We just got back Saturday night from Aruba. We had our wedding at the Marriott Stellaris. I can't say enough good things about the entire process. It really was stress-free. I had gotten a ton of information off of this board and website- another board member Christene also had wonderful information that was so helpful. We worked with Corinne at the Marriott and she was terrific.
We had the wedding on the beach at sunset and our reception was poolside.
DJ Randolph was fantastic. I think I sat down 1 time-other than that I was dancing the whole time. He did a terrific job of mixing the music and playing good, upbeat music. The waitstaff and bartender we're great. We even had the bartender create our own shot we named The Omar after our waiter. The food was so great-all of our guests raved about how good it was. We had filet mignon and mahi-mahi. The week went by so fast-We still can't believe it's over. Aruba was beautiful and we had such a good time.
Some of the highlights:
We had arranged for Bully to pick us up at the airport and we we're coming in with 20 guests-our flight was delayed in Chicago for almost 3 hours and he and the other drivers waited for us. I can't say enough about how much we appreciated that. They we're fantastic. We stopped at the grocery store on the way (Ling and Sons) and got some stuff for the hotel room.
We booked the Jolly Pirates sailing on Sunday for a welcome excursion for our guests from 3-6 and everyone had so much fun. This was such a great time. The entire staff was wonderful. We really created some great memories and everyone was talking about it the rest of the week.
We also did the Green Zebra Tomcars-What a blast!! Our tour guide was so great and friendly and the tomcars we're so much fun to drive. It was really interesting to get to see a different part of the Island. We really enjoyed this tour. Even my 78 year old Grandma had a good time.
Some of the not so good.....
I used Knipoog for our hair and makeup. Our wedding was on Tues. the 13th. On Monday we went to the salon to do a trial hair and makeup. The hair turned out good for the trial. The make up not so much but I have really sensitive skin so for the actual wedding I had her use my own makeup. They(1 make up artist and 1 stylist) came to our hotel on Tues. to do mine and my Mother's and bridesmaid's hair. My younger sister was the first to get her hair done and it was not a good style. She was in tears but the hairstylist redid it. My hair ended up taking 2 1/2 hours to do. It was nothing like the hairstyle I had brought a picture of or like the hairstyle she had created the day before. At one point I had to get up and walk away so I wouldn't start crying. In the end my hair turned out good but it was very frustrating to get there. It was actually my bridesmaids directing the stylist on what to do in order to get the right look. I also ended up redoing my make up. She used a lot of shiny makeup which made me look shiny and greasy.
We had our rehearsal dinner at Moomba's on Monday night. I had emailed Moomba's back in August of '09 to arrange the dinner. I had requested the beach tables. They orginally we're going to set us up on the picnic table's in the 'garden' area. I had said we did not want to sit at picnic tables and we didn't want to be in the garden area. Erika the manager had agreed we would be allowed to use the beach tables from 5-7 and if we wanted to continue after that point we would move off the beach tables. That was acceptable to us. We pre-ordered our menu and paid in advance. When we arrived on Monday with all of our 28 guests they had no tables set up and we're trying to seat us in the 'garden area'. When I said that I had been dealing with Erika and since we had booked so far in advance she had agreed to let us use the beachfront tables. They continued arguing with us for 15 minutes and finally agreed when I said I can show them the email saying we would be allowed to use the beach tables. We wanted a nice beachfront dinner and there are plenty of restaurants to choose from and if this was such a problem we would have chose another location but this is something they agreed too so it was very frustrating. There we're no apologies whatsoever. The funny part was that they said this is normally a very busy night for them- I think we saw maybe 5 other tables being used the entire night if that ? I just feel it was really unacceptable that we had booked so far in advance and that this was all set up so far in advance and then to have to deal with that and have no apologies.
Honestly I can say that in the big picture those we're 2 very minor things to have to deal with and really did not put a damper on anything. We had a amazing time-Our wedding went so smooth and was so much fun we couldn't have asked for more. We met some really great people and almost everyone we talked to and met we're friendly that from start to finish it was amazing.
If you have any questions feel free to message me. Hope some of this information helps-I know I got so many answers and so much information from here that really helped make it a great week.
