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Paradise Island Site Visit- Ideas and Questions

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#11 MrsWeiss1211

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    Posted 01 March 2011 - 07:26 PM

    Hi Everyone!


    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.




    Floral Arts

    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.




    Jose Ageeb

    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.






    Stephen Bain

    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 :)




    Matthew Sweetin

    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).


    Make-up Artists


    Bobby Brown

    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

       Bride: $50







    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:

       Bridesmaids/Mothers: $75

       Bride: $100







    I mentioned earlier that this was my biggest stressor and it was quite the roller coaster ride!


    Ben Jamieson

    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.


    Wellington Chae

    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.




    Dede Brown

    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!


    Happy Planning


    Forever could never be long enough for me to feel like i've had long enough with you

    #12 skp1

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      Posted 02 March 2011 - 06:49 AM

      Thank you, thank you, thank you!  What a great write up.  Looks like we have most of the same vendors - I didn't do a lot of comparison shopping - other than decor I met with one vendor in each category and decided so its good to hear your opinions than support my choices.  My site visit was a little easier - I guess since we had already decided on Atlantis they arranged for all the vendors to come to us.  They also wanted to bill us for a tasting but it was going to be credited toward our booking price so I was OK with it.  But turns out they decided to waive it at the last minute. 


      I've been e-mailing a lot with Jose and it sounds like he is expanding his business to include all kinds of wedding planning.  We also booked the cigar roller and junkanoo through him.  He also offered to arrange things like excursions, rehearsal parties, etc.


      I am SOOOO happy about your make-up info.  I was disappointed when I called the Atlantis spa - I'm really nervous about unknown make-up and they really weren't very accommodating at all.  I asked if they had photos of brides as samples and they had nothing.  Make-up costs $100 and it was cost an additional $100 for a trial session.  I also tried calling the make-up artist recommended by my sales person and its been a week with no response (I think she's more commercial than wedding so she's probably not interested).  I will TOTALLY call Bobbie Brown. The great thing is I can do free trials at home and have them write up the instructions and just give that to the Bahamas location.  I hope they will still come to the hotel since it will only be for 2 people (my wedding party is just my sister and me).

      Steph & John........Atlantis.......June 18, 2011......happily married

      #13 MrsWeiss1211

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        Posted 02 March 2011 - 07:27 AM

        Hey Stephanie!


        So glad to hear that we have same vendors!  Looks like your wedding is right around the corner.  Congratulations!  Please please please send me a message when you get back and let me know your experience!  I'm really interested to see how everyone delivers!


        My FI kept wishing that the vendors had come to us, but I didn't want for them to know they we were set on the O&O and hike up the prices, hence our all over town excursions!  I was trying to be smart about about it, but I'll be so glad when they all come to us on our 2nd site visit in October.


        Oh! A question:  are you hiring an MC for your reception instead of having Jose do it?  My FI isn't sure that he'll be able to rally the crowd.  (i'm not sure our crowd will need rallying... but... you know boys...)


        Also, I forgot to mention that BB will do a free trial at the Bay Street location in case you want to see exactly how they work.


        Now.... off to plan my Message in a Bottle Save the Dates!



        Forever could never be long enough for me to feel like i've had long enough with you

        #14 skp1

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          Posted 02 March 2011 - 08:30 AM

          We're not hiring an MC.  We'll have about 40 people so hopefully they won't need to much rallying either.  My fiance & I love to dance and will be out there no matter what so we're hoping people will follow.  My fiance also loves to show off so I can see him grabbing the microphone if need be.  And we're not doing a lot of the typical announcing items - no father/daughter or mother/son dances, no bouquet toss, no bridal party introductions,etc so I'm not too worried.  Jose is the only one I didn't get to meet yet.  I had hoped to meet him on my next visit end of this month and see him in action but he said that's right in the middle of spring break and he has all private functions. Oh well.  I'll see if I can make to the BB store downtown.  We're headed downtown the morning our flight leaves to get our marriage license - if that's quick (which it should be since we are using Matthew) then maybe I'll have time to swing by.  I'm not sure I'd make another trip in otherwise since we are only there 3 days.

