I know I've had a busy week when I haven't been able to spend time on BDW!
I wanted to give everyone a full report on our Second Site Visit. I would regale you all with every detail but I'll spare you all! I tried to include pictures but for some reason the site isn't letting me upload any right now. I'll try when I'm home on my own network.
The first thing I want to tell you all is that there is very little structural damage to Paradise Island. However, they did loose a lot of branches, leaves and palm fronds. This sounds so silly, but it does make some parts look a little naked. My inner bridezilla wanted to suggest putting up faux fronds but I couldn't let myself say it. At least anywhere besides here!
I'll list out the information according to Vendor.
We got to meet with 2 different guys- Gary from VideoLab and Neville from Settler's Cove.
Gary was a really sweet guy, very personable. He discussed his approach to shooting weddings and explained how he records the wedding music separately so that it has a finished quality to it. I feel like sound editing is really important and I liked that he agreed.
Neville was also very nice. We actually met him on a break from shooting a wedding at Atlantis. We discussed a little of what we were looking for and he said that he would send us a sample of his work and also a quote.
**ultimately, I think we are going to go with Gary because of his detail to sound editing. I feel like that's what distinguishes great videography**
FYI- videography is pretty pricey! Think upwards of 3K! We're working on getting the cost down by limiting hours and cameras.
We met with Jose and finalized some of details.
Jose helped us arrange a 3-piece Steele Drum Band for our Seaside Rehearsal Dinner. Unfortunately, we weren't able to find a fire dancer that we really liked so we scrapped the idea.
I was disappointed that the saxophone player couldn't be present for us to hear him play. There are 6 songs that I'm really interested in hearing him play. While our guests are arriving and waiting, I want him to play: Somewhere Beyond the Sea, Sea of Love, Wonderful World. My bridesmaids will be walking down the aisle to "The Girl from Impanema" and I will be walking down to "Somewhere over the Rainbow". And then my HUSBAND (!!!) and I will be walking away to "Empire State of Mind". Its really important to me that I hear him play these songs so that I can be confident in my choices (and his skill).
We had a little issue with our Jazz Band for the Cocktail hour but Jose and my WCs were able to figure it out. We'll be having a Jazz Duo (instead of a trio) playing while our guests sip cocktails and enjoy some (super tasty!) hor d'oevures. (I've arranged to have several platters to come to where we will be taking our photos.)
We also discussed the timeline for the wedding including when the "dance" would be occurring. We'll be entering the reception to a Junkanoo Band and we were lucky enough to catch a Junkanoo Show at The Marina at Atlantis. It's gonna be a ton of fun! We will be starting dinner around 6pm. During the second course, we will be sharing our 1st dance (You're just too good to be true, Lauryn Hill) followed by my Dance with the "other men in my life" (my brother, my father, and my FI fathers). We'll be dancing to "Somewhere over the Rainbow/Wonderful World" by Israel K. Then my FI and his mother will dance to "Time of your Life" by Paul Anchor.
After we finish dinner and cut the cake, my friends and I will be kicking up the energy again by putting on a Flash Mob!!! We're going to dance to "Say Hey" by MIchael Franti. Should be fun
Since, OC has a noise ordinance our reception has to end at 10:30. A little too early if you ask me, so we've arranged to move the party over to the Bar at Dune. We have an iPod hook up so I'll be busy building a playlist full of sulty lounge music. (Feel free to give me some suggestions!)
I finally got to meet Natalie from Wildflower and I loved her! She showed us a rough version of our Centerpiece though she explained that she wasn't able to get my flowers due to cost. I completely understood. And I would give it a 7 out of 10. Can't wait to see mine!
I also am having them bring small pink orchids to add to our Champagne Toast at the ceremony. I saw a similar set up in a magazine using lavender and I loved it! We chose the orchids to give it a more tropical feel.
And i've taken on another DIY project- petal cones! So, WF will be providing pink and white petals to fill.
