If I could give negative stars I would...It was seriously the worst experience EVER! People to this day ask me how my wedding went and I have to pause and try to look for something good to say - at the end, I say well I'm married to the love of my life and I suppose that counts for something!
Let me start off saying that we (my now husband) and I traveled here December of last year to look at the resort. We had done our research that we wanted to get married in Jamaica and we narrowed it down to two resorts, this one and another one in Montego Bay. When we went to Gran Bahia - we met with their wedding coordinator who we still adore despite all the challenges that came up but we went there to prepare for our wedding. We went there to look at the resort, to meet with the wedding coordinator, to discuss our wants and to see if they were able to meet our needs for our wedding. We were upgraded to a great room, we had great food, we met with different vendors while we were there for make up, photography, videography, florists, etc. tried all the food and even chose our menu, our appetizers, and our cake. We were happy that we came down to Jamaica and spent 8 days to sort everything out for our wedding and we were happy to go back home and took the resort's recommendation to get married in August instead of December as we had wanted to do.
Fast forward to our wedding date of August 9th - well let's start before then August 6th to when we arrived. Maybe even before that - we had some difficulties confirming things, food, cake, things shipped there like our license information etc. but we were so strong in our belief that at the final hour - the day of our wedding things will fall to place. We had about 42 guests fly out to Jamaica with us from California. Prior to our arrival, majority of our guests upgraded to their Don Pablo suites...I have so many bad things to say about my experience here that I won't have enough space or time to write it all down.
So every headaches of confirming and sending credit card slips etc. our parties finally arrive - a month prior to our departure the hotel was completely booked (even though they told us to move our wedding to August because it's their down time) so half of our family had to stay at different resorts and commute over to our resort for the wedding. They made us pay extra fees for them on top of what we were paying for their food etc. for the wedding and they were only there for our wedding reception - didn't even take advantage of anything at the resort or eat their food or even swim in their pool...I mean come on!! So another 1k down to pay for day passes for our guests off sites... basically the mantra that we found at this hotel - if they could charge you for breathing their air - they'd do it.
So we get there and the management is just rude - the whole Don Pablo and regular lounge thing is ridiculous. They treat people who belong in the regular part of the hotel like they have malaria - we had one family amongst our guests who were not Don Pablo and they literally chased them out of there although we were just sitting there resting after 24 hours of travel from California through transfers and airports etc.
Moving on...our room this time around although this time was our wedding - was off to the side and our view was the bushes...geez thanks! So basically once you've made up your mind that you're getting married there and they have your money - they don't care. And now the stories have changed, now vendor fees that didn't exist before now exist. We weren't told a vendor fee for make up and now we got one so we were forced to use their spa services for bridal parties hair and make up----DON'T DO IT! For one or two people I guess it's fine but not for a party of 7 women for hair and make up - they won't know what to do with themselves. On the day of my wedding - thankfully I opted to pay the day passes for outside vendor for me and my maid of honor but to appease the hotel I used their spa services for my bridal party and it was a DISASTER! They started at 6;30 - they were suppose to be done at 8:30, they were suppose to have 7 women there to do hair and make up - what they don't tell you is that those 7 women aren't up to par with make up or hair. Out of the 7 women who got their hair an make up there, 5 of them took it off, 3 cried, two told them just to stop...and I as the bride was waiting in my room ready for my bridal party to go back into their own rooms to redo their hair and make up. So two hours later - my bridal party is finally ready and I've lost two hours of my videographer, photographer etc. you get the picture....
While this is going on...the church calls us. We had two ceremonies, one at the church and one at the hotel gazebo. The church tells us that our license hasn't been received so they can't marry us....so thankfully my uncle is the priest and we convince him that the hotel does havea license to marry us so now the legal side of things are going to be taken care of by the hotel instead of the church. We had sent all of our paperwork to the hotel to complete this for us two months prior and that we were going to be married by the church and just a vows ceremy with them...nevertheless...after that's all sorted out we proceed to the church.
Another minor thing - I have no flowers that morning...since we have two services they only ordered flowers for the evening and not the morning. somehow the wedding coordinator gets me flowers and although its ugly as heck - I'm just grateful at this point that they're real and that they're flowers...
We had asked for them to provide water bottles for our bus since the church service was going to be long - nope didn't happen. Thankfully the church anticipated that they'd have a lot of thirsty people so they provided some for us.
We get to the hotel - other things that were suppose to be done aren't done - we asked for lunch to be delivered for our vendors so they could start with photos and videos....not done.
We have our afternoon vows ceremony...scheduled for 4:30...let's just say I was waiting in my wedding dress on a lounge chair next to my guests waiting for an hour for the officiant to show up. I had to call the general manager's secretary to get things going...and then ofcourse since that was late...everything else we planned for the reception was late. We planned a grand entrance with a boat - that was late and the guests didn't even notice we came on one. The food that we paid extra to upgrade...wasn't the food we paid for. The food that we got was rubbery and gross and not what we tasted or asked for. The DJ didn't even have our CD for our entrance or our music so again we're standing there waiting while people figure things out.
We paid extra for a cake that they cut slivers of and then gave our guests some lemon cake that we never even asked for! We paid extra for this cake and they cut like a fourth of it and put the rest in our room...I ended up putting that cake outside our door for the maid to take because what were we going to do with enough cake to feed 50 people?
Oh...side note we had a rehearsal dinner planned for the night before - didn't happen. So they planned it at one of the casual buffet of the resort. We were running around all day that by the time we got back to the resort I had to go to dinner. I had worn the same outfit to the church for rehearsal and you'd think if it was good enough for the church its good enough for the casual buffet right? NO...I walked in with a white dress and a t shirt over my white dress that comes down pass my knee. I was asked not ONCE but TWICE by the manager of the buffet Palmyra that I had to go home and change in FRONT OF MY GUESTS! apparently the strap from my bathing suit was showing by my neck...geez...I have long hair just tell me to cover it. No he tells me that I have to leave the restaurant...LOL I'm like geez so will my guests. So we left not ONCE but TWICE...I canceled my wedding for the next day but felt bad for my guests so I decided to keep it. That's how awful this place made me...I wanted nothing to do with them and wanted our money back.
We paid for upgrades, we paid for a private venue, we paid for transportation, we paid for so many things with this resort so they could accomodate our wedding and it was literally like a nightmare. The next day I was so pissed that it effected my mood at my own ceremony, all of their mess ups, influenced how I felt...the hour wait at the gazebo, the missing CD for the entrance, I mean you name it...it was wrong. And we had given them a binder with instructions that were color coordinated with matching diagrams and mock pictures of what we wanted...
The next couple of days we meet with the general manager and his staff and do you know what they comped us for all of the above? The $250 fee that we paid for the officiant LOL. Seriously we almost died laughing...so we didn' get the food we paid to be upgraded, the services at your spa - we didn't get, your staff actually caused the delay of our wedding and caused us to lose out on taking pictures with our bridal party and made us cut so many things out of our wedding reception and you're giving us back $250 after we paid how much to your resort and brought 42 guests for 7 nights?
Don't do it...if you have a small wedding party of less than 10 and its a simple wedding - I say go for it but anything over 10....just go somewhere else or else you'll regret it and you'll forever have to tell stories about your wedding day like I do. Save yourself the misery...go somewhere else. We will never return to a Gran Bahia resort again...and they gave us three nights free for our wedding gift ONLY if you buy 7 nights...LOL believe me they can keep it...