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tranquilreign

So Glad We Made It! (A Carnival Breeze Wedding Review)

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Overview

We were married on the Carnival Breeze April 6, 2014 while it was docked at the Port of Miami. Our ship was headed on a 6 day Western Caribbean trip to Montego Bay, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel. We had about 30 guests including 8 sailing guests. We chose the 1.5 reception package with the open bar and buffet. Our ceremony took place in a conference room because I wanted a more intimate feel and I didn’t want a bar or a stage involved (which were included in our other ceremony location options). Our reception was in the Liquid Night Club because we booked the DJ. In order to inspire others to live outside the box, our theme was “LIVE. LOVE. TRAVEL.”

 

Wedding Planning

The Carnival and Wedding Experience portions of our wedding planning had some shaky moments but ended up fine. The first shaky moment was after I had sent my Save the Dates and then logged into my Carnival account to discover that the Eastern Caribbean cruise that I had booked was changed to a Western Caribbean cruise! I was hot. Neither Carnival nor my sorry travel agent informed me of this change. Some of the more encouraging CC members reassured me that it didn’t have to ruin our wedding, and I decided to make the most of it. I also decided that I wasn’t going to use a travel agent again. She kept talking about Carnival in such a negative way during the whole process. She blamed the itinerary change disaster on them, she said their customer service was horrible, and she kept mentioning Royal Caribbean. My mental response was that unless she planned on paying for our wedding, she should mind her business and do her job. She wasn’t responsive to helping us with price drops. Some of my sailing guests chose to book directly with Carnival because she acted like they were bothering her when they called for details.

The second shaky moment was with The Wedding Experience. We completed the marriage license process without too much headache until the very last piece of paper was necessary. I used the address for the company that was on the letterhead to return the notarized document, but their company moved and the document came back to me through UPS. I didn’t realize this until someone from The Wedding Experience emailed me and by then we had missed the suggested deadline. Luckily, it was a SUGGESTED deadline. Things worked out fine after they told me the correct address.

Sasha, our Carnival Wedding Coordinator, was nice and she answered my email questions very promptly. She didn’t volunteer a lot of information. I learned from other CC brides what questions to ask and then she was forthcoming with answers. For example, I had to ask for pictures of ceremony and reception sites, signature drink options, additional buffet options for dietary restrictions, favor restrictions, etc.

 

Miami Weekend

We flew into Fort Lauderdale by way of Southwest airlines. I worried too much about transporting my dress on the plane. We were in the B boarding group and we found a bin to put it in. Since it was a poofy organza dress, it traveled well. His tuxedo arrived without too many wrinkles as well. We took a town car from Holland Limousine to the Essex House Hotel on South Beach. I realize that we could have taken a shuttle or a cab, but it was nice after a long travel day to just jump in a comfortable car. The driver was nice, punctual, and he talked about sports with the hubby the whole way while I just enjoyed the ride. It didn’t take long at all. We hit maybe 10 minutes of traffic. More to come . . .

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Congratulations! Aren't these boards and the wealth of info on them just a God Send? Can't wait to read and see more of your special day!

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Miami Weekend cont’d

 

We arrived at Essex House, and I couldn’t believe that it was as nice as the online pictures! The lobby was pretty, clean, and they had an outdoor seating area near Zen Sai that I didn’t know about until we arrived. They whisked or luggage away and we walked to our suite. The outside walkway had nice landscaping and the water fountains along the way were relaxing. The suite was clean and roomy. The Jacuzzi tub was great! The multiple seating options were great for makeup artistry and favor assembly. The free breakfast nook came in handy. And the manager was nice enough to bring us a bottle of wine to celebrate our wedding weekend. The only negative was that they charged my credit card for the visit even though I had paid a discount travel site. I called and they removed the charge immediately. It also took longer to check out than it should have, but I don’t think they had enough people working that morning.

 

 

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We visited the Clevelander next door a few times. The sports bar was helpful for my hubby and his sports addiction, but it was small. The rooftop bar was the highlight. The drinks at the main floor with the club music were expensive! 3 drink were about $65. On the roof, they played more r&b music and the breeze and view were worth waiting in line to get in the tiny elevator. Someone in my party shared that I was getting married and someone offered their bottle of Ciroc with us. That’s all I remember about the Clevelander. . . For the guys, I heard there was a Heat game for some, King of Diamonds strip club, and Club Cameo visits.

