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Sandals Grande Riviera Ocho Rios-Post Renovation Questions (HELP!)


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#1 jdayne

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    Posted 18 September 2011 - 03:45 PM

    Hey Ladies!

          

    We have booked our "weddingmoon" at the newly renovated Sandals Grande Riviera in Ocho Rios, Jamaica and while I've scoured these forums and found incredible insight/tips/suggestions, I have not been able to find much in the way of experiences at this property after the renovation.  And, of course, I seem to have a million questions in general.  Thus, I continue to add things to my ever-growing list that keeps me awake at night.  I apologize in advance it's so long; however, any advice or answers would be greatly appreciated!

     

    1. Currently, what are the available ceremony locations? (Any pics would be awesome, especially of the beach scenario as I've heard it's rather small)

    2. Is it still required that the couples take a van ride down to the courthouse in town to sign paperwork?  (I had read this on other posts)

    3. Do they still impose the 2-hour "pre-marital counseling" session the day before?  (Also read about this on other threads)

    4. Are you able to meet with the officiant prior to the ceremony?  If not, can you pre-arrange with the on-site WC exactly what you would like said/read at the ceremony?

    5. Can we decline to have photography/videography?  Having already had our photos and footage done in the states, we'd rather keep this moment just for us without their staff.

    6. If we would like to do the sand ceremony, but we are bringing our own materials are they going to try and charge us anyway for a "set-up" fee?

    7. Is the location for the free 30 minute "reception" that comes in the BB package different from the ceremony location?  If so, do we get to choose this? And then, will they escort us immediately over or can we have time in between?

    8. And randomly, I saw a cake serving set in the upgrades package for $60.  Are they really going to charge us for utensils to cut the cake or is this a keepsake sort of thing?

    9. And finally, does anyone have any suggestions for post wedding/reception activities?  Our ceremony is at 11am on Friday, December 23rd, 2011 and it is the two of us, his and my parents (who are staying onsite)--so, pretty intimate.  We are planning at some point to walk around the property and take informal pics together since we'll all be pretty :) but it will still be quite early in the afternoon as all of that will be an hour and a half tops.  I read that there is a Friday night beach party that's a lot of fun.  Maybe schedule a nice lunch in between since we'll have only had the cheese and cracker platter plus cake? 

     

    I'd LOVE, LOVE, LOVE any suggestions--tips--tricks--restaurant recommendations--must see's--whatever you girls are willing to offer!  I've read bits and pieces about super secluded pools/hot tubs, the activities not to miss, the excursions that are worth the money and the ones that aren't, the basic schedule on your actual ceremony day...and I would love to find out more about all of it!  Thank you so much in advance for sharing!  I'm so excited!!

     

    Dayne

     



    #2 jdayne

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      Posted 28 October 2011 - 08:08 PM

      I've now spoken with the Miami based coordinator Deidra twice and these were items I was able to find out thus far:

      • There is no van-ride to the downtown courthouse to do further paperwork, nor is there is a required 2-hour counseling session.  Deidra assures me of this. 
      • Yes, you can write your own script/vows;  you just need to provide them to the on-site coordinator upon arrival for the officiant.
      • Yes, you can decline photography/videography.  In the event you wish to have an outside professional photographer, Sandals requires they are a paid guest on property for 3 nights.
      • Yes, the location of the reception is different from that of your ceremony.  I'm still not sure what the choices are but I do know you can take some time in between the ceremony and reception for pics, a receiving line, wardrobe change, what have you.
      • Still haven't been able to get a hold of any beach pics since the renovation--waiting on Deidra.  If/When I do I will share them on here!

      Hope this helps some other Sandals Jamaica brides to be out there!

      Dayne



      #3 kat2012

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        Posted 28 October 2011 - 08:49 PM

        Untitled1.png

        Here is a beach setup for SGOR, also you can see a beach from resort pics, no privacy there at all...

         

        Let me know if you have any questions. I might be able to help, since my wedding is 6 weeks away.



        #4 jdayne

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          Posted 28 October 2011 - 10:18 PM

          Kat--

          Girl, you are on it!  Has your Miami WC provided you with all this info?  I've felt like I've been a bit absurd with all my online searches for photo and video footage since the renovation.  Even though we're doing pretty much the basic BB, I still wanted to have some knowledge up front, inclusive of what to expect for locations.  Seems like the only details the coordinator thus far cares about are those that provide her a commission.  I get that it's her job and in most cases she probably makes a lot more from the upgrades, but we're still spending a lot to be there in the first place!  

          It's just the two of us and our parents and we're only days behind you :)  We've got the 11am slot on the 23rd.  I guess I'm looking to find out more details about the actual wedding day and ceremony itself--as opposed to tours we can take, candlelight dinners we can buy or bigger floral arrangements.  For example, I had to ask her about if we can write our own script/vows, if we should bring music or is there a list she can send in advance, how long is allotted for the ceremony and the reception individually, etc.  I understand that we'll find a lot out upon arrival.  I just don't want to be upset that I didn't bring something we had and now we either can't have it or are paying an exorbitant amount for it.  

          So, I really appreciate your passing on the info you've acquired.  I'll make sure to do the same, even if it's not until post-wedding.  At least the next girls will know.

          Thank you again and congratulations!

          Dayne   



          #5 kat2012

          kat2012
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            Posted 29 October 2011 - 08:14 AM

            Hey, it is great. 

            My friend gets married on 23 at 3 pm there :D

            Did you see locations pictures? I have those, I have private dinner menu, I have some prices for flowers. 

