Our Dream Wedding at Beaches Turks & Caicos!
My name is Brandy, and I am THRILLED to post our wedding story, as it was the most magical time of our lives!!
Oh, where shall I begin..My (new) husband (Jack) and I recently had our wedding at Beaches Turks & Caicos! By far, it surpassed EVERY and all expectation we could have ever imagined. I cried more leaving the resort than I did at my own wedding!
We had 30 family & friends travel to the resort for our wedding. Our wedding was on a Friday. My husband and I arrived Monday and guests began trickling in Tuesday-Thursday. We were VERY glad that we came in a day before family and friends. It gave us some time to â€œtake it all in,â€ enjoy a dinner just the two of us, and get our bearings. Time FLIES when youâ€™re there, especially meeting with the wedding coordinator and working out wedding details. We were there for six nights and seven days but honestly if we stayed longer, we still would have wanted to stay even longer!
We were all departing the resort on Sunday. So we had the wedding Friday and then Saturday was a day to chill and do whatever. I HIGHLY recommend a day after the wedding (at least) to have a day of â€œfunâ€ without the worry or planning of a wedding. Our group had a blast! As a group of 30, we went banana boating, hit the lazy river and waterslides and went to Kimonos for our last dinner together. It was an awesome day and a great way to end the evening at Kimonos (which we highly recommend-very fun atmosphere). It was also neat to spend a day with family and friends as new husband and wife!
Our Resort Experience: Our entire group absolutely loved the resort! The water is a gorgeous teal blue and the beach is fabulous. The pools are endless and just beautiful. Our entire group stayed at the Caribbean Village and we all loved it. We felt that it had the most â€œislandyâ€ vibe because they play music at the pools, have dance contests, a delicious buffet by the pool, and it has a lot of restaurants. The Caribbean Village also has Turtles Bar which we went to almost every night. They had awesome reggae bands and dance music and we had a BLAST dancing and livinâ€™ it up!
The resort including our rooms was very neat and clean. We had no issues whatsoever. Our room had a pool and ocean view which was lovely. However, we really werenâ€™t in our room very much. The staff who cleaned our rooms were extremely friendly, as were pretty much every staff member we saw and interacted with throughout the week.
The Key West Village is new and is great if you want peace and quiet. I highly recommend going to their restaurant Sky for breakfast. It boasts an incredible view of the ocean. Also, their rooms are more like villas, as opposed to a hotel room (if thatâ€™s what youâ€™re looking for).
The Italian Village seemed to be where most of the kiddos were, at least in the pools. Beautiful Village (honestly, everything is beautiful at this resort). You must go to Marioâ€™s for breakfast AND dinner. Their breakfast buffet is enormous and they have an incredible anti-pasta station for dinner. It was amazing and we did dinner their twice (once for the night before the wedding where there were 30 of us-we loved it!!!).
The French Village had our favorite pool. Just gorgeous. Itâ€™s really beautiful at night also. At night, we enjoyed walking to the pool (itâ€™s lit up beautifully at night), where they also have a large stage with entertainment. My husband and I found ourselves in a conga line and then were on stage for a reggae dance off! Why not?! Walking around the pool (itâ€™s enormous) is really nice and stopping by Caf© de Paris for one of their many scrumptious pastries, chocolate chip cookies and oatmeal raisin cookies (all to die for) was just awesome.
Two of the highest recommended restaurants Le Petite Chatau (French Village) and Sapadillas (Caribbean Village) have a strict dress code. Men have to be in slacks and dress shoes (women are fine in a sundress). Given that this is a beach resort, we told our guests to pack casually for the trip (my husband only had khaki shorts and dress shirts). So unfortunately, we couldnâ€™t go to those restaurants (which was really ok because the million other restaurants are great). However, some of our guests tried Sapadillas and said it was possibly the best dinner theyâ€™ve ever had. Worth a shot, so bring at least one pair of dress slacks guys!
