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ROR review: Jan 19-26, 2009, John-Paul & Karina

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#1 klopez

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    Posted 05 February 2009 - 04:55 PM

    Hey everyone,

    We got back from our wedding/honeymoon last Friday and I finally have a chance to sit down and write this review (at work, haha). BEWARE, it’s really long but I’ll try and tell you everything I remember. Ok, here it goes…(all links to pics are at the bottom)….

    Getting there: We fly Skyservice from Toronto to Montego Bay on Jan 19/09. Flight was supposed to depart at 6:15 am but was delayed an hour. We boarded and sat on the plane for a good hour before we took off….must have been about 9am by the time we actually took flight. Very annoying considering everyone was so tired from lack of sleep…I don’t think anyone slept seeing as we had to be at the airport by 4am. Other than that service was fine. Sunquest provided all our guests with coupons for complimentary drinks (2 per person) and headsets. I put my dress in the overhead and it was fine.

    Upon arrival to the airport everything went smoothly. We all got our bags, went through customs without any problems and hopped on the shuttle. There was one pit stop at a bar for beer and washroom break and that was it. Most people enjoyed this but John-Paul (JP) didn’t want to get off…he was nursing a broken foot and was tired and cranky.

    RIU check-in/rooms: First impression of the RIU was “WOW!” Check-in was super quick and we were greeted with rum punch. Off to a good start! Most of our guests were in standard rooms but they weren’t all in the same block of rooms although close enough. No big deal…it’s not like we’re going to be sleeping together. Anyway, our room was a pretty far walk…or maybe it seemed that way because I was carrying all of the luggage seeing as JP couldn’t do much but concentrate on walking with his broken foot...poor guy! When we walked in we saw that we had 2 double beds pushed together. I was not going to have it. I went straight down to front desk and told them I had emailed weeks in advance to avoid this specific problem. They tried to tell me they were going to upgrade us the night before the wedding…we got there on a Monday and wedding wasn’t until Saturday! I told them I wasn’t going to wait the whole week to sleep in a normal bed with my husband…I was here for my wedding and that wasn’t going to happen. It took 2 mins for them to move us into a Junior Suite…this was our upgrade and we had it the entire week. The suite was great…not much different than the standard room except for the little sitting area…but we were located right by the stairs and elevator which made it easier to get around with his broken foot. I found the doctor’s office later on that day and got him crutches for the entire week. This was a life saver cuz it helped him get around that much easier (he left his crutches at home thinking he wouldn’t need them!) Our rooms got cleaned late in the day which was a bit annoying when we needed fresh towels…other than that we left her $2 each time she came and everything was always in perfect order.

    RIU food/drinks: I can’t say enough about the food at this place. Everyone was impressed with the food and selection. We didn’t really have any problems getting reservations and I didn’t really hear any complaints…it was just hard to get a lot of us to dine together but we just took that in stride. You can’t expect to sit 32 people together every night. A lot of our guests were happy dining at the buffet (St. Ann’s)…especially my parents. It was great! I think everyone’s favorite place was Mammee Bay….the steak there was fantastic!

    The Thursday before the wedding we did a mini rehearsal and then all 32 of us dined at Mammee Bay together. It wasn’t easy trying to get the reservation…I had to speak to the general manager at the front but she managed to get a sitting for us at 9pm. It was great because people just kind of strolled in at their own pace so the seating was all mixed amongst our group…which worked out because it got our 2 groups of friends talking. By the time the wedding rolled around on Saturday everyone was comfortable with each other.

    As for the drinks, fantastic as well! No one had a problem finding a drink they liked. I didn’t hear any complaints about the service either. It was great getting waiters to bring drinks on the beach as well…or many times one of us would go get drinks and bring back a tray full of them plus a waiter with another tray…LOL!

    OOT cups: We decided to put together OOT cups at the last minute. We found these tall plastic cups at the dollar store with tropical designs on them (the kind you use as patio tableware) and filled them up with candy. A lot of people used them and enjoyed larger drinks.

    Pre-wedding meeting with Chandlyn/Nikki: These ladies have everything under control. We met with them the morning after we arrived (I had booked an appt with them prior to my arrival) and they had a record of my emails and knew everything I wanted. There weren’t any unexpected costs and anything we wanted was “No problem mon!” They are super nice and I wish we had the opportunity to see them after our wedding but they aren’t around on Sundays.

