I had my wedding at ROR 5/14/11. I found this website to be extremely helpful the weeks leading up to the event, so I wanted to share my experience with hopes that it will be of use to someone else. Overall, the Riu is a BEAUTIFUL resort. For the most part, the staff went out of their way to make sure all of us had a wonderful vacation, which we did.
As far as the wedding was concerned, I wasnâ€™t 100% happy with that experience. First Iâ€™ll give you a brief summary of the dayâ€™s events and then Iâ€™ll explain the reasoning for my disappointment:
We had a pretty small group of only 15 guests for our wedding. Friday night we planned a welcome dinner for everyone, which was held at St. Anneâ€™s. The ceremony was held at the Garden Gazebo at 5pm Saturday, followed by a semi-pvt dinner at the Steakhouse. We chose to do the beach party afterward for 2 hrs, which was $15/p and rented the DJ for $250/hr. The DJ was EXCELLENT. He played all the right songs and even showed us how to dance to Jamaican music. I requested that the cake be served at the beach party, and the dj even oversaw the cake cutting part. The $15/p covered the private bar that was set-up especially for us. There were 3 locations to choose from to have the beach party set-up. We had it near the Jerk Chicken Hut. Although it was the best part of the day, we didnâ€™t think it was worth it for the amount of people we had. There was a live band playing on the other side of the beach which we felt would have been just as funâ€¦and was free! If you have a larger party I would def recommend doing the beach party.
The good things I can say about the whole experience are that despite everything, the wedding coordinators were extremely nice and tried their best to make everything work out after I complained. The photographer we used was EXCELLENT. I read too many bad reviews on the hotelâ€™s photographer, so we opted to pay the $350 vendor fee and bring in another. We used Digital Memories, which is a mother and son team. I found them through other reviews on this site and was beyond pleased because they exceeded my expectations. I worked with Diana the weeks prior setting everything up, and Richard took the actual pictures. They worked with our budget and still provided quality photos. The slideshow he put together makes me forget about all the mishaps of the day because he captured all the beautiful moments. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THEM www.digitalmemoriescollection.com
Now on to the not-so-good things:
- Like other brides, I received conflicting pricing information, which is extremely unprofessional when running any sort of business. I booked my wedding (5/14/11) in August of 2010. Itâ€™s normal for prices to change with the new year and I expected that, but it seems more like the prices would change depending on what day of the week it was (up until the actual day).
- Our travel agent had been working with Keisha (the WC) the whole time and our initial meeting was supposed to be w/ her, but they had us scheduled for a different time than what was written on the paper left in our room when we arrived. So when we got there, she was meeting with another couple and we had to work w/ (Sancha) the asst. WC.
- The biggest complaint I had was the unexpected charges at the end of the initial meeting. I was told that the Free package covered champagne/cake for 10 ppl, but there was no limit to the number of guests. While reviewing the invoice, I noticed they charged $10.50 for every additional person that exceeded the 10. When I questioned it, I was told the package was only for 10 ppl and the $10.50 charged covers meals, seating, and etc for the additional ppl. That was the first I EVER heard of that and it made me livid! Luckily, I had printed the brochure directly from the website which detailed the Free package exactly how I understood it to be. At that point, she acted as if this was new information to her, which really made me feel as if they try to get over on ppl. Iâ€™ve read from other bridesâ€™ issues about charges and how they honor a price if you have an email proving you were quoted a lower price. That is a red flag to me and makes me question how they do business.
- I was originally told that the Welcome Dinner would be at 7p at St. Annes. During the meeting w/ the WC she said it would be at 6:30p to give our group a chance to get our food (buffet style) before it opened to the public. I had already put agendas for the weekend in all the guestsâ€™ Welcome Bags and had to go back and change the time, but I like that they gave us priority before it actually opened. When we arrived, there was no table reserved for us and the staff had no idea about the Welcome Dinner. Instead of immediately setting up, they had to call the WC first, who admitted she forgot to send them the info. I was so embarrassed b/c guests were arriving and they had us just standing there. On top of that, there were already other ppl in there eating! Apparently, the WC was wrong about the time it opened. Once they confirmed it w/ her, they were very apologetic and started sprinkling the table w/ flowers for decoration (while guests were sitting there).
