By fut MrsAntenor, · 1,882 Views · 6 Comments
After becoming frequent travelers, it was never a question to me and my husband (boyfriend and fiancé at the time) that we would have a destination wedding. Location was always up for grabs!
At the start of our planning, we had three destinations in mind: Antigua (personal and sentimental reasons), St Lucia (something new), and Jamaica (something fun for everyone). Antigua and St. Lucia lost the race when we considered the price for our guests and Antigua has a very laid back feel and we wanted more of a party atmosphere. So Jamaica is it and so it was!!!
In June 2012, we decided to take a weekend trip to Jamaica to scout out the hotels for the wedding. When we stepped on to Iberostar Rose Hall Suites property, we KNEW that was the place, hands down, no questions asked; ok, maybe questions were asked. LOL. IRHS was the choice for several reasons. Firstly, the hotel is beautiful offering many options to hold your ceremony and reception. They only serve one wedding a day and they do not have a “Cookie-Cutter” attitude.
So I contacted Liberty Travel (Steven Pierson) upon our return home to arrange the hotel bookings and flights for our 62 guests! The guests were required to pay $150 deposit per person (excluding children) for the hotel and $100 deposit for NYC group air travelers. They were allowed to make payments on their hotel and group air starting approximately 10 months before the wedding; our guest REALLY appreciated this factor.
So the planning begun... Save the Dates Airline Tickets, Passport Invitations with Liberty Travel Document Holders, The Dress (Maggie Sottero Adorae), Shoes, Flowers, Decorations, etc, etc, etc…..
We arrived on May 8, 2013 after a direct flight from JFK to MBJ with Delta Airlines. I was slightly worried about traveling with my dress, and at the advice of the saleswoman from the bridal shop, I called Delta two days prior to departing to inform them that I was traveling with a wedding dress. Unfortunately, the Delta representative didn’t know the exact rules for this and starting rambling about the size and regulations. I stopped him dead in his tracks and referred to him to the Delta Vacations website that mentions traveling with a wedding dress. Luckilym, we purchased business class seats and were able to board first. I allowed me to take an entire overhead bin to myself and lay the dress flat. NO PROBLEMS!
As we were traveling with 5 suitcases plus a dress and two suits, we didn’t make it very far before one of the guys at the airport assisted us and escorted us straight to Jamaican Tours. We loaded the bus with the addition of a few more travelers and off to the hotel we went!
As soon as we stepped off the bus, concierge was ready to assist. When they saw the wedding dress and the amount of suitcases, the woman said “You are the bride with 70 guests this weekend?” I said, “Yes ma’am!” She followed with “It’s gonna be a party, yeah mon!” LMAO. That gave us a warm feeling from the start.
Upon entering the hotel, we immediately noticed the construction in the lobby; they were adding a painting or mural of some sort. So there was scaffolding, white drapery covering the furniture and caution tape sectioning off the area. It was a bit of an eye sore. But then here comes the bartender with a cold drink called Dirty Banana. Yum! After that it was like, “What construction?” LOL.
This hotel has beautiful scenery, manicured gardens, and some of the friendliest and energetic personnel you can only hope to witness at a hotel. The upkeep on this hotel was evident in the consistently observed cleaning; especially the grounds men who raked the beach every morning for any lose debris that was lying around.
The entertainment as the hotel was also top notch. The crew was always jumping and bouncing around; full of life. The disco can easily be compared to a NYC nightclub just a little less crowded.
The hotel had everything from pool side entertainment (though some activities were the same everyday), performance shows in the “teather” (their spelling, LOL) with live vocal singers (no voice overs), and don’t think that a party can’t start at a bar because we frequently gathered at the lobby bar and had a great time. Please remember, it’s all about the having the time of your life and enjoying your company. Make the best of it!
We booked an ocean front suite and it was very nice; spacious, clean, colorful….simply NICE!!! Straight away, I started assembling the guest OOT boxes, which included: Welcome Letter, Appleton Reserve, Snacks (peanuts, cookies, fruit snacks, crackers), Oh Sh!t Kit (Hand Sanitizer, toothbrush and paste, sunscreen, sewing kit, comb, Aleve, lint roller, and mouthwash). The boxes were taking to the front desk daily depending on who was arriving, and this went smoothly as possible. No problems!
With approx 30 of our guests (others arriving different times and days) checking in at the exact same time, their process was also effortless. Though they arrived a few hours prior to check-in time (3pm), some rooms were available immediately, while other rooms needed to be completed.
We decided to book all dinner reservations for us and our friends that were arriving that day and the following day as well. It was nice that we were allowed to make reservations for more than just ourselves, even though the other couples had not arrived.
Wednesday night, we ate at the Cajun Restaurant at the Beach restaurant! Yum, very good. Coconut shrimp was the best, and I don’t like coconut but I guess I do now. J
Thursday night, Mexican Restaurant. This was my least favorite dinner. The food was no means inedible, just better food offered at the other restaurants. But since they are open from 11pm-7am, grilling steaks, chicken, burgers, etc, it was the spot after coming from the disco late at night, and that food was good; maybe we were bias at that time of the night because we were most likely drunk. J
We had also arranged a welcome dinner /white party on Friday night with approx 58 guests at Aunt Ruby’s. We basically occupied the entire left side of the restaurant and with everyone wearing white, it was utterly beautiful!!! Other hotel guests were fascinated as we walked through the property strutting all white.
Everyone seemed to enjoy the buffet style appetizers, especially the shrimp. The jerk chicken wing “bite” and onion ring app was great for all who enjoyed spicy. The salmon entrée was a big hit. The steak was enjoyed by some, others didn’t love it.
