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Secrets St. James Weddings


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#11 kaycag

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    Posted 22 October 2012 - 10:50 AM

    I thank you so much for your review!

    I’m glad in the end you and your honey were able to pull it off. I can’t wait to see the pics of your wedding. I don’t see an email address for you so I’ll just PM you and post my questions on this forum.

     

    I too am looking to get the Ultimate package the resort has to offer. I sent the coordinators a few emails but still waiting to hear back. They answered a few questions for me already but a few things weren’t clear and of course that made me leery. If you don’t mind I wanted to know your experiences on a few things concerning the package and the locations.

    1. The coordinator didn’t stay for the duration of the reception…did a manager come to you when it was time for your reception to end? How did you make the transition from your reception area?
    2. I don’t understand why the complimentary room isn’t reserved when you make your deposit or even upon check in. Did they tell you they were booked when you asked about it for the groom?
    3. Which menu choices did you pick and were you satisfied with the food?
    4. When you stated to know what we want from the photographer before the wedding meeting, were you referring to the sizes of the photos we wanted from the 50 that come with the package?
    5. The Vera Wang champagne flutes were not available for you to toast at your reception?
    6. For 30 ppl, how many tables did they allow you at the reception? The package says four but now I’m nervous that may not be true.


    #12 gs02dnj

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      Posted 23 October 2012 - 06:50 AM

      Originally Posted by kaycag 

      I thank you so much for your review!

      I’m glad in the end you and your honey were able to pull it off. I can’t wait to see the pics of your wedding. I don’t see an email address for you so I’ll just PM you and post my questions on this forum.

       

      I too am looking to get the Ultimate package the resort has to offer. I sent the coordinators a few emails but still waiting to hear back. They answered a few questions for me already but a few things weren’t clear and of course that made me leery. If you don’t mind I wanted to know your experiences on a few things concerning the package and the locations.

      1. The coordinator didn’t stay for the duration of the reception…did a manager come to you when it was time for your reception to end? How did you make the transition from your reception area?
      2. I don’t understand why the complimentary room isn’t reserved when you make your deposit or even upon check in. Did they tell you they were booked when you asked about it for the groom?
      3. Which menu choices did you pick and were you satisfied with the food?
      4. When you stated to know what we want from the photographer before the wedding meeting, were you referring to the sizes of the photos we wanted from the 50 that come with the package?
      5. The Vera Wang champagne flutes were not available for you to toast at your reception?
      6. For 30 ppl, how many tables did they allow you at the reception? The package says four but now I’m nervous that may not be true.

       

      1. The coordinator didn’t stay for the duration of the reception…did a manager come to you when it was time for your reception to end? How did you make the transition from your reception area?

      We asked the DJ how much longer we had because we wanted to thank everyone for coming and he told us we have 20 minutes left. 

       

      1. I don’t understand why the complimentary room isn’t reserved when you make your deposit or even upon check in. Did they tell you they were booked when you asked about it for the groom?

      I was under the impression everything was taken care of with the comp room.  It was at the wedding meeting that we learned it was a possibility that we were not getting the room.  The coordinator said she would know by 6pm that day, but there was a possibility that the groom would need to get ready in one of the groomsmen’s room. 

       

      1. Which menu choices did you pick and were you satisfied with the food?

      We chose the gold buffet menu.  The beef kebabs were extremely spicy and not many ate those during cocktail hour.  There was a shrimp option that was popular (we didn’t get any) and the sushi rolls were almost gone during the cocktail hour.  For dinner, I don’t remember much of the food, but I didn’t like the pork.  I will circle back with some guests and let you know what they thought.

       

      1. When you stated to know what we want from the photographer before the wedding meeting, were you referring to the sizes of the photos we wanted from the 50 that come with the package?

