By Julie's Iberostar Wedding, · 1,300 Views · 15 Comments
What a great experience!
Check In: The front desk staff were friendly, quick, and efficient. The majority of our group arrived at the resort at just after 2pm, so a few of our guests had to wait until 3pm for their room to be ready.
Air Canada Representative: Helen was a wonderful representative. She provided us with all of the information we needed for the tours offered and where to go to book a la Carte reservations. Helen orchestrated a group of 22 of our guests for a trip to Dunn’s River Falls. We had a private bus for our group, and the tour guide told us all about the area as we drove by. It was very interesting and entertaining. Helen also arranged to have our transfer back to the airport moved from the Suites resort to the Grand, where we came for our honeymoon. She was very friendly and efficient.
Room: Our room was beautiful and well kept. We were upgraded, but the only difference we noticed was the larger balcony. There was a bottle of wine and fresh fruit waiting for us upon arrival, courtesy of Nicole; it was a nice touch. The bed was very comfortable, and the bathroom quite spacious. We were so busy with the last minute wedding planning that we didn’t use the large bath tub. We did use the Jacuzzi tub on our honeymoon at the Grand, and that was very nice. The mini fridge was restocked daily with soft drinks, beer, and water. The couch was comfortable and came in very handy when putting together our wedding favours with the ladies in our group. The large desk was also a nice touch. The laptop was plugged in regularly, and the free internet access was a huge bonus.
Pool/Ocean: The pool’s and lazy river were the perfect temperature. The pools were large and not too crowded. We had many enjoyable hours bobbing in the water and chatting with our drinks. The ocean was beautiful, and not too salty. Most days we had good weather, so the waves were fairly calm. The beach was long enough for a nice walk, without too much seaweed. We ended up walking up to the beach at the Grand without a hassle, and the sand became softer with less seaweed.
Food: Everyone ate breakfast in the buffet. There was a lot of selection, and the food tasted great! I didn’t sample many pastries until after the wedding, but many of our guests enjoyed them. There were a few options for lunch. The selection in the buffet was again, very plentiful and tasty. We really enjoyed the beach buffet station with the flavours of Jamaica. The jerk chicken and rice and peas were really good, and we all enjoyed the steel drum band. The selection at Aunt Ruby’s was a little light the first day, but we didn’t eat until 3:30pm, so it was understandable. The other 2 times we ate at Aunt Ruby’s was really good. The salads were tasty, and there was a variety of snack foods, chicken, fish and steak, and a few desserts. For dinner, our favourite a la carte was the Gourmet. We made a reservation for 27 people, and the staff was able to accommodate all of us that day for the reservation. Two tables were set up for our group. We were close enough to have a nice conversation, as the restaurant was quiet. The food was delicious. I didn’t think I’d enjoy smoked salmon, but it was amazing, and the steak was tender and done to perfection. We also enjoyed the Mediterranean restaurant, where we hosted the rehearsal dinner. We went to this restaurant twice. My new husband does not eat much seafood, but he was still able to enjoy the Sea and Mountain with chicken, and fettuccini alfredo. The Mexican a la Carte was great. The buffet of appetizers had a lot of selection. I really enjoyed the coconut shrimp, and nachos. The menu had a lot to choose from, the cabob tacos were very tasty. I ordered the lobster. It was very large and flavourful. So many of the restaurants have lobster, it was great to be able to enjoy it so frequently. Lastly, there was no shortage of food at the buffet. The Jamaican station was always fun, and one night there was even an Asian station. The food here was always enjoyable. We really enjoyed the authentic fruit. Our wedding dinner was at Aunt Ruby’s Steakhouse. It was amazing. There were a lot of food choices, and my guests made their selections prior to arriving in Jamaica. The appetizers, salad bar, dinner, and dessert were excellent! There is more information on the wedding to come.
Drinks: The drinks were the best at the lobby bar and in the restaurants. The blended drinks were very smooth and flavourful. Nicole put roped off the lobby terrace for our group two nights prior to the wedding for a group meet and greet. Our guests were able to get to know each other over some excellent drinks from the lobby bar. There was no shortage of choice. The swim up bar was also very nice. The staff working here were very friendly and quick to deliver a tasty drink. We never ended up waiting very long for our drinks, it was great.
Entertainment: The fire breather at the beach party was spectacular. The dancing and music was a lot of fun as well. The Star friends kept our guests entertained during the day. A group of our cousins ended up being pulled up in front of everyone by the pool for a mini dance competition. They all had a really fun time. We didn’t end up going to the disco, but I heard it was good. The girls all got together and persuaded the Star friends to have the aerobics in the pool. We recruited a lot of other guests from the resort and all enjoyed some fun aqua aerobics.
