Okay, so I just returned from my week stay as a Mrs! Here are my thoughts/ review of the whole experience.
1. Hotel: The resort is gorgeous and everyone loved it! We were all impressed with the butler service, room service, premium liquor free minibar and hotel security. I have read other reviews in regards to building 6 not being up to par, however it looked great when I saw it. I heard they replaced the carpet recently. Most guests were roomed on the first and second floor of building 5. I had two guests in building 6, my brother didn't mind the distance since they had upgraded his room to ocean front for free.
2. Minister: I had previously read a review about a minister making inappropriate jokes throughout the ceremony. We met our minister two days before the ceremony and I was sure this old reserved man was not the culprit....WRONG...Moments before the start of the ceremony he made a racial joke, in which my mom and I stared blankly at each other. As we walked to the beach he continued to talk over the music, saying nothing of any importance. At one point I froze and tilted my head to the side in disbelief, my mom had to pull me out of it. It continued once I got to the groom, where he twice jokingly wanted to verify if the groom wanted to go on this the ceremony. At that point, I was talking through my teeth telling him he needed to move on with the ceremony. A couple of guests chalked it up to the minister wanting to lighten the mood, I didn't feel that was necessary at a beach ceremony at sunset. The wedding was not as romantic as I would have liked it to be. Beware of Minister Gordon! Glad we didn't pay for a videographer b/c it would have been a waste.
3. Wedding: I got married on the semi private beach, then had a cocktail hour on the garden terrace, then steak and lobster dinner at Surf and Turf. My main worry prior to the wedding was the flow of events, and while things went okay, they could have been better. After the wedding we took group photos with everyone, then family. Guests looked on the first half of the portrait session, taking pics with the photographer. The second half of the session, guests were lead to the cocktail hour, where a mento band was playing. The set up was nice and there was plenty of food. Most guests were shocked to learn there would be a dinner as well. Once cocktail hour was over we hooked up an ipod playlist and people danced for the second hour, soultrain line and all, it was sooo funny. Janielle was MIA after the hour of dancing and we were hot, so I escorted the guests to the restaurant. She was of course shocked to see me and asked us to wait five minutes while they finished getting the table ready. We actually waited 15 minutes near the staircase which allowed everyone to cool off. While I understand Janielle was focused on preparing the next event I would have liked to see another staff member there to guide us. It is no secret they are inflexible, this remains true even in person.
4. Dinner: We were seated at least 15 minuted late, no biggie. Janielle set up my decorations exactly how I had asked and it looked perfect. Since I had less than 30 guests I had to pick one menu for everyone. The salad and soup came out in a timely manner. the main course took quite a while. I had shot-glass wedding favors made and asked that everyone around the table give a wish or blessing for us, then at the end everyone will take a shot of rum. With a few more people to speak, Janielle came up the me and asked that we speed it up b/c they wanted to close the restaurant. The kitchen lights were off and the place was a little smokey, like they had just thrown water over the grill. I politely and well mannered as I could I told Janielle no. I was not speeding up anything. Everyone at the table was going to speak, take a shot and eat cake, for they sat us late and the main course was delayed. Afterwards, when I explained I was not not trying to be rude, just get what I deserved, she stated she understood and they staff did admit to not having the food ready.
5. Nightly entertainment: Disappointing. It is held in the hotel theater which has no working A/C there were oscillating fans there nightly. The pool/ beach staff turned into cabaret singers and dancers. They attempted to americanize the entertainment and it turned out to be quite cheesy. I visited the Hilton Rose Hall a couple of years ago and their entertainment was genuine cultural entertainment. The disco next door is the best thing going.
6. If you want anything back, I suggest to inventory the items and pass Janielle a list and keep one for yourself. I asked, for the pouring glasses used in the sand ceremony and Janielle states she doesn't know what happened to them. She was able to recover my remaining shot glasses and fans, what are you going to do with shot-glasses with other peoples names that you don't even know? My mom offered up all table decorations to guests, who gladly received them. The remaining decorations I told Janielle I wanted to donate to another bride (floating candles and seashells).
Hubs and I thought the wedding was as close to perfect as it was going to get. Dont allow the small stuff to ruin your mood for the entire night.
Sorry this was so long, just wanted to share.