Wedding Date: December 4, 2020 ~ Resort: The Fives Beach Resort ~ Photographer: Meek Monster Media ~ Bridal Salon: Blue Bridal Boutique
Why did you choose Romance Travel Group?
We ultimately chose Romance Travel Group after our initial conversation with Lisa Ruchti. We were referred by a good friend who had nothing but positive things to say about her experience with Lisa and RTG. I knew immediately that Lisa was our person, and felt confident she would take great care of us and help guide us in our journey of choosing a destination wedding (and this was before the COVID-19 pandemic was even a thought!).
How did you select the resort? What were the deciding factors?
We ultimately chose The Fives Beach because we wanted to make sure our guests were met with unparalleled service. We also needed a family-friendly resort but still wanted our adult guests to feel like they were able to escape and let loose. The numerous amenities, special events, and resort service were really what drew us to The Fives.
What were some of your biggest fears about having a destination wedding?
Initially, I had no reservations or fears about a destination wedding. My husband and I had discussed what we wanted at length and included our family in our decision-making process. And then, the COVID-19 pandemic happened and we were already over 8 months into planning, with another 7 months to go. Understandable, we were a little stressed and uncertain about what this would mean for our December 2020 wedding. Lisa and our resort wedding coordinators kept us reassured throughout the planning process leading up to our wedding. Despite lingering uncertainties out of our control, Lisa and The Fives staff took great care of us and our guests and really made it a seamless process despite being in the midst of a global pandemic.
Describe what it was like working with the wedding coordinator at the resort? What went well? Any challenges?
Our wedding coordinators were wonderful. They began communicating with me very early on about the planning process and provided explicit deadlines to ensure we received what we wanted. They also made sure to go through every detail with us when we arrived at the resort. They were always checking in with us throughout our stay and really made everything easy on the day of our wedding. The only challenge we encountered was having separate rooms available in time on our wedding day so that me and my husband could get ready separately. This seemed to be more of an issue with the resort blocking another room, rather than lack of attention with our coordinators.
Tell us about your wedding dress – How did you find it? Who went shopping with you? How do you feel wearing your dress?
When searching for a wedding dress I had two mandatory requirements - I wanted a low, open back AND it must be made for a long night of dancing. My mom went dress shopping with me and we went to five different boutiques in one weekend. Realistically, I found this dress at the third boutique we went to and I think both my mom and I knew it was "the one". Unfortunately, we had appointments at two other locations that would charge cancellation fees for our appointment, but it reassured me that my dream dress was back at Blue Bridal Boutique. The dress, and the staff, made me feel like a queen and I was so excited to order the dress. It was comfortable, and perfect for dancing - I even had it altered to wear at our one-year anniversary celebration.
Describe the booking process for your guests. Did they find that to be easy to navigate?
Most of our guests enjoyed the simplicity of the booking process. Lisa was also very attuned to our guests' needs and always made sure she was readily available for questions. This helped take so much pressure off me and my husband. Lisa and the resort were also very willing to adjust room rates for our guests as prices fluctuated following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Were your guests wowed by the resort and the all-inclusive concept? What was their reaction upon arrival?
Our guests absolutely loved the resort! Most of them were not expecting it to be such a big place! The wildlife (monkeys and a pig!) on-site was one of the coolest aspects that our guests raved about. They also enjoyed the poolside drink and food service which never disappointed! The variety of restaurants was another highly talked about amenity. Everyone really enjoyed their room accommodations, and we only had a few delays with some of our guests not having their room ready upon arrival.
How easy/difficult was it to travel with your wedding dress? Did you carry-it on, where did you store it? Did you get a lot of comments at the airport?
Travelling with my wedding dress was honestly very easy! I carried it as one of my carry-ons and the flight staff even stored it upfront for me in a small closet! I feel like travelling with a wedding dress turns you into a "VIP" passenger and people were very congratulatory to me and my husband while traveling. My wedding dress was slim-fitting which probably helped make it easy to carry around.
Tell us about your wedding – did you have a traditional wedding with a cocktail hour, dinner reception and dance? What was different about a destination wedding compared to a wedding at home?
We had a traditional reception followed by the reception and dancing one hour later. We opted not to do a cocktail hour since it was an all-inclusive resort and we had a short time period between the wedding and reception. It also gave our guests time to freshen up or change clothes if they wanted to. Having a destination wedding made it easy for people to feel at home. Everything was in one place, and if a guest forgot something, it was easy for them to run to their room quickly. The resort had some amenities that we likely wouldn't have been able to find back in Texas (like having an on-site cigar roller!). Because the resort had a few on-site bars that were open late, we were able to keep the party going with our guests even after the wedding ended! Having our guests close to us during our wedding week was the big bonus - we were able to hang out with everyone much longer than just the 5-6 hours our wedding celebrations.
What was the best part of having a destination wedding?
Not having to worry about a lot of the little things! With very busy work schedules, me and my husband wanted something that was streamlined. Having a destination wedding really allowed us both to take a back-seat to most of the planning knowing that our coordinators were taking care of all the logistics. We were really able to enjoy our time with each other, as well as our family and guests, with minimal stress.
What is your most favorite memory of your wedding experience?
Both me and my husband do not have family close to us. Having all of our guests at the same resort where we could spend quality time before and after the wedding, was truly our greatest memory. The wedding day itself was everything we wanted - great weather, a meaningful ceremony (they were totally willing to do a customized script that we wanted), delicious food (our guests raved about the food), and literally danced all night long until they turned the lights on.
Would you recommend Romance Travel Group to other couples who are considering a destination wedding?
Absolutely! I do not think we would have had such a great experience had it not been for Lisa and RTG. From the planning, to the travel, and everything in between - I always knew we had someone in our corner who was making things happen. It was also reassuring knowing that RTG travels to all the resorts they recommend to their clients, so they are able to provide an insider's point of view. While the relationships between RTG and the resorts are mutually beneficial, we never felt like we were being persuaded in a direction that was not aligned with our goals and needs.
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