By lindsayraz, · 731 Views · 8 Comments
I officially booked my March 26/12 wedding on July 31/11. So I had about 8 months of planning and communicating with my WC. I was nervous of course because you have no idea what to expect and you feel so not in control! But I went into it with a “no problem” attitude and made sure not to have high hopes or expectations. I think that was the best plan. If I had my heart set on anything, or had high expectations, then I might have been slightly disappointed. Overall, I have to say that my wedding was absolutely amazing and our week at the GPJ was something we will all cherish forever. 36 of us travelled to the GPJ (32 from Edmonton and 4 from Calgary). When we got off the bus at the resort, everyone was taken aback by how beautiful it was. Such a stunning, grand resort. Check-in was a bit chaotic, which was slightly frustrating. They made you fill in a silly form that had your address, passport #’s, and some other information before you could go to the counter to check in. They had our names all mixed up too, maybe because quite a few of us had the same last name. They didn’t have rum punch waiting for us this time (they did the last time we were there). But they offered us cold towels, which was nice. The frenzy was quickly forgotten when we all entered our suites and were in awe of how beautiful they were. The 36 of us were spread out in 3 different villas, all very close to each other, which we appreciated. A month before our arrival, I sent our WC a spreadsheet that listed each guest and their roommate, their room preference (ground floor, 2nd/3rd floor, villa preference), and their bed preference (2 double beds vs 1 king bed). I also emailed this spreadsheet to the guest relations person and the front desk a week before we arrived. 6 people in my group have mobility issues and difficulty with stairs, so I requested ground floors for them. Only 2 of those 6 were given a ground floor. That kind of pissed me off, because some people in our group who had no floor preference were given ground floors. When we were checking in, I asked if we could switch the rooms so my grandparents could have a ground floor. They said no, but we should check back with them the next morning and they will see what they can do. We never bothered, and it ended up being ok. A few guests were not given their bed preference either. 2 sets of brothers and sisters had to share a king bed, while a few sets of married couples had to sleep in separate double beds. Not a biggie, just annoying because we were told that the resort was only at half capacity that week … so why couldn’t they accommodate our request? I should also add that my grandpa asked if he could use a wheelchair while at the GPF and they offered him one for $20/day. So they took it and when they went to check out, they were not charged for it. So that was a pleasant surprise. Also when we checked in, I mentioned to the girl that we are getting married. She didn’t offer us anything (I was hoping for the VIP wristband). Then long after we checked in, I was helping my grandparents check in with another girl at the front desk, and that girl found out we were getting married. So she told the girl who checked us in to switch our wristbands to the VIP ones (red instead of purple). So just make sure you ask for a VIP wristband and it shouldn’t be a problem, you’ll most likely get one! All it really gets you is the option to make reservations at the a-la-carte restaurants, which we never ended up doing. We were there from March 23-30 and apparently the resort was only at half capacity, so the restaurants weren’t open much. You should definitely check the restaurant schedule that is posted in the lobby. Each one seemed to be only open 2-3 times during the week we were there. So anyway, when my fiancé and I entered our room, there was a bottle of rum and a fruit plate waiting for us. A nice touch! The next day, at noon, we went to meet our WC. She went over the few questions I had and I gave her the fans that I wanted her to place on the chairs at our ceremony. I also gave her our table centerpieces (which were really just place settings) so she could place them on our reception tables. I had the Waves of Love package and it only comes with a head table centerpiece. The other tables had nothing but a white tablecloth and white napkins. But it was enough for us! We thought it was beautiful! She confirmed all the details, like when to have our guests outside their villas waiting for the carts to take them to the ceremony, when my bouquet will be delivered, etc. Then she took us to the ceremony site and showed us the back-up location too. The site we chose is the Las Brisas beach. It is part of the main beach (the beach by the big infinity pool) but it is far to the left