    The night before our wedding I popped in to drop off all the stuff I wanted them to use for the wedding. No one was there but Chandlyn had told me earlier that if no one was there to leave the stuff with a note so they know what to do. Just as I was finishing up my note she walked up and we went through everything. I left her hanging flowers for the beach gazebo, d©cor for the cake table, stuff for the sand ceremony, stuff for beach reception centerpieces and 1st dance.

    I also feel the need to defend both her and Nikki when it comes to their response time to emails. I had gone up to see her a few days before the wedding because I had forgotten to print out a picture of how I wanted my hair. She was nice enough to let me get on her computer and print off a copy. The old computer and internet connection they have there is EXTREMELY slow!!! I think it took me 30 mins to get into my email account and print the pic. So if you think they are just being lazy and not responding to your emails when you are trying to plan your big day, that is not the case. Believe me these ladies are there night and day working 12 hour days to make sure everything goes as we dream of it going. Both of them were nearly asleep at their desks while I was using the computer there…I felt so bad for them.


    Renova: I booked my appt with Renova Spa the day after I arrived. I had no problems getting an appointment. They booked me in for 11 am and I was out by 12pm….our wedding was at 2pm. I don’t remember the name of the lady who did my hair but she was so pleasant. She did my hair exactly like I wanted it, put my flower and veil in and off I went. I left her $5 and she was grateful. I was charged $96 for my hair style. A friend of mine helped my mom and one of my MOH’s with their hair so that was helpful…I had warned them in advance that Renova’s prices were a bit high. My sister, who was also my other MOH, did her own hair….it’s short so all she did was straighten it and put a flower in it.

    Make-up: I did my own make-up…except for my friend who helped with my eyes. That’s all

    Tai Flora: I had been emailing Tai Flora back and forth for a good while before arriving. Not sure what time the flowers were delivered because I received them about 5 mins before heading down to the gazebo. I got everything I wanted and the flowers were beautiful but a bit brown. No big deal…I wasn’t going to fuss over such small things, especially when they look so great in our pics. Here is a break down of what I was charged:

    My bouquet (White casa blanca lilies and green orchids to match groom’s bout): $95
    MOH bouquet: $45 each (white casa blanca lilies and pink roses)
    2 bags of rose petals: $30 each
    Boutinierres for Groom, BM, 2 fathers: $20 each (orchids)
    Mother’s Corsage: $22 (orchids)
    Orchid Hair flower: $2 (I ended up using the one I made cuz this one was too small)

    Grand total was $349

    Ceremony: What can I say…I had the wedding I always dreamed of! It rained in the morning and was a bit cloudy and breezy when I walked out but the rain held off. Phew! Our ceremony was at 2pm but I was running a bit late because my dad’s bout and mom’s corsage was delivered to the gazebo instead of my room. We didn’t start til 2:15 or so.

    The set up was simple…hanging flowers I provided (pink orchids) and some white fabric draped at the front. I didn’t want the flowers they give you in the free pkg since they didn’t go with any of the colours I was using. We had a civil ceremony and the judge was great. Very personable and lively. We wrote our own vows which he read aloud and we repeated. I nearly broke down in tears and he gave me a second to gather myself…I almost saw JP cry for the first time, haha! The only thing he didn’t follow was the wording I gave him for the sand ceremony…no big deal but it would have been nice. Also, my sand was a bit clumpy from the moisture and sort of just came out in a clump so it didn’t mix very well with JP’s sand…again, not a big deal…it still looks pretty in the vase. We used beach sand for the 1st layer, then white and green sand for us.

    Timing for all our music was perfect. The song my MOHs, flower girl and I walked to was over 3 minutes long and was just amazing. We used Damien Rice’s song “The Blowers Daughter” and I was at the top of the aisle with my parents just as he was singing “I can’t take my eyes off of you”….how perfect is that!

    Champagne was served right after the ceremony and we both loved that! We used 2 bottles there and then they gave us the other 2 left over bottles at dinner. Note: if you’re going to do this I would suggest having more music for your guests to enjoy. We didn’t think of this so they just kept playing our ceremony songs over again.

    We took our pics and video right after and everyone just sort of hung around and snapped shots of us as well. Of course there were randoms on the beach..and one crack head who bent over right in front of us looking for shells or something while we were taking pics…HAHAHA! She was clueless so we told her we were taking pics and she left.
    Cost for the ceremony was only $350 since we went with the free pkg.

