Hi All -
We just got back from getting married @ Iberostar Grand Rose Hall on 7/30/2010 & hopefully if anyone needs help with ideas or questions (or deciding if this is the location for you); then maybe I can be of some help (or this post may be helpful in answering some of your questions!)
Where to begin...
I'll start w/the fun stuff = Pictures!!!
1. We hired Melissa Green @ www.melissagreen-photography.com
She was AWESOME - I attached a picture that she took (seen above) Her and Summer Hooke came out and stayed with us at the Grand & they were both amazing! I actually found them through this best destination website & I contacted her from her website.....and from our first conversation, I knew she was a perfect fit for us! They truly blended in and all my friends & our family enjoyed both of these Ladies They 2 ladies are very special, they work very hard for the great shots...including jumping in, fully clothed into the pool on our TTD session in order to get 'the shot'...they had us laughing!!!! They took pictures Thursday night @ our Bonfire, the day of the Wedding & the TTD session the following day. They were super special the day of my wedding, as they came and sat with me prior to my girlfriends coming to the room & it was so great, b/c I was somewhat anxious & nervous, but just through conversation with the ladies - we ended up having such a great time & I was put at ease by the time my sister & my friend came to the room to help get me dressed They also had a lot of patience...my poor husband (which I love saying now! ha!) has sensitive eyes to the sun, and they tried very hard to make him feel comfortable on our TTD session the day after our wedding...the sun was very bright & it was hard to keep our eyes open, but the ladies were extremely patient with us & helped us get in some shaded area in the pool so that we could keep our eyes open longer - ha! We were also so tired the day after, so it was so great that both Melissa & Summer were very patient, because we were in super slow mode...especially that first hour outside Sorry to Melissa & Summer - we needed more caffeine - ha! Melissa also posted a teaser shot the same day of our TTD session (seen below) - so it was so awesome to be able to get a glance of what the pictures look like the same day we took them....they took so many & I know it's got to be a lot of work to comb through all the pics & edit them...but the ones we have seen so far are INCREDIBLY AMAZING!!! AGAIN - I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THESE LADIES FOR YOUR DESTINATION WEDDING
Here is a link to Melissa's facebook page w/some of our wedding pics:
2. Beach Wedding - Steven & I are fairly laid back, so going into the entire destination wedding, we were open to any/all suggestions & not too picky about what we wanted. THANKFULLY, it did not rain!!! We worked w/Kymoya (wedding coordinator @ grand) and we asked for her opinion of where to hold the ceremony...as you basically get 2 choices on the beach: right in the center (near the plunge pool)....or off to the side, in front of the outdoor restaurant. We took her recommendation (off to the side) & it was PERFECT...you get much less 'watchers' trying to watch your entire ceremony & you didn't have to worry about the folks lining up within the pool to save 'their spot' to watch your wedding...there could be a rowdy crowd, so I would stick with Kymoya's recommendation. We had the dove release & Steel drum Bands play at the wedding - BOTH great choices!!! I went with the roses bouquet & flowers for my hair...we had the silver tie-backs for the chairs...and we didn't specify anything specific for our Arch...we just had tropical flowers & it looked just perfect for us. We had Rev. T. Gordon & if you can get him to do your ceremony & marry you...I highly recommend him!!! We loved him from the minute we met him...he was perfect for our ceremony & they all thought he was great...he was funny and down to earth - we are very thankful that we got him to perform our ceremony.
pic of dove release & cocktail party w/steel drum band:
3. Dinner/Disco/Beach Party - We ate at the gourmet restaurant for Dinner on our wedding & we asked to have a Lobster Tail added to the main plate..."no problem'...and just like that, we got the steak & lobster. Our group total was 20...so we all sat at one long table which worked out great for us....the restaurant was closed to the public until we finished (8pm) and that made it so much nicer!!! **Get the Strawberry Cheesecake for your Wedding Cake - it was soo delicious!!! We then headed to the Disco for 2 hours - which is completely yours until they open it up to the public @ 10:30. We had a great time; although, I think my friends were tired from the long day...so we didn't get too crazy on the dance floor
4. Rehearsal Night - For our ceremony, we didn't have any bridesmaids or groomsmen - just the 2 of us! So we didn't have to worry about practicing on the beach. For The Night before our wedding (Thursday), we worked with Kymoya in advance, and booked a Reggae Band, a Fire breather for Entertainment & had them set up a bonfire on the beach. Our dinner was at the Surf & Turf Restaurant (where we sat at one long table again) and then headed over to the beach for an AMAZING SET UP by Kymoya's team for the Reggae Band & Cocktail Party & Bonfire! It was AWESOME!!! The Fire Breather was amazing too....I highly recommend getting a Reggae Band (and a fire breather) - they were well worth the $$! I would recommend doing the beach party the night before your wedding...it was pretty hot out there (of course we were there in July), but I can't imagine trying to dance and party after our wedding on the beach. One more note about the Beach Party - you have to love Jamaicans...they worked very hard on setting up the Bonfire for us - it took them a long time to get that fire going...but they finally did! You have to give them credit, b/c as my one friend said..."if we were in NY, they'd be done trying after 5 mins"....these guys relentlessly worked on getting our bonfire set up & it really does speak to the overall attention & attitude to our entire weekend = the folks there wanted to please your wishes & they all worked so hard to make us happy...and they definitely made us VERY HAPPY! A few pics from our rehersal dinner & of our Beach Party (Steven & I had separate shirts made: "jamaican bride & jamaican groom" - our guests had "wedding crasher" shirts...see below, we had them made from cafe press) the bonfire shot was with a few of our friends who stuck around after the band @ the very end of the night...I had to take the shirt off...I danced up a storm & I was pretty sweaty! ha! ...
