Okay Girls so this is it.... my Review of my wedding on June 24, 2010 at RIU Ocho Rios.
First and foremost, of course I need to thank this forum because not only did you guys help with my planning but you helped me find the most amazing travel agent ever. Maureen is seriously absolutely fantastic. I donâ€™t even know how to begin to thank her for everything she did with getting me and all my crazy family to Jamaica. Every problem that occurred Maureen handled instantly without any question. I even had a family member spontaneously decide to go at the last minuteâ€¦ I mean REALLY last minuteâ€¦ I didnâ€™t even know about it! Maureen handled everything for me amazingly. I am so thankful and if you girls read my initial bestdestinationwedding.com/beaches fiasco you will really understand. So thank you so much Maureen! You are GREAT at what you do. I would HIGHLY recommend her to any bride!
I seriously brought everything down to Jamaica except my kitchen sink. I brought gazebo decorations, bouquets, candles, centerpieces, chair ties, guest books, souvenirs, OTC bags, etcâ€¦. I mean seriously ladies a TON. I ended up with a total of FOUR big suitcases, ONE small carry on suitcase and my dress and a huge purse. My Bridesmaids and Judd and I decided a while back that we wanted to be the first ones down before everyone so we can set everything up. HOWEVER, due to the fact my husband is active duty military he had to wait to get his leave approved and he wasnâ€™t able to fly down until the day before our wedding. So it was me and my two bridesmaids. We flew Air Jamaica, thank GOD they allow two checked luggage at no charge up to 50lbs. Surprisingly all my bags weighed between 48-49. They each checked one for me and I checked two. One of them took the carry on and I took my dress and purse. It was a BREEZE! Our flight was at 6am, there was hardly anyone on. We had the last two rows to ourselves and were passed out. When we arrived to Montego Bay we want to baggage claim to get our bags and we COULDNâ€™T BELIEVE what we saw! A man was standing there with all SIX of our suitcases on one of the cart things ready and waiting for us. We were in absolutely shock, we were soo happy we gave him a TEN and then tried to figure out how the heck he knew the three of us were flying together? Anyways it was great, everyone was helpful and friendly and we had the bus to RIU basically all to ourselvesâ€¦ and passed out again.
RIU CHECK INâ€¦.
RIU was Great!.... Beautiful resort, very big place. The girls checked into their room, standard, and I checked into my junior suite. When I went into my room there were two double beds pushed together. I called the front desk and requested a room change. They said NO PROBLEM and switched me to the room next door with a king the next day, which was fineâ€¦. I didnâ€™t sleep in the suite until our wedding nightâ€¦. I was with my bridesmaids. We got married on Thursday. All our guests arrived on Wednesday. We had also pre-arranged the Welcome dinner on that Wednesday at St. Anneâ€™s so I went to the front desk and requested that they tell each of our guests checking about it. They had a list of all our guests arriving because they were all booked through Maureen with Apple vacations. They even gave out a little invitation message card to them which was really nice and everyone got the Memo.
Prior to going down I confirmed everything with Chandlyn including the initial meeting at 5pm on Tuesday, the day we arrived. We were at the RIU by noon and we had nothing to do so we thought we could maybe get the meeting over with while we were waiting to check in. So we walked up to her office and she (Tina) looked pretty shocked to see me, she was standing there with two other guys. She did NOT introduce herself so I did. I said Iâ€™m Shakara these are my two bridesmaids, we initially had a meeting scheduled today but I wanted to if we could move it up. She said what time was ur meeting. I said 5. She said no we couldnâ€™t move it up but 5 was fine. So we were like okay? Totally weirded out by the whole conversationâ€¦ I thought they were being shady. This was before I knew about the whole Chandlyn got fired thing, I assumed she was Chandlyn because she didnâ€™t introduce herself. Anyways we strolled around sipped Pina Coladas and saw a really pretty beach wedding. We also checked out the other wedding sites and then went to photoshop to confirm everything with Michael.
