We arrived in Port Canaveral on Friday night - our group stayed at the Radisson and took advantage of the great pool and of course the free shuttle the next morning. We had a welcome dinner at Rusty's Seafood that night. I would HIGHLY recommend them to future brides. We had a group of about 30 people that came into town early. They accomodated us on their side deck and gave us our own bartender and waiter for the dinner. The deck has it's owner bathrooms and had a bean bag toss that the kids loved. The staff were great and the bill was extremely reasonable. We worked out a limited menu ahead of time and also chose appetizers, which made things flow very nicely.
I was stressing a little when we first arrived, and the bartender immediately attended to my drink and all was good! LOL
I hired Tiffany from Professional Elegance to do my makeup and hair, as well as hair and makeup for my MOH and my two daughters. She is excellent! She was on time, and didn't miss a beat when I kind of changed up my hair request. She does wonderful work - I had no issues with my hair or makeup the entire wedding and reception. I even took my veil out for the reception and had no issues with the rest of the style coming undone.
I will say the embarkation process was a bit stressful. This is mostly due to the fact that my fiance and I have 4 kids total (all under 12!) and we were trying to make sure we had everything in tow including kids. I highly suggest delegating kids, etc to other people. We DID, but obviously picked the wrong people if you know what I mean!
I did not want my fiance to see me, so they boarded me first with the rest of the guests, and held my fiance back. In theory, he should have boarded with the guests, because he had all the favors etc. I got on and went to our suite, where I waited and waited, then finally got ready. He was definitely more stressed due to trying to make sure everything was in place. It worked out fine, but I would have probably allowed him to board first with all the stuff, then gone on myself later. I think there was just some confusion with the coordinators and this is probably why this happened.
The wedding took place in the Burgandy Lounge and it was set up very nicely. We used our own officiant and our own vows. Carnival accomodated our sand ceremony and set up a very nice table for us to use for this. We did not order any extra decorations or flowers as we did not think it was necessary and I think it looked fine.
I guess I should mention I did not use the bouquet provided by carnival. It was pretty enough, but very small. I ordered silk flowers from Wedideas. I would be careful - the main flowers in the bouquet were beautiful, but the filler was so tacky! We took it out and replaced it with another type of filler. In the end they looked nice but I didn't plan on having to fix these myself.
The ceremony was great, then we took a little time to take some group photos. The photographer was a little stiff for my taste. I like fun pictures and candids, not all kinds of stiff, posed stuff. He looked taken aback when I asked him to take a silly pic of our family, and it is one of my favorites from the entire wedding!
The reception was in the caliente disco. The set up was really nice. Hors d'ouvres were excellent! I didn't eat much, but what i ate was AMAZING! Everyone commented on the food. They waiters were great about bringing drinks to everyone, so no issues there either. We did out cake cutting and our dances first so that we could spend the rest of the reception visiting with our guests, especially since many were not cruising with us. Time flew by! Before we knew it, people had to leave. We had family members take off our sand vase, signature frame, etc so that we did not have to worry about it. The hardest part was saying goodbye to the kids (you didn't think we'd bring them on the honeymoon didya?). They were bummed not to come along but were spoiled rotten by grandma while we were gone so no love lost. LOL
Our photographer took us around the ship for more pics. I had to give him some suggestions - mainly again because I wanted some different shots that you don't see in every wedding album. He was very nice about this.
I will also say that we were up front about what shots were important to us and also when we met to look at the photos, we were up front with what we were going to spend and he didn't pressure us to spend more.
I don't have much more time for the review right now, so I will end with one last thing then write more later. We only had one real issue with the entire wedding/cruise - we had 10 other people sailing with us, and time and time again we had confirmed early dining. Well, when we came to dinner on the first night, half of us were early dining and half were YTD. They then "fixed" it by switching us all to YTD and telling us just to go to that dining room and eat there. I was NOT happy. The whole reason we booked a dining time was so that our group of 12 would not have to wait for a table at YTD.
Long story short, after a few angry discussions (carnival was nice, I was angry, LOL), they accommodated us by allowing us to eat every night at 6 in the YTD dining room at the same table. Instead of waiting, we could just walk in and go to our table. This was actually what I had suggested when the problem came up initially but it took 1 more night and me getting irate at guest services before the maitre d decided to allow it. So, just check and double check on your dining. All of our group's info on the websites said early dining. It was not until we got our sail and signs that we saw it was different.
More to come!