      No, I mean if you are bringing another photographer, know what you want the hotel photographer to shoot.  We had the hotel photographer cover the cocktail hour and allowed our photographer cover the wedding and reception.  You can opt not to use the hotel photographer at all.  The options being given by the Photo Shop Manager were they would the wedding, which we did not want.  Hence the reason I say know what you want.  In hindsight, a good use of the hotel photographer (if you have your own) is to allow him to take individual/couple shots of the people at your wedding.  The quality of the photos are not bad and you can use them to capture everyone who came to the wedding.   

      1. The Vera Wang champagne flutes were not available for you to toast at your reception?

      No, I sent an email to Lisa and she sent a link for me to order them.  They are sent to your home after the wedding.  They did provide standard champagne flutes.  You actually learn that when they send you the final invoice.  There is a note at the bottom of the invoice letting you know you will need to order them after the wedding. 

       

      1. For 30 ppl, how many tables did they allow you at the reception? The package says four but now I’m nervous that may not be true.

      We had 3 round tables and a sweetheart table.  It was plenty of room.  My intention was to have 8-9 guests at each table to allow more elbow room, but we had a few last minute guests.  Considering I only had 3 tablecloths made (based on the original 27), I didn't want to add a table so we made it 10 at each table.  I wouldn't stress over this, the wedding coordinators can handle this one. 



      #13 alexisinjamaica

      alexisinjamaica

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      • Wedding Date:November 13, 2014
      • Wedding Location:Secrets St. James, Montego Bay
      • LocationLos Angeles

