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Geralyn's (RIUMBride711) RIU Montego Bay Review *with pics*


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#1 Geralyn

Geralyn
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    Posted 29 July 2009 - 11:45 PM

    We stayed at the RIU Montego Bay from 7/8 -7/15

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    PART 1:

    TRAVEL ~ A
    We left JKF in NY at 12:00pm on American Airlines on a direct flight to Montego Bay, Jamaica. I had called the airline earlier in the week to see if I could carry my dress onto the plane. The woman on the phone said they couldn’t guarantee it but they would do there best to accommodate me. We had 4 suitcases that we checked along with 2 carry-ons and my dress. We were each able to check 2 bags so there was no extra charge. We also gave 2 bags to DH’s brother and girlfriend. When I went to check in they told me that it was no problem to bring my dress on the plane. I hung it in one of the closets that they had.

    On a funny side note there was another bride on the plane and we started talking…turns out she was getting married at RMB the same day as we were in the 2pm time slot!

    JAMAICA TOURS TRANSPORTATION ~ B+

    We set this up with the travel agent before hand. When we arrived in Montego Bay we went to the Jamaica Tours desk and gave them our voucher. They took us and our luggage to the bus right away. We did have to wait on the bus for about 15 minutes for other passengers to arrive. They brought us right to the hotel which was about a mile and a half away. When we were leaving the hotel the bus was there right on time to take us back to the airport.

    CHECK-IN ~ A
    Check-in was super quick and easy. They brought us both rum punch which was very nice to have after traveling. They deliver your bags to your room for you. DH and I took our bathing suits out went up to the room and by the time we were done changing our bags were there.

    PART 2: RESORT

    APPEARANCE ~ A
    The hotel is less than a year old so everything looked great. You walk in to a grand lobby that has lots of chairs and couches to hang out. The pools are all great and clean. The hotel is kept very neat. There are workers gardening and raking the beach everyday. The restaurants are all very nice. The beach does have a lot of plants growing in the water which was a little disappointing because I am such a beach person!! But it was fine because our family and friends mostly hung out in the pool by the pool bar. The seats and tables in the pool were awesome. We could all just hang out with our drinks and talk. The beach itself was very nice and kept clean and it was very big. There were always chairs available on the beach and by the pool. I read reviews complaining about planes flying by but I never even really noticed them.
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    ROOMS ~ B+
    The first night we stayed in a regular oceanfront room. The room was very nice but I thought it was too small to get ready the day of the wedding. So the next day DH and I went and asked for an upgrade. At first they told us it would be $150 a night but DH said no we brought 40 people down here you should give it to is for free. At first they didn’t want to do it but they finally agreed. If you go there be persistent about getting the upgrade and they will probably do it for you.
    The upgraded room was an oceanfront suite…it was awesome! It had a huge king size bed, a sitting area with a couch, a walk in closet, huge bathroom with a huge shower and double sinks, a water closet with a bidet, and a hot tub. Also there was a huge balcony. I am so glad we asked for the upgrade. The only complaint that some of our guests had about the rooms was that their air conditioning didn’t work too good. Ours wasn’t that bad but it could have been better.

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    Me in the Tub

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    View from our Suite

    FOOD/RESTAURANTS ~ B
    The food at the resort is typical all-inclusive food which was just fine for me and our guests. The buffet offered enough variety to keep everyone satisfied. I am a vegetarian and I never had trouble finding something to eat. The breakfast buffet was my favorite…I love having omelets made to order everyday! There are a few restaurants that you can make reservations for: the steak house, Italian, and oriental. DH and I just ate at the buffet but a bunch of our guests ate at the restaurants and said they were good. There was always food anytime of the day.

    BAR SERVICE ~ A
    Drinks were strong and good. We got travel mugs for everyone as part of their OOT bags and everyone loved them. The bartenders filled them up and they kept the drinks cold. The bartenders at the pool bar were great. They helped our group right away and they were always giving us shots.

    HOUSEKEEPING ~ A
    Our room was cleaned daily and we were given fresh towels daily. They also made cute towel animals on your bed everyday. Also our fridge was always stocked.

