Wedding Review of Sandals Dunn's River - 8/7/08
Posted 10 September 2008 - 07:30 PM
My husband and I are high school sweethearts. We have been together for 15 years and celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary on August 15th. We have two little boys, 8 and 5 years old. When we were married the first time around, I wanted to do the Sandals destination wedding but my husband wanted the more traditional family wedding at home. I went along with it but I told him that for our 10th anniversary, we would renew our vows at Sandals.
A year and a half before our 10th anniversary, I started looking at the different Sandals resorts to decide which one would fit us perfectly. After months of looking at the Sandals brochure and website along with reading TripAdvisor reviews (and driving my husband and friends crazy with my obsession), I finally decided upon SDR. It seemed like the perfect fit. The things high on my priority list were nice beach, nice pool, Jacuzzi tub and room service and SDR had all of these things at a more reasonable price than the other Sandals resorts. Whitehouse was a close 2nd but it cost a lot more money.
The Resort â€“ A
The resort was absolutely beautiful. It looked just like it did on Sandals website. We were completely blown away. Weâ€™re from Florida so we expected things to be similar to the beaches and scenery back home but it was definitely a lot more beautiful and the ocean just seemed bluer. There was so much to do but you could do nothing if you wanted to. There were also hammocks in cozy little areas in case the two of you want to get away from it all. For more details on the resort itself including pictures, please click this link to my review on TripAdvisor.com - Sandals Dunns River - Traveler Reviews - Absolutely amazing... - TripAdvisor.
The Wedding â€“ A
As most of you know, before you arrive at the resort, you make all of your plans through a wedding consultant in Miami. She was very helpful. She sent me photos of all of the wedding locations as well as the free and upgraded bouquets to help me make my decisions. Through her, I booked the photographer and my hair and makeup. I brought my own bouquet from home. I also made some of hanging orchids that Agape Gems used for her gazebo decorations and asked if the hotel would hang them for us. She said yes but they would charge a set-up fee. I was OK with that since I didnâ€™t want to pay a lot of money for d©cor. Overall, I didnâ€™t have any issues with the wedding consultant.
After months of anticipation, the time had finally arrived. We arrived at SDR two days before the ceremony. As all of you know, there is a little anxiety that comes along with planning a wedding at a location youâ€™ve never seen but shortly after we arrived at this hotel, I knew things would be just fine. A few hours after we arrived, someone placed an album in our room from the on-site wedding coordinators. The album contained a letter welcoming us to the property and giving us the time and date we would meet with the on-site coordinators. The album also had pictures of the different ceremony locations along with the various upgrades that were available.
The next day we met with the coordinators Sharleen and Tia-Marsha and within two hours, the entire wedding was planned. Since it was just the two of us, we didnâ€™t want to get very elaborate with the d©cor. We purchased four floral arrangements and some tulle to decorate the gazebo. We were charged a very reasonable price and she didnâ€™t even charge us to hang the orchids Iâ€™d made. Sharleen walked us over the entire property pointing out the different ceremony and reception locations. I told her that I loved the pier and asked if we could have our ceremony there. Even though it wasnâ€™t one of their usual locations, she didnâ€™t have any issues. She and Tia-Marsha even took us to the pier for at least 20 minutes discussing how we wanted it decorated. They seemed as excited about the wedding as we did. It was the first time theyâ€™d used the pier for a ceremony so they improvised with the d©cor the best they could. The location didnâ€™t need much anyway since the ocean backdrop was just spectacular.
Our wedding day was absolutely perfect! Our ceremony was set to start at 10am. My husband left the room at about 9:45am and another coordinator, Sheron, came to the room to get me around 10:05. The weather was perfect, although a little windy, but there wasnâ€™t a cloud in the sky. (One note about those hanging orchids: they do get tangled on a day as windy as ours was so you should make a lot more than you think you may need.) The ceremony went off without a hitch. The minister was great. He introduced himself to me when I arrived at the altar. He was funny and uplifting. He even mentioned our childrenâ€™s names during the ceremony. All and all, the ceremony was truly a dream come true.