      Posted 01 November 2012 - 01:26 PM

      Originally Posted by gs02dnj 

      I will statrt by saying overall I had a lot of fun and really enjoyed our ceremony and reception. We were blessed to have 30 people in attendance. It rained that morning and everyone thought we were in the clear.after the ceremony, Rocio came back and asked us to consider moving the reception inside. If a Jamaican says move the ceremony, move it! We finished the cocktail hour outside and moved into the ballroom and not even 30 minutes later it was pouring. Best decision ever though,it allowed us to have a more intimate reception and I saw people dance in my family who would have never done so outside on the beach. Memories from my reception are forever engrained in my memory.   Now on to what you want to really know and if I leave something out just shoot me an email or reply back to the thread (email for the fastest response). I will even try to remember to post the emailed questions back on the forum.   Florist: Tai Flora I have already shared how we saved money by contacting Tai Flora directly. I will say they are overpriced as well. I only went through with it because my mother was dead set on decorating the gazebo with flowers. The arrangements were really nice and really set our wedding apart for the 3 weddings I saw before ours. However, in the end I was a little upset to learn that we were "renting" the vases and we were asked to leave them after the reception. Now I'm fully aware that you can't bring the flowers back to the US, but I wanted our parents to have fresh flowers in their room until they left. Luckily, someone came and said we could take them to the room, but we needed to leave them in the room when we checked out. I only make this fuss because the centerpieces were overpriced at $120 each. Note they did make the gazebo decorations so that they would come apart and we used them to decorate our sweetheart table and around the DJ area/dance floor.   Wedding Coordinator Rocio was our lead coordinator at the hotel. I suggest if you are getting married here you try to get her or Lisa-Marie (the Manager), Simone comes across with a little attitude. Rocio is very kind and speak very good English. I realized it's not the staff that is the real problem at the hotel, it is the nickel and dime policies they have to enforce. When we arrived there was letter in our welcome kit informing us of the wedding meeting time. Which was about 30 minutes after we check in. (Check in is about a 20 minute process). They keep up with dang near every email you send so sometimes she didn't respond as quickly as I may have wanted, but she did respond. I never sent the same question twice.   The Meeting was not very long. We met the photo shop manager. All I can say is know what you want going into the meeting. We didn't have a chance to circle back with our photographer before the meeting and the manager was a little pushy about what they were going to do. Including being the lead at the ceremony, which was NOT going to happen. Ultimately we only let them cover the cocktail hour. The videographer didan okay job. We will probably re-edit the video. Just note I'm picky about stuff like this, I work in the cable industry.   We did leave with our video and pictures (the ones taken by the hotel photographer) which is definitely a plus. They also copyright release providing you the ability to use the pictures for personal use. Not bad photos overall.   Minister We met with the Minister at the meeting. Pretty funny guy and we were happy to meet him, except he was not the minister performing our ceremony. He told us that day there was a possibility he couldnt be there. The minister who performed the ceremony wasn't bad, he just kept screwing up my name even after I corrected him.   Hair and Makeup...after feeling other stuff was going wrong I didn't want to chance them screwing up my hair and makeup so I passed.   Wedding Rehearsal Not worth the money. Just meet up with your wedding party and let them know what to do. It didn't help my people were late, but if you have been to a wedding then you know what to tell people to do. The Minister said where he wanted us to stand exactly, that was probably the most useful info we got.   Preferred Club Room Great Staff! They do whatever they can to accommodate you. Was it worth the money, I would say no. It's not restricted access so we had guests knocking on the door like crazy at one point. We had to put a stop to it. I will say the Wild Orchid PC is better than the St. James side. They don't have the swim out option and it's on the furthest end of the property. We got dressed over there and it was hike to get there. The wifi is free in PC rooms too, just know it can only be used on one device at a time.   The Not So Good 1. The Groom was suppose to get a separate room the night before...didn't happen.   2. I ended up having to talk with Robert, the Preferred Club Manager after learning that we (the ladies) were all getting dressed in our Jr. Suite. I felt the area was way too small for 4 ladies and a photographer to be in comfortably. The wedding staffwas no help on this. Robert landed us a Master Suite for a few hours. I was willing to pay, but he said that my wedding was bring in over $25k to the hotel (wedding cost and all the rooms) and he would work it out. Someone who understands business, I like Robert!   3. The Ultimate Package comes with a Mento Band. Once you get to the meeting they tell you the band is boring and you should consider upgrading to the astern Drum band. My husband thought it as better to go ahead and upgrade, but noted the bait and switch tactic.   4. Decorations: We brought most of our own. The hotel will charge you starting at $50 to put them out. I had a great group of friends who went down at 2:30 and started putting everything out. They told me the staff asked to help, but they were afraid they would charge me so they politely declined. They helped in the end anyway. When I say I took everything I mean everything. I refused to pay $45 per table cloth to the hotel. So I brought tablecloths, chair sashes, and napkins. May sound like overkill, but do the math when you have 30 people and it adds up when you get the stuff on your own for cheap. Just make sure you have a point person whose willing to put the stuff out and collect it.   5. After the wedding we didn't hear from the Wedding Team. So if you want your top layer of cake I will let you know you have to contact room service. Honestly, the cake wasn't good so we are headed back without it. And I haven't clue where to get our toasting flutes from. I sent an email hopefully I will get a response soon.   6. Look at your wedding invoice carefully. At some point, I thought I indicated our photographers were staying at the hotel but 2 day passes ended upon the bill. We didn't catch it Neil it was time to pay. Also, make sure when you pay the front desk the deposit has been deducted. I also would advise you not to pay until the bill is correct. The last thing you want is to pay the correct amount and hope they credit the account before you checkout.   Overall, I can't say I recommend this as a good wedding hotel, especially if you havea group. it is great as a honeymoon spot. Now if you are a very very simple person it could work or if you are having a small ceremony, like 2-10 people. Know the packages are very basic. You aren't getting tropical flowers so don't even think about it. The day before the wedding another couple who renewed their vows their told us they asked for daisies and their coordinator Simone showed up at the room with carnations and told her, we ran out so you have to take these or nothing. Not much you can do in that situation.   I am sure I left out a lot and will be happy to answer your questions. I want more than anything for people to have what I didn't have before I booked all the intel they can get about the hotel so they can make an informed decision. My words to the wedding staff and Robert were, people don't care if they end up going over budget when they feel like they are getting something, but I paid twice the amount of the package and I feel like I got absolutey nothing but headaches.   I'm writing this as we fly back so I will post pictures later.


