Back from My Riu Tropical Bay Wedding 03-07-09!
Posted 19 March 2009 - 09:10 PM
Wedding Date â€“ March 7, 2009 @ 4pm
First, let me begin by saying thank you to everyone. I couldnâ€™t have done it without you guys.
Delta Airlines â€“ B
Everything was fine. No trouble. Trice (another BDW bride/Riu Montego Bay) and I were on the same flight and all went well. Only thing was our carry on bags were too large so they had to check the bag and both of us had our wedding dresses in that bag. I was very nervous about this but it arrived safely. There were several brides on our plane having destination weddings.
Montego Bay Customs/Airport â€“ B
The line was very long trying to get through Customs but it moved pretty quickly. Our bags were easy to find but I had trouble locating my carry on bag with my wedding dress (remember they took it because it wouldnâ€™t fit in the overhead compartment). I asked several people and just when tears were about to fall one of the agents located it.
Jamaica Tours Limited â€“ C
The driver was driving much below the speed limit and he made two beer stops, each stop was about 15-20m. When he stopped a second time most of the passengers were complaining because the trip was longer than expected. He then took off like a maniac almost running over women and children who dared to cross his path. Thankfully no one was hurt and we arrived safely.
Riu Palace Tropical Bay Front Desk Agents â€“ A
Once we arrived we were greeted with smiles, rum punch and cool towels for ours hands/face. Check-in was simple. I asked for the upgrade that Kenekia/WC suggested and was accommodated with no problem. We were given an Ocenview room on the ground level which was conveniently next to the Garden Gazebo that we planned to use for our ceremony. FYI â€“ there are two Garden Gazebos onsite.
Riu Palace Tropical Bay â€“ B
The hotel is beautiful and the sunset in Negril is amazing. We were in the 1300 building which was like new after being renovated. Our room was spacious with a nice flat screen TV, fully stocked bar, safe, ceiling fan, sofa, chairs etc. Our king bed was actually 2 twin beds put together but they made sure the sheets were really tight to prevent separationâ€¦no big deal. Please do not be alarmed if you notice your things are being moved each time you leave the room. Housekeeping and the minibar person constantly monitor your room to be sure you have everything you need and to help keep your room neat. Please also be aware that the mosquitoes in Negril are horrible (mostly after 4p). We were at the resort for 4 days and we went through one can of bug spray within that time. There is a main door that leads to two rooms so if you close the main door that will decrease the amount of mosquitoes waiting for you each time you go back to your room. There are two main pools with swim up bar and Jacuzzi. There are several bars onsite, I lost count. Please donâ€™t leave without trying the Bob Marleyâ€¦.you wonâ€™t forget it!
Exchange Program - A
The Riu Negril is larger than RPTB and has more activities for all ages, it is also cheaper. They also have a disco/Pancho onsite. Itâ€™s a nice size but the DJ sucked. Riu Negril is very close to RPTB, itâ€™s about a 10m walk along the beach. We enjoyed all of the same privileges as those persons who were booked at the resort; however, that does not work the opposite way. RPTB had gold wrist bands and Riu Negril had red ones and I witnessed a man with a red wrist band trying to get a drink at the bar at RPTB and he was told that he was not allowed on the property without a day pass. He was very angry and tried to complain but they explained the exchange policy only works if you booked at RPTB.
Food - B
There are several places to eat at the resort. The Main Buffet and Bloody Bay restaurants are the most popular because of the variety. The food was very good. Please make sure to stop by the Jerk Hut on the beach, itâ€™s a sure thing! There are also Specialty Restaurants (i.e. The Steakhouse, Krystal, Rimini and Hakuchi). I only had the opportunity to eat at Krystal which was very nice. The food reminds me of what you would see on Top Chef. Please verify the dress code before booking one of the Specialty Restaurants, I actually witnessed a couple get turned away for not adhering to the dress code. Each has two seatingâ€™s; 630p and 830p. The only problem is that in order to make a reservation you have to wake up early to get in line for 8a at the entertainment stage to get a ticket number then you have to come back at 9a to actually reserve the restaurant of your choice; first come, first serve. My husband was up early one morning so he secured a spot for us and was displeased with this process.
