Before my husband, Dave and I got married in November, I was on the message boards here all the time!! I found that not many people seemed to have large groups travel with them, so I had no idea what to expect once we got to Couples. I wanted to write this, so that other brides, like me wouldn't be a nervous wreck. haha!
(We were married at Couples Negril, 4:00 ceremony, had 25 family and friends travel with us, and stayed for one week.)
Before actually traveling, I spoke and emailed with Margaret. I guess you could call her an off-site coordinator? She was there to help with questions and set up before traveling. She was then to forward the information exchanged between us to the onsite coordinator, Kenesha. Let me first mention that Margaret was the THIRD off site coordinator that had been assigned. I have no idea what happened to the first two, but no one could access the information that already been exchanged and had to start over with my reservations, plans, etc. three times!!! EXTREMELY frustrating when you are long distance from where you are getting married!! At the time when we sat down in Jamaica to discuss the wedding, I sort of felt like all the conversations and stress at home was pointless and a waste of time because we went through each and every point with Kenesha. It was as if she had no prior knowledge of any of the conversations that were had between me and Margaret. I will tell you, that if you are unsure of anything at home, make a list of questions and requests, and just bring it up to your onsite coordinator. They seem to be very good at making things happen. You may end up paying more for it, but if you want it, they will do whatever they can to give it to you.
I promise there aren't many bad things to write about here, so don't get worried. I kind of jump around a bit, and itís quite a long write up, but here it goes!
Ok, Iíll start from the beginning of when our trip startedÖ
We arrived on Sunday. Check in was fast and easy. We were greeted with champagne and cold towels We were in building 6 on the first floor. Our room was right NEXT to the beach wedding location... which is right next to the nude beach... which I knew ahead of time from reading the message boards. Not a huge deal. The rooms that we were in (and a few our family were in) were a bit out of date and dirty. The room we were in was considered the Deluxe Beachfront. We saw as much beach and ocean as the cheapest Garden View rooms. And to be honest, I thought the Garden View rooms view was really nice!! I wouldn't spend the extra money on the room next time. There is nothing fancy to the rooms, so be aware. We are 27 and haven't traveled too much yet, but the other hotels we have stayed in came with more toiletries and fun things in the rooms, were better kept, and more updated. The bathrooms didn't even have American outlets... the lamps and the TV had American outlets... but not the bathroom. Haha! A quick call to the front desk and they brought an adapter for us. After the first couple of days, we really didn't even care anymore. And it turned out to be super convenient for the wedding... I just walked right out of our room and down the aisle!
When we checked in, we were given a letter stating the meeting time we would meet with Kenesha, the wedding coordinator. We met with her Monday morning. We discussed what we were wanting for our wedding, cocktail reception and dinner reception. We ended up creating a seating chart that we asked be displayed on a table at the entrance of the beach dining area. We brought wish lanterns, table numbers and some table dťcor (crystals and confetti I made). We brought all of this to our meeting with Kenesha.
Tuesday we had a rehearsal. This is an additional cost ($75 I think), but with so many people being involved in the wedding, it was worth it! We went over all the songs, she brought the speakers so everyone knew what to listen for and so that she knew exactly what we wanted played and when. We knew ahead of time to make playlists on our iPod. They can provide the docking station with speakers. We made separate playlists for everything. First playlist was for the guests being seated/bridal party and groom walking/me walking/exit song. Next we had a playlist of first dance songs. Our first dance, daddy daughter, and mother and son. Lastly we made two playlists for our dinner reception. This included one of dinner music and then one for dancing music.
We had arranged ahead of time to have a rehearsal/welcome dinner for all of our guests. The Cassava Terrace made us a reservation so we could all be seated together without any issue (this restaurant doesnít take reservations, but for this occasion they helped us out).