 

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Lincoln Road Mall was also on our itinerary for the weekend. After the meet and greet, the wedding party was treated to lunch at Serendipity 3 on Lincoln Road. That place was horrible. I heard that it was a popular chain and I thought that I would at least get some good dessert. Nope. They seated us quickly, but the service was slow and terrible. The food was so-so, and the cake in one of their famous sundaes was at least a day old. The guys enjoyed watching Captain America 2 at the movie theater as the girls went on to do other activities. On the way back from some of those activities, we bumped into Chad “Ocho Cinco” Johnson who was nice enough that day to take a picture with each one of us.

 

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Wedding Day

 

I sent my hubby down the street to the Kent Hotel where his groomsmen were staying EARLY in the morning before the makeup artist arrived in our suite. I used Carmen Cabrera and her work was excellent. I booked her almost a year in advance because her specials and her portfolio impressed me. She was very responsive and she answered all of my questions before I booked her. Apparently things are going well because she just started her own line of cosmetics. One of my bridesmaids was so impressed that she expressed an interest in getting Carmen to do her makeup for her wedding next year.

 

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Things were a bit stressful leading up to arrival at the port. We had planned on riding with some guests who drove to the port, but they didn’t have room for our luggage and their luggage since we were all cruising. Then I kept getting calls from people about things that I had already said in print and /or verbally like “Should we arrive dressed?” “How do I attach the luggage tags?” “What time should we leave?” And they had some kind of computer issues at the front desk. So I stood there looking annoyed with my hair and makeup done with that dang veil getting in my way. The hotel hailed us a cab who was waiting for us to check out. After 15 minutes, I walked away from the desk and got in the cab. Luckily, he couldn’t get his meter to start and he charged us a flat rate of about $20, I think. He was quick and safe and we were there in about 15 minutes.

 

 

Port arrival was kind of confusing. We asked for directions and dragged our luggage to the porters. Many of our guests were waiting outside because security told them that they couldn’t find our guest list. Our coordinator wasn’t there to meet us yet. We were allowed to go through security since we were cruising. Security stopped me because he had to visually inspect my batteries and the gifts in the gift bags looked odd on the x-ray machine.

 

 

Then they let us go and we met our coordinator who calmed me down and reassured me that the guest list issue would be solved. We were whisked off to the check-in counter and then a holding area. We saw our other sailing guests first and then others trickled in as they arrived. I told everyone 10am even though the suggested time was 10:30am. We STILL had latecomers, including members of the bridal party who were told off in several ways, by various people, before and after their arrival. Some people had parking issues because they got confused by the signage or they chose to park in a cheaper lot and had to take a shuttle back to the terminal. The coordinator gave everyone a map of the ship with the ceremony and reception sites highlighted and she told them what time to be at the ceremony. She kept leaving to check on when they would start boarding. She also took my bag of items to be set up at the ceremony and reception. She complimented me on an instructions sheet that I gave them and asked questions about any last minute changes. We met our officiate who went over every detail of the ceremony. Apparently, she married our wedding coordinator and her husband!

 

 

When it was time to board, things moved fast! Wedding coordinator pushed us to the front of the line, and even got snippy with the staff who wanted us to wait for some unknown reason. I had bridal party carrying things for me and we went to our room. The groomsmen went to a guest’s room to change. (That additional changing room was one of those details that I had to ask for because she didn’t volunteer the fact that we could have another room ready.) The rest of the guests toured the ship. The photographer, Ryk from South Africa, called to ask if he could come up in 20 minutes to start taking pictures. One of my bridesmaids also got a call from her father and the rest of the really late guests because security said that they weren’t on the guest list. I offered to give them my copy of the list, but of course that wouldn’t do. Then I made a deliberate decision to stop worrying about everyone else and just get ready for my wedding. I had already turned off my own cell phone.

