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Thread: Reality Check on Privacy: Sunset Wedding at Marriott & Stellaris Casino

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2010

    Exclamation Reality Check on Privacy: Sunset Wedding at Marriott & Stellaris Casino

    Hi guys,

    I'm helping my fiance to plan our wedding at the Marriott / Stellaris in September. We're starting to get a little nervous for a couple of reasons, primarily because they're not great about getting back to us (even though we've already paid the deposit) and because we're starting to worry that the ceremony is going to be cheesy / cheap. Maybe that's not a fair worry, but I'm getting no re-assurance from the marriott folks (and can rarely reach them).

    So I was wondering if any of the veterans on this board can help set my expectations straight. I'd really appreciate it. I need a reality check. Here's are my questions / concerns:

    1. Can I expect some OK level of quiet/privacy at the ceremony? It's sunset at the Marriott's beach, so I know it can't be completely private, but I'm starting to worry that we'll be doing our ceremony while kids fling frisbees around and while other tourists cluster around the ceremony uninvited. I've heard some similar anecdotes from people who have gone to other hotels, so I am worried.

    2. Is it possible to do this simply and elegantly? We're thinking classical guitar player, maybe bring out own music, but again, worried that there will be boom boxes and lots of non-guests scampering around our reception.

    3. How's the wind? Blow-your-hat-off bad, or just breezy?

    4. Once it gets dark, does the Marriott provide flame torches etc? Or do we just expect standard electrical lighting.

    5. Is there anyway to get in contact with the Marriott wedding people outside of Monday-Friday / 9-5? We both work full time, and on the rare occasion that we get to call the Marriott, we can never reach anyone. It's very frustrating. I keep getting an answering machine for their marketing department, but they never seem to want to return the call. I can't find a better number for the events folks, and it's making me nervous.

    6. Is the Marriott / Stellaris hotel a place that you would categorize as "quite nice" or is it super cheezy touristiness? It's hard to get straight information on the overall experience outside of individual testimonials (which of course aren't that helpful since everyone has a different cheese threshold).

    Finally.... let's say that the Marriott ends up looking incredibly cheesy.... based on your guys' feedback: Is there any beech in aruba where I could set up a fairly secluded sunset ceremony? Or am I basically dealing with the same problem everywhere? I know Mancheebo is supposed to be slightly less public, but if it's just shades of difference, I'm not that psyched.

    Anyway, please help calm a worried potential groom!

    Many thanks in advance!


  2. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    PS: Sorry if I sound a little nervous. What can I say, arranging all this from afar is nerve-jostling.

  3. #3
    Senior Member DANNYO's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Marriott Surf Club
    I don't know much about wedding planning,but the Marriott is top notch and I'm sure they will get in touch with you.Its got to be hard trying to plan a destination wedding but with the right planner on Aruba your day will be great.Marriott does plenty of weddings and I think the reason they haven't got back to you is because your wedding isn't until September.All the best I know everything will be fine.

  4. #4
    Aruba since 1979
    Andrea J.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    do u have a wedding planner?
    some of your concerns can be handled by a planner.

    possibly a woman named christene will reply.
    she was married at the MARRIOTT stellaris in the fall 2009 and had issues with communication and worry, but was able to shoulder lots of it to her planner AND all apparently turned out fine.....actually wonderful.

    i think that christene would have welcomed "blow off yer hat wind". her wedding day was quite UNwindy.

    and IMO cheesy is not a word that even comes close to describing Marriott.

    Quote Originally Posted by damond View Post
    PS: Sorry if I sound a little nervous. What can I say, arranging all this from afar is nerve-jostling.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Shnyda's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    The pool @ Gold Coast Aruba, Holiday Inn Casino, Arashi Beach, Sunset @ California Lighthouse, Baby Beach, Our friends hotels/timeshares when they are on the Island at the same time as us
    Privacy on the beach is tough - but they will do their best. I know a few years back when we stayed at the Marriott we watched several weddings on the beach. Most people are respecful and don't interfere.
    -Eric, Karen and Mia-
    Aruba New Years 2016-17 12/27/16 - 1/4/17

  6. #6
    Senior Member cyclone promotions's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    if you would like to have a private ceremony i recommend you the renaissance private island that will be a great choice
    Professional Island DJ's
    For All Your Weddings And Party Needs.
    We Create Your Party

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Hi Damond --

    My husband and I just got married there on October 31st.

    1) You're right that it can't be completely private but we found people very respectful. There was no distracting noise or chatter from the guests. No frisbees. Plenty will watch though - some of them will get as excited as your guests - they were coming up to us the rest of the week telling us how beautiful it was. While I don't expect noise to be a problem, where you may find guests 'in the way' is in the water on rafts behind you. We had a few of those and have Photoshopped them out. There should be fewer people walking the beach than other resorts because its the northernmost resort.