4. Hotel/Wedding Coordinator/Butler - I can't rave enough about this hotel, the food, and the service. Our wedding coordinator was great - Kymoya I remember first waiting for emails & thinking I wasn't getting a response back right away.....but once we got there, I realized how busy these wedding coordinators are - but even with her being so busy, she made every chance to meet with us and or speak w/us to get all of our requests done...and they were all met - she followed through on everything...again, "no problem" and we had a wonderful/perfect wedding! Our Butler was amazing...Darwin!!! I would request to be on Darwin's floor if I were you He was super nice & patient and even helped us finish packing some of our gift bags to distribute to our friends Again - everyone that worked there treated us with a lot of respect & there was no bad attitudes or vibes...we would do it all over again, in a heartbeat
5. Tips - we tipped almost everyone...we tipped bigger & continued tipping more for those employees who really impressed us...it was great getting to know a lot of the workers...some of their stories are amazing and we were happy to tip them b/c they truly deserved it for all their hard work!!
6. Buri Fans - we brought the buri fans with us for our wedding day...while I got a good discount on ebay for these fans...I would also recommend waiting & buying some buri fans at the markets. Make sure to get a cab ride over to the Market Downtown...much better prices & you can buy gifts for your guests; as well as, the hand made fans if you want them for your wedding.
7. T-Shirts - we had t-shirts made from cafe press: "Wedding Crasher Jamaica 2010" in the front and had this on the back of the shirt: rule#76: "no excuses, play like a champion" We had them bring them to the bonfire so that we could get a group shot & most of them just ended up wearing them all night
8. Pants at dinner - I had so many questions on this from my guests...so to help you all, YES guys have to wear pants at dinner w/collar shirts. AND flip flops are acceptable. So after our dinner Thursday night, we just told them they could go change into shorts for the bonfire. Most folks dressed up nice for the sit down dinners...just wanted to let you guys know, as this was a constant question from the group
9. Hair & Makeup day of Wedding = Done at the Salon there at Iberostar...I just brought some pictures, did a dry-run with the hair the day before & it turned out perfect! They also did my nails & they looked perfect too! No dry-run with the make-up, just day of & it turned out amazing...my husband loved what they did
10. Kids - No kids allowed at hotel (18 is the legal adult age in Jamaica); however, it was no problem to have my nephew, who is 13 & stayed at the the Suites to attend Thursday night & day of Wedding...most of what we did was private, so there was no issue having him attend. One of my friends was pregnant & another one of my friends just had a 3 month old...and they both took the time out to hire babysitters (their family) to watch their kids in order to attend our wedding in Jamaica - you gotta love them for that! Long story short, they have kids & they loved the fact of getting away & treating this like a vacation...they both commented how it was nice not to have a lot of kids running around the property...it really set the tone & mood of this place! That was the first time I vacationed w/out kids at a hotel...and it was really great!!! Since our Wedding was on a Friday, our friends were able to treat it as an extended long weekend to get away to Jamaica Again - you could work through Kymoya & have kids attend your wedding - but they are not allowed to stay at the Grand.
Well, I'm sure I'm forgeting some information to post...All in all, it was an amazing time there & I would definitley recommend getting married at the Grand!!! If we had to do it all over again, we would have done the exact same thing!!! So glad we chose to do a destination wedding...I will always remember our special day
Please let me know if you have questions & I will try to help I can post more pics once I get more of them
p.s. - I know I probably used 'amazing' a million times, but I'm not sure what else to use...ha! It was really all Amazing ;0) ha! lol.....
Good Luck to you future brides out there
Stacie (and Steven)