          Steph & John........Atlantis.......June 18, 2011......happily married

          #15 krazedtrader

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            Posted 04 March 2011 - 02:29 PM

            Hi Everyone!


            I am having my wedding at the Cloisters Dec 12, 2011 and will be going down to meet vendors later this month.  The BDW site has been such an amazing resource!  I've been a silent browser, but its time to get involved!  Here's what I have planned so far.  I'm using Anne Marie Williams as a wedding planner and she is amazing.  Due to our the large size of our families - I'm looking at 100 guests!


            1. Ceremony - Cloisters


            2. Reception - Luciano's


            Q - Has anyone seen the outside space?  Luciano's tells me that unless I book the entire outside space (requires 15k spend), I may have people in the covered patio area see our wedding. 


            3. Flowers - Anne Marie uses Wildflowers and everyone here seems happy, so I may just go with them.  


            Q - How concrete of a vision do you need to provide them and do they show you samples?


            4. Cake - Will prob go with Manfred


            5. Looking to have a Junkanoo and Fire Dancer


            6. Officiant - Matthew Sweeting


            7. Photographer - Not sure who I will pick.  Does anyone know the cost of a work permit if I fly in my own photographer?  Otherwise I may go with Mario Nixon since he's much cheaper than Mark.


            8. Will probably go with Jose


            9. Anne Marie got be a fair rate for transportation between ceremony location and reception area



            Vendors I still need to find:


            1. Makeup artists!!  I am worried about this but will go downtown and try Bobby Brown. MrsWeiss > thanks for the rate comparison


            2. Rehearsal Dinner Venue - Looking for somewhere cheap but not too shabby


            3. Tux Rental for Groom - Did anyone rent on the island?


            4. Steaming for wedding dress - Did anyone do this?  If so, who did you use?



            I have been going down to the Atlantis every year for the past 10 years and I can't think of a more perfect place for my wedding!  Atlantis also gave me amazing rates for the rooms, Comfort Inn couldn't even match it! 


            #16 MrsWeiss1211

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              Posted 05 March 2011 - 06:27 AM

              Hey KT,


              Congrats on your engagement (and stumbling onto this site)!  I heard about it from a friend who used BDW extensively while planning her DW in Turks and Caicos.  She said it saved her!


              To answer you wildflowers question, I flipped through magazines and picked 3 looks that I liked, scanned them and send them to Natalie and Alexander for them to look at.  By the time my FI and I met with them, I was already leaning towards1 more than the other.  Alexander gave us some good ideas, but when I spoke with Natalie (over the phone, mind you!), she totally put it together for me!  I like wildflower now, but I'm hoping I'll love them when I see what they come up with!


              As for the work permit, I was told that they can run anywhere from $500-$1000 for each person!  On top of the flight and accommodations!  We were looking at $3500 BEFORE we paid anything towards their fees or packages.


              Hope that helps!

              Forever could never be long enough for me to feel like i've had long enough with you

              #17 porcell14

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                Posted 06 March 2011 - 06:47 AM

                Wow guys, this feedback is awesome! 


                Mrs. Weiss, you are a godsend - I had no idea what I was gonna do about makeup and your info about Mac and Bobby Brown is extremely helpful.  It's good to hear feedback on Jose too.  I'm sticking with him even if he is soft spoken - I'm thinking my guests will get each other going on their own :-)


                By the way, if you don't mind me asking, how did you get your group rates for Atlantis?  I got rates through my WC and Beach Towers are $239/night (plus all those fine print fees)!  I thought these were standard so I'm wondering if there's some trick I don't know about it!  I am not sticking with one resort for my guests so I have a bunch of hotels that I negotiated rates for but not sure if we'll meet the 10 room minimum since my guests will be scattered. 


                KrazedTrader, I am also having my reception at Luciano's.  I've eaten outside there a bunch of times and have seen some very small weddings there while dining.  I'm not too concerned about the other diners since I expect to have 50-75 people in my group so I'm thinking we'll dominate the patio area lol.  The weddings I saw there were very quiet/intimate (like 6-10 people, no DJ) so it was totally different from what I'm planning!


