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gresley

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About gresley

  1. Hi all, Now that the dust has settled, it's time to share my cruise bride experiences. I loved my wedding and have such fond memories, but honestly, knowing what I know now, I wouldn't choose to do a cruise wedding again. The nitty gritty: Cruise: April 9 2014 Royal Caribbean of the Seas Wedding: April 12, Poop Deck, Nassau Guests: 50 on the boat, 62 total Wedding Planner: Annamae Fox Photographers: The R2 Studio Travel Agent: Wendy Hicks The Cruise - 0/5 stars We picked RCCL and this particular cruise because my husband's grandparents love RCCL, and because this particular cruse satisfied our "must leave from miami, be < 5 days, and cost < $500 pp" requirements. We did NOT go with RCCL's wedding department after hearing horror stories, but still tried to plan some things through their group department, thinking that would be better. huge mistake. Their group department was terrible, and something was wrong with everything. We booked, through the group department, a sign in table for our group, an open bar cocktail party, and a conference room (we had a scavenger hunt, and the conf. room was our start/end). I could probably write 5 pages of everything that went wrong with the RCCL, but, sparing you the gory details, our events went so badly that after talking to customer service, they opened a case with corporate and eventually gave us a refund. If anyone is interested, I can share the whole story, but bottom line, DO NOT plan any events through Royal Caribbean. Even if you think "oh, but I just want a table to distribute my OOT bags. They can't screw that up.", don't do it. They can. The Wedding - 5/5 stars I am so immensely grateful that we went with Annamae Fox for the wedding. The wedding was perfect. 100% perfect. Location, food, decorations, music, everything was amazing. I was really nervous after having so many problems with the cruise that the wedding was going to also be a disaster. Everything went right. The guests got on busses to the venue, and people were telling us about how amazing the driver was, and how he had these great stories for every building they passed by. The poop deck was perfect. It was secluded, and our guests got to play on the beach and enjoy the tropical drinks. The food was OUTSTANDING. The cake was so tasty. Anna kept everything going smoothly, and I got to actually enjoy the whole day and hang out with my guests. She kept things running on time, and kept me stress-free, happy, and fed The Photographers - 10/5 stars By far, I had been most nervous about finding photographers. Who in their right mind would sign up to photograph a whole destination wedding? Not just the wedding, but a whole cruise, and an engagement session? In a different country no less? If anyone was crazy enough to consider it, I was sure it was going to cost an arm and a leg. I shared my concerns with my friend, who said "oh, my former-wedding-photographers-now-best-friends love this sort of stuff. You should call them" I sheepishly emailed Robin & Renee, The R2 Studio, and within 5 minutes, I got a call. It was Robin. "This sounds awesome! We'd love to!" My jaw hit the floor. At the end of the whole wedding, we had an engagement shoot, photos from every day of the cruise (including the scavenger hunt), a trash the dress shoot (on coco-cay the day before), photos from the whole wedding day, and vogue photos on the boat afterwards. All in all, we got over 1200 photos, not counting the engagement shoot photos (they flew out to CA a few months before to do those). They are not only amazing photographers, but also amazing friends They gave us so many priceless memories. I'll let their photos speak for themselves. Final thoughts, what details really worked - Scavenger Hunt on the cruise. Everyone had a TON of fun, and it got all of our guests talking. Best ice breaker ever. We bought our questions from here: http://www.mymysteryparty.com/crshschuindo.html (As sketchy as the website is, I promise it's worth it). - Hair & Makeup -- RCCL couldn't tell us if they could do hair and makeup until we were on the boat (again, RCCL was awful). Hair ended up being a non-issue. They opened the spa for us at 7am on saturday, and everyone got all dolled up while drinking champagne. Makeup we had to do ourselves, but everyone had already had lessons from sephora. - Bingo cards. We made bridal bingo cards and Anna gave them out while we were taking family photos. Everyone jumped to play, and there wasn't that awkward-cocktail-hour problem, since everyone was rushing around trying to meet people to satisfy the cards - OOT bags -- Everyone loved them, and we put a lot of detail into it. Totally worth it, even if it was difficult - Travel agent -- Wendy was immensely kind and helpful coordinating the whole thing, and helped keep the heat on RCCL to make things right afterwards. I don't know what we'd do with out her, and say you should definitely use a travel agent to coordinate guests (so you don't have to!) In the end, it was great having everyone in one place and seeing all our guests for several days, but I feel like we could have gotten that with an all-inclusive resort, and saved ourselves the cruise headache. Here's a selection of images from the cruise, wedding, and TTD. I tried to capture the ones that had a lot of the details. There's plenty more if people want them!
  2. gresley

