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ROR Wedding and Resort Review

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#1 JamaicaBrideToBe

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    Posted 20 January 2009 - 04:05 PM

    Hi everyone, we have been back home for a couple of days and Im finally getting settled in. Feel free to ask any questions.

    We flew Sunquest from Canada direct to Jamaica. We had a 2.5 hour delay getting out of here so it set our arrival from 7:55am to 10:30am. The airport was fairly straight forward, we got our bags and got on our bus and off we went. The buses are not all that organized, they didn't have a list of names or even a count of people, but that's sort of the start of a mind set you will soon learn. The driver was hilarious, and we also had a helper in the back that sat with the luggage and enternained those of us at the back, also noted landmarks along the way. The drive is not bad at all. They will stop at a stand but unless you don't mind spending more than you are used to then I would wait the extra half hour and get a red stripe at the hotel.

    Check in was very simple, we got in on a Saturday, everything was there waiting for us. There is a line up to get your room number and then a second line up to get your key, you will then tag your luggage with your room number and they will bring your bags to your room.

    I called Chandlyn to let her know we were here. We were going to meet that day but she was very busy and we arrived late (we were going to meet right away) it was actually a good thing cause we were tired. We did meet later on around 6pm to go over everything, we had all of our decisions already noted over email so basically it was confirming details and number of guests on and off the resort, literally took about 10 min. We had to confirm numbers with her so she gave us an idea on price based on our estimated 108 guests and said to confirm it with her on Monday and we would pay her at that time as well. She was great, very calm and collected for the amount of work that she actually does. Her office is huge in order to accomidate anything that brides bring. We were able to bring up all of our centerpieces, candles, programs, fans etc. I just put a note on them as to what goes where and left them with her on Monday night.

    Our first room was in building 3, which surrounds the pond gazebo. The room was beautiful, we had a full and true King Size bed and another Double bed (I think this is because we booked as 2 adults and 1 infant with a 6 month old)The next day we went to the front desk and politely asked if we could have a room upgrade, they asked what room we were currently in and said that they could but we would have to come back tomorrow morning. We went back at 9am and the person we spoke to was busy checking in some guests and apolized and said to come back at 1 and he will have something for us. So we did, and he gave us a room key to go over to building 1 and take a look at a room. Building 1 overlooks the beach gazebo, for a smaller wedding party or a bride and groom that want to be away from their guests this would be a beautiful spot. The room was a Jr. Suite and it was very pretty, however, with all that we brought having a baby and with 5 bridesmaids and a flower girl to get ready on our day we would need something a little bigger. We went back to him and thanked him, told him it was gorgous but if there is a possibility to get something a bit bigger we would really appreciate it. We did follow to let him know that our wedding is 100+ people, he then gave us another room key, this time in building 2 which is right in the center of the resort. We got a suite this time, it was perfect, very large, and a huge wrap around balcony with a beautiful view. We went back and thanked him. My fiance asked him for an envelope and gave him $50 back for thanks - this was not something he expected and he was very grateful to us the whole time we were there. Our friends and family for the most part were in building 2 as well, so it was a treat to just be a stones through from everyone. They were all very happy with their rooms, the few that had complaints (1 had ants around the kitchen area and one had a sewer smelling bathroom) asked to get moved and the hotel moved them the next day. I will say, we would have been fine in a standard room - I wouldn't pay to upgrade, the jr suite is not much bigger and you barely spend any time in your room.

    Our wedding was Tuesday, January 6th. Myself and 2 of my girls as well as my Mom booked a mani and pedi at the spa, it wasn't great, but it was good enough for pictures. The morning of the wedding I had an appointment for a body wrap at 9am and my Mom and 1 of the girls had an appt to get their hair done. I LOVED the wrap and would have taken that over a massage any day. It included a full body scrub, the wrap to lay nice and cozy and make your skin silky soft and then full lotion applied - it took an hour and a half. Next I went to see Niki for my up do and my MOH saw Melrose - I didn't have a pic or an idea of what I wanted, I trusted her to do my hair as I have read so many great reviews I didn't even worry. All I said was I wanted it all up and out of my face, she did a beautiful job and it stayed put the entire day. I also found out that she is pregnant - so I promised her at the end of my stay I would come and give her all of my baby stuff left over from my 6 month old. I did, and she was so greatful.

