Hello ladies, I just got back from Sandals Negril and while the memories are fresh I'd like to let report about my experience and I hope it will helps.
The trip from Montego Bay to Sandals is not bad, we aited at the Sandals club airport section for a about 5 mins, we just used the bathroom and the driver was ready to go, they took our bags to the bus. We gave $5 tip to both the guy who carried luggage and the bus driver.
Sandals is a really nice resort and we had a total blast staying there. They have great program for every evening, food is great and drinks are pouring. Staff is incredible nice and accommodating. However I would not call it a 5 start resort, 4 is the most. We stayed at the Beachfront Concierge room. We didn't use concierge service, except for the drinks in the mini bar, so if you want a downgraded room option, you won't loose too much. Make sure to reserve your wedding and honeymoon breakfast upon arrival, same with your wedding dinner, as well as your Italian and Japanese restaurants, those book quick and we didn't get a chance to get to Japanese. We liked Italian and Barefoot the most (Barefoot didn't need reservation), also the french in the main area was pretty good. They do tours around the hotel, make sure to take one upon arrival, we took 2 days later and didn't know that spa had sauna and steaming room with he shower free to use and where their gym was as well as where to sign up for water sports.
Excursions: Booze boat - Kool Kitty - you drink everything you want and go around Negril on the boat, they make a stop at Margaritaville or Ricks Cafe, depending on weather condition and you get to dive off the boat.
While fun - not worth $80 p/p
Zip line Canopy- much better, instructors are comedians and make you laugh the whole trip, it is scary at first but very fun later, make sure to wear long pants and long sleeve and tons of bug spray, get the strongest one - bugs are vicious and will eat you alive. Don't fall for the bug spray they sell you there for $6-it doesn't work!
Now about the wedding.
Locations: Most beautiful gazebos are close to the beach, and even though they put signs everywhere "Wedding in Progress" everybody stares. We witnessed 2 weddings and everyone on the beach was staring. Both gazebos are close to each other and approximately in the same area. The same applies to the beach area, you are surrounded by people on the beach and water sports. We decided to go with more private Garden gazebo. - it is surrounded by the trees and is very private, however it is very small!
Our wedding party was only 6 guests, so they fit fine, but if you have a bigger party, it will be very crowded. There is almost no room outside of the gazebo, it's bushes followed by the mini bridge to the lawn area where they set up reception, law is all grass, so if there will be rain this day they will switch you to the game room, which is covered area at the Piano bar, this is what happened to us. Honestly, I didn't like any of the locations, they do look pretty in the pictures but they don't give you that special feeling.
They start setting up the location around 3-4 hours prior, so you will have a chance to check on it and make corrections if you need any or practice.
Cake: we had BB white rum fruit cake, they let us taste it during the first meeting with WC. At the reception they will leave the top layer to take home and they cut the rest for the guests and serve as a desert. Yes, you can bring it through the customs, no problem. They will put it in a white box and tape it for you and it didn't spoil.
They were great and did everything we asked. Shermaine was our on site wedding coordinator - she is responsible for planning and decoration and Gawayne was our wedding captain - he is responsible for the reception.
We brought custom made cake topper, fans, wishing well with cards, dry freeze flower petals, flower petal cones, favors and wishing lanterns. We brought everything the day we arrived and they set everything up exactly how we instructed, so that was great and nothing to worry about.
Hair and Make up:
Make up: Do not expect anything fancy like airbrushing or make up as make up gurus would do. They work with MAC but it's all standard foundation-blush-eyeliner-shades. You have to be very specific what color do you want and better to show them a picture with the make up. They have no sense of what fits you, I eneded up with yellow-green shades, I'm very fair skinned with grey eyes and it made me look like I had healing bruises above my eyes, I had to tell make up stylist to wipe it off and point her to the colors that would work better, same with lipstick.
Basically you have to tell them every move, otherwise you'll end up looking like a fake plastic doll. Honestly you will be better learning how to do it yourself and buying airbrush.
Hair: hair was great as long as you bring them a picture and they do several hairstyles during the trial to help you decide, they will put all the hairpieces and veil for you too. Same with mani - pedi, no complaints with that, if you do it the day before the wedding and something will chip off, they'll adjust for free for you.
Wedding day: after your hair and make up you will be waiting in your room, while groom with guests wait in the wedding room and later wedding team will take them to the ceremony site.
20 mins before the ceremony wedding coordinator will come to get you at your room and escorts you to the site.
The ceremony lasts about 15 minutes, the wedding team tells you exactly what to do, officiant tells you how to hold hands, what to do, what to say, step by step- if you get very nervous - you won't get lost. Officiant made the ceremony really lighthearted and fun, he had great personality.
Right after the ceremony we had to go to the game room, because of the rain. Everything was set up and we did our first dance and cake cutting. We chose buffet for the menu and it was better choice then selected menu items. Guests could pick and choose and eat at their own pace. After the dance we left for the pictures. Our photographer was Alan Smith and we had great time working with him. Pictures took us long time and because of that reception felt rushed. We had 3 hr cocktail and reception.
The DJ was great addition, he announced everything and played the list of songs we gave him. Gawayne and his team were super professional and made our ceremony real fun, they made everybody get up and dance and even bystanders were having fun just looking at us, no one was bored and he worked closely with the photographer to make sure we had all the pictures taken.
After reception Gawayne and his team took us to the beach and helped us to light our wishing lanterns - make sure to bring lighters, if you decide to do that- we only had one for everyone so it slowed the process a bit and they didn't go up at the same time as we intended. Nevertheless it was gorgeous and people came out from bars and restaurants to look at it.
As I said the reception felt rushed and since we had kids and all guests stayed off property we had to go off site. We went to Alfreds Ocean Place, little reggae bar down the street by the Grand Pineapple. It was very laid back and relaxed atmosphere with live reggae band, which starts playing at 10 p.m.
Overall it was lovely, but the gazebos, rushed reception and make up threw me off a bit.
I hope this review helps and if you have any questions please ask.