By Kassizee, · 1,364 Views · 1 Comment
My new hubby and I just got married at Secrets Wild Orchid on November 17 2014.
Everything turned our perfectly and beautiful. I thought I'd share some details to help out future brides!
Not going to lie, it was extremely frustrating at times planning everything with the resort wedding department via email. There was often miscommunication about things, and some misunderstandings. I did email them pictures of everything I wanted (bouquet, cake, decorations etc), and for the most part, that did follow through. BUT before we got there, I was pretty upset at times. Once we got there and had our meeting though, everyyything got cleared up. They even gave us a few surprise upgrades. At the end of it though, everything we asked for was done exactly how we wanted, and we could not be more happy.
Throughout the process, we often emailed them to get quotes on everything. They pretty much have anything you could need, but we thought a lot of things were not worth the amount they wanted. So, we brought a lot of our own things. We brought our own chair sashes (bought at http://www.weddinglinensdirect.com).We also brought our own table cloths, but had those made from my mother-in-law, as I couldnt find the right colour anywhere. We made our own centerpieces, but bought flowers through the resort to go in them. We also made our own table numbers, and random table decorations as well. We brought/made our guest signing box as well as the seating chart. At the meeting, we brought all of this stuff, went through all of it with them and told them/gave them a paper saying how we wanted it all set up, and they did it all perfectly.
FLOWERS & CAKE:
We upgraded both of these things. It was a bit more expensive, but something we wanted to do. I wasn't really feeling having daisies or carnations as our flowers, and did not want a plain white cake. We got a bunch of quotes along the way...some of them were way too much money, but tweeked thngs and worked it out. I got white and light pink roses and peonies for all of the flowers. We also purchases an arch with flowers on it for the ceremony. It wasn't cheap, but it was absolutely beautiful. I wish we could have taken it home! We brought our own cake topper, and gave that to the wedding department as well during our meeting.
We were given a paper from the wedding department when we checked in, tellings us when and where we were meeting with the wedding department. It was the next day at 1pm. We met with the wedding coordinator, Terrance the minister, and the resort photographer. Terrance was absolutely great- he had some great advice, and was really funny! We went through everyyything with the wedding coordinator- went through our contract in a very detailed way, made sure we were getting everything we wanted. We also went through everything we brought for them. She took us to all the locations that our wedding would be taking place. We got to meet the DJ.
Ceremony: We chose to have our ceremony on the Beach (called Barracuda Beach). I'm extremely happy with this choice, and would highly recommend it. The gazebos looking out over the water and really pretty, but we made too many people to fit in there (41 guests). There is a also a beach gazebo, but it is kind of on the main walkway between Wild Orchid and St. James. It wasn't private at all. Where we had it, it is a lot more private.
Dinner Reception: We were advise to have the 3 hours dinner reception indoors, since our wedding ceremony was at 2pm and it was at the hottest point of the day. Not going to lie, I was pretty upset about that though. I didn't want to fly all the way to a beautiful place to have the wedding indoors. But, after much though, we decided to listen. I could not be happier we did it, and would highly recommend it. It was supperrr hot that day, and it would have been brutal to eat/drink/dance under the sweltering sun. It gave everyone a chase to cool off, plus, it was 100% private.
Cocktail Hour: So we didn't go to the cocktail hour, since that is when we do all of our photos. But cocktail hour obviously took place before the 3 hour dinner reception. It was directly outside the ballroom where the reception took place. It was kind of on a terrace- so it was outside, but completely covered and in the shade. They upgraded the mento band to the steel drum band, and everyone said they were incredible.
Bonfire Beach Party: We bought this as well, and it was by far the BEST part of the wedding. We also added an extra hour, so it was from 7-10pm. This took place at the same place as the ceremony, on the Barracuda Beach. By the time this began, the sun was setting and was dark out, so it wasn't super hot outside.
Alright. So if it is in your budget, I would highly recommend hiring an outside vendor for your photographer. We did some research and found a local photographer (Tiffany Lue-Yen). We have not received her photos yet, but we are soooo happy we hired her. She was amazing. We also got an assistant photographer with her...so before the ceremony, her assistant went with the guys as they were getting ready, and she stayed with the girls. The resort photographer (aquasun) was honestly not that good. We had the Ultimate Wedding Package, and with that, you only get 50 photos, which is honestly nothing. He took about 330 pictures, and we had to pick 50. A lot of them were out of focus, and not centered at all. For example, a lot of pictures of my husband and I at the ceremony- he was focused on the minister in the middle of us, so my husband and I were completely out of focus. He did manage to get a few good shots, but overall, I would not classify them as professional photographers. They know nothing about lighting and such, and angles.
