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Everything posted by sweetiecat

  1. Hi, I'm getting married at Beaches Negril in March, so I've been reading this forum and also the "Fans of Sandals Weddingmoons" group on Facebook for a while now. Both have been extremely helpful. I listed your questions below and will try to answer in blue: "I have my first planning session with the Miami wedding coordinator Renee tomorrow and I am kinda nervous since a lot of people don't have that many positive things to say about the Miami coordinators." Renee is actually really nice. Although I'm sure you've had your first session with her by now, I've found her to be really helpful. I just had to be pretty firm in my first phone call that I wasn't interested in a lot of the add ons because of our budget. "So my first question is, is it really that hot down there??? And if so do they provide fans or anything to keep you and your guests cool???" I'm not sure since the only other time I've been to Jamaica was in January/February. Hopefully someone else can answer this one. "As far as the wedding is concern, I originally wanted the beach but after seeing that everyone chose the gazebo, I think I want to go with that. Do I have to reserve that before I get down there?" You will choose that with the on site coordinator meeting, the morning after you arrive. You don't need to worry about it now since they only have one wedding for each time period, so you will be able to choose from all of the sites. The coordinator will take you around to each one before you decide. "Another concern that I have is about the reception. I was thinking about either paying the $50 or $75 per person for either the two or three hour reception but I am unsure if it is worth it." I didn't think it was worth it either. If you book 10 rooms with your group code, you can get a free standard (30 min) reception for everyone (normally it is free for bride, groom, and two guests and $15 each for all others) or $15 off of the $75 reception ($60 after discount), but they don't offer discounts on the other receptions. We're doing the $25 cocktail hour reception with the hot & cold appetizers and open bar. I figured that was a good compromise especially since I'd have to pay the $15/person anyway for the little reception (I only have 8 rooms). A lot of girls are able to set dinner reservations up for their group through the on site coordinator. Renee will tell you that this isn't possible if you have more than 10 people. The past brides I have talked to say it is definitely possible once you get there if you're flexible with your reservation time. For instance, one girl (can't remember her name but I think she has a review on here from last year) had a 4 pm 1-hour cocktail reception where they had the appetizers and cake. Then she had made reservations at Kimono's at 9:00 pm (reserving two tables there). They thought it was going to be really late to be eating, but after all the stuff from the little reception, 9:00 pm was perfect for dinner. A wedding I attended last year at Sandals Negril was able to reserve tables at the buffet restaurant but order off of a short menu (2-3 choices) after having their standard 30-minute reception. I'm hoping to do something similar but it will have to wait until I arrive since we have 17 people total. Obviously they can't guarantee that the restaurant you want will have room for your group but the on site coordinator will really try to make it happen. I would think it would be a lot harder with more than 30 people or so. "If I don't pay for the dj, does anyone know if they would play music that I bring form home??" I know a lot of people take down a docking station (speakers) and an ipod to play their own music. Renee had mentioned the resorts will be getting docking stations to rent but the last time I asked they hadn't received them yet so she didn't have pricing. "Also the prices of the pictures and video are quite pricey!!!! Does anyone have any suggestions or other recommendations???" We're taking a small HD video camera for our video and just having one of the guests film it. I'm sure it won't look professional or anything, but it will be nice to watch just to see the wedding whenever I want. We're paying for a photographer to stay at the resort for 3 nights as our guest and take our pictures. Our photographer isn't charging anything but the travel fees for her flights and the resort. Beaches allows this but only if they stay for at least 3 nights and don't bring excessive equipment. It is more expensive for us to do it that way (I think it worked out to be $1800 or something), but we will get way more pictures this way (plus we're doing a day after shoot). A lot of photographers will do this to get a mini vacation paid for plus have some awesome pictures for their portfolio. Another option would be to have guests take pictures and purchase a minimal number from Beaches. You don't have to book a package ahead of time; you will still have a photographer. Then if you wanted you could have a local company take you off the resort the day after or between your ceremony/little reception and dinner. Not sure how much that would cost though. "Another concern I have is about the sand fleas??? I am worried about having anything on the beaches because I would hate for my guest to be getting bitten up the entire time. Do they just come out at night???? " They come out around dawn, dusk, and after it rains (any time the sand has cooled off). During the day is fine unless it just rained pretty hard. If you have any other questions about Negril or whatever, let me know. I haven't been to Beaches Negril before but did go to Sandals Negril and Royal Caribbean last year.
  2. Thanks for the suggestions! Yes, I have a TA, so I will be using her as an intermediary as needed in the future.
  3. My wedding is scheduled for March 2011 at Beaches Negril, and I have my first phone call with Renee scheduled for this Thursday. Does anyone have any tips for questions I should ask or tasks I should get accomplished on this phone call? Will she try to upsell me? Are there things I should avoid mentioning? Â So far, I know I want to verify with her that our guest is doing our photography and that we won't need the Beaches photographer. I also want to go over some options (we're thinking the 1-hour cocktail reception) but don't want to get carried away with signing up for a lot of extras until we have a pretty firm idea of how many people will actually come. Â Any suggestions from other brides who have been dealing with Renee or any of the other Miami coordinators? Thanks!
