Okay, so here is my lengthy review of the Carnival Weddings process from the time we got on the ship until the reception...
We purchased Faster to the Fun passes for our cabin and it was a huge benefit. We were able to take everything on-board and go straight to our cabin so we could unload everything immediately without having to wait on our cabin to open. FTF also allowed us priority lines for the tender, debarkation, and for the guest service desk. It was definitely worth the $70!
A couple nights into the cruise, our hostess (Mary) found us at dinner to want to discuss wedding details. We thought the timing to be extremely off-putting as we were in the middle of a meal with friends and family, but met with her later that evening. In that meeting, she went over all the wedding day details and times for taxi meetings/pick-ups, reception choices, etc. Mary's times were slightly different than what was planned by TWE before we left for the cruise and I'll touch on that later. I met with the Spa that same evening we met with Mary and double-checked appointment times, had a consultation with my hair stylist, and made another massage appointment while there. All of that went very smoothly and they were super sweet to work with throughout the whole week.
So the morning of the wedding, my mom and I had hair appointments at 7am and then everyone in our party met in the atrium at 8:45a to board the privately chartered shuttle. I mentioned in an earlier post that TWE price gouges, so I'd recommend looking outside of TWE to outsource as much as you can independently. It takes a little more work on your part, but the cost savings are amazing! ($16 per person vs. $60! :o) After the rest of the party left the ship, Mary came to the room to get me and my man of honor. We were on our way by 9:30 and arrived to the resort around 10am.
As I was getting off the charter bus that I rode from the ship on, my mom met me with the wedding coordinator from TWE. She was very confused because she hadn't sent transportation to pick me up yet! Thankfully, Mary from Carnival was on her game and had everything coordinated well. TWE coordinator went on to scold us for being there early because SHE was running late and hadn't decorated ahead of us arriving for the ceremony! She continued to berate me right before lining us up claiming I'd hired an outside photographer because the Carnival staff was not in proper uniform... we were thankful they were dressed like our guests because if they were in a shot by accident, it didn't stand out so much! She was ranting right as I was about to see my dad for the first time before walking down the isle. I was FURIOUS! Overall, the wedding coordinator sent from TWE was very rude and abrasive during a moment that shouldn't be bothered with such trivial nonsense.
The officiant met with me and Onick individually before the ceremony to introduce himself. He was very sweet and delivered a beautiful ceremony for us. After the ceremony was over, we had extra time to take photos since everyone was there earlier than expected. We got shots near the water, on the beach, on the resort grounds, etc. Afterwards, we all boarded the charter I'd arranged for and returned back to the ship for the reception that started at 12:30pm. The reception was a ton of fun. We immediately did the cake cutting, first dances, and the rest of the time was spent dancing with friends and family.
We met with our photographer (Aleksandra) ahead of time before the wedding and she was absolutely AMAZING!! We had a printout of photos that we were wanting and gave them to her. She not only met our expectations but completely surpassed them! I was the most nervous of all about the photography services but I'm glad I just trusted her. She served as the photographer and videographer. We had all photos and the DVD back to us the next day. They of course present the DVD to you first and then all of your photos and explain the packages. Your package cost with everything is going to be roughly $3600. We did not pay this amount as we were able to negotiate a significant discount.
Looking back in retrospect, the day was perfect for us. If I had it to do over again, I might consider contacting the resort directly and planning everything through them and just using Carnival as a transportation method to the island. If Carnival did EVERYTHING in house without outsourcing to TWE, I'd definitely do a wedding through Carnival again. However, my disgust for working with TWE still stands and I cannot recommend them in any way. From the planning process to working with the onsite coordinator, they were rude and it was just an unpleasant experience dealing with them.
Last minute tips and recommendations:
--Relax and enjoy the day! It will fly by!
--Understand that not everything is going to go as planned, so just go with it and don't stress the small details.
--Have EVERYTHING printed out and in an organized binder of sorts so if something does come up in questioning, you can refer to it quickly.
--Use a cheap-o hand trolley cart with bungee straps to get everything onto the ship in boxes. As we emptied boxes, housekeeping would take them for us. It was sooooo easy this way!
Well wishes to all for a beautiful wedding!!