                Also, if you are looking for a place for a rehearsal dinner, I had a few ideas in mind and thought I would share:


                1. Columbus Tavern - it's down past the cloisters and has good food but a relaxed atmosphere.  It's on the water and is covered but has no windows so it gives a nice outdoor deck feel.  Not sure what their rates are, but it's a good location


                2. Carmine's - it's in Marina Village and it's nice inside.  I think with their family style platters, it could be an economical choice.  Also, the marina village is so great at night!  They have live music at Bimini Road every night and would make a great place for after dinner drinks!


                3. Beach bonfire (our choice) - we are having a bonfire at Sunrise Beach.  It's really more of a welcome party than a rehearsal dinner.  The bonfire itself costs $850 (site fee plus bonfire fee for 3 hrs).  We are still figuring out our menu but will most likely just do hors d'ouevres and cocktails.  We are also just using our ipod so we don't have to pay a dj for both nights. 


                You might be familiar with some of these places if you have been down there for the past 10 yrs (I have too - love it there!).  I hope this helps spark some ideas for you!

                #18 skp1

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                  Posted 07 March 2011 - 07:04 AM

                  Sounds like we have a few regulars here :)  We also picked Atlantis because my fiance & I have vacationed there a bunch of times so it has some meaning to us.  It definitely helps having some familiarity.  I'm currently deciding between Luciano's and Carmine's for our rehearsal dinner.  I've heard great reviews about food and service at Luciano's (never been though) but Carmines is just so darn convenient - no worrying about transportation or people running late.  We rarely go off property during our visits so I'm not so familiar with outside areas.


                  We are also looking to have a little bachelor and bachelorette parties Thursday night.  I don't want to do anything crazy right before the wedding and I'm a little beyond the Senior Frog days.  Any ideas?  I've thought about the Green Parrot or Bambu but don't know anything about them.  I'd like to do something outdoors so figure we'll need to leave property for that.  We're doing Aura after our wedding so I've eliminated that.


                  As for room rates, that came from the wedding sales department (step before WC was assigned).  Ours is definitely lower but I think it depends on peak vs non-peak travel dates.  Porcell, when is yours?  Mine is mid June - I know school has not let out up north yet so it might not be a high demand time.  another bride is scheduled memorial day weekend and has higher rates.  I think most of our guests will be staying at the resort since there are so many options price wise.


                  My experience with Wildflowers was more structured - I showed some pictures of things I particularly liked - some even from their website.  We're trying to keep that part simple so I didn't leave too much room for creativity.  But that's one thing I loved about them - they didn't push anything more.  The other company we met with proposed something waaayyy beyond our vision.

                  Steph & John........Atlantis.......June 18, 2011......happily married

                  #19 porcell14

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                    Posted 07 March 2011 - 10:14 AM

                    Steph, thanks for the comment about the rates and time of year.  I'm getting married July 2nd so maybe my rates are higher because of 4th of July weekend.  Oh well :-( 


                    For your Bachelor/Bachelorette parties, I haven't been to many clubs down there but did go to the Poop Deck one night (the one right over the bridge in Nassau - not the one in Sandyport).  We were just having dinner there but wound up at the bar cuz they have a great shot menu!  They had things like the "panty dropper", the "bra opener", "viagra" lol.  It was alot of fun... even my usually-conservative-dad wouldn't leave until we tried them all lol.  Depending on the atmosphere you're looking for, this could be a fun night starter for you.  I don't remember them having music or dancing so not sure if you want to spend your whole night there.  Oh and they have good drink prices! 



                    #20 porcell14

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                      Posted 07 March 2011 - 10:25 AM

                      Steph, thanks for the comment about the rates and time of year.  I'm getting married July 2nd so maybe my rates are higher because of 4th of July weekend.  Oh well :-( 


                      For your Bachelor/Bachelorette parties, I haven't been to many clubs down there but did go to the Poop Deck one night (the one right over the bridge in Nassau - not the one in Sandyport).  We were just having dinner there but wound up at the bar cuz they have a great shot menu!  They had things like the "panty dropper", the "bra opener", "viagra" lol.  It was alot of fun... even my usually-conservative-dad wouldn't leave until we tried them all lol.  Depending on the atmosphere you're looking for, this could be a fun night starter for you.  I don't remember them having music or dancing so not sure if you want to spend your whole night there.  Oh and they have good drink prices! 



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