 

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I got dressed enough for Ryk to come in the room. He was talented and not very modest. He gave a bunch of really weird directions for posing, but the pictures turned out great. He left to set up at the ceremony and the bridesmaids left for rehearsal. I took some deep breaths, touched up my lips, and practiced walking around in that dress. I read that I could have asked someone to stay in the room with me, but I appreciated the time alone. Alone until my bridesmaid had to come back upstairs to retrieve the groom’s wedding ring that she forgot! LOL Then wedding coordinator came to get me, and we were off to the ceremony. By then people had started general boarding and a few little girls called me a princess ;)

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Congratulations! Aren't these boards and the wealth of info on them just a God Send? Can't wait to read and see more of your special day!

 

Thank you! Yes, I am writing all of these details to hopefully help others. Paying it forward.

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Ceremony

 

The ceremony was as quick as they said it would be (about 15 minutes). They played the cd that I provided perfectly. There were rose petals down the aisle runner and the wedding party remembered most of what they were supposed to do :) A bridesmaid was in the wrong position but it worked out. My father tried to run down that aisle and I had to remind him that this dress wasn’t going to let me sprint. My hubby cried during his vows. The Officiate accidentally called him my wife during my vows and I turned to her and said “uh, no” and the room burst out in laughter! After the recessional, we came back in the room to take posed pictures with immediate family and the wedding party.

 

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Reception

 

Reception was set up wonderfully. I was so worried about things that didn’t matter while we were in the moment. For example, I looked at Pinterest for months trying to figure out a cake design and then one day I just decided to let it go. I saw some pics on CC of some elaborate designs that other brides requested and I wasn’t very thrilled with Carnival’s interpretation of those designs. I did notice that they were very good at that little squiggle that they do on the standard cakes. So I just let them do that signature squiggle and I provided our travel themed cake topper. The reception table was set up well with our memorial sign, favors, and guest book cards. Looking back through pictures, I think she put the card box and a set of glasses from my bridesmaids on the cake table. I only remember these details because of the pictures. At the time, I wasn’t thinking about anything but how happy I was.

 

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We had the blushing bride as our signature drink and it was strong! In my planning document, I told our wedding coordinator our favorite drinks and she kept them coming throughout the reception. Bridal party brought us food because I would not have fit by the bouquet table in that dress. The few bites that I had were good. Others told me that they loved the food. I don’t remember an ice sculpture. The DJ was hilarious. He played the provided songs at the correct times and threw in a few great songs that we forgot about. Photographer took a few pictures of us during the end of the reception with the guests before everyone left, but it wasn’t disruptive. Before we knew it, we were kissing people and thanking them for coming. I am glad that I assigned clean up duties to the wedding party like taking the cards to our room and taking the bridal party’s stuff out of the room before they left the ship.

 

The only snag was that I had no idea who had my room key when it was over. Since the coordinator had to leave the ship before it left, I was on my own after the reception. My hubby was wrangling his groomsmen so that they didn’t forget anything. The sailing bridesmaid’s husband helped me carry some stuff from the reception to our room and then he went searching for his wife. I was standing outside our room for a few minutes before my cabin steward saw me and let me in. (After I promised that I wasn’t breaking into another cabin in a wedding dress. LOL) So I sat there for what seemed like forever. Then the sailing bridesmaid came knocked on our door, handed me my key, and soon after, the hubby followed.

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Reception Photos Cont'd

 

 

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Photography

 

We went to the muster drill in our wedding clothes because we were told to meet the photographer in the reception area to take more pictures around the ship. Hubby was tired of his jacket so he ditched it to take the rest of the pictures. My feet were hurting so I switched to flip-flops. The pictures on the deck were my favorite pictures. Photographer also mentioned taking sunset pictures later and we opted out of that photo session. We couldn’t wait to take those clothes off! (Get your minds out the gutter.) He called us later on during the cruise to meet him in the library and decide on which poses and packages we wanted. I had a plan before that meeting. I was going to be stubborn. No expensive fluff. Until I saw the coffee table book. In its own leather-like box. Sold. We budgeted $1000 for pictures and spent twice as much. Thank goodness (and my father) for generous wedding gifts.