      Thank you so much for this review and info! I'm glad that overall you enjoyed your wedding, but it does sound like a lot of headaches and for that I'm sorry!

       

      Couple questions for you:

       

      1) do you feel like the upgrade to the drum band was worth it? We are getting the Ultimate package too and were going to use the Mento band for cocktail hour. I wanted to get a Steel Drum for the ceremony though since that'll be less than an hour and thought it would be a fun island touch to walk down the aisle to that. Then we planned to use the DJ that the hotel offers. Hopefully he was good. Did you provide him a list of songs you wanted to play or did he go on his own?

       

      2) did you write your own vows or do a sand ceremony? just curious if you had to go over that with the minister when you met and if he actually followed the script.

       

      I plan to bring in my own photographer, flowers, and decor, so thanks for all the tips there. Great suggestion to have the included photographer do couple shots if you're using your own outside help. I was going to use their hair and makeup but now I'm scared. Maybe I'll have my sister do it instead... Also good tip on checking the bill. I will have my eagle eye ready!



      #14 gs02dnj

      gs02dnj
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        Posted 02 November 2012 - 10:19 AM

        Couple questions for you:

        1. do you feel like the upgrade to the drum band was worth it? We are getting the Ultimate package too and were going to use the Mento band for cocktail hour. I wanted to get a Steel Drum for the ceremony though since that'll be less than an hour and thought it would be a fun island touch to walk down the aisle to that. Then we planned to use the DJ that the hotel offers. Hopefully he was good. Did you provide him a list of songs you wanted to play or did he go on his own?

        I asked one my co-workers who came and she said she enjoyed the steel drum band (noted by the fact she went up and started singing with them).  We never heard the Mento Band I honestly can’t compare it.  Also, I would ask them if you can use them for the ceremony and cocktail hour without having to hit the minimum that’s listed on the Extras Page.  I honestly can’t recall what it is. 

         

        DJ Blue is the house DJ for Margaritaville and he is pretty good.  I sent over a list of songs that we wanted to hear along with some recommended songs for the night.  Now, he didn’t play them all and according to the group who went to Margaritaville later that night he played the exact same set. 

         

        2) did you write your own vows or do a sand ceremony? just curious if you had to go over that with the minister when you met and if he actually followed the script.

        We did not write our own vows, but he did ask us at the meeting.  It’s a pretty simple order of service.  I actually would suggest if you have your own order of service you would like, that you send it to them ahead of time.  I did, but it was so simple that there wasn’t much difference.  He made the adjustments and moved forward. 

         

        I plan to bring in my own photographer, flowers, and decor, so thanks for all the tips there. Great suggestion to have the included photographer do couple shots if you're using your own outside help. I was going to use their hair and makeup but now I'm scared. Maybe I'll have my sister do it instead... Also good tip on checking the bill. I will have my eagle eye ready!

        Just be sure not to pay the bill until it is correct per the suggestion of one of their Managers.  You don’t want to wait for a credit.  

         

        Also, I am not saying the spa isn’t capable of rendering the services.  I just wasn’t willing to risk it after everything else.  Be sure to get your personal dresser too.  It dawned on me Tuesday or Wednesday that I did not have one.  My wedding started late because my bridesmaid and mother were late getting dressed, which in turn meant I had no one to help me get dressed either.  Had the personal dresser been there I could have shaved 15-20 minutes off the late start easily. 

         

        Lastly, if you want to see a few of the photos our photographer took of the wedding (and if you don't have a photographer already I am HIGHLY recommending them). 

         

        Gwendolyn Tundermann Photography

        http://gwendolyntund...eyanna-brandon/



        #15 alexisinjamaica

        alexisinjamaica

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        • 562 posts
        • Wedding Date:November 13, 2014
        • Wedding Location:Secrets St. James, Montego Bay
        • LocationLos Angeles

        Posted 02 November 2012 - 03:23 PM

        Originally Posted by gs02dnj 

        Couple questions for you:

        1. do you feel like the upgrade to the drum band was worth it? We are getting the Ultimate package too and were going to use the Mento band for cocktail hour. I wanted to get a Steel Drum for the ceremony though since that'll be less than an hour and thought it would be a fun island touch to walk down the aisle to that. Then we planned to use the DJ that the hotel offers. Hopefully he was good. Did you provide him a list of songs you wanted to play or did he go on his own?

