He did a really good job.
We went through the Marriott for the steel pan drummer and he was awesome! Very pleased. We were so excited to have him play at our ceremony and for our cocktail hour. I'm not sure what his name is but can definitely get it for you if you need it.
Also, we thought the DJ that Desiree had selected for us was awesome & all of our guests thought so as well! He worked for DJ Cool Pro. He played most of our songs on our list, and the songs he played were so our style. He knew just what kind of songs we loved and since most of our guests were in our 30's, we danced and partied all night long. Even the hotel guests were dancing on their balconies! There were 2 guys there DJing...and I apologize for not having their names on hand, but if you are interested, I can always ask Desiree. :-)
Our bartender Dufi was a big hit at our wedding reception. He was so much fun and provided fantastic service to us and our guests! All of the staff that worked the wedding and cleared our plates for us were so pleasant and so friendly! What can we say...the Marriott did a fantastic job!!
A few things in addition, we had our Welcome Reception the night before at Moomba's and they did an awesome job!! We also did a Post-Wedding Brunch at La Vista. Their brunch buffet is delicious!! Also, the Mandara spa at the Marriott did a fantastic job with my updo & manicure and we got our dresses and men's outfits steamed by Arlette (she has her own company, which I can get you info about through the Marriott). The night after the wedding, we all did the Kukoo Kunuko Party Bus....a must!! Needless to say, we had a blast with all of our wedding events and would do it all over again if we could!!
We do have one bit of advice that we wish we would have been more mindful of during the planning and which we would love to pass on to you. We booked some of our services directly, instead of through our resort...which still worked out fine. However, most can only accept cash when you arrive on the island. The credit card doesn't go through in time and they can't cash checks. Our advice is to either take care of it through pay pal before you leave, or bring lots and lots of cash. We wish we would have had this taken care of before we arrived.
If you have any questions or need any information, just let me know! I had so much fun with our planning and I am happy to provide you with our experience to make it easier for you! We are grateful and think it was so awesome to have this forum to come to for more ideas and information! Thanks so much!
~George and Lisa