    Then comes the wedding day - I will note that my husband is a born Jamaican and moved to Canada at age 13. He still has family in Jamaica as well as family here that flew down to attend but did not stay at the hotel. Of 108 guests there were 35 staying at the hotel, the remaining guests came on a $50 day pass. Well if there is anything to know about Jamaicans - they are NEVER and I repeat NEVER on time. Our time slot was 2pm and I made sure they all knew that this time they have to be on time as there is a wedding scheduled for 4. Well, Chandlyn called at 10 to 2 and asked if we were ready, she said she will head down at 2 to see how many people are at the gazebo. Geez....she called and said there were 5 people!!! I had a bit of a breakdown, but gave it a few minutes, fixed my make up and had a shot of rum with my girls (seriously!) and I came to terms with it. She said we can give it some time, anyway, she called at 2:45 and said Nikki was on her way to get us. So, we made our way down, walking down the hallway I see my husbands Dad doing circles in the lobby and about 15 of our male friends sitting at the bar having a drink. They were all smiles when they saw me, I asked them what the heck they were doing and they said waiting for me!!! anyways, they got to the site...the ceremony was beautiful in the end. We did red ribbons on the chairs, the standard flowers (birds of paradise) and the white tulle. We had the steel drum band as well as the videographer. The minister did a great job and led us through the Sand Ceremony perfectly. At the end of the day it was as good as it gets. Unfortunatly, we had to get out of the area right away, we did have drinks set up for a toast but since they were so late we had to clear out so they could set up for the next wedding. We started our pictures from there and did a 20 minute touch up and off to our reception we went.

    My girls all went down to check the set up prior to guests arriving. They did it PERFECT!!! Exactly what I asked for. The poolside reception was perfect, the location was romantic and private. We had a DJ and equipment, we had buffet meal but the bridal party and parents table was served. There were servers to handle drinks and we also had a champagne toast. The cake was beautiful - we ordered Rum cake which is a traditional jamaican cake - it was perfectly done and there were hopes that everyone could take some home they loved it so much. You can see by the pictures how the head table was set up, keep in mind we also had 12 tables, 6 on either side. Ever single person was very impressed.

    We went on to the Disco at about 12pm, many of the people called it a night but there was about 20 or so that shut the place down, it was a great night.

    Hotel food was quite good, we ate at St. Ann's more often than not, the Jamaican Corner is really good, especially if you are familiar with Jamaican dishes or at least willing to try something new. Througouht the week they have a different feature each night. 2x we were there they had lobster tails, and 2 other times they had seafood dishes cooking in the hallway as well. We had Mammee Bay twice and it was excellent, the snapper and the steak were impressive. We had Mandalay Bay and it was alright. We didn't make it to any of the other restaurants. The last week there though we really started to get sick of the food, there is a hole in the wall restaurant in Ochi called Mom's Homestyle Restaurant - if you want some really good authentic jamaican food it's worth going, just know that it is nothing fancy, just good food. The average dish is about 5US. We went there the last 4 nights in Jamaica, it's a popular spot for tourists that ask for a place to get authentic food. They treat you very well.
    If you are in town and you hear the whistle - thats the peanut man, he's selling roasting peanuts and it costs 50 Jamaican Dollars for a bag - it's a treat!! They call him Nutsy. Also, if you find the Jerk Chicken drum, that is the most authentic Jerk Chicken you will find anywhere - it has a smoked taste to it because of the drum they cook it in, that was 250 Jamaican Dollars, they give it to you wrapped in tin foil and you can take it back to the hotel or eat it on the street. They call him Jerky. Man, I love Jamaica.

    We went to Ocho Rios and Dunn's River to do our Trash the Dress the next day - I'm very impressed with our results, might I add, my dress is cleaner now than it was the evening of our wedding. There was a cruise ship in so we couldn't go past the top but that was okay We then went to the beach at the bottom of the falls to get our beach shots done. We did have our own photographer and to be honest I'm so impressed with her pictures that I am very glad we did. The videographer did a great job as well. The DVD will be nice to show our friends and family who couldn't make it.

    So, outside of the wedding stuff thought I would share a few pointers. We stayed for 2 weeks, with a 6 month old. We had a lot of laundry that needed to get done, the hotel charges a stupid amount (2-7US per piece) there is a laundrymat in Ocho Rios that you can take your clothes to, drop them off and go to the market while you wait, pick them up and get your cab back. We did a large load of whites and a large load of darks and it came to 1350Jamaican which is about 16.00US. A cab should cost you about 25-30 for a return trip, they will drop you off and then you give them a time to pick you up in the same spot. They are in the yellow shopping complex near the supermarket.