Iâ€™ve read numerous reviews about the restaurants before our trip. Honestly, we thought they were all really good. I threw out some more of the memorable ones earlier in my review but none of our gang had a bad meal any time of the day. Oh, I will say, Bella Napoli Pizzeria takes quite a long time. It is a brick-oven pizza joint right by one of the pools. They are very honest and let you know that it will take approx 30-35 minutes for a pizza. The pizzas were so delicious; however, sometimes we didnâ€™t want to wait that long because we wanted to get back to the beach and pool. So we took advantage of the buffet that the Caribbean Village had at their pool every day. Outstanding! They had grilled fish, chicken, filet (that I cut with a plastic knife), all the trimmings for tacos, curly fries, the works! If you donâ€™t want to wait for a pizza then Iâ€™d recommend that buffet! Schooners (Caribbean Village) was a great place for dinner (excellent seafood)! And the one and only ice cream place is at Bobby Deeâ€™s right by the water park! We had an ice cream almost every day! And since itâ€™s all-inclusive we went all the way and got banana splits with the works!
One thing we noticed, is that the portions at the resort are very reasonable. Anyone coming from the United States will notice a huge difference in the portions served to guests at restaurants. We all loved it because we left not feeling like a two ton elephant; however, some of our guests ordered two appetizers and an entr©e, or two entrees, etc. Donâ€™t feel bashful ordering more food. You paid the money, indulge!!!!
We were at Beaches in July so obviously it was pretty hot. One thing we did for wedding party gifts was buy Tervis cups. They had Bride, Groom, Best Man, Maid of Honor, etc., and they made fabulous and thoughtful gifts. I highly recommend bringing a cup that keeps your drinks cold. Canâ€™t tell you how nice it was to hang at the pools and beach without having to get a new drink every ten minutes. They melt very fast and usually your drinks come in small plastic cups. It was often a little slow getting drinks (everyone is on island time so we just went with it) so having a larger cup (as opposed to a small one) really helped in not having to wait a lot to get drinks. Your bartender will fill your drink to the very top so itâ€™s almost like two or three regular sized drinks in one! Highly recommend! If you donâ€™t bring a cup, get two or three drinks at a time. Some of our family who didnâ€™t have those cups did that and it was a very good idea!
Before traveling to the resort, we were told that the resort tends to run out of beach towels at the pools. So we brought our own beach towels. I donâ€™t know if getting towels was a problem, but when I saw the bins with the towels there were usually at least a couple. However, itâ€™s worth it to bring your own towel just so you have it. We reserved a cabana each day (with our large group came some grandparents who couldnâ€™t be in the sun very long). Having that cabana was really nice. You can also reserve chairs I believe and they will place a towel on your chair. They may only do that if you have butler service but for a possible extra charge (I have no idea if they charge extra) they will probably do just about anything for you.
If you choose to go off the resort, we had some friends who went to Grace Bay for shopping. They loved it. After the wedding, a group of us went to Da Conch Shack! If you have time, we highly recommend this place!! Itâ€™s a really neat and beautiful place to go for lunch but also they have an ENORMOUS array of conch shells in the waters at their beach. I came home with three! They have freshly prepared conch salad (which is fabulous), a great menu and be sure to have their awesome rum punch! One of my cousins took a conch out of a shell (with the help of one of the natives). It was pretty cool! Bring your bathing suits and sun screen! Itâ€™s a beautiful beach! We went with a group of our friends and had a blast! Highly recommend!!
Our Wedding Experience:
My husband and I are in midst of planning a wedding reception in our home town. We wanted to throw a party for all of our family and friends who couldnâ€™t be there (or whom we didnâ€™t invite) to our island wedding. Let me just say..I am SO grateful that I had a destination wedding with close family and friends. The party weâ€™re having back here in Baltimore is overpriced, the guest list is annoying and it all just seems very insignificant. We have a lot of my in-laws friends attending and I donâ€™t even know who they are. It will be a very nice evening but NOTHING compared to my spectacular and magical beach wedding!!!