Wedding day was Wednesday!! I wanted to be traditional to a point, so Dave stayed in his momís room Tuesday night. My girls and I slept in a bit then met up for breakfast. Got freshened up and then headed to the salon. Side note: on Tuesday, before the wedding rehearsal, I had a trial run for my hair. I have a short bob cut, so I canít do TOO many fancy things with my hair, but I wanted someone else to do it for me. I knew they would have the proper products to make it last, and I didnít want to stress over it. Of course the trial cost moneyÖ but I felt like all she did was put a few curls in and tease the crap of it. She kept telling me at the trial, they donít do the whole Ďdo for you but just create the shape and talk about what you are wanting. I was terrified when I left the trial. I looked like a bride from the 80s!! But I put my faith in her on the wedding day and it turn out amazing! My curls lasted all night!!! (Vanesia did my hair and I did my own makeup) I want to say my hair appointment was at 2:00 and I think I was out of her chair by 2:20!
We hired Diana Campbell for our photographer. She and her son Richard met us at my room after we got back from our hair appointments. They took pictures of us getting dressed and when my parents saw me for the first time all done up, they got some great shots of them. Overall they did a great job with the pictures and video! I am still working some things out with her, so I can give a full review once that is complete.
We had a justice of the peace perform our wedding. No religion references were mention. Just a personal request we had. Was a little worried it was going to be too short, but that man was so cute!! He may say the same things at each wedding he does, but he made it seem so personal. He did a great job! Our whole ceremony lasted maybe 20 minutes? With our sunset package, it included a resort photographer for a short time and 13 pictures. So that photographer took a couple nice shots of just me and Dave right after the ceremony. Then he left and Diana and Richard stepped back in.
We all then went to the garden area for the cocktail reception. We had the standard option which was all cold appetizers and open bar. There were a few tall tables to stand around and some lighting. The steel drum band was awesome and even let Dave and I play for a bit!!
After that hour, we all walked down to the beach. Everyone took their seats and we were greeted by a new coordinator. I feel horrible that I donít remember his name because he was so great too. Kenesha had to leave to take a final for her schooling. No biggie, we were in great hands. Since we didnít hire a DJ, I was kind of sad that we wouldnít have the big announcement and ďrevingĒ up the crowd that one could provide, but this coordinator did it all for us!! Our wedding party lined up and he announced us, we walked under the bride our wedding party held up and he started our first dance song! We decided on a Jamaican buffet (SO GOOD), three tier cake with white fondant and tropical flowers cascading down (WAY TOO BIG. Didn't know we were getting a dessert table too... didn't eat any of it. Sad face). The standard centerpieces were beautiful!! I had no idea they were going to be there. They had a giant shell with a mirror underneath and I think a candle. Oh boy, Iím forgetting already. Well whatever was on the table, I didnít pay any extra for and it looked awesome! One extra splurge we requested was to have a bonfire. It was really nice, and very happy we did it.
After dinner we lit off the wish lanterns, which was so cool to see since we had so many people! Then we danced for what seemed like such a short time before the night was over!! There is a noise ordinance of 10:00 so everything has to be shut down by then. We even tried begging for a couple more songs but that was no go. Haha.
Overall, our wedding day was perfect. We even had a little of a rain delay. When I explain our wedding to other friends and family who couldnít make it, everyone says it sounds like it came straight out of a movie!! I wish I could re-live it again. The staff and everyone involved in the process of our special day really did a fabulous job!
I hope this helps anyone who needed to see this! Please feel free to ask about anything I may have left out!!
So this is a very blurry shot taken by a guest, but its the only one I could find that somewhat shows how the reception was set up in one picutre. On the left was a salad table with little chalkboards next to everything clearly stating what the dishes/options were. Straight ahead you can see the paper lantern lighting they had throughout the whole area. There was plenty of light to still have a romantic feel, but to still be able to see what you are eating. To the right was the bar. There was never a wait and all the staff were quick to help with anything you asked for. What is not pictured was the buffet. Slightly to the left of the salad table were a long row of tables that held all the main dishes. Again, with chalkboards explaining what each item was.
Thank you for sharing!!!!! You made me feel at ease! I'm having a 4:00 wedding also at CN in May! I'm working with Margaret and she has been awesome, (I had just started working with Sophia and she upped and left, but I was only two weeks in, so I was not affected.)