    The craft markets will really jack the price on tourists, you can be comfortable paying 1/2 or less what they are asking for. Your best bet is to go to the Cambio exchange and get Jamaican money and pay for as much as you can that way. When I was there last week the US exchange was .80 - that's a very good rate. There is a Cambio right on the main street in front of the craft market.

    If I can give an opinion about the Seagrape reception. There was a few going on while I was there. They set up and look beautiful but unless you have a DJ with loud speakers I don't know how you can not get annoyed with the sound of the evening show in the background, plus there isn't much privacy since you are right below one of the main evening bars and onlookers really do just sit there and stare. Plantation is more private but I did notice that there can be a few weddings going on at once. Not sure how that sits with other brides, I'm sure they set it up well but I couldn't tell just by looking. Myself and a few other friends got sand flea bites too.

    Also, for the 2 weeks we were there. The morning would start out cloudy and start to get really nice around 11ish, from there around 3-4 it would start to get cloudy and grey again. However, regardless of sun or cloud every day was comfortable.

    Here's a link to my pictures so far. This is just a few of what is coming. I should be receiving my disk from my photographer where I can post more pics of the reception as I know people were interested.

    password is: jamaica

    I'll also post the requested pics of the pond gazebo and locations around the resort.

    If anyone has any budgeting questions I can help there as well.

    I'll be selling my Angel's Bouquets if anyone is interested - I have the Bridal bouquet and 3 bridesmaids bouquets in the tropical burst.
    I'll also be selling my dress and shoes, if anyone is interested message me.

    #2 KHarrod

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      Posted 20 January 2009 - 04:21 PM

      Great review, thans for posting it. Congrats!!!!!!!!!!

      #3 JUSTUSTWO


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        Posted 20 January 2009 - 04:27 PM

        Congrats on a wonderful wedding! Your pics are beautiful & it looks like you had a great time. Love your dress, the flowers & the colors.
        I also like the pic of holding your rings in the sand. That was very cute. The TTD pics are beautiful as well!

        #4 Quietstorm

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          Posted 20 January 2009 - 04:39 PM

          Thanks for the review and nice pics!!!!

          #5 J&M

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            Posted 20 January 2009 - 05:03 PM


            You're pics are just awesome...very nice

            I love the colors of the wedding party

            #6 StarAndJay

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              Posted 20 January 2009 - 05:10 PM

              Thanks for the review and the pics! They look great!!

              #7 ukbride

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                Posted 20 January 2009 - 06:31 PM

                Congradulations! Thanks for a great review and pics.

                #8 TATrisha


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                • Wedding Location:Gran Bahia Principle Akumal
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                Posted 20 January 2009 - 06:50 PM

                LOVE your pictures! And I love your dress too! It's very similar to what mine was, so naturally I love it!!


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                #9 Jill

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                  Posted 20 January 2009 - 06:53 PM


                  Congrats!! I am having a poolside reception in April so I am very happy to see the reception looked beautiful!! Sets my mind at ease. Just one question did you have your own DJ or the resort DJ?? How was he and his music?? Also can you comment on the buffet dinner.. I have the menu and I also know there is a salad bar. But would love to know what you thought of the food??

                  Thanks again!

                  #10 JamaicaBrideToBe

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                    Posted 20 January 2009 - 07:17 PM

                    Originally Posted by Jill

                    Congrats!! I am having a poolside reception in April so I am very happy to see the reception looked beautiful!! Sets my mind at ease. Just one question did you have your own DJ or the resort DJ?? How was he and his music?? Also can you comment on the buffet dinner.. I have the menu and I also know there is a salad bar. But would love to know what you thought of the food??

                    Thanks again!
                    It was beautiful, Chandlyn asked me to send her my pictures just because it was so beautiful. The pictures don't even do it justice because we were lit up with candlelight, tiki torches a few up lights and lights at the bar....once you take a picture the flash changes the look. But you get the idea.
                    The food was excellent, we did the buffet Jamaican Menu and everyone thoroughly enjoyed it. They had it set up along the side bushes and flowers - the only thing none of us thought of was proper lighting at the food stations, people had to really look to see what they were eating - but that's about it. Like I said, there were 6 servers for our group that attended to the head table of 13 and the parents table of 7 and attended to drinks as well.

                    We did have our own DJ but used the DJ's equipment, however the DJ - Prince is his name, is very good if you like modern dance, r&b and reggae which is what is played in the disco. Since that is the music we listen too I didn't ask about anything else, but he uses CD mixers so if you are wanting specific songs just bring it with you to be safe.

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