Our wedding was on October 12th, 2013 - 30 days ago and I just had not had time to write ... here goes.
CHECK IN - FRONT DESK
We arrived on the 8th, 4 days before our wedding day, and the front desk staff were amazing .. Alicia was awesome. My husband's great-aunt traveled with us and he had physical limitations (she could not walk to far) so Alicia moved their room to the 1st floor (2nd door) from the entrance (by the japanese restaurant) so she would not have a long walk to the pool, beach ... her furtherest walk was to the buffet and even that was okay. They did rent wheel chairs by the day but she made accommodations for us so that we would not have to incur further fees. She was awesome. When we went to our room their had been a mix up and the room was not ready ... as soon as she learned our wedding was to happen there she got approval and upgraded our room so we would not have to move all our stuff again (usually the room does not get upgraded until you meet with the weddings department the next day).
I also had spoken to them with regard to my sister that would arrive the next day with my 4 year old nephew ... my sister has fibromyaligia and is in constant pain ... she assigned her to a room close enough that she would not have a long walk with her little one.
We had guests staying on both sides of the resort .. the junior suite deluxe side and the other side. The now .. Family Side ... was okay. The rooms I visited had the old kind of TV but the rest of the room was furnished the with the same bedding, etc... The only difference was the TV and the size of the room. The junior Suite Deluxe rooms had an additional small area with a love seat (small couch) and coffee table.
The outside of the rooms ... hallways and walkways ... basically the same. The Family side had issues with the elevator no working. My sister was trapped in one for about 10-15 minutes with my nephew but was freed quickly when a worker heard her calling for help. That side of the hotel (the family side) could use a little TLC .. a little paint ... it felt a little run down.
THE WEDDING DEPARTMENT STAFF
My person was Keisha and she was wonderful. We communicated via email and a few phone calls for approximately 9 months - as we got closer to the date I didn't have many questions left but she always responded as soon as she could. ... the response do not come immediately but they do come.
During our correspondence I had asked about brining our own decorations for the semi-private dinner and the ceremony ... centerpieces, chair sashes for the wedding area, etc ... She had written that we would have to have our family members put them out. If they were busy they would not be able to.
We came ready ... I had my sisters decorating the semi-private dinner area and my son and financee putting the chair sashes and kissing pomander balls out ... my best friend setting out the flower cones and giving instructions as to what to do.
We met with Keisha the day after we arrived ... she emailed us our appointment time to meet with her . We went early and she was very happy to see us. We went over everything with her and I was to bring her my wedding music (which I had put on a cd) and our wedding programs for her to print for us. She also told us they would put the chair sashes and kissing balls for us at the wedding area!! She also said she would set our a table with the wedding programs and the suvenieers I had made for the ladies ... silk fans and tissue packs. I was absolutely thrilled!! Best of all she also told me to bring the table runner and the cloth linen napkins for the semi private dinner ... my sisters only had to do the chair covers, sashes and set out the centerpieces and favors!! That took a load off for me.
The wedding programs - Since I did not have all the information she said not to worry that she would print them for me. I printed the outside of them and once we had all the specifics I could finish it .. email it and she would print for us. I bought my own paper with the once side printed.
In our craziness I left the flash drive with the programs on it and the cd with our music ... the next 2 days was very stressful as I tried to get the music and program. I got my friend to email me a copy of the program and I was able to email it to Keisha ... I also had to go with my 2nd choice song for me to walk to (Christina Perry - A thousand year) and they used other music which was absolutely fabulous!!
After the wedding I totally forgot to collect my sashes and balls we had used at the ceremony area ... I contacted the front desk, they contacted Keisha. She was most helpful ... she gave them to my friends that were leaving the next day for them to bring home for us. She was wonderful.
My LAST FLING BEFORE THE RING - BACHELORETTE PARTY
The night before we had gone to Margaritaville and became friends with Fluegy who was our driver ... I hired him to bring us to my girls night out the next night! He was wonderful ... he charged us $5 a girl ... we had 17 girls ... he showed up in a very nice party bus ... brought us there and picked us up at the time I had designated. We went to Oceans Eleven ... It is a Kareoke Bar and on that night they had Band-oke ... live band played the songs. ... I made sure the girls all tipped him at the end of the night. It was lots of fun!! It wasn't very busy but we had such a fun night.
