Well what can I say..I'm back from my wedding at the Riu Ocho Rios...
We arrived at the Riu on October 25th 2012 for our wedding of 40 people.
I always knew I wanted to be a destination bride.
So...lets start this review, shall we?
We travelled with West Jet. Let me put it to you this way. I had my birth certificate and passport when we were leaving. My beloved Fiancee..now Husband waited till the last minute when the taxi driver was waiting outside of the door to ask me to pull out documentation from my pouch. Needless to say we got to the airport (6am) and the b.c. and p/p were missing! We drove home...no luck, called the taxi, no luck.
I had to let the entire wedding party, parents and my fiancee get on the plane while I stayed back (along with all our luggage) to figure it out... (Yep) WestJet went out of their way to help me every step of the way... Long story short, I managed (with the help of WestJet) to go back home...go reapply for my b.c, go to the passport office, fill out all the paperwork, get passport pictures, have them notarized by a lawyer, have 6 guarantors information, have all of them called and asked questions about who I was, get the passport, run back to the airport get on a 6:15(pm) rescue flight that was created because of the storm. Long story short... nothing could bother me after this.... I made it and my fiancee was waiting at the Jamaica Airport for me at 10:00pm...suffice to say they had a drink waiting for me when I got in...
The resort gets an A. We arrived the day after Hurricane Sandy hit. There was no evidence that our resort was even a witness to the storm. It took lives in the city of Kingston, and wiped out power throughout Jamaica. In some back areas of the resort you could see that there were trees that were actually uprooted. and there were a few broken branches on palm trees...
My mother and stepfather actually had to change rooms twice because their ceiling was leaking. (crazy) But the staff promptly switched them to an upgraded room each time.
The elevators were musty and nasty. There were a lot of large bugs on the walls in the halls etc.
There were only a couple of ants in the rooms.
Keep the food away.
All in all the workers on the resort were kind and friendly.
My group was live, so many of the workers asked or told us they would be working our wedding.
Yep...I liked the food. I'm of Caribbean descent, so they had some West Indian food each day for all meals, they had porridge and they would make fresh juices (beet, carrot) but it wasn't too sweet...not like at Iberostar...
The desserts were yummie. I really like when they allow you to cut your own cake...I really loved the chocolate raspberry cake they had...it was off the chain...
They had a Jamaica night which had all Jamaican food. I was in heaven, although, I wish they did cook with a little less salt. I was so unbelievably dehydrated by the middle of my stay.
The cook would make ackee and saltfish special for my fiancee even when it wasn't on the menu.
They had a little after hours restaurant with fries, and pasta and stuff, if people got hungry at night. It was great for my guests...but I just wish they had some healthier choices...
No room service, but what can you say
Well I have to say a shout out to the ladies at Renova Spa... they were very kind.
I did the hair and make up trial, got my hair, make up and nails done and had a couples massage. All very wonderful...my hubby snored during the massage...lol
We had an upgraded room. It was gorgeous...with the jaccuzi tub and the beautiful view. We were very pleased. It was roomy and great for getting ready for the wedding. But don't get it twisted..we started in a standard room...the toilet stopped up and my fiancee woke up with one leg stuck in between the beds that they pushed together...We were NOT having it!
Now that was really good!
The Michael Jackson show was off the hook, and the steel pan players and dancers were really good. I was impressed
We got married on October 29th. The Monday. Mine was the only wedding for the day.
It was at 3 pm. We were late... They didn't come and get me at the salon to let me know that it was time. I was so nervous and a bit upset...
We chose the gazebo to get married.
We hired the MC provided by the hotel for $150...MC Tyrone...he was FANTASTIC ...people thought I brought him from home! He was jokes for days...I sent him my itinerary before hand...I had actually sent him a revised itinerary and he didn't bring that one...but I just corrected him when he went with the old itinerary.
I brought my own DJ...They set him up in the middle of the steps as we occupied the bottom floor of the restaurant. It looked so good. I had worked with him on the music to make sure everyone had their own introductory music...Everything worked on queue. I was pleased.
We rented the system for $90 an hour
We danced up a storm!!!! It was amazing. They didn't want him to stop.
I was so upset because when I went upstairs w fiancee to change...it got REALLY live and the hotel staff were jamming!
We rented out the entire Plantation restaurant from 6:30 to 11:00pm...well, we were there longer... no one wanted to leave. It looked really beautiful, especially with the candles...I couldn't have asked for me..
The plantation was $1000 dollars pluse $10.50 for extra guests above the Free package price.
They served wine, beer and juice and we allowed our guests to get their own food...It worked well.
They served me and my fiancee...
We didn't bother to get a full bar... why bother...everyone was drinking all week... and could walk over and get drinks...what's 4 hours without rum?
I brought my own centre pieces ( a flower ball) rose petals and candles and Buri Fans for the guest chairs.
The cake is plain so I brought my own cake topper and petals to decorate the cake...
The wedding coordinator took down a suitcase with all of the things for the wedding and it looked exactly the way I described it!! Yeeeeaaah!
The ambiance does so much on it's own! You really don't need much. The white table cloth and the beautiful resort do wonders!
The wedding coordinator Keisha was OFF THE CHAIN! We had been corresponding for the whole time through email and she was great at answering all of my questions.
We met with her and she made life easy.
We paid for the wedding the day we met with her to ensure all of our choices were clear...so in total we gave her approx $2500 yep yep...that was it...!
We used WPAJamaica photographers...I got to choose my two...I choose Rounald and Antoinette..they were wonderful...I'm still waiting for my professional pictures...Our package included a second day shoot...it was so much fun! We went to the falls to take those pictures.
Our wedding day was a bit overcast and the sun was disappearing quickly so he didn't get to take all of the pictures he wanted on the beach..
Over all the experience was amazing...I wouldn't have changed a thing.
We went to Secrets St. James for our 4 day honeymoon.
It was lovely.. almost the opposite to the Riu.
It was quiet, classy and restful. They had a coffee bar, great drinks, mediocre shows. Adorable club. Great food. We really got great rest. There is a privacy button you can press and great room service and the most comfortable beds you can ever imagine.
I miss it...we all want to go back to Jamaica next year!
I've posted a few pics... I haven't received my professional ones...I've posted one teaser from our second day shoot on here...
Any questions..I'll definitely see if I can help.