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*The official St. Lucia Brides CHAT thread*


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#451 MEve

MEve
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  • 36 posts

    Posted 31 March 2011 - 08:09 AM

    I NEED HELP!!! Everything is falling apart!  People can't commit that much in advance, and so many will need land-only that we can't even get the group rate (we need 10 passengers taking the whole package deal - flight+hotel)!  I feel like everything we did was backwards!  We are trying to figure out who can come, yet we haven't even sent our invitations!  I need to know how you guys all planned your bookings, because I am VERY confused.  Do we just forget it about the group booking, send our invitations for people to call our travel agency and figure out if they can come?  We might back out with Sandals, they are too much of a pain to deal with!  I mean, if you want to be in the destination wedding business, shouldn't you be able to understand the fact that not everybody in this world invited to a wedding is in a relationship???

     

    Suddenly our weekend visit to St.Lucia will take on a whole other purpose than scouting out.  We'll be freakin' shopping for another venue!!!



    #452 Julee

    Julee
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      Posted 31 March 2011 - 03:03 PM

      MEve,

       

      Sorry to hear that things are going a bit sour.  How we managed it was to confirm with first our family who would be going...since they are the most likely to spend the money to attend.  We also put together a list prior to sending out invites and did some verbal questioning about interest.  We had done some homework and gotten approximate pricing etc so that it would be useful to the conversation.  Once we had a rough idea we settled on location.  I guess we're lucky in that we're not booking through a resort.

       

      Many of the airlines, Westjet included offer group rates where guests and family are just supplied with a booking number.  American Airlines you can book online and use this code and Westjet and Air Canada you need to call their special booking reservation 1-800 number to book using your group code (which is helpful because then your guests can do the leg work themselves).  Really, you can just pre-call them, let them know that there are 10 guests and they will supply you with this code, with or without actual numbers and you will not be penalized.  I have found that many travel agencies are more a hassle then a blessing. 

       

      Good luck and if you have any more questions, please ask.



      #453 Monica Mai

      Monica Mai
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      • 66 posts

        Posted 31 March 2011 - 05:30 PM

        Oh MEve!!  So sorry to hear you're having to go deal with all this. We didn't do group rates b/c the hotel we recommended to the guests (Jalousie Plantation) required at least 10 rooms booked and 50% nonrefundable deposit down and we didn't have enough people who were coming. We kinda already knew who was going to be able to come or not (my pushy friend I told you about earlier pretty much just invited herself to the wedding but thats another story). We had about 40 people say they were going to come, but now its only 18 including us.  We didn't do airline bookings either just because all our guests are coming from all over the US and using different airlines.  I agree with Julee about travel agencies.. . .after my dealings with my travel agent, I have vowed to never ever use one again. Maybe you should look into other hotels/resorts. . . .one of my friends is getting married at Windjammer this May and another co-worker of mine stayed at the Calabash Cove and said it was great-- she had a villa right on the beach. 

         

        I've been working like 12 hour days this week plus working on wedding stuff so feeling kinda run down-- thank goodness tomorrow is Friday.  Got great news from the hotel though!! I requested their "ultra-exclusive" hilltop suite months ago and just found out we are guaranteed the room!! It was an additional area for pictures and I'll be able to make my grand entrance through this beautiful wooden door rather than walking up some steps. SUPER HAPPY about that piece of news!! 

         

        Spending this weekend buying some cute outfits and PACKING! 

         

        Monica



        #454 wilsonj2

        wilsonj2
        • Jr. Member
        • 191 posts

          Posted 01 April 2011 - 06:47 AM

          MEve, sorry you're having so much trouble!  We are getting married at Sandals, and we booked through a well-recommended TA.  She has been FANTASTIC, and if you want her info, I can send it to you.  We did not do a "package deal," since Sandals doesn't discount the resort costs anyway, so everyone is booking the resort through our TA and booking airfare either through her or on their own when they find a good deal.

           

          At first, so many people said they wanted to come, but many have backed out now.  I don't think we'll get the ten rooms (and all the perks that come with that), but that's okay.  We sent out invitations to everyone we wanted to invite.  We're still not sure how many will actually book, but we don't really have to know until May.  This makes it hard to plan ahead, but I'm okay with that because I'm a teacher and won't have the time until May anyway.  We have developed a very laid-back attitude with this whole destinationg wedding thing....I think you have to!

           

          I don't know if I answered your questions or not, but let me know if you think I can help more.  I have been MIA because I have had so much on my plate lately.  First shower today :)  It's getting really exciting now...


          July 2011 ~ Sandals Grande St. Lucian

          #455 LilyRose

          LilyRose
          • Jr. Member
          • 202 posts

            Posted 01 April 2011 - 12:15 PM

            MEve, sorry for the stress...I swear you will feel better soon on the sunny beaches of St.Lucia.

             

            Here is how we did it with our group booking for our wedding in July 2011

             

            February 2010: Engagement and resort research

            July 2010: Booked FiancĀ© and I directly with the resort, just to secure our wedding date. (no other passengers)

            June to November 2010: Design of the invitations (not including the TA info and price, but just the wedsite address.)

            Early November 2010: Our passport invites arrived and we posted them ASAP

            Meanwhile, I started to look for the best deal.  A TA from this forum helped me and we booked with her.  10 passengers deposits were required to hold the group. I then put the info on our wedsite so people could see the price when they received the invite.

             

            In late November, 5 passengers paid their deposits and then we paid the 5 other deposits (150.00 each).  Our group rate was all inclusive with Air Canada Vacations (flight, hotel, and food.)

             

            We had an early booking bonus December 15, so 9 other guests booked that day.  We got our (150.00$ X 5) deposit back.