  4. Hello Ladies, Â I've been reading a lot of threads on OOT bags lately and starting to order some preliminary supplies and make my list. I have a couple of questions that I couldn't find addressed anywhere: Â Spirit Tumblers: Has anyone used these? They look like a good compromise between travel mugs and stadium cups and should be easy to pack (since they probably stack). They are double walled so it is insulated. http://www.silkletter.com/clear-tumbler-p-792.html Imprint.com has them in better colors but they are more expensive. Small OOT Bags: I was thinking of ordering smaller bags so that I don't feel the need to fill up a whole huge one. The ones I am looking at are 8 X 8 X 4 (gusseted): http://www.ingreetings.com/onwholortot.html I'm not sure if they would look more like a purse than a bag, but I suppose they would still be handy around the beach and pool, just not big enough for a towel. What do you think? Have any of you used smaller ones? Â I don't think I will be doing a massive amount of stuff - here is my current list: passport welcome book key card holders with coil wrist bands and mini carabiners (Oriental Trading) travel candle, small citronella candle if I can find it Spirit Tumblers or travel mugs (maybe) cheap floatie/swim tube a little flashlight or bottle opener (maybe) If we forgo the large items (tumbler, mug, floatie), I will purchase Ting/Red Stripe/Rum Cream or something of the sort in Jamaica. Â I don't think I'm doing a medication pack or anything - we'll probably just bring some extra in case anyone needs any. Do you think the 8X8X4 would be filled nicely? Â Thanks in advance!
  5. Did you order these? If so, are there any left to purchase? I would need 20 of them.
  6. You can register with the US embassy at Travel. They say to do this to let them know where you will be located just in case there are problems in your area so they can help to evacuate you - this is also a good idea if you are traveling during hurricane season.
  7. Thank you for the detailed review, Katie! I have 10 months left until I get to go, so I love reading these when they come in. Can't wait to see your pictures!
  8. You might want to check with your TA on this, but I have heard that the resort will not let you bring real flowers from a local vendor onsite. You are allowed to bring silk flowers from home. It would be a shame if you spent $ on the flowers and then you weren't allowed to bring them in.
  9. Lisa, If your concern is that you won't get many pictures for the $1200, you might think about the $850 digital book instead. I've heard that you are allowed to pick 50-210 photos for the same price, and then you can get the same number of photos on the CD for $200 additional. It doesn't come with a DVD like the $1200 package, but you would have more photos. Also, the album isn't a padded album with prints that slide in - the digital photos are printed directly on the pages of a hardcover book, and the book's cover itself is a photo that you can select. I'm thinking about this option now since it seems like you get a little more for your money - My FI is insisting that we wait until we get to the resort or get closer to the date to make a decision though on what we want to do just in case our budget changes (up or down).
  10. I'm so jealous that you're there! The pictures of the place look absolutely fabulous.
  11. I'm having this dilemma as well. I keep thinking we'll just use the resort photographer, but they don't include enough pictures for the price. They charge $200 for the CD that only includes the photographs that you already paid for in hard copy (so if you get the package with 42 photos, you also can purchase those 42 photos on CD). I'm just not sure if I should do a small package from the resort photographer and supplement it with photographs taken by a friend (not a professional but would be using a top of the line consumer digital SLR camera). The other option would be a professional photographer that wants to get started in destination weddings, or a photographer who is just starting to build their business - and paying for their travel and 3 nights at the hotel. Then again, the quality that I've seen from some of the amazing destination wedding photographers probably wouldn't be there with any of these options. I'm not really interested in getting dressed up another day and going off the resort with a local professional, since it just feels a little off to me since it wouldn't be the wedding day. I know photographs will be one of the only things I can bring back for my family that couldn't make it to the wedding, and one of the only lasting elements from a wedding (other than the promises made and the memories) - I guess I just don't want to spend half of my wedding budget on it. Lisa, on a happier note, I absolutely loved the private island at SRC. I stayed there last year after attending a friend's wedding at Sandals Negril. The island just feels like a true tropical paradise (even though the rest of the resort has more of a British feel). You can snorkel from the back of the island (though that is where the clothing optional beach is), and we saw plenty of awesome fish. I'm not sure if you can have your ceremony on the island or not, but I would do it in a heartbeat if I didn't have my younger brother attending my wedding (we're having it at Beaches Negril instead). The only thing I can say about garden vs. beach is the time of day - if you are having a reception in the evening, there is the possibility of sand fleas (kind of like mosquitoes that live in the sand). Bug spray does work against them, though.
