I was hoping to post my wedding review earlier but I am still waiting for our wedding video to come to complete the review but I will finally post it now.
We got married mid October 2015 on the private island. The months leading up to the big day were spent planning as much as I could. Getting in touch with anyone was a long waiting game. I would send one email with 5 questions and maybe get answers to 3 of them. Payments were sent in and not processed. Finally as the dates got closer we called to speak to the planners because it was becoming impossible to plan or arrange anything. I could not even get answers to simple questions like how many guests at each table or what the set up was so we could even make a seating chart. After that payments were being processed even when not authorized to because they found all the old emails.
I was told the day we arrived a taxi or shuttle would be collecting my husband and I. When we arrived no taxi, no shuttle. We also got the email the day prior that the pool was not functional, which was the designated meeting area for all activities we had planned. Furious my husband and I sought out Randolph who quickly made his apologies and arrangements for better accommodations. We moved to another room where we were not overlooking the dust and people working. Once in Aruba, Randolph was very helpful in planning and working with us on ironing out all the details.
Our rehearsal dinner was held for our all of our guests at Driftwood which was a simple walk from the hotel. We could not be more pleased with the service, food and overall experience of the evening. We had about 50 guests and not a single person was left hungry of thirsty for one moment of that evening. The pre fixed menu had something for every palette- chicken, fish, and steak. Everything was very fresh and delicious! We had eaten there in the past and have enjoyed our meals every time!
After dinner we took some daring guests on the Kukukanookoo pub crawl. So much fun for all, ages 18- 60+! We had Ricky, AKA “Big Daddy” and he was wonderful in getting the energy going!
I did order the cake with Indira of Aruba Fairy tales! She helped me arrange everything. They came highly recommended as I could not get an answer on the cake situation for the wedding so I set it up myself. The cake was great but we were the only ones to enjoy it. It was not cut for the guests and we only noticed it again as we were leaving the island.
The day of the wedding events:
Make up by Bruce Stamper! Fantastic! I only found out about him the week of the wedding and contacted him immediately. He was so accommodating to find time for me for the trial before the rehearsal dinner and the day of the wedding. He came to the room, had us all laughing as he worked his magic, and made me feel like a super model! Such a fantastic artist and person!
I had to get my nails done because a week of activities in Aruba chipped all the polish off. I decided to get “pampered” at the spa at the hotel. What a waste of time and money. My French manicure looked like a 5 year old did it! My advice to brides, bring extra polish and do it yourself. I sent my husband and his best man for a shave. They came back complaining too. A basic drug store razor was used for a basic shave with nicks and cuts. Those that had their massages at the spa and cove were very pleased though.
Then Victor Winklaar and his team arrived! I cannot speak highly enough of Victor and his team. From the moment I contacted him to set the date and packages to the day the photos were received he was the most professional and amazing to work with. He had creative and fun ideas. I only wish I had hired him to capture the entire week with our guests in Aruba. It was like he wasn’t even there during the wedding and captured the essence of every moment. He even had to endure the loud NY attitude of our families and did so graciously even though we were working against the clock to capture a few moments of the cloudy sunset. My husband was convinced our photos would be dark and over cast but boy was he wrong. Victor is an unbelievable photographer with the patience of a saint. Do apply plenty of bug spray as the mosquitoes are ruthless at sunset! The trash the dress session was so fun! It was also cloudy and difficult to get good lighting but we had fun and photos were fantastic! Follow his work on social media to see a small window into his stunning work! His team worked seamlessly and with such a pleasant demeanor they felt like they were part of the wedding! Omar Brown and his team at Across the Waves was who we used for the videography. Sadly I am still waiting for the final video so I cannot fully comment on his work. Omar was very easy to work with to make arrangements. He was prompt in his responses leading up to the wedding. The day of the wedding he arrived on time and was so fun to work with! His team was great as well. I loved his video messages he had people record but he did not announce to the guests that the messages were being done at the wedding so most of them missed it. Before we left the island we got the short video for Facebook but not the Instagram video like he promised. That was fine with me. Within one month he emailed us the 20 minute video and said the final video was almost complete. Several weeks later he contacted me to with a tracking number image and the number to tell me the final video was complete and on its way. That was December 2015, it is now May. He no longer responds to emails since January. I don’t even know what to do about it at this point but to report this to all of you. It is so disappointing because the 20 minute video with the messages were great.
The overall experience at the wedding was phenomenal. We had the buffet and the food was great and plenty. The staff was fantastic. Everyone loved the bartender who had the drinks ready as each guest staggered his way. The sushi roller made great rolls but guests complained she did not understand when they asked her to make specific rolls and just made whatever she chose. Once everyone ate and had enough to drink, guests were being tossed into the water or running in themselves. DJ TINO had the party going and everyone was on the dance floor having a blast. DJ Tino kept the energy going all night! The reception was undoubtedly the most fun everyone had at a wedding! Randolph was ill that day but he excused himself once the part was under way. We did use steel pan players for the ceremony and cocktail hour. It really set the paradise setting.
I entirely agree with the original post about the lies and false promises. We are still waiting to get our Marriott Points we were promised we would get immediately. Overall is was beautiful to have the entire island to yourself but prepare yourself for challenge of making your time at the hotel perfect. People are still talking about how great the entire wedding was, so that may be worth it all! We also learned that too much fun and too much alcohol will get you pregnant! Even on your wedding night! But we're not complaining!
So happy to hear that almost all turned out well in the end. Congrats on the little one! Best Aruba souvenir I can think of! The pictures looks great! I hope you will share more. Very sorry about the video - hopefully you will have a surprise in the mail for your anniversary? Maybe?