We discussed the set up of the tables (7 table of 9-10 plus a Sweetheart Table) and where we will be setting up the dance floor, DJ booth, Cigar Roller Station and Portrait Studio. We're using the entire 2nd tier of the Versailles Gardens using the East side for the "action" and the West side for the tables. For our table numbers, I found a great vendor on etsy and she painted plastic ornate frames with our numbers in antique gold. I was nervous at first, but they look so fancy! Bonus points that the numbers come off and we can use the frames for our wedding photos.
We also decided to move certain floral arrangements from one place to the next in order to get more use out of them. We'll be moving Urns filled with Flowers from our Alter to the DJ Booth (to dress it up a bit), and the low centerpieces at the cocktail hour tables to Dune for the after hours party.
I managed to sneak Natalie our dog's name tag so that she could incorporate it into my FI's boutineer. She's not able to come with us so I wanted to make sure we felt her presence
And, if all this wasn't enough, Wildflowers agreed to hold 1 box filled with our OOT bag stuffings until we return! That's so helpful as we are already going to be checking at least 4 bags!
We had an amazing food tasting for lunch. My FI and I were joined by our WC and the Manager of Special Affairs and Weddings for the OC (I call her my fairy Godfriend).
We all had a document with each item listed and several lines below for notes. We got to try all the hor d'voeuvers, apps, salads, sorbet, entrees and desserts. The food was incredible!! Seriously, this isn't catering food! This is food that you would be ordering at a fine restaurant. We were thrilled! One of desserts even had a gold-glitter covered blueberry!! Our WCs jotted down every comment from "mmm's" to "too sharp" or "not enough drizzling".
The executive chef came at the end to hear our feedback. We changed a couple of the hor d'voeuvers (we got to create a sushi roll and named it the Junkanoo Roll. It's going to have conch and mango!). And made a couple alterations/additions to a few dishes. Everything we wanted was done! It was such incredible service and attention to detail.
We met with Zamar and they figured out exactly how many uplights, t-bars and gel packs we would need. I knew nothing about this vendor but thankfully my FI did. I just wanted the lighting to be soft and romantic. They decided to use amber and pinks.
We met with Jamaal Rolle who is a Celebrity Artist and we were really impressed by his professionalism and talent. (he brought in sketches he had prepared in advance and showed up in a suite!) We decided that we needed some form of entertainment since we weren't going to hire the fire dancer. Jamaal will be sketching our guests and the portraits will already be done with our faces and wedding details. I think it will be a fun treat for our guests!
We're still waiting for the proposal to find out prices.
We're using Matthew Sweeting and he is amazing and long winded! We just chatted for the first 45 minutes! He's really interesting and a great guy to speak with.
We discussed our ceremony and the different aspects we're including. We're having a mixed faith ceremony, with aspects of my Colombian Culture and his Jewish Background. My parents will be presenting us with arras (gold coins which help build our financial nest egg). We will have a chupah and we will be stomping the glass. And for a little bit of humor, the grooms men will be rating our kiss (a 9.5, 9.9 and an 11!).
Hair and Makeup
OC recommended using Apryl Weech and I loved her! I emailed her before we came down and she replied immediately asking me to send her a picture of myself, my dress and samples of hair styles and make up styles that I liked. She came to my room and spent about 2 hours with me. We drank champagne, ate strawberries and got to know each other while she did my hair. We also discussed hair clips and eyelash extensions. I have medium length hair that I've been getting chemically straightened for years so curling it is a real challenge. I have full confidence that Apryl will be able to pull it off.
She charges $80 for make up and $85 for hair. But she's going to give me a daily rate since I want to keep her on to pin my hair up after the ceremony and glam up my makeup for the reception.
We did the Dolphin Cay experience at Atlantis and it was so much fun! We got to hang out with dolphins and pet them and they pushed our feet. Such a great memory!
We ate at Nobu which is always incredible.
Aura was not what we were expecting. I just don't think I could end my wedding day there. We may go there after the Casino Night (which is our first event).
So, ladies and gentlemen (if there are any on here), I hope that helped you make decisions or gave you some ideas. I'm having a blast on this site and am so thankful for everyone who's helped me along the way!