    Lesley's Cruise Nassau Wedding

    Gorgeous photos taken by the amazing R2 Studios for my 2014 Cruise wedding to Nassau, Bahamas. Venue was the Poop Deck, Sandyport.
  3. gresley

    Questions To Ask Our Cruise Wedding Rep?

    Having just had my cruise wedding, I can't stress this enough: Get the name of the on boat coordinator. We had been dealing with the group coordinator, thinking she'd be the one we'd handle the whole time. We found out a week beforehand that she made the reservations, but there was another, different coordinator who handled everything at sea, and anything further would have to go through her. Who we had never talked to before. It unfortunately happened that there were a lot of problems and miscommunications with the ship. Having the group coordinator's name (and the name of her boss!) helped smooth things over a lot.
  4. If you are considering Nassau, I ABSOLUTELY recommend Anna Fox from http://www.annasweddingbahamas.org/ Our day was absolutely PERFECT, and everyone had a blast. Anna handled everything, and I have nothing but good things to say about her. Also, I didn't follow my own advice, and still tried to plan a few functions through the group coordinator on the cruise (sail away cocktail party, rehearsal dinner, etc). It turned out to be a disaster, and I'm SO glad that the cruise line wasn't involved with the actual wedding in any form. I don't regret doing a cruise wedding, but I'd definitely recommend not using any of the event/group services on the cruise if you can help it.
  5. We haven't actually had the ceremony yet, but we're pretty far into the planning process, so I can tell you what we've found out so far. For context, we're going on a RCCL cruise in April, and getting married in Nassau with an outside planner. First, from everyone I've talked to, DO NOT USE THE CRUISE LINE'S WEDDING DEPARTMENT. I have to agree. Just dealing with them for group-non-wedding events, they're a pain in the ass to work with. We went with an outside planner in Nassau who has done bunches of cruise weddings, and it's a much better experience. You also get a lot more bang for your buck, and a lot more control over the details. We'll see about photography...We're bringing our photographers (who are super awesome and amazing and flexible) on the cruise, and planning that they'll act like "guests with fancy cameras" more than photographers to avoid the outside vendor rule. The cruise ships photo packages were crazy expensive. For residency requirements, we're avoiding that by having a symbolic ceremony, and then doing the legal paperwork once we get back into the US. In terms of ceremony vs reception, we're doing ceremony+reception on Nassau for a couple reasons, the main one being NOT WANTING TO WORK WITH THE CRUISE LINE. Also, because some people are flying in, and so we want them to be a part of the fun, and not just the 30 minutes of the ceremony. We're going to be at the venue from 10-3, have lunch, play games, hang on the beach, and then head back to the ship. We're figuring that back on the ship will be the "afterparty", if we're not collapsed from exhaustion by then, lol. Good luck! Let me know if you want any more advice from one cruise bride to another
  6. lussiya, Did you end up ordering it? It's gorgeous! I'm always skeptical of these dress sites though -- how's the quality?
  7. @@Priti - After reading all the bad reviews, I went with the best of both worlds. Go on an RC cruise for the wedding, but have an outside wedding planner handle the ceremony at one of the ports. It's a little more complicated, but worth it to not have to deal with RCCL's wedding dept.
  8. gresley

    Hair / Makeup / Prep?

