**I'M BACK** (JustUsTwo AKA Yolanda) Thanks a bunch BDW Ladies!!
Posted 05 May 2008 - 10:25 PM
Anyway, here's my LONG review:
The day we arrived we had a problem with our transportation. The driver was an hour late!!! Yes, an entire hour. The staff at the dolphin cove kept telling us the driver would be there shortly, but shortly turned out to be an hour. Talk about pissed! Chris & I were beyond annoyed by the time the driver came. I actually came really close to going with another company but by the time Chris & Ii were going to do that, the driver arrived. He said there was an accident but Norma later told us that she never knew the driver was late until we arrived at the hotel & Chris called her to let her know how annoyed we were. As a matter of fact, the driver wound up being fired over this debacle! We had no idea he got fired until we saw him the day after & at the hotel, in another uniform, working for another company!
Norma felt horrible about the driver being late, and she personally went to the airport for the next 2 days, to meet the rest of our guests as they came in. She really did her best to make up for the glitch which we did appreciate. I know everyone's experience is different but we just had too many "miscues" with her in terms of communication although everything worked out in the end.
When we pulled up at the riu and walked into the lobby, Chris & I looked at each other and instantly smiled! All of the transportation drama just faded when we saw that view! It was literally breathtaking. Check in was quick & our room was ready. I thought the lobby view was amazing but when we walked into our room it was absolutely ridiculous! The room was beyond what we expected & the view was wonderful. We had a full suite, in building 3, floor 4, room 3458. On our wedding day when my mom, moh & friend came to our room they couldn't believe how nice it was. It was so spacious & perfect too for all the extra wedding stuff we had & for everyone being in my room helping me get ready on the wedding day.
Us being there a day before our guests made us know that we made the right choice by going with the riu. We couldnt imagine anyone not liking it.
If you are into pools, you'll definitely love the riu pools. As others have stated, there are 2 pools, a quiet pool which is by building 1 and then there is a more active pool which is by buildings 2/3, next to the Plantation. There was always something going on by the active pool. The staff tries to keep everyone active with music & different games.
In terms of the beach, I thought it was great. We never had a problem finding chairs, shade or umbrellas.
In terms of the nightly entertainment, the shows by the Seagrape were alright. I really only remember going 1 or 2 nights, and like I said it was ok. Again, the staff tries to keep everyone well entertained,
The disco was also ok. On our first night we really thought it was corny but I think that was beacause we got there too early. It did get much better as the dj got going & more people came in.
By the way, make it a point to not lose your safe key. You lose it & its $50 bucks for a locksmith to come change the lock! One of my guests lost their key and had to pay the price!
In terms of the restaurants, there seemed to be something for everyone. We had bkfst at St.Anns everyday. Everyone loved the omelette station. No one ever had a problem finding something to eat there.
In terms of lunch, we either went to the plantation or the jerk hut. In between those times, we had snacks at the pizzeria.
Sometimes the pizzeria was hit or miss so I figured out it was best to get there right when they opened because all of the food was just coming out.
Oh, also, on a few days, they had bbq's on the beach. Everyone loved that too.
For dinner, we loved St.Ann's again!!! I don't know what it was about St.Ann's but it seemed that we always found ourselves there. They also had a big grill set up right outside of St.Ann where they did a few specialty dishes based on the theme of that night.
We also had dinner at Sir Richard & Tushima. In terms of Sir Richard, i really didn't like it. The ambiance was nice, the food was okay and it was nice to be served but it was really slow. I was also shocked by how small it was. It had to only seat about 20 people, if that. It seemed there were only like 6 tables in there. We did it once & didnt bother going again.
Tushima was suprisingly good to me. If you're into sushi, you'll like it. My appetizer & entree were great but i didn't care for more dessert. I shouldve gotten the fried ice cream which everyone else loved. We didn't go to the chinese restaurant Mandalay, only because i didn't see anything exciting on the menu.
To be honest, for me, the best dinner that I had was on our wedding day at Mammee Bay! My entire meal was perfect. I made a point to avoid Mammee Bay before our reception cuz I wanted that dinner to be special. It was so darn good that I wanted to kick myself cuz I think I couldve eaten there everynight!
Oh, I also loved the nachos in the sports bar!
In terms of the bar, we were always at that Seagrape or the bar on the beach. All of the bartenders were great & did a good job with making us strong drinks. Our drink of the weekend was the Miami Vice & the Love Potion. The Love Potion became our wedding drink served at the reception & it was a hit!
As you've all heard from past riu brides Chandlyn is one busy woman! We didnt meet with her until the day before our wedding which was nerve racking for me as ofcourse who wants to wait until the day before to hammer out details. And please know that she doesn't contact you, you have to go look for her, rather, hunt her down! It seemed like she never had any time, she was always doing something. We finally got to her & it lasted about 20 mins.
We didn't have a rehersal the day before. We did have a welcome dinner that she arranged at St.Ann. which everyone enjoyed. After dinner we went to the bar & watched the nightly entertainment.
