My really really long ROR Review - 5/9/09 - Pic Links at the end!!
Posted 14 May 2009 - 11:41 AM
AIRLINE - US Air: A
Our flight left on-time and arrived ahead of schedule. We had to bring 3 bags checked with us for $55 total which was fine. We also carried on 2 rolling suitcases, my wedding dress and his suit. I was stopped by TSA who saw all the wires of me flowers and made me pull apart my suitcase which was also stuffed with clothes. Not what I wanted to do at 6:00 AM!! But the gate agent was so nice and let DH and I board with first class to give us more time. We had the sweetest flight attendants who hung both of our outfits in the 1st class closetâ€¦which we didnâ€™t even ask for. It was a nice touch. The plane ride back was also uneventful and sad. We were only slightly delayed. I really like US Air and will probably continue to use them, especially because we have a hub.
AIRPORT TRANSFER â€“ Jamaica Tours Limited: A
Finding the JTL desk was fine once we got through customs. They were quick and efficient and told us where to go to get our transfer back to the airport set up. We forgot that the porters are kinda pushy, but we did have 7 bags so whatever. Well, DH gave the porter $3 not realizing that its $1 per bag. We carried 2 of the bags, so we really owed $5. He gave the guy $5 and asked for his $3 back and the porter got kinda mean. But we got our cash back. We would have let him keep it but he was extremely rude. Our driver was great and gave us a lot of info on the area as we were driving. The bus was old but the AC worked and we got to the resort alright. Stopped at a rest stop for some Red Stripe and a beef patty. We met some really nice people on the bus which made the trip even better. Only made 1 stop at the Grand Bahia which looked amazing. Passed by a bunch of resorts, most very gorgeous, some not so much! The trip back was fine, made a rest stop but slept most of the way. Really, the 1.5-2 hour bus ride is really not that bad in the end.
RESORT â€“ RIU Ocho Rios: A+++
All I can say is WOW! As we approached the resorts, I had no real opinion, but when we pulled up to the lobby, I was blown away. It is even more gorgeous in person and the breezes coming through felt so great. We went to check in but our room wasnâ€™t ready. We were originally put in 1477 but that room still was not ready at 3 so we were changed to 1157. Both are Jr. Suites. My parents actually got 1477 which faced the mountains and ocean. Our room faced the tranquility pool and ocean. Both rooms were the same, and suited our needs. All the rooms smelled musty, but it wasnâ€™t really a big deal. The buildings are made of concrete and you are in the tropics, so its expected. I felt a little uncomfortable leaving my luggage strewn about the lobby, but we checked in on it periodically and everything was ok. We just had some lunch, walked around a bit to get an idea of the resort and then waited around for some friends to show up. As I said, the Jr. Suite was fine. We had no issues with the safe, the bed was a little firm but nothing horrible. We gave the drink people some cash and they kept us stocked up on extra Red Stripe, Diet coke and water. We waited to unpack for 2 days to see if we would get an upgrade to a full suite, but they seemed filled up and we wanted to unpack. So we just gave up since we wanted to try and enjoy the vacation. Water pressure was great, and the only day that I actually saw ants was they day that we left.
Our parents arrive later that day, somehow missing a suitcase with our hanging orchids, beach mats and monogrammed tissues. We were very careful to let them know that we had given them 4 suitcases to take, and even labeled them. But whoever was in charge of that suitcase just left it behind at MBJ. We tried to have them deliver it to the resort for us but since it was our fault, we would have had to go all the way back to MBJ to get it, which was not happening. We tried to get it back when we left but somehow, Air Jamaica could not find it. Oh well. If we ever get it back, great, if not, we are out $50 and 4 hours of our time.
Back to the resort. It really is amazing. We were never bored. I did find that I liked the tranquility pool more than the activity pool. Just sitting and leaning against that infinity edgeâ€¦.heaven. DH and the guys decided to go over that wall many many times. A good amount of those times was on some poor kidâ€™s inflatableâ€¦.even watch DH go over head first on the wedding day. Not happy! The ocean was always awesome. We took out some snorkel gear and headed to the side of the resort with the gazebo, which had awesome snorkeling. One of our guests saw a sting ray and a puffer fish. We just saw a bunch of tropical stuff. Have to watch out for those sea urchins. We did step on a few. A few of the guests also took out some paddle boats, the small catamarans and kayaks and had fun with those. We were just too busy.