    2) We did our ceremony VERY simple. We just had a steel pan player who was fantastic. I thought walking to the steel pan might be a little cheesy but it was perfect. We married under a simple bamboo and white fabric arch but did almost no decorating. The Marriott groomed the aisle (my husband loved that and thought it was cute they wouldn't even let him walk on it - they wanted it saved for the bridal party.) We had simple white folding chairs and lined the aisle with palms. We did no flowers for the arch or signing table, no pomanders or anything hanging from the chairs and never missed them for a moment. The view is so beautiful that I felt adding too much to it would be distracting. (And we wanted to save our money for the party!)

    3) Wind - we actually had no wind and were wishing for it! I think that's an anomaly though. I think some months are windier than others.

    4) Lighting - Marriott does have tiki torches - we used a lot of them. Additional provided lighting is spotlights though. We saw another reception lit up like this when we went for our site visit and insisted 'no spotlights'! We hired Mark Benson to provide some really cool lighting and also used candle lit lanterns.

    5) Getting in touch with Marriott -- yes, it was VERY difficult at times. Seems like they can work weird hours because they work so many weekends. You'll see -- at your wedding and reception the planners will be with you the whole time. And when you get in town they are working for you arranging meeting with you and your vendors. And if they haven't told you - they don't really pay much attention to your wedding until it is about 3 months away. There really isn't much for them to do further out than that. I had the same frustrations but relaxed when I understood that I'd have much more attention when within that window. They will answer questions before that but not quickly. Have you been contacted yet by the wedding planner? Shortly after the contract is signed you're usually introduced via email.

    6) Cheesy - absolutely not! It's the classiest Marriott I've seen. Even the lounge / lobby is chic. I'm a total hotel snob and didn't even want to consider a "Marriott" since some of their properties can be shaky. But their $50 million renovation is gorgeous. The place is like brand new and the contemporary decor is gorgeous. I actually preferred it over the Hyatt because of the bigger rooms, balconies and lobby / lounge. (If only they had Hyatts pool!)

    And last - while the Marriott isn't cheesy, you might want to consider Eagle Beach for the ceremony. You're less likely to have the 'floaters' in the background and tourists nearby. The difference can be considerable. We also kept our options open, though in the end we chose convenience. What we didn't like about the Eagle Beach site we were shown was that there weren't 'facilities' (bathroom / concession) nearby, we'd have to transport everyone and there wasn't much shade. Marriott will collect all your guests in the lobby. When they are sure you are about ready to start they seat your guests so people aren't sitting around in the heat a moment longer than necessary. (We did our ceremony an hour before sunset and then let guests enjoy a sunset cocktail hour on the beach while we did photos.)

    Feel free to PM me if you have more questions. I'm sure people on this board are bored of hearing me go on and on about the Marriott but it really was amazing. If you look through some of my other posts you'll see some reviews of our wedding, reception and vendors we used.

    Good luck and congratulations!

    Last edited by christene; 02-16-2010 at 08:28 AM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Karen Lutzker's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    The beaches and the sea

    Smile Marriott

    Marriott Aruba is a very classy resort and very professional in the way they do things. However, the planners at the major resorts normally work a 5 day a week shift etc., Monday to Friday schedule, but will return evenings or weekends for a wedding or event. The planners also are not in their office constantly as they are busy with staff meetings, trainings, potential customer meetings, site tours for potential customers. I know it is the right thing to do to get back to your clients in a timely manner, but when the planners at the resorts are working with several events at a time, it is just impossible to get back to each and every client in a timely manner. My personal opinion is that weddings taking place at large resorts will not afford you total privacy! Marriott has a portion of the beach that they set up fo wedding ceremonies. If your ceremony is taking place around sunset, you may see some people walking the beach for the sunset and some people staying out on the beach to watch the sunset. However, in general,, most people are respectful and will stand far away from the ceremony site, but will be watching the ceremony. As far as cheesy, as I said befoe, Marriott is a very classy resort and does not do anything cheesy! You need not worry, Marriott will do a great job
    Aruba's First Destination Wedding Planner
    Specialists in Wedding Coordination and Vow Renewals

  9. #9
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009

    We are getting married at the Marriott in 7 1/2 weeks! We weren't able to do a site visit but have looked at tons of photos and reviews and are feeling pretty confident in our decision. Christine and some other brides on this forum have helped tremendously with the info they have shared and their experiences. Now that our wedding is getting closer the communication at the Marriott has been great. I've been working with Corrine there and we've mostly been working by email and almost all my emails have been replied to that same day or the next. As it's gotten closer I've had tons of questions and she's been great to work with so we are really excited!

  10. #10
    Senior Member lizzardo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    For the wind - product, product, product for your hair.

    Great salon in town - Knipoog if you want contact info
    let me know. They are the best on the island.

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