My fiance and I hope to tie the knot at Iberostar Rose Hall Suites in December 2013. Right now I'm just collecting as much information as possible about the resort and outside vendors before I make our official budget. I'm a pharmacy school student and my fiance is applying for optometry school so right now money is very tight (but that should get better when I graduate in May 2013!)
Budget - Most of our wedding money will be tied up by the fact that we will have to pay for most of our immediate family members to go or they won't be able to attend. I kind of feel bad that my dream wedding will mean that people that we both care about will have to miss it, but in the end we decided to do what is right for us. We would really rather treat our closest family to an awesome vacation than feed 300 people dinner in our hometown anyways. My fiance and I really want to stay at the Grand and book the remainder of our guests at the Suites. We believe that separating ourselves, at least from the majority of the group, will give us some couple time and a retreat from any drama that may erupt (I hate to even plan for this but if you knew his family you would understand). Plus this will mean that we won't have to pack up and move to another resort for our honeymoon.
Colors - After a couple weeks of searching the internet and becoming addicted to all things wedding on Pinterest, I still have no idea what colors I want. I am naturally drawn towards pink, but have read many reviews about that being the worst color to choose as it will draw out the pink in your face (from either sunburn, the warm weather, or blushing). I prefer a more elegant appearing ceremony so the bright colors like orange, lime green and turquoise are out for me. I have always thought that white weddings are absolutely gorgeous, but it just doesn't seem right to not have any color in Jamaica. Right now I guess I am leaning in the direction of purple.
Cake - I have really not been impressed with the cakes I have seen from weddings at Iberostar. That along with the fact that upgrading a cake starts at $250 has really left a sour taste in my mouth. Since my fiance and I absolutely love key lime pie we are trying to check on the possibility of serving a couple of pies instead of cake. I think this would make it a little more special to us and we will probable have a cake at our home reception anyways.
A Vow Renewal Ceremony - Ever since I have been dating my fiance (6 years!) I have heard his mom daydream about renewing their vows at the beach. Unfortunately due to money circumstances they have never really had the opportunity and I thought it would be a really special gesture to try and arrange something small for her. I know that I will not be able to spring for the $1900 vow renewal package but I have asked the wedding coordinator what the charge would be for a minister, bridal bouquet, and romantic beach dinner for the couple. Hopefully they can arrange something reasonable.
Pampering - I plan on purchasing the bridal spa package for myself which I believe includes hair, make-up, a manicure and pedicure. The only concern I have is with the make-up as I read a review that said they only carry wet and wild products (AKA cheap stuff). I will definitely be bringing my make-up from home for them to use and may actually see if my future sister in law would mind doing that for me. I really would like to take my mom and future MIL to get facials together but that will be one of those things we wait and see if there is enough money for. We will probably choose the 30 minute couples massage instead of photos as I really prefer to use an outside photographer.
The Ceremony Location - The most important things to me in choosing a ceremony location are that it has a beautiful view and feels relatively private. My fiance has voted for using the lobby terrace and since it fits both of my criteria and seems to be the only thing he really has an opinion on I think we will go with it. My only concern is whether or not the huppah can be set up on the terrace. If anyone has any detailed information on the lobby terrace or how the huppah is set up (anchored into ground/ secured with weights) I would love to hear it!
Reception - Since our group will be very small and our budget limited we will not be having a private reception. To me, this is not a big deal at all, especially since I read that they only fill the specialty restaurants to half capacity anyways and it pains me to pay for something that should be all-inclusive anyways. I think I'll wait til I see the restaurant venues before choosing exactly where we'll be. I plan on doing some light decorating with candles and flowers. One thing that I really want to do is a sky lantern release with wedding wishes. I still haven't heard back whether Iberostar allows this but I'm keeping my fingers crossed!
The Dress - I really love the look of lace but I'm not sure if that matches the beachy feel we're going for. I think I will probably just have to try on dresses to figure out what I really want.
Photography - So far I have read nothing but excellent reviews on Sungold photography, Marcia Roberts and Brian Nejedly. Their work on their website is absolutely gorgeous so really it will just come down to price and availability for me in choosing between these 3. We looked into bringing someone from the states, but everyone is just way too expensive for us.
Please excuse my type A personality and the extremely long post (I may be just a little too excited about all this wedding planning stuff!) I'm sure if you read all of this you're thinking, WOA THIS GIRL IS P-I-C-K-Y but since we will be treating our family to a trip that they would possibly never be able to go on themselves I just really want to make sure everything is perfect for both them and me. Best wishes to everyone with wedding planning and congratulations on your engagements!