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Wedding review of RIU Ocho Rios


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#1 Spazz

Spazz
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    Posted 01 August 2007 - 11:16 AM

    RIU Ocho Rios Wedding Review

    WEDDING REVIEW & ROOMS: I’ve been reading all the reviews from Trip advisor since Sept. 2006. This website has been more than helpful. I started to reconsider another resort after reading about another RIU bride’s disaster wedding on this site. See link: Ocho Rios: Riu Ocho Rios - Traveler Reviews - Wedding Services - HUGE DISASTER - so is the management - TripAdvisor
    Since reading that review I asked an Aunt could she be a back up wedding coordinator in case Chandlyn falls short. I would like to thank that bride for her review. Our wedding was on 7-20-07 Friday at 4pm. We stayed at the RIU from 7/17-7/26. My Aunt listened in while we met with Chandlyn 2 days before our wedding. We had 21 guests and a beach gazebo ceremony. When we arrived JAVIER put us in Room 1054 (Jr. suite) which I didn’t like because we were on the first floor with no ocean view and all you can see is chairs around the pool while sitting on the balcony. We notified the resort in Feb that we would like a Jr. suite on the 3rd or 4th floor with a queen/king size bed. They put us on the first floor with 2 double beds pushed together. Javier said we would not be upgraded until our wedding day because no rooms were available. Our key cards did not work as we returned to our room the 2nd time so we went back to the front desk and asked for the manager. STACEY then upgraded us to a full suite [Rm 1061] which was ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL. See above pics Get your room upgrade on DAY 1. You can fit about 10 people on the balcony comfortably. The full suite is huge. Also try to get all guests rooms in building 2 which are the oceanfront rooms on the day that you arrive, before your guests arrive. Talk to management in person. Our guests stayed in rooms 2418/2423/2324/2116/2108/2413/2102 these are all great rooms and close to everything. They are right above the restaurants. You will have a good view of the ocean and the pool.
    PEOPLE: Very hospitable inside and outside of the resort. No problem. There were just a couple of rude resort workers that I will not let spoil the bunch.
    AIRPORT TRANSFER: Not bad. Roads are still under construction for about ¼ of the ride. Enjoy the scenery.
    CEREMONY: Perfect! The Steel band played from 3:45-4:45 ($250). We had white chair covers with orange satin bows ($12/chair). Full floral gazebo ($682). 2 Pedestals in front of gazebo ($170). Aisle runner ($40). Guest Passes ($50/guest). We purchased the Royal Package ($775). DO NOT MISS out on the DVD ($395/2hrs)!!!! GARY was excellent. We were not going to purchase it initially but thank God we did. MICHAEL the photographer was also excellent. We booked him from 4-6:30pm ($142.50). He took a total of 450 pictures. We purchased 200 pictures on a CD ($700). We also got our free prints that were included in our package. I’m very happy with the pictures. Chandlyn provided a mic for our singer for after the steel band finished playing at 4:45p. We did our 1st dance in the beach gazebo as the photographer/videographer/guests filmed. Gary captured the entire first dance on DVD along with our vows and other random shots. The photographer & videographer will also edit your pictures/video. I made it clear that I don’t want other resort guests in our pictures. He also will remove people out of the background of your pictures and remove seaweed from the ground. Technology is great! We had a few rude resort guests who walked close behind the gazebo when we were taking pictures and Michael/ Gary did a great job with not capturing them in the shots. If he did when you review your pictures just have the editor take whatever you don’t want in the picture out. I printed out a shot list of must take pictures for Michael and he captured them all. We also walked over to the pond gazebo for pictures. We had horsdoeuvres served on the beach following our recessional along with rum punch and pineapple juice ($10/person). There was enough food to feed 100 people. The food was very good as per our guests. We had our own songs playing for the bridal party processional and the recessional. I suggest you put one song on the CD and # them so there will be no confusion. We had no problems with this.
