My wedding day has come and gone and our vacation has come to an end. I religiously followed every post on this forum and I think it is only fair I add my experience to it. It was not as glamorous and pretty as most of the posts and the reality versus the perception of what you think you will be getting has a big gap in between.
- Do your research!!! People do not like to complain online, and finding bad reviews about something is hard! Most couples who are happy write reviews, and that kind of screws you up when you reading pure good reviews of one place and don't ever believe their brochures brides who got married at the RIU can agree with me, their brochures are amazing and when they send it to you via e-mail you fall in love, and none of the pictures in the brochure are not even from Aruba!
- Get a contract and review it, review it, review it!!! They tried overcharging us almost $1200 and they would have gotten away with it if it wasn't for my husband being an accountant. Your contract is your only backup and your lifeline so make sure everything is on black and white.
- Start EARLY!!! With everything. Aruba has this really big flaw which is slowness in EVERYTHING! They take so much time to get anything done it's really ridiculous. I asked Abigail once if I can have red roses instead of white ones, and it took her 9 days to reply to that e-mail!!!
- Booking Jason margarita will be your biggest headache, but make sure you get him and none of the photographer's the hotel recommends! We planned for March wedding and he was fully booked, so we moved it to April and he was fully booked as well!!! So my husband decided to shop around, and it took a week but we were back to Jason, the other websites looked cheap and in many cases when you are researching photographer's on the Island they look real dull and old fashioned. And then we tried bringing our own photographer and the cost was way to high so my husband send Jason an e-mail asking what days he had available in May and he literally send us two dates so we picked one and finally booked him. And all the headache was worth it, he is really amazing beyond believe and he made our wedding worth it in many ways. The way he handled our guests and the way he handled me was amazing. I've read were a bride called him the bride whisperer and he lives up to that title completely.
- Alcohol! It's very important for your vacation and make sure you don't buy it at the Hotel the price will kill you! Go to certified supermarket and they have a liquor mart that sells alcohol at half the price of the hotel. It helps when you want to spend time with the friends outside the hotel. And all-inclusive at the RIU does not really mean all-inclusive they have a drink maximum and they do not bring drinks to the room and you can't order more than one drink per person, so everyone needs to walk to the bar.
- Demand security on the beach during your ceremony! We had about 60 to 70 people all around our wedding on the beach and my husband had to move people off our chairs when he got down to the beach. Jason's assistant literally had to move people from beyond our arch and keep them away because they would just come back and stand there. So demand for the hotel to put security on the beach to keep people from disturbing your wedding.
- Sunset in Aruba is between 6:30 and 7:00pm so do not make a 6:30 dinner reservation. Thank god Jason is huge and nobody says anything to him, he said we are doing our sunset shoot and everyone lowered their head and let him take us back to the beach. Supposedly you lose your wedding dinner reservation unless you and your whole wedding party is sitting in the restaurant at 6:30pm. And there is no way around it, so make sure not to do this, cause they make you chose between pictures at sunset or dinner.
- Send pictures of everything you want!! If you want a specific cake, send a picture and confirm they received and make sure to take it down to the restaurant once you arrive in Aruba, and make sure the restaurant manager to see the picture. We did all that and we still ended up with the wrong cake, a one tier cake, chocolate and we asked for a 3 tier cake red velvet. Restaurant blamed it on the planner and the planner blamed it on the restaurant and it was the most important thing for me at my wedding.
I hope this helps others planning a wedding in Aruba. And make sure you do the trash the dress, my dress cost me about $980 and I am very happy I got to trash it, it was fun it was exhilarating and amazing.
And for all those who do not know this yet, ABIGAIL HAS BEEN FIRED FROM THE RIU!!!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC