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Neema29

Neema29 Wedding Review for ROR and Sandals St.Lucia Grande

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Hello Ladies! Iâ€m back from our wonderful wedding and honeymoon! I have a long review of the Riu Ocho Rios location where we had our wedding as well as the Sandals Grande St. Lucia where we honeymooned. We had close to 60 family members and friends attend our ceremony on Friday, September 5, 2008. I would like to start by saying that I have found this forum to be my saving grace when it came to planning and gathering ideas for my wedding. The wealth of knowledge and help available here is unmatched and I would like to truly thank all of you ladies for the help you have given me. I greatly appreciate it and I hope that you find this review helpful. Thanks so much for everything!!!!!

 

Take a look at the pictures.

1. Check out our picture gallery at Brian Design - Photography & Website Design by Brian Nejedly - Ocho Rios, Jamaica

2. Go to Private wedding galleries

3. The password is “Brownâ€

 

RIU Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Overall Rating for Resort: A

 

Air Jamaica-Airline Rating: A+

At total of 27 members of the wedding party flew on the same flight out of Atlanta, GA. We had a wonderful experience with the airline – no problems at check-in, courteous staff, and a decent meal on the flight. No problems with lost or delayed luggage. To travel from the airport in Montego Bay to Ocho Rios is about 1.5 hours, but our bus driver made the drive in seem very quick.

 

Front Desk Rating: B

The front desk attendants were friendly and our check-in to the hotel was pretty smooth. They greeted us with a warm Jamaican welcome and rum punch. Sometimes we ended up calling to follow-up with some requests several times.(i.e. requested a bar stool for wedding make up to be done, a wheel chair for my grandmother, fixing a broken A/C). I would definitely suggest that if you have any elderly individual in your bridal party attendees that require a wheelchair, to request or reserve one ahead of time before you get to the resort. They do have several wheel chairs available- but none seemed to be when we arrived. We had to f/u with staff (nursing station and front desk) for about 2 days before we were able to get a wheel chair for my grandmother.

 

Room Rating: A-

We stayed in the ocean view Jacuzzi suite. The room was wonderful. We stayed in room 1364 which had a perfect view of the beach as well as the beach weddings. The only negative would be that the rooms can sometimes be damp and have a slight wet smell. I guess being that it is the Caribbean and very humid, it is to be expected. The only problem that any of our guests had with their rooms, involved my husbandâ€s (“my husband†–hmm it seems so weird saying that) parents room. They stayed in room 1161 which is also a Jacuzzi suite. The air conditioner broke in their room and water came down from the A/C unit and was all over part of the floor and in the hallway leading into the room. They offered to move my in-laws to another suite in another building if they were unable to fix the A/C, however my in-laws did not wish to move because of the view of their room. The hotel attendants at the front desk informed them that they would send a maintenance person to try and fix the problem ASAP, but no one ever showed up. Finally, my husband went to show his face at the front desk and the problem was fixed. Needles to say they were able to stay in the same room- with no further problems. A variety of our guests stayed in the junior suites as well as the ocean view and front rooms as well. I was able to go into several and they were all very nice in appearance. The house keeping staff was wonderful and very friendly- several even looked after my grandmother in her room. Calling to make sure that she was OK and if she needed anything. My dad even had a hard time believing that anything he drank in the refrigerator in his room including the alcohol would not be charged to his room..LOL. He asked us the same thing about 3 times.

 

 

Property Grounds- Rating: A+

The facility itself – entry way/lobby, gardens, beach, pools, bars- all wonderful and extraordinary

 

Food Rating: A-/B+

Most of my guests loved the food and the fact that you are offered a bit of variety. Most of the people in our wedding party only stayed about 4-5 days, so the rotation of the buffet did not get to old very quickly for them. I am guessing that if you stayed for 1 week or more that could start to be the case. I personally loved the breakfast buffet that they have daily and I never grew tired of it. The Jerk Hut always hit the spot, so if you do get tired of the buffet it is great lunch spot. I myself did not get to attend many of the specialty restaurants, with the exception of Mammee Bay Steakhouse, but many of my guests that did attend the other restaurants loved the food. We had our rehearsal dinner at Mammee Bay and they accommodated about 53 people for us, which was great. I thought the food was pretty good there.

 

Wedding Planners/Wedding Ceremony/Reception Rating: A+

Chandlyn and Nikki are awesome. We primarily dealt with Nikki the majority of our time, who is Chandlynâ€s assistant. They are very laid back and accommodating. We sat down with them for our initial consultation on the day we arrived and they took in the details that we asked for and made sure that they happened. They are timely and always followed through. For me they made me feels as if I had nothing to worry about and that we were in good hands, which means a lot to most brides (especially when most tend to be mental wrecks by the time the wedding day rolls around). We bought a lot of our own decorations for the reception and ceremony site and they did an awesome job with the set ups.

