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Chain resort versus private boutique hotels?

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#1 sunsetkiss

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    Posted 24 February 2010 - 11:22 PM

    We are thinking about getting married in Jamaica, Mexico or other warm location. We are looking to have a small (20-60 people) very nice wedding without completely going broke :)

    What are the benefits of picking a private smaller name hotel versus a huge place like Sandals or Beaches? I would love some feedback on this so I can dive deeper!

    #2 gbyrd

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      Posted 25 February 2010 - 02:33 PM

      Myself and my guests are staying at Moon Dance Villas and we are having our wedding at Moon Dance Cliffs. We booked the whole resort (it only holds 40) for our guests. The major benefit and the reason why I booked a boutique hotel was because I wanted the wedding week to be all about me and my guests. There will be no other weddings at the property, and all staff at the boutique hotel will be focused on us. A lot of the chain hotels have more the one wedding a day so that was a no no for me. I also wanted a more personalized experience. At Moon Dance I am not just another number.

      #3 Mallory57

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        Posted 03 March 2010 - 12:18 PM

        I agree with gbyrd...I am also getting married at MDC. We originally were looking at other chain resorts but quickly axed them off our list for a few reasons:
        1. Photography--we didn't want to be forced to use a resort photographer, pay a ton for a package, and only get 40 sub-par photos. Pictures are all you have after the day is over so this wasn't ok with us.
        2. Onlookers--at chain resorts, it's inevitable that you'll have other guests who gawk at your wedding. I've seen pictures on here from brides who had absolutely gorgeous setups on the beach...then you look in the background and see 10 half-naked fat men standing watching the ceremony...not exactly romantic! lol
        3. At a boutique resort, you're pretty much the only people there so it's all about you!! There's nothing like having an entire resort for you and your guests!!

        Good luck and let us know what you decide!!
        35 (and counting) booked plus Bride & Groom!!

        #4 Susan Pacek Photography

        Susan Pacek Photography
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          Posted 03 March 2010 - 01:09 PM

          Oh you must check out Rock House in Negril. It's a boutique hotel with incredible charm!! We went there for our honeymoon and absolutely loved it! There was a wedding while we were there too and it was wonderful (and I should know, I'm a destination wedding photographer!)

          Whereever you decide to get married will be wonderful because you will be with the people who love you and who you love! Much happiness to you and your fiance!

          #5 sunsetkiss

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            Posted 03 March 2010 - 02:56 PM

            I agree with both points. I think the chains can be more economical but it sounds like with bigger brand power, there could also be more of that corporate stuff to deal with having the weddings run like a factory.

            #6 QueenDiva

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              Posted 09 April 2010 - 12:43 AM

              I agree with all the above posts. Picking a chain or boutique hotel is a matter of personality and preference; it depends on what you're looking for. For me, I had to have an individualized experience. I did not want anyone else getting married at the resort the same day as me! I LOVE more intimate settings and tend to avoid the "touristy" types of hotels. But for some, that may be something you prefer. As a poster above said, that is kind of a pro as if your guests are not familiar with a particular locale, the chain resorts typically have lots of activities for guests. I love this forum, but it was kind of frustrating seeing all the threads on 1 particular resort over and over again. That kind of really turned me off of the chain type weddings, imagining like 4 different weddings in a day, lol. But, once again, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, and it does have its advantages such as price. I will say that the deals that the girls get that go with the chain resorts are awesome! So, that in itself may be something you want to consider...

              #7 Mookiie21

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                Posted 18 May 2010 - 11:15 AM

                I also agree with both points of view!

                When I began my research I fell in LOVE with Rockhouse Hotel and Moon Dance and the small boutique resorts, as well as Negril in general! My FI and I had some arguements because he felt that if we wanted to invite people, we would need an AI so they would know the overall cost of the trip for planning purposes. My side was...I didn't want to feel like a #! As gbyrd mentioned. In the end, I think we found a good compromise.

                In the end...we choose Secrets Wild Orchid/St. James in Montego Bay (we also decided to look only at Adults Only resorts as no kids were on the potential guest list). The resort wasn't even open at the time we booked the wedding!!!

                We choose it for a few reasons:
                1. They provide 2 queen beds in some rooms. Most Adults Only are "Couples Only" or atleast geared that way and only offer 1 king bed in ALL rooms. We have some single friends that would like to come and share a room...not a bed!
                2. They will only do 3 weddings a day...max, and they are spread out about 3 hours apart. Most of the other AI resorts do up to 7 weddings a day! Thats like 1 and hour...Insane!!!!
                3. Our guests will know the complete cost of the trip if they wish to attend or if they are trying to figure out if they can afford to! Money is tight for many people right now and I didn't want any surprises for people who decided to attend.
                4. There are a TON of activites, ALL INCLUDED!!! There is something for everyone! I want the people who come to make it their own vaca too. There is nothing worse than spending money to go somewhere and not enjoy yourself. I don't want them to regret coming to my wedding or have a bad experience that my wedding will always be linked to!

                If it were just my FI and I we would have definitely choose a small boutique resort, or something totally off the beaten track. However, there are a few people we really want to have with us on our wedding day, so we considered them as well when planning. It's a hard balance to find, your guests concerns (or your concerns for them) and your own desires.

                In the end, it is your day...and it will be beautiful no matter what you choose! Decided what's important to you and your fiancee and go from there!

                #8 Mookiie21

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                  Posted 18 May 2010 - 11:21 AM

                  Oh...I forgot to mention (hard to believe huh?!?!?)

                  We also picked Secrets because it was relatively close to the airport. I decided that as a guest I wouldnt really enjoy an hour to 2 hour bus ride (to get to Negril or Ocho Rios) after getting off a plane. My aunt also just spoke to friends that just returned from a wedding in Negril and one of their complaints was the bus ride! It made me feel good I decided against Negril, even though it looks absolutely BEAUTIFUL!!!

                  So if you decide on Jamaica or Mexico or somewhere else, try to remember your guests when choosing how much "additional" travel will be needed to get to the resort/hotel/villa once landing at the airport!

                  #9 Marne

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                    Posted 14 July 2010 - 07:36 PM

                    We chose the Ritz Carlton because it seemed to be the easiest place to plan our destination wedding. We did encounter some snags - as all destination brides do - and were able to made a few well placed phone calls up the chain of command w/in Ritz Carlton to have everything ironed out. It was definitely the right decision for me. I am a New Yorker and needed to deal with a wedding coordinator who was responsive. I went into the planning process knowing that I don't have a Carribbean attitude - and therefore a chain hotel was necessary for my sanity. PLUS, I loved the fact that strangers were able watch our wedding from their balconies and were so happy for my husband and I. It was like we were celebrities for the week!

                    #10 delgadot

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                      Posted 30 September 2010 - 08:20 AM

                      This is the same battle I am struggling with. I like the small intimate feel of my wedding being at a boutique hotel but I want my guest to have the advantages of having lots to do which is what an AI resort would offer. So I am leaning towards staying at an AI resort but having my wedding off site at a smaller setting like an estate or boutique style hotel just for the day. So this way I can have the best of both....so now its trying to find that...I think I need to get a wedding planner in Jamaica to help me with this. Any suggestions of Jamaican wedding planners would be much appreciated!


                        "I loved the fact that strangers were able watch our wedding from their balconies and were so happy for my husband and I. It was like we were celebrities for the week!" To Marne: I love your attitude!!:0)

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