Renova Spa â€“ A
I booked 6 massages for all the bridesmaids including myself the morning of the wedding and I also had a mani/pedi the day before the wedding. The cost was $439 with tax for these services. This was after the 15% discount that you get with the free wedding package. They suggested that I have my mani/pedi the day before the wedding to make sure it was dry and itâ€™s a good thing because my nails were ruined a few hours after the ceremony and when I returned for my massage, they agreed to give me another manicure for free. Please try their Swedish massage, it was the best Iâ€™ve had in a long time. They allow to people per room so everyone was able to get to the spa together.
Wedding Coordinator/Kenekia â€“ B
Kenekia was very organized. She and I spoke in depth about the vision I had for my wedding. I advised her to set up a Welcome Reception dinner on Friday for my guests, I also requested a Farewell breakfast on Sunday morning at 8a and for the wedding I wanted the Garden Gazebo, Steel Band and a private reception for 2 hours. We arrived on Wednesday and were scheduled to meet with her Thursday morning at 10a. We had the free package and I purchased all decorations and traveled with them (i.e., flowers, centerpieces, votives, candles, petals, fans, programs etc.). Upon our initial meeting, I delivered all items to her and advised her how I wanted things to look. I also had cake flowers and advised her that we would decorate the cake ourselves. We decided against the free decorations for the Gazebo because it was not attractive. On our Wedding day, Kenekia did a great job. My guests were late arriving to the ceremony so helped to round them up and get them in their seats so that we could begin. Our ceremony was due to begin at 4p but did not start until about 430p so I was upset since we were paying the photographer and steel band by the hour. I got dressed in a friendâ€™s room that allowed us to see the Gazebo so around 415p I had my Mother call Kenekia to the room. I advised her to start the ceremony, she then informed me that some of the groomsmen were not ready and that there were not enough guests in the chairs but she said that we would start at 430p regardless since the Officiate had to leave by 5p. The steel band began on time and they were fabulous! Our photographer/Misha was fabulous! Oddly enough, Kenekia had to stop hotel guests from trying to walk through our ceremony, she also helped to keep me and my Dad calm and instructed us on how to walk down the aisle to minimize the possibility of Dad stepping on my dress while teaching me how to properly hold my bouquet to maximize visibility of my dress for the pictures. She was awesome! After the ceremony, we were rushed to get to the beach and take group/couple shots. My guests were too busy drinking and celebrating so we had to drag them to the beach.
DJ - D
After completing the photo shoot I headed back to the room to change my dress because the reception was from 630p-830p. Once I arrived, the guestbook table was just as we had discussed and so was everything else. The room was so beautiful, lit only by candle light. We had one area for the dinner and another area for dancing. My husband made a few CDâ€™s and gave them to the DJ to play, he labeled each one. Clearly we had 2 CDâ€™s labeled â€œPlay while eatingâ€, one labeled â€œPlay until all guests arriveâ€, and another labeled â€œfirst danceâ€. Somehow he got all the CDâ€™s confused and I had to ask Kenekia to monitor. We had several people make toasts and after the 3rd toast the microphone went out and the DJ were unable to fix it. One of the guests had to fix it for him. Can you spell R-E-F-U-N-D? He was the worst DJ ever!
Reception Food â€“ C
The food was not great in my opinion. I had better prior to the reception. We had a menu and were able to choose our main entree and the wedding cake served as dessert.
Wedding Cake â€“ A
OMG! We chose the chocolate cake with butter cream icing. I expected it to be horrible but I was shocked that it was so delicious! It was a â€œrealâ€ cake. Everyone continued to eat the cake until it was gone; it was the best part of the meal.