Food was fantastic. Jerk hut was really good and one day had a special buffet out. St. Anneâ€™s was fine for most meals and always had many choices, but Piccola, Mammee and Plantation were good alternatives for lunch. We even grabbed a late night sandwich from the sports bar and that was fine too. Apparently they have really good coffee as well. We were able to get a reso for 6 people at Tushima one night and went with the friends. 2 extra guests showed up and tried to give the head server a tip but he seemed put off by it and was kind enough to add them to the reso. Our friends actually made the reso the day before with a tip so that was nice. On our last night, we were able to get resos for 15 at Sir. Richard for all of our guests and we just gave the girl $10 and 4 room numbers. Both specialties were fantastic!!
Drinks were all good and strong enough. I tried a bunch of different things and just let the bartender make whatever they wanted. We all seemed to love the rum cream.
I donâ€™t know what else to say about the resort that has not been said before. It is gorgeous and I would not hesitate going back in a heartbeat. Everyone is so nice and only here and there did we run into someone not that nice. We saw that a lot more with females than males.
Lumping these together, as some things were better than others. We took the catamaran trip via ScubaCaribe to snorkeling and Dunnâ€™s River Falls. The snorkeling and the boat ride were awesome. We paid $54.00 per person, as we had a RIU card and a group discount. Its it usually $65.00. Our group split in 2 with ½ going Friday and the rest Sunday. The first group came off trashed!! Our group was much more subdued. I usually get somewhat seasick so I took some Dramamine and was fine but tired. Laying face down on the netting at the front of the boat was amazing!! The falls were fine. I really did not like our guide. He was yanking us along and barking out orders, and I felt somewhat unsafe here and there. Really, itâ€™s a once in a lifetime experience, but I would not do it again. I was pretty sore afterwards, so at least I got a good workout in.
We also took a trip to Island Village on Monday via cab bus from the resort. We had 14 people and it was $8 pp RT, with some coming back at 2:30 and the others at 4. Left around 12:30 and headed to Margaritaville. Waterslide was really fun, but thatâ€™s where that ended. Drinks took 40 mins to come out, and then food nearly an hour. Was not that busy, and food basically sucked. Half the people went back and couldnâ€™t finish eating. The rest of us went shopping. Same stuff shop after shop, and I was bored after 30 mins. Mom, DH and I ended up catching another cab back and leaving the others to return at 4. Would not go into OR again, unfortunatelyâ€¦.
These people work HARD! You see them around the resort, working hard all day, then they have to rehearse, then the show. Even if they are cheesy, they do a great job, We saw the Stars show, Jam Around the World and Michael Jackson. The MJ show was great! The Disco was also fun and played fairly current music. The night we went it was really hot. I had my wedding dress on and needed to get out of there pretty fast!
Perfect!! The only day it really rained was Friday around 4. Poor girl getting married at that time had to wait 20 mins before starting. Otherwise, it was warm and sunny, with great breezes. At night, the wind seemed to die down, making it a little uncomfortable at times, esp with a wedding dress on!
Chandlyn and Nikki are busy ladies! We showed up 9am on Thurs with half the family in tow (lots of different people paying). Chandlyn was ready for us, and we went over everything. We realized that we were missing our hanging orchids, and it was â€œNo Problem Mon.â€ She just used some tulle and birds of paradise and it was perfect. We chose the white folding chairs with orange sashes ($7 per chair), Steel Drum Band for 1 hour ($350), Appetizers ($8.00 per person â€“ they upped the price to $11 but she honored the old price), Poolside dinner and dancing ($55.00 per person). We wrote our own ceremony, brought our Sound Dock and IPod and all of our d©cor, which we gave to her with basic instructions. She executed everything perfectly.
REHEARSAL DINNER: Plantation: A-
Finished up with the Rehearsal which was pointless since everyone forgot what to do by the time the wedding came around!! But it settled my nerves a little!