    Hi all, I'm getting married on the RCCL Adventure of the Seas in April. The complication is that the actual ceremony is in Nassau, not on the boat. One thing I've been curious about -- how did you guys figure out hair and makeup? Did you do it on the island, or on the boat? I'm hoping that we can use the salon/spa on the ship, but my one concern is that our ceremony is at 10am. This means that makeup and everything would have to happen at like 6 or 7, and I'm not sure what time they even open How did you ladies make this work?
  9. My travel agent doesn't either, and it can be frustrating. I've gotten into the habit of emailing and asking for updates about once a week.
  10. 1) Some people will think your boarding pass invites are real boarding passes! D: I worked AGES on our boarding pass invites, and everyone loved them. Apparently they looked so real that people thought they were *actual* boarding passes, and that we had already booked their tickets for them. Then they were confused as to why they had to RSVP, and were so grateful we could pay their way. This led to several awkward conversations. If I'd do it again, I'd say to put EVERYWHERE that it's just an invite and not a ticket, even if it seems super obvious (we had this on the back, but people still got confused!) 2) Online RSVPs weren't nearly as convenient as I thought they'd be. Several people I had talked to said they had "mailed back the RSVP". But, I'm not sure what they mailed back, because we didn't have RSVP cards. I'm wondering if they were just saving face and forgot, because we haven't actually gotten anything in the mail. Also, up to 2 weeks before the deadline, we still had 150/200 people who hadn't RSVP'ed. I'm not sure if it's because online RSVPs are too "new" or if it was because it was easier for people to forget if they didn't have a card on their fridge. Either way, it's a huge pain to call and track down everyone. I probably ended up RSVPing manually for > 50% of invitees who told us they couldn't make it in some non-RSVP form. I'd definitely recommend including cards, since people seem to "get" how those work. 3) Travel agents are great, but some people still won't use them! It's been really hard to keep our RSVP list in sync with the Travel Agent's actually-booked list. We have a bunch of people who have RSVP'ed but haven't booked their travel. Or people who booked "through the website" but haven't RSVP'ed. Worse, we have people who haven't talked to the travel agent, haven't RSVP'ed, but we've heard through the grapevine that they have their rooms booked. Where? Through who? Those people are the hardest to track down, oy! This problem I'm not sure how to avoid for a DW, ah well Good luck on planning your future destination weddings, girls!
  11. I love how the forum shares progress along the way, so I wanted to go ahead and post our mostly finished website and STD. We wanted a flexible/customizable website where we could have RSVPs and a large degree of control over the content (including having a range of dates, instead of a single "wedding date", because it's a cruise!). After researching several of the wedding website builders, I realized that it would be easier (and more fun!) to just build it ourselves. It took a lot more time and effort than getting one a theKnot or myWedding.com site, but IMO it was totally worth it. We're both programmers, so it's a fun side-hobby, and not really out of our element. We're not designers, so we bought a WP theme ($35), but added some php of our own to do some of custom things that we were looking for (like, check out the multiple fun markers on the map!). Also, it's not enabled yet, but WP has a pretty sweet plugin for advanced RSVPs. We're looking forward to using it instead of having response cards: http://wordpress.org/plugins/rsvp/ Let me know what you think!! Website: http://www.gresleywilliams.com/wedding/ Save The Dates: (we opted for email STDs, but will be having paper invites). We tried to make them look as close to the website as possible while still mostly using fonts that can be rendered in a standard email client. Total cost: Website theme: $35 Hosting: ~$6 (per year) DNS: $3 (per year)
  12. I know this is an old thread, but I just wanted to let you know that your ceremony was GORGEOUS. I actually contacted Anna earlier this week, and I was looking for photos/videos of the Poop Deck. I found your video (through google), and thought "I should send this to Anna to give her an idea of what we're looking for". It's sooooo eerie to find this post and find out she was your wedding planner!
  13. Great pics! Which pier was the TDD at in Grand Turk? We're looking at venue options there.
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