At 5pm we went back to the Coordinators office. My mom came down the same day too, but later than us and she was there by the time we were ready to meet with the WC. We went in and the first thing she said is do you have all your documents? I said noâ€¦ I confirmed with you that you received everything and I didnâ€™t need to bring anything down. She said oh that wasnâ€™t me, Iâ€™m just filling in because the old WC is not here anymore, weâ€™re starting fresh because we have nothing, she took all the files/confirmation/appointments. So of course I freaked out asked why there was no email or phone or at least SOMETHING to let me know. She said its not my fault blah blah blah and so on. Anyways, the first issue was I booked the free package, but I didnâ€™t want the cake because I had a family member bringing a cake and didnâ€™t and bouquet because I had the silk flowers or boutonniÃ¨re because my husband had his military blues. I had talked to Chandlyn prior to see if we could substitute a little or maybe discount off on the chairs I wanted and she said no problem. Of course this was now an issue and against policy. So I argued, my mom argued, and in the end we got the chairs with the chair covers for free! (Ladies, if you want the white chair covers they have a total of 45 just sitting there in the office! They donâ€™t HAVE to rent them from Tai like they say, there not brand new or whatever but it saved about 180 bucks.) I brought my own satin yellow ties. That was really the only thing we ordered decoration wise because I brought all my own decorations for the gazebo. We picked the lagoon site. The second major issue was the fact that I had 9 adults and 4 children family members who lived in Jamaica who were planning to come and my mom was going to pay for them. They wanted to charge us 90pp for children and adults, I had confirmed with Chandlyn prior that it was 70pp for adults. So after arguing, we paid 70pp for adults and 45pp for children. I confirmed the steel drum band for 350 and dj for 2 hours at 300 and poolside reception at 10pp. I also got to sit with the minister, which was really nice and go through my ceremony that we had written and gave him a copy. He did an EXCELLENT job!
St. Anneâ€™s Welcome Dinner
Went Great! So much fun it was sooo great seeing everyone together and hear about their flights in. they set up two long tables in the back of the restaurant for us. I handed out all my welcome bags there. The guests loved them!
So I woke up that morning with my heart in my throat I was soooo excited/nervous/anxious! Me and my bridesmaids dropped all the reception decorations at the WC office. My mom had agreed to take all the ceremony dÃ©cor directly to the site because she was going to help set up. Well, lets just say ladies make sure you have help because the WC did NOTHING, when I dropped off the stuff, she was like Iâ€™m not going to be able to set this up, you will need to set it up. So my amazing bridesmaids did just that later on and it was perfect. I found out that morning that they moved us from Mammee Bay to upstairs at the Plantation. We had a 2pm ceremony. Michael, photographer, met with Judd and the guys outside the bar for some pics and then he came up to our room. Michael was the one who actually walked be down to the site because he knew she didnâ€™t really know what she was doing and it was after 2. So we all walked down. At the last minute my godfather who was suppose to walk me down the aisle got sick and my mom ended up doing it, which was perfect too. It did rain but it wasnâ€™t too bad. I didnâ€™t even notice because it was like I was in another world. I did notice the fans that we gave out made perfect mini umbrellas though My mom even got doves for us somehow but then someone screamed they canâ€™t fly in the rain so we kept them in the box lol. After the ceremony we went to the Sports Bar and started the party then Judd and I went back to our room to relax and others did the same and some went to help set up at the plantation. Time flew by soo fast. It was definitely really nice to have that break because we partied ALLL night and probably wouldnâ€™t have made it without it after all the stressâ€¦ we could just finally breathe!
Dinner was good! It was annoying that we had to wait soo long before they took our orders, especially since we had the DJ booked at 9, but it was fine. They did what they could. There was a total of 45 of us and I think they were understaffed because they had two more wedding receptions going on. We had a good time, my maid of honor gave an amazing speech while we were waiting. We did the cake cutting and toasts afterwards. Originally we booked the poolside but because of the intermittent rain she thought it would best to use the downstairs bar of the plantation since it was covered, which was fine. We had a great time. I brought my IPOD too because we had MUST HAVE songs that we wanted to here and the DJ was very good at switching back and forth. The bartenders were great we all had a fantastic time. I had a very drunk but in depth talk with the DJ who was saying Chandlyn was his friend and was fired because she was too nice. The night ended with us going over to the disco until 2am! It was GREAT! Best time EVER! Absolutely perfect!
Oh yea they did break our cake toppers!!! Which I am very upset by because I asked them to be very careful and told them I Would take them off myself but they did anyways. Iâ€™m going to discuss this with the head over there at RIU because they were expensive and custom made.
We were in Jamaica for 2 weeks. We went to Couples Tower Isle for the honeymoon, it was soooooooo great! The attention the serviceâ€¦. I wish we could go back! We also went to the dolphin cove which I would recommend!..... A big tip to save money is if you donâ€™t plan on going in with the dolphins, pay when you get there, its at least 25 dollars cheaper, also if you have little ones who want to do the kiss the dolphin thing, donâ€™t let them try to charge you 90 bucks. I paid 160 total to do the swim with the dolphins and we brought Juddâ€™s daughter who is 5 with us and didnâ€™t pay anything. They let me take her down to touch the dolphin. We also went out to party at the Ruins and Margaretville, so much fun!
Trash the Dress at Dunns River Fallsâ€¦. I ABSOLUTELY RECOMMEND IT! Your dress does NOT get ruined! In fact it was more trashed after the wedding than after the falls.
FINALLY the Picture link: One album is Michaelâ€™s pics and the next is some of the pics from my camera