We decided on the beach ceremony and rented the huppah draped in fabric. The wedding ceremony set up was beautiful and the weather could not have been better! THE ENTIRE TIME WE WERE THERE THE WEATHER WAS AWESOME! My sister stayed a full seven days from the August 30th through September 6th and told me that the weather was great everyday (by this time Gustav had decided to move on from the previous Friday). The sky and the ocean look amazing on the pictures taken. When and if it did rain it was only brief, about 10 minutes or so, and the sun would just come right back out. So I say no worries to the brides who may be concerned about rain, if it does rain they will hold off on the ceremony until the rain stops, and then proceed with the ceremony. I saw it done a few times and the weddings were still beautiful and amazing. No WORRIES ladies! We used the steel band for 1 hour and had horâ€derves and drinks on the beach after the ceremony. I was able to play my own song I requested to walk down the aisle to (you can use a laptop or a CD- they have the equipment to accommodate both).

We did the private reception at the Plantation- which was a great choice. The buffet menu they offered had great variety and the food was excellent. We had the DJ in the same spot and it worked out great, not too crowed at all and we had about 60 people. They do have both the beach ceremony site and the reception site hooked up with a microphone. Needles to say we all had a ball! The Jamaican servers did join in with the dancing celebration and made it even more of a party- we totally welcomed it. I also rented the lovely dancers and the fire eater- that Marsha and a couple of other girls used. I think they were well worth it- all my guests raved about it.

 

I totally feel like we made the right decision to have a destination wedding. And I would not change a thing. I find myself even now wanting to relive the last 2 weeks. I really feel like my guests will always remember this vacation/wedding. Great memories have definitely been made! The RIU was amazing and I would recommend them to any future bride.

 

Hibiscus Florals Flower Rating: A+

I absolutely loved them! I feel Jackie and Mark really captured the feel of color and tropical I was going for. She did all of the bouquets, boutonnières, and corsages. I received my hair flower and decorations for our toasting flutes as a gift from Jackie, although you may not be able to see it in the pictures, my hair flower had this beautiful rhinestone center. They are an excellent choice for your real touch flowers. There website is: Lifelike Silk Wedding Flowers: Artificial Bridal Floral Arrangements Of Top Quality

 

Agape Gems Rating: A+

Courtney made all of my barefoot sandals for me and my bridesmaids. My bridesmaids loved them. She also designed wonderful pearl bracelet and pair of matching earrings to wear as well. I didnâ€t wear them with my gown since the hair flower had a large rhinestone center, but I will be wearing them at our at home reception that we will be having in October. Courtney did a wonderful job with her creations for my wedding. Thanks so much again Courtney!

 

Photographer Rating: A+

I feel Brian Nejedly did an excellent job with the pictures. He arrived about 1 hour before the ceremony and stayed throughout the entire reception. He is very professional and easy going. Definitely a pleasure to do business with. Take a look at the pictures.

 

1. Check out our picture gallery at Brian Design - Photography & Website Design by Brian Nejedly - Ocho Rios, Jamaica

2. Go to Private wedding galleries

3. The password is “Brownâ€

 

Leeâ€s Taxi and Tours Jamaica Rating: A+

We decided to a tour with all our guests on the following Saturday and we ended up going to the Bob Marley House, doing some shopping in Ocho Rios, and having lunch at a local restaurant ( I canâ€t remember the name at the moment). Norma was very helpful and I cannot say enough how professional and wonderful she is. Norma left a cell phone w/minutes for us to pick up at the hotel front desk upon check-in to call them with any questions or concerns. She also followed up on us midway through the tour at the restaurant to make sure everything was going OK. Lee Tours is a great company with an emphasis on service.

 

 

Now on to the Sandals Grande St. Lucia where we honeymooned.

 

Sandals Grande St. Lucia Rating: A+

This was our second visit to a Sandals resort- the first was to the Sandalâ€s Grand Bahamian last year. Both get my stamp of approval. The are 3 Sandals in St.Lucia: the Halcion, Regency, and the Grande. Most of the other couples that we spoke with while there, spent some days at the Halcion or Regency, and then spent the other half at the Grande property. The opinion from most of the couples that we spoke with was that they liked the Grande resort the best. The only negative is that it the furthest away from the Hewanorra airport. The drive to the hotel was about 1.5 hours from the airport. The thing I liked best was that the beach seemed somewhat secluded. It is the only resort on that far stretch of beach. They are currently doing some construction on one side of the property to add beachfront villas.

We stayed in the Rondoval suites which come with butler service. These suites are BEAUTIFUL and look just like the pictures in the adds that they post on the website! They have a private plunge pool, jacuzzi, and outdoor shower- which I used almost daily. I loved that fact that your walk to the beach was truly no walk at all. Just step out of your room, bend the corner and you were directly on the beach. The butler service was excellent- we had Toney and Immer, who were very friendly and helpful. They will take care of all your excursion, spa appointments, eating reservations, and any other events you wish to participate in. They definitely add a lot to your experience.

