Hello brides!! I have been following this blog for over a year now and did not join until yesterday. I only joined so that I can write reviews for everything:) I will try to include what I can from beginning to end so that I can help brides feel more relaxed on their big day.
My husband and I were married at the Now Sapphire on July 5, 2014. We just returned home 2 days ago. We stayed at Secrets Silversands for additional week after the wedding for our honeymoon:) We booked the Now about 1 year before the wedding. I had a travel agent through AAA book everything for our guests. We had about 47 family and friends attend the wedding. Some stayed for 3 days, some 5, but most stayed for 7 days (which my husband and I did as well to party hard with our favorite people).
Resort: The resort is awesome! I have been to 4 other all-inclusive resorts and this one has been the best by far! The food/restaurants were great! I did not eat that much because my nerves her shot for the week but when I did it was great! My friends really liked the hibachi/sushi, french, and everyone always raved about the buffet. The drinks were great too! My friends and family really enjoyed the "Iceberg" which is beer with frozen margarita on top. It kept the drinks cold too. I drank margaritas, mojitos, and white wine spritzers all week:)
The pool is awesome! Every morning Tom and I would wake up and immediately go to the main pool swim-up bar...we were guaranteed to see ALL of our friends and family there. The entertainment team was great too. So friendly and always got the dancing and party going! The "crazy games" are too funny! Our friend won the hot-dog eating contest:) Sometimes I wish there were more bartenders at the swim-up bar. The bartenders were great but there is no way they could keep up with all of the people and drinks being ordered at times.
Private cocktail hour: We had a private cocktail hour the night before the wedding. We called it a "Meet and Greet". It was immediately following our rehearsal on the beach. Our guests really enjoyed this because they were able to meet everyone and see the whole group together. Tom and I said a few words at the party to thank our guests for coming. The servers for this event were amazing! Tom and I won the cocktail hour through a promo that I entered a year ago called "Save the Date".
Wedding: Ladies....DO NOT WORRY ABOUT ANYTHING! We met with Juan Carlos Wednesday before the wedding. We brought our decorations with us (table runners, chair sashes, 36 turquoise votives with battery operated candles, table numbers, photo book guest book, sand ceremony set, welcome bag kits, turquoise mason jars for center-pieces, "message in a bottle" set, bouquets for bridal party, memorial luminary for my mother) and gave them all to Juan Carlos. We went over our wedding planning form and he took notes and documented everything that Tom and I wanted. He was amazing!! The minister for our wedding was a dream! She was very well spoken and kind! Tom and I wrote our own vows for the wedding which made it very personal for us. Guests really liked that:)
The cocktail hour was great! I did not try any of the snacks but our signature drink was great! We chose a blue margarita to match our turquoise and coral color scheme. The whole night ran smoothly. We decided to add an additional hour (11:00-12:00) to keep the party going. We had the Divine package and chose 2 dinner options for guests (seafood stuffed chicken and beef). They were both VERY GOOD! Guests raved about all of the food for the wedding. The lobster bisque was also great.
DJ: We hired Disco Movil to DJ our cocktail hour, dinner and reception. THEY WERE AMAZING! Their prices were reasonable too. In fact, I think I saved money by hiring them even with the $300 vendor fee. We wanted to add an additional hour to our reception and Disco Movil was so accommodating and kept the party bumping! I would highly recommend them!!
Hair: I decided to do my own make-up for the wedding. I am very picky about my make-up and figured I would just feel safer doing my own. I did get my hair done at the Now Sapphire Spa. I LOVED IT! I brought pictures and she did a wonderful job! My sister, 2 bridesmaids, and aunt also got theirs done at the resort and all looked great!!
Photographers: Tom and I did a lot of research here....we hired Amorcito Corazon Studio. We are so happy we did!! Anel and Jacob did such a wonderful job! Prior to the wedding, Anel photographed the girls in my room and Jacob photographed the boys in their room. Tom and I did "first look" photos as well. We wanted to enjoy our cocktail hour/reception as much as possible so we wanted to get a lot of photos done before the wedding. We have not seen our photos yet....but I AM CONFIDENT WE WILL LOVE THEM! They showed us 2 "peeks" of photos after they took them on the wedding night on their cameras which were AMAZING! They were all over the place on the wedding night! On the ground, up high, down low...amazing! I would highly recommend them for your wedding!
I just got an email from the resort photographers. We had them come to the reception from 9:30-10:30 (when Jacob and Anel were leaving...even though they stayed until almost 11:00...again they are awesome). With the Divine package, we get to pick 24 photos. I think I can pick about 24 but am not overly impressed with any of the photos. I am certainly glad I decided to go with Amorcito Corazon Studio.
Other things: We brought welcome bags with us that included :reusable bags (guests used these all week by the pool for sunscreen, cameras, etc), welcome brochures (with events, tips for the week, information about the resort, and a thank you note from us), koozies (these were awesome and guests used them all week), and hangover kits (tums, pepto, mints, gum, tylonol, bandaids, Emergen-C packet). We did not want to have the bags delivered ($4/bag...crazy) so we handed them out to guests as they arrived on Thursday. Luckily most of our guests came at the same time on the same flight from Pittsburgh so it made it super easy. We had to give 3 bags to other guests that evening in the lobby...no big deal. They all loved them and appreciated them.
Private Catamaran trip: We chose to take all of our guests on a private catamaran trip on the Samba instead of a gift on the dinner tables. I WOULD HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS! We went on the Samba 1 which took all of us to the Manchones reef to snorkel, then we went to Isla Mujeres to enjoy the nurse sharks and North Beach. The crew on the Samba were great. Drinks were flowing!!!! It was a great first experience with many of our guests to see the crystal blue waters of the Caribbean and to snorkel. After the wedding, the Samba trip was the highlight for our us and our guests!
Feel free to email me with any questions or would like to see photos! Enjoy the planning and relax when you are at the Now Sapphire ladies! It will be the greatest day of your life!