So our renewal was yesterday on our actual 6 year anniversary. We broke some renewal etiquette rules, but I'm okay with it. We hosted our guests right and I think (hope) they had a good time. Overall though, the day was extremely stressful and not nearly as fun as I thought it'd be. I honestly wish we would have just done something simpler with just our family and super close friends.
ARIA HOTEL - C+: (I'll review the chapel separately) Since we're locals I planned on dropping off things at the chapel the day before the event. I was told by my coordinator to just drop the things off at the bell desk and they can deliver it to the chapel (I've never used a bellman or bell desk, but figured it couldn't be too difficult). I pulled up to where the bellmen were standing thinking I could just have them unload it there - No point in valeting my car just to drop something off with a bellman. I park and an older man walks over and barks out "You can't park here." I try to explain to him why I was there and he cuts me off and points and says to park behind a truck. So I pull over there and get out of my car and stand there for at least 5 minutes while this guy directs other people and proceeds to stare at me. I finally start walking to him and ask what I should be doing. He replies with "I don't understand why you're here or what you need." I try to explain it again and he cuts me off (again) and asks if I need a bellman... um.. yes, preferably. He rolled his eyes and turns to walk away and I can hear him saying "The bell desk is inside not out here - I'm not a bellman." He was just extremely rude and talked down to me like I didn't belong there (I came from work so I wasn't the fanciest in scrubs and sneakers). The bellman then tells me he can't take it directly to the chapel and I need to call the bell desk to then have it delivered. (Seriously?) I call as I'm walking away and the lady that answered said they don't deliver it until the day of the event. I may or may not have had a mini breakdown at this point because the last thing I want to deal with on the day of the renewal is calling the bell desk to get my decorations. She finally calls the chapel and they tell her to just deliver it. Finally they get everything squared away, but it was just a headache on top of an already bad morning. It wasn't a good first impression of our trip. (I called our chapel coordinator to confirm she got the items and to tell her the headache and she had the director call me and they gave us a $100 F&B credit on our room and delivered a bottle of champagne and some sweets that night, which was nice of them - but really I just wanted that man talked to)
We had a corner suite booked for two nights and a regular deluxe for one night with early check in. They upgraded us from the corner suite to the center suite at check in for no cost which is AWESOME to get ready in. I don't know if the upgrade was for the issue with the bell desk earlier or because of our renewal, but seriously the center suite is amazing for getting ready pictures. I have non pro pics I'll post below. Couple things though, the tv didn't work so someone came fix it, one of the black out curtains wouldn't open which wasn't a huge deal, but still a little frustrating and the first night when we checked in and the next morning there was an extremely strong odor of weed in the bathroom (where my dress was) coming from the vents. I called the second day and they had security do a walk, but I smelled it again when I got back into the room that night as well. The hubs got ready in the regular deluxe and he said it was nice - I didn't see it. Overall though it's a little pricey for what you get. For the suite for two nights and one deluxe room with early check in it was $1,011.
ARIA CHAPEL - A+: I originally had Marissa as my coordinator, but when she moved over to Bellagio (not chapel) I got Brittany assigned to me. First I have to say Marissa was absolutely amazing. She got manager approval to host our Together Forever package (Vow Renewal Package) on a Saturday, when it's suppose to be only Monday - Thursday, and at the same price at the time ($1000). She worked with me through all my emails and crazy questions, didn't do a floral upgrade fee for a different bouquet, and extended the room discount rate to us even though it was suppose to be on regular packages. That being said, Brittany was amazing as well. Although, I didn't work with her as long and pretty much everything was done she was quick to reply, corrected any discrepancies quickly without a fuss and made the day very easy. The bouquet wasn't exactly what I wanted, but it was still really pretty. With the corsages, a couple beers for the grooms room and an exit song the total came to $1,340.
Cashman - C: I don't even remember the guys name, but I did not like him. He was pushy, not personable and very rude to our photographer (who knew they had to step out when he got there, not move around the room during the ceremony and shoot with no flash). He was about 7 minutes late and then came in and had me review my info and sign it so he started about 15 minutes late. He took about 5-8 minutes of pictures in the bridal suite and went to the grooms suite and took about 3 pictures and then went into the chapel. After the ceremony I tried politely and even a little firmly telling him we didn't want to go around the hotel with him and he wasn't having it. I asked if our photographers could follow us (with their camaras put away) so we could get to bus pick up together and he said no. I then said I'm fine, we don't need to go around with you and he wasn't having it and just kept saying things about how they can't be there and we'll have no photos and we have to because it's part of the package. Apart from that, I'm actually surprised with some of the photos and really like a few of them. As everyone knows their prices are absolutely ridiculous and we just got the 12 prints our package included and left.
DDB - A: I booked the bus for 2 hours to pick us up at Aria and take us to the sign for photos and then cruise the strip until it was time to drop us off at Cosmo for dinner. I didn't read the email properly where it said that drinks needed to be dropped off by 5 pm the day before. Mike was gracious enough to work with us and came a few minutes early to load the drinks we had to keep in a cooler (and have the bell desk pick up and deliver). The only issue was that for our favors I made hangover kits in take out containers and tied mini bottles of vodka to the handle and mike wasn't going to let anyone with the bottles on the bus, but eventually let everyone put their favors or bottle in a box so we started about 20 minutes late after all the confusion. (I knew we couldn't drink hard liquor on the bus, but I wasn't aware that it couldn't be there all together. Overall it was fun and we got some amazing pictures and he dropped us off just in time for dinner. For two hours to bus was $445
Wicked Spoon - A: Hands down, it's an amazing buffet. Everyone absolutely raved about. There was a huge variety and it was all delicious. We didn't book a private room, but were told we would be sectioned off by ourselves, but we weren't. We were in a corner, but they seated people right next to us (they weren't very busy at all). We also had a slight issue about drinks. When speaking with Rose, who was amazing and extremely responsive, I told her that we were not paying for alcoholic drinks. If they wanted one, they could buy it. When everyone was seated the wait staff told the guests that as well, but when a few guests went to pay they were told the drinks were just added to the bill. Luckily not many people ordered drinks and it was only an extra $45 charge so we just paid it, but it could have been a lot worse. After tax, gratuity and service charge for the 47 people that said they were going (not that that many actually went) it was $2,535.
I have to head out, but I'll follow up with a part 2 and probably 3 later!