The planning process, a million miles away, wasnâ€™t always so fun. In fact, it was rather stressful. Our wedding coordinator for the pre-planning was Roxi. She was very nice and ended up helping us have a fabulous wedding. If you have her, just be patient. And be kind. I sent her no less than a million emails changing details and asking questions. Be sure to always be certain your invoice is correct with every detail you want and if thereâ€™s ever anything that needs to be changed she will do it. There were times when we had some language barriers but in the end, it was all fine. And your wedding will come together, even though it may seem that it might not. It will!!! I think Roxi has a thousand weddings on her plate at one time. Patience and kindness goes a long way.
Our wedding was held on the beach at 3:00pm in the afternoon on Friday July 26, 2013. Initially, we wanted a later time but they werenâ€™t available. Our wedding coordinator was Comanici. She was great. I told her everything that we wanted at our wedding and reception and she made it all happen. One thing I thought was nice was I had brought large starfish for our ceremony arch. I wanted them on each side. She wasnâ€™t sure how she was going to make them stay (without breaking) but she did and they were returned to me in perfect condition. Not to mention the starfish looked beautiful and completed our beach theme! More on the arch down below.
For our wedding, we chose â€œYour Wedding, Your Style.â€
Red Lane Spa: My wedding party and I had our hair done at the spa. I heard mixed reviews, but lemme tell ya..these ladies have done COUNTLESS weddings. They know how to do hair. Bottom line. We scheduled a trial hair session the day before which every bride and wedding party should do. That way, everyone knows whoâ€™s getting what and how it will look. The wedding morning flies by. You donâ€™t want to be worried about being late on your wedding day because your hair (or one of your girlsâ€™ hair) doesnâ€™t look right or they donâ€™t like it. Itâ€™s worth it to take the time. Also, the ladies had neat ideas. One of them went outside and picked flowers from their garden and placed flowers in my maid of honors hair. It was stunning and totally beachy. It looked beautiful.
The spa was lovely. Some girls did mani/pedis and they loved it. The spa was very nice, clean and the ladies were lovely. Highly recommend. Oh, my cousin did our makeup.
Flowers: I was up in the air for a while about my flowers. Initially, I had bouquets for myself and my girls. And it was extremely expensive ($450 for my bouquet). Also, itâ€™s very hot there and I was worried that the flowers would wilt. I was very against the idea of â€œfakeâ€ flowers for my wedding but boy was that an awesome decision that I made. I got my flowers made from the Little Bouquet Shop. Theyâ€™re an online company and my flowers were exquisite. www.thelittlebouquetshop.com. I chose twelve stems of white calla lilies, wrapped in a teal satin ribbon (fully wrapped which I recommend, itâ€™s prettier), with a silver rhinestone cuff at the top. They were stunning. The packaging that they came in was what I kept them in on the plane. I carried it on with me and their packaging was awesome. It was easy and I was very content knowing my bouquet would be in good condition. Best decision ever going with this company!!! And the neat thing about synthetic flowers (which btw, look SO real) is now I have the opportunity to preserve my bouquet! I would have never been able to get a real bouquet home without it wilting or becoming damaged. We did the same with the boutonnieres. They were cheaper, prettier, and we get to preserve them as well!
Btw, my girls carried white fans. I got the idea from another bride and it was awesome! It totally completed the beach and island theme. Also, the fans were $5 a piece!! I saved over $800 on flowers!
Ceremony: I am a huge lover of beach, warm weather and teal water (everything teal!). Thatâ€™s what I got!! Our beach ceremony was everything I always wanted it to be. We had white chiavari chairs (they come standard) with teal tie backs. They were beautiful. Our arch had a white and sea glass fabric draped over (with a starfish on each end at the top). Each guest was provided a parasol which I canâ€™t say how great that was for our guests. The sun was shining bright that day and it really helped shade our guests. Not to mention they made for awesome pictures, especially for the Bride!! They are expensive at the resort (in my opinion). They were $20 per parasol (youâ€™re allowed to keep them). However, I got them for $8 per parasol back home. Obviously, I couldnâ€™t fit 20-some parasols in my luggage (shipping was very expensive) so we paid for a dozen parasols at the resort and then just brought 10 with us. And that was something else we could let our guests have (we didnâ€™t do favors). Our family and friends raved about having them. Very worth it!!!!!! We had music playing on an ipod for my bridesmaids walking down the aisle and of course the bride. Wasnâ€™t a dry eye on that beach! Btw, our songs were awesome. My girls walked down to â€œOver the Rainbowâ€ by the Piano Guys and I walked down to (with my mom and dad on each arm) â€œA Thousand Yearsâ€ by the Piano Guys. They are awesome!!! We didnâ€™t love our officiant. He wasnâ€™t very enthusiastic but he got the job done. My husband and I wrote our own vows and thatâ€™s what really mattered from the ceremony and what people remembered. Once we were pronounced husband and wife, we danced down the aisle to Forever, by Chris Brown! Was really fun, made for great pictures (as we were dancing down the aisle) and everyone was dancing leaving the wedding. It was fabulous!