  12. I think you have to get it from a travel agent or the wedding department, but I have a copy if you want me to email it to you (you can PM me your email address). There isn't a whole lot in it since they haven't added the floral options yet.
  13. Oh, I almost forgot. A reviewer on TripAdvisor made their own website with tons of pictures of Sunset at the Palms, and it gives you a really good idea of the layout of the property. Their visit was in 2006, so it is a bit dated, but hopefully this will help anyway: Sunset at the Palms day 1
  14. I think there is one honeymoon review of Sunset at the Palms. The big differences I see between the two properties are this: - Sunset at the Palms is a small all inclusive resort while Moon Dance is a set of villas with private chefs (if you choose to go all inclusive). You would be eating at restaurants with other guests at Sunset. - The rooms at Sunset are across the street from the beach in a beautiful garden. Beach access is limited to 7am-7pm, where they have a bar, beach grill, loungers, etc. Moon Dance is located directly on the beach. - Sunset is located on Bloody Bay, which is farther from downtown Negril. The beach will likely be less busy than in front of Moon Dance, which is on the busy part of the beach. I haven't been to either, so I really don't know the details for the wedding package for either. I would take into consideration how much time you want to spend with/apart from your guests, since if you are splitting a villa, you may be together for much more of the time than if you were able to spread out at a resort. Beaches Negril is a much larger resort than Sunset at the Palms with more dining options, but I have heard Sunset has very good food.
  15. Other than Rockhouse, I have heard that Kuyaba (DINING AT KUYABA: a feast for the body and soul.) has a good restaurant and Norma's at SeaSplash (Norma's Restaurant | Sea Splash Resort Negril Jamaica) is also good. Keep in mind that you would have to arrange transportation, so this could add to your costs if you are covering it for the guests. I have heard that if you would like the extra tables at a Sandals reception undecorated, they are free. That means no Martha theme, no flowers, no floor length linen. You would get normal white table cloths, normal china, and glassware. You can always bring your own decorations, but they are charging a setup fee that varies depending on how much you bring.
  16. Thanks for your review, Meag! Your pictures are stunning, and I'm so happy your wedding turned out beautifully!
  17. Just an update - I'm saving as much as I can for the wedding, and we'll use any extra money as needed for family. If we have some leftover at the end, it's always good to have more in the savings account to start our married life together, you know?
  18. I'm not sure what your budget is, but if you are looking into villas - Villa Sur Mer on the cliffs in Negril looks absolutely fabulous. Also check out Bluefields Bay Villas, which is between Whitehouse and Negril - they have a wedding package where your guests pay $200/person/night all inclusive and the bride and groom pay around $4500 (though my numbers could be off; it was a while ago that I looked at the site).
  19. I also looked into Coral Cove, but we decided against it for a few reasons: - Our families are not used to traveling internationally, and we figured that a regular chain AI would better suit varying tastes with food and comfort levels. - No pool - We have one person coming who doesn't like to swim if there are "creepy crawlies" in the water. With the coral reef just outside of the cove (which is right up my alley), I figured she may not get in the water at all. The beach in Negril is sandy for many feet out. - No A/C in many of the rooms. Just a consideration for guests who may not be able to deal with it. - I also figured that since the resort is small, the guests wouldn't be able to spread out as much and would see each other all day. Not that it would necessarily cause a problem, but I figured you usually don't usually want to spend all your time together, and a larger resort allows you to split up for some of the time. Otherwise, I think I would have loved it. They'll include a bonfire at the reception for free, and their prices are very very reasonable. If your guests are comfortable traveling to that remote area, I think they'll have a blast. Instead, we're doing Beaches Negril and then doing a more low-key, smaller place for our honeymoon. The only other caution I have about the area is that some of the people on the Negril Tripadvisor forum have mentioned that the community of Little Bay has had some murders in the past year that were surprising - not that tourists would be targeted, but that it isn't the sleepy community that the website portrays it to be. Look into it a little (maybe ask the wedding coordinator and a couple of message boards) just to be on the safe side.
  20. Hello, I haven't been there but have looked at the website. You might want to check the Negril message boards at Tripadvisor or on negril.com, as I'm sure you will at least find someone who stayed there. It does seem that they will do anything you want for a wedding at cost, which is awesome. Stephanie
  21. Bosi, Thank you for the review! You looked beautiful in both of your dresses. Do you think the steel drum band and the DVD were worth it for the money? Were you satisfied with the few pictures that you purchased from the resort's photographer?
  22. Your friend will be in my thoughts. I agree that he should press criminal charges if possible - it looked very much like the hit was on purpose. Please keep us updated.
  23. This is great news - thanks! I know it is a small amount of money in the long run, but when you're adding up all of the little things for a wedding, everything counts.
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