Ava and Stephen’s wedding group was a pleasure to work with! Jamaica was the perfect destination for their wedding as their friends and family are spread out over two countries – Canada and the UK. Getting to Jamaica was easy from both sides as there was a direct flight from Edmonton and Toronto to Montego Bay and a direct flight from London to Montego Bay for UK guests.
Here is Ava and Stephen’s feedback from their experience in Jamaica:
Wedding Date: Feb 9 2011
Resort: RIU Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Ceremony Time: 2:00 pm
Our Wedding location: Beach Gazebo
Our Reception location: Second story of the plantation restaurant (semi private…we lucked out and it felt completely private, as there was one table of 8 downstairs that night).
Why did you pick this location and resort for your wedding? We wanted Caribbean sand and a location that was affordable for both Canadian and UK guests.
Additional wedding events: We brought a portable iPod player and had our first dance on the beach. It was very romantic! We couldn’t have music for a first dance in the plantation restaurant – because it was a semi-private reservation for our reception – so we brought a package of brown paper lunch bags and 100 tea lights down to beach after reception. A few of my guests put sand in bottom of bags and placed them in a large circle with a path from resort and lit the tea lights and we danced in the sand.
Best moment of our wedding: My favourite moment was when one of the hotel entertainers and two friends were on break and they surprised us after our meal during our reception by serenading us to Bob Marley’s “Is it Love?”. This was amazing and we ended up having our first dance at our reception after all!!!
Best moment of wedding week: Being able to visit with all of our 60 guests, most of which we haven’t seen in years!
Honeymoon dates and locations: We spent 2 weeks in Jamaica, and are planning our honeymoon now. Perhaps we will honeymoon at one of the Karisma Resorts in Mexico. Still deciding!
Wedding colors: The bridesmaid dresses were supposed to be fuchsia (ordered online) but turned out to be wine red… so our wedding colors were red and gold. At first I didn’t think it would be tropical enough but the contrast of the ocean colours with red and gold was gorgeous!
Wedding Dress and Attire: We ordered my wedding dress and bridesmaid dresses on www.peridress.ca (made to size and had it in only a few weeks and very VERY inexpensive). The men’s linen suits we bought from www.suitsformen.com at around $150 for each was worked out perfect! It was easier to shop online since my wedding party was divided in two countries. And the biggest coincidence was that our mothers bought their dresses in two different continents and showed up in the exact same dress! I could not have planned it better!
Wedding Theme: Not a particular theme was planned although the colours of our wedding (red and white flowers matched both the Canadian and English flag!
Wedding Coordinator: Keisha was our wedding planner on our big day. We never met her until the day before and emails sent to her before we arrived in Jamaica were not always answered or we had to chase and ask Tanja to chase her to reply. I was very worried after only a ten minute meeting the day before our wedding. It is very much laid back there…however it was perfect!!!! I was happily surprised. But as a backup plan, I did pick a guest as a back-up wedding planner for our wedding day to be there in case any problems arose.
Wedding Photographer: I went with Michael from Photoshop who is the resort photographer. He was amazing, very professional and fun! We are so happy with the photos and highly recommend him.
Wedding Flowers and Decor: I used Tai Flora Services, the florist the resort suggested. I told them the colours I wanted, they sent me a recommendation and I went with it. I didn’t put extra money into a private reception but put an additional $1500 towards flowers and decor. I am so happy we did this…the decor was amazing and so were the flowers! They used sashes on chairs at ceremony and then moved the flowers to reception. The tables had full tablecloths and gold runners and large tall vases with tropical flowers…I could go on in detail but I was so happy!
When I saw a plain white cake on a plain white table with my topper just perched on front I was not too pleased, but I just asked my sister to steal petals from the table flowers and place on layers of cake. We also put bridesmaid bouquets on either side to dress the table up. The waitress continued the effort and by cake cutting time you wouldn’t even have recognized it! She placed the cake on top of wine glasses full of water and flower petals and dressed it up step by step every spare second she had!
Wedding Favours: I had silicone bracelets made with our names and wedding place and date done in our wedding colours, these we handed to our guests upon arrival so they recognize who else was part of our group during their stay (very helpful with 60 guests and coming from two countries). I also had silk hands fans placed on the chairs at ceremony with tags with our names.
Group Activities: Nearly our whole group went on the Cool Runnings Catamaran Tour. So much fun was had by everyone!!! We loved it. Its starts in Ocho Rios on a catamaran, then snorkelling, then the climb up the Dunn’s river falls…and finally a rocking party on the catamaran back to the dock. On our last day, we hired a boat for 12 of our guests for some deep sea fishing….we can all say we have done it now and some may never like to do it again, lol! After a storm it was far too rough and all of us but two were sea sick.
Feedback of the services received while in destination: Although it is laid back and we didn’t hear much from wedding coordinator (they do overbook weddings) the service was amazing! The Riu Ocho Rios was clean and is a fun resort. Everyone, I mean everyone – all 60 guests – loved the resort!