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Looking for questions, comments to share with Sandals/Beaches weddings!

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#11 Girasole

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    Posted 23 May 2010 - 09:48 AM

    Hi everyone! I would have to agree with almost all the statements above. I would have loved a 6:30 wedding & reception @ sunset but there was no way I was paying $6000 to do that plus whatever extra fees would have came up. We ended up doing ours at 4 pm which was fine but I think when you go to the beach you have certain expectations...some want the blue water others really want the sunset. I would have paid up to about $200 for that time slot but not $6000.

    Photographers - I agree they should allow outside photographers. I understand the resorts want to make money off their photoshop but they should understand that this is such a special day for brides & if their photographers aren't trained and have the experience as independent agencies then they should accept that loss. I would have loved Tropical Imaging to do our photos the actual day of our wedding on the resort and the photos done by the photoshop...they were just OK. Plus the photographer wasn't pleasant & really didn't try to find good shots, I felt like she just took pictures for the heck of it.

    Food - we upgraded to a private dinner reception which was very nice. I would have just liked to have more than 1 option for my guests without extra fees.

    Wedding Coordinator - very difficult to get ahold of the WC in Miami and I felt like they weren't really concerned about our wedding rather they just wanted to "sell" us more things. As for the WC on site - they are fabulous! They were constantly calling to see if we needed anything and they were just on top of things. So Jen, you can let Beaches know that Patricia & Shayna are awesome!

    Upgrades - I have been a Sandals signature member for some time and because of that we asked for room upgrades for everyone when they arrived. Everyone except my parents got it which really upset me (you know...being the bride and all). I think I would have rather they asked me who should get the upgrades. My parents were in the French village which had dehumidifiers in the room which I found very tacky. When you go to a 5 star resort you don't expect to see that.

    Wedding upgrades - very pricy and the extra items were not great. We ordered cupcakes for our guests to take back to their rooms...$2.00/cupcake & they didn't even have icing on them. I was very disappointed in those. Also, they didn't bring the boxes for the guests to take them back to their rooms so we used paper plates. I would have loved the shell isle runner but it was just too expensive. If they lowered the prices of those things I think they would get more brides interested in upgrading to those things.

    Overall, I would have to say we were happy with our experience. Of course we could pick at things when asked but I know my DH & I had a great vacation/wedding.

    Chrissy & Jeremiah's Blog with Pictures...


    #12 Tifany

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      Posted 23 May 2010 - 10:04 AM

      At this time, I think the set-up fees are one item of confusion. It seems like some brides are being told one price and others are told another. I think this is important to call out, as we're all on budgets and if we went to bring our own items, we need to know this ahead of time.

      Also related is bringing in things like flowers from the outside. I'm planning on creating my own (fake) bouquets with my mom, and perhaps I've read wrong on here, but people were getting flack about that as well?

      I think it all falls into the WCs in Miami not being well-versed in things.

      #13 mrs*j*2011

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        Posted 23 May 2010 - 11:30 AM

        I agree with the others about the photography. The prices are very high and I don't think all options are communicated very well. I am waiting until we arrive to make a final decision because I do not want to be locked into something and not be able to change my mind.

        I am having issues with the MS packages vs selecting specifically what I want. I don't want to upgrade to a full package but am having a hard time get any info from the Miami WC regarding what I can purchase a la carte. Additionally, I would like to bring some of my own decorations/favors but will not be due to the $500 set up fee.
        ~~ Lea ~~
        January 2, 2011 ~ Sandals Royal Caribbean
        (honeymooning at Couples Negril)


        #14 JenniferSS



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          Posted 23 May 2010 - 11:43 AM

          Just to answer a few things :) -

          Originally Posted by delnel24
          1. I would like to see more sunset weddings or later in the day weddings. When they offered our times they said we could pick from 11AM, 12PM, 1PM and the latest was 2PM This is in the middle of the hot day. They said if I wanted a later wedding I would have to upgrade to the $6000 MS theme. I almost left Sandals for this reason and went to Couples because they offer much better wedding times. I would have moved to a different resort but I had over 30 people already booked.

