We just got back from our honeymoon and our wedding was on July 5, 2010.
The ROR resort was great! Our 77 guests and my husband and I had no complaints about the resort at all. The food, wait staff, beach, cleanliness etc. was great. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the sub wedding coordinator or hotel management that we had to deal with. Below is a copy of an email I had to send to complain about what happened with our wedding:
My name is Jennifer Yearwood and I am trying to get in touch with someone from the RIU company who could help with some problems we encountered on our wedding day at the RIU Ocho Rios.
Firstly, management did not inform me that our original wedding coordinator, Chandlyn Edwards, had been fired prior to our arrival at the resort. We arrived on the 30th of June and was informed that she had been fired when we went to meet with her on July 1st. I had been emailing Chandlyn prior to our arrival and had not gotten a response and no one from the resort's management responded in her place or tried to inform me of what had happened.
We met with Tina Dunbar and she informed us that she would be taking over for Chandlyn. She told me that nothing had been booked/scheduled for our wedding and that she would have to confirm everything, which she did do. She also honored the prices that Chandlyn had quoted us, which were apparently cheaper than what the resort is supposed to charge. We felt confident after meeting with Tina that everything was going to run smoothly and that she would be a great wedding coordinator.
However, on the day of our wedding, I did not hear from or see Tina until 3:30 when she brought us our bouquets. Our ceremony was at 4pm at the beach gazebo. The ceremony was perfect and everything went as planned except for the fact that the steel pan band did not play for an hour as we had paid for. Tina was supposed to have them start playing when our ceremony ended for one full hour and that did not happen.
After the ceremony, all of my guests moved to another location to have a group photo taken. The chairs from our ceremony were supposed to be moved to our reception location and Tina did not make sure that that was done. The excuse given to us was that they couldn't move the chairs because our guests were sitting in them after the ceremony, which is not true because we were all doing the group photos. I was under the impression that, as our wedding coordinator, Tina would be there to make sure that things went as planned but she wasn't. Then there was some talk about us only having 30 chairs booked for the reception, which was also not true because we had 77 guests come to our ceremony and reception. The chairs did not make it to the reception venue on time even though there was 2 hours in between the end of the ceremony and when our reception was supposed to start.
Furthermore, Tina was supposed to lay out the place cards and table numbers prior to our guests coming to the reception. She was also supposed to put out wedding candies that we had packaged on every guests' plate. My husband's cousins were asked by us to give out the wedding favours (wine stoppers) to lessen Tina's load at the reception but that obviously did not help. When my bridal party got there, none of that had been done. I had given her a floor plan of the table seating arrangement as well. My bridesmaids, who were supposed to be enjoying themselves at this point, had to step in and do Tina's job. They had to do the place cards and table numbers and make sure that everyone was seated where they were on the floor plan. Tina and the other assistant coordinator did not make any effort to help or fix the situation. They also were very rude to my bridesmaids. I was really disappointed to find this out and it was completely unfair that my bridal party had to run around and get everything organized and set up properly while Tina stood on the sidelines watching. I realize that she was stepping in for Chandlyn last minute but that's no excuse for her to take on a 'I don't care' attitude. When my husband and I arrived at the reception she greeted us by saying 'I wasn't ready for you to be here yet' as if we were supposed to know that she didn't have things running according to plan. We had been doing our own photos at this time. Then she tried to sell us on the idea of having a buffet dinner when we had clearly stated that we wanted the meals served. It was obvious that the kitchen staff was not ready either because nothing was set up and ready to go at 6:30 food wise either. My guests had to wait around until my bridesmaids had the table seating figured out and Tina just disappeared.
We were supposed to have a buffet salad bar and a dessert bar after dinner. Instead, they put the dessert out with the salad and cleared it all away before anyone finished the main course. No one got to have any dessert. And again, Tina was not around to consult. The staff started clearing everything away at 10:40 even though our reception had started late because of the chairs/seating problem. Our cake was served to only a few guests who were dancing on the dance floor which was rude and just plain tacky.
Aside from Tina's lack of wedding coordination, the resort had some maintenance issues as well. We had rented out the upper level of the Plantation restaurant and some of the lights/fans were not working and it was uncomfortable for our guest who did not have a working fan over their table. Furthermore, my husband and I had requested an ocean view suite because all of my bridesmaids were to get ready in our room for our wedding. That is the only reason we had requested a suite- to accommodate all of the people that would be in there. Our air conditioner was not working and we asked to have someone fix it on July 2nd. Someone came and played around with it and said they would come back and never did. We called several more times and we were assured someone would be there to fix it and no one ever came. By our wedding day, still nothing had been done to fix it. My father had to contact the hotel manager, Edgar Ortiz, and he finally sent another person to come and look at it. He realized that the room needed a whole new AC unit altogether and a new ceiling fan. The fan that was in our room was defective and did not go faster than the first speed so we didn't even have that to help cool us down. The bottom line is that my bridesmaids and I, my mother, my photographer and our hair stylist were left to sweat in a suite that was 28 degrees Celsius (Suite 1061).