Saturday night was our rehearsal dinner with approx 19 guests at the Mediterranean Restaurant. The guests complimented that this food was really good; calamari and grouper at the buffet was the best! We also gave our bridal party their gifts at this time. Men: Ralph Lauren wallets, Argyle Socks, and T-shits for after wedding party. Ladies: Michael Kors clutches and Sashes.
World Buffet (we mostly ate there for breakfast): Omelet station/grille; made to order french toast. Many options, enough to please anyone’s palate.
Be sure to look out for the Suites and Beach BBQs. Jerk chicken and pork were superb. Suites BBQ was on Thursday afternoon. And Beach Resort BBQ was Saturday afternoon.
On to the good stuff:
Hair and Makeup
Rashel Edwards and her hair stylist (Sofia) arrived that morning (11am) to get started. OMG!! They did a great job. I was so pleased with our hair and makeup! As none of us are big makeup wearers, we were all skeptical of the outcome. However, after completing the makeup of one of my bridesmaids, Rashel calmed my concerns as her work spoke for itself. Sofia also did her magic with the different styles of hair.
Tai Flora is the hotel preferred florist but after the lack (or extreme delay) in their responses, I refused to give them one red cent of my money. So, I reach out to Floral Fantasies, and Chantal was just a pleasure to work with from the start; so professional. I sent her a list and pictures of what I wanted and she delivered and exceeded my expectations. They also provided the Appleton for the OOT boxes, which were delivered to the hotel on the day I arrived; sitting in Tiffany and Nicole’s office. We provided our own votive candles and diamond confetti. Floral Fantasies is the way to go!
SunGold Photography. It was initially supposed to be Damian and Paula but after an unfortunate family event, Paula was not able to make it. She informed me right away. Very professional about the situation and Clayton from WPA accompanied Damian instead. Let me tell you: Damian is no joke!!! That man enjoys what it does like no other! As he says, “I’m not only a photographer, I’m a visual artist!” And that he is!! He frequently stopped us as we walked through the hotel because he envisioned the perfect shot. He truly made us feel comfortable, and we can only hope that the feeling we felt will shine through our pictures. Clayton was a great addition, which I saw more of during the next morning for TTD. SunGold A++++++++ But the real proof is in the pudding; can’t wait to see those pics!
RG Weddings (Roxroy and Roxroy Jr). They also did a wonderful job. Can’t wait to see the complete project! Royroy is very professional as well. Unfortunately, we changed the time of our TTD session that next morning and Roxroy was not made aware of this. L He arrived at the previously scheduled time and still waited (without complaints) for the TTD session, which was two hours later. I was very appreciative for his patience and understanding for this mishap.
AWESOME!!! We chose the Lazy River Island at 5pm, I was a few minutes tardy so it started at 5:20pm. The sun was behind the building at that time so it wasn’t too hot once the ceremony began, though I hear it was hot when the guest were being seated (4:30pm).
DJ Kevan provided the music while the guest were arriving and throughout the ceremony. I brought silver and white bows to decorate the bridge. I chose the white seat covers with silver bows. Aisles were lined with tulle. Arch was decorated with white and coral flower arrangement. Sand ceremony with three colors of sand (silver, white and coral). We decided to sign and complete all paperwork at the altar so this was done at the sand ceremony table. Everything was just as I wanted it!! Couldn’t ask for anything more!
This was held immediately after the ceremony in the Blue Moon Music Bar, while the bridal party was taking pictures. We chose the Jamaican Apps Menu, with a few substitutions. We also had the Steel Band play for an hour during this time. Unfortunately, I did not see any portions of this. But my guests report that the apps (especially jerk chicken wings and calamari) were excellent and the steel band did a wonderful job. I’m so pleased they enjoyed it!
Private reception in the Calabash Restaurant with open bar. One word: AMAZING!!!! To see your vision come to fruition is nothing other than AMAZING. Everything from my centerpieces, cake table, place card table, etc, etc is exactly what I wanted and more!! DJ Kevan played the tunes throughout the night. The menu was customized to what we wanted (Lamb, Oxtails, and Snapper). My lamb was very good! All of the groomsmen (plus my dad) had the oxtails, and ordered two plates as well!! One downfall (nothing major) was the delay in food service.
We chose the vanilla cake, which was so pretty and importantly tasted good as well. The top tier was sent to our room the next day, which we continued to enjoy.
After the reception, we headed down to the beach for nightly entertainment. I had brought luminaries to light up the walkway; last minute decision, that I am so happy I went with. We had three fire dancers that put on a show like you would not believe. They did a magnificent job. Do not hesitate to add this act to your wedding festivities. We finished the night with releasing of the sky lanterns. Beautiful!!! Word of advice: Make sure there are more than one or two lighters because it took quite some time to light 25 lanterns.
The SPA (Couples Massage) the next morning was great and much needed. As I am not a “massage person”, (I am uncomfortable with strangers rubbing on my neck; please don’t ask, LOL), she was very accommodating.
Tiffany and Nicole work their tails OFF!!! I know that sometimes it may seem discouraging when your emails and queries are not answered as timely as a bride would like but rest assure that things are certainly being handled. Everything from our initial meeting, invoicing, wedding day was merely unproblematic. My hat goes off to those women for the work they do everyday!! And yes, I mean everyday because there was literally a wedding everyday that we were there!!
If you have chosen or in the market for a hotel to house your destination wedding in Jamaica, rest assure that Iberostar Rose Hall Suites is the place to be!! SIMPLY ASTOUNDING!!!
The beauty of this day will forever be engraved in my memory and the love I felt will continue to shine like a diamond!!!