I found this review on The Knot today and thought I'd post.
Travel Agent Hayley Whorral/Beach Bum Vacation: A++++++++++++++++
There are NO words to describe how wonderful Hayley and her team are. Hayley was a life saver, wedding planning and travel agent rolled into one. Not to mention she just "got" me.
Example 1: Hayley and I both had issues with the Miami coordinator during my planning process. She went to her boss and worked everything through her. Every single time I had a question, she skipped right over the Miami coordinator and got my answers immediately.
Example 2: When grandmother cancelled less than a week before we left, Hayley got her a full refund (minus the insurance) and also got me reimbursed for my grandmother's meals for our private dinners
Example 3: Sandals lost my dad's luggage (very rare) during the transfer on the bus. Because he had purchased trip insurance through Hayley, he was entitled to $800 worth of replacement items. Sandals eventually found and returned my dad's luggage (it went to the wrong resort by mistake, nothing was taken).
Example 4: When Beaches wanted to charge my MIL to have our OOT bags delivered ($3.00 a bag for bags for 9 rooms!), Hayley made a call and the fee was waived.
I really cannot say enough about her. She always let me know when she wasn't going to be in town and gave me another Beach Bum to contact. She is very responsive to emails and took my phone calls on a couple of different occasions late at night and on a Sunday. She made my WHOLE life easier during the planning process. She remembered and reminded me of things I didn't think about and when she did a resort visit, sent me pics and assured me things were gorgeous (she was right!).
She also sent us flowers the day of our return, wishing a happy marriage! Amazing!
Beaches Negril Onsite Coordinator, Andrea: A
Although, some girls take the stance that Sandals/Beaches is "unoriginal" or "drive throughish," it is really all up to you. They will do ANYTHING you want. Although they do move on "island time" everything came together perfectly.
We chose our music, location and flowers on Friday a.m. She gave us a tour, we talked about optional upgrades ($340 for arch decor) and our Welcome Dinner and Reception Brunch.
She made everything just right. They provided a sound system for free for us for both events so we could play mixed CDs we made. She gave us DOUBLE the amount of food we actually ordered for both meals.
By the way, they have menus you can choose from but we specially created our own via email (and through Hayley). They quoted us prices on our food choices, we prepaid per person ($25/pp for reception and $30/pp for WD). It included two hours of open bar and desserts as well. But as I said, she didn't think I had chosen ENOUGH food, so she threw it in! Awesome!
Beaches Negril Staff: B+
Wonderful, easy going and fabulous. They called us EVERY DAY (almost annoying) to find out how we were doing, if we needed anything, if we were happy. The only reason they get the B+ is because they LOST my dad's luggage on the transfer. But out of 25 people, I didn't think that was too bad. Thankfully he had what he needed for the wedding and they did FIND it but not until the last day. It wasn't a big deal to him, so it turned out fine.
Beaches Negril Steaming Service: C
I know this is something everyone has to worry about, so my suggestion is to turn your dress over IMMEDIATELY upon arrival at your resort. I waited until Friday afternoon and didn't get my dress back until about 40 minutes before the ceremony which really freaked me out. It was my fault, I know, but they get a C because they didn't unbustle my gown, so unbustled, it was still VERY wrinkly. I was disappointed I had to pay $55 for such a crap steam job and they took so long to get it back to me even though they KNEW when my wedding was.
Welcome Dinner and Food: A
Like I said, they doubled what I ordered. It included swordfish, jerk chicken, hamburgers and hot dogs, corn on the cob, green beans, a wide array of desserts, fruit tray, salad with dressings, and open bar. It was PLENTY considering we had only ordered the BBQ foods.
The staff was great, keeping us on time and they roped off a private area overlooking the resort's main pool so we weren't interrupted. They brought in a sound system so we could play our CDs. A photog was there to take pics (we didn't see any).
Wedding Officiant: A+
He was a reverand which made Erich happy because he wanted a more religious ceremony. He led us through our traditional vows, introduced Iric (our nephew and reader), and then we said our own. He quoted passages from the Bible and made our ceremony as personal to us as he could without knowing us. It was great. Like I said, they will do whatever you want.
Clearly, it was perfect. Perfect weather. The beach location at Beaches is near the end of the resort property. It is public, but the staff keeps people from walking too close or behind the arch during the ceremony. Yes, people can see you but it makes it special almost. They are just looking on. I didn't even notice anyone; I just saw Erich looking down the aisle at me and it made everyone else disappear.
They also offer a gazebo that is more secluded and overlooks the beach. It is very popular with a great aisle. But I loved having it on the beach. It was great!
Reception and Food: A
It was held privately although on the beach under a canopy. It was very romantic and fun. No one invades your space, as most people are respectful. We didn't even notice everyone around us although I'm sure they noticed us. they set up fabulous tables and covered the chairs (even though I didn't pay the $5.00 per chair!).
We served brunch, had an open bar and had a cake made for 25 people. It was SO good!! The cake was chocolate and creamy. Everyone really liked it.
It was perfect FOR us. I know Sandals/Beaches isn't for everyone, but considering our guests, it was wonderful. They had plenty to do for everyone there. A great disco and piano bar for the late night partiers, which my friends are and Sesame Street stuff for the kids, which rocked our niece's world.
The rooms were nice. There is a water park for everyone, hot tubs, adult only pools, swim up bars, and it is just nice not carrying your wallet. We didn't tip anyone except our driver from the airport to the resort.
If you want something simple, easy and fun, Sandals and great. I didn't have anything over the top. I didn't take a lot of decor (just the parasols and flowers) and I did bring in my own photog, who paid his own way and was technically a GUEST.
That is how we got around the photog issue. It worked out VERY well. He didn't get in anyone's way and we got everything we wanted.
The beach in Negril is phenomenal and a perfect backdrop for sunset wedding or early a.m. (which is what we did).
I highly recommend this resort for your wedding if you are still considering. They just make it simple on you. It doesn't mean it's not unique. You make it your own with the small details. I set up all the chairs in one row. The Welcome Dinner was nice and relaxing and a great way for people to meet. Having an AI was perfect for my alchi friends who love to eat and DRINK and the timing was awesome, in Feb.
TOTAL COST for the WEDDING (includes WD, reception and honeymoon - total 10 days) - $7,000
Reception and WD - $1400
Room for 2 + Airfare - $2400/per couple (3 nights)
Room for 4 + Airfare - $1000/pp (3 nights)
If you have any questions, please let me know specifics. I am sure I left something out!
OVERALL: A+ (wouldn't have it any other way)
Beaches Negril: Full Wedding Review
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