 

 

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Overall Lessons

• DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF. Everything seemed like a big deal for the big day, but it wasn’t.

• I will be the best party guest on earth after dealing with some of things I dealt with from some of my invited guests. People need to RSVP and they need to do it truthfully. I had to almost harass people to get the information that I asked for and to tell me if they were actually coming or if they just wanted to come. My bridesmaids had to actually tell people that they couldn’t bring extra guests! After my harassment, I only had one no show because of a serious sickness.

• Wedding website was a gift and a curse. It was great for the people who actually read it. I did get compliments on that as well. However, there were details that others kept asking me when all they had to do was read the website. I thought that if they could be on Facebook all day, they could go to a wedding website. My bad.

• Choose bridal party carefully. People who were great with me sometimes weren’t great with each other. There needs to be at least one planner/ responsible groomsman to wrangle the others.

• Look in alternative places for the items that you need. I bought a David’s Bridal dress for less than a third of the original price on Craig’s List. Favors were from EBay. Welcome bags from Oriental Trading. Jewelry from Charming Charlie.

• Welcome party and welcome gifts could have been skipped. Everyone didn’t stay in the same area or hotel. So the people who stayed in Orlando, for example, didn’t participate in the weekend activities and they were really late to the wedding. Glad the contents of the bags was donated and I didn’t pay for a room or refreshments.

 

 

6 Day Breeze Cruise Highlights

• This was our first time on the Breeze, and we loved it. Entertainment wasn’t as good as on our previous cruise, but the décor, food options, and public areas were improved.

• This was our first balcony, and I enjoyed it. The interactive TV and PPV movies were very convenient. The spa amenities were great. They don’t remind you about the free scrub, metabolism test, and fitness classes. You have to take the initiative to get those amenities. The relaxation room was heavenly.

• They skipped the Grand Cayman port because of rough seas. I spoke to someone who has tried 3 times to get to this port because it kept getting skipped for various reasons.

• Hubby was excited about the basketball court, but it was too windy on deck to play or there was a dodge ball game on the court whenever he went to the sports deck.

• Guy’s burgers were really as good as people said. I don’t eat burgers very often, but that’s what the hubby ate for most of the cruise.

• I LOVED the new 4 cheese pizza. Very good and 24 hour access!

• Italian restaurant had tasty food and hearty portions. (Our friends said that the steakhouse was good, too.)

• They need to advertise the bbq place more. I kept forgetting about it. The hot dog vendor by the sports deck looked lonely! LOL No lines there.

• Paradise Beach in Cozumel was the best port (except for the jellyfish). Doctor’s Cave Beach in Montego Bay was the worst (too many hustlers!).

 

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Thanks for reading!

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tranquilreign,

 

I just love your pictures. You look fabulous. What a beautiful couple. Thank you very much for sharing with us all your experience. I am getting married on July 13/ 2014 on the Legend. What did you do as a party favor? It is less then 2 months away and we couldn't decide yet.

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tranquilreign,

 

I just love your pictures. You look fabulous. What a beautiful couple. Thank you very much for sharing with us all your experience. I am getting married on July 13/ 2014 on the Legend. What did you do as a party favor? It is less then 2 months away and we couldn't decide yet.

 

Thanks! I had luggage tags in the shape of a ship. I also brought the leftover welcome bags (with the anchor) to put on the favor table. And good luck to you! I'm sure it will be lovely.

 

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I got married on a cruise many years ago before so many people were having those kinds of weddings. I actually had many of the same issues you did back then and the entire process led to me eventually becoming an event planner! I instantly regretted choosing some members of my bridal party and will keep it to one or two ladies if I ever get married again. It's sad that some people are so disrespectful and inconsiderate when a couple is celebrating one of the most important days of their life.

 

You were absolutely a stunning bride. Yes, those Carnival photographers are expensive but so worth the $ spent on the portraits. My kids and I did a family photo shoot on the Dream last year and there is one where my daughter looks like a supermodel standing on the deck with the wind blowing in her hair. They do ask you to do weird poses but it all turns out fabulous in the end.

 

Congratulations!

