Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I've struggled with writing about Day 2 of the wedding weekend because I feel less happy about the rehearsal dinner than about the welcome bbq and reception. It's my own fault, really.

Back when we began our wedding search, I really liked Nikki Beach Turks&Caicos, though I had some doubts. When I went to visit T&C in January, I stayed one night at Windsong (a very cute hotel which had just opened--I was their only guest that night--and which we ultimately didn't choose because they weren't planning on opening a real restaurant on the property and they are quite close to the busiest beach on Provo, the one in front of the Beaches complex) and one night at Nikki.

I liked the Nikki rooms a lot. I'm a sucker for things like the fact that they have Mitchell Gold couches, like we do at home. I also had a really nice meal at their restaurant and found the woman who was helping me, Lisa, to be very pleasant and helpful. It's true that once I saw the Gansevoort property, all other hotels were out of the running, but honestly Nikki didn't even make the short list because of their man-made beach. I didn't feel like I could ask guests to fly to T&C only to have them lounge at a bay like the one that Nikki sits on. I had felt the sand on Grace Bay, soft, white, beautiful and found Nikki's grainy sand to be really lacking.

IC, however, never liked Nikki. He found it completely pretentious and was very resistant to any events being held there. When he and I were in Provo in March, a few weeks before the wedding, we had still yet to choose a rehearsal dinner location (but we knew we wanted it offsite as we wanted to show our guests something other than Gansevoort in Provo). I was pushing for Nikki hard. The Gansevoort has a real "wow" factor, the second you walk onto their property. I felt Nikki, even with their fake beach, had the same thing. This is the view from the lobby in a pic I took in January:

Nikki Beach entrance

We had dinner at Nikki and IC was not wowed. He thought the place was nice but nothing compared to what he would call "our" hotel. I kind of saw his point. Still, he had not yet seen the best part about Nikki Beach--its phenomenal penthouse. This is half of it:

Penthouse deck, Nikki Beach

When he did see the penthouse deck, he did admit it was really something. Still, he resisted. IC is big into cues and when Nikki didn't comp our meal that night he said to me "K, these people don't care if they get our business. It's a terrible economy, no one is traveling, they know we're here to book a party for 65 people, they should've comped our dinner." I was making excuses for them. I mean, they had initially met me when I was looking for somewhere to hold our wedding. They didn't get that business, why should they assume they're getting this?

Anyway, IC gives me what I want and we end up choosing Nikki for our rehearsal dinner. I arrange for a bus to come pick up our guests and Nikki tells me they'll provide us with their "party bus" for our family which fits 10 people.

Also, turned out that the night before our rehearsal dinner, Nikki would be celebrating their one year anniversary with a big party (supposedly 1000 people) featuring a performance by Maxi Priest. "Um, did they tell you they were having this huge party when you were looking to book our wedding there?" IC asked. No, no they hadn't. "So, you're telling me we could've been having, what, our welcome bbq on the night of their wild bash?" I take his point.

The bus for our guests arrives on time and we pile everyone in. No Nikki bus. I call my contact there. She assures me it's on its way. I tell the bus with the guests to leave. 15 minutes late, an SUV arrives. It fits 6. We have 10, as planned. I can't say I maintained my composure all that well. There might have been some F bombs and an irate bride-to-be yelling at the SUV driver to get another car LIKE RIGHT NOW. I was really pissed mostly because IC was right as always, this place did not care about our business.

We got to our rehearsal dinner 45, or so, minutes late. I wasn't going to let the delay bother me. Our guests seemed like they were having a good time. And the space really is beautiful.

From Lauren:

Nikki Beach

Ariel and Sharon

From Yelena:


The rest of the pics in this post are by our amazing photographer Matthew Szlakowicz:






IC rocked his awesome white suit which he had so feared wearing:


I actually had a dress mishap. I had bought this amazing dress at the Barney's warehouse sale back in January and had planned to wear it to the rehearsal dinner. That night, I snipped the tags off, put it on and it was HUGE on me, totally not the form fitting dress I had bought a few months earlier. I know, I know, it's hard to feel very sorry for me, waaaah I'm too skinny, but it was really annoying and extremely lucky that I brought another dress (I had thrown it in the suitcase at the last, last minute).

Anyway, back to the party. I thought the food was pretty average, my shrimp were overcooked, not nearly as good as the two previous meals I had had at Nikki. But ok, it's hard to cook for 65 people. I kept giving them the benefit of the doubt.

Then it got really, really, I mean, really windy:


Our guests were wearing towels to keep warm:




IC asked "you think they don't know how windy it gets up here? Why did they let us do a dinner here?" I was still defending them. I said "it's just a windy night, they had no way of knowing!" Of course, that seemed less likely when we left the party and went downstairs to a totally windless night.

It was a fine event, our guests said nice things about it but if I had to do it over I'd have it somewhere else. I hate complaining about things like this, I mocked myself in a conversation later that weekend about this post (like, waaaah my diamonds don't match with my other diamonds!) so I do get that we're so lucky to be able to have a wedding weekend like the one we had. Still, the girl in me who grew up poor and understands the value of a dollar really feels that everything should be perfect when you're paying what we paid. And it wasn't. We'll live. Wedding ceremony and reception write-up coming up soon!

