I loved the Divi. It was perfect for what we wanted, laid back, beach atmosphere. I know many people say that you shouldn't stay at an all inclusive because of the great restaurants in Aruba, but for us we didn't want to have to travel around. We liked the convenience of having everything right there. Just make sure to make reservations at the a la carte restaurants the day you arrive.
I would get in touch with Aruba Weddings for You. Marjorie is who we worked with and they work with weddings of all sizes. I know when we were there the next day she had a wedding with just two people. They will be able to put together a package for you with just the things that you want (photographer, flowers, etc) and leave out what you don't want. Yes, with the honeymoon package you do get a free dinner at the Sunset Beach Bistro so that will be a nice option for the two of you. For photographers, I would totally suggest Angela Munzenhofer. She was fantastic and our photos are amazing! If you google Bella Aruba photography you can see more of the weddings that she has photographed both large and small.
Good luck with your planning and don't hesitate to ask questions. I'm happy to help. The other brides on this forum helped me out so much, pay it forward!
Thank you so much for taking the time to post all these details. I'm definitely thinking of Sunset Beach Bistro as well for my wedding in September 2012. Did you have a wedding rehearsal dinner?
Where did you go for your honeymoon?
Again, thanks so much, this is extremely helpful!
Originally Posted by soxgirl
So we're back from an amazing wedding and I want to first thank all the other brides out there for their advice, this forum was such a huge help in making our wedding dream come to life.
I also have to apologize for this being so long.
Now where to even begin...
We had decided on Aruba for our destination after doing research on many different islands. We wanted a safe island, an all inclusive resort, and something that would not be too hard to get to from Boston. Plus for me I wanted an island that I had been to before to leave out some of the anxiety of going to a new place.
We decided on the Divi All Inclusive as they gave me great rates for our guests, my family had been there before (but not me), many friends of mine had honeymooned there, and we wanted an all inclusive beach resort. I had heard mixed reviews, but overall I knew it was a place that would suit our needs.
Now many people do not like the Divi as itís not a 5 star resort. For us and our friends it was perfect! Being right on the beach and not having to worry about paying for drinks or food made our laid back week even more relaxing. The location was ideal and it was quiet. We did travel during the off season which helped as well. Between the Divi and the Tam they had everything that we would need.
We had 19 guests who all stayed at either the Divi or the Tam. We let them decide when they wanted to arrive and where they wanted to stay but got great rates for both places. The hotel staff was amazing, extremely friendly and accommodating. The rooms were always clean and always had extra towels. The one downside is that the Divi does not provide shampoo that will work for everyone, but nothing a trip across the street to the supermarket couldnít fix. There was always plenty of food options both at the buffet and at the a la cart restaurants. I can say that we never had a bad meal. They were able to accommodate 21 people for dinner on the nights that we did not have dinner off the resort which worked out great. The Red Parrot we ended up all eating at twice as the meal was so fantastic! Most of our rooms were in the Vista Buildings which were a perfect location.
We arrived on Monday, May 3rd and most of our guest arrived the following day. We had traveled with most of the items for our welcome bags (beach bags, custom water bottles, Tums, Tylenol, first aid kits, anti bac gel, cards, sudoku books, etc). Once on the island we purchased postcards with stamps for our guests to mail back to us before they left (which they all did and it was so fun to come home to, I definitely recommend this to other brides to do). We also had to buy gifts for our attendants. We did both welcome bags and departure bags. For the departure bags we did small plastic bags with a pack of gum and a few different types of candy with a small note thanking everyone for coming. It was a nice touch to send people off with.
As for the days leading up to the wedding we did the Kukoo Kunuku for our welcome celebration and had an amazing time! It was a great way to see the island and to get everyone in the celebrating mode. Some of our guests golfed at Divi Links, some went parasailing, but pretty much most just sat on the beach. We did book reservations ahead of time for the nights that we ate on the resort and all of our guests did eat with us which was nice.
Our wedding was on a Friday and most of our guests stayed until Sunday which was nice. Saturday we took a bunch of cabs to Baby Beach to snorkel which was great! We took bagels from breakfast to feed the fish.
For both airport pick ups and transportation back to the hotel we had arranged for Bully for most of the trips. He was always on time and the one time he was a few minutes late was because he had a flat tire. Our guests arrived and left all over the week and he was always there when he needed to be there.