    Photographer: Our photographer was simply amazing (Sarang Photography, his website needs to be updated). He is a friend of mine but is a professional photographer as well. We flew him down (and paid all his expenses) and he took pics the whole week to journalize the entire experience and not just the wedding day. We haven’t met with him yet to go over our pics but he did post a few on his facebook page and JP and I LOOOOOOOVE them! We are having an AHR at the end of this month so he will be taking pics there too…can’t wait to see them all :) Once I get his pro pics I will share them here too.

    I only wish we had more pics on the beach with our bridal party and parents after the ceremony…it started to rain so we had to run for cover. We were forced to take these pics indoors while it poured outside…this was kind of a bummer but you can’t control the weather…we’re just glad it didn’t rain during the ceremony.

    Videographer: We met with Michael from the Photoshop the night after we arrived to confirm the videographer. We had Gary and only booked him for an hour although I think he stayed a bit later at no charge since I was a bit late getting to the gazebo. He was good but a little much at times. I think he asked our photographer to move while he was taking pics during the ceremony so that he wouldn’t be in the video…we only hope this didn’t hinder our photographer from capturing all our moments. Other than that, he was great to work with…very funny.

    We were a bit worried that he wouldn’t have enough time to edit the video since we were leaving Mon morning at 7am but the video was ready the next morning at 9am! I have to admit, it is a bit cheesy with all the effects they put in to go from one image to the next but whatever…all we really wanted it for was the vows, the rest we don’t really care for. We’re planning on showing the part with the vows at our AHR before we’re introduced.

    Cost was $330 for one hour. The DVD is about 20 mins long.

    Dinner: Nikki had advised us at our meeting that the dinner would be at the Plantation rather than Mammee Bay cuz they had too many weddings going on. We didn’t have a problem with it. We had the top floor and it was fine for us. I don’t remember anyone else being up there…I only saw 1 other wedding on the 2nd floor. The menu was the same as Mammee Bay so that was great. The only problem here was the slow service. Everyone was served in the order they were seated so by the time the last few people were served, most of us were done eating. Dinner was supposed to be from 6:30-8:30 but I don’t think we got out of there til 9:30 or so. This is really our only complaint.

    They don’t really serve mixed drinks here either, as in almost all the other a la carte restaurants, but we managed to get a bottle of rum and a bottle of vodka with a little monetary persuasion We did speeches throughout dinner and that was that.

    Cake: I have to say we were pleasantly surprised by the cake. Neither of us are huge fans of cake, especially with all that whipped cream and stuff but we had the chocolate cake with the butter cream and it wasn’t bad. I think there was some berry jelly stuff in there too…so it was SOMEWHAT like a black-forest cake. Definitely not a gourmet cake by any standard, but not as bad as we expected…it was moist and at least tasted like chocolate.

    Cost was $0 because everything was in the free pkg.

    Beach Reception: My 2nd favorite part of the day! We spoke to Chandlyn/Nikki about having a beach reception after dinner. They set us up by the beach gazebo where we got married…at first I wasn’t pleased because I wanted the Seagrape (in the initial planning stages) but I am soooooooooo happy we got the beach gazebo instead. The night of our wedding was the same night as the beach party but we barely noticed it was going on. They set up 4 long tables with chairs for everyone in a U-pattern in front of the gazebo. They set up my “centerpieces” as I had requested (super simple, I just didn’t want the tables to look naked). We had our own bartender with fully stocked bar and rented speakers for 2 hours. We hooked up our iPod and off we went.

    Our 1st dance was just as I had pictured it….I had my MOHs line all the ledges on the gazebo with candles. It looked so beautiful in the dark!!!! Note: if you do this make sure you get slow-burning candles After that we just partied it up…I did my dance with Dad, garter toss and bouquet toss….which were absolutely hilarious! And people were also partying with us from their balconies! Good times.

    Only problem with our beach reception was that we were late arriving because of dinner and they still wanted to cut us off at the planned 2 hour mark. We arrived at about 9:45 (didn’t get going til 10 cuz our photographer was late) and they said we only had until 10:30…ya right! My sister spoke to someone and told them she didn’t wanna see them back there to tear stuff down until midnight! Haha We settled for 11:30 and after that we all went to the club on the resort and it was great. We left to enjoy our “wedding night” and our friends all partied together til about 4am!

    We paid $15/person for set-up (tables, chairs, torches, some spot light and open bar) and $75/hour to rent speakers for 2 hours. Total cost was $630 for 32 people and worth EVERY PENNY!!!