THE PHOTOGRAPHER - Michael right at the resort ... Best Images
Michael was awesome!! He made our wedding day so much fun!! He was great with the boys (my 6 year old and my sisters 4 year old) when they were not cooperating ... pre-wedding pics. During the wedding he took tons of pics but the best was at our semi-private dinner reception. He was wonderful!! The hardest thing for me is right now I have to pick 125 pictures from the 700+ pics LOL
HAIR AND MAKE UP -
My very good friend did my hair and I had gone to my MAC girl and had her show me what to do. with my package I could get my hair done, manicure and pedicure at the spa ... I gave my hair to my mother in law and she looked fabulous. My best friends also had their hair done at the spa and they looked fabulous. .. My hair was dreamy ... I had mermaid hair!! LOL
OUR WEDDING ... Gazebo Garden Lagoon ... on the Family side
When we walked up and I saw all our friends and family ... the area was absolutely beautiful ... the chairs had the pink sashes, the balls were hung on the aisle chair ... there was a small table to the left with white linen where the favors were ... to the right was the music technician and a small bar that served cocktails and drinks to my guests while they waited for us.
Our wedding was an absolute dream.
Plantation Restaurant - 2nd floor
The staff was wonderful ... we ate from the Steakhouse menu and the food was wonderful. The cake was small but big enough for all to eat. We had a big part left which we took with us and we all nibbled on near the main bar later on. It was tons of fun!!
ONLY COMPLAINTS -
NO ROOM SERVICE!!! - after a specific time there was nothing to eat except the stale popcorn and chips in the sports bar. There were some cold sandwiches, cold hot dogs and cold hamburgers in a small fridge in the sports bar for night time snacking ... not the greatest.
We paid extra to stay on the junior suite deluxe side and were repeatedly told how we would have these two additional restaurants to eat at but could not get reservations eat at them or any of the other gourmet restaurants - we had a minimum of 6 people (my fiancee, my 2 boys, his mom, his great aunt and myself) ... if it was just us two it would not have been problem.
OUR GUESTS - they all have said they had the best vacation ever!! They all enjoyed their time there and did some of the tours ... I stayed on the resort with the others that stayed behind and tried to relax ... LOL
WELCOME BAGS - Our guest were all welcomed to the resort and our destination wedding with welcome bags that contained tumblers and cozies ... also hand sanitizer and other little goodies. Team Bride ... my two sisters and my best friends got extra stuff ... their welcome bag was a beach bag with their names embroiled on them, beach towel, beach towel clips. All the ladies received in their bag a "Last Fling Before the Ring" invite along with a wristlet and black tank top with bling on it that read either "Team Bride" or "Bride's Entourage". ...
Many ideas and items purchased from vendors on etsy.com, theknot.com, and a couple other sites. Some items I purchased last "black friday" real cheap ... like the wristlets I bought at Areoposale for like $1 each!! and the small body butter tubs from bath and bodyworks for $1 each!! the small manicure sets at Walmart for $1 each. The tumblers I purchased from DollarTree for $1 each and labels from vendor on etsy. I will post pics and vendors later.
We packed up all the items and boxes and brought them with us (as additional luggage) ... Keisha had warned us that if customs kept our stuff we may not have it for the wedding so we didn't want to take any chances. ... It was cheaper and easier to bring with us than to mail ahead.
DAY AFTER THE WEDDING -
We got breakfast in bed and also had our couples romantic massages ... both were absolutely wonderful ... the massage was out of this world!! OMG!! We were walking around in a cloud for about an hour after. Best Ever!!
SPA & GYM
The SPA was wonderful ... I had my pedicure done and there is also complimentary whirlpool and sona ... I did use the gym daily ... it is my routine to work out daily so I can eat without guilt. The guy was clean and smelled wonderful. It had the machines and equipment I needed. It was perfect.
TIPS - GRATUITY- GIFTS
Our guest tipped at the bars ... they said they would give one good tip - $10 + and would drink lovely for the rest of the time ... They got faster service (no wait at all).
We gifted the front desk girl (Alicia), Keisha and our room service girl at the end of our stay. I brought a really large Bath and Bodywork set for Keisha and made up a smaller gift bag with the extra welcome bag and bath and body works for Alicia and a smaller bath and body works set for the room service girl.
The entertainment staff was wonderful ... by the pool ... family side is the happening side ... they are a lot of fun!! music and games!! Nightly they have shows in the Theatre by the Main bar ... the shows are absolutely wonderful. Professional dancers and the bands were great!
The night club was okay ... music was good and the bartender were great.
I will post pics later ... I will also be posting a review and pics on trip advisor. I hope this is all helpful.