Summary: Wedding Coordinator: Raphael “Juney” Jones and his assistant Mayline Wedding Date: Friday July 23, 2010 Ceremony and Reception: Renaissance Private Island Guests: Bride & Groom + 62!
Choosing Aruba We wanted a location that we both have never been to and with direct flights from the East coast. The summer time would work best for us and we were a little afraid of dealing with hurricanes. We heard such wonderful things about the island, people, food, sites and knew it was perfect for us and our guests.
Wedding Venue /Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino I knew I definitely wanted a beach wedding. All of the beaches in Aruba are public and didn’t want to risk onlookers in speedos watching us so we found the only private beach, Renaissance Island. The venue was actually was very reasonably priced and we would stay within our budget. We had no idea how many people would actually show up...whether it was 10 people or 50 people-we knew it was a once in a lifetime chance to rent out a private island for our special day. I spoke to many past Ren. brides and they all had nothing but good things to say about their wedding experience. It amazed me that all when I looked at pictures of many weddings, they all looked different. The Renaissance gives you freedom to make your day a unique experience. You could be as elaborate or simple as you wish.
The Renaissance Resort/Hotel Stay I heard mixed reviews from several people and hoped our guests would like the hotel. The hotel is located in downtown Oranjestad. It is has two sides, Marina (adults only) and Ocean Suites (for families). The resort has a mall with luxury shops, restaurants, casinos, pools, private beach. Cabs and public transportation is very accessible and some guests took the bus from our hotel to the Hi -Rise section and toured the island (very cost effective). Our guests were split between the two hotels, hubby and I stayed in the Suites side. The rooms were nice, our suite spacious enough. Not the same as a Marriot hotel in NYC area but it was nice and I would stay there again. I would give it 4 out of 5 stars. When we checked in we were offered fresh fruit punch and cold towels.
Wedding Planner Experience About an hour after we arrived we met with our wedding planner Juney. For months, my hubby kept asking me to find out if we can have a food tasting. I reluctantly asked the planner and he said yes (it has to be at least 3 days before wedding), so that’s what we did the first day. We decided early on that we didn’t want to deal with meal selections and wanted a more laid back atmosphere so we went with a buffet which had so much food. Our buffet option was plentiful and had a wide selection of food for everyone. It included salads, fish, chicken, pork, rice, vegetables, potatoes and dessert buffet!
At the tasting hubby and I cleaned our plates (the food was beyond delicious..) and planner said it would be even better the wedding night!(- he was right). This made me feel so at ease and we breezed thru the logistics, I asked my laundry list of questions and finalized everything. I do suggest that you bring all communication you have had with your planner especially in reference to any payments you have made. Apparently the accounting office couldn’t find documents for our deposit--- luckily I had my blackberry and checked a past credit card statement and they were able to track the payment. A DW is definitely not a traditional one…I planned the entire wedding thru email… never spoke to Juney until we met the week of wedding. I emailed him every month or two with my list of questions and he was good to respond at least with in a few days. About two weeks before I summarized everything I wanted for our day and sent him and email. Juney Jones is so good at what he does and is very calm and cool. He was always professional and has an “I can make it happen” attitude that put me and hubby at ease after out first encounter.
Airport Transportation We decided on private transportation and found BULLY who was recommended from aruba.com. He was very nice man who brought us from airport to Renaissance and Renaissance to Divi resort. I made reservations thru email and he was waiting for us at airport with a sign.
Photographer: Victor Winklaar I was on a quest for a photographer and actually spoke with a few in the US with thoughts of bringing someone with us to Aruba. I found a great man, Victor Winklaar and loved his work. From first email I knew I chose the right person. He was always professional, answered my many questions. We met the day after we arrived to go over all details of the day. He has a unique photojournalistic style, with not many posed shots (I did make a request to have small group shots of guests). As I looked over the proofs it is like I was watching a movie without the audio- he captured so many emotions of the day. Can’t wait to see the finished product!
Hair Makeup:Jennifer Veeris-Croes (Jennive) My hair/ makeup artist was recommended by Christine( forum member) who used her for her own bridal party. I wanted to find someone who I could be in contact with prior to getting to Aruba and see some current work. I emailed Jennive and saw some of her work. She was very responsive and seemed very energetic.
I had a hair trial the day before the wedding. My bridal party passed by and was able to ask questions as she worked with me. The trial allowed me to work through kinks like colors for makeup and figuring out exactly how I wanted my hair to look. She made a few changes and I was set to go out that evening for our welcome dinner looking all done up (different than wedding look).
The morning of I washed my own hair in the shower and she blew it out and styled it. Her assistant, Allen did my mother and sister’s hair. Jennive did all of our makeup (myself, my mother, sister, and mother in law). Jennive was so great to work with, she’s very personable and I felt so comfortable, like I knew her for many years. I love what she did with my hair and makeup… everything looked so natural. My hair stood thru the WINDY evening and the makeup blended really well.
One thing that I can now laugh about was that halfway during the ceremony, one of my eyelashes started to come off. I couldn’t even pay attention to the Reverend because I was praying that it wouldn’t just pop off! When Hubby lifted off my veil I whispered for him to fix it and he tried to best that he could. I should have bought better lash glue (it was cheap) or at least put the glue in my emergency kit. I had a friend who is a makeup artist fix it for me and it was fine for the rest of the night.
