Hmm... words of advice...
I would say to compile a list or bunch of prints of pictures that you'd like to take. For me, the beach ceremony took place and finished a short time before sunset. This left a short time for the photographer to take pictures with the ideal lighting. I wish I had thought about the pictures I wanted ahead of time instead of deciding on the spot.
Also, make sure you know who will be responsible for table numbers. I asked the food and beverage manager if he had them, and he said yes. They turned out to be hand written in pencil on graph paper and then stuck into plastic frames. Since then, many other brides have told me that they were specifically told to bring their own. I could have easily printed my own ahead of time or even at the hotel business center.
One thing that we did right was to provide the DJ with a VERY comprehensive list of songs. The music at our wedding was just what we wanted and everyone had a great time dancing. We didn't get to meet our DJ in advance to discuss our musical tastes, so I think it really helped to have sent that list of songs.
Another planning tip is to keep the wind in mind. Aruba has constant trade winds that blow over the island. This affects lots of elements of the wedding: hair, veil (or no veil), tall center pieces, place cards, etc. There are solutions to everything, but it's good to be cognizant of the wind and its effect on the wedding.
- Hair: I assume that you'll be getting your hair done by a hairdresser in Aruba. The hairdresser that I used there brought with her a CHI brand hairspray called Helmet. It was great and kept everything in place. Other brides that I encountered while I was there said that Helmet was also used on their hair. I did notice that all the brides (myself included) had their hair done so that at least the front was pulled back. Mine was 1/2 up, 1/2 down. Others had total up-dos.
- Place cards: Our place cards were the tented ones. Our wedding planner has 2 large "kayaks" that she filled with sand. The place cards were then stuck into the sand (arranged nicely) to keep from flying away. The "kayaks" both fit on a cocktail table and were placed at the entrance to the reception. I have also seen small frames that can be used to hold each place card, and then also serves as the favor.
- Center pieces: We had low, square vases filled with water and clear marbles. Then the bridesmaids put their bouquets into the empty vases when we all entered the reception. The wedding planner has told me that tall vases would not be ideal because the wind would blow them over.
- Veil: I never wanted a veil, so this was not an issue for me. However, the wedding planner showed me a picture of a bride who insisted on wearing one. They had to pin it to the back of her dress. But then from the point where the veil was pinned, it shot out horizontally from behind her. It looked odd in the picture.
My last reminder would be to keep in mind that you will need to ship or bring your weddings supplies. I specifically avoided large, heavy, liquid, or breakable items. Our favors were donations. We prepared a card that we tied to a rubber awareness bracelet with ribbon (light and compact). Our welcome bags contained SPF chapstick, band aids, individual packets of Advil and Tylenol, after sun aloe wipes, a deck of cards (which no one used), a packet of gummies, a packet of information on Aruba, and a letter from us to our guests. I avoided liquids and foods that could be crushed (like chips, etc). I didn't bring toasting flutes or cake cutters (breakable, heavy). We gave the wedding party their gifts before coming to the island. We found a pretty gift bag that we used to collect cards at the reception instead of a box (light and compact). And even with all these preparations, we still filled 1 1/2 suitcases with our wedding supplies (which our families graciously checked onto the flight as their own).