Ok... I wrote my review and it is LONG! Enjoy, if you get through it Meeting We met with Mayte the day before our wedding. She went over all the details I had sent her over the year and confirmed everything from seating plan to dÃ©cor requests to music list. I asked all the questions I could think of and gave her all the decorations I had â€“ my fans, balloons, blow-up instruments, sand ceremony things, guest book. She had her bartender prepare several fruity drinks so we could pick a welcome cocktail, and they were all great. She suggested drinks that matched our wedding colours and we ended up choosing two different welcome cocktails, one purple and one orange. We also requested a taste testing, and OH MY GODâ€¦ we left feeling so full it was painful! All the food was incredible, but Iâ€™ll get to that later. We also paid the cash portion of our bill at this point so we wouldnâ€™t have to carry any more around than we had to. One thing Iâ€™ll mention â€“ when I first stepped into the Jellyfish I was really surprised by how small it is! For some reason, I imagined it bigger. Not that it was a problem, we had more than enough room for our 40 guests! Just thought Iâ€™d mention it and see if anyone agrees later!
Ceremony The bus picked up the majority of my guests from the Melia Caribe lobby at 3:30pm. A separate bus came for me, my parents and my bridesmaids at 3:45pm. When we arrived at the Jellyfish, we were hidden from view and Mayte came to gather all of our belongings, but not before a waiter came over to us with some welcome cocktails to calm our nerves! Mayte had everyone take their seats at the ceremony and came to us to arrange us in a nice line up on the street-side of the Jellyfish. The music we requested began to play, and Mayte hid behind a table out of our guests view to help guide us on our walks. Both of my parents walked me down the aisle, and Iâ€™ll be honest â€“ that was a bit difficult. The aisle wasnâ€™t quite wide enough and it made for an awkward, but Iâ€™m sure amusing, walk. When I reached my now husband at the altar, I barely took in the amazing dÃ©cor around me. Pastor Rick York was our officiant and Iâ€™m glad we chose him. The ceremony was beautiful, in English, with some humour. All the music for the ceremony â€“ walking down the aisle and then walking back up the aisle, was played perfectly. The microphone was set up perfectly and all of our guests were able to enjoy the beautiful ceremony clearly. It did go in and out a couple of times, but not an issue whatsoever.
DÃ©cor The pictures show how beautiful and simple the dÃ©cor was. I just sent Mayte pictures of weddings I liked and trusted her to make decisions on how to set mine up, keeping in mind my purple and orange colours. Iâ€™m very happy with what she did. If you have any questions, let me know, but I think the pictures speak for themselves. Just so you know, the final details can be decided on at the meeting with Mayte â€“ we only decided then to use the Chinese lanterns in the restaurant. The table cards and menu cards were all included in the $500 fee and were decorated very nicely.
Cocktail Hour I canâ€™t review the cocktail hour too much because I was taking pictures and I missed all the food! Good thing I tasted it the day before! The thing is, after about 20 minutes of picture taking, I realized no one was eating. My husband went in to see what the hold-up was and it turned out they were waiting for our cue. If you want food right away, find someone right after the ceremony and tell them to get started! Itâ€™s also funny how things work out â€“ Mayte set up the wonderful cocktail hour section with seating and pillowsâ€¦ none of my guests ended up sitting there! They hung out on the ceremony chairs! I couldnâ€™t believe it! I had the $5/person bar option for cocktail hour and I think it worked wellâ€¦ though again, I wasnâ€™t really there. But no one complained!
Introductions/First Dance It was very hard for me to imagine the layout of the Jellyfish before arriving. The beach side of the restaurant is always featured in pictures but I didnâ€™t know where the welcome table and introductions happen. Well, it turns out itâ€™s on the exact opposite side, where the street-side entrance is. After the cocktail hour, guests were asked to come in, sign the guest book, take a gift and have a seat. Once everyone was seated, we once again lined up on the street-side of the restaurant and waited for the MC to introduce us. I brought a CD with the introduction songs because I had to cut some of them, so the DJ just used my disc. When we walked in, we went straight into our first dance, and then sat down for dinner.