    RECEPTION DINNER: This is where CHANDLYN dropped the ball. This is where my BACK UP COORDINATOR came into play. I met with Chandlyn at our pre scheduled time on Wed. morning. She was professional and I was very specific to what I wanted and very willing to pay for all extras. We had our dinner at Mammee Bay restaurant which was much prettier than Plantation. This is semi private and you are not near other resort guests if you are in the back. This restaurant is also closer to the ocean so you have a better view. They took the chair covers for the ceremony site and put them in the restaurant at no additional cost. They also used the flowers from the gazebo for centerpieces at the restaurant as previously discussed. I made it clear to Chandlyn that I DO NOT want the standard wedding setup which was blue table cloths, brown chargers on tables, and blue rim glasses, and tables that were seated like dining room tables. I did not want that because it was ugly and I wanted my dinner to look like a wedding dinner. She said no problem at our meeting. I told her I wanted a long bridal party table seating 6 on one side and 2 small tables on each side of the long table seating 4 people at one table. I wanted white table cloths with my orange floral centerpieces and the place settings setup on the tables before guests arrived at 6:30pm. I wanted clear glasses and no brown chargers on the tables which didn’t match my colors. I also drew an illustration of how I wanted the table’s setup so it wouldn’t be any confusion. I also gave her a big box of candles that could be used for additional decoration. Chandlyn said that would be no problem at our meeting and we handed her [$2450] cash. While we were away taking pictures my backup coordinator walked into the restaurant and saw the exact opposite of what I wanted and she got to work looking for Chandlyn. See above pic of the basic setup. The basic setup was in place with one long table seating 23 guests as if it were a long dinner table. Chairs on both sides of the table. I wanted a bridal party table for picture purposes. When my Aunt found Chandlyn she told her they only had the cups with the blue rims and the brown chargers are the standard wedding setup in Mammee bay. My Aunt told her that this should have been told to the bride at the meeting, and suggested that she give the service that was paid for. Chandlyn told my Aunt that the bride should be flexible as far as the dinner. That pi$$ed my Aunt off and long story short I got what I wanted. If you get married at this resort you MUST TRAVEL WITH A BACK UP COORDINATOR if you want more than a standard reception dinner. When I walked into Mammee Bay at 7pm it was set up absolutely beautiful thanks to my Aunt (wedding coordinator) who worked very hard. God Bless her. I didn’t find out about any of the drama until after the wedding day. My Uncle bought his IPOD and speakers and we had music for our dinner. There was also room for us to make a soul train line. lol. We had one waiter DRE who served 23guests and he was on point. He served the main table our soup and salad which they normally don’t do (buffet for guests) but my Aunt put her foot down. He also helped carry flowers back to our room after dinner. He even took the water from the water girl to refill our glasses because she wasn’t keeping our glasses filled. We gave him an $80 tip. He deserved it. KEICIA Chandlyn’s assistant was also great. Unfortunately she was not clued in on everything as she wasn’t present for our meeting that Wed. I told her I gave Chandlyn our candles for the tables but I don’t see them. She went to the office and got them and handed them out as favors instead. Kiecia saw us throughout the resort and always spoke and asked how everything was going. I can’t say that about Chandlyn. At one point Chandlyn walked by me without speaking. I guess she thought I was mad about the wedding but little did she know I didn’t find anything out until I got home. At that point I thought she was unprofessional. After the dinner we went to the beach party which I kept my wedding dress on for. The beach party was very entertaining.
