I would love to see pictures and hear more about Renaissance Island. What made you choose the Island rather then one of the high rise hotels? I am getting married there next summer and am trying to choose location. We have never been to Aruba and probably won't be able to visit before the wedding so it has been a hard choice. I have narrowed it down to Hyatt, Westin or Marriott Stellaris. Any comments would be appreciated! Thanks.
Hi Poodles. We fell in love with Renaissance Island a few years ago, so the choice to get married there was obvious for us. It is truly a paradise - if you have never seen it, you should google some pictures (and I know that there are some posted in the gallery here). What is amazing is that you rent the whole island for the night for your event. Having a very private event was important to us, one of the more important criteria on our list. We didn't want to get married on a public property or beach with random vacationers in the background of our photos, or possibly causing disruption. The idea of getting married on a private island in Aruba was like a fairytale for me, and our guests really loved it as well. It was fun for them to get boat shuttled out to the island for the event and back. It was absolutely breathtaking, unique, and unlike any other wedding I have ever seen or been too. I was able to have creative control of just about everything from the décor, colors, setup, flowers, cake, etc. I didn’t want to have the same wedding that anyone else had, and we sure didn’t.
We did look at other options the year before our wedding. I wanted to make sure the Renaissance Island was the best choice for us. We met with the coordinator at the Riu and had a bad experience with her. She was not warm or friendly, and she acted as if she didn't have time or interest in talking to us about the day that would be our most important event. She rushed through our brief meeting, and couldn't answer many questions. The Riu is not flexible at all with the vision of the bride/groom. They expect you to do what they tell you, and they approach the wedding without any creativity or unique character. She also said that both the wedding and the reception would have to take place on the property, that at minimum 85% of our guests were required to stay at the Riu, and that they had to stay a minimum of 3(?) nights. I definitely didn't want to require our guests into having to stay there, and we love the food in Aruba so much that we thought it would be unfortunate to make everyone stay at an all-inclusive resort.
I have seen and heard about many different places that people have been married in Aruba. I would never say that getting married at Renaissance Island is the best choice for everyone, but it was the best choice for us. You really can’t go wrong in Aruba – the scenery is unparallel and the weather is nearly always perfect. You should base your decision on what aspects of your wedding are important to you… make a list and put the items in order of priority. If cost is at the top of your list, remember that there will be a lot of costs that you may forget to factor in – try to make a list of all the expenses you will encounter and try to make a realistic budget. If having creative control is at the top of your list, make sure you ask the venues you speak with if they allow you to do that, and ask them to send you pictures from other events they have had so that you can see a variety of options. If location and/or privacy is at the top of your list, be sure that you won’t be married at a crowded busy resort that is always buzzing with vacationers. You need to make the best decision for you. Anything is possible. Best wishes to you, and all the other couples who plan to be married in Aruba! May you have the wedding of your dreams!
Congratulations alorberb! You will have a GREAT wedding! (please keep me posted - I'd love to hear about it!) We had a welcome party for our family members at El Gaucho the night before our wedding. It was perfect because they reserved a big private room for us, special menu, etc. I arranged it well in advance, even created customized menus for our party, used their docking station for my iPod with a special playlist, and picked out the floral centerpieces. They let us do whatever we wanted and the food was fantastic, as usual. Out of our 72 guests, 37 were family so we had a good crowd. After dinner everyone walked across the street to Garufa where we had extended the invitation to the rest of our guests to meet us out. A great time was had by all.
If you want more info about El Gaucho, I would be happy to email you with my contact person's info.
* oh - and another reason for El Gaucho was because it was walking distance from the Renaissance where most of our guests were staying...
Hi Flamingo! Great review...we are getting married there is May 2010 and are so excited. Who was your dj? Who did your makeup and hair?? Would you mind sending me some pics?? You had a lot of guests as well...did you charter a boat or use the ones they provide?? Thanks for all your feedback in advance!!