We also had a sand ceremony with white, teal and purple sand. What a nice touch to a wedding ceremony. The sand was placed in shells and close family members of the bride and groom took turns pouring sand in the glass. We used a glass provided by the resort. It was just ok. It says Beaches WeddingMoons on it which we thought was tacky. However, it youâ€™re displaying it in your home, you can just turn the glass around and you canâ€™t see it. If you want something else, youâ€™ll have to provide it yourself. They packed it for us and we carried it on the plane. Highly recommended ceremony touch!!
Btw, we could see our guests walking down to the ceremony site from our room and it was so neat! They were all carrying the parasols! It was like something you see in a movie!!!
Cocktail Hour: We had a cocktail reception on the lawn which was beautiful. There was a beautiful display of various fruits and selections we had chosen with our coordinator.
We did not have music during our cocktail hour and we are so glad we didnâ€™t. Guests were scattered about, especially going off with the bride for pictures. Some went to change their clothes, others were hitting the restroom, etc. It is a great way to save some money and forego entertainment for that hour. Plus, our steel band had already started playing on our deck at our reception (which was right by our cocktail hour) so that was perfect. The cocktail hour flies by, no need for music!!
Reception: My husband and I are STILL giving ourselves accolades for our music choices! Our reception was held on top of a deck that overlooked the ocean. It was just spectacular. We had two rectangular tables with white table cloths and a sea glass overlay. Our centerpieces were white candles and shells. They were in a pattern and they were just perfect. There was plenty of room for dancing and dancing we did!!! We chose a steel band for the first hour of dinner. Then we had an ipod play list that consisted of reggae music, and songs like, All Night Long (Lionel Ritchie). Into the second hour of our reception, we had a calypso band. They were fabulous! It created that island feel that everyone thinks about when they think about going to the islands. The final hour of our reception we had another play list that had songs like Boogie Shoes and Dynamite, which got every age and gender on the dance floor! We had a wide variation of music for our big day and I canâ€™t say enough about those bands. Forego the DJ, save the money with an ipod and splurge on those bands! It completes the feel of a beach island wedding!
Lemme say one thing about the ipod. For whatever reason, our ipod died at our ceremony. It held our wedding up a few minutes. We charged it ALL DAY the day before. But for some reason it was not working. A friend of ours ran up to their room and got their charger and we were saved. So if you are planning on using an ipod, be sure to give your wedding coordinator your charger even though youâ€™re certain itâ€™s charged. It was the weirdest thing. Whatâ€™s a wedding without SOMEthing going wrong?! Made for a funny story at the end!
It was very hot at our reception and the staff was monumental in seeking out every umbrella they could find to shade our guests from the sun. Every staff member who assisted us at our wedding was just the friendliest and sweetest.
We had an open bar which is just a given in my opinion. We couldnâ€™t expect guests to walk to another bar (and possibly wait a long time) to get a drink. It was worth the money and honestly we were surprised at how reasonable it all was.
Food: Our food was delicious. I think we were all shocked at how awesome the food was. The presentation was fabulous and it tasted as good as it looked. We chose the following:
Appetizer: Caribbean shrimp and tropical fruit salad (SO good, light and fresh!)
Dinner: Grilled mahi-mahi or grilled tenderloin
Dessert: Lovers pineapple baked Alaska (OMG!! The presentation & flavor was awesome and so perfect for a cool treat! It came in a pineapple!)
