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Msasfraz: Riu Review 9/27/08

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Ladies i had the most wonderful time ever! I am now Mrs. Norris Washington III,,,, yeah!!!!!!!!! We just got in a couples of days ago and I am still finishing up the touches of our AHR for this coming Saturday. But I know you ladies need pics of the great day so I have majority of pics on photobucket which include our TTD pics on the following day. Please see review for Riu below. I will provide honeymoon review later in the week.


Thanks so much for your thoughts and prayers ladies....


Picture website---please hit reverse order to view pics

Image hosting, free photo sharing & video sharing at Photobucket


Flight [A-]

We flew Delta airlines and the flight was ok. My TA told me to butter up the gate agent to get my dress put in a closet on the plane. The flight attendant from New Orleans to Atlanta was awesome. She took my dress with no hesitation and kept me informed the entire trip about the status of my dress, as if it were my child.  I will say traveling with the dress was a pain b/c it was so heavy. However, the flight attendant from Atlanta to Montego Bay was not so happy to assist me with storing my dress. She seemed aggravated that I even asked to use her closet to put my dress in. She kept saying that she has to go in and out of the closet so the dress will be shuffled about. I was so pissed with her but the dress was okay once we arriving in Montego Bay.


Customs/ Immigration [C]

This was my first time flying out of the country and this process was a huge pain to me. About 5 planes came in at the same time and we all stood in line for about an hour to get processed in. We made the mistake of declaring fireworks in our luggage and had to go thru the “red line†to have our bags checked. They took my sparklers for my first dance b/c I was honest. Per the customs agent, fireworks are illegal in their country. I didnâ€t know that.


Jamaica Tours Unlimited [C]

We approached the transportation desk in the far right corner after getting our luggage and the attendants were more than helpful. The guy told me hubby- to- be to break lots of beds and make lots of babies while here in Jamaica. This was ultra funny b/c he was the second or third person that told him that while we were in airport.

We are then directed toward the buses lined up outside and told to look for ‘Wesleyâ€. We get on a bus and are bombarded with flyers for free stuff and things to buy. We begin our trip to the resort which is scheduled to be a 1hr 45mins ride. The bus was air conditioned and well maintained. The driver is all over the road, riding on the bumper of cars, in and out of the lanes, passing up cars and trucks, running the red lights…. It was so scary we begin to pray and hold each others hand the entire ride. The driver did tells us about attractions on the way but we were more concerned with him focusing on getting us to resort in one piece. We stopped about half way to a rest stop and purchased jerk chicken special for $7 [which is the equivalent of one leg quarter chopped up in a million pieces]. I also bought a soda for $3 and hubby purchased a red stripe for $4. Pretty expensive rest stop so we decided not to eat or drink anything else until we arrived at resort. Oh and the driver was not shy to ask for his tip. This was expected but kinda surreal until faced with the demand for money.


Riu Resort [b-]

Check in and stay [b-]

We get off of the bus and the resort lobby is gorgeous! The view is straight to the beach, its real airy and just makes the entire bus ride forgettable. We are greeted by the bellboys with rum punch and they immediately took our bags for check in. We are processed and escorted to first room in building 2. Well this room was not the junior suite we booked. The room was nice but it wasnâ€t what I asked for. We went back to front desk and was escorted to the junior suite. This room had 2 twin beds pushed together to make a king. I was livid! I specifically had my TA send an email to Chandalyn, Wedding sales and front desk months and even weeks prior to prevent this from happening. I was royally pissed and was seriously in Bridezilla mode… I went back down to front desk and spoke to manager named Christopher. Initially he was not helpful, but then I lost all patience and professionalism that I brought with me and let him have it. After my back and forth rant for 10 minutes, he upgraded us to the Jacuzzi suite. The suite was beautiful! The bathroom was luxurious and the space that I needed for the my day. Caution to future brides: Donâ€t let them try to mess over you with what they can do. If you are bringing guests down they can do whatever it takes to make sure you and your party remain comfortable. I also had to fight to get my guests in one building b/c we were in building 1 which is on the west side of the resort and everyone else was located sparatically in building 3 on the east side of the resort. Talk about long walks. So we had to go thru 2 rooms before getting to the right room. Not a good start for the Riu b/c we had 15 more people arriving the next day and I know they were going to be pissed if this happened to them.