 

 

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First off, OMG you are gorgeous! You looked absolutely beautiful in those pictures! Secondly, aren't these boards amazing? I just found them last week, just in time to ask some last minute questions before my deadline of 30 days in advance. And finally, I have read nothing but horrible things about Sasha and had a terrible experience with her myself. I finally had to have a bridezilla moment and insist her hands didn't touch my wedding, and to keep her name out of my email box and her voice off my voicemail (3 different times she claimed she did something that she did not do, and if she was willing to lie to cover her butt when she dropped the ball, I couldn't trust her to help plan a destination wedding), on the other hand Dinah is AMAZING! I have dealt much with the Wedding Experience yet, but will start having a lot of interaction with them this coming week as we are getting into that 45 day timeline. Thank you for your review. I am on the west coast and will be on a different ship, but cast of characters are the same!

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I got married on a cruise many years ago before so many people were having those kinds of weddings. I actually had many of the same issues you did back then and the entire process led to me eventually becoming an event planner! I instantly regretted choosing some members of my bridal party and will keep it to one or two ladies if I ever get married again. It's sad that some people are so disrespectful and inconsiderate when a couple is celebrating one of the most important days of their life.

 

You were absolutely a stunning bride. Yes, those Carnival photographers are expensive but so worth the $ spent on the portraits. My kids and I did a family photo shoot on the Dream last year and there is one where my daughter looks like a supermodel standing on the deck with the wind blowing in her hair. They do ask you to do weird poses but it all turns out fabulous in the end.

 

Congratulations!

 

 

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Thank you! Yes, I'm thinking of getting into travel bc of my horrible experience with that aspect of the wedding. As for family, they aren't going to change. I understand that now. I loved the pictures! I felt guilty for buying so many, but I'm happy we did it.

 

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First off, OMG you are gorgeous! You looked absolutely beautiful in those pictures! Secondly, aren't these boards amazing? I just found them last week, just in time to ask some last minute questions before my deadline of 30 days in advance. And finally, I have read nothing but horrible things about Sasha and had a terrible experience with her myself. I finally had to have a bridezilla moment and insist her hands didn't touch my wedding, and to keep her name out of my email box and her voice off my voicemail (3 different times she claimed she did something that she did not do, and if she was willing to lie to cover her butt when she dropped the ball, I couldn't trust her to help plan a destination wedding), on the other hand Dinah is AMAZING! I have dealt much with the Wedding Experience yet, but will start having a lot of interaction with them this coming week as we are getting into that 45 day timeline. Thank you for your review. I am on the west coast and will be on a different ship, but cast of characters are the same!

 

Thank you! These different experiences during the same process are so interesting to me! I didn't know about Sasha's track record. I just wasn't sure why she didn't initiate as much as she should have. Wedding Experience coordinator that day was a blessing. She took care of more things than I thought she would. I wish I remembered her name . I do have her in some pics and my guests loved her. Good luck and enjoy every second!

 

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WOW, what a beautiful bride you were! Oh, and your guy's not bad either! Loved all your pics, and your gown was gorgeous! Hope you had a fun time on your cruise & thanks for sharing your very special day, it's one you'll never forget. :D

CONGRATULATIONS ! :)

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WOW, what a beautiful bride you were! Oh, and your guy's not bad either! Loved all your pics, and your gown was gorgeous! Hope you had a fun time on your cruise & thanks for sharing your very special day, it's one you'll never forget. :D

CONGRATULATIONS ! :)

 

Thank you! We had a great cruise. Yes, the whole experience was unforgettable.

 

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Absolutely stunning pictures!!! You were a beautiful bride!

 

So sweet! Thank you for your kind words.

 

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Thank you SO much for posting this. Only having a vague idea of what is going to happen "day of" is stressing me out!

 

A few questions if you don't mind- Did you do the Lido lunch for your nonsailing guests? Did you ask for the homeland security information on your invites or do that separately?

 

You made a stunning bride and made me super excited about our upcoming wedding!!

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Arwerth,

I am 29 days from our wedding and I would say: put on your invite about homeland security rules and ID information.

I just finished my guest list, and was like pulling teeth to get people to give me their ID. I learned after, from this forum, that is better to let them know upfront that they will need ID to board the ship!

 

 

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