    FOOD: Sir John’s food was excellent. Service was great. You could always find something good at St. Ann’s. The seafood was great. On Wed night we had Lobster and crabs. The muscles were excellent. Wedding dinner in Mammee Bay was great. Our wedding cake was vanilla floured cake and was nasty. Don’t bother upgrading it as we did. We knew this going in but we upgraded it for picture purposes ($250). A few of our guests liked the cake. I had no problems with booking reservations for the week. I booked for the whole week on day 2. I didn’t like the food at the Mandalay. It is a buffet without many food choices. We left there and went to St. Ann. Tushima’s food was good. Their caviar was tasty.
    EXCURSIONS: We did 5 trips. Wilderness tours for ATV excellent! Will take you to the highest peak in Jamaica $60/p. Can double up on these ATV’s. Chukka tours: ATV tour ($70/person) can jump off cliff into ocean at the end of this tour. Only single riders. Must be 16yo. to ride ATV. River tubing refreshing ($56/p). Ziplining tour scary but fun ($60/p). Parasailing contact Tanny Rose (Contact me for #). Great team. It was our first time and they made me feel comfortable. You must go into town to the flea market for shopping. Don’t forget to bargain.
    ENTERTAINMENT: Excellent. The entertainment staff does a good job trying to get everyone involved. Do not miss the Michael Jackson show and the Friday night Beach Party.
    MANAGEMENT: rating = POOR/TERRIBLE. [Exception: Stacey who was off this week]. Unfortunately we WILL NOT be returning back to this resort as planned for future anniversaries due to a THEFT incident that management [MAXIMO G.] tried to cover up and push off on housekeeping. It was NOT housekeeping. The guy that stole our video camera out of our room was [CRETON W.] maintenance staff that was supposed to be fixing our fan. Our fan was never fixed. The combination card even proved he was in our room twice within a hr. when we were viewing our wedding photos the day prior. Initially Maximo said that only housekeeping was in our room and there was no way to find out if someone else was in there. My computer networker husband knew better and demanded to see the combination card so he can see who keyed in our room yesterday and at what time. Maximo then said the system was down and to come back to the desk in 2hrs. After seeing the card and noticing that the maintenance worker failed to log in the book that he entered our room my husband narrowed it down to a name by asking housekeeping and wanted him questioned by the supervisor. Maintenance # came up as entering our room at 10:35 and again at 10:46am. Maximo said Creton was off today. Maximo gave us the customer care center email and asked us when we were checking out. We had maintenance supervisor, security supervisor, and management involved and nothing ever got solved. All they kept saying was that they are going to do an investigation and for us to email customer care. I think that’s ridiculous informing them that with all of our guests and wedding costs we put $30,000 into the resort. We wanted something done now and wanted the worker questioned now. The air conditioner was also out for 5 nights. A lot of people were in the Nurses office due to health problems with the heat. I’m a RN and 2 of my wedding guests had problems with their asthma. It was very hot in the rooms at that point. Not much of a honeymoon. Nothing was even offered for that. A lot of guests were at the front desk complaining. I expected so much more from a 4-5 star resort. I think management slacked off. If management handled things differently I would return to this resort, but there is no way I’m returning to a resort where things were stolen from me by their staff and nothing is done about it. We also didn’t have any room in our safe for the video camera. KEEP ALL VALUABLES IN THE SAFE!!! Since we “lived” at the front desk for the last 2 days we met 6 other guests who had stuff stolen from them by RIU staff as well. They too were not happy with the outcome and managements lack of caring. One couple narrowed it down to maintenance too because they called to get their air conditioner fixed and then their jewelry and cash went missing upon returning to the room.
    OTHER: I hope this review is helpful. Let me know if you have any questions. Without looking at the negatives we had a great wedding experience and we wouldn’t change it for the world. The wedding ceremony was surreal. Everything fell right into place and we saved thousands of $. Our guests said the wedding was the best by far. A destination wedding is the way to go. Unfortunately we will not be returning to any RIU branches due to Managements lack of service to their customers.

