We just got back from our Site Visit to Paradise Island and I've got a full report!
We spent 2 nights at Atlantis (the Coral Tower) and 2 nights at the One and Only Ocean Club (Hartford Wing) and got to meet a ton of vendors! Here's my opinion and experience with places and people.
this is a great property for families with children. There are a ton of activities to keep everyone busy- everything from crazy water slides, to sting ray feeding to swimming with dolphins! They are people EVERYWHERE and my FI kept saying that he felt like he hadn't left Manhattan!
The group room rates are really reasonable $180/nite in the beach tower, but all the little tiny extras will totally get you! They charge you for the utilities in the room (electricity and water!), a bottle of water in your room is $6, a sandwich is $18, a slice of pizza is $16 and the buffet is $52 per person! They even charge you $18 for your pool towels! We were shocked when we got the final bill.
One and Only Ocean Club
This place will blow your mind away! Every detail is thought of and worked out perfectly- from the refreshing juice that they provide all the time in the lobby, to the complimentary champagne and chocolate covered strawberries that they bring every evening! Every room comes with a butler that will take care of any little thing you can think of! They even steamed by engagement photo dress for me last minute!
The grounds are emaculant with their beautiful versaille gardens and the famous Cloisters. While the Cloisters are actually a public property, the late afternoon slot is reserved for O&O brides. The Cloisters are everything that everyone says they are- so romantic, so classic, so perfect! The versaille gardens are gorgeous and provide the most idilliac setting for a reception.
*we decided on having our wedding at the cloisters and having the reception at the O&O. In order to secure these sites, we have to guarantee 10 rooms for 3 nights each (which will run our guests $1500). Thankfully, our guests are into the luxury hotel experience
We were so impressed with this family team! Natalie was away the weekend we went down, but we met with Alex and felt completely at ease! We discussed our vision and felt that we were completely understood. Natalie called me when I got back, and after spending 20 minutes on the phone with her, I felt like our wedding came to life! We are aiming for a truly unique garden wedding. I want our guests to feel like they've never been to a wedding like this before.
We had a really hard time getting to this place and I feel like it might have started us off on the wrong foot. The ladies we met were very nice and help me develop our theme. I did feel like Michelle was a little nervous to give suggestions (perhaps it was my adement dislike for Ivy). They apparently had the exclusive contract at the One and Only until a few years ago when the resort opened up the floral options to couples.
*we're still waiting for proposals, but based on experience, I feel like we'll go with Wildflower.
Look no further Paradise Island brides! He's a one-stop shop! Not only is he providing us with DJ services (and sound system), he's also arranging a Cigar Roller, a Junkanoo Band and our Ceremony Music. He has a great personality and is so willing to work with you on anything. My FI only concern is that he may be too soft spoken to really liven up the party so we may also hire an MC. I wish we could have attended one of his events so that we could have experienced his party vibe.
Our WC arranged for us to meet with him so that we would have someone to compare Jose to. He has a very suave personality, but we didn't feel like he was really listening to our vision. While we are getting married in the bahamas, we're not looking for a the reggae music reception and after I mentioned Bobby Darren and Frank Sinatra, he played Bob Marley for us Don't get me wrong, we will be playing Bob Marley, at our casual rehearsal dinner... However, I think that he would be a lively DJ for a wedding and he did say that given a few days (weeks... probably) he could provide couples with all the extra touches they may be looking for.
*we're definitely going with Jose
What a great guy! We want to take him out for a beer and just talk about life! We actually cancelled all our other officiant meetings after speaking with him. He'll take care of everything for you (for a small fee)- from expediating your marriage license, to procuring your documents and official copies and sending them to you at home.
Swiss Pastry Shop
Manfried was very sweet and his wife was very informative. They gave us a complimentary sample box of 4 flavors: Red Velvet, Chocolate Mousse, Pineapple and Vanilla. Only cons: They are really deep into Nassau and took 30 minutes (and $80!) to get there. I was looking forward to the Cake Sampling Experience where we sat down with the pastry chef and talked it out. It was really busy the day we went (saturday) and there didn't seem to be a private place to meet.
They wanted to charge us $200 to attend a tasting (I bet I would have gotten my ideal experience there...) so we didn't do it with them. On top of it, they want to charge $1400 for a cake to feed 60 people!
*we've decided on a 4 layer cake- the bottom layer will be 12" of pineapple cake then there will be 2 faux layers of 10" and 8" and the top layer of 6" of chocolate mousse for the low low price of $400 (and a $30 delivery and set up fee).
I met with them at their Bay Street location (across from John Bull) and they were really helpful (and pretty). They said that they would send an artist to my hotel and do our makeup there. I have 3 bridesmaids, 3 matrons and each of our mothers, so I'm thinking that I may need 2-3 artists! Here are their prices:
Bridesmaids/Mothers- $75 each
They are also located on Bay Street in the same building as BB. Same deal with the artists coming to your hotel. Their makeup artists were a tad bit more made up then I'm going for on my wedding day. Their prices:
I mentioned earlier that this was my biggest stressor and it was quite the roller coaster ride!
After corresponding with him for nearly a month, when I went to schedule a meeting and a tentative photo shoot, he informed me that he books 6 months in advance and would try to squeeze me in for a meeting. We were planning on basing our hiring decision on our engagement pictures so he wasn't an option. Then our WC insisted on scheduling a meeting with him for us as he is known as "the best" (we heard this from several of our vendors). Well, he blew it off and never showed up. When our WC asked what happened, he told her he honestly forgot. We never got an apologetic email from him. I was never too impressed with his photos and definitely not impressed with his lack of professionalism.
Came highly recommended by Matthew Sweetin. We saw a couple of his online galleries, but they lacked the artistic flair that I am so desperately seeking. But it's only fair to say that I'm being extremely picky about our wedding photos. He was really quick with responding and was very polite in our emails.
She came highly recommended by Jose and after she sent us her portfolio via email (her website is in the process of launching), we breathed a huge sigh of relief! Dede is an artist, and stumbled onto the wedding photography scene by accident (she took "getting ready" shots for a friend and then got asked to shoot that friend's friend's wedding.... and so on). She's shot a total of 4-5 weddings and already has developed a great eye for those unique shots that I'm hoping for (you know the ones where one person is in focus, the other out of focus, the different angle shots, and those magical candid, RELAXED moments...). We met with her and I toured her around the Ocean Club to see how she would shoot and I liked her vision. We booked our engagement session with her on the beach and really enjoyed it (even though I can be super awkward in front of a camera). I'm excited to see how the photos come out! Her fees are so reasonable and she provides her couples with a CD of all the images for more convenient printing back home.
*we really liked dede but will base our decision on whether to hire a local photographer based on the engagement pictures.
So, that's most of it, ladies! I hope all this information helps you guys!