Overall: the wedding and reception were absoloutly amazing -- beyond anything I had imagined while planning. The honeymoon was perfect -- I am so glad we decided to do an all inclusive. I highly recommend the UCLA Faculty center for weddings and receptions and I also highly recommend going to Sandals Ocho Rios for your honeymoon!
Day 1: Settling in and the Rehearsal
UCLA is just far enough away from the OC that we had to get a hotel room the night before the wedding. My bridesmaids and I decided to get a 2 bedroom suite at the W rather than getting separate rooms. The plan was to check into the W in Westwood at 2:00pm (the check in time we were given when I made the reservation), go up to the room, unpack, relax a bit, and then go get our nails done at 3:30. The rehearsal was scheduled for 6:00pm, so this would give us plenty of time to get ready for the rehearsal.
So, we arrived at the hotel around 2:30 pm and first there was a problem with my credit card. When I travel I don't carry all of my credit cards with me, so since we were going to Jamaica for the honeymoon I didn't think it was necessary to bring everything in my wallet, so I cleaned it out. I only brought one credit card with me, one with $1000 available on it - just enough to cover our $650 hotel room. So I gave the guy my card when we checked in and he said it was declined. I was shocked, so I asked him how much he was running it for. He told me that they run it for double the expected cost at the end --so he ran it for $1400! I explained to him that when I travel I don't bring my big cards with me, so I only brought one that would cover the cost of the room and a few incidentals. He told me (three of my bm's were with me: Lisa, Meghann, and Nicolle) that I would need to put the $1400 down or I could not have the room. Then he proceeded to tell me that "the large suites are generally reserved for their high end clientel". Seriously, was the insult really necessary? After a bit of arguing with him, and me asking twice to speak to his manager (which he never let me do), I finally gave him my visa check card, so they could take the $1400 out of my checking account while we stayed, and then I could pay the balance on my cc. He threw out a few other insults while he was at it; one about how he has never rented out a suite for only one night, another telling us that we would have to sign a form promising not to "trash" the place or have more than 4 people at a time in the room, and another reminding us that there could be no noise after 10 pm. Seriously, how old did he think we were? I am pretty sure he decided that we were not the "proper clientel" for the W and decided to treat us like trash. After all of that he proceeded to tell us that the room was not ready and that we would have to come back at 4:00! So, we left our stuff with the bell hop and went off to get our nails done.
I love getting mani-pedi's! It was a lot of fun to sit there with my bm's and be pampered and to relax after the bs at the W. We were looking forward to getting to our room and getting ready for the rehearsal. So, we get back to the hotel and get our room keys. The bellhop said he would deliver our bags to the room, so we only carried up what we needed to get ready. We went up to our room, and it was big and beautiful but...
It wasn't the room I had requested. It was a smaller room than the one I had put a deposit on. I specificaly requested the two bedroom suite with a separate sitting room so the make-up artist would have a place to work on the day of the wedding. I was told that would not be a problem since I made my reservation 6 months in advance. At this point I was frustrated and just wanted to get ready for the rehearsal - so Nicolle and I started getting ready. Lisa and Meghann (I had 4 bm's but Kara met us at the hotel later) decided that they would try to take care of the room situation. In the meantime, our bags were delivered -- but 4 of them were missing! This part is really long, so I'm not going to get into the details, but the short of it is that while I'm getting ready my bm's told me that we would be changing room right then and there. So, I threw on a robe and they took me to the new correct room and they took care of making sure all of our luggage got to the new room.
So, we continued getting ready in the new room. Then I get a call from Elaine (my day of coordinator) saying that the rehearsal would have to start a little late because the ceremony area was being used. This was good news because we were running late due to the room changes. As we were almost ready to leave, the bellhop brings up 3 of the 4 "lost" bags and then tells us that they can't give us the 4th bag because there are wine bottles in it and they don't allow guests to bring their own alcohol. What? Who are they to look inside our bags? I wasn't the one to deal with this - Lisa got on the phone to deal with it (she is a travel agent and she used her status to get things done!). Eventually they delivered the 4th bag to our room and they told Lisa that they were going to give me a $100 room credit.
Okay.. I need to take a break now. I will finish this post later (8/30/08).
Time to continue...(8/31/08)
We arrived at the rehearsal around 6:30 and everyone else was already there. Apparently Daryl thought for a just a moment that I had gotten cold feet! Elaine made sure the rehearsal went well and it was actually a lot of fun. My dad was very nervous and had a hard time walking at a slow pace, but eventually he got it.
After the rehearsal we did the dinner. It was in the same location as the wedding, but in a different banquet room. They had it decorated beautifully and the food was amazing!
I could ramble on about it forever, so I'm just going to give you the highlights. The best thing about it was having all of our family there, because we knew that on the wedding day we would not be able to spend time with them. Daryl's parents had a bottle of Dom that they had been saving for a special occasion, so we broke that out at the rehearsal - it tasted like honey!
His mom also made blue and gold cookies shaped like flowers that were used to decorate the center of the tables -- they tasted great.
The food was excellent, so it was a good precursor to what would happen the next day. For me the biggest highlight of the night was surprising my grandma with a birthday cake and gifts -- it was her 90th birthday on 08.08.08; the night of the rehearsal. She was so happy and shocked!
When the night was over I had a special gift for Daryl that I gave him and told him not to open until he was alone. We had already exchanged our gifts to eachother the day before - I got him a Citizen Eco Watch and he got me diamond earrings. The rehearsal coudn't have been any more perfect than it was.
Okay, I will post separately about the wedding and honeymoon. Bye for now!
So, the girls all go back to the hotel room to have our slumber party. Which would have been perfect except that I noticed that my dress was hanging outside of its garment bag and I decided that I wanted to get everything ready for the next day. At this point we realized that the garment bag was missing! Somehow as everything was being transferred from the other room, the garment bag got lost. Apparently, no one thought to put the dress in the bag before transporting it. I made the mistake of assuming that the hotel had made this mistake and I yelled "how stupid are they carrying a wedding dress 4 floors in an elevator without putting it in the garment bag!" When all of a sudden my moh starts crying -- how was I supposed to know that she was the one that did it? Anyway, this caused some drama, which eventually worked itself out with a long bubble bath, a long talk, and some champagne. In the meantime, the W hotel is still looking for the garment bag which was left in the room (btw -- this was not one of those plastic cheapy garment bags, it was a nice fabric one with a special pocket for the veil). The following morning my wedding coordinator, Elaine, brought me her garment bag to borrow for the day -- we had to transport the dress from the hotel to the wedding site where I would be getting dressed.
Okay -- I will finish this in a new post!