There is no room service and the housekeeping are always on the floors but come to room maybe every other day. They came while I was getting ready for wedding- go figure.


My room overlooked the beach gazebo so I was able to view other weddings for details and dos and donâ€ts for my day.


Food [b-]

The food was ok. I am used to Southern Louisiana cooking so it was just ok. The Italian restaurant sucks. The food is very bland and the one time we went we couldnâ€t identify the items out for service. We mostly ate at St. Annâ€s. We ate breakfast there every morning and had rehearsal dinner there. My guests mostly ate their dinners there also. We tried the beach jerk hut which was good. We had reception dinner at Mammey Bay which was awesome. My dad and FIL especially asked for seconds, many of my guests asked for second helpings at the steakhouse. Everything on the menu was awesome!


Renova Spa [A+]

I had a massage on the Friday for my birthday. The therapist was awesome. He was very professional and sensitive to the forbidden area. They were not booked at all and I was able to book the day of service with no problems. The bridal discount only applies to hair styles. I did see a bride getting her hair done and they did a great job on her updo. It was very neat and pretty, the prices are just different when you get there… in odd number prices like 75.83 -116.34.


Chandalyn [A+]

She is truly a gem! She had all my emails for the décor details, cake, cermony verbiage, etc. She had a checklist that she went over that covered things that I discussed with her early on and even things I had changed my mind on. She is very detailed. I emailed her my ceremony verbiage before I left b/c I was having printer problems and she confirmed the final version prior to meeting with the minister. Shortly thereafter I was able to meet the minister and Nekisha to confirm ceremony details. I gave her pictures of the gazebo setup, reception dinner setup, and cake setup that I wanted so she can mark up where I wanted things to go. I paid her with credit card for minister fees and florist but she preferred cash for aisle runner to avoid 16.5% processing fee.

The minister was awesome as well. He went over the ceremony flow and suggested some changes for organizational flow. We did use his suggestions but the programs were already printed so I was ok with it. Suggestion for future brides try have your ceremony verbiage printed early on so you can get minister to review and provide his critiques before printing programs.


Rehearsal dinner

The dinner was at St. Annâ€s no charge. I had a meltdown here b/c the remainder of my guests got in late due to customs and drive to resort so we missed 6pm rehearsal. I found out my dad didnâ€t have his brim hat or shoes so I simply lost on him and my mom. I was so pissed b/c I thought all the traditions that we could try to savor were lost. I was able to give out welcome bags at dinner but I was not happy and my friends could sense it. My co-worker and maid pulled me outside and I began to cry b/c of above situations and it was my 30th birthday so I was even more pissed. Anywho, we ate dinner and everyone left to go on their different outings. Letâ€s just say the night before was a long and draining night for me.


TaiFlora [A]

My bouquet was ok. The mini lilies were not as full as I expected but were nice nonetheless. My gazebo arrangement were gorgeous! They did a really great job. I received bouquet about noon and gazebo arrangement were put up by Chandalyn and florist. They also transported arrangements to steakhouse for reception décor.


Ceremony [A]

Well the day was beautiful, but short of perfect. My guests came in late on Friday so we couldnâ€t have rehearsal until Saturday morning. Hubby was pissed the day before b/c one of his groomsmen flight was cancelled/overbooked out of Charlotte and rerouted to Philly. He arrived 30 mins prior to 2pm ceremony. Photographer showed up on time but was hogged by inlaws so some of my special moments were missed/halted until he came back to my room. I had to wash my hair the morning of b/c my hair was really oily from the humidity in Jamaica. Do not get your hair done prior to arrival. Just go to the Spa or prepare to do it yourself if time permits. The electricity seems to be a lighter voltage their b/c my hair dryer and hot rollers were barely hot. I was frustrated but then overheard my wedding music downstairs and it was ok. I began to feel like a blushing bride!


Well the worse happened and it began to rain 20 mins prior to ceremony. So hubby and groomsmen were escorted to Mamme bay for rain delay and I was asked to remain in my room. Photographer took pics of me as distraction. I was fairly calm during it all. Hubby said he thought I wasnâ€t coming . Well it was time for me to walk down and Nekisha lead the way. I came down the stair well for ease of walking with dress. When I got downstairs there was an audience of beach goers staring and taking pictures. I was at the poolside area where I could see the gazebo and my wedding party walk down. I took my time and gathered myself prior to taking my walk to meet my dad. I would say wait at least 45 secs for your song to play before walking down. I walked up the aisle and everything was just as I wanted. The flowers were in there place, my parsol, my sand ceremony frame, rose petals and programs on each chair. And my hubby was so handsome I just wanted to eat him up right there in front of everyone. It was all so perfect!