             

            Then I checked the price online often to see a price reduction.  With our deal, we had a chance to do a one time price reduction.  Our amazing TA was able to get a lower rate, 300$ lower per person in March.  Unfortunately, this new rate applies to new bookings and we were able to get that rate for only 25% of the already booked passengers.  We decided to split this difference to all passengers who had already paid.  They will have a certain amount on their credit card.

             

            Now we have 16 guests booked, all with the AC Vacations package.  For me, in Canada, it seems that it would have been even cheaper if I would have waited in February 2011 instead of November 2010 to do my group bookings.   The AC package was really advantageous comparing to booking directly with the resort.

             

            According only to my experience, it seems that you are very in advance for your group booking. I realized that sending my invites 9 months was even more than needed.  If I were you, I would wait since the price for 2012 are not probably out yet anyways. Use the 2011 prices to give you an idea if the resort is realistic or not.

             

            Good luck  and keep us posted!

             

             

             



            #456 Monica Mai

            Monica Mai
            • Newbie
            • 66 posts

              Posted 01 April 2011 - 10:02 PM

              LilyRose are you getting excited? Did you book a package at Jade? We are spending the honeymoon part of our weddingmoon at Jade and booked the Total Romance package. Your wedding is going to be soooo amazing. Are you going to have the ceremony at the Celestial terrrace?  Happy planning to you and cant wait to see your pics!! The architecture of the place is A-Mazing!! 

               

              Monica



              #457 Lees

              Lees
              • Newbie
              • 9 posts

                Posted 02 April 2011 - 08:41 AM

                Hi Lily Rose, congratulations on your up coming wedding!!! I am also from Vancouver and in the beginning stages of planning our destination wedding for next Feb or March 2012! We actually just got engaged in Hawaii three weeks ago! We would love to go to St Lucia for our wedding but are concerned with the price for our guests. It just seems like it would be more affordable if we did Mexico as their are charter and direct flights from out west but we want something different. Were you faced with the same dilema? Any advice would be much appreciated, I'm feeling so overwhelmed just trying to pick a location thats going to please everyone! Which travel agent are you working with? Would you recommend them? Any feedback would be most helpful! Thanks so much;)



                #458 LilyRose

                LilyRose
                • Jr. Member
                • 202 posts

                  Posted 03 April 2011 - 10:06 AM


                  Hi Monica Mai!

                   

                  You are so nice to ask me about the wedding!  Yes, I am getting very excited.  I can't wait to be there.  We still have a lot to do before July.

                  Yes, I booked directly with the resort and we have 7 nights in the Total Romance Package!  It's such a nice package with awesome perks!

                  I found out that this week that Jade Mountain have updated their menu online. The food looks so lovely and yummy!  Take a look to the 78 pages menu (yes, 78 pages!) http://www.jademount...com/dining.html

                  Click on the link : "Download sample menus". I think that all inclusive is the way to go since you have access to a lot of specialty meals and drinks. Yes, we are planning to have our wedding on the Jade Mountain Terrace.  I do not know yet where I will do the reception though.

                   

                  For all St.Lucia brides looking for a photographer, I have been in contact with Mikael Lamber this week.  His wife, Julie, is answering my emails very quickly and I feel good about the fact we can contact him before the wedding.  Their price are very advantageous.  I am strongly thinking about using him instead of our resort photographer.

                   

                  The group bookings and the wedding dress are the major stress elements right now.  Our price dropped but only new passengers can enjoy it.  So it seems unfair to the 14 other. 9 of the received a little credit and the 5 of them who have paid their deposit but not the balance will have to pay the original price.

                   

                  I have received my wedding gown but it's too big so I am sure not if I still like the fit on me.  The store told me that it will look completely different when the alterations will be done.  I really hope that this is true!

                   

                  Monica Mai, your wedding is this month...very soon!  Can you keep us posted before you go so we can think of you on your special day? And we surely want to hear from you when you return!  YOU GONNA HAVE THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE!  I'm so excited for you!  Enjoy each minute of it!  You will be such a gorgeous bride!

                   

                  LilyRose

                   

                   

                  Originally Posted by Monica Mai 

                  LilyRose are you getting excited? Did you book a package at Jade? We are spending the honeymoon part of our weddingmoon at Jade and booked the Total Romance package. Your wedding is going to be soooo amazing. Are you going to have the ceremony at the Celestial terrrace?  Happy planning to you and cant wait to see your pics!! The architecture of the place is A-Mazing!! 

                   

                  Monica


                   

                   



                  #459 LilyRose

                  LilyRose
                  • Jr. Member
                  • 202 posts

                    Posted 03 April 2011 - 11:30 AM


                    Welcome to the forum Lees!

                     



                    Hi Lily Rose, congratulations on your up coming wedding!!! I am also from Vancouver and in the beginning stages of planning our destination wedding for next Feb or March 2012! We actually just got engaged in Hawaii three weeks ago! We would love to go to St Lucia for our wedding but are concerned with the price for our guests. It just seems like it would be more affordable if we did Mexico as their are charter and direct flights from out west but we want something different. Were you faced with the same dilema? Any advice would be much appreciated, I'm feeling so overwhelmed just trying to pick a location thats going to please everyone! Which travel agent are you working with? Would you recommend them? Any feedback would be most helpful! Thanks so much;)



                     



                    #460 LilyRose

                    LilyRose
                    • Jr. Member
                    • 202 posts

                      Posted 03 April 2011 - 11:37 AM

                      Oh, do you know if we can edit our posts once they are posted?

                      I am sorry about that but I make a lot of grammar mistakes when writing since I'm still learning English!

                      Hopefully you do not have a headache after reading my posts!

                      My English is always better after a few drinks so maybe next time....LOL

                       

                       

                      Thanks,

                       

                      LilyRose






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