I know I emailed you my Congratulations last week, but just want to say it again - Congratulations! I'm sorry to hear you also had a bad hair and make-up experience but am glad most everything else went so well. For us most things were over the top amazing though there were a couple that were really not. But I'll take that over everything just being 'ok' or 'good enough' as I expected with a wedding here at home. =) I'm glad you liked Bully, Randolph, the Marriott staff and your excursion! I'm not familiar with the Green Zebra Tomcars but we just might have to check them out when we go back. It sounds like you and your husband have gotten your married life off to a great start! All the best to you both!
Thank you for sharing your experiences. We are doing our wedding at the Marriott in November and have many similar elements so it really helps to know how you felt about things. We are also planning to take our guests on the Jolly Pirates, so I am glad to here you all enjoyed it. That is disappointing about the hair and makeup. I am glad it turned out OK but how frustrating to have to go through all of that to get there. I had previously only heard positive things about them so I am surprised, and maybe a bit worried since that is who I intend to have do my hair, but hopefully it was an unfortunate blip on their radar.
I am so glad to hear you had a great time, and congratulations again!
Congrats! I too am getting married at the Marriott (in September), so it was really great to hear that your wedding went so well! I am especially happy to hear that you liked the DJ - that is really important to me! My wedding planner gave me Mark Benson as a contact person, but I read another review online that indicated Mark Benson and DJ Randolph work together - so I hope I get DJ Randolph too! One question I have is who you (or anyone else reading this thread) used as an officiant? Our wedding coordinator originally recommended Reverend Bob Gibson, but he is unavailable the day of our wedding. Her second recommendation is Reverend Gregory Lyder. Anyone know anything about him? It is hard to find much on the internet . . . We really want a personable/fun officiant and do not want our ceremony to be very religious.
Alto Vista, The Natural Pool, The North Coast, Palm Beach
Congratulations on your wedding! I am getting Married in July, at the Marriott at well. I was just on here looking for someone to do my hair. Can you give the contact information for who you used? I will be doing my own makeup, I have decided, even prior to reading your post (sorry:-))..
Thank You everyone for the congrats =) We had such a great time and so did our guests.
We really liked working with Corinne at the Marriott-She is very sweet and very helpful and she really took the stress out of the whole wedding planning process. We brought some of our own things (we brought our own centerpieces/cake cutter & server/candy gifts for the tables and also our own name cards and they set it up beautifully)
We used Rev. Gibson and he was a lot of fun and very personable. We really enjoyed him and the ceremony he used was beautiful and it was really perfect. I believe Mark Benson and DJ Randolph do work together so if they are booking Mark Benson for you I think you should be good to go. He really was probably one of the best DJ's I've heard-He mixed the music so well and he really listened to us when we said we wanted upbeat songs to get people dancing and having fun. We ended up using Knipoog for the hair/makeup because they we're actually one of the only places I could find that had a website. I think somehow in my mind the fact they had pictures and a nice website made them more reputable in my mind. I had read some of the reviews about the Mandara and knew I didn't want to go with them and the fact that the stylists we're willing to come to the resort the day of the wedding made me choose them. In all honesty I would not choose them in the future. I can say that my hair was probably one of the things I was the most nervous about. These are pictures that you are going to have forever and you absolutely want to look your best and the fact that you really can't pre-plan or do anything about that until you arrive is slightly nerve racking. I also had a hard time finding any information about make up artists at all. I googled until I couldn't google anymore and did not really turn about any results. Possibly some of the independent wedding planners would have stylists or make up artists they use that they could recommend-I guess I didn't even mention any of this to our wedding coordinator at the Marriott because I just figured they would recommend the Mandara anyways and I had read some good reviews and looked at Knipoog's website but that could always be worth a shot as well.
@ slw196: I'm also an Aruba bride to be! We're getting married at the Westin nect month and did our site visit in Aug. We met our DJs (Mark & Randolph) and our officiant Greg Lighter/Lyder! They we're all awesome and we can't wait for the big day! I rememeber when Christine (another forum member) asked about DJs and I recommended Mark & Randolph, her and her fiance used them and LOVED them! We emailed the DJs recently our playlist and they were very quick to respond to emails! Our meeting with Rev Greg Lyder was great too, he's an actual pastor from what I remember. Very personable, kind man! I don't think you'll be disappointed! I'll let you know how things go next month! Happy planning ladies!