The food was great! We dined at Gordonâ€s on 2 nights (a must for those of you staying at ANY Sandalâ€s- The one in the Bahamas was excellent as well), had a private beach dinner one night, and dined at the Italian restaurant one night. If you have already been to Sandalâ€s before they have a Sandalâ€s select night (always Wednesday) for returning guests- and the menu is usually awesome (Steak and Lobster), so you really donâ€t have to worry about making a reservations to eat on Wednesday nights unless you really prefer to just eat somewhere else. Also on Mondayâ€s they have a beach BBQ which is huge and followed by wonderful entertainment. The entertainment includes: limbo contest, dancers, fire eaters, snakes (donâ€t be too taken aback), and steel drum band (which is quite large). I think that the beach BBQ and Gordonâ€s were my favorite dinners.

For those of you who enjoy the spa- we decided to do a couples massage which was wonderful. I tend to go for the more soothing massage and got the tropical paradise massage, while my husband got a deep tissue massage (called sports relief massage on the menu). Jardin (Immer recommended her) was the masseuse who gave my husband his massage and he loved it- so if you need a deep tissue massage I would tell you to definitely request her.

We booked an all day excursion to Soufriere, which is a must (from 8:00 AM to 5:00PM). The tour was 112$ per person and for what you did was well worth it. We traveled by bus to a nearby port. From there we boarded a catamaran and traveled by sea to Soufriere. Mind you there was plenty of music and alcohol (included) on board the boat. When we arrived in Soufriere we went to the active volcano they have there on the island, the botanical gardens, and dined at a cute little restaurant on a hill with a perfect view of the Piton mountains. From there we returned to the catamaran and sailed to a spot where we snorkeled for about 45 minutes and from there sailed back into port. We had an awesome time and I highly recommend this tour. We also went jet skiing while there as well. The jet skiing, parasailing, and water skiing were not a part of the Sandalâ€s resort, but none the less we saw many couples participating in them.

I did catch a couple of weddings there at the beach gazebo that they had. Sorry but I did not pictures of this, however, all of the weddings I saw were beautiful and have a private feel to them. The 4 weddings I saw were very small and tended to only have about 2-4 guests. The couples seemed to enjoy themselves with the dancing, cake cutting, and picture taking.

St. Lucia is a very lush and picturesque island whose beauty is definitely hard to rival, when compared to other Caribbean islands. We even decided to extend our stay by an extra day we were having so much fun. This island is definitely a great choice for a honeymoon or wedding.

 

Pictures of the Rondoval suite:

 

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Bedroom

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Bathroom

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Outdoor Area:

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Beach:

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Thanks for such a detailed review! I'm heading to ROR in six weeks and am getting nervous! I'm so glad you didn't get caught in Gustav. Everything looked beautiful! Where did you get your sand ceremony vases/sand? Did they make it home OK without blending too much? Did the minister have a sand ceremony prepared, or do I have to write something for him to read?

 

Also, did you set up a time to meet Chandlyn before you left or track her down once you got there? It's scary to read about the brides that have to hunt her down at others' weddings because she keeps blowing them off!

 

Congrats!

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Originally Posted by kate.com View Post
you are such a hottie! Beautiful dress!
Congrats to you! smile123.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by Angel View Post
Congrats, you look beautiful. I loved your colors.
Amazing pictures!
Thanks so much you guys!


Quote:
Originally Posted by ccunningham View Post
Thanks for such a detailed review! I'm heading to ROR in six weeks and am getting nervous! I'm so glad you didn't get caught in Gustav. Everything looked beautiful! Where did you get your sand ceremony vases/sand? Did they make it home OK without blending too much? Did the minister have a sand ceremony prepared, or do I have to write something for him to read?

Also, did you set up a time to meet Chandlyn before you left or track her down once you got there? It's scary to read about the brides that have to hunt her down at others' weddings because she keeps blowing them off!

Congrats!
I got the sand ceremony kit online- I can't remember the name of the site, but if you google "sand ceremony kit" you get a host of vendors that sell them and can compare prices. They did blend a bit once I got it home though. I gave the minister a copy of the flow of our ceremony, which did include the sand ceremony. However we did arrange a meeting with the reverend ahead of time to discuss flow of ceremony and he would have been able to do it without the scripted one I gave him as well. I arranged a time to meet ahead of time via e-mail with the wedding planners- and if you are unable to get Chandlyn her assisstant Nikki is always available. I never had a problem with catching up with either one of them- they tend to always be in the same places.

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Originally Posted by Trice View Post
Congratulations cheers.gif I'm a friend of Torey your new sister in law. Loved all the pictures. You made a beautiful bride. You looked like Mahogany.

Hi Trice!
Torey told me about you and that you getting married at the RIU. Thanks so much! I wish you the best with your planning- me finding this forum was a god send- you will love it.

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