By CarolS, · 913 Views · 0 Comments
CAUTION: This is an extremely long and detailed review!
My husband and I were married at the Sheraton Nassau Beach resort on January 3, 2012. Although the setting is beautiful, I would not recommend getting married at this resort due to poor staff and service. I'm sure you can find other beautiful places in the Bahamas with better service. I avoided writing this review immediately after my wedding so I could be as objective as possible. I can’t comment on the rooms; I can only review their event services because none of my guests ended up staying at the resort.
We booked our wedding in October 2010 because the price seemed decent, the resort seemed flexible (we only wanted a two-hour cocktail reception following the ceremony), we wanted something simple with a beautiful beach, and we found a positive review on the Sheraton wedding services (http://www.bestdestinationwedding.com/t/58533/im-married-reviews-inside). We had a wedding cruise (Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas, which could not have been more amazing) that stopped in Nassau for a day so we were limited in how far we could go from the dock.
When I was researching for the wedding, I was always curious about how much people paid so I’ll go ahead and volunteer that information. We paid $831.50 for the vow renewal package (we were legally married at home, which I completely recommend to avoid stress and save money), which included the officiate, a vow renewal certificate that could easily be made in Word by even the most computer illiterate, my gorgeous bouquet, my husband’s lovely boutonniere, excruciatingly slow wedding site and set-up, and a sub-par wedding consultant. I noticed that the prices went up the following year.
We initially dealt with Tina O'Keefe-Holly, the senior sales manager based out of Chicago, who was very nice, but took months to get us our wedding contract and guest room contract (for guests who might choose not to cruise with us). I tried not to be too judgmental of the Sheraton at first because I work in hotel sales, I had heard that these places often work on island time, and I didn't want to be yet another bridezilla. At some point, Tina told us that she was behind on things due to a death in her family and I initially sympathized, but she continued to work at the same debilitating pace. I sometimes called Tina just in case she was a phone and not an e-mail person. When that didn't work, I tried to call the resort and they often passed me around to several people before finally telling me that no one could help me. I figured the slow pace didn't matter; she got things done eventually. Now, however, I think her work is just indicative of the low standards this property has for its staff and should have been a big red flag.
Tina introduced me to Tekeyo Bodie, a catering sales manager at the actual resort. He handled the wedding and was the only person I communicated with from then on. Tekeyo talked big; he boasted about his incredible attention to detail and that his brides are always number one. He seemed friendly enough. Tekeyo ended up being very unresponsive. It took weeks for him to respond to my e-mails if I was lucky enough to get an answer at all. Sometimes he wouldn't e-mail back and other times he would reply to only some of the questions in my e-mails. I began to get so upset that I told my husband we should cancel and go to a different resort. We didn't and my husband has now admitted that I was right. Tekeyo once said that he had so many weddings to deal with and that's why it took him a long time to respond. I didn't view this as a great excuse because it merely shows that the resort is understaffed.
The wedding day arrived. We used Jermaine's Taxi & Tours (http://jermainstaxiandtours.com/) because the hotel transportation was a little overpriced. Jermaine picked the bridal party up before the rest of the guests since we needed to get to the resort before everyone else. Jermaine was a little bit late (island time, I guess) and there was some confusion since he went to a spot that we had already passed (since we had tried to arrive early just in case). This frustrated me and I asked him to be early for my guests. I didn't hear of any problems from my guests so I can only assume that he did as I asked. Jermaine and his staff drove everyone in vans. I rode with Jermaine both to and from the resort. Jermaine was very friendly, talked to us about the area, and it was a beautiful drive from the dock to the resort. I would use Jermaine again, although I might ask him to be a little early just in case. Jermaine charged us $10/person to go to and from George’s Wharf to the Sheraton Nassau.
Despite us trying to book our wedding in the calmest month, January, there was a weather issue. Nassau was so windy that it was miserable to be outside. After waiting at the resort for a little while, Tekeyo first recommended that we have the wedding in their meeting room, which was a tiny brown room with no windows. I was unhappy; my guests and I hadn't traveled all the way to the Bahamas to be married in a nondescript brown room that was less attractive than the hotel I work at in Indiana.
We went outside to gauge the wind and it blew off my veil. I was becoming more and more angry (at the weather…mostly). My husband told Tekeyo we'd still rather have it outside in the wind than in the little meeting room. At the very last moment, Tekeyo mentioned that we might be able to have it in the ballroom with windows overlooking the resort. I was furious that the ballroom hadn’t been his first suggestion. He appeared hesitant and initially said he wasn't sure it was available, but we were able to marry on the beach and have the reception in the ballroom.
