I got married at Secrets Wild Orchid in Montego Bay on June 20, 2015. I had 55 guests in attendance! Everything turned out so beautiful, I was very pleased with the wedding coordinators and their efforts towards making my special day so wonderful. I'll try to cover everything regarding my experience from the planning to the BIG day. I really felt compelled to write this journal to give inspiration and guidance to other brides who are anxiously awaiting their big day! I was a wreck leading up to the wedding. All of the stress and indecisiveness on my part was totally unnecessary as everything turned out wonderful. So brides, enjoy the process and have fun as it will go by so fast. Cherish every moment!!! Ok, here we go!
Save the Dates
We took one of our favorite photos from our engagement photo shoot and ordered magnet save the dates from Vista print. After using coupons, we only paid like $100 - $150 for our order. They turned out great and it was helpful having the magnets as guest attendees could keep this on their refrigerators for convenience.
I really didn't have an particular colors for my wedding. My overall theme was more "tropical". These are the inspiration pictures I provided to the resort for them to execute. The arch on my actual wedding day was slightly different from the picture but I was still pleased with the final result (pictures of that later in the review).
Jamaica Guest Map
I got this idea from another bride on this site and started looking up my own unique ideas. I found a seller on Etsy that sold these destination maps. During the cocktail hour at the wedding, I had the guests to sign their names on the map. We are planning to get this framed and will put it in our home. I absolutely love this map and how it turned out. The Etsy seller does custom work for all of her maps and she captured what I wanted perfectly!
I got this idea from yet another bride on this site. I love how everyone shares their wonderful ideas! I ordered badge holders from Amazon for really cheap and ordered custom lanyards for the wedding attendees. Everyone put their room keys in the badge holders. This allowed us to chill on the beach without worrying about losing the room key or keeping track of it. These were a huge hit! Destination brides, definitely look into this if you're interested. I was also planning to bring bags of candy for the guests but it took up an entire small suitcase and given all of the other items we had to bring, it just wasn't worth carrying.
We had the wedding ceremony on the beach at 5pm. It was hot earlier in the day but got a little windy as the wedding got closer. This was a welcome relief for the guests as they waited for us to arrive. I paid to rent the speaker system from the resort. I love music so I definitely wanted those good vibes in the atmosphere during the wedding processional. We bought bamboo wedding fans that were placed in each of the guests seats. The turned out to be a big hit! The only hiccup before the ceremony was them adding the arch flowers a couple of minutes before the wedding started due to the wind. The coordinators mentioned they typically don't do that but wanted to be safe versus sorry which I understood.
We had the wedding reception inside at one of the ballrooms. This was a welcome relief from the heat earlier in the day. We paid for DJ Blu to handle the music and he did a wonderful job (he also DJs at Margaritaville at night). Prior to the reception, they ask for a list of songs you'd like played (granted he only played like one of the songs on my list but it was ok because he had us "turnt up" all night). The wedding coordinators turn you over to the ballroom attendants once everything gets settled. The attendants were very thorough and made sure my husband and I had enough food, desserts, and alcohol the entire night. We didn't even have to leave our sweetheart table except to dance so that was awesome.
First, regarding the DVD, the media department has this ready to go about two days after the wedding. Before the final editing took place, they asked us which songs we wanted played on the DVD while the footage was being shown. Upon viewing the final product we were definitely "wowed"! The DVD is about 45 minutes long and contains footage of the wedding ceremony, the guests during cocktail hour, and the first part of our reception. This is a great momento that we will cherish for years to come.
We decided not to solely utilize the resort's photographer. We had the Secrets Ultimate Wedding Package which only allows for one hour of coverage. This was just not enough time for me! So we have ventured out and looked into outside photographers. We chose Dwayne Watkins who is based out of Montego Bay. If you've never seen his work please check out his blog. He is fantastic! We haven't received our wedding photos yet but I know they will be outstanding based on his previous work. He is definitely on the pricier end but I don't regret my decision at all. Your wedding pictures are for a lifetime so it's important to get the quality you're desiring. For the one hour the resort provided, we told them to shoot the guests during the cocktail hour while Dwayne and his assistant did our bride/groom shots. So everything worked out perfectly.
I had a wonderful experience at Secrets Wild Orchid. The wedding coordinators were fabulous while we were there and they ensured all of my wishes were met! About two months before the wedding, the e-mail communication between the coordinators really ramped up. So brides, be patient with them prior to this time as they are probably dealing with other stressed brides like myself during their actual weddings. The employees at Secrets Wild Orchid are super friendly and make you feel like rock stars! Everyone remembers your name/face everywhere you go. This definitely felt like home. So brides, be patient and everything will fall into place. Trust me, all the stressing mean nothing when it's all said and done. So relax and enjoy the process, Mon!