Hello everyone. I got married in March 2011 and below is a full review. If you have questions, please feel free to PM me.
Wedding Information Break-Down: Venue: Renaissance Island atRenaissance Aruba Resort and Casino Date: March 26, 2011 Guests: 30 Event: Both the wedding blessing & reception and brunch the next day Colors: Fuchsia and Aqua
Travel: Beach Bum Vacation (Nanda) Many people on different forums recommended working with Beach Bum Vacation so I called them. I ended up working with Nanda van Zwan there and honestly, had it not been for her, I would have likely been a total wreck. She booked my guests flights, made hotel arrangements and acted as the liaison between my guests and I and the hotel. She was incredible. I definitely recommend contacting her as your Travel Concierge (that’s what they call themselves). Wedding planner: Juney I had communication problems with the resort and Juney from the very beginning. After we finally made contact, it took weeks to get responses from Juney to even the most basic questions. I know that they say everyone is on “Island time” but this was ridiculous…10 days to find out if we can substitute a side on the buffet? On numerous occasions, I had to get the hotel representative involved to even get a response from him. Once we got there though, Juney made me feel comfortable and introduced me to a few of my vendors, reviewed all the details, etc. He was a big asset to me the day of the wedding and everything did turn out beautiful (which I will go in more depth about later in this) but the bad outweighed the good. For example, he lost my sand ceremony after saying he was personally taking care of it. That by far was the most heartbreaking thing to me.
So, to sum up… he did pull of the wedding and it was the best day of my life. However, working with him was impossible, I was not happy with some of his vendors and he is not someone I would work with again.
Rehearsal Dinner: Pinchos Grill We were originally going to have our rehearsal dinner at the resort when my husband decided to change it 6 days before the wedding to a location outside the resort to give guests a change of scenery. Best decision! We worked with Anabela and it was PERFECT!! The food was excellent the views of sunset was breathtaking and the people were even better. We walked it and it took nearly 20 minutes so I recommend a cab to get there (about $8 cab ride) but we loved this place and highly recommend it to anyone. They even did a special menu just for us with a set price and our names at the top. If you don’t have any events here, you should at least have dinner there. Just tell them the bride that lost her grandmother’s diamond earring in the water sent you (they will know who I am.. lol! One of the staff members actually went diving for it and returned it to me the day of the wedding so I could wear it. As I said, the staff there was amazing!) Gift Bags: It was difficult bringing things to the island to do gift bags so we tried to keep it basic but cute. We ended up making a welcome post cards at vistaprint and put useful facts about the island, hotel and restaurants, beaches and bars on it. We put that into the paper gift bags and also stuffed them with: two bottles of rum from Rum Palmera who made personalized labels for us (I LOVED WORKING WITH RUM PALMERA!!) ; koozies that we had made in the US with our names/wedding date on them; Tylenol; crackers and snacks; water bottles and travel kool-aid packets for each (the water we bought at the grocery store there); bath fizzies; beach chair candles; an evil’s eye (I am Turkish); a postcard with fun facts about the island and shopping, restaurants; wetnaps; mints and an itinerary. I have pictures of them if you want to see them. The guests loved them!! I highly recommend Rum Palmera – they were great to work with and so unique. Hair:JenniVe I found her information on here as she was recommended by other brides and thank goodness I did. I loved her! She did my make-up and hair the night of the rehearsal dinner as a trial run and also did it for the wedding. It looked wonderful when I left the resort. Only complaint is that it was SO windy there that my hair with the veil was straight up in the air most of the time; so my normally straight hair was back to being paper straight despite all of her best efforts and hairspray. I wish I had pinned the veil down and worn my hair up so it was not such a mess during the wedding/reception. But, that is not her fault at all.. just the wind’s J Also, she is such a great person that she made me feel comfortable and relaxed while I was getting ready which is super important. I would absolutely recommend her. Steel Pan: BRG Steelpan I knew nothing about them before I got there, and honestly, I still really don’t. We only hired them for the ceremony and cocktail hour so I don’t remember too much since that point in the night went by so fast and I had other things on my mind (like getting married J). I do know that everyone said they were very good. Officiant: Geoffrey Banfield Words cannot describe how amazing he was! Every single one of our guests LOVED him and took the time to tell me how his words impacted them personally. We had a blessing and kept it very non-denominational due to difference of religions amongst our families and it was perfect. He made it a very heartfelt, warm and special