        I asked one my co-workers who came and she said she enjoyed the steel drum band (noted by the fact she went up and started singing with them).  We never heard the Mento Band I honestly can’t compare it.  Also, I would ask them if you can use them for the ceremony and cocktail hour without having to hit the minimum that’s listed on the Extras Page.  I honestly can’t recall what it is. 

         

        DJ Blue is the house DJ for Margaritaville and he is pretty good.  I sent over a list of songs that we wanted to hear along with some recommended songs for the night.  Now, he didn’t play them all and according to the group who went to Margaritaville later that night he played the exact same set. 

         

        2) did you write your own vows or do a sand ceremony? just curious if you had to go over that with the minister when you met and if he actually followed the script.

        We did not write our own vows, but he did ask us at the meeting.  It’s a pretty simple order of service.  I actually would suggest if you have your own order of service you would like, that you send it to them ahead of time.  I did, but it was so simple that there wasn’t much difference.  He made the adjustments and moved forward. 

         

        I plan to bring in my own photographer, flowers, and decor, so thanks for all the tips there. Great suggestion to have the included photographer do couple shots if you're using your own outside help. I was going to use their hair and makeup but now I'm scared. Maybe I'll have my sister do it instead... Also good tip on checking the bill. I will have my eagle eye ready!

        Just be sure not to pay the bill until it is correct per the suggestion of one of their Managers.  You don’t want to wait for a credit.  

         

        Also, I am not saying the spa isn’t capable of rendering the services.  I just wasn’t willing to risk it after everything else.  Be sure to get your personal dresser too.  It dawned on me Tuesday or Wednesday that I did not have one.  My wedding started late because my bridesmaid and mother were late getting dressed, which in turn meant I had no one to help me get dressed either.  Had the personal dresser been there I could have shaved 15-20 minutes off the late start easily. 

         

        Lastly, if you want to see a few of the photos our photographer took of the wedding (and if you don't have a photographer already I am HIGHLY recommending them). 

         

        Gwendolyn Tundermann Photography

        http://gwendolyntund...eyanna-brandon/


        Thank you for replying this is all so helpful! Your pics are gorgeous!!! Congrats! Unfortunately I already paid half the deposit for our photographer and it's non refundable so I'm locked in. Gwendolyn does beautiful work though!



        #16 wlaquieta

        wlaquieta
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          Posted 05 November 2012 - 01:10 PM

          This was really helpful. I wish I would've read this beforeI booked my reservations.  The nickel and diming at Secrets is insane.  I also agree that they are pretty slow at responding and have a carefree atttitude. I saw better packages which included decorations at the Grand palladium. However, I just didnt like the hotel as much a s Secrets.



          #17 Mimi127

          Mimi127
          • Jr. Member
          • 221 posts

            Posted 16 November 2012 - 03:33 PM

            Thank you this info has been very helpful. Sorry that you had to experience such drama. Congrats on your wedding and I wish you and your new hubby the best.

            #18 Mimi127

            Mimi127
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            • 221 posts

              Posted 16 November 2012 - 03:34 PM

              Oh and I can't wait to see the pictures.

              #19 gs02dnj

              gs02dnj
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                Posted 17 November 2012 - 01:04 PM

                I can't figure out how to upload. Go to my photographer's blog at the link below. Also feel free to post a comment on the blog she's giving print credits for comments right now...thanks!!!! http://gwendolyntund...eyanna-brandon/

                #20 Mimi127

                Mimi127
                • Jr. Member
                • 221 posts

                  Posted 17 November 2012 - 04:03 PM

                  Going to check out your pictures right now. Thanks.




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