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    ENTERTAINMENT/THINGS TO DO ~ A+
    There was a show every night from 9-11. Each night it was different. You can tell that they worked very hard for these shows. The dancers were wonderful. There was even a Michael Jackson tribute show which was absolutely amazing.
    The resort offered a variety of activities during the day as well. Our group played a lot of beach volleyball. There were also kayaks, sailing, and paddle boats which was all included.

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    Michael Jackson Show

    PART 3: EXCURSIONS ~ A++
    Our group did the Cool Running Dunn’s River Falls Cruise. We booked it in the lobby of the hotel when we got there. We had 25 of our guests come with us. WE ALL HAD A BLAST!! A bus picked us up from the resort and took us an hour and a half to Ocho Rios. Our group had the entire bus which was awesome (especially on the way back after many rum punches and red stripes!) There was a tour guide on the bus that told us about the interesting places we passed and facts about Jamaica.

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    Tour Bus

    When we got to Ocho Rios we were given lunch which included jerked chicken, rice and beans, coleslaw, salad, bread, banana bread, and soda, juice, and water.
    After lunch we all boarded the boat. They took us out to a coral reef where we all went snorkeling.

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    Cool Runnings Boat

    After snorkeling they took us to Dunn’s River Falls. We all got off the boat and most of our group climbed the falls. Those who didn’t want to climb could hang out on the beach and swim. Everyone loved the climb!
    After the climb which took about an hour we got back onto the boat. This is when the party started!! They served rum punch (very strong but delicious…so be careful!) and beer. They had music playing and the staff got everyone up dancing and doing the limbo. We all had a great time! The ride home was a lot more fun than the ride there because of all the punch and beer and everyone was singing and laughing!
    DH and I did this tour about 3 years ago by our selves and loved it and it was super fun to do it with a large group!
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    Some of Our Group Climbing Up the Falls

    #2 Geralyn

    Geralyn
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      Posted 29 July 2009 - 11:48 PM

      PART 4: WEDDING DETAILS

      WEDDING COORDINATORS ( Roxianna and Sherika) ~ A

      Before I arrived I had been emailing back and forth with Chantelle. About a month before my wedding Chantelle left and Roxianna and Sherika took over. DH and I met with both of them the morning after we arrived. We went up to their office and they were able to see us right away. They had all of the records and requests that I had emailed them prior. I know some people were worried about not getting answers right away from them but let me just tell you they are very busy! They do 3 weddings a day usually on Fridays and Saturdays and at least one everyday during the week. When we met with them we picked our cake, flowers, songs for the steel drum band, ceremony and reception site, and any other requests we had. We had programs and fans and petals to be thrown for the ceremony and a sand ceremony and we gave it all to them and they took care of it. We also gave them our cake topper. They were very on top of everything and really very nice.

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      Sherika Touching up My Lipstick Before the Ceremony

      WELCOME DINNER ~ A
      We asked the WC when we got there if they could set up tables in the buffet for us for a welcome dinner and they did it no problem. We had an area roped off with 3 long tables set up. We had waiters there taking our plates and filling up our drinks. It was great to have everyone eat all at once before the wedding.

      TIA FLORA FLOWERS ~ A
      I didn’t have specific flowers in mind. I just knew that I wanted them to be pink and orange and I didn’t want roses. I went through the book that they had with some pictures and picked out some that I liked. We also wanted boutonnieres for the guys and corsages for both Moms and DH’s grandmother. Originally I picked out green orchids for the boutonnieres but they didn’t have them so we decided to get matching flowers for the BM’s and GM. We decided on pink calla lilies for them and an orange calla lily for DH. My bouquet had both pink and orange calla lilies and white orchids. All of the flowers were wrapped with orange ribbon. When I saw my bouquet the day of the wedding I was pleasantly surprised…It was so beautiful!! We also got 5 centerpieces for the tables at the reception. I didn’t really care what kind of flowers were in there as long as they were white, orange, or pink. They did a great job with these. We got the free package so all of these flowers were an extra charge. They asked us if we wanted to upgrade our arch but we decided to keep the one that came with the free package. We didn’t think the ceremony site need a lot of decoration…after all you are on the beach and have the beautiful blue water behind you! The arch was palm leaves with flowers from the grounds of the hotel. It was very simple but very pretty.
      I would say if you have something very specific in mind you might want to think about getting real touch or silk flowers. The flowers from Tia Flora were beautiful but they did not have certain types of flowers at the time…I went there with a very open mind and not really wanting anything very specific so I was totally happy with them.