Cilo Lounge on Renaissance Resort-Welcome Mixer I knew no matter how many guests came to Aruba, I wanted to have at least one other event besides the wedding. I corresponded with several restaurants in the area of the Renaissance Resort and decided to try Cilo Lounge. I was in contact with the manager, Kim who was always very professional and accomodating. She provided me with a menu of my options and I gave her my budget. Our numbers kept growing and we knew it wasn’t feasible to have a dinner for all so we decided to serve cocktails and lite snacks- skewers of chicken, beef, shrimp. I knew some people drank more than others so everyone was given two tickets and they could either have rum punch or fruit punch. After that they could create their own tab at the bar. It worked out well.
The Lounge is not a big place but we were able to reserve a part of the outside and it was spacious enough for everyone to lounge around. Kim had it decorated with white table cloths balloons a few other little decorative things. I brought turquoise and lime paper napkins to guests to use (our colors).
It was great to see all of our guests the day before the big day… most of them had just arrived. The Lounge has live music most evenings, that night there were guitar players and hubby and I danced as everyone watched. At the end guests were given their oot bags and most went off to continue the partying.
Officiant:Reverend Sydney Jacobs I never actually spoke to him but he was recommended by a past Aruba bride. We wanted someone who would infuse religious aspects into the ceremony. I felt very at ease with him and we were glad we chose him to marry us.
Steel Pan Player: Charles Brouwer Since my guests had to wait some time, they were entertained by the steel pan player. I only heard him play when I walked down the aisle and at the end of the ceremony. Hubby said he did a great job and played some modern songs. After watching our wedding dvd, I can hear how talented Charles is. I wish I were a guest at my own wedding so I could have heard more.
DJ Tino/ Cyclone Promotions We’re from the NYC area and love music and dancing. I created a cd of our main songs and also gave him a 5 page list of songs so he would know what we liked. Of course he only played some songs but he mixed in his own songs, ones we would have put on the list. Dj Tino did a great job--- keeping the crowd moving and everyone was having such a good time. I wanted to mingle with guests but I did not want to leave the dance floor. I wish the reception was at least one hour longer so we could have danced some more!
Videographer: George Jacobs I heard good things about George from past brides and we hired him thru our wedding planner. I had no idea it was he who had filmed our wedding until afterwards. George was great to work with and wasn’t intrusive. I didn’t even remember that he was there for most of the evening. Our ceremony and reception flew by so quickly and it was a wonderful decision to have a videographer to capture the day’s events. George did a nice job with the dvd and I would recommend his services to other brides.
Wedding Favors: Palmera Rum Factory, Ethan Wong We decided from the beginning that we wanted to have Aruban rum as a wedding favor. We ordered mini bottles (50ml) of dark and light rum and they were personalized with our names and wedding date. Personalization and delivery to our hotel was FREE of charge.
In addition to the rum I spoke to our wedding planner and asked if he could find us someone to make cocada (Aruban coconut candy). The rum and cocada was a perfect treat (and yummy) for our guests.
Flowers Not sure who our flower vendor was (our planner took care of this) but they did a wonderful job. We had a wooden arch with two small arrangements, three bouquets, bouts, and corsages. We decided not to have floral centerpieces and I’m glad we didn’t. I felt like the reception went by so fast and guests were all over the place. They only sat down to eat… no one noticed it anyway. It’s a great way to save $$$.... we got the steel pan player for the ceremony with the centerpiece money….One of the best decisions we made!
What I would have done differently Relaxed and not stress so much! Provided sweet boxes for guests to take cake/dessert back to room
Would do again! DW in Aruba Welcome mixer Kept it simple No floral centerpieces Small bridal party—only moh and bm Created a budget from the beginning and kept going back to it Research, research, research Changed resorts—to AI for "honeymoon" Edible favors---rum and candy Wear blusher & veil- made look dramatic in pics Create Shutterfly photoshare site for guests to share their pics.
hire a videographer
Thanks so much for all of you who helped to make my wedding so special. I've learned so much about the island and thanks for sharing---now it's my turn to give back.
Future brides please feel free to ask any questions or send me a PM.
I don't have the pro pictures yet and won't get them for some time but I will add a few non-pro ones.
Last edited by Sheree10; 08-19-2010 at 06:25 PM.
Reason: additional info
Congratulations Sheree! Sounds like it was wonderful. You look gorgeous and I LOVE your dress - wow! And I LOVE the mini personalized bottles of rum for favors. I wish I would have thought of that. Thanks for posting!
Thank you all! Aruba was the PERFECT location for our wedding. Hubby and I had never been there( also about 98% of our guests) and we loved the island and the people. No matter where we went everyone was so nice and friendly to us( and HAPPY- hence the name... One Happy Island). A few of our guests fell in love with the island and talked about returning very soon.
All the vendors were great to work with---- I felt like they were all long time friends when I spoke to them. lol
Christine- Thanks! Any ideas of what to do with the dress? lol I'm thinking about donating it. I won't wear it again