The night before the wedding, Chris waited until the last possible minute to get his things packed to go stay with a friend. It was hard not having him there all night. We thought that avoiding each other the next day would be easy considering how big the Riu is, but everytime I turned around it was like he was in the distance. Our mothers & my sil kept running interference everytime they thought they saw him & we managed to avoid each other.
I didnt make a trial appt for my hair, I just went 2 days before to make an appt & told the stylist what I wanted. I already had a bun so I told her I wanted something similar. She said no problem & made my appt for 1pm the day of the wedding. I washed my hair myself the night before. My moh decided to get her daughters hair done too & made her appt the day of the wedding so we both went at the same time. I must say that Audrey did a darn good job. As a matter of fact my moh told me she liked how she did my hair better than my stylist had done it at home. They also did a great job on my flower girls hair too. All in all it was about $70 for me & $40 for the fg.
After my hair, I went up to my room, my mom arrived, followed by Robin, then my moh & flowergirl, and then my gf to do my makeup. Chandlyn arrived at about 3:45-4:00 & we made our lonnnnnnnnngggg walk to the beach. When I finally got there, I loved everything that I saw. The entire set up was better than I could have imagined. At the last minute we got the covers for the chairs & that was a nice touch. Surprisingly, that was Chris' call. I just wanted the regular chairs but he made an "executive decision" and got the covers! LOL
Basically the wedding went by sooo quick. It all seems like a blur it was so quick. The one funny thing was me. I literally ran down the aisle. I don't know where I was running too, but I got down there quick. It was hilarious.
The minister did a great job. Chris & I were crying like two big babies which ofcourse made everyone else cry! It was too funny. After the ceremony, we took pics. I feel like it was a long wait for my guests from the end of the ceremony till dinner. Yes they were involved in pics, but when Robin took Chris & I alone, I felt like my guests were just watching, which felt boring. They all say it was fine, but I feel like I wish they couldve been doing something else. I think hordorves would have kept them busy but really Chris & I didnt feel like it was necessary since they'd be going right to dinner.
One problem I had is that Chandlyn is just too busy. After the ceremony, no one ever came to get us to tell us to go to the reception. And ofcourse when I say no one, I mean Chandlyn. After the ceremony, Chandlyn was mia. I literally didnt see her again until she appeared at the disco. This is what I didn't like. It's like we had no guidance after the ceremony. And ofcourse we've never done this before so we didn't know what to do & when to do it! LOL....We kinda led ourselves to the reception at Mammee Bay. I asked someone what time it was, they said 6ish so I said, lets go. We got there & there was no one around. My guests looked at me & I looked at them...lol. I just told them to sit down. I sent my moh to look for someone, she found a waiter & he said he'd be with us shortly. It was just an awkward moment. It was just hard to keep up with the timeline. Your on your own in terms of when they bring out the cake, when its cut, etc. anyway, it was all fine. Oh, we too had Newton as our server & he was great. Also, they make your bar runs for you so your guests don't have to run to the bar even though the bar was close.
We also saw lots of dinners on the beach at Seagrape & we saw Jocelyn's beach reception. It was sooo pretty. On the night of our reception we lucked out because there was some private event on the beach at Seagrape & they had a steel band playing which ofcourse we heard, so we had entertainment for our reception. I'm glad that we stuck with Mammee Bay as we had plenty of privacy.
On to the disco & dancing. No one ever came to get us to take us to the disco. At 9ish we just headed over. When we walked in there, it was hot as hell & it was stinky!!! They didn't have the ac on and the dj was just sitting there. We were like ok. We had to go get someone to open up doors & air the place out & get them to turn on the ac. It was a bit embarassing! I felt this should have been done before we got there. It was also kind of silly that after running around to get them to get the place in order, the dj made us walk out so that he could "properly" introduce us. I was like is he kidding? But they made us leave anyway.
In retrospect,I wish I had met with the dj & given him the playlist the night before. He was CORNY. As a matter of fact, I don't know if this was the case with everyone else, but we had 1 dj for the reception & then when the disco opened to the public, we had a diff dj. THANK GOD cuz when they changed the dj the party was ON! He was amazing. We literally stayed all night. Chris & I were exhaused & left at about 1am but our guests shut it down!
I used Angels for my bouquets but used Tai for the arch, standing arrangements & throw away bouquet. While I love how the arch came out I didn't care for how "green" it was. I told Chandlyn I wanted orange & blue flowers, which I did get but it wasn't as full as I would have expected. That greenery just kept throwing me off. So if you're using an arch make sure to be as specific as possible with how you want it.
Oh, ladies, also know that it is WINDY as hell on the beach! I knew that when I got there, I'd definitely be wearing my hair up cuz it was always windy on the beach. i mean, it was good cuz you were never really hot during the day with a cool breeze, but on the day of the wedding it was a pain cuz my darn veil was always flying around! At night, the wind really calms down which was really surprising.
Oh, the beach party was on a saturday. I watched it from the lobby. my guests went & participated & they had a great time. You will find that the lobby is an excellent & relaxing place to be. Chris & I literally sat there every moment we could.