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      Ceremony Arch

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      Here You Can See My Bouquet and My Mom’s Corsage

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      Centerpieces

      STEEL DRUM BAND ~ A
      We decided to get the steel drum band for 1 hour during the ceremony and I’m glad we did. They are $350 an hour but it was worth it. They played for the guests while they waited for the ceremony to start (which was delayed half an hour…more on that later)
      They played Over the Rainbow for the bridal party, Cannon in D for me and One Love for our recessional. They also played a few songs after the ceremony while everyone was hanging out.

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      Steel Drum Band

      DJ ~ B
      We hired the DJ for 3 hours at the reception. I gave the WC a cd with our 1st dance and songs for me and DH to dance with our mothers. They played them right after we were announced into the reception. He played great music all night long…slower music when we were eating dinner and dance music the rest of the night. He disappeared for about 15 min during the reception and when he returned he said he was helping with the music at another wedding because it wasn’t working…I don’t know if that’s true or not but it was all good.

      VIDEOGRAPHER ~ C+
      We got the video through the resort. I contacted Michael prior to our arrival. I had 3 songs on a cd which I gave to the photo desk for the final video. I am glad that we got the video because I did not really remember the ceremony because it was all just a magical blur! The video was great just a little cheesy/amateur but I am glad that I have it.

      RENOVA SPA ~ A+ / C
      Ok I am giving them 2 ratings here. The A+ is for the work that they do. I had my hair and makeup done and they did an awesome job!! I brought a photo for my hair and it came out perfectly! My 3 bridesmaids had there hair done and they did an amazing job with that too. Both Mom’s had hair and make-up and it was great. The problem was that my wedding was at noon and they only had 2 people working on all of us. My MOH and I were done first, followed by the 2 other BM’s. The Mom’s is what made us late. The wedding was half an hour late because my mom was still in the spa getting her hair done and not even dressed at noon. I was in the room dressed and ready to go waiting with the WC (who kept me pretty calm) and my bridesmaids. This was my one freak out moment the whole time we were there…I was so worried about all of our guests and DH standing out there in the heat…I just wanted to go already!! Later DH told me that they all had no clue what the hold up was and he was standing out there very hot and nervous! It didn’t help that one of the steel drum band members told him I was on one of the planes flying overhead on my way out of there!!! I can laugh about all of this now but at the time I was freaking out! If you have an early wedding I would ask them to make sure that they have enough people there to get all of the hair/make-up done on time.


      CEREMONY ~ Beyond Amazing!!!

      That morning when I woke up at 6am it was raining (the only day that it rained at all) I was so upset! But my 7am it cleared up and it was a gorgeous day! The ceremony went by in one glorious blur!! We had the ceremony on the far beach. I wanted it to be more private. The beach gazebo is really pretty but at noon everyone is out on the beach and it is in the middle of everything. I wanted to be married barefoot on the sand …so the far beach was perfect! We had asked the WC if we could have 2 family members do readings. We also wanted to read our own vows.. She said no problem and said she would tell the minister. The minister was great. My cousin read the blessing of the hands and DH’s aunt read something for the sand ceremony. A plane flew overhead while DH was reading his vows to me and the videographer told him to start over…which was not a big deal at all. When I was repeating the traditional vows (which you also have to say) that the minister said… I said “to love OR to cherish” and then a second later I was like “no wait both! Love AND cherish!” and then started laughing…which is totally me! The minister was like “This one is full of humor.” Which is totally true. I thought that was cute…it sort of personalized it.