Tekeyo's staff began assembling the ceremony and reception areas at a slothful pace while my guests waited in the lobby. We originally arranged for the open bar to be ready as soon as guests arrived, but it wasn't and Tekeyo never addressed this. Tekeyo had told us that he would take us to the most scenic areas of the resort so we could take pictures before our guests left; he didn’t do this and never mentioned it. He instead disappeared for long periods of time, which could be totally legitimate for all I know. He gave my maid of honor a big speech about how good he is at his job because he adapts well and she later pointed out that he was terrible at adapting.
When I arranged an officiate through the resort, I asked if I could see what the officiate was going to say because I wanted a very short, secular ceremony. Tekeyo assured me that everything would be fine and I didn't need to see what he had to say. On the day of the wedding, I mentioned this previous exchange to my maid of honor, who is far more confrontational than me and was furious at how I was being treated. She bullied Tekeyo into letting me meet with Reverend Grant, which was fortunate since he didn't know our names or that I wanted a short, secular ceremony. I didn't know exactly what the reverend was going to say before the ceremony, but it ended up being beautiful and I would recommend his services (http://www.bahamasweddings.itgo.com/).
The DJ service that was arranged through the hotel was good as far as gauging the crowd and playing fun music that made people want to dance, but they made many mistakes. They would sometimes start playing a song and then abruptly cut away to a different one. Also, I had given Tekeyo a list of songs to play during certain times and during the cake cutting, they started playing our surprise first dance song (which the guests had not heard yet and cut from a slow, sappy love song to an energetic rock song that we had a choreographed dance for). This caused me to start yelling at the DJ to stop the song immediately while I was cutting the cake. They responded by turning the song to a lower volume and I had to shout at them again so the guests wouldn’t hear the surprise cut. So much for not being a bridezilla.
If you're looking for a DJ who will interact with the crowd, I wouldn't go with the one arranged through the hotel since I didn't hear them say a single word the entire time. This was fine with me, but some couples might expect more. Tekeyo helped with the bouquet and garter toss and was great with that. I never thought to ask and I wasn’t given the name of the DJ service. I paid $200 an hour for the DJ. I loved that they played music for the ceremony and easily moved their equipment to the reception during pictures.
Our cake was from the Cake Box (http://cakeboxbahamas.com/), which was arranged through the hotel. The cake was even prettier than in the picture we sent (my husband and I picked a random picture off a Google image search and sent it Tekeyo so that's all the bakery had to go off of). I am also not a cake person, but it was the best cake I have ever tasted so I really recommend the Cake Box. The cake was expensive, but most things seem to be in the Bahamas. More importantly, it was worth the money. It took a lot of harassment from me about the cake, but the Cake Box and Tekeyo helped me cut costs on the cake by using buttercream icing instead of fondant and other options. I would have had to pay extra for servers and for people to cut the cake so we forced our bridesmaids to do it for us. We paid $300 for the two-tier 25-person cake through the hotel and it easily fed 43 people with some leftovers.
The flowers from Wildflowers (http://www.wildflowersbahamas.com/), which were arranged through the hotel, were also gorgeous. I thought they were the prettiest flowers I had ever seen, although I am probably biased since I chose them and they were at my wedding. I chose the flowers directly from the Wildflowers gallery site. I received many compliments. I paid $65 for my two bridesmaids bouquet through the hotel; my husband’s boutonniere and my bouquet were included in the price of the hotel’s vow renewal package.
My husband and I discussed open bar options with Tina and Tekeyo when we were first introduced to them. Tina said that if our families were drinkers, she advised we get the per person packages ($30/person for two hours), but if not, we could pay by consumption. Neither of our families drink much so we chose consumption. We received our bar bill after the wedding and the resort claims that, on average, each guest consumed more than $54 worth of drinks within two hours, including the children, which is ridiculous to me. I know the drinks are a lot more expensive ($7.50 for mixed drinks, which were the most costly), but even so, I think it is too high and believe that the amount of drinks that were consumed may have been falsified. I know a few guests were tipsy, but far more of my guests were elderly people, like my grandma or many other relatives, or didn't drink at all (like my husband and I who were too busy dancing). I could be wrong, but I have suspicions. The bar service and quality, however, seemed great.
I think all my guests had a really good time and everything seemed flawless to them, which was most important to me. I also believe that their pricing was fair (other than the bar bill). I think Tekeyo (and Tina a little) didn’t really help my stress levels and that made it difficult for me to enjoy my wedding initially. It's true that I am easily stressed, most brides are anxious, and mistakes always happen at weddings, but I think a lot of things could have been handled better. Tekeyo was great at talking and that’s about it. I understand that my event is not the most important that they’ve ever had, but I truly felt like I was the resort’s lowest priority. This combined with another review concerning this resort and Tekeyo (http://www.bestdestinationwedding.com/products/sheraton-nassau-beach-resort-bahamas/reviews/5149) makes me certain that I would never book my wedding with the Sheraton again. If you still book your wedding with the Sheraton, I would ask for a different coordinator than Tekeyo.