We didn't have any problems with Michael or the photoshop. as you all know, Robin had some problems & I felt really bad for her. Robin is the nicest woman in the world. She is quite softspoken & doesn't like drama/conflict. So for her to have the problems that she had really sucked. She called me on the morning of the wedding telling me what a hard time she had at the wedding the day before. She was really afraid that she'd have a problem at my wedding & wanted to give me a heads up. Basically, I told Chris & we told all our guests to look out for Robin. We told them to make sure that no one bothered her & thats what they did. Its unfortunate that we had to ask our guests to do this but luckily, all went well.
We did get the video and honestly, i think the guy tried to monopolize our time so that Robin would have a shorter time with us. In terms of the video Chris thinks that our video is cheesy and doesnt understand how they charge $300 bucks for corny work. But ofcourse, I had to have it. Yes its corny/cheesy, but I really wanted it for my family that didn't make it. So it is what it is! LOL
NAMES OF STAFF WHO WERE HELPFUL:
If you or your guests have any problems, always ask for the general manager. i I didn't care for Oscar & after our initial encounter I avoided him at every chance I could. He was too arrogant for my liking. Carlos was pleasant & tried to do the best he could with our complaints, but it wasn't until we met Maximo, who was the GM, that any of our guests issues got resolved.
Basically our entire time at the Riu was just wonderful. I truly truly loved my experience & wouldn't change anything that I did. I couldn't imagine having had my wedding anywhere else. Being on the beach was amazing! At one point during the weekend I had asked Chris if we were going to come back next year for our 1 yr anniv & he said no cuz he's really not into going places twice. But by the middle of the trip, ALL of our guests said that we better plan a trip FOR EVERYONE for our 1 yr anniv cuz they all want to go back! I couldn't believe that everyone liked it that much! Chris agreed so as it stands, we're going to start planning later this year for our return.
Courtney, this is for you cuz I read what you said about you & TK being at the airpot trying to figure out how to stay an extra day in jamaica....so on the day we left, we get to the airport & check in & they tell us the flight is overbooked & they want volunteers to give up their seats. You guys dont know how quick Chris & I said "pick us, pick us!!!". We volunteered along with our best man & his date. They told us that they'd let us know at the gate. About 10 mins before boarding they call our names & tell us that we are going to stay!!! We were thrilled. We really only did it to get the vouchers they give you for future use & for the chance to fly 1st class on the next flight the next day!!! I had never flown 1st class before & was excited. We all left to go back to check in to get our luggage, when we heard them calling our best man's name over the loud speaker. Long story short, they called him & his date back. They said they only needed 4 seats instead of 6 and only kept Chris & I cuz they knew we'd just gotten married. But, for all of their trouble, they still gave the bm & his date the vouchers to use for another flight.
While the hotel they put us up in SUCKED we really enjoyed ourselves in first class on the following day. That was a real treat! It was hilarious with us trying to act like we'd been in first class plenty of times! We did't know that the meal tray folded into the armrest. We didn't know what to do with the hot towels they gave us! We didn't know what to order for drinks when they told us we could have "anything"!!! It was just too funny!
On another note, our hm in Hawaii was also wonderful & exactly what we needed. Our wedding weekend was just too short. I felt like I was always running around doing something. We always had something to do, from making sure our guests got in ok, to making sure their rooms were right, to planning tours, it was literally exhausting. So it felt great to just be alone & relaxing. Maui is definitely the island for that. We did a few things but we were simply beach bums! It just wasnt long enough.
I think I've covered everything but ofcourse if I didn't just ask away. You upcoming Riu brides have absolutely nothing to worry about. Your entire time & wedding day will be wonderful!!! There were things that I forgot at home & there were things that didn't go exactly as planned, but all I keep seeing is Chris & I at that altar, crying & laughing! Those are the memories that we talk about & smile about.
While we ended up having our ceremony on the beach, the pond gazebo really is beautiful too! And like I said, the receptions on the beach were amazing. I do have a picture of Jocelyn's reception on the beach & will post it.
Again, i couldnt have pulled this off without you ladies & your ideas. My guests appreciated the oot bags, mugs, first aid kits, fans, and pashminas. All stuff that they wouldn't have gotten had i not come across BDW & got your help.
Posted 05 May 2008 - 10:29 PM
Posted 05 May 2008 - 10:41 PM
| Originally Posted by JUSTUSTWO |
Now about the pics which I know you all want! I'm having a hard time uploading the teaser pics. When I try to attach them, it says "invalid file". I guess I'll need some help from you guys in terms of how to upload them right cuz I don't know what I'm doing wrong.
Posted 05 May 2008 - 10:45 PM
| Originally Posted by twelve_piece |
Hey! Are you using a photobucket account? If so, when you save the photos make sure they are jpeg not png file. That was giving me error messages when I tried to post Robins pics.
Posted 05 May 2008 - 10:57 PM
| Originally Posted by JUSTUSTWO |
Nope, I'm not using photobucket. I copied/saved the pics from Robin's blog directly onto my computer. I saved them in jpg format, but I keep getting that darn msg when I try to upload them onto here. Do ya think I should just bite the bullet & use photobucket?
And I just finished reading your review and you know i'm jealous that you got to stay an extra night!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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