UPDATE: Email from my husband: I wasn't a big proponent of the place but your post is too tough. Everyone had fun. It had its issues but was good overall.

He's right, it was good overall, I don't want to seem overly harsh but I do want to be honest.

No, really, I'm working on Day 2, I promise

But in the meantime:

I'm not a Choo girl myself, I find Jimmy's shoes wildly overpriced and quite uncomfortable, but I still may check out the big sale on tomorrow in New York, just to see, ya know?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Drink up

Only slightly wedding related as I think no wedding is complete without vodka (you'll see what I mean in my write-up of the reception), Three Olives Vodka is having this cool contest where they ask people to upload their "o" face. No, pervs, your other "O" face, as in making an o with your mouth:

You can win $10,000 and a trip to NYC. I'm a fan of their grape vodka, definitely worth checking out this summer as you look for a fruity balance in your hard liquor.


This is not wedding related but when one of the suavest men I've ever met provides a shaving tutorial for men and women, I listen and I link.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Saturday, April 4, 2009

It was finally here, the official day 1 of our wedding weekend. With the exception of a couple from San Francisco, the rabbi and the photographers, everyone would be on the island by Saturday.

Our welcome event was a barbecue on the beach at the Gansevoort Hotel. The Bagatelle restaurant did all the catering and set-up and did a really great job. All photos by me unless otherwise noted:

Beach BBQ

Beach BBQ

Picture 068

The grilled local fish listed in the menu was Mahi Mahi and it bothers me to this day that I didn't get to try it (I was busy and chose to eat hot dogs and hamburgers for reasons unclear to me right now) as it got rave reviews from our guests.

Beach BBQ

IC and I got there first, and hung out on the Gansevoort's signature round lounge couches waiting for our guests: Shai and K

It was nice to spend some time together before everyone arrived because it turned out that we barely saw each other for the rest of the bbq. Unlike at, say the wedding reception, we felt like we had to separate and mingle with our guests independently so that we spent a little time with everyone. The music was all-Reggae, selected by IC. We got a million compliments on the music, it was just so perfect and fitting for a beach setting. At one point, though, the random playlist played *our* song, "Love Sponge" by Buju Banton and IC and I could only look over at each other from afar, each engrossed in conversations with different groups of guests.

Beach BBQ

Cora, Diana, BB, Mike, Head

We timed the BBQ to begin at 6 as sunset was a little after 7 and it proved to be a good idea. The sun setting was really beautiful:


Our official drinks of the bbq were mojitos and cocopolitans, a delicious vodka and rum drink which is Bagatelle's spin on the pina colada. IC is holding my cocopolitan, the only one I had time to have that night, in this shot taken by our friend Carly:


The BBQ would also be the last time I got to take my own pictures which, as I was the bride, I suppose makes sense. I love playing photographer, though, so it was kind of hard for me to let go. My friends did a phenomenal job taking shots (I've collected about 1200 so far and haven't even picked up a zip drive from IC's father containing many, many more).

Some great shots taken by friends:

From Dawn Summers:

Beach BBQ

Beach BBQ

Beach BBQ

Stephane and K

Jake and Mrs. Jake

Beach BBQ

The rest are from Cora:










IC+me thanking everyone for joining us for our wedding weekend kick-off:


Toward the end of the night someone got out a guitar and my friend PN played the violin:




The drinks flowed, the music played and everyone definitely seemed like they were having a good time.

IC and I finally found each other toward the end of the night and went back to the round couch, ate dessert and enjoyed the music:


This was the last shot I took to end a beautiful night:


Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday, April 3, 2009

If Thursday was a day we got to chill, Friday, the day before our wedding weekend would officially begin, was hectic.

First of all, we had not yet worked out our seating chart for the reception dinner. I know, I know, people do this months and years and decades in advance and here we are 3-days out figuring out who will sit where, the horror. The problem was that we had put together a fairly perfect arrangement of 6 tables of 10 or 11 people (we were 65 in total). The restaurant manager, as well as our wedding planner, told us this was just not possible. So we spent all of Friday racking our brains trying to make a different arrangement work. It easily took the whole day. I'm not going to say we weren't a little frustrated when we were eventually told our original layout could work. But whatever, it was done, finally.

Couple that with putting together the gift bags and trying to greet each group of guests as they arrived, we didn't even see the beach until about 4pm when we both couldn't take it anymore and had to go outside. Which kinda sucks cause, did you see the beach? This was a shot of our friends frolicking in the water while we slaved away in the room. Boooooooo:

Phil, Slava, Mike, Jayden, BB

When we finally made it out we were greeted by happy family and friends and a beautiful sea:

Maya, Sharon, Ronnie, Shearly

About 40 people were now at the hotel to attend our wedding with about 20 more arriving the next day. Everyone was on their own for dinner but most of our friends waited for us to be done with our errands and our dinner group was something like 14 people. We ended up at Horse-eye Jacks, a casual dining spot which I had visited during my first trip to Provo. Decent food with a conch-heavy menu.

Here's me and my almost-husband after dinner (yes, I got the bag, people, and I LOVE it):

Shai and K

IC had the cutest outfits for every day of our weekend (yes, I picked them out but he was the one who wore them so well). Stay tuned for his BLAW! outfit from our rehearsal dinner.