          The time slots for weddings are from 11- 4pm, they only do one wedding an hour, on the hour. This also guarantees that you can have any location on the resort for your wedding! So if they didn't offer a time later in the day it was because it unfortunately was already taken by another bride before you booked yours! I agree that the cost for the Sunset time is ALOT- however as you can see from the post in this thread and throughout the forum - it is a premium time that most brides want. The cost also reflects the amount and type of flowers used (and the cost of getting that package set up-takes a bit as there are so many flowers involved!). [/COLOR]

          2. Hire Wedding Coordinators that call you back. They are working on a better system where they are scheduling consultations now- as I get more information I will post it!

          3. $500 for each additional table when you upgrade to a theme is ridiculous. I can understand if someone is having several (like 100 guests) to charge them a higher set up fee but come on. $500 for each table of 8? Agree- they do allow you to have a plain-non decorated table with a regular table cloth -not floor length and dinner set-ups at no extra charge if you are doing the sit down meal.

          4. The pricing for the photography seems like a rip off. $1200 for 48 pictures? Actually this isn't bad pricing- it can seem a bit like sticker shock at first but they give you full rights to your photo's. I comparision shopped here in the midwest (using price sheets from all types of photographers that do weddings from the hobbiest to the amazing, small town to big city) and the cost for them to show up and do the shoot, provide 48 pictures and provide reprint rights was far, far above the 1200- if I remember correctly the hobbiest came in at about 1500-2500 and the amazing was well over 8000 ( with the full rights of reprint)

          We should also be able to see the photographers work for other weddings before we commit to it. I would also like to see being able to bring in your own photographer. Several of the other resorts let you do this. Photography at Sandals is a HUGE concern for several of the brides. I'm sure this alone has lost several customers. At Couples they have a great photographer who is a true professional and not just trained to take pictures with KODAK. You can go to his website and see all of his pictures before hand and the pricing is much more reasonable.
          I beleive they are working on something like this- at least I was told in December they were- but that getting the MS up and running was priority because the contract with Preston Baily had run out.

          #15 JenniferSS



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            Posted 23 May 2010 - 12:13 PM

            As you can see I won't answer everyone today-I just wanted to touch base on some of these !

            Originally Posted by DWbridetobe
            My comments:

            Wedding Coordinators: Mine (and I'm not sure if this applies for all of them) seems to be very under-informed. Every time I email her with questions, it takes multiple days to get a response. When I do get a response, her answers are copy and pasted from the Sandals website. Now I, and almost every other bride I know, is very informed about the companies that they are handing thousands of dollars to. If the information on the website had satisfied my question, I wouldn't be asking again. I realize that Unique Vacations (the company whom the WC's are from) isn't Sandals, but they ARE representing the Sandals brand. I understand your frustration! I wouldn't want to be copied and pasted from the website either. You may want to start with - I looked at the website and saw......but I needed further clarification such as...... As far as taking multiple days to respond - yup, it will. They are working with at lesat 2-2.5 years worth of brides! The brides that are traveling the soonest are priority, those who are traveling further out get answered a little later. It's far worse for those getting married in Mexico- they can take weeks to get back and not answer a question! Not to make light of it but it is the reality of a DW. They literally work with hundreds of brides and potentially thousands of weddings over a two year time frame. Looking at just 5 days a week multiplied by 6 wedding slots a day ( not counting teh vow renewal and the sunset time slots) by 52 weeks a year equals 1,560 weddings. Say we take just half that number, 780 ( because the fall weddings don't fill up although January - June usually do!) and then add to that those that are just considering having a DW at Sandals/Beaches and want to speak with someone and it is quite amazing that they are able to respond within multiple days!

            Cost of the "free wedding": This wedding package is far from free. I feel like this is a mis-representation. I have to respectfully disagree with this- for you to get legally married at a Sandals/ Beaches resort it is free. The inclusions are clearly stated on the website in several places. They even go as far as paying for the legal fees under certain conditions! They file the paperwork required, they arrange the minister, provide a bouquet, have a photographer come and take a photo that they give to you plus provide a wedding cake and champagne for the bride & groom plus two guests. A location on the resort of your choosing is also provided. Then they send the marriage license back to you. This all has a cost to the resort above & beyond your room cost. What they do not provide is a free celebration/reception of the wedding or upgrades/decorations that you may prefer for the wedding or reception. If you were to do all the same things that are included with teh free wedding at home there would be both a monetary and time cost.

            I'm inclined to agree with the wedding times. The latest time we were offered was 2:00 p.m., which is during the hottest time of the day. It also makes it difficult to time sunset photos and events. Again it would be because because someone else had already reserved the 3pm & 4pm time- those go really fasy- usually year or so in advance!

