We had our wedding at CSA on May 29, 2010 and it was fabulous. It’s now almost a year later and I still think about it all the time!
When I was planning I promised myself when I got back I would post photos and write a summary mainly to help the people trying to plan a wedding with a larger guest count since there isn’t a lot to draw from on the message boards or the Couples website. I’ll try to keep this brief but I’m more than happy to respond to any questions:
# of guests at our wedding: 42 total, with 40 staying with us at CSA Time of day of wedding: Sunset Package (~5:30 pm). Photos: We went with an outside photographer, Ronald Samuels from WPA Jamaica (contact info firstname.lastname@example.org, website www.wpajamaica.com). We absolutely LOVED him. He has a great personality, lots of fun, he helped to lighten the mood to loosen us up, he was great. And the pictures speak for themselves, we're very happy with his work. I uploaded our full photo package from Ronald at http://jeffandheathersweddingpublic.shutterfly.com/, please feel free to take a look. Flowers: My bouquet was a slight upgrade (maybe $30), the bridesmaids were the basic. Hair/Makeup: We had our hair and makeup done at the salon. Kareena did mine, she was very nice and did things just how I asked (very natural makeup and hairstyle).
Rundown of wedding events: Day before wedding (Friday)-
•Met with the wedding coordinator, Tamika, in the afternoon (she’s great, by the way), to make all of the wedding decisions. Flowers, cake, wedding location, dinner location, reception, etc. It was all very easy and no pressure.
•The entire group went on the CSA catamaran cruise, everyone loved it. It was a lot of fun and gave everyone a chance to get to know each other. I had made reservations with Debbie in advance.
•We had dinner together at the beach party. I had asked Debbie to reserve tables for all of us, so that worked out very well. This was also tons of fun. Wedding day (Saturday)-
•Enjoyed the morning on the beach (very nice!).
•Went to salon in the afternoon for hair/makeup. This entire ordeal took maybe 2 hours because there were 5 of us.
•Went back to the room to get dressed, and some pics before the wedding. Our photographer arrived while I was at the salon, this was when he took pics of my husband.
•Wedding was on the beach at sunset. It was lovely.
•After the wedding we had a 2 hour cocktail party on the beach with a 3 piece steel drum band, hot and cold aps. Most of the posed photos were taken during the first half of the cocktail party, then we did the cake cutting, champagne toast, speeches, etc at the cocktail party.
•Dinner at Patois. They reserved a section for us with ~4-5 long tables. It worked out well.
•After dinner we went to the martini bar, and enjoyed the band at the Palms below.
•After the martini bar we went to the Aura lounge for some dancing.
•Late night (maybe midnight or 1 am) everyone put their bathing suits on and we went to the pool near Patois. It was the perfect ending to a perfect day!
All in all, the planning went very well and the wedding went great! There were a few planning problems, where we were told at the last minute that we couldn’t do what we had originally planned for due to a miscommunication and scheduling problem, but we decided that rather than get upset we would just make the most of our other options and in the end we were very happy.
A couple of pieces of advice:
Be VERY clear about your intentions and what you want. And do it as far in advance as you can.
Although it does not say this on the website, some things do need to be booked in advance, such as the private cocktail party or dinner party and the music that you want to have at that private party.
There are certain things that they don’t tell you in advance…like what the minister is going to say (slightly religious but not over the top), and how the cake/champagne/speech stuff will go (there will actually be an MC with a microphone, etc.). You kind of just have to go with it.
Also, I have TONS of pictures that I did not post so if you’re interested in seeing what things look like post a response with your email address and i'll send you pictures of whatever you're interested in. I have pics of the catamaran cruise, the dinner, martini bar, the club, pools, beach, etc.
A couple of corrections/updates to my original post:
The lovely lady who did my hair/makeup is named Karleen, i had remembered her name wrong (it was a long time ago!).
I also wanted to mention that our pictures may not be a perfect example of the typical sunset wedding. It had been raining for most of the day up until a couple hours before our wedding, but the sky was still cloudy. On a typical day it's much clearer and more beautiful.
@ashntommy- the bridesmaids bouquets that we used were the standard published price, i think ~$25 each. The bouquets that the bridesmaids had are the same one as you would get as the complimentary bridal bouquet.