            I plan on doing planning thread/info thread for SGOR brides, since there is not too many reviews and help.

            I know that if you need to steam your dress it is at least 80$, cheaper for his suit, If you want to book excursions, check schedule for the port. Because some days there will be about 6 cruiseships and it will be crowded. So i picked my excursions on the days when there is no cruiseships in port :D

            For music, I will bring portable iPod system and will stuck in under my table haha. I dont want to pay for band or Dj, since it will be just 7 of us there. Deidra said that they can't do it. Also you can have your 30 min reception same place, depends on how many people you have. But you will need to find different location for you dinner reception if you go with one. Also you should look for the place that is already lit, or you will need to buy lighting ahah :D 

            I am bringing my own music, but that's 2 songs lol.

            There is a list of music that you can pick at the resort also. If you go with traditional songs for your wedding, I am sure they would have it.

            Also WC at the resort is way more accommodating.

            Ceremony is very quick, unless you decide to go with your own script :D But most likely it will run late, since it is Jamaica.

            There is a list of music that you can pick at the resort also. If you go with traditional songs for your wedding, I am sure they would have it.
            Hmmm, message me if you have more questions.

            Originally Posted by jdayne 

            Kat--

            Girl, you are on it!  Has your Miami WC provided you with all this info?  I've felt like I've been a bit absurd with all my online searches for photo and video footage since the renovation.  Even though we're doing pretty much the basic BB, I still wanted to have some knowledge up front, inclusive of what to expect for locations.  Seems like the only details the coordinator thus far cares about are those that provide her a commission.  I get that it's her job and in most cases she probably makes a lot more from the upgrades, but we're still spending a lot to be there in the first place!  

            It's just the two of us and our parents and we're only days behind you :)  We've got the 11am slot on the 23rd.  I guess I'm looking to find out more details about the actual wedding day and ceremony itself--as opposed to tours we can take, candlelight dinners we can buy or bigger floral arrangements.  For example, I had to ask her about if we can write our own script/vows, if we should bring music or is there a list she can send in advance, how long is allotted for the ceremony and the reception individually, etc.  I understand that we'll find a lot out upon arrival.  I just don't want to be upset that I didn't bring something we had and now we either can't have it or are paying an exorbitant amount for it.  

            So, I really appreciate your passing on the info you've acquired.  I'll make sure to do the same, even if it's not until post-wedding.  At least the next girls will know.

            Thank you again and congratulations!

            Dayne   



             



            #6 Jessica Johnson

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              Posted 01 November 2011 - 06:35 PM

              Hi Dayne,

              I am also getting married there on Dec 23rd at 2pm.  Congratulations!!  I feel much like you-that I am lacking many of the details I need.  I will have to continue to make calls and ask questions!  I just made a cd of my wedding music - it is all steel drum music, very Jamaican/Carribean.  The best thing to do, is to come prepared as possible.  But I know what you mean, if you don't have to spend time and money on things, you would rather not!  I am plannign to spend some time in the next couple of week goign through the details and figuring out what else I need to know and ensure there are details about.  Are you having a private dinner or going to a restaurant?  We decided to go to a restaurant - I have 2 guests coming who live in JA and my photographer and husband and Kat (who posted ahead of me) and her then, husband.  So I am trying to get 2 tables for 4, we shall see what the resort has to say. The WC makes it sound as though it is impossible to get reservations and they won't cater to groups, but I think this is to discourage us from getting free meals as opposed to private dinners! Feel free to add me to Facebook if you woudl like to discuss Sandals details!

               

              -Jessica Johnson



              #7 jdayne

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                Posted 06 November 2011 - 10:44 AM

                Hey girl--

                Congrats!  How funny we're on the same day.  Glad to know you're in a similar position.  Still haven't heard back from Deidra on several of my non-upgrade requests and I'm unsurprised.  As of now, we're planning to head to a restaurant, as well.  It's just the two of us and our parents who are staying on site.  What I'm really wondering is what we should do with the rest of our day?!  We could take our time with pics, have a late lunch and then...still haven't figured that part out, yet.  Of course, changing into suits and lounging around the beach and/or pools is always fine with me.  I'm honestly most nervous about the officiant reading our ceremony that we've written.  The sample options I saw, religious or non-denominational, were short and somewhat impersonal in our opinion.  And, of course, I had to get them from another bride.  So, hopefully, they don't give us any hassle over having our own.  I've been checking in on here every once in a while as I first received zero responses.  I'll try to check in more often now that I've got two fellow brides!!  And feel free to PM me...I don't have an FB account.  Lame and without excuse, I know.

                Talk soon!  



                #8 ritach15

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                  Posted 14 November 2011 - 11:00 PM

                  Congrats to you ladies I just booked to get married there in July. I would love to see pics and hear some feedback about the resort. 



                  #9 ritach15

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                    Posted 14 November 2011 - 11:01 PM

                    Congrats to you ladies I just booked to get married there in July. I would love to see pics and hear some feedback about the resort. 



                    #10 kat2012

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                      Posted 15 November 2011 - 05:43 AM

                      Congrats ritach15!

                      I plan to write my review and planning thread after I am back, since I am too busy now. But if you have questions or want to see anything let me know. I think i have most of the stuff done since I am leaving in 23 days. 

                      Happy planning!
                       

                      Originally Posted by ritach15 

                      Congrats to you ladies I just booked to get married there in July. I would love to see pics and hear some feedback about the resort. 



                       






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