I know, I know, October was a long time ago. And I'm sorry I didn't post sooner.
Anyways, my wedding at the Westin was fantastic! About 26 of my family and friends were able to join us for about a week before the actual ceremony. We had many of our group stay at the Westin because of random deals they found on the internet, however we had some stay at the Holiday Inn, the Mill, and one group on Eagle Beach (we still saw them though not as much). We chose to get legally married back in the states after our "actual" wedding on the beach in Aruba. Who really cares what date the piece of paper says anyways!?! It was a wonderful week despite the 2 rainy days (the day before and the day after the wedding day of course!). The actual day was absolutely perfect weather wise. Then once the wedding was done everyone went home and my hubby and I had a few days to ourselves
I planned 4 activities during the week when everyone was with us. Everyone got to choose what they went on because they were paying their own way. We went on a private Kukoo Kunuku one night (AMAZING NIGHT!), then we did a snorkelling trip on the Mi Dushi, a deep sea fishing for the boys, then a welcome dinner at Texas de Brazil that was generously paid for by my father-in-law and his wife.
Inge and Jancis were awesome! They were quick to come up with acceptable solutions for the inevitable hiccups along the way (described in detail later).
I am lucky enough to have an amazing photographer as my brother. So not only did I get to-die-for photos, you can see the love he has for his little sister in every one. His name is benjamin burrows in case you want to look him up. He tells me he'd be thrilled to have another trip to Aruba.
There were 3 "issues" throughout the stay at the Westin.
1) my dress: silly me didn't think to ask the wedding planners about pressing my dress (satin with a flowy raw silk layer on top) before the ceremony and instead I filled out one of the little forms to have the laundry service do it. BAD IDEA! PLEASE DON'T DO THAT! My dress came back clipped to a wire hanger (mind you the top of the dress has some pretty intricate beadwork) with the train balled up in the bottom of the bag. Needless to say I was not pleased that my beads were now loose and the train was in worse shape than it had been when we got to Aruba. And they wanted $80 for that. I told Jancis and Inge about the problem and they were incredibly helpful, first trying to get a professional to come to the hotel just to steam my dress. Unfortunately the professional couldn't make it when we needed her. So Inge borrows an had steamer from a friend of hers, then came up to my room and personally took care of every wrinkle I could find. That's what I call service.
2) Events at the hotel: There was a large corporate group staying at the hotel while we were there so it could get VERY crowded. All the rooms at the Westin were full for about 4 days while we were there. Inconvenient, but understandable since I don't have control of everyone who stayed there. On the positive side, they were all gathered in the lower lobby to leave when I went down in my dress so i got a lot of "Wow!"'s from them.
3) About an hour or two before the ceremony Jancis came to see if I would consider moving the site to the other side of the beachfront due to a lot of people still hanging out where it was supposed to be. After freaking out a little I decided to leave it up to Jancis's expertise and moved it. It was WONDERFUL!
Overall it was an amazing experience which I would do again in a heartbeat! What other brides get to spend the week before their wedding relaxing on the beach instead of stressing over one thing or another??
Last edited by Kabuki; 01-29-2010 at 06:21 PM.
Congratulations "Kabuki"! I was also an October 2009 bride in Aruba. Its great to hear you had such a wonderful experience at the Westin. We were so close to choosing them. How they handle 'hiccups' really does say a lot about the people doesn't it? While it would be nice to think 'everything will just be perfect', there's bound to be something that doesn't go according to plan. I'm sure Inge and Jancis were totally positive and composed as they solved those for you. We didn't get to meet Jancis but absolutely adored Inge when we met her this spring.
Anyway -- you look gorgeous and both look so happy. And you are lucky to have such a talented brother. I enjoyed his blog. His photos of Acadia National Park are especially awesome, after your wedding photos of course. =)
Congrats! I am getting married at the Westin this July and am so excited to finally see a post on here from a recent Westin bride! Inge has been so great so far! Jancis has changed positions and I am now working with Patrick who seems great and responsive. I am so glad to hear your wedding went well. I am still freaking out about the details etc.
Patrick was wonderful! He actually proved to me first that Westin was worth my time when we went to Aruba for a site visit more than a year before our wedding. We arrived for our appointment and the person we made the appointment with had left the company! Jancis had a wedding that night so she hadn't come in yet and Patrick was the manager on duty. He took us around personally to give us a tour of the facilities before Jancis came in to finish up. It was a huge help and showed the ability to improvise in a tough situation!
For contrast, the wedding planner at the Occidental was sick on the day of our site visit and we were not notified, nor were we offered any other options for a site visit. When we inquired they simply said "She is sick today". Not helpful.
Let me know if you have any questions/concerns. I'd be happy to help!
There are a few Westin brides out there! I am one, I am getting married in July. There is another lovely bride getting married in May. I agree though, it has been harder to find info on the Westin as compared to some of the other hotels. Don't worry though, I am sure it will be fabulous!