We were set to have dinner at Mammee Bay but they moved it which was fine. Food was pretty good and our servers were great. We had asked for an extension cord for the Bose but they could not find one. DH was a little stressed but got over that fast. Food started coming out really fast but then slowed down a lot. Some were finished by the time others were starting. But it was all good. We gave out the gifts to our girls, guys and parents. There was a wedding upstairs but we could barely hear them. They seemed to have the same setup as us. Our dinner was free, but mom paid for some bottles of Champagne.
WEDDING: Beyond Amazing!
The morning of the wedding I was really sick. I had not been drinking a lot, but I have a really sensitive stomach so I was sick most of the week. Oh well. Jim and I had stayed together the night before due to me not feeling well and he went and grabbed me some food. After that he left me alone to sleep. Finally got out of bed at about 10am and got myself cleaned up. This is when I see Jim heading over the infinity pool head first!!
Headed over to Renova (A+) to hang out with the moms while they were getting their hair done. At this time I found out there was a theft problem in my SILâ€™s friends room (apparently they were in a std room and someone snuck in in the night and stole an IPod and some cash from the safe), so I ran back to my room just to ensure that all was put away. We had no issues the entire time we were there, and I left my phone and whatnot outâ€¦
Anyways, Nikki did my hair and makeup and it came out perfect. I brought some of my makeup and used some of theirs. I looked like a different person in the end! And she copied my hair perfectly from the pic. We were there from 10:30 am-3:00 pm in total but I left at about 2 to get to my room. I paid for 4 updoâ€™s and 2 makeups and it was about $350.00â€¦SIL paid for her own and her momâ€™s makeup. SIL was rushing to get back to the room since they were running late, and they forgot to use the hair flower.
Photog (more about him later) came at around 2:45 and apparently we did not pay the day pass so I had to send my mom down to take care of that. He came up and I sent him to DHs room to take their photos and to give him the BD book to open so I could get reaction pics. Jim refused to open it at that point so he waited til after the wedding. Brian then came back down to my room and did his thing. We got me into my dress at about 3:40 and then had a toast and then we were off.
Nikki came and got me at 4. Weather was perfect. They could not find my natural sand, but as we were walking over, Chandlyn came running with it. I was standing at the ramp by the pool just waiting and worrying that Jim could see me, but he said he wasnâ€™t looking. Everyone was out of place and milling around and my niece was freaking out. SILs friends were late, so SIL had to show my friend how to work the video camera. Finally people took their places and we could start. The Steel Drums played Cannon in D, and I was cracking up because my long a$$ veil was flying all over the place (dad had to hold it down) and I could not walk in the sand with the dressâ€¦so I just hiked up up a little and started walking with mom and dad. Jim looked so sunburned and nervous!! Apparently Rev. Grant was just now getting our ceremony because he stumbled a lot. It was ok though since it made up laugh and smile a lot. Jim stuck a random line from Led Zepplinâ€™s Cashmere in the wording which had my brother laughing. It was just honestly randomly stuck in there! We did our sand ceremony, reading, and wrote our own vows. Both our fingers were so swollen that we had a hard time getting the rings on (although FIs flew off the next day in the pool during water volleyballâ€¦not happy!! We found it though). And that was that. It was about 30 mins long and flew by.
After that, we had a little dog visitor and proceeded to have appetizers. I made sure to have some and they were really good. We also had rum punch then, and waited on the campagne until dinner. Brian took us all over the resort for pics while the guests headed to the Blue Mountain Bar.
This was poolside, and let me tell you, it was PERFECT. They started setting up around 3 so I got to watch from my room. Chandlyn and Nikki, along with my 2 SILs helped ensure it was perfect. They hung the Chinese battery lanterns (which lasted, like a hourâ€¦.) and set up the tables without any guidance. It was beyond what I had expected. Our cake was strawberry with buttercream ($300) from Sheilaâ€™s Bakery. I can try to get the contact info. We added brown sugar and the gum paste seashells that we brought. It was awesome and we brought the leftovers to the MJ show to eat, and gave the rest to the bartenders and servers at the wedding. It was way too much!
Anyways, we had them set up the paper bag luminaries around the space, and it was so cozy and intimate. We decided on the BBQ menu, which was fabulous. Our servers were great and our bartender Dwayne was very engaging (made us our farewell shots too). We used our Bose with IPod and our playlists, and had my cousin be the â€œDJ.â€ We decided against renting the mic and just used our â€œoutdoor voicesâ€ which worked out fine. Reception lasted until about 11 so we missed the Beach Party, but that was fine. Jim and I ended the night with 2 Flaming Bob Marleyâ€™s, which you can see our reactions of on the last of the pro pics!! After the reception we headed over to the disco and then off to bed.
