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JesseLyn10

RIU OCHO RIOS REVIEW - our July 20, 2010 wedding and our stay at the resort *PHOTOS**

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We just got home from our week at the RIU Ocho Rios in Jamaica!!!! This is going to be long so it is going to be broken up into parts. Enjoy!

 

Traveling:

The Montego Bay airport is tiny and we landed with 4 other planes. The lines are long and it is hot so be prepared to have some patience - the time you spend at the airport is well worth the vacation you are about to have! You have to wait in a few different lines so remember to breathe and focus on the amazing vacation you are going to have!

 

Bus:

It wasn't bad. It was full and my FI and I were the last ones on it, ensuring that all our guests all made it on so we couldn't sit together. Our bus stopped at the Bahia Principe on the way to the RIU to drop off travelers to that hotel. We also stopped half way for beef patties and beer. We noticed that from one person to the next, prices for water fluctuated from $2 to $5 per bottle.

 

The Resort:

One whole wing is jr. suites and oceanview and one wing is standard rooms. My grandmother found that walking to her room at the other end of the hotel (near the pond) was a little far and there were a few ramps that became SO slippery in the rain. We arrived on a Friday and the hotel was full for the first 2 nights but by Monday the hotel had no problem moving her and our other guests from the far wing to the 2000 building (in the center building). Another of my guests had an ant problem and requested a room change, again no problem. The bulk of our guests (including myself) stayed in the jr. suites wing. We had thought that the rooms included either a king sized bed or 2 doubles and a pull out couch but it seemed that my room had the only pull out couch. The food was fantastic and the staff were great!! Our phone only made outgoing calls intermittently which was kind of annoying but we would just use someone else's phone. All in all I was very happy with the resort, food and staff. The bartenders and staff were amazing!! We tipped a little each day at every meal and the service was fantastic!

 

The guys on the beach who sell necklaces were kind of pushy at the beginning (especially D. Feelgood) but a majority of our guests bought a necklace or bracelet (the black, red, yellow and green one) the first day and would wear them, then when we were approached we would just show them that we had already bought something and they would float away.

 

We were kind of disappointed that the bars close at midnight until we discovered that we could bring beers and cocktails from the disco out to the lobby bar! Fridges are stocked with Bigga orange (a sweet version of orange crush) and we fell in love with Ting (a grapefruit drink) when we drank it on out catamaran boat tour. We took a boat to Dunn’s River Falls and then snorkeled on the way back - this trip is a must!

 

Wedding Planning:

I was just as nervous to go through this process because of the whole Chandlyn situation. My FI and I made an appointment for planning with the coordinator but since we arrived on a Friday and she was booked up for the Saturday, we had to make it for the day before our wedding. Totally stressful but I had to roll with it.

 

Antonette is amazing!!! This really is all I can say.

 

We met with her Monday morning for our Tuesday afternoon wedding. I had brought all the correspondence that I had with Chandlyn with me and Antonette honoured all our quoted prices. We met with her for about an hour, gave her our cake topper, Tai Flora invoices, cds for reception etc. I left feeling totally at ease!

 

Wedding!

I had booked our mothers, wedding party at the Renova spa for their hair and makeup. The ladies there went over and above expectations with hair and makeup. They let everyone hang out in the room while they did 2 people at a time, it was so much fun and they really were excellent at personalizing hair and makeup for each person.

 

It rained everyday except our wedding day!!!

 

Our flowers didn’t arrive until right before I was escorted to our beach wedding site, which was great because they really didn’t hold up to the Jamaican heat. Tai Flora provided our ceremony decor, flowers, diner decorations and beach reception decorations and set up everything perfectly!

 

Our wedding was on the beach, next to the gazebo. I had specifically requested a bamboo, 4 post arch because I felt the gazebo didn’t really fit the theme. Our ceremony was 6 minutes long and then it was onto the rum punch and finger foods.

