Resort- We and our 30 guests really enjoyed the Riu. The staff were wonderful and helpful and while we made sure to tip pretty much all the staff we came in contact with, they were friendly before the first tip. I had read in some reviews that staff members were rude and not willing to help but we did not meet one person who fit that description. What we found is that if you treat people nicely and with respect, they will do the same! We were lucky enough to have gotten a suite as a wedding gift from a family member and it was AMAZING! Huge room, balcony with four chairs and a view that was unbelievable. All our guests seemed to enjoy their rooms as well. There was one room issue with one of our guests in which there was a leak in the bathroom ceiling. She arrived late at night and the hotel was full so they were not able to move her that night but first thing the next morning she was moved and upgraded to a junior suite. The food was good, we actually found the buffet to be as good or better than the restaurants we made reservations for. We went to Sir Richard, Mamee Bay Steakhouse, and the Japanese restaurant. Sir Richard was tasty but the others were just okay.
Excursion: We booked a group excursion for all 30 people for the day before our wedding to Dunns and an Ocho Rios highlight tour. We used "Peat Taylor Tours," and they were amazing! Peat and his sons are very knowledgeable and friendly and truly showed us a great few hours!
Wedding Stuff: We dealt mainly with Roxianna as our coordinator and she was great as well! On our first full day in Jamaica we met with her for about 45 minutes and that was it! In the weeks prior to going to Jamaica I was stressing as I hadn't heard from the coordinators and was convinced I had passed the time in which everything had to be decided upon, booked, etc. I ended up emailing with Roxianna about 3 weeks before we left and felt better. But, when we met with her in person all our worries disappeared. The thing to remember is that they are professionals and do so many weddings throughout the year. I can truly say the most difficult part was picking what type of flowers I wanted. And...the flowers were beautiful. I believe we paid $390 for flowers and they were truly beautiful.
I did get my hair and makeup done at the spa by Rose who was also great. I have the frizziest and most unmanageable hair that I usually blow dry straight since I live in nice and dry Colorado which turned super frizzy once we landed in Jamaica. Rose somehow managed to same my hair and it stayed for the whole day- yeah!
Our ceremony was at 11am and everything again was perfect. The wedding started on time, the minister was very engaging and uplifting and Roxianna and Chandlyn stood by to make sure things went well. Since we had an 11am ceremony, we had the afternoon to hang our (which was sooo nice) and then met up with everyone at the Plantation for dinner at 6:30pm and then did the poolside reception with a mento band after dinner. The band was great as was the bartender we happened to have, someone who we visited quite often throughout the week at the pool bar!
Photos with Michael: We booked the "She's Royal" package with Michael and he is absolutely amazing. We had a small issue at the beginning of the wedding where my brother in law and nephews weren't at the ceremony yet as they thought it was a half hour later! So while I was stressing, Roxianna was calling my brother in law and telling him to book it down to the beach, Michale put the groom and the guests at ease by stepping in and taking pictures while everyone waited an extra 20 minutes. My husband (still so weird to say ) is still talking about how appreciative he is of Michael and his humor and professionalism during what he felt was an eternal delay! We split up our time with Michale and he did an hour and a half at the ceremony, 45 minutes of just bride and groom later in the afternoon and then an hour at our poolside reception. He took a total of 775 pictures and since we have 80 to choose we're still trying to narrow them down! But, he truly made us feel at ease and really knows how to work with people like us who seem to feel a bit akward taking so many staged pictures! I would recommend Michael to everyone.
Okay, I think this is all for now although I am sure I've forgotten a ton of details! I just wanted to get out a review while memories are still fresh. If I can say one thing to future brides, I can honestly say to not worry, ROR has it together!