PHOTOGRAPHER â€“ Brian Nejedly: A+++++++++
Brian is amazing and a true friend. He interacted with the families and friends, and really made the day special. He captured everything without being intruding, and I rarely noticed he was there. If he saw something funny (me and my niece standing in the pool with my dress hiked up) he grabbed his camera. He directed us on what to do for the portraits, and stood back for the candids. You cannot go wrong with Brian, and I highly recommend him. He made it a point to get us our disc on his way to dropping his daughter off for school on Monday. He has a beautiful family, just having a baby boy the week before.
The wedding was perfect. There was drama â€“
(1)One of Jimâ€™s GM decided he couldnâ€™t come to the wedding Fri morning (WTF?!?!!?) so that resulted in a last min replacement. We even bought his outfit. He didnâ€™t bother to call and sent the message along with the MB Fri eveningâ€¦.
(2)Now, do you ladies remember the bridesmaid I posted about who sent me the gazillion texts? I am over her. She is rude and inconsiderate. She whined the entire reception about how hot it was (duh!! I was in an effing wedding dressâ€¦I know!) and how I was rude not to let her change. First, you are in the wedding party, second, the photog is still here!!! She then proceeded to drag her husband to bed (he was the impromptu GM) at like 9pm since she wanted to get laid. The reception was not even over, and even the 2 year old niece was still up. I think that she was mad that we said she couldnâ€™t change and wanted to get back at me. She had made resos for the gourmet restaurant the night of our reception for some reason and we think that they may have snuck off there first. Then she continued to complain about how hot she was the next day and how she should have just changed. She also refused to sign our postcard guest book (who knows why) and made the BM do it for herâ€¦.Lastly, she did not talk to me for the rest of the trip. I am hurt by her actions and do not think that I can proceed with our friendship at this point.
(3)Jim lost a toenail playing beach volleyball the day of the wedding. I did not know this until he told me during pictures
So in summary, the wedding was perfect. I would do it again in a heartbeat and would have changed nothing about the ceremony and reception, or the husband!!
Things we did think about:
(1)If you think you have enough sunblock, add 2 bottles!! Its very expensive
(2)Take time for yourselves and donâ€™t stretch yourself too thin. We were too concerned about out guests enjoyment and didnâ€™t take a lot of time for us
(3)DRINK A LOT OF WATER!!! I think that my sickness issue was in part due to dehydration. Just because you are in the water does not mean that you are hydrated!!
(4)We wish we had stayed an extra day, just ourselves, to unwind. Luckily we have our cruise honeymoon in July. It is not a relaxing vacation when you have 25 people with you!!
(5)Good walking shoes! The resort is huge and we spent a lot of time going back and forth between the 2 sides.
The one thing we would have changed?
Sticking to 3 GM and 3 BM. We could have ditched the guy that didnâ€™t show up and the girl who I cannot be friends with, and it would have been that much better ;-)
Jim and Julie Acuna's photosets on Flickr
I have not uploaded anything yet, but am working on it.
Let me know what questions you have!!
Posted 14 May 2009 - 12:18 PM
| Originally Posted by Erika J |
I loved your luminaries, where did you get them??
They were super easy though. We just bought gold doilies (the full ones) and white lunch bags, cut the doilies in different shapes to fit, and then filled with sand and candles.
Posted 14 May 2009 - 12:19 PM
BIG Hit! We bought the hibiscus bags from OTC, and filled with a towel, mug, Photoshare card and wedding info, candle, First aid kit. They were all used.
Posted 14 May 2009 - 12:55 PM
I am thinking of ordering the Gumpaste Seashells as well...How did they work out for you?
Posted 14 May 2009 - 01:14 PM
| Originally Posted by PhillyBride09 |
Great Pictures and Great review!! :-) I'm glad everything went great for you!!!
I am thinking of ordering the Gumpaste Seashells as well...How did they work out for you?
Posted 14 May 2009 - 01:51 PM
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