            Although my videography/web-streaming issue has been solved by a manager at Unique Vacations, for future brides, when will this feature be available for the rest of the resorts, particularly in Saint Lucia? I'll see if they have anything in the works!
            I think that's all the input I have for now. I'll be sure to post if I think of any more.

            #16 JenniferSS



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              Posted 23 May 2010 - 12:25 PM

              Great comments-thanks for sharing!

              Originally Posted by kelly1214
              my main issues-

              1. lack of communication before the wedding. A full price list explaining all the fees and options for our wedding would've been nice. I know the Martha Stewart stuff changed a lot of it but it was a huge frustration not knowing what was included and what wasn't and what I'd have to pay extra for. I feel like my wedding coordinator didn't care to volunteer information to us, we had to pull everything out of her... Completely agree- especially as so much has changed/ is changing! One of the reasons for the meeting!
              2. The wedding coordinator in Miami. She was very hard to get a straight answer out of. Things she said didn't make sense and pretty much made me not trust a word that came out of her mouth. I felt like she just wanted to make money off of me, not help me plan the 'carefree wedding' as described. Can you please email me some examples that I can share ? That would really help!

              3. The photography as stated by the other brides. There is a HUGE lack of communication on what is available for us to purchase and what the costs are. The only information presented in the welcome kits is regarding packages, nothing regarding prices to individually purchase pictures, nothing about purchasing the photographs individually on a CD. The prices are pre set but I agree it would be wonderful to know all of that prior to going to the resort

              The quality of the photographer we had was mediocre too. My family's photographs were as good if not better than hers. She also was late in getting to my room (we actually had to wait for her to get there so I could go to my ceremony). She was rude to my guests too which really ticked me off. Could you email me some examples of the quality similarity between the two that I could share with Sandals? It would be great if they could be the same shots (one from teh sandals/Beaches photog and one from teh family member!) I have been trying to push the importance of having specific photographers that brides could pick from for their weddings as I completely understand the frustration and how important it is !!
              Hands down my biggest disappointment from my wedding with my experience with the photographers and photoshop people.

              Momx2- good luck with getting outside venders in. Our photographer from tropical imaging said the security office gave him a really hard time getting in and he didn't even have his camera!

              #17 JenniferSS



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                Posted 23 May 2010 - 12:34 PM

                I want to thank everyone who shared- especially past brides as I know it's really valuable to all the new brides! I didn't answer every post as I need to get away from this computer for a few hours and actually spend time with my family! :)

                Please do keep the thoughts, comments and questions coming! Again I appreciate constructive comments & thoughts !

                I would also love to share with them what each of you thinks that they are doing right !

                #18 *Meagan*

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                  Posted 23 May 2010 - 03:34 PM

                  Originally Posted by Tifany

                  Also related is bringing in things like flowers from the outside. I'm planning on creating my own (fake) bouquets with my mom, and perhaps I've read wrong on here, but people were getting flack about that as well?
                  I brought all of my own clay flowers.. my bouquet, boutonnieres, and mothers bouquets. And no one said a single thing to me. The WC In Miami did tell me they would not be allowed.. but I basically said screw that! Im bringing my own. And there is nothing they could do about it. There was no way they were going to go through my bags to get them. The wedding planner in turks thought they were beautiful! She didnt say anything else. I think you will be totally fine. I think many brides are starting to bring their own bouquets. I wanted something specific and was not about to pay $%00 for my bouquet alone. Good luck it will all work out!

                  #19 *Meagan*

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                    Posted 23 May 2010 - 03:35 PM

                    Jennifer- I would like to email you some pics comparing the two.

                    #20 AutismPrincipal

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                      Posted 23 May 2010 - 05:50 PM

                      Wow, the feedback here alone makes me very nervous about going with Sandals. I've posted on other threads here at BDW inquiring about Sandals and I am very put-off that I, as the bride, have very little control even though its supposed to "care-free." I'm a firm believer in you get what you pay for and I am very hesitant to go with a company where I have to pay 3 nights for my own photog, can't bring or order my own flowers, difficulty with non-communicative WC's, weird time slots for my dream wedding. Its back to the drawing board ;(. I'm absolutely thrilled about this site; no where else could I get such honest information.

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