Meet Marjorie, she was one of our destination brides in 2010. We asked Marjorie if she would be kind enough to blog about her experience with us, and planning a destination wedding. Especially since Marjorie wasn’t your typical bride, she didn’t have a favorite color picked out, or photo clippings of bridesmaids dress, cakes, bridal gowns, etc. Which is totally okay! But I thought it would be great to have her on the blog sharing her not-so-bridal journey from bride-to-be to bride. I hope you enjoy Marjorie’s post. And many thanks to Marjorie and Geoff for taking the time to share your photos and personal planning details with us!
We were not your typical engaged couple. I for one, was definitely not the typical bride to be. I didn’t have a “book” or clippings from magazines that I had been saving up since I was 12. I didn’t have a vision. I didn’t have any motivation to plan a wedding. What Geoff and I knew for sure were two things: 1. we wanted a destination wedding 2. it had to be somewhere hot.
We were engaged in November 2009 and I remember for the first 2 months of being engaged I didn’t want anything to do with wedding planning, I remember it actually made me feel nauseated when I had to think about it. So I just avoided it. We knew that we didn’t want a long engagement so by the time January 2010 rolled around I figured I needed help, desperately. I contacted Cindy from Platinum Events Group, because frankly what bride to be doesn’t get excited to plan their wedding?
…I needed professional help.
When I contacted Cindy, she immediately planned and confirmed a meeting with Geoff and I, her colleague Gabi Castillo. I knew I was in good hands when prior to our meeting she sent us a very detailed questionnaire and were instructed to email it back to her BEFORE we had our face to face. As sure as I was to marry Geoff, I was as sure that Cindy & Gabi would be the right fit for us. Why? Because as detail oriented and borderline OCD I am, I knew Cindy and Gabi were too! It was a match made in wedding planning heaven.
I’m not going to lie. I was afraid of the face to face meeting. They would immediately see through me and know that I didn’t want to have anything to do with this, they would judge me, they would think there was something wrong with me. And then I heard the words straight from Cindy’s lips, as if the clouds parted and the rays of light shone down on her as she said “Oh don’t worry, I hated planning my own wedding!”. That was it, she had me at hello. The meeting was perfect, they knew what type of couple we were, they even already had narrowed down destinations, resorts and prices for us. They made it so simple, that all Geoff and I had to say was yes or no. I loved it. I remember clearly leaving that night as we said our goodbyes to Cindy and Gabi that it was the FIRST time I was actually excited about this wedding….and it was true!
The entire process was extremely organized. Gabi had a timeline for me, to do lists and decisions that had to be made by certain dates. What I love about Platinum Events Group is their no nonsense approach and the simplicity. I don’t want to be bombarded with choices, I don’t want to make the simple complicated and Gabi knew that and tailored the process so it was easy for me. I am a very organized and particular person when it comes to “planning” anything, and I felt Gabi recognized that and was respectful of my sometimes unrealistic nature! Two months prior to our Bahamas wedding, we moved into a new house and Geoff and I BOTH started new careers…who does that before they get married? WE DO! Why? Because Gabi kept me so organized! There’s no way we could have done any of that sanely if we did not have Platinum to help us.
Gabi did everything. Geoff and I would just say yes or no. The most valuable part of the process I felt was that Gabi was the one who would liase with the hotel/resort in Bahamas. When Geoff and I met with the wedding coordinator at the Riu Palace in Bahamas 2 days prior to the wedding, I pulled out my spreadsheet and timeline and the wedding coordinator looked at us and said “What do you need me for? You guys are by far the most organized couple I have ever worked with.” Geoff and I just looked at each other and shrugged our shoulders, it was ALL Gabi, I was just going to put on that white dress on the wedding day he was going to put on that suit and we just needed to show up!
Our arrival into Nassau was smooth and Geoff and I arrived a day before our guests so we could settle things at the venue. We were able to look around the Riu Palace and even check things out at the Atlantis Resort (one of the main reasons why we chose Paradise Island, Bahamas). Upon our arrival we met with Debbie the wedding coordinator at the Riu Palace, she showed us our venues, restaurants and our cocktail reception area. All 45 of our guests arrived the next day and we were elated. It was perfect. So perfect that the night before our wedding, I forgot I was getting married the next day…that’s how stress free I felt.
The day of the wedding was also stress free, my bridesmaids and I were able to book our hair and makeup appointments at the Mandara Spa inside the Atlantis resort. I not being fussy with hair or makeup waited until I arrived to the Bahamas to book this appointment, risky, but that’s me. The spa was wonderful and the staff there equally wonderful.
My photographer met me in my parents suite which is where I got ready. My flowers were all ready when I arrived at the suite. We took photos, ate some room service and then headed down to the ceremony.
It was a clear, beautiful, sunny and very windy day, another reason why we didn’t choose to get married directly on the beach. Our minister was funny and next thing you know we were saying WE DO! Our ceremony was immediately followed by a champagne toast and then the wedding party headed into downtown Nassau for photos.
The cocktail reception was held in the lounge, where our guests were served with hor d’oeurves. We did maid of honour and best man speeches along with our first dance and mom/groom and dad/bride dances here. After that we headed into the lobby for more photos, followed by a wonderful dinner in the Gourmet restaurant. Our guests had the choice of a filet mignon, salmon or duck l’orange. We had our custom wedding cake after dinner as well.
I had my stationary all printed and designed in Toronto and brought that all with me for the reception. Guest place cards, table numbers, and donation cards (in lieu of guest favours).
We hired a phenomenal photographer based in Toronto, Michael Patrick, that we brought with us to the Bahamas. Since he was with us for the week, we were able to have our trash the dress wedding shoot a couple of days after our actual wedding. We were also fortunate enough to hire our videographer as well from Toronto, Sam Pesce from Heldfast Productions, to record our wedding and our trash the dress shoot. The highlight of our shoot was when Geoff and I and our wedding party jumped into the Riu Palace pool. Yes, wedding dress and all. We were the talk of the island…literally…we heard people in Nassau talking about the pool jump the next day!
Would I change a thing? Absolutely not. It was the best week of our lives thus far. I didn’t even think that anything could have gone any more perfect. We were surrounded by family, friends and loved ones all week. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
My words of advice:
- Invest in a professional photographer and videographer from home to bring with you to your destination wedding.
- Fly in BEFORE your family and friends arrive, this gives you a chance to “breathe” and iron out any details at the venue
- Don’t forget that you still need a honeymoon…a destination wedding is still a wedding nonetheless and trust me you will not have a lot of alone time with your new spouse.
- Hire a destination wedding planner to help you plan and coordinate your big day.
- Last but not least have fun and relax….. All the little details will work themselves out!