Heather thank you so much for the wonderful review and sharing your photos. Congratulations! You made a beautiful bride and I love your dress. I am getting married at CSA on May 17th, 2011 - how did you find the weather in May? We are getting married at 11am, and were thinking of doing the Catamaran Cruise between the ceremony/cocktail reception between dinner at Patois. Then off for some dancing!
Was the salon expensive?
I already changed the wedding ceremony script as I found it too religious. Fortunately, Debbie had it approved so we are happy about that. So they set up a mic at the cocktail hour where people can make speeches? Did you have a mic at the ceremony so everyone could hear your vows or did you not need one??
Congratulations and best wished to everyone whos weddings are coming up...you're going to have a great time and you're going to LOVE CSA!
Thanks, i loved my dress! To answer the questions, it's slightly off-white, and i definitely wasn't wearing pants under it (?).
@CSAbride0516- I have been to CSA twice in May (the year before our wedding, and our wedding), from what i've seen it's typically hot/humid and beautiful all day, with maybe a 10-15 minute bout of rain in the afternoon, but even that is basically just a nice cooling shower and it clears up quickly. The day before our wedding there was a big, uncharacteristic storm which overlapped into the morning of our wedding day which is why it looks a bit cloudy, but we were there for a week after our wedding and there wasn't a drop of rain.
Your plan for the day sounds great, you're going to have a lot of fun! You probably already know this, but to get onto the catamaran you have to go into the water up to about mid-rib depth, so don't forget to tell your guests about that!
I found the prices at the salon to be very reasonable, i think they're posted on the website. I got a mani/pedi and we also got a couples massage and found the salon asthetics and cleanliness to be very much like what you would see at a typical good quality salon in any city in the US.
Yeah, they had just brought the mic to the ceremony, we didn't ask for it. I think everyone could have probably heard us without it, but whatever. And the guy that came to oversee the cocktail party (his name was Deuwayne) pretty much manned the mic and acted as master of ceremonies. We just told the onsite wedding coordinator in our meeting the day before that we wanted to do the cake then speeches at the cocktail party and Deuwayne found the right time to do it.
I'm very happy to answer any of your (or other people's) questions, I love talking about our wedding the wonderful time we had at CSA. If i can provide any helpful info, i'm happy to do that!
Chris and I are getting marred at Swept Away on May 7th 2012. We did have some questions about how the day will go and it seems like you planed a lot of the things we would like to incorporate ourselves.
We are having the sunset ceremony and would like to have someone pour the sparkling wine and maybe even have some apps.
What package did you go with?
What did the 2 hour cocktail party include? I thought the drinks were all inclusive?
I know the apps are an upgrade but what about the reservations for dinner at Patois?
How long was the steel drum band there?
Your post was extremely helpful to me, because my wedding plans sound almost exactly like yours!!! I have been struggling with picturing how the night will go, and I keep going back & forth. I am doing a sunset ceremony on a Saturday like you did, with the catamaran for our group on Friday. There will be 26 guests. Originally, I thought I would just to the cocktail hour (beach, poolside, or gardens), have dinner at Patois afterwards, and then move on to dancing at the Aura Lounge, rather than do the reception dinner with a DJ and all that jazz.
However, I found out that the Aura Lounge does the piano bar thing from 9pm-11pm, and I think there would be an awkward gap for us in between dinner and dancing if we wait until 11pm. In my opinion, the dancing is always the most fun part!! So now I am wondering whether I should suck it up and just do dinner on the beach with a DJ... but it is a lot of extra money.
Here are my questions for you (if you don't mind!)
-Did you like having dinner at Patois after the cocktail hour? Was everyone seated closely together, and was it the right kind of atmosphere?
-Did you have your first dance and father/daughter dance during the cocktail hour on the beach?
-Did you have to ask for the speaker and microphone for toasts, or did they bring that out automatically for you?
-Was the steel drum band worth the upgrade?
-Do you think it would have been nice/worth it to do the full reception on the beach with dinner, or are you happy that you went to Patois instead?
-Did it get really dark on the beach, and did they offer any kind of lighting?
Thanks so much in advance!! I hope my wedding turns out to be as gorgeous as yours was!! I lOVE your photos!