Marquel and Oshana - 10/9/10 CTI...
Okay, I promised myself that I would return the favor to the message board because of everything that I got out of it! I like everyone else obsessively accessed the board everyday, literally until we left, just in case I missed somethimg that wasn't there the minute before the last time I checked, LOL! So grab your glasses, and your printer, because this is going to take a while, lol! I hope that my post is as helpful to others as the ones that were helpful to me!
I started the planning process in August 2009. We knew that it would be a destination wedding, and we knew it would be Couples.
My first mistake in this whole process was handling the group's travel planning myself. I own and operate a travel agency, and thought that it would be easy breezy handling the arrangements myself. WRONG! I had so many last minute air plans, additions, cancellations, the works, that it added to the stress of planning. So for any other travel agents out there who are thinking of handling your own groups, don't! However, Gisele Spalding in the groups dept absolutely ROCKS!!!
Couples Tower Isle is the location!
We chose Couples Tower Isle for our location because I was impressed with all the renovations and the Tower Isle ceremony option. So we chose the tower isle wedding. A platinum wedding was not in our horizon so this was the next best thing. It was within our budget and incorporated all that we needed. Debbie Hall in the wedding department absolutely ROCKS! She answers any and every question you can come up with at anytime. After choosing tower isle, however, I was a little nervous because I couldn't find anyone on the board who had done it, or pictures of it, other than the stock pictures that Debbie provided. The one easy part of a destination wedding is the planning is streamlined. No hall to pick out, flowers, church, limo, etc. This doesn't settle your nerves though.
At about 90 days prior, you're supposed to be transferred to the wedding coordinator onsite, but this doesn't happen right away, so you become more nervous. But when that transition finally happens, all is right with the world! LaToya the coordinator at Tower Isle, ROCKS beyond any measurable element on earth! We had some email contact before I got to the resort, merely finalizing guest count, etc. The real magic happens when we got to the resort.
This is an ongoing debate on the boards, both pro and con the resort photographers. This isn't because the resort photographers aren't good, because they are, but because this is our wedding and we want our pictures to be GREAT. Our package included pictures, so I fully intended to use the resort photographer, however, I also brought my own. Pictures are just one of those things that are not subject to negotiation. They must be perfect. Period. The resort photographer ended up being Sheldon, and the photographer that I brought with me was Robyn Robinson, of robynrobinsonphotgraphy.com
Who knew that a year's worth of anxiety and wondering could be wrapped up in just a few hours? When we checked in on 10/7/10, there was a letter in our keys from LaToya with our appointment time the next day. So off to the bar...
On 10/8/10, we (my mom, maid of honor, aunt and I), met with LaToya in her office and went through the entire process from start to finish. She had a wedding in between, but it was no problem getting back with her after lunch and drinks. She even got the cake samples for us AND I forgot to mention, we forgot our music, and LaToya was able to download the song for us. Total time spent with her was about 4 hours, throughout the day. We picked our appetizers, made our dinner reservations, makeup appts, mani/pedis for those that needed them, and start time. 4:30pm 10/9/10 on the tower isle...
Rain, Rain, GO AWAY, NOW, Please?
We wake up Saturday morning, you can see the clouds coming. All we can hope is that they stay where they are. The morning was great, there was a morning wedding that was able to go without a hitch, and then wouldn't you know it, it stormed cats and dogs. No problem, we know how it rains in Jamaica, it rains monsoon for a while, then stops, and you never knew any difference. Ha! Of course this would be the rainiest October in the history of human events. So it rained most of the afternoon. You could see the delineation between the rain and the clear sky and I just hoped that the clear sky would win! LaToya did an awesome job of keeping in touch throughout the day to make sure we knew what was going on and what plans, B-AA1 were. Plan B would have been to have the ceremony at Bayside restaurant. We did have the option to wait until the next day, but I'm so glad we didn't, it rained even worse on Sunday. The sky did finally clear up, just long enough for us to have our ceremony on the island. Getting on/off the boats was a minor issue becuase we thought we were using the glass bottom boats, but learned that the water was too shallow at the dock for those boats. Of course that's when it started back raining. At least this time they were minor showers though. The ceremony was awesome, even the band was awesome. We ended up having our reception at the Verandah, and our dinner at 8 Rivers.
I've included a link to the pictures taken by the resort photographer, and a blog from my photographer who has just started compiling her photos and has shared a sneak peak. The resort photographer was good. I have absolutely nothing bad to say about Sheldon, but Robyn was great!
Link to Resort Photographer Photos - http://www.mywedding.com/marquelando...galleries.html
Link to Robyn's Sneak Peek -
This was the most amazing experience I could have encountered for a wedding. Even with the rain, I couldn't have asked for more. We spend the whole year anxious, nervous, scared, happy, and it's all wrapped up in a matter a minutes. The entire couples staff did everything they could to accommodate us in anyway possible. From the back office in the groups dept and the wedding dept, to the front office in LaToya. I am impressed with everyone. Even after having to implement plan J :), it was all worth it.
Do not hesitate to contact me with any questions, and as more pictures become available, I'll post them!!