The Sandals FAM Experience….. Royal Bahamian FAM – Part 1

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I received my save the date the same day that Kim posted the save the dates in the Facebook group, so I was glad!  From there the excitement just mounted because members from all over were posting and asking questions and I was looking up flight prices to see if I could afford to go so soon after Christmas!  A few weeks later we had to register in the TA Portal and I was waiting and waiting that day for Kim to post J.  Then I ran to the store and missed the post by an hour, but I had gotten in thank goodness!  The North Carolina ABC members had a group message going on who got in and who can’t go and it was just exciting!  A couple of weeks later we got the wedding invitation in the mail and I thought it would be David Wood renewing his vows so we had a bet going on.  Some said a celebrity, but I stuck to my guns with the groom being David J.

I learned so much at the SWS Training and the Marketing training sessions that I was just a little overwhelmed, but it really helped to be able to ask questions and get live answers, and to see that other members were having some of the same issues.  The motivation that flooded through the room was electric!  I could feel everyone thinking ahead, making notes and planning next moves. At lunch and breakfast, some of us NC members came up with a game plan on hosting Caribbean nights, creating websites and different marketing tactics that we were going to implement as soon as we got back home.  It was inspiring to share and to be able to bond with other planners that we don’t get to see often.  At the wedding of the year, I just had to cry – it was so beautiful and not just the bride and groom J. The décor, the guests, but most of all – the words that were spoken were true and full of love and inspiration.  We all need a reason to keep going and keep pushing through life and through business and the Wedding of the Year gave that to me.

They are not kidding when they say 5 Star Gourmet, I ate so much I didn’t think I was going to fit on the plane.  The food was so good, the staff and service were phenomenal.  Everyone was so kind and friendly it truly made you feel like you were at home.  As for my room – I had a club level Oceanview suite and it was beautiful and clean and the bar, let’s just say I don’t drink so it went untouched but if I did I would be impressed!

I was able to network and plan things with other members that I’ve never met before.  We broke bread and drank and enjoyed each other’s company.  There are a couple that I still laugh and joke with now on Facebook that I first met on this trip.  I am always grateful to be a part of such an Association and to be affiliated with such a company as Sandals & Beaches Resorts.  Blessed is what I am.

It was my first Sandals FAM and it was more than what I anticipated!

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Veronica Foster, MWP,  North Carolina – Behind The Scenes Inc.


 

Sandals Royal Bahamian was the best Caribbean experience I’ve ever had!  This was my third FAM trip with ABC. The Save the Dates built up my enthusiasm and it only continued to build with the constant reminders. Not much beats going from the 20s and snow to 70s and sunshine in a few hours! Upon arriving at Sandals Royal Bahamian, I was warmly greeted with a cold towel and a glass of champagne while my luggage was taken up to my room.

My room was on the third floor overlooking a stunning view of the crystal-clear ocean, and you could hear the soothing sounds of the ocean from my room. After getting settled into my room it was time to explore. I walked around the property looking at the many sights and sounds including guests enjoying a game of beach volleyball, a chef cooking up some delicious grilled entrees at one of the many gourmet restaurants, and the Sandals staff teaching some of the guests by the poolside a dance native to the Bahamas.

Six o’clock came around quickly and it was time to get ready for our welcoming cocktail mixer on the beach where we got to meet and mingle with the rest of our ABC family. I stepped onto the beach and was amazed at how just earlier this very same beach was hosting a volleyball game and now it was spangled in pink and blue lights, a mimosa bar, a beer canoe filled with loyal Bahamian beer and Sandal’s wonderful staff serving us cocktails and Hors D’oeuvres.  After the welcome reception, it was time for dinner. My dinner consisted of the phenomenal Pumpkin Island Soup, Romaine lettuce with tomato avocado purée with a red radish citrus herb vinaigrette and vegetables with kuse kuse.