Then, the day after the wedding, we finally get a letter from the front desk asking if we'd like to change rooms. This offer was a little late as our wedding had come and gone.
We tried to find Tina to discuss the issues we had with our wedding but had no luck. Instead we were referred to Antonette (not Antonette Fowler) , who was apparently new to the resort. We sat down and spoke with her and she took a photocopy of our complaints, assured us that something would be done to help fix the situation and then she never got back to us. My husband searched her down again the next day and she said that she had not been able to talk to Tina about anything, even though we had seen them having lunch after we'd spoken to her the day before. We then had to search down the hotel manager again on the day we were leaving and he too assured us that something would be done. That was on July 9th and I still have not heard from Antonette or Edgar. They have my contact information on file, and they also had the photocopy of our complaints/issues. I assumed a resort of this caliber would have much more impressive management and customer service skills and we are really disappointed with how things were left.
We had 79 people come to the RIU Ocho Rios for our wedding and we paid to have our wedding there. We assumed that, as a wedding coordinator, substitute or not, Tina would have made sure we were happy and that everything went according to plan. This was not the case. We are left with this feeling that since the RIU already got our money, they don't really give a damn, to be perfectly frank, how our wedding went or if we were satisfied/pleased with the resort. I also feel like Antonette and Edgar just brushed us off because they knew we'd be leaving in a few days.
Overall, I can't say that I was happy with my wedding day and it's not something you get to do over. I would like something to be done about all of the problems we experienced that day and for the maintenance/customer service issues as well. We did not get what we paid for.
I realize Tina did not really care about getting the job done, although she tried to assure us that she did when we first met with her on July 1st, but the RIU should have made sure that someone who genuinely wanted to get the job done right was there for our wedding and the others that took place that week.
I have Cc'd my maid of honour, my parents and our wedding MC in case you need to confirm that the bridesmaids had to set up the reception. I will continue trying to contact someone higher up until someone tries to rectify this.
I look forward to a prompt response to this matter.
I still have not heard anything back from anyone at the RIU but I'm not letting this go. If anyone else has any suggestions about what further steps I should take, please let me know!
Tai Flora is amazing and everything from them was exactly what I wanted and gorgeous. Jennivie is great to work with.
Renova spa did my hair and make up and hair for 3 of my BMs and they did an amazing job as well. We had Rose and Nicole and they were able to make miracles happen with our hair!! It lasted the entire day and night.
The steel pan band was great too but they were supposed to play for an hour AFTER our ceremony and they were there at the beginning of it at 4pm. Tina didn't give them the correct time to be there. Our ceremony was about 30 mins and then they played until about 5 and left so we really only had them play for 30 mins and payed for an hour. Which cost us $450. I'm surprised by this as others seem to be paying $350.
The cocktails and hors d'ouevres were good and everyone enjoyed the refreshments after the ceremony.
The food at our reception was ok, nothing I would recommend though. I definitely had better meals at the buffet restaurant. Our salad bar was buffet style and our dessert was supposed to be as well. Again, Tina was not there to keep the staff on task so we never got to have any of the dessert bar as it was served with the salad bar before dinner and packed away before dinner ended. Our soup and main meal was served.
Our cake was perfect!! We ordered our cake from Sheila and she made it look exactly like the pictures we had emailed. It tasted amazing as well and everyone loved it.
Our DJ sucked. That's the only way I can put it. We should have just rented the equipment and played our own ipods...would have been more effective. Because Tina didn't have things running on time, we literally only had four songs to dance to with our guests and then he packed up and left. We didn't even get a chance to offer him $ to stay longer. Luckily our MC was amazing and was able to keep the music going and dances on track for our first dance and dances with our parents. The DJ took off most of the time and just left the music playing.
The wait staff did they best they could with Tina's lack of scheduling/organization. I really can't hold anything against them because it wasn't their fault that they had to rush through everything.
I am not totally unhappy with the memory of my wedding day only because we had 6 other days in Jamaica to make up for the problems we had. Everything was great except for Tina Dunbar, the wedding coordinator who did not coordinate everything as was discussed and planned.
We had a great honeymoon in Bali on a good note!
Here are a couple of the pics from our guests...I will post some of the professional ones when we get them! Note my photographer putting the petals on the aisle...another one of Tina's tasks she didn't do! I also have pictures of my BMs setting up the tables/place cards/wedding favors at the reception!