We didn't hire an outside videographer, as we didn't care about the video as much as the photos, so we just used the aquasun for the video. It was 30 minutes, and it was super corny! The transitions between the slides and stuff were sooo cheesy. Something I would have made when I was like 14 years old. They had a few mistakes, that had to be fixed. My name was spelled wrong for one. The other mistake was actually pretty funny- in the beginning of the video, they display the brides name, and a then show a picture of her, and then display the groom's name, and display a picture of him. When they displayed my husband's name, it wasn't a picture of him, but of his BROTHER the best man! They thought it was husband! They honestly don't really look that much alike. We had a pretty good laugh about it. They of course fixed these mistakes and gave us a new DVD. They also probably had more footage on there of our guests dancing at the cocktail hour than of the actual ceremony. Whatever.
HAIR & MAKEUP:
My bridesmaids and I, as well as my mom used the resort spa for hair & makeup. Hair & makeup was included in the package for me as well. They actually did a pretty decent job on all of our makeup. They would ask along the way how I thought it looked, as well as how I thought it looked on the others, and if we/I didnt like anything, they immediately fixed it. Everyone's makeup looked pretty good though, and they turned out well in the pictures.
I thought they did a decent job on hair, but definitely not the best I've ever had. It was okay. It also didn't help that my hair uncurled pretty fast due to the heat and the sweat lol. But I had a veil on that kind of hid that. Unfortunately, I didn't have any guests/family members that are hair stylists, otherwise I probably would have used them.
The food was fantastic!! The only thing I didnt have time to try was the actual main meal, as my husband and I snuck out with our photographer to do some sunset shots. But the duck appetizer was soooo good, and the conch chowder soup was delicious. The tirimisu was super good too, as well as the caesar salad. I heard the main dish (jamaican skirt beef) was realllly good as well.
This is where we are really happy we got the beach bonfire- After speeches and dinner, we only had time to do the first dances (husband & wife, father/daughter, and mother/son), and then the bouquet and garter toss. That's where it ended. We had nooo time for actual dancing with our guests.
SOO much fun! Highly recommend! The bonfire itself was huge! It was on the barracuda beach, so it was really private. Nobody came and crashed it. We brought a bunch of glowsticks and sparklers, which were a hit. To my surprise, they set up a table with smores as well and a place to book them! We had a personal bartender set-up and the DJ came as well. We danced for 3 hours on the beach and it was super fun!
The Couples massage was sooooo good. It was in a private room upstairs. Bring your bathing suits and go early to your appointment! Like an hour early. You are allowed to use all of their amenities beforehand, and it was really relaxing- they have a steam room, sauna, hot tub, hydrotherapy circuit. Do it all!
THE HOTEL ROOM:
We stayed at Wild Orchid. We didn't purchase preferred, but were upgraded too preferred amenities, so we were able to swim and hang out on the preferred sides. We got the most basic room, and it was still amazing. Very clean, pretty big, and really nice. On the night of our wedding, they maid drew a bath for us, lit some candles and put rose petals everywhere. It was raelly cute!
THE RESORT ITSELF:
I would definitely come back to this resort again. It was extremely clean, all of the employees were extremely friendly and just happy people in general. We went to every restaurant but one, and all of the food was good. The breakfast and lunch buffet were awesome as well. They had different events going on every night which was fun. My husband and I entered in the newlywed contest (on sunday nights!) and won! We wont another couples massage. We called the massage and had them combine it with the couples massage we got in our wedding package, so we got one long massage. It was soooo nice. All of our guests kept raving about our resort choice, and now they are all planning on doing another huge group trip in 2 years. It was a blast hanging out with everyone together.
It was too difficult for us to book an excursion for everyone, as we had way too many people. A lot of our guests did some on their own, and we did all of our excursions after everyone left. My husband and I went for 2 weeks, and the most anyone stayed was 1 week, so we had a lot of time to ourselves after. I highly recommend Dunn Rivers Falls, and it was a really cool experience. We also did the shopping/craft market trip. It was a cool experience, but I probably wouldnt do it again. We also did Dolphin Cove the same day as Dunn Rivers. Dolphin cove was a lot of fun. It was definitely really tourist-y there, but it was still a lot of fun.
It was high 80s the whole time. It rained maybe 3 times during our 2 weeks stay. And the longest it rained for was probably 10 minutes. Not a cloud in site on the day of our wedding :)
Everything turned out beautifully! We would do it again in a heart beat. The wedding was perfect, and the resort was amazing!
I'm sure I missed some details, please ask if you have questions!