Table gifts I really wanted to give my guests a small table gift that was authentically Dominican. I initially planned to buy favours at the beach markets, but I only had one day for all this when I arrived so about a month or two before arrival I asked Mayte if she was able to find a good deal for â€˜Faceless Dollsâ€™ for the women and small bottles of rum for the men. She did the shopping for me, and even put tags on all of the gifts that read â€˜Thank you. Michael and Alexâ€™. She found a good deal on Mamajuana instead of rum so made the decision to go for it, and I was happy about that.
DJ/MC I used the Jellyfish DJ and MC that Mayte provides. For the cost, you really canâ€™t go wrong. I sent a very specific list of songs I wanted, divided up by the part of the day (ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner, dancing). The ceremony and cocktail hour were played perfectly. However, during dinner, I realized that my songs started to repeat, and I think that happened during cocktail hour too. Not sure why â€“ I specified for the DJ to use his own music if my list runs out, so I donâ€™t know what happened. Iâ€™m not sure anyone noticed and itâ€™s not that big a deal. For dancing, he played songs I wanted, but also played his own stuff. His own music was good â€“ there was never a point that I noticed a song I didnâ€™t like. HOWEVERâ€¦ he did not play A LOT of songs that I wanted. I guess I never specified that they were essential songs, so if you have songs you REALLY want played, I would specify it on the list. Also, there were a few songs on my list that he didnâ€™t end up having. Again, it wasnâ€™t a big deal at that point, but just to share. Overall, I would strongly recommend using Mayteâ€™s DJ â€“ so much better in terms of cost and we partied really hard!
The MC, Ariel, was awesome!! You could tell heâ€™s done this many times and knew exactly when to do everything. He asked us when we wanted certain events (bouquet toss, garter toss, cake cutting) and made sure to arrange everything perfectly. We did not have to worry about anything. His English was fantastic as well. Zero complaints!
Dinner Youâ€™ve heard it before. The food is AMAZING. Everything we tried was delicious. For cocktail hour we had Spanish Chorizo (picture of it included in the white spoons), Chicken and Beef Brochettes, Antipasto plates, and Bacon wrapped shrimp. I only tried the chorizo and brochettes and they were deeeelicious. For dinner, we started with a choice of Caprese or Greek salad. I tried both and both were fantastic (and I donâ€™t even like tomatoes). For the main course, we had picked Seabass fillet with shrimp, Beef tenderloin or Chefâ€™s pasta with chicken and mushrooms. The sides were potatoes AND steamed vegetables. Yes, you get both sidesâ€¦ I was confused about that before I went. Upon tasting these three dishes the day before, Mayte and my husband decided that the pasta should be served on all the tables for people to sample, and the choice should be between the fish or beef. This was the best decision we made â€“ no one would have chosen the pasta over beef or fish, but it was incredible. Seriously, my guests talked about this pasta all week â€“ and the majority of my guests were Italian. That good! So everyone chose beef or fish, and each table had two plates of pasta on it. One table apparently ordered extra pasta, and that wasnâ€™t a problem. For dessert we had coconut flan and ice cream â€“ there was an extra charge for the ice cream. I know we could have just had the cake, but in our tradition the cake usually comes out at midnight so we wanted to stick to that. I didnâ€™t get to try the dessert but it looked great.
For drinks, we chose the $8/person dinner option (wine and beer, plus soda, juice and water). Honestly, I have no idea if anyone ordered more drinks during this time, but it didnâ€™t come up on my bill. I think this option worked well for my group.
Speeches We did all of our speeches during dinner â€“ we had a lot of them. Anyone who spoke went up on the dance floor and the MC introduced them, then handed over the mike. This worked wonderfully. The timing happened to work out as well, my husband and I said our speeches during dessert.
Dancing Right after our speeches, my husband and I went up on the dance floor with our father and mother for our parent dance. We combined this to speed things along. The song was played perfectly. Right after this song we played one slow song and invited all couples on the floor. After that, we opened the floor to everyone with the first fast song. The party then began!