    Honeymoon: We rode back to the airport with everyone to see them off Monday morning at 7am (Jan 26/09), BRUTAL!!! Especially because JP decided to do personal door-to-door “thank yous” to all of our guests at 4am the night before! Much appreciated I’m sure, LOL!

    We honeymooned in Negril at Couples Swept Away……amazing experience from beginning to end! I cannot say enough about this place and we are already planning to return for our 1st anniversary. Beach was absolutely incredible, service was top notch (you literally don’t have to lift a finger), food was excellent and our room was freakin awesome (upgraded to beach front suite)!!! If you need any info on this resort pls PM me but I’ll just say that I wouldn’t hesitate in the least to recommend this resort for a honeymoon or romantic getaway…absolutely perfect!

    All in all, we had a wonderful wedding experience from start to finish. The only thing that put a bit of a damper on things was the rain. We chose January because it was after rainy season but it looks like we caught the tail end of the rain or something. Even the locals didn’t understand why it was raining so much in Ocho Rios. It rained in Negril as well but not to the same extent as in Ochie, which means we came back nicely tanned

    I also wanted to thank everyone on this site once again for all their help. I don’t think I would have been as calm a bride if it weren’t for this site and I hope this review will return the favour for all future ROR brides. It certainly helps ease all your worries thru the planning process and gives you a sense of what to expect….I would do it all over again in a heart beat!

    PS. I had the pleasure of meeting a fellow BDW bride and she was awesome…BOTTOMS UP ANGELA!!!

    All my facebook albums....beware, tonnnnnnnns of pics!

    Karina Lopez-Sacco's Photos - Dufus & Jerk Face Tie the Knot! | Facebook

    Karina Lopez-Sacco's Photos - Dufus & Jerk face Tie the Knot: Part 2 | Facebook

    Karina Lopez-Sacco's Photos - Last night...and 4am thank youz! | Facebook

    Karina Lopez-Sacco's Photos - Honeymoon in Negril | Facebook

    Karina Lopez-Sacco's Photos - Honeymoon in Negril: Part 2 | Facebook

    #2 ice_princess

    • Newbie
    • 7 posts

      Posted 05 February 2009 - 05:21 PM

      what a wonderful review....this puts my mind at ease about my wedding (Feb.14)... thank you so much....and your pictures were absolutely beautiful....

      #3 tina82

      • Jr. Member
      • 184 posts

        Posted 05 February 2009 - 06:23 PM

        Great pics, and review.
        Can't wait to go.

        #4 Trice

        • Jr. Member
        • 295 posts

          Posted 05 February 2009 - 08:06 PM

          Great review. Loved your pictures. Congratulations!

          #5 Jamaicabride409

          • Newbie
          • 44 posts

            Posted 05 February 2009 - 08:18 PM

            Thank you for the awesome review, your pictures and day looked fabulous!! congrats!

            #6 nikkib

            • Newbie
            • 65 posts

              Posted 05 February 2009 - 08:46 PM

              Such a detailed review, and I enjoyed every word of it.

              Also, I LOOOOVE your dress. Absolutely perfect for a beach wedding.

              #7 KimmyG

              • Member
              • 520 posts

                Posted 05 February 2009 - 08:52 PM

                I LOVED your photos!!! You are absolutely beautiful! I hope your husband's foot is healing quickly!!

                #8 KimmyG

                • Member
                • 520 posts

                  Posted 05 February 2009 - 08:53 PM

                  I agree with Nikkib- your dress was fantastic! Who made it??

                  #9 chicklet

                  • Member
                  • 718 posts

                    Posted 05 February 2009 - 09:06 PM

                    Whew hoo!! Nice review. Sounds like your day was everything you had planned. You were very similar to me in not sweating the small stuff..that's the best way to be!!!
                    Thanks for the mention :) I truly did enjoy partyin with ya a bit...wish ya lived closer.
                    Your beach reception looks liked like a blast...geez..i should of crashed the sucker..*lol*.
                    Glad you had a great time!!!

                    #10 JUSTUSTWO


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                    • VIP Member
                    • 12,193 posts

                      Posted 05 February 2009 - 09:17 PM

                      Congrats & welcome back! Glad to hear that you enjoyed ROR. Really looks like you guys had a great time! You looked beautiful, loved your dress & hair.
                      Thanks for the review of CSA. I may have to put that on my list of places to go!

                      -Oh, love your captions on the pics...too cute!

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