side, at the very end. The site was GORGEOUS! I am SO glad we chose it! The back-up location was also beautiful (open air entrance at the spa). We had a beautiful sunny day, so we didn’t need the back-up location. I had a hair appointment booked for myself and my sister (MOH) at 1:00pm. (Our wedding was at 4:00pm). I booked it months in advance, and paid the 50% deposit. I brought a photo of what I wanted to get done. My sister has short hair, so all she really wanted was a good wash, blow-dry and style. (She was worried about her hair in the humidity). Well when we arrived for our appointment, they took my sister in right away and didn’t start on me until about 20-30 min later. My sister was VERY disappointed in her hair. She had to go back to her room and re-do it herself. It was a TOTAL waste of $100. (Hers was $100 and mine was $150). I didn’t hate my hair, but I didn’t love it either. It didn’t really look like the photo I brought them. No offense intended, but it seemed like they didn’t know how to do non-jamaican hair. They blow-dried my sister’s hair without any product! And they didn’t use aerosol hairspray, just a spritz bottle. But my updo held up very well in the wind and lasted all night. Back to our room, the WC showed up about 3:15 or so to bring me my bouquet and ask if I needed anything. At that point, it was me, my sister and my dad. My fiancé was getting ready in his best man’s room. All the carts picked our guests up outside their villas between 3:40 and 3:55. I was supposed to be outside my villa at 3:55 and I stood out there for about 15 min, maybe even 20 before the cart finally came. But I didn’t care! I knew they couldn’t start without me! When we arrived, my fiancé and best man had already walked down the aisle. I could hear the steel drum band playing. It was awesome! (I think the guys had been down the aisle and standing at the pergola for 5 or so minutes at that point). My sister immediately walked down the aisle, then me and my dad. It was so relaxed, so beautiful, so intimate, so easy, so amazing. The officiant was kind and put us at ease. He kept the vows quick, which our guests appreciated. The fans were put on the chairs, like I had asked. The steel drum band played my song choices, sometimes kind of out of order, but whatever, they all got played. Every guest said that the steel drum band made the wedding and I agree completely. Worth the $500. We hired a company (Island Media Solutions) to live-broadcast our wedding on the internet, so that those who couldn’t be with us in Jamaica were able to watch the wedding live online. We had to pay a $300 vendor fee to the GPJ for that. It was worth it! So cool that our family at home could watch while we were so far away, and it felt like they were there with us! They even wrote comments on the site and we were able to see them after the ceremony was over. Also, I have to say that the photographer (his name was Hakim) that came with our Waves of Love package was better than I expected. He pulled us away for about 20-30 minutes after the ceremony, and he took some really good shots! You can view them all in the gift shop the day after your wedding. I think he took 120 photos total, of the ceremony and formals afterwards. The Waves of Love package only comes with 8 free photos. After that, you have to pay $15/photo. Also, we didn’t realize you could ask for the 8 photos to be on a CD instead of printed. I wish I knew you could get them on a CD instead! We found out too late. But oh well… we had our own photographer there anyway (my cousin). We chose breakfast in bed the day after our wedding (part of our package), so it was delivered at our requested time 9am and it was decent. Nice to not have to go out for breakfast once. Also, the night of our wedding, we returned to our room and the maid had turned down our sheets, chocolates on our pillow, bath drawn with rose petals, and beautiful swan designs on the bed. Very sweet. There was also champagne in our mini fridge and two champagne glasses. For the reception, we chose the Blue Lagoon. It was great! We had it all to ourselves, the food was AMAZING! We chose to go with mostly Jamaican food. We chose crab cakes to start, then pumpkin soup, then jerk chicken or bbq mango pork chops, then passion fruit strudel. I had previously sent the WC a list of each person and their dinner selection, but the servers just came around and asked each person what they chose. And we had one 2-year-old with us, so I had requested chicken fingers and fries for him. He loved them! I also noted on our menu form that one girl had a peanut allergy. They were conscious of that and asked me to point her out. The cake that came with our package was soooo beautiful! We chose chocolate cake and it was delicious!!! The servers wrapped