The next two days entailed training seminars, amazing lunches, and property site tours. Within our spare time we explored the island, I went exploring downtown Nassau to their straw market and seeing the local restaurants and hotels this beautiful island had to offer. Within the resort, there is a Red Lane Spa which I took time to enjoy. In preparation for the wedding of the year, I got my nails done. During our free nights, together with other ABC attendees, I enjoyed some of the wonderful restaurants on resort such as “Spices” a buffet-style restaurant, “Barracat” an elegant French style restaurant and “Casanova” a delicious Italian style restaurant. The service during my trip was incredible, everyone was so sincere and friendly!

And now the moment we had all been waiting for…the WEDDING OF THE YEAR! Walking into the garden, we were all waiting to see who was going to walk down that aisle. The garden was decorated beautifully with chiffon and tropical flowers. Finally, the moment we have been waiting for …. the music starts, and it was one of our ABC family couples. Darryl made his grand entrance, and everyone rose to find Jacqueline walking down the aisle immediately after. The look on Darryl’s face when she walked out said it all, pure love, pure joy! As the ceremony ended, suddenly a Bahamian parade started with entertainers playing instruments and dancing, it was the coolest thing I had ever seen! We were on our way to the reception dancing along with the parade.  When we arrived at the reception hall we enjoyed a marvelous buffet-style dinner featuring many different options of food to choose from, and we then heard the heartfelt tear-jerking speeches from the wedding party. Jacqueline’s story on how it was her and Darryl’s true wedding was touching, she shared how they never got to have a true big white wedding and that it was an honor to share it with her ABC family. As dinner ended it was time to party, we danced and danced the night away with Jacqueline and Daryl, a wonderful pure-hearted couple and I am honored to have been invited to what was indeed the wedding of the year! I was so grateful to have been invited and honored to have met so many new members of ABC, making new life-long friends, memories and learning from each other on how to create dreams come true for our clients just as it did for Jacqueline and Darryl!

Mary SeGall

Mary SeGall, CWP, Wisconsin – Wedding Planning with Mary SeGall


You knew something BIG was coming when news broke of “the Wedding of the Year.” After all, what other Sandals FAM mails out save-the-dates and invitations?!

Although this wasn’t my first FAM, having attended Annual Conference and a trip in Grenada, I am still new to the ABC Sandals program and getting the hang of everything a Sandals experience offers. This time, I was lucky enough to experience a Club Sandals room for the first time. I personally loved the included room service!

Sandals Royal Bahamian is a gorgeous property with something for everyone.  Front and center was the pier where you could catch the shuttle to eat dinner or sunbathe on Sandal’s private island.  One thing I learned was that if you stand on the pier at just the right moment, you can catch the sun setting on one side, while the moon gorgeously rises on the other side!

However, the resort itself isn’t the only reason Sandals is gaining not only my trust as a travel partner but also a piece of my heart. As a planner, we are always a few steps ahead planning for any missteps and worrying about things that may go wrong. No resort is perfect, but here I could relax because the staff really did take care of me. In fact, I never heard a staff member say “no,” they were happy to accommodate our requests with a smile.

As for the main event, the Wedding of the Year definitely lived up to the excitement of all the attendees, and many of those keeping tabs from back home.  Most of us were still confused when Darryl walked out until Jacqueline entered in her beautiful gown and took her place in the Garden Gazebo.  After a touching and heartfelt ceremony, the couple lead the procession to dinner with a live Junkaroo band!

The Wedding of the Year was an amazing opportunity, not just to celebrate, but to create closer and more meaningful relationships with fellow ABC members.  The discovery dinners were a great opportunity to network and meet people on a more personal level.  From the Opening Reception Dinner to the Brunch Cake Tasting, and the Wedding of the Year Ceremony itself, I sat next to a different person every time. I came home with a few more friends and a lot more connections to build our businesses together.

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Nicole Marie Hughes, PWP,  California – Nicole Marie Events

 

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Stay Tuned for Part 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Multiple ABC Members Photos

 

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