Spa: My husband and I enjoyed the 30 minute massage that came with the wedding package. We ended up using it after the wedding to wind down and relax from the tension build up of the wedding. The ladies did a great job of releasing the knots on my back. We were ready to fall asleep, it was so relaxing. On the day of the wedding, I had my hair and make up done by the spa. My bridesmaids and mother had their hair done. They ladies were very pleasant and talkative. I brought a picture with me from my stylist in Canada, and they did a great job replicating the look I wanted. I was happy with the work they did, and they were very quick. We had our appointments for hair at 12 and 1pm, and did not have to worry about being delayed for the wedding at 4:30pm.
Photographer: We chose Dean Clarke as our photographer. He was recommended through various references that my cousin from Jamaica knows, and was very reasonably priced. Dean was very personable and down to earth. After taking the pictures, he showed us a few teaser pictures. They quality looked really good. Dean was very easy to work with; he took some candid as well as posed photos. Unfortunately, we were running low on sunlight and we had to leave to do our couple only picture, so we missed out on a few pictures with extended family. We did get all of the bridal party and immediate family pictures. Dean returned the day after the wedding for trash the dress pictures. I wore a separate wedding dress that I ordered through the Sears Catalogue. It was perfect for water pictures. Dean posed us by the ocean, in a kayak, on the sand, and in the lazy river. He was creative with our poses, and it was a lot of fun. There was a challenge of working with the wind for both the day of the wedding and trash the dress. It even rained during trash the dress, but Dean did a good job of working with the weather and trying to make sure my hair wasn’t in my face for the pictures. Dean couriered the DVD disks with the wedding and trash the dress pictures to us prior to leaving Jamaica. The quality is amazing! We could not have asked for a better photographer, and would recommend him to anyone.
Wedding: Nicole worked with us to make sure all of the details were in place for the wedding. I brought an entire suitcase with me packed with wedding supplies. She had the Jade table overlays sent to laundry for pressing as they were crushed from travelling. All of our décor, including paper lanterns, table confetti, name plates, favours, sand ceremony, wishing well, cake cutting set, etc. were sent up nicely. At the receptions, we noticed our engraved napkins were missing at the reception, and found that they put them all together by the buffet. They were quick to distribute them to our guests upon request.
The minister was very friendly. The vows were slightly different from those emailed to us by Nicole, but they sounded beautiful. The ceremony was very quick. I’m happy that we added a Sand Ceremony, and some words about the engagement ring exchange to make it a little longer. We had the steel drum band and they were able to play all of the music we requested. Thank goodness, because we put our songs in the wedding programs. We really liked the floral arrangements for both the ceremony and reception. We used Tai Flora through the resort. It was difficult to communicate with the representative, and responses to email’s when planning were very slow, but the final outcome looked spectacular. I really like orchids, and found some beautiful purple orchid bouquets on the Tai Flora website. The prices were reasonable to change from the standard prices that are quoted for the tropical floral arrangements. We really liked the flowers on the huppa and signing table.
We held a private reception at Aunt Ruby Steakhouse. We took a count of what food choices our guests would like to eat and provided the list with our seating arrangement to Nicole. The staff went around again confirming the main course choice while we were served appetizers and food from the salad buffet. The dinner ran a little long, and one table said their steak was over cooked. The staff quickly returned with new steaks that were a very good quality. During dessert we had our speeches and toasts. It took a while to have the Champaign delivered; it finally arrived at every table during the last speech. It was okay though, guests toasted with wine instead.
We did our cake cutting and pictures after speeches. The cake looked beautiful draped with the purple orchids also on the bouquets. We had three flavours, Jamaican rum cake, chocolate, and vanilla. The cake was actually served during a break at our dance. It tasted very nice, but I was a little disappointed with the Jamaican wedding cake. My family comes from Jamaica, so I’ve tasted better quality, but our guests enjoyed it, and didn’t know the difference.
We hired the DJ for the entire reception. His music choices for the dinner were alright. He did a great job queuing our first dance, and had the music fade out appropriately at the end of our waltz. We spent hours loading songs onto our IPOD for the dance, but unfortunately, he only used some of our music and improvised with his own songs. The dance ran short as well because the dinner took a while. The time we did have on the dance floor was a lot of fun, and our guests enjoyed the party. We had a quick break for the bouquet and garter toss, and quickly resumed the dance. Nicole allowed us to stay until 11pm, which was nice. Our MC invited our guests to the disco for the rest of the night. Not many of our guests went to the disco though because it was 18+ and they had children, or they decided to hang out in smaller groups after the wedding.
Overall, Nicole was great. It was at times slow to reach her through email, but she is a VERY busy lady. She was super friendly to deal with at the resort, and very efficient. She made sure to have our table overlay’s cleaned and returned to us. Overall, we were very happy with having Nicole as our wedding planner.
Finally, the overall experience at the Suites was super amazing! Our guests loved the luxuries the resort offered, and had a great family reunion as well. We would definitely return to this resort, and are now hoping to choose Iberostar when we visit other destinations.