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Okay, so I've been back a few weeks from Jamaica, and here is my review. Keep in mind that only me and DH went; we didn't bring any family or friends.

 

1. The resort-- gorgeous, clean, beautiful, the best time of my life. Seriously, the staff is amazing: they are happy and pleasant and funny and cool. We stayed in the plantation villas oceanview with butler service (wasn't necessary, but pretty cool). DO eat at the Arizona and the Reef Terrace, the views are amazing. All the food is so great I left a size two and came back a size four!

The beach club, BTW, is more fun that swimming by the pier (you'll see what I mean).

2. Be prepared to tip your baggage handler and bus driver about $5 each; tip butlers at end of the week (not daily; we did it wrong!). But you will not tip anyone else on the resort. They really don't take tips (except for the maids).

3. Don't be scared; the resort areas are pretty secluded from everywhere else and resort security is tight even if you don't see it (every inch is on video; security walks around on hidden paths at night, ect).

4. We found a hidden hot tub amongst the villas-- it was down a narrow path, totally hidden from view from any building or road-- we swam (just the two of us) in this giant hot tub surrounded by flora with a bottle of champagne EVERY SINGLE night. It was the most romantic experience of my life. There are many of these spots, ask the staff.

5. Tip your maid or she will get mad. And you will know it, even if you don't see her. And give a few bucks to the night maid who does turn down-- she appreciates it the most.

6. Do check valuables. When we got home we found that the Jamaican airport people had gone through our suitcase and tore open the ring boxes from our wedding; luckily, we were wearing the rings and just packed the little boxes!

 

Okay, so here is my review of our wedding:

1. Calm down, girls-- these people are pros. The WC does this all day, every day. She has this down to a science.

2. Our meeting with WC was the day after arrival; there was a letter about this upon check in. There was also a binder for us to look over with wedding options and add ons.

3. Flower upgrade- I did the free Beautiful Beginnings package and I did not add much on. I was very happy with my flowers (choice: purple or white); I did purple which I thought looked much more tropical than the white I saw another bride carrying the next day. You may get flowers for your hair ($20 extra). Groom gets free boutinere. All flower upgrades start at over $200.

4. Location: SGOR brides almost always choose Reef Terrace, and now I know why. Awesome spot; nice breeze (and trust me, it gets HOT). All other locations would have been scorching. This has beautiful ocean view (though for ceremony, you don't stand in gazebo-- it's bad for pics). Pics will be taken in gazebo with big ocean view following ceremony. This spot is also most private. You will be totally alone.

5. WC has lots of music to choose from, and will help you pick. Besides, it's really only two songs she plays: what you walk down the aisle to (Canon, it's perfect!) and first dance (we did over the rainbow/ what a wonderful world by israel kama-----). Have in mind your first dance song, because otherwise you're just picking from a list; you can burn it onto CD and she will play it.

6. Pics-- you can wait until you get there to order pics. She will help you pick a package; we did agree to the package pre wedding because the photographer would not have spent much time with us otherwise. We did the 24 5x7's for $325 or so. You get two options: burn them on CD, or prints. Take the CD: you can print them yourself any size as much as you want. We viewed the pics in a private room the next day, and than NEGOTIATED for the rest of the pics (12) for an extra $100. Photo's were great, he really posed us, and be sure to ask to go for beach shots at the very end! Be sure to look at the camera when walking down the aisle: that is my only regret.

7. The free hor'douves are crackers and cheese. I could have skipped that part. Cake (we did rum) okay, not great. They will box up the top layer for you to take home, but can you imagine traveling with that?

8. Ceremony was great, but very quick (isn't that always true, though?).

9. The first dance felt corny with the WC and photographer there, but I guess more traditional brides and grooms feel weird with a couple hundred people watching them.

10. Oh, here's the order of things: brides goes to spa and gets hair done ($70, DO THIS, it's fun and makes things stress free). Bride returns to room. Wedding van picks up groom from room and takes him to wedding spot. Security sits with him to make sure he doesn't get cold feet (JK!!!). Van returns to pick up bride (there is only fifteen minutes or so between when groom leaves room and van comes for bride, so be ready). WC will help with any last minute needs (zipping up dress, safety pins, ect) but you cannot doddle your groom is nervously waiting for you. The van parks, bride has short walk to area where marriage is. Now this is why Reef Terrace is great; groom cannot see you at all until WC plays music and you walk down the pathway, turn the corner, and enter the walled garden. Beautiful. Now bride reaches groom, wedding officiant talks (he is funny but serious) about marriage/ love. Exchange of vows. Exchange of rings. Officiant talks. Kiss. You are married! Now bride and groom enters gazebo; sits down at a little table; officiant talks; bride and groom sign marriage registry. More pics. You are done! And now you pose for pics in the wedding location; then in several very close spots the photographer uses every day for posed pics. Now it is hot, hot, hot!!! Photographer is a pro: he carries cloth for you to wipe off shine. He carries hairpins in both brown and black!!!! Cold water is also provided. Now the couple goes back to Reef Terrace (but not same exact spot) and cuts the cake for the photographer; and has first dance (cheesy); and cheese and crackers; and then the cake is served. Attended by personal waiter who is funny. Wedding van takes you back to your room. Make babies.

Quick and easy! Fun and romantic! And yes, it feels like a real wedding-- especially the butterflies right before you turn the corner and see your groom.

 

TIPS:

1. Don't let the WC try to talk you into the rose petals and bubble bath add on. She tried to slip it in, my DH didn't even know it was like $200. Luckily I caught on and told her no (she made it sound like free).

2. Candlelight dinner on beach- $170- worth it! romantic. once in a lifetime. they rescheduled us because of rain. Great for your wedding night.

3. Do not get sunburnt pre wedding. My DH regretted that.

4. The photographer told us the hottest time of day was 11am for weddings. We did 3pm and it was still hot.

5. I packed my dress carry on: but steaming it would have been $80 down there so I ironed it myself in room (luckily, my dress could do that). Steaming DH's suit was around $30 but they did a great job. you pay per piece, i ironed his vest myself (easy).

6. You don't pay cash for everything; you just sign your name to bills. Make sure charge card knows your leaving country. And beware: after we called Discover to let them know we are leaving for Jamaica, they lowered our credit limit by a lot! I don't understand why. They didn't even tell us.

7. Buy a calling card here in the states-- we didn't realize that the three calls we make for less than ten minutes each would cost almost a hundred dollars from the room, and we couldn't get cell service out there.

8. Post wedding, we found a staff member who took pics with my cam near our rooms-- some of my fave pics!

9. Relax- the place is safe, and it was so very very easy.

 

Here's a link for pics:

 

Smilebox Playback

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Thank you for your great review!! I am only going down with 2 others, so it is nice to hear from a bride that doesn't have a party of 40 :) I love the pics...you looked beautiful! And they did your hair too? They did a great job! I also am ordering the photography when I get down there. We are just doing the BB package with no extras, so I really appreciated your review. And I think we have the same shoes...my are hot pink though to match my MOH's dress...

 

Congrats!!!

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Great review.  The only thing I disagree with is the food.  The food at the cocktail reception was inedible.  I've heard the dinner itself is very good but we just ate at one of the restaurants (there were 19 of us) as my guests refused to let me spend 75 dollars a person for a private reception. 

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