Saturday, November 29, 2008

Jamaican Locations, Part Un

Beware: Lots of pictures ahead!

Ted and I decided that we weren't comfortable with booking our wedding sight unseen. So we decided to take a trip to do "research" (natch). As I've said before, we spent hours, days, weeks worth of online research to narrow down our choices. Our four options included a small resort in Montego Bay, renting private villas in Discovery Bay, the place where my mom & Pete were married in Ocho Rios, and a less expensive, small "resort" in Negril. I’ll start with our first two.

We chanced a trip during Hurricane season, but other than one, albeit short, downfall, we were pretty lucky. Our first stop was in Montego Bay at the Coyaba Resort. We were immediately impressed, as we were greeted with a cool towel and a rum punch upon check-in! The perfect start to a Jamaican vacation - I mean RESEARCH trip. After dropping off our bags in our gorgeous suite, we met with one of the wedding managers. He was great! We went on a tour of the grounds & loved it. I have no desire to get married on the beach, and Coyaba has a wedding lawn that overlooks the water. This resort is great because it only has 50 rooms in 3 buildings. They are all close to each other and we wouldn't have to run around to hunt someone down. The grounds, on the other hand, are huge! Beautiful gardens, restaurants, beach, etc. The staff are also extremely friendly and remember your name - a very nice touch.

Look familiar? One of our Save the Date ideas!

After a hard hour of research, we relaxed for the rest of the day :)

The next morning, we rented a car and drove to Ocho Rios via Discovery Bay. I don't know which driving experience frightened me more - Jamaica or Italy. Jamaica was much more difficult, as they drive on the "wrong" side of the road & everything inside the car is switched around. I don't know how many times we needed to make a turn and the wipers would furiously squeak across the windshield. We also somehow managed to get pulled over for speeding - in a country where these drivers are INSANE. Luckily, no ticket.

We looked at 8 villas that day day. These homes were STUNNING. I initially loved the idea, having just been to a wedding (bridesmaid C) where we all stayed in enormous, gorgeous homes. It was great waking up in the morning, having coffee with everyone, gathering in the kitchen and living area, etc. Two of the places that we toured were also right next door to each other and had a door in the shared fence. These places are fully staffed with housekeepers, chefs, butlers, drivers, you name it – everything you could ever want, they could deliver. Obviously, such luxuries come with luxurious prices. But, it’s the only time we’re getting married and we want to be pampered and have our guests pampered too!

Wouldn't this lawn look gorgeous set up with tables, lanterns, family, friends?

The other villas (shacks) really weren’t our…style. Much, much cheaper, though. Seeing these validated our “research” trip, in our opinion, because had we booked these online and just showed up for the wedding with all of our guests, I would have been devastated, mortified, embarrassed, mad, etc.

She may look pretty, but trust me, she ain't. Paint and a pool go a long way for internet photos.

Up next: our last options and our final choice.

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