My husband and I were married on July 31st at the Westin. Patrick, the wedding coordinator, had arranged a car service to pick us up from the airport. Patrick was there to great us when we arrived and we did a tour of the hotel and he showed us where our Welcome Reception, the beach ceremony and wedding reception would be held (Sirocco Lounge). The hotel is clean and the staff and housekeeping are very nice! Housekeeping treated us nice with little towel dolls and swans when we arrived and on the day of the wedding. Our suite was amazing and the ocean view was wonderful. Patrick had also put our parents into suites, which they very much appreciated. A friend who had made the long trip and was 7 months pregnant was also upgraded to an ocean view room, which was also very nice of the Westin and Patrick.
Patrick and Inge were great to work with. I think they do really want the bride and groom to have everything they want and try to make that happen. I did find that sometimes coomunication was a little hard when it came time to actually plan the wedding and I got a little discouraged. I am not sure if it was that I didn't ask the right questions or that there aren't many options, but I felt like there weren't very many choices for decorations or that it wasn't going to come out how I wanted or was too expensive. So, I decided to bring my own decorations for the wedding reception (placemats, palcecards, menu cards, napkin rings, sashes, table runners, seashells, shells for the centerpieces, etc.). Patrick mentioned that this was unusual, but I just wasn't really able to get my vision across and didn't feel like it would come together the way I wanted unless I tried to do it myself. The only real thing I left to the Westin to handle were food, vendors and flowers.
Welcome Reception - night before wedding
We had a welcome reception at The Terrace by the beach at the Westin. I did no planning at all with them about decorations etc. The Westin decorated the tables nicely with white tableclothes and the chairs with silver sashes and white lanterns on the tables .... it was perfect...simple and elegant. The servers and staff were very friendly. We chose the Carribean BBQ option for a meal and the food was good. They even accomodated our vegeterian guests and added a pasta dish. The best part was our bartendar, Edgar. He was so fun and made sure our drinks were always full. He remembers all the guests drinks and was right there with a full drink when he notices you were almost done with the one in your hand. He also made these great shots (we enjoyed lots of them! called "Edgar shots"). He was a lot of fun and we were glad that he was also there to tend the bar at the wedding. The welcome reception was overall very nice and went very well.
Day of Wedding - Intermezzo Spa
I got a massage at the Spa the day before the wedding and it was very relaxing. The spa could use a little updating inside, but it is was pretty nice inside. The staff was also very nice. The day of the, I along with 3 of my bridesmaids had hair appointments. I had done a trial hair appointment a few days before with Saldy and he had done a good job with my hair. It was a little rushed, but I could tell he knew what I wanted and I trusted him. On the day of the wedding, we actually changed the hairstyle a little and he made it even better! Unfortunately, the woman who worked with him didn't do as good of a job. My sister was really unhappy with her hair and there were some communication issues. My second bridesmaid also wasn't happy with her hair, so I went to Saldy and asked him if he could help them out and maybe "fix" their hair. He did! He worked his magic and both the girls were so happy and they looked wonderful. In the end, we were all so pleased with our hair and Saldy did a GREAT job! If you go to Intermezzo ask for him. He said he has been doing hair for 20 years and it showed.
Day of Wedding
The day of the wedding, I was still a little concerned that eventhough we brought all the decorations that things would not be put out the way I wanted. I asked my mom to check on things. I am so glad she did because apparently things were not arranged the way we wanted and she had to explain things to some of the staff to get it staightened out. I was a little annoyed when I heard this because the day before when we dropped the stuff off I asked Patrick if he wanted us to set up a sample table so he knew what I wanted it to loo like and he said "No" and that he understood what I wanted based on my descriptions. The thing with this is it is sometimes hard to understand without seeing and I think that was just a little communication difficulty. It ended up looking BEAUTIFUL and just as we wanted, so despite the little hiccup, it ended up fine.
Flowers - Disapponted!!!