After about 45 minutes of dancing, we decided that it was just way too hot in the restaurant. There was no breeze on our wedding night and we were dripping with sweat. I asked for Mayte and met her in her office. I asked it if would be possible to move the dancing to the beach, in the cocktail hour area. I donâ€™t think Mayte says no to anything. Her staff jumped on this request so quickly! They removed the pillows from the center of the area, even moved the dance floor lights outdoors, and moved all the speakers closer to the beach. Above and beyond! There was no lighting around the dance floor like there would be if I had requested it from the start, but there is enough light out there from the restaurant. The MC announced that dancing is moving outdoors and my guests were pleased. It was still really hot, but so much better outdoors. Iâ€™d suggest the same â€“ just see what the night brings. Mayte can make any last minute changes!
Open Bar When dinner ended, the open bar was opened. We went for the national selection at $10/person/hour. We were sure that some of our guests would ask for the higher quality stuff, but no one did! We initially had 2 hours of open bar on our invoice, and I had talked to Mayte before arriving about the possibility of extending that. She had told me to see how the night goes and that we could always extend it the night of. At about midnight, one of our guests came onto the dance floor a bit upset and informed us that the bar was closed and he didnâ€™t hear last call. We immediately ran to Mayteâ€™s office again and asked what had happened. She explained that the bar was already open for 3 hours, and since we didnâ€™t request it, she closed it to prevent extra charges. We asked if we could open it again and she said of course! She suggested opening a tab at that point and we agreed. It ended up being a good decision because we were there another 2 hours and the bill for that part came to $520. Again, I wouldnâ€™t fret too much over timing of these things as it can all be changed last minute. Our guests were very pleased when we announced the bar was open again!
Events We did the bouquet toss, garter toss and cake cutting after about an hour and a half of dancing. We would have done this later, but our videographer needed to leave by 11pm. The MC announced this and did a great job getting people involved. He did something that we had not asked for and could have been really awkward if anyone else caught the bouquet and garter though â€“ he made the guy that caught the garter put it on the girl who caught the bouquet with his mouth. If shy guests had been involved it would have been awful and if youâ€™d rather that not happen, Iâ€™d make sure he knows that before the event.
The cake was great, just like I requested. We didnâ€™t try it though â€“ only the pieces we ate when we cut it. Others said it was good. It was simple â€“ just chocolate and vanilla sponge cake. I wanted palm trees on it, and the bakery delivered. It had white fondant with icing palm trees on it. Mayte was very upset though because in the heat, the palm trees were dripping but I didnâ€™t mind at all. It was nice to see how concerned she is though. No pictures yet.
End of the night We ended the night because some of the guests were getting tired and my fiancÃ© was pretty uncomfortable is his sweat soaked clothes. Most of the guests probably could have kept going, but after the bus came to pick us up (he was actually already there and apparently told Mayte he wanted to go soonâ€¦ she hadnâ€™t mentioned it to us until we asked to leave and I wonder if she told him to just wait) we got very tired. We ended up leaving around 2:30am after we paid and by the time we got to the hotel (5 minute ride to the Melia) most of us decided we were pooped. My husband and I walked back to our room (probably the worst part of our entire trip as our room was furthest from the lobby in a HUGE resortâ€¦ the walk probably lasted 20 minutes at our paceâ€¦ and all the trollies and trains end at 2am). The payment went smoothly but we needed to use 3 separate credit cards. Mayte used two different machines for a total of 6 transactions. Each credit card got charged $1000 on one machine and $845 on the other. Very strange but thatâ€™s the way it is. Mayte also helped me pack everything up and said if she found anything else sheâ€™d have it delivered to the hotel. This may have just been because the Melia is right next door though, Iâ€™m not sure.
Wow, this is going on 5 pages now. Iâ€™ve probably written enough and Iâ€™m not sure if anyone is still reading! I tried to be very specific and answer questions that were floating around in my head before my trip. If you have any others please feel free to PM me or ask here. I also know that I didnâ€™t include a Melia review but itâ€™s not as exciting as the Jellyfish one, haha. Any questions, just ask. The hotel was good overall, nothing INCREDIBLE but definitely very nice, accommodating and the grounds were truly gorgeous. It had itâ€™s cons like any resort will of course. If I have more time maybe Iâ€™ll write a review for it later J For the pictures that I refer to, please go to www.yogile.com and sign in using the username email@example.com and the password jellyfish. This way is easier than adding individual photos to this posting. The album apparently will only last 14 days though. Hope this was helpful!!!