- The most disturbing thing for me was the constant change of location for the reception dinner. All semi-pvt dinners are typically held at the Steakhouse, which is where ours was supp to be. I had typed up agendas w/ times & locations of all the events for the weekend and put it in each Welcome Bag. During the meeting w/ the WC she said they had too many weddings that night, so our dinner was moved to Plantation. That was fine w/ me b/c itâ€™s where the private dinners are held so it was like a free upgrade. So I went and changed all the Welcome Letters to Plantation (guests hadnâ€™t arrived yet so I still had everything). Then the DAY OF THE WEDDING, she calls and says another bride changed her plans so my dinner was moved back to the Steakhouse. I explained that there was no way I could communicate the change to everyone and asked if we could stay at Plantation, but she said an announcement would be made at the ceremony. Immediately after the ceremony, our photographer took us to the beach to get some shots and I forgot all about the announcement.After our photoshoot, I assumed the WC had made the announcement and everyone would be at the Steakhouse waiting for us. To my surprise, she had said nothing, and the guests were confused so half went to the wrong restaraunt and I had to send my MOH out to find them. Talk about disappointment! Iâ€™m not sure if the WC thought I was supposed to make the announcement, but she should know better. That was the LAST thing on my mind. I really forgot about it after our phone convo b/c I thought she would (should) take care of it. From my understanding, she disappeared as soon as we got down the aisle. I really felt like she dropped the ball on that part and it turned into an unnecessary fiasco and played a part in ruining the rest of the day.
- We originally wanted to do the poolside party after dinner, but we didnâ€™t have enough ppl. To this day Iâ€™m not clear on the details of the different party options. When we got there, we found out there was a 15 person minimum in order to have the beach party. Also, they market it as a beach party with tiki torches, but they no longer use the tiki torches. That irritated me b/c that was the whole reason for me wanting to do it on the beach. All they had was one big spotlight. And b/c of the location we chose, there were only beach chairs to sit on. No tables or anything.
- Other little things that didnâ€™t go as planned:
- The Free bouquet didnâ€™t match my colors so the WC said sheâ€™d ask them to use purple flowers so it would match. That didnâ€™t happen for some reason so I was stuck with a multi-color bouquetat the last minute.
- I was surprised that they decorated the table for the welcome dinner and even breakfast the day we left, but there was no decoration for the table at the reception dinner or the beach party.
- The priest pronounced my husbandâ€™s name wrong the ENTIRE ceremony, even though he took him aside beforehand and told him how to pronounce it.
- Although the WC was at the ceremony, she provided no direction for the bridal party. I didnâ€™t realize until I saw the video, but the groomsmen were already standing at the alter so the BMs had to walk down by themselves. My husband said he was asking what they were supposed to do, but the priest just kept saying â€œNo worries, Mon!â€
- Our table for the semi-pvt dinner at the Steakhouse was located right above a beach bar that had live music that night. At first it was nice b/c we could enjoy the music while we ate, but then it became an all out party and it was so loud that I couldnâ€™t even hear the speeches ppl were giving to us. I literally wanted to cry b/c my dad was standing up talking and I could tell he was saying something touching, but I could not hear one word of it. I sat there with a smile on my face so he wouldnâ€™t know, but I was dying inside. That was one of the worst moments of my life.
- 2 of my guests end up getting food poisoning. I know for a fact 1 was from the Jerk Chicken Hut. Iâ€™ve heard from other brides it is to die for, but the day my guests chose to go, many complained that their chicken wasnâ€™t cooked all the way. My mom tried to tell the lady cooking, but she didnâ€™t see any problem w/ it!
- And on top of all of that, the hot water was shut off the morning of the wedding and didnâ€™t come back of for 2 days! I know that was a resort problem and nothing that could be controlled, but how ironic is that! I was a little irritated that the water was only lukewarm the 1st few days, but once the hot water was completely shut off on the day of the wedding, I was MORTIFIED. I waited and waitedâ€¦and I just couldnâ€™t bring myself to take a cold shower so I got into to my beautiful wedding gown DIRTY! LOL I can laugh about it now b/c it was so unbelievable, but at the time it was no laughing matter. No hot water in the entire resort.
When itâ€™s all said and done, I think the RIU is a lovely resort to vacation at, but I wouldnâ€™t recommend it for weddings b/c there were too many situations that turned my special day into a big disappointment. Ironically, we were there for 7 days, and the day of my wedding was the only bad day at the resort. I donâ€™t want to discourage any bride who has already booked. Just learn from the mistakes that happened to me.