Minister read verbiage exactly as written and his prayers were so fitting for us. My coworker read a scripture reading from 1 Peter about husbands and wives which made me reflect and feel so blessed. Sand ceremony went fine. It was simply wonderful.


We were able to use microphone, speakers and cd player from Chandalyn for our music. We rented the aisle runner from Chandalyn. I did see the steel drum band on another wedding and they were ok but I donâ€t think they are worth the $350 they charge for maybe 45 minutes. I also saw the photoshop guys and they seemed to be in the way. When the photographer was snapping pics the videorgrapher was in the way. They just seemed unorganized. However, I regret not videotaping the ceremony b/c I missed the beginning but I donâ€t think it was worth their charge either.


We had champagne and rum punch toasts after ceremony at gazebo. Free pkg includes 2 bottles of champagne. We paid for an extra bottle. Late groomsmen gave a toast and then all the pics commenced. We didnâ€t have poolside reception after b/c everyone was tired from the heat and the morning of activities. We stayed on the beach for about 2 hours taking pics and actually almost interrupted the 4pm wedding. Photographer took us in the foyer and beach bar areas for additional pics. We took pics in the lobby and on the way back to building one.


Reception dinner [A]

The table was set up exactly as I requested. All my décor provided to Chandalyn and Nekisha that morning was set up at no charge. It was stunning. My guestplate table and cake table were beautiful. I didnâ€t have name cards, I just asked everyone to sit wherever and letâ€s enjoy this time.

The food was awesome but in small portions so eat what you can and just go somewhere else after. I had to wait on my parents b/c they went back to their room and fell asleep. My FIL and groomsmen got a hold of some of the natural herbs and were kinda influenced at dinner. ….All in all dinner went great. Oh wait, at the beginning of dinner Chandalyn calmly tells me the baker put yellow dots all over the cake. I didnâ€t stress I asked if it could be fixed and she said no problem mon. However, the cake looked pretty but tasted awesome. The icing was not real, it was the whipped and the chocolate is not real chocolate. It tasted like german chocolate with whipped cream. I hated it! Future brides if cake is important to you you may want to go off resort.



We had a weird night at first. We arrived at 10p which was too early for Jamaican time but we used the free shuttle on the wedding night. The music at first was early 90s, like Ja Rule, Shaggy, etc… old stuff like at least 15 years old. Around about 11:45 they began playing current US music and reggae. We actually heard current hip-hop music. It was nice. Hubby states it would be cool if the drinks werenâ€t so expensive. It is an outside bar so be prepared, no AC with a pool in the middle.



We went here after we came back from Margaritville. It was really dark and smokey, sweaty even. We stayed for about 15 mins prior to closing just to get drinks bc bars were closed. I wouldnâ€t rent it just seems to dark.


Bars [A]

I think all the bars were awesome, even the Sports Bar for drinks [not the wet ass sandwiches and stale nachos they have] Please get a Miami Vice wherever you go in Jamaica. Itâ€s a sneaky drink, not string at all… The bartenders are appreciative when you tip maybe 2-3 bucks.


I hope this review helps future brides. Please enjoy the pics!

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Congratulations. I am glad everything turned out nice for you.

Sounds like there were a few blunders but you got through them.

Pics were great. You look very nice and soo happy.

Thanks for the review :)

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Hey, thanks for the wonderfull review, im sorry that you had some downs, but overall I see you had an awsome time! Can't wait to get home and watch your pictures, cause I can;t look at them at work..grrr

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Congrtas. Your pictures are so pretty. Great review sorrry fo some bad moments but overall it sounds like a great time.

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Welcome back & Congrats Mrs!!!

Your pics are really beautiful. The colors are great. Love the BM dresses & the touch of blue with the flowers in their hair. And you & hubby looked wonderful together.

And those TTD pics...hot!

Glad that you had a great time despite a few mishaps.

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Congrats on being a Mrs! Your pictures are great. Loved the orange dresses with the bright blue flowers - very pretty!

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