Wedding Cake: We had a three tier cake with each flavor they have (chocolate, vanilla, fruit). I absolutely loved the vanilla. Our cake was white with a sea-glass satin ribbon on each layer. I provided the cake topper, as well as the shells around the cake and on the cake table. It was my dream wedding cake!
Our guests RAVED about the food, service and desserts!!!
Photography/Videography: This was a decision that initially started out being a difficult one. We hadnâ€™t heard good reviews about the photography at the resort. In fact, some were nightmare stories. I was having a cow because the one thing I feel should be invested in and should be no less than perfect is photo and video. After all, thatâ€™s whatâ€™s left after a wedding is over. In reading review after review, I came across a recent bride (whose name was also Brandy) and she talked about a company called Tropical Imaging. Well let me just sayâ€¦they are FABULOUS! They are actually now called Brilliant by Tropical Imaging (www.tropicalimaging.com). Weddings are what they do. They live on the island, not too far from the Beaches resort. They are experienced, know what to do in every situation (cloudy weather, rain, etc). They are friendly and most of all, they capture exceptional photos of a wedding. We had Andy (photo) and Preston (video). Both truly lovely souls. I was SO at ease the day of my wedding knowing they were capturing the beauty of it all and the fun we were all having. With that said, Beaches has recently contracted with a new photography company. I have no idea how good they are. What I didnâ€™t like about our situation was that we werenâ€™t going to know who our photographer was going to be and we werenâ€™t able to see any work they had previously done or any reviews (no website, nothing). That right there didnâ€™t sit well with me. Tropical Imaging has numerous photos and videos (they call them movies) on their website. We were much more comfortable having them and knowing we knew exactly what we were going to get. We met with Andy and Preston a couple days before the wedding and we discussed the timeline of the wedding day. We knew exactly what we were to do and where to be. Andy and Preston are very laid back and it was so refreshing because I was a little nervous come the wedding day.
Getting them on resort property gets interesting. The resort obviously wants the bride and groom to use their photography and if they donâ€™t it costs them money. Any outside vendor has to be â€œallowedâ€ onto the resort property. Buying them a guest past for the day doesnâ€™t cut it. You have two options..you can go off property and have your own photo shoot (either on your wedding day or another day) OR you can book them a room stay (minimum of three nights). Yes, thatâ€™s right..you book them a room stay and they will not be staying at the resort (they live five minutes away). At first I was like, this is just crazy. But having exceptional photo/video was extremely important to me. So what we did, was we added Andy and Preston to a room that one of our single friends had booked. Adding people to a room lowers the cost. Considerably. In the end, we couldnâ€™t have been HAPPIER that we did it. Plus, given that Andy and Preston were â€œguestsâ€ of the resort, that allowed them to grab something to eat (while we were all having dinner) and go about the resort as they pleased (taking photos of pretty spots, etc). It worked out so so well. And when we met with Andy and Preston in the lobby of the resort, they knew everyone! These guys do numerous weddings at Beaches and are very well liked. It worked out perfectly! Some things are worth the money and THEY ARE!!!!!
Weddings are what this resort does. They have it down to a science. The six days we were at the resort, I saw seven weddings. The wedding coordinators are creative, experienced and they want to make your day, the best day. And they will.
In addition to the wedding, having our closest family and friends with us that week, was just amazing. It was the true meaning of what a wedding should be and should mean. We laughed, we danced, we went on water slides, had dinners together and made memories that will last us all a lifetime. Every moment was meaningful and something my husband and I will cherish forever. We were talking about it last night and got choked up!
Our wedding was everything I had always dreamed of and more. I just couldnâ€™t get over the beauty and magic of it all. The ceremony was everything I thought it would be, the reception was a blast, the food was outstanding, the staff was great and watching the sun go down that evening while we were dancing on the deck overlooking the ocean was just magical. Our last song was Today was a Fairytale, by Taylor Swift. And thatâ€™s just what it was.
This link expires November 30, 2013, but here is a link to some of our pictures from Brilliant by Tropical Imaging..
Please feel free to ask any and all questions!!