up the top tier for us, but we forgot it there. Not like we’d really have been able to do anything with it anyway, but nice of them to do that. The servers were excellent, we had a private bar, and they served wine with dinner. We hooked up our BOSE ipod dock and it did the trick for our dinner music and dance. It was arranged with our WC that a table would be set up for the ipod. We didn’t even rent a microphone or anything. There was only 36 of us so everyone could hear during speeches, no problem. I highly recommend the Blue Lagoon for the sunset! Our reception started at 6pm and the sun was just setting then. (It sets verrrry fast down in Jamaica!). Made for beautiful photos and a gorgeous background behind the head table. We only had the Blue Lagoon until 10pm, so after that we took the party upstairs to the Infinity Lounge. And then some carried on to the disco after the Infinity Lounge closed at midnight. Our wedding favours were tumbler glasses (like the clear starbucks ones with the lid and straw) that we had made to say our names and “I Do, Mon!” and “Jamaica 2012”. They were a TOTAL hit! Everyone used them religiously, and the bartenders were happy to fill them up for us. They kept slushy drinks cold and slushy for over an hour in the hot sun. And my OOT bags were appreciated too. Everyone used the aloe , snacks, bandaids and advil, as well as the bags themselves! (they were cute floral print re-useable grocery bags that made for great beach bags). With the help of 2 people, I brought the bags to the front desk the day after we arrived and they wrote each guest’s room # on the tags and delivered them to their rooms. Only 1 out of 36 didn’t get delivered. And it was at the front desk when I went to investigate. They had the wrong room # written on it. It was supposed to be $2 per delivery, but when we checked out, they didn’t end up charging us. So that was nice. We were just so relaxed the morning of the wedding. I drank in the pool til noon that day! (Fiance til 2pm). We also arranged with Jamaica Tours (in the lobby) a special trip for our guests to go to Negril to hang out at Margaritaville and Rick’s Café. It was basically the shopping/Margaritaville/Ricks tour that they offer, but it was private for us. Our own private bus, and we opted out of the shopping, and we got to pick the pick up and drop off times. They just created a sign-up sheet at their desk and our guests could drop by anytime to pay for themselves. They also did the same thing for 13 of the men in our group who went on a golf trip to White Witch Golf Course. They said their driver was awesome and took them to a cool jerk place (Scotchies) for lunch on the way home (not planned, just cause they asked him to) and he stopped for them to pee a couple times (lol) and at the liquor store too. Man, we all had such a blast, ahhhhh such a good trip!!! It was just so nice to be able to spend a week in paradise with my family and friends. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, parents and friends. I get chills when I think back to that amazing week. All I can say is that I was so glad I chose the Waves of Love, it was a stunning package. I was glad I went into the whole thing with low expectations, and I was pleasantly surprised. Nothing went wrong really. A couple minor things (more so just issues with the resort, not with the wedding itself), but all in all, my wedding was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!!!!!! All the guests said so too. We were all so relaxed and enjoying the beautiful resort. How can you have a bad time?! My hubby and I both said to each other that we’d do it all over again in a heartbeat and we are so happy with our decision to have a destination wedding and to have it at the GPJ. We, along with our guests, look back at our wedding week with such happiness and fond memories. We joke that we will go back next year to renew our vows and everyone’s invited! Anything that went “wrong” was SO MINOR and didn’t affect our experience one bit. You just have to remember that it is a completely different country, culture, and way of life in Jamaica. They don’t work like we do in Canada/USA. We are always rushing to get from point A to point B. Jamaicans take their time, enjoy themselves, and sing! (You will find that every worker there just sings to themselves, not caring who’s listening, it’s infectious!). It’s hard to be stressed in Jamaica! And it’s hard to worry about the wedding, because how can you go wrong with such a beautiful setting. I apologize for this review being all over the place! I don’t have enough time to sit down and write an organized, detailed review. But I am happy to answer any specific questions you might have!!! This was our second trip to the GPJ and if we are lucky, it won’t be our last.