    Guest passes for outside guests: $50
    Reggae band: $500/h
    Steel Band: $250/h
    Mento Band: $200/h
    DJ: $150/h
    Saxophonist: $200/h
    Private Reception: $500/ 2hr and $1000 for 4hr
    Additional Champagne $15/ bottle (serves 6 glasses)
    Open bar: $10/p
    Hors D’ Ouvres: $8-$12/p
    Large wedding cake: $250 (3-tiered) and $150 (2-tiered)
    Bridal Bouquets: $35-$195
    Bridesmaids Bouquets: $30-121
    Child Posy: $23
    Boutonniere: $9
    Corsage (pinned): $12
    Corsage (wrist): $21
    Hair Comb (side): $8
    Hair comb (crown): $16
    Halo: $42
    Orchid Lei: $72
    Flower girl basket: $20
    Aisle Runner: $45
    Fully Decorated Gazebo: $682
    Basic Gazebo D©cor: $412
    Decorated Bamboo Arch: $412
    Aisle Marker: $85
    Bag of Petals: $40
    See RIU site for wedding packages offered

    They will provide a microphone if you have singers
    You can bring your own music
    Your dress can be steamed off property if needed at an additional cost
    You can meet with the wedding officiate prior to your wedding.
    Guests can stay on property until 2am.
    Mammee Bay is the best restaurant to have a wedding dinner. It is semi private but other guests are seated at a good distance away.
    PLEASE BRING A BACKUP WEDDING COORDINATOR and have them sit in while you meet with Chandlyn.
    All wedding cakes are made fresh that day.
    White chair covers without the sash is $8/chair. With the color sash is $12/chair.
    Sir John restaurant can accommodate 6 or less people.
    We scanned our passport, drivers license, and
    Get your upgrade on day one if you purchased a package.
    If you purchase the Caprice package the “upgraded” decorations include 2 large floral arrangements and fabric draped at the front of the gazebo.
    At Mammee Bay only white and red wine, sodas and juices are served.
    Cake options available are chocolate and sponge cake with strawberry, lemon or cherry filling. Both come with butter cream frosting.
    There is a spa on site that will do all beauty services. RenovaSpa.com
    You are able to remove the resort bands on the wedding day; Just save the band and after the wedding day go to the front desk where they will replace it.
    You can give your OOT bags to the front desk and they will distribute them to your guests.
    There is a free basic menu for the Plantation restaurant which is included in the price. You can also upgrade the buffet which would be $25-$35/ person. Let me know if you need the menus.
    The setup fee is included in the price for the private reception dinner and the disco.
    There is no setup fee for the ceremony.
    You can use the flowers from the ceremony to decorate the tables in the reception hall.
    Centerpiece prices range depending on what you want.
    There is no extra cost for the white linens on the tables. Please note that the linen was short for our bridal party table. I would recommend that you bring your own linen if you want long table linens if you’re using long tables.
    There is a vegetarian option for the dinner.
    You don’t have to but it would be a good idea to have assigned seating/ place cards.
    After the wedding if you ordered cocktails for guests, someone will be there to serve guests food and drinks.
    You can hire the photographer for any time period around your wedding. He just needs to know in advance, either by email or when you arrive at the resort.
    You can meet with the DJ prior to the wedding day.
    You can bring a special song to walk down the aisle to. Put only one song on a CD.

    #2 Heidi

    Heidi
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      Posted 01 August 2007 - 11:30 AM

      wow! what a detailed review. Makes me a little nervous though....
      Married April 4, 2008 at the Riu Ocho Rios!

      #3 Heidi

      Heidi
      • Sr. Member
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        Posted 01 August 2007 - 11:33 AM

        what are your thoughts about this Lizz, etc??
        Married April 4, 2008 at the Riu Ocho Rios!

        #4 Heidi

        Heidi
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          Posted 01 August 2007 - 11:34 AM

          oops, double post!
          Married April 4, 2008 at the Riu Ocho Rios!

          #5 Spazz

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            Posted 01 August 2007 - 11:48 AM

            It makes me really nervous!!! It doesn't sound like Chandlyn is really on the ball and that I'll end up not getting what I have planned. What do you think?

            #6 boscobel

            boscobel
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              Posted 01 August 2007 - 12:17 PM

              Wow, from me reading these posts all the time, it seemed like Chandlyn was on that ball. I just had to call my travel agent to complain about the WC Beaches assigned to me, b/c she doesn't even respond to email or when I ask her qustions, she tells me to go to beaches.com. I will be calling to complain when I find a few minutes sometime today.

              My point in saying all that is that Chandlyn is way better then what I have been receiving, so perhaps it isn't quite that bad after all.

              This review does offer a great suggestion thouh, of having someone be the back up to verify that what you wanted done gets done. Good luck!!

              #7 Spazz

              Spazz
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                Posted 01 August 2007 - 12:59 PM

                Quote:
                Originally Posted by carlymcmullen
                Wow, from me reading these posts all the time, it seemed like Chandlyn was on that ball. I just had to call my travel agent to complain about the WC Beaches assigned to me, b/c she doesn't even respond to email or when I ask her qustions, she tells me to go to beaches.com. I will be calling to complain when I find a few minutes sometime today.

                My point in saying all that is that Chandlyn is way better then what I have been receiving, so perhaps it isn't quite that bad after all.

                This review does offer a great suggestion thouh, of having someone be the back up to verify that what you wanted done gets done. Good luck!!

                Thanks, Carly! Good luck with your WC!!!

                #8 RiuBride2b

                RiuBride2b
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                  Posted 01 August 2007 - 11:32 PM

                  I agree, I picked my back up WC today after reading that review. You just have to be prepared for things like this. I'm glad she did such an extensive review it kinda gives you idea of what to look out for.

                  I saw her pictures and they were really nice. I am so glad to hear that everything worked out after this.

                  #9 Heidi

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                  • 2,642 posts

                    Posted 02 August 2007 - 08:21 AM

                    Quote:
                    Originally Posted by RiuBride2b
                    I agree, I picked my back up WC today after reading that review. You just have to be prepared for things like this. I'm glad she did such an extensive review it kinda gives you idea of what to look out for.

                    I saw her pictures and they were really nice. I am so glad to hear that everything worked out after this.
                    how's you see her pics?
                    Married April 4, 2008 at the Riu Ocho Rios!

                    #10 boscobel

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                      Posted 02 August 2007 - 10:07 AM

                      How do you pick a backup WC? Is it just someone you know, or did you actually hire someone? I don't think my budget would allow us to hire a separate one, so I was hoping to rope one of my family members in....




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