As for the wedding itself:
We used Aruba Weddings for You for our wedding. Marjorie and the rest of the team at there are the most amazing people! From my first initial email to them in August 2009 until the day of my wedding they were always quick to respond. Being from Boston, I was definitely a bride that wanted things taken care of right away and Marjorie would always respond to me within 24 hours. They had great packages to choose from and even let me change and edit details up until the very end. I thought it was doing to be difficult to plan a wedding via email, but it turned out great due to Marjorie. She never let any detail slip and would remind me of things that I needed to answer for her.
They coordinated a wonderful civil ceremony and a beautiful beach wedding. Both elegant and memorable. The civil ceremony we only took two friends with us. These were what we called our legal witnesses. Two friends that were not in the wedding party that if we had a bigger wedding at home they would have been included (we only had our family as our wedding party). Marjorie arranged for transportation to the civil ceremony and met us both at the hotel beforehand and at the ceremony. I had been concerned about the civil ceremony but in the end Iím so happy that we decided to have it in Aruba. It was such a nice short ceremony but really was a special moment. We decided not to invite all our friends and family as we wanted the beach ceremony to be the main wedding.
As for the beach ceremony, again Marjorie and Aruba Weddings for You did an amazing job. The set up was perfect with the white arch, the white covered chairs, and the sand aisles. I was able to pick blue sashes that matched our colors almost perfectly. The ceremony was so nice officiated by Gregory Lyder. He helped to calm my nerves and even made us laugh which matched our personalities perfectly. He performed a great and meaningful ceremony. I was able to add in a few personal touches which meant a lot to us.
The bouquets and boutonnieres were an exact match to the photos that I had provided and the cake was a perfect match as well. Iím not sure who they used for the florist and bakery but it didnít matter to me as they were great. We also had a steelpan play during the ceremony which was a nice touch.
Our photographer was Angela Munzenhofer and I thought she was the best! She was there for both the civil ceremony and the beach ceremony and did an amazing job capturing all the moments. Our pictures are amazing! My guests commented on how great it was that she was able to catch so many moments while the sun was setting. If anyone is looking for a fun photographer who takes amazing photos definitely book Angela! She was there for both the civil ceremony and the beach ceremony. All of our guests were included in the photos which they loved. We had champagne on the beach while everyone waited to be in the photos they needed to be in. It was great to include everyone.
We had our reception at the Sunset Beach Bistro which was the perfect location for what we wanted. White linens right on the beach. We pretty much had the entire restaurant to ourselves. We used an ipod for music which was perfect and had a microphone for speeches (which Marjorie originally forgot and went back to the hotel to get which was so nice of her to do). For such a small group it was all we really needed. Marjorie had arranged for transportation for our guests which was great as well. The food was great. The one issue we did have is that one of our tables was never served their salad course. It didnít really bother them and eventually they did get all their courses, but it did take a little bit of time.
In addition to all the wedding logistics, Marjorie also booked all the appointments for manicures, pedicures, make up and hair at the salon at the Tam. They were great there! All our hairstyles looked different and amazing and they made sure that they would last the entire day. Yolanda did most of our hairstyles and she even went home between the civil ceremony and the beach ceremony so that she could add flowers to my hair. It was a great touch! I painted my toe nails blue which they loved and I did as well.
Overall I really have nothing bad to say. It was the wedding that we had dreamed of. For all of you planning your weddings now good luck and please let me know if I can answer any questions for you, I'm happy to help!
great review, thanks! im also from the boston area and we are getting married in may and we cant wait! your wedding must have been beautiful! do you recommend any fun clubs / bars? we are trying to figure out where to go after the wedding since it ends at 11. congrats again!
Fiancee and I are having a very similar wedding to yours at the Sunset Beach Bistro on May 20th.
One detail we're still not sure about is whether we should go with the Hosted Bar option ($17.50pp for the first hour + $8.50pp for each additional hour) or the Host Bar on Consumption option (about $4 per drink).
We'll have about 25 adults at our wedding for approx 3-4 hours. (Some big drinkers, and some that don't drink at all). One of the hours will be taken up by the wedding ceremony itself.
Do you remember which option you went with and do you have any advice on which one to go with?
Hi! I am getting married this October at the Divi All Inclusive, using Aruba Weddings For You and loved reading your post! I am so glad you took the time to share all the details and photos. Your wedding was absolutely gorgeous and makes me so excited for mine!