Since this forum was an invaluable source of information for me during the planning stages of our wedding, I wanted to contribute my own review of the vendors at our wedding.
Wedding Date: November 1, 2014
# of guests: approx. 58
Venue - Renaissance Island:
Like other brides on this board, I was very, very, very nervous about the wedding venue. My wedding was in November 2014 but I had booked early around April 2013. The communication between the hotel and I were lacking. There would be times where I would send e-mails with no responses, or e-mails with questions and only answers to one question. It was really bad in the beginning but as we got closer to the actual date of the wedding, it got a little better. When I was communicating with them strictly through e-mail, it was a little frustrating. At some point, I think I just gave up and prayed that it would all work out once I got to Aruba and met with the planners. The week before our wedding, we met with Randolph and Milayne. They were super friendly and I liked them personally. Everything worked out in the end and our wedding was amazing but there were a few things in hindsight that kind of bothered me.
First, they decided to change our ceremony from 6:00pm to 5:20pm, but did not advise us of this until the day we met in person - the week before the wedding. I know they had our best interest at heart -- they said they wanted to change the time because of the sunset and how it was occurring much earlier in the day. That is fine and I'm glad they did it -- but I was annoyed because the invitations, the programs, all of our stationary had already been printed ! I was slightly annoyed because I wish they had given us more notice.
On the day of the wedding, the boats ended up being late to pick everyone up to go to the island. My dad ended up getting dehydrated and sick at our wedding and reception because he was out in the hot weather for so long.
During the ceremony and right after, there were other guests swimming in the background and that was kind of annoying to me. I selected the Renaissance because I was hoping to avoid having half-naked people in my wedding photos. Our photographers actually had to ask some lady to stop purposely jumping into our photos. I was hoping the hotel would politely ask the other guests to move to the other side of the island, but that didn't happen.
BRING BUG REPELLANT!!! IT WILL SAVE YOU!!! I read on here that the mosquitos were an issue but boy, was I wrong not to take it seriously. I completely forgot to bring bug spray. Luckily, some of our guests and our photographers had it. As soon as the sun set, there was literally about 50 mosquitos on me. It was like black spots covered my entire body. It was really disgusting and I've never seen mosquitos like that before in my life!!!
We paid for the top shelf open bar but guests informed me that certain alcohol that should have been included were not available (i.e. heineken beer).
The food was ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS!!! The lamb carving station is truly a must!!!! It was sooooooo good. I'm kind of a food snob and I wasn't expecting the food to be good because to be quite honest-- wedding food is rarely ever good. However, I was blown away by the food !!! All of our guests raved about the food! We selected the plated meals -- salad with honey thyme and goat cheese / melon soup / fish-chicken-beer options -- and had a temptations display. For the cocktail hour, we got the Large Seafood Display (the menu says it serves 100 people but it really wasn't large enough for our group of 58) and 2 carving stations.
Our wedding cake was truly beautiful!
Overall, our wedding was truly amazing. I know these were things that bother me a little but I wouldn't have picked any other place to have our wedding. It was really magical.
DJ - DJ TINO:
I found recommendations on this board for DJ Tino and requested him -- best decision ever! He was really great. Our group loves American country music + electronic dance music. It is not an easy combination to mix but DJ Tino was awesome ! We danced all night!
Rev. Jeffrey Banfield:
Another recommendation by other brides on this board. I specifically requested Rev. Banfield and he was great! He made the ceremony enjoyable, his words were sincere, and most importantly-- he was extremely funny!!!
Note to any brides who have already gotten legally married elsewhere though--- ask Randolph to skip the fake paperwork. I didn't know about it and I was a bit confused by it. I was already legally married in the US and after the ceremony, they had us sit down at a table and pretend to sign paperwork. It was a waste of time and sunlight!
Hair+Makeup: Jennifer Croes-Veeries aka Jennive (email@example.com)
Jennive was AMAZING! She was another recommendation by the brides on this board. I was initially very nervous about my hair and makeup because the person who was supposed to fly to Aruba with me ended up canceling on me. So, contacting Jennifer was kind of last minute and I didn't have time for a trial until the actual day before the wedding. We changed my makeup a few times because I think we had different visions for what I wanted. She was great and encouraged me to speak up about what I wanted -- she said it was very important to her that I be satisfied with her work. She didn't mind at all that we had to re-do my makeup a few times. On the actual day of the wedding, Jennive went above and beyond my expectations. She did my makeup perfectly the way I wanted and both my hair and makeup just turned out beautifully. I've never felt so beautiful in my life. I would highly recommend Jennive! On top of her skill and passion for her work, she is SUPER friendly and just adorable. She made me laugh and just made me feel so relaxed on the day of the wedding. On top of it all, she was also super professional (arrived on time and finished everything in time according to the day's schedule!). LOVE HER!
Flowers: Elsa's Flowers
Another recommendation by the brides on this board -- our flowers turned out beautiful I didn't see them until the day of the wedding and I wasn't disappointed at all!
It was truly, truly, a magical wedding!!! It went by sooooooooo fastů My husband and I are already dreaming of a 10-year vow renewal !