After taking some pictures in various locations on the property, we headed over to the reception site. I was blown away by how beautifully it was decorated. We were not charged for any of these decorations by the way. They gave us champagne, light hors dâ€™oeuvres and a two-tiered wedding cake. We invited a couple that weâ€™d met earlier in the week and they even made room for them. Lots of the staff came out and witnessed our first dance and wished us good luck. Then they left us alone with a private waiter for us to enjoy our reception with our guests.
After returning to our room after dinner, we were greeted by balloons outside our door and the ceremony d©cor had been used to decorate our room. They had also placed the bottom tier of our cake in a box and left that in our room. The service at this place is really outstanding!
Photography - A
Before arriving, we booked a photography package of just 12 photos. Once we met with the wedding coordinator on-site, I decided to add the video. She assured us that you do not have to book everything ahead of time as the coordinators in Miami try to get you to do so adding the video at this time wasnâ€™t a problem. The photographer (a female but Iâ€™m sorry I canâ€™t remember her name) and videographer (Sheldon) were already at the ceremony site when I arrived and they stayed with us through the champagne toast and first dance at our reception. We even stopped by the Photo Shop after the reception and asked the photographer if she would take a couple of TTD shots in the ocean and she happily agreed. Although we only paid for 12 pictures, the photographer ended up taking 155! The next day, we met Kerri-Ann at the Photo Shop. She took us through all of the photos that were taken. The photos ranged from good to amazing. In a few of them, we were a little sweaty since it did get a little hot outside but what can you do? Weâ€™re in Jamaica. We picked out the 12 photos for our album and we purchased 18 more on a CD. They had also taken random pictures of us at other times during the vacation and we bought a few of those pictures as well.
When we booked the video, we told them that we wanted to play it at our AHR. It was a week after we returned but we were told the video takes 4 to 8 days to edit. They assured us that if it wasnâ€™t done by the time we left, they would ship it to our home. Sharleen said she would do what she could to rush it and we didnâ€™t think any more about it. Well, three days later while we were literally sitting on the plane waiting to take off for home, the stewardess handed us a package from Sandals. It was our wedding video, edited and ready to go. The entire vacation was over the top but that just blew us away. Sandals is completely awesome!
Salon â€“ B-
I had planned to have my hair and makeup done at the hotel but due to time constraints at home, I ended up having my nails and pedicure done there as well. My hair and makeup came out beautifully and I loved the job they did. However, I was not so pleased with the job they did on my nails. I had them to add acrylic tips, which you could tell was not something they do often. It took over an hour for them to do my nails and within a week, two of the tips fell off. I also had to pay three times what I would have paid at home. So I would not worry about the hair and makeup at all. The service was great and the price was very reasonable. However, make time to get your nails done at home.
All and all, Sandals Dunnâ€™s River gave me the best vacation and the most perfect wedding I could have dreamed of. Iâ€™d looked at hundreds of reviews and pictures of this hotel but none of them actually prepared me for how great the place truly was. Sandals definitely has the destination wedding down to a science but nothing seemed manufactured. The wedding and reception were so personal and intimate. Sandals has definitely won customers for life after the wonderful service we received on this trip. Feel free to ask me any questions.
Here is the link to our pictures. Most of them are the Sandals professional pictures.
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Posted 10 September 2008 - 07:39 PM
| Originally Posted by Agape Gems |
GORGEOUS!!! I love your dress, and the hanging orchids turned out perfect! My fav pic is the TTD pic of ya'll laying in the sand. Congrats- again : )
Thanks for your nice words MsShelley!
Posted 10 September 2008 - 07:42 PM
Posted 10 September 2008 - 07:47 PM
Posted 10 September 2008 - 07:50 PM
Posted 10 September 2008 - 07:56 PM
Posted 10 September 2008 - 08:03 PM
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