Because I couldn't bring my own flowers to the wedding, I was very worried about how the flowers would end up. In the communications I had with Patrick about flowers I never felt confident abour colors or available options, so I decided to go with all Ivory/White flowers so that nothing could go wrong. I wanted Dahlias, Roses, Hydrangeas, and Oriental Lilies. We were having flowers on the side of the carpet aisle during the ceremony and then on the centerpieces on the tables at the reception and then of course the bouquets. When my mom sent downstairs, the flowers she saw at the reception were not Ivory or the types of flowers I wanted. They had a lot of green filler in them and were colored. Some of the flowers were even not yet in bloom and just little bulbs. When Patrick brought me the bouquets I was equally upset. I didn't want to breakdown in front of him, especially when he said "they were some of the prettiest he had seen made" - but they were totally wrong. They were not the right colors and were not even the kind of flowers I ordered or paid for. My mom went to deal with the florist and Patrick and the florist scrambled to fix the problem. I have to say they jumped right on it to fix everything. In the end, I still didn't get the flowers I ordered, but they tried their best to solve the problem and did get me bouquets that were close to what I wanted. I have to applaud them on trying to solve the problem so quickly and at least trying. It wasn't how I wanted it and the flowers were important to me, but in the end it was as nice as it could be in such a rush.
The ceremony was on the beach and was beautiful! It was at sunset. Don't expect any privacy, but it is a pretty setting. The pictures that you get at sunset are amazing! The officiant Gregory Lyder, was wonderful. He did slip up once and call me "Debbie," but it was a joke with our friends the rest of the trip. He was very nice, funny and the ceremony was really nice. He was a very nice man and I would recommend him to annoying!
The steelpan player was equally wonderful, I don't remember his name either - but he was from "Touch of Steel". He played during the ceremony and cocktail hour and it was fabulous! Very island like and lovely. I have to admit I have no idea how cocktail hour went because I was busy taking photos, but people said the appetizers were good (I wouldn't know because I didn't have the chance to have any).
The wedding reception was very fun (but went by so fast - time flies!). Again, the bartenders and servers were very nice. Edgar was there again and we loved having him there. The cake turned out well. I sent a picture of one I liked and they tried hard to duplicate it. It was exact, but it was a pretty seashell cake and the cake decorator did a nice job! The food was also very good, we chose the Sea Bass and Flat Iron steak. Everyone enjoyed the food and the chocolate macademia pie for dessert was delicious! The desserts at the Welcome Reception were also very good! The cheesecake and mango dessert were yummy! We danced the night away and it was very nice. They set up my polaroid camera table that I asked for (people dressed up and took polaroid shots for our guestbook). It all turned out very nice and we enjoyed every minute.
The DJ was from Cool Pro DJ's and they were good. They played current music and the music from our lists. They didn't talk all that much or try to get the crowd going, but the music list was good and we had fun dancing!
Photographer - Robert Arenz www.photographyaruba.com/
We used Robert Arenz to take photos for us. We met with him a few days before our wedding and he took us around the island for some great scenary shots. He is a very nice man. We enjoyed spending time with him and he took great shots for us. He was also there the night of our Welcome Reception, while getting ready before the wedding, during the ceremony and at the reception. He got some great shots and my guests kept mentioning how nice he is. He had the pictures for us before we left and we are still enjoying looking through them. I highly recommend him to annoying looking for a photographer!
Working with Inge and Patrick was great. They treated us very nicely and it all turned out well. They made really did try to make it the best htey could and did little things here and there to make it special, which didn't go un-noticed and we really appreciated it!
If you are thinking about getting married at the Westin, it is a very good decision. I think you will be very happy with the outcome and your stay at their hotel. Any destination weddings will have a few little bumps and in the end I can honestly look back and say, despite the flower incident, it was a wonderful wedding experience. We enjoyed several days celebrating on the "Happy Island" with great friends and family at a beautiful hotel. The wedding was amazing and it was an experience we will never forget. I know I talked to several brides before commiting to the Westin and even after because I was very nervous about planning a wedding from so far away, but it turned out amazing!
Exactly. Every bride should expect some bumps along the road, whether getting married in Aruba or elsewhere. The Westin really stepped up and solved the issue and it all turned great. We are very happy and highly recommend the Westin to any bride thinking about getting married in Aruba!