 

Our dinner was at Mammee Bay. We had about 6 tables set up to accommodate our 51 guests. I haven’t figured out how to attach photos but after I post this, I’ll see if I can add photos. The dinner was the regular Mammee Bay menu which is really good! We opted for the standard wedding cake that came with our Caprice package and bought an additional cake for my FI’s mother whose 60th birthday happened to fall on our wedding day.

 

Beach reception:

If there is 1 regret, I think that hiring a dj was something we shouldn’t have done. We added a dj last minute because we didn’t want the stress of worrying about music but he wasn’t that good and we ended up telling him what to play anyway. He announced my dance with my dad and our first dance as a married couple but his friends hung around the bar which was totally unacceptable. We only had the venue until 11 but we paid the bartenders and dj for an extra hour (the dj complained about it but took our money then hung out with his friends). Our bartenders, O’Neil and Kevon were 2 waiters that we requested to bartend our wedding - they generally work the pool areas and are amazing!!! They told us that they have never been paid to stay longer and that they had no idea that Canadians partied this much!

 

Our reception ended with the wedding party, parents and friends going for a midnight swim in the ocean - incredibly amazing!!!!!!!

 

All in all, our experience was fantastic. If you have doubts about this hotel because of the Chandlyn situation, relax and go with it. Looking at the big picture, I would not have changed a thing about my wedding!!!!!

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Ceremony:

 

Beach site, just to the side of the beach gazebo. I made fan programs that are hanging off of the chairs. I had a friend place all the fans and confetti on the chairs because the wedding staff no longer do this.

 

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By jesseandtony at 2010-07-24

 

My girls with their parasols, view of ceremony site from the water

 

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By jesseandtony at 2010-07-24

 

My FI and groomsmen with the steel drum band prior to the ceremony

 

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By jesseandtony at 2010-07-24

 

Our ceremony

 

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By jesseandtony at 2010-07-24

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All flowers/decorations were ordered through Tai Flora. I worked with Jennievie and she was totally accommodating and attentive to what I wanted my wedding to look like.

 

My bouquet - blue hydrangeas, purple orchids and cream mini calla lilies:

 

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By jesseandtony at 2010-07-24

 

My bridesmaids/MOHs wore wrist corsages because they carried parasols and the flower girls carried fairy wands:

 

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By jesseandtony at 2010-07-24

 

Our cake and topper. I bought the topper from the hotel gift shop because I forgot ours at home. I love how it turned out!

 

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By jesseandtony at 2010-07-24

 

Bride and Groom's table, without centrepieces. The other tables were at angles to ours and sat 8 people each. I haven't found a photo of the set up yet. We lucked out that the regular glasses at Mammee Bay had blue accents, they matched our colours perfectly!

 

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By jesseandtony at 2010-07-24

 

Our centrepieces. I wanted something simple because I wasn't sure how it would turn out. I had white roses and plumeria in vases with candles.

 

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By jesseandtony at 2010-07-24

 

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By jesseandtony at 2010-07-24

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Beach Reception:

 

We had lit cocktail tables and 8 wrapped palm trees, tiki torches and tables and chairs set up on the beach in front of the Seagrape beach bar. Our centrepieces from dinner were brought down to the beach reception as well. The Seagrape is below the Dunn's Bar which is in front of the theater. We had people watching over the balcony, cheering and congratulating us all night!

 

 

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By jesseandtony at 2010-07-24

 

one of our lit palm trees:

 

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By jesseandtony at 2010-07-24

 

This is one of the lit cocktail tables, they looked amazing in the dark!! This is also a photo of the bread that my FI and I fought over to see who will wear the pants in our family (I won!) It's a tradition from northern Greece when my in-laws are from. We were surprised with this bread that the parents of our best man brought all the way from Toronto!

 

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By jesseandtony at 2010-07-24

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One more thing I forgot to add:

 

Internet reception is only available in the main lobby. There isn't access from the rooms so you have to plan to bring your laptop etc. with you and then bring it back to your room before going to the beach. I didn't want to chance getting sand etc. in our computer so I rarely used it. I did see another guest (whom I didn't know) using his laptop in the lobby when a huge storm blew through at night and his computer got soaked - the lobby is open air and the rain just pours in.

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