Danielle - God Sister of the Groom

"Lori from Bellas Wedding Planners was absolutely amazing!! My god-brother and his fiancé wanted to plan a destination wedding in a little less than a year and by golly they did it. They had ideas of what they wanted but had never planned a wedding themselves before and didn't really know where to start or what to expect. They were planning for about 40 wedding guests, which is a larger party for a destination wedding. 

Lori was there with them for EVERY SINGLE STEP of the way. Our family is very close and therefore very involved. My godfather knows Lori from work and that is how we found her. Lori endured MANY family conference calls with us and the future newlyweds. We are definitely an opinionated bunch but she fit right in and answered our endless questions with patience and understanding. 

Since Bellas works with the Sandals and Beaches resorts the first question was "Where do they want to get married?" Our family was a little apprehensive about planning a destination wedding from Maryland but Lori assured us that as long as they stayed on scheduled and followed her steps that everything would come together smoothly. The couple knew from the beginning they wanted a destination wedding but were open to locations. Since the wedding was going to be in less than a year they didn't want to financially burden their guests, so Lori laid out the options and the pros and cons of each resort and destination. The couple decided that Sandals Negril would be where they tied the knot. 

The next step was "when?". The couple was very particular about the date they were to be married and changing the date was not an option. As soon as the destination was chosen Lori immediately reached out to Sandals Negril to secure their desired day.

The next step I think was the hardest step for the team/family. We had to get the word out to all of the guests quickly and needed to encourage them to put down some form of a deposit as soon as possible to secure a room. Getting 40 people from of different ages, families, and financial situations to get on the same page was a challenge for sure but Lori kept her cool (and kept us cool too). She told us that all the guests were to call her directly. She would explain the process to each guest and would stay in touch with them as soon as they reached out to her. She would keep track of who paid what amount and how much they had paid along the way. When the time got closer to the deadline for full payment she would reach out for a reminder and start sending out packets with even more information! Now, I helped my god-brother and his fiancé with some of the planning (I am by no means a pro but I do enjoy event planning). You guys I am a little OCD and love organization. All of that to say, Lori created the most beautiful excel document of who had called, their information, their payment plan, their room type, etcetera. It was amazing. She was so organized!! 

The next steps for the couple were to decide the decor, the location of the ceremony, the menus, and other fun stuff. This was hard for them at times to make decisions from pictures and videos on the internet but Lori assured them that if they needed to change their minds they could at any point. They had conference calls with a Sandals Negril wedding coordinator and Lori to discuss in further detail how they wanted their big day to go. Lori would step in a liaison when necessary and gave awesome alternatives that were more cost effective for a young couple planning their big day. She had their wallet in mind the entire time and never once tried to push ideas on them that she knew wouldn't be cost effective. You could tell from Day 1 that her goal was to help them in any way she could to plan a wedding that would leave them overjoyed and able to plan a future together. 

Lori was available to us almost 24/7. If you called, texted, or emailed her in the middle of the night she replied just as pleasant as if you called her in the middle of the work day. If she didn't answer you immediately you were sure to get a response within 24 hours. 

There were two situations that stood out most to me while Lori worked with our families on planning the most special day for my god-brother and his bride. The first was Lori had planned on being at Sandals Negril for personal reasons and assured us that since she would be there she would be working with us on property too. Later in the planning process, her personal plans fell through but she made sure that she would still be there (IN JAMAICA) as she promised to be with the couple for their big day. The second situation was our family had planned on paying for the couple to have a special suite for their big day. They were paying for most of the wedding and their honeymoon and we wanted to give them something special from the family. The catch was we didn't want them to know about it until right before we headed to Jamaica. This meant that while planning a wedding Lori had to keep a secret for almost a year. This included creating altered documents (so the couple couldn't see the room type or costs of the suite we chose for them versus the one they thought they were getting), trying to deter the groom from upgrading his room, and so much more. We literally created extra work for her and she never complained once. She even helped us decide how we would tell them and what excuses we could come up with. 

All in all, Lori was the best! There is no way that we could've pulled any of this off without her. She fit in well with our crazy family unit and we truly consider her family! She even came to the wedding reception we had back in Maryland. She went the extra mile and made everyone feel at ease and stress-free while planning this wedding. 

If you are planning an event I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND Lori from Bellas Wedding Planners. "