Flowers â€“ A
I purchased all my real touch flowers from Hibiscus Floral. They were beautiful, everyone thought they were real.
Photographer â€“ A
I wanted Sun gold to be our photographer but Paula advised they were booked so she suggested I work with a photographer from Sun gold Photography Associates (Sun Gold Photography Associates). I chose Misha and I was not disappointed. She was early because she wanted to get ideas on how she wanted to handle the shoot. She was friendly, professional and patient. We had a rowdy crew and they were taking as many if not more pictures than she was, sometimes getting in her way while she was trying to do her job. I scolded them a few times then she advised me that she would handle it and she did.
Overall, everything was better than I expected. I provided gift bags and itineraries for the guests but no one read the itinerary which is why they were late to everything. The Riu Palace Tropical Bay was the best resort for my crew, everyone was very happy with the resort.
Honeymoon â€“ A+
Our honeymoon was at Sandals Montego Bay. We chose one of the Bayroc Beachfront Villas which comes with a Butler and Concierge service. We really enjoyed this resort. They also have an exchange program. We had privileges at any Sandals in the surrounding area and they provide free shuttles for transport. The shuttle would take you to Sandals Royal Caribbean and Sandals Inn. They also provide all guests with newsletters each morning to advise you of the activities of the day. They provide entertainment each night.
Food â€“ B
They also have many specialty restaurants onsite (i.e., Bayside, Oleander, Cucina Romana, Tokyo Joeâ€™s, OK Corral and Cricketâ€™s Pub) again please be aware of the dress code for each. The Cucina Romana is an Italian restaurant and it was perfect. Very romantic, lit only by candle light. They even had someone singing in Italian! Tokyo Joeâ€™s is a beautiful Chinese restaurant. I think the food was really good but I donâ€™t remember because I was intoxicatedâ€¦lol! However, all the food was good, even the main buffet. The only complaint is Cricketâ€™s Pub; the food was like bad fast food.
Butler â€“ A
Our butler was Craig. He was very attentive; upon meeting him he took us on a tour and advised us of all the things he would be responsible for during our stay. He would prepare romantic candle lit baths for us, leave sweet treats on our bed, make sure we didnâ€™t forget to order breakfast before he would go off duty for the evening (he was on duty from 6a-8p and on his off day our replacement was Irolette). We decided we would have breakfast delivered each morning as part of our wakeup call. Craig would also make our reservations at the specialty restaurant of our choice. He was also available to clean our clothes and deliver them when they were ready but we chose not to do that because the service was extra and they charged by the item.
Entertainment â€“ B
The majority of the entertainment was great. We had a Managerâ€™s cocktail party that was nice followed by a beach party that was spectacular on our second night. During our stay they had 4 bands that I loved and one evening we had Sandals night at Margaritaville. Free admission and free roundtrip transportation. The staff is called the Playmakers and during the day they were always there to make sure the guests were having a good time.
Wedding Accommodations - B
There were several weddings each day and the name of the couples would appear in the daily newsletter. There are 5 Gazebos and one Chapel onsite available for ceremonies but only two of the Gazebos are normally used. I did not witness any of the weddings.
Sandals really made our honeymoon special.
Please review the Sandals website for more info.
Posted 19 March 2009 - 10:31 PM
That was nice that you caught your DH's face when he got your BD book. That was priceless!
Posted 20 March 2009 - 06:24 AM
Posted 20 March 2009 - 10:14 AM
Posted 23 March 2009 - 09:55 AM
| Originally Posted by sunstarsmoon |
Thanks for the review and your pictures are amazing. I love the bridesmaids dresses. That colour looks really good on all of them. the little girls dresses were pretty as well. Love your dress and your shoes I am sure I have added those shoes as my fav in my Davids bridal fav section!
Posted 23 March 2009 - 09:58 AM
| Originally Posted by Trice |
Congrats! Mrs. Loved the pictures. Looks like everyone enjoyed themselves. Excellent choice for the bridesmaid dresses. Everything turned out nice.
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