Our Destination Wedding Review in Aruba end of March, 2011
I woke up this morning still blissful and happy...so I decided to take the time and register for this forum that above all else helped me accomplish all I needed to get married in Aruba. Nevertheless, I would like to start with the warnings!!!
Aruba is not cheap, but you do get what you pay for! We had dinner with the family the day before the wedding at L.G. Smith and the service and food I do have to say were good, but we ended paying about $70 per person with everyone's drinks included. Transportation was lacking, taxi cabs are quite expensive and for some reason, everything fun to do is in the high-rise hotel area, and our Hotel was downtown, so a $30 fair to get to FUN places. And Aruba is HOT! Very very very warm and hot...!!! And the sun is unforgiving...We had arrived here 5 days before our wedding day, and my husband went straight for the beach, and we ended up spending our first night in Aruba at the ER, while he was being treated for heat stroke and sunburn. Yes, I know...not the best start...! But things looked up.
Our rooms were beautiful and we got to stay at the Adults only side of Renaissance Hotel. Which was spectacular, the view and the place itself is beautiful, and clean and more importantly no crying babies or kids running around. My sister and her kids and 16 other family members stayed at the Ocean Suite side of the Renaissance. (kids allowed)
We did some tours, with De Palm Tours, and I have to give them two thumbs up! We got to see the whole Island, while driving in air-conditioned buses with first class type seats...very comfortable! The whole group loved it. We did some snorkeling, and some shopping...so the pre-wedding days went by quick.
Now the wedding...we met with Mr. Juney Jones, our wedding coordinator at Renaissance, I do have to say he knew what he was doing, and he did it with ease! All of our paperwork had been arranged, our civil wedding was on track, our beach ceremony on their private Island was set, and the reception would seem to be fun. To be honest our first choice was RIU, but after reading different posts in this forum we kind of ended up contacting the Renaissance and Bucuti, and after comparing packages we picked Renaissance...based on price and the private Island the Renaissance offers.
On the actual wedding day, we were intrigued what the civil hall would look like, and I do have to say it was small but very nice, and the ceremony itself made me cry, I'm happy we decided to do the civil part in Aruba, it was beautiful in the end. After that we had a photo-shoot at the civil hall with the family and then one in the park close to the hotel, and then a nice lunch and then everyone returned to their rooms to prepare for the wedding ceremony.
The wedding would take place on the Renaissance Island, so we were transported by boat to the Island, and the boat ride itself was fun, and getting there and then walking on the pier down to the beach with the arch, flamingo's walking around...it was to much for me and I think I cried through the whole ceremony. Minister Banfield, kept making us laugh but for some reason I couldn't hold the tears back. The ceremony was amazing, the sand ceremony afterwards was beautiful and my wedding was PERFECT! We had so much fun and so many amazing memories...I watch the video at-least once a week.
Juney left us in the hands of Jason Margarita after the ceremony for our photography. We had done research before hand and had booked this company Ever After to do photos and film, and ironically when we were in contact with Renaissance they recommended the same people. When we met with Jason I was a bit skeptical because to be honest their pricing is very low for all we received. We had 2 photographers and 3 people filming and they were there for the civil ceremony and wedding and full the reception at a price we would have paid for just pictures with another photographer. We received almost 3000 pictures, and a binded wedding book and a edited wedding video.
If you ever meet Jason you would be surprised how nice, and soft-spoken he is even-tough he's about 6'5" and big! He even let my nephews hold his camera and take some pictures in return for them having to stand still and smile for the family pictures. All of his people showed up in a suit, ties and 30 minutes before the civil ceremony and stayed with us until the wedding was over. My pictures are amazing amazing amazing, and the video makes me cry every-time!!!
The reception was kicked off with amazing music, we had a DJ/MC we were introduced and my family and all of our friends got to dance, drink and enjoy the rest of the night. The services was real good, the food a bit dry, and for some reason the mosquitoes were out that night in force, but Juney provided some bug spray and it helped! We did the whole first dance, and then my dad gave a speech and then my mom, so naturally more crying...It was an amazing night!
Highlights/Advice of our wedding in Aruba:
- Book everything early, and get all your papers fixed early!
- Sunblock, Sunblock, Sunblock (luckily Jason photo-shopped my bikini lines and my husbands face so you couldn't see any red in the pictures)
- Stick to your budget...Aruba has so many shops that as woman, you can go crazy
- Make sure your wedding coordinator knows what they are doing, and that they are as invested in your wedding as you are.
- Go online and do your research...This forum is AMAZING! Read every post.
- Bring pictures of the hairstyles and make-up you want, makes it easier that trying to explain it!
- Meet with everyone as soon as you get to Aruba, so you can have a few days to relax and enjoy the Island before you wedding day.
Aruba is amazing, beautiful and friendly...My wedding was extremely memorable and I hope my review helps those still planning their wedding. If you have questions, please ask away.
Last edited by Andrea J.; 04-22-2011 at 09:51 PM.
Reason: rules breaking