      RECEPTION A+++++
      We paid the extra money for the private reception on the beach and I think it was the best decision ( besides having a destination wedding and marrying DH of course!!!) It was $45 a person for the dinner and $10 a person for the open bar. There is a minimum of 40 people for this. We had 39 people originally booked and 3 of our friends actually surprised us and came down and we had no idea they were coming!!! We were going to have the private reception either way and just pay for the 1 extra person. Actually 2 of our friends didn’t come until the wedding day and we didn’t have to pay for them…(the WC said since we already paid to just look at it as a gift from them) The reception started at 6pm. We had our dances first followed by dinner. I didn’t eat that much b/c my dress was very tight plus I was so excited I had no appetite. I had some salad, fruit, and bread. DH ate everything and he said it was the best food the whole time we were there…so did all the other guests. They had jerk chicken, grilled shrimp, rice, beans, corn on the cob, and pasta. They also had a table set up with fruits, raw vegetables, salad, cheese, crackers, and bread. After dinner we cut the cake. I had given them a cake topper which they put on. I didn’t really care too much about the cake. We got vanilla with strawberry filling.

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      Cake
      My cousin surprised us and made a video montage for DH and I. She asked the WC if there was any way to play it at the reception and they brought a TV and DVD player down to the beach which I thought was really cool.
      After that we all danced the night away! The DJ had to end at 9 because the show started and it is right near the reception site. It all worked out though because it was Bob Marley night at the show and we stayed at the reception another 2 hours…dancing, drinking and hanging out. I didn’t bring anything down for decoration for the reception and I didn’t need to! The site was decorated with tulle and while lights around all the palm trees. It was beautiful. The table linens were all white and the chairs were also white. The centerpieces gave a pop of color and I thought it was perfect…again being on the beach you really don’t need too much decoration…it’s beautiful just the way it is!
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      Reception

      ROOM (POST-CEREMONY) A+
      Our room had flower petals all over the bed and the hot tub. There was also a huge flower arrangement which was so beautiful. It was definitely a nice touch.

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      Flowers Left in the Room on the Wedding Day

      CONCLUSION
      Overall, we had an amazing time! I am so glad that we chose to have a destination wedding…it was better than I could have imagined. Our family and friends had an awesome time and really got to know each other over the time we were there. The week was busy but we had a relaxing honeymoon in St. Lucia. I don’t regret anything at all about the wedding or choosing the hotel. Although there were some little things that didn’t go as planned the were “No Problem” in the grand scheme of things….I would do it all over again in a heartbeat!!

      If anyone has any questions feel free to ask..i know I have forgotten some things in this review.

      #3 Geralyn

      Geralyn
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      • 2,677 posts

        Posted 29 July 2009 - 11:49 PM

        Here are just a few pics taken by some of our guests and a few pro teasers:
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        #4 drucky14

        drucky14
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          Posted 30 July 2009 - 08:10 AM

          Congratulations!! It sounds like everything went very well and you all had such a great time. Your pictures are beautiful as well. Reading these reviews makes me so much more excited to get our wedding under way. Only about 10 months to go though One question I do have is, how hot was it? My FI (I'm the groom by the way) is so worried that she'll be so hot that all of her make up will run and ruin our pictures. Congratulations again!!

          #5 MarieSam

          MarieSam
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            Posted 30 July 2009 - 08:19 AM

            Geralyn it truly looks like you had a wonderful time, and you looked fabulous as a bride!!! And WOW your suite looks like it was amazing How did your FI like your BD pics by the way? I'm sure he was beyond excited

            #6 ~Nicole~

            ~Nicole~
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              Posted 30 July 2009 - 08:39 AM

              Congrats Geralyn! You made a beautiful bride :). Thanks for taking the time to do such a detailed and thorough review!
              *Formerly Nikki07*
              My Planning Thread

              #7 Sloan

              Sloan
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                Posted 30 July 2009 - 08:54 AM

                Congrats Geralyn! Amazing pictures and great review!! Everytime I read a Jamaican DW review I just wish I could go back there sooner!

                #8 *Nadine*

                *Nadine*
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                  Posted 30 July 2009 - 09:58 AM

                  Great review Geralyn! Everything just sounded so perfect and IM so happy everything went so well for you guys!! And of course I loved the pics

                  #9 weddingchick

                  weddingchick
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                    Posted 30 July 2009 - 10:06 AM

                    Congratulations! Thanks for the great review! I love the pic of your guests on the bus.

                    #10 *Lo*

                    *Lo*
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                      Posted 30 July 2009 - 10:29 AM

                      It looks like you had an amaaaaazing time! Congrats and thanks for posting such a detailed review.




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