ceremony with a mix of humor. He is apparently a poet and it definitely shows. The blessings and readings were so perfect and they touched not only the two of us, but everyone at the wedding. We did meet with him a couple days before the wedding and I am glad we did. It gave us the opportunity to get to know one another and it turned out that he was BY FAR the best part of the wedding (other than marrying my husband of course.. J) Photographer: I was extremely disappointed with my photographer but I will not go into detail on this forum. If you have any questions, please PM me. I do have to say, I have heard AMAZING things from other brides about Jason Margarita and wished I had used him instead. DJ: DJ Tino He was GREAT!! I provided him with a list of songs that we wanted to hear in order of importance and he played every one of the ones that we wanted to hear and mixed those in with the ones he chose. He had people up and dancing for most of the night but also knew when to go into a more romantic selection. The age range was from 9 – 71 and everyone was on the dance floor. He was great to work with and he really made the night a lot of fun. I would definitely recommend him to everyone. He was excellent. Venue:Renaissance Island This was the most amazing place to have our wedding. All in all, it was beautiful and it was the best night of our lives. The decorations were beautiful and the way it was all set up was perfect. There were even flamingos in some of our wedding pictures. I loved having it there! The only complaint was that they did not clear the island prior to our arrival as they promised they would. So, there were a few onlookers standing in their bathing suits at our ceremony (which ended up in some of our wedding pictures). Hotel: Renaissance Resort and Casino The experience we had along with our guests was not a very pleasant one. The staff was rude, the rooms were very below par (the bathtubs have chips, cracks and stains in them) and there were other issues like the elevators breaking down the entire stay. (that doesn’t sound like a problem, but when you are staying on the 6th floor and are walking up and down in heels repeatedly… it’s not fun). We had several very bad encounters with the bar staff who were rude to not only us but to our guests and the other guests at the bar. Put it this way, we were offered a 4 night free stay at this resort to make up for the issues we experienced and we still won’t stay there again. It was a TERRIBLE experience. Local Restaurants: As you likely heard, restaurants are a bit pricey in Aruba but some of them are 100% worth it. We went to almost every restaurant recommended to us. We went to El Gaucho, Pinchos, Flying Fishbone, Madame Janette’s, Driftwood, Papiamento, ..plus some others. The best ones were Pinchos (which I mentioned before), Madam Janette’s, Papillion and El Gaucho. -Madame Janette’s: make a reservation as soon as you get there because it is hard to get in. But, it is WORTH IT! The food may be the best I have ever eaten. We had the Yellowtail and the Tuna and it was delicious. The ambiance is fun, relaxing and romantic. It is about a $20 cab ride from the hotel. -Papiamento: Again, the food was amazing but the atmosphere was even better. I read a lot of reviews about the service not being that good, but we had wonderful service and we loved our time there. It is about a $15-$20 cab ride from the hotel. -El Gaucho: DELICIOUS! They have the best steaks I have ever had. This was the only restaurant that we went back to for a second time. They have a steak called the “El Gaucho” which is essentially a 16 ounce filet mignon for only $30. If you like steak.. you must eat here. The service was also great and the atmosphere is fun. It is about a 5-10 minute walk from the resort. WEDDING TIPS: 1)Get Juney to give you timeframes when you should hear back from him; 2)If he does not respond or you are not happy.. contact the GM. His name is Paul Gielen. Hold on to that name in case you need it; 3)I would suggest you wear your hair up or pin down your veil. The boat ride over is easy.. it’s the wind on the island that mess up your hair; 4)Bring battery operated candles if you plan on using them for your centerpieces because the wind is strong; 5)Hire a photographer that is not contracted by the resort or bring your own; 6)Ask a LOT of questions and review the pricing contract (I found several errors the week before the wedding that saved us a lot of money); 7)Ask to speak to the vendors directly to ensure you are getting what you want;
As a final note, I will go back to Aruba again for sure! But, I will never set foot in the Renaissance. We were actually planning on going back for our one year anniversary this month, but I will be 8 months pregnany by then so we decided to postpone it
Well, that’s about as complete as I can make it. Please let me know if you have any questions or if you want to see any pictures. Below are a few of our gift bags.
I've had the same problems with Juney for the last 10 months even posted on here after the last contact with him!! I had read bad reviews on the photographers linked with ren and have hired Jason, we are in the UK and have found Juney impossible to work with if Jason hadn't helped me out following my last posts I can honestly say I would have probably cracked up! I get married in May and am very excited