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About sbelland

  1. We had 30 guests and booked the Dolce Vita but not the private reception. The room was large enough to fit us all comfortably yet it felt cozy. I wouldn't pay the additional money for the private reception but that was just our thought as we wanted it to be about the experience, family and friends and weren't there to spend a lot of money where it wasn't needed, but again that was just our perspective.
  2. I used an outside photographer and would highly recommend doing so. We got 11 free photos from the hotel photographers and were so happy that we decided to get another photographer to be there to capture our special moments. We used Stacey Clarke and would highly recommend her as our pictures were gorgeous!!!! Stacey and her assistant actually caught the hotel photographer sleeping during the ceremony on the beach instead of taking our pictures and he clearly fancied one of my bridesmaids as most of our wedding pictures were of her and not us. If those were the only pictures we had, I would have been very upset. The funny part is that they take all of the pictures and put them on their computers in their 'studio' and modify them to make it seem like you have many more photos to choose from. We had one picture altered four different ways and they claimed that they were all different pictures. Unfortunately I know that they had recently made a change to the outside photographer policies and have an $800 charge for them to be there. We avoided this by having Stacey stay the night as she was now a hotel guest we did not have to pay the vendor fee.
  3. The ugly banquest chairs are the only ones that they have, thus you basically have to use the chair covers. I know that there were some weddings however that did not use the sashes and just had the white chair covers. I would try and negotiate for this if you wanted to use your own decorations at a lower cost although they do a very good job with the what they have. Keep in mind though that if you want any of your decorations back to put someone in charge of collecting them after the ceremony. We were never offered any of our decorations back or were able to use them at the reception. It wasn't a big deal for us but I know for others having an at home reception they were very upset about not being able to reuse them.
  4. I would send them another email as they were always so prompt with replying to me. They did mention that they do lose emails at times so perhaps they did not receive your cancellation notice. I also got my nails done before hand and would definitely reccomend this as they are much slower than most salons at home. I was 30 mins late to my ceremony and there were only 6 of us. 3 only getting their hair done and the other three hair and make up, and we were there for four hours even with three stylists!
  5. We did speeches and first dances during the reception following dinner although ours was in Dolce Vita and the room is more private than in the Grill. We did not however book the Gazebo due to the cost but have heard that it is a great place for first dances. I would recommend doing speeches in the Grill to ensure that everyone is there as we found that once we left some guests wanted to change etc so everyone arrived to the disco at different times.
  6. The Piscis has a beautiful view but is completely outdoors and as they book the other restaurants for the other weddings I would be hesitant in case the weather is poor. That being said it is a beach bar, thus there is a lot of sand and as it is right off of the beach there are a lot of sand flies that are in that area. We could barely stand to have lunch there as we were being devoured. Keep this in mind for anyone that may be allergic as some of our family members had horrible reactions to the bites. Luckily we had our reception at Dolce VIta. We brought our own music for the ceremony and reception. The ceremony went fine as we had provided them a CD with all of the songs listed in order so they knew what to play when. We also brought an ipod with the playlist set up, but the wedding coordinators were not comfortable using it and preferred the CD. We were going to use the ipod for music during the reception with the portable speakers that we brought but when we gave them to the wedding coordinators with the rest of our decorations, they miraculously went missing. They coordinators were also not present at all during the reception thus would not help to try and find them. Luckily my brother had brought another pair, although not the greatest they did the job well. If the dances are important to you then I would recommend bringing your own pair and giving the responsibility to a friend or family member. We did not opt for the DJ as we went to the Disco after the reception. This way everyone was able to change and relax. I have read that you do need your own emcee even if you do rent the DJ. We had our own and everything went smoothly. Happy Planning!!!
  7. If you are ever in Calgary, The VS Store in Chinook Mall commonly has bathing suits. Not sure if many are left at this point but they are one of the only locations that actually carry the bathing suits in Canada.
  8. If you want the tapinaki tables for mikado then be aware that they only seat 10 people in each room so if your bridal party is larger than this then you may want to rethink this. As for the rest of the options it really depends on how many guests you have. Don Pablo is amazing yet they only have table of four and are a very intimate setting as they cook many of the meal options table side. This would be best for a romantic dinner. Dolce Vita is good and they may be able to accommodate a large group depending on if there is a wedding group in the larger room or not be be aware that there are many sand flies so wear bug spray! Apart from that the food is good. The Grill for us was not enjoyable, it did not have any A/C and was very uncomfortable to try and eat in. The food was over cooked and many thought the buffet was better. For my stagette, my bridal party arranged for the large tables to set up in the main buffet and our service was excellent. Everyone found something they enjoyed and for the larger groups there is more room thus you don't feel like your taking over! The Palmyra buffet is also a good option if you want a more intimate setting. It is generally quieter than the main buffet but is only open on busy nights. Also keep in mind that they have a very limited buffet, basically a mini version of the main buffet. Needless to say my vote for the large group dinner with all guests would probably be the buffet or Dolce Vita. Hope this helps!
  9. Confirm with the wedding planners as they seem to change their minds on what they need as documentation. For us they needed notarized copies of our Birth Certificates with the fathers name present and a notarized copy of our passports. The birth certificate is the original long format which generally has to be ordered from the provincial government if you do not have the original from your birth. It is relatively cheap and easy to order but does take a few weeks for them to ship it. If you only have the short form without fathers names present, then your certificate will not have the fathers names present and will simply say 'null'. Hope this helps. Also as a note bring all emails with you as they do change their minds so frequently this will ensure that you brought what was asked of you.
  10. I highly reccommend weddingstar.com. We got almost all of our decorations through them including out cake topper and were pleased with the quality of the items as well as the price. They have so many options to choose from and are Canadian so limited tax and shipping charges. Just keep in mind the weight of the items as they tend to add up quickly. We brought an extra bag just for decorations as it was much cheaper than paying for an overweight bag.
  11. The Dolce Vita does have a seperate room that they use for weddings, it fit our group of 30 very comfortably yet may not be suitable for very large groups. We were there is June of this year and The Grill had absolutely no A/C. We had dinner one night there during our stay and could barely eat it was so hot! Our dinner was at Dolce Vita and the foud was amazing! Much better than the actual dinner served. They did however print all of our menus with the wrong information so it was a surprise to everyone but no one seemed to mind and most didn't even notice. My one piece of advice is not to sweat the small stuff, chances are something will happen just don't let it ruin your day!
  12. No Mic is provided, no speakers provided and not sure about the DJ we didn't have them there. Just an FYI tell guests to wear bug spray in Dolce VIta as there are tons of gnats/mosquitos. You don't notice while dinner is going but after you leave they seem to attack. Also watch out for the IPOD dock if you choose to bring one. We brought one with us for the same intent gave to Donnalee as requested the day prior and somehow it went "missing". Not sure how that happened as they had an entire suitcase filled with stuff. Also as an FYI take any decorations / cake with you when you leave the restaurant. They do not offer to give anything back nor will they help you bring things to your room. The wedding coordinators do their jobs well but you can never find them when needed and are not present at all during dinner.
  13. That's correct - they require a 25% deposit to secure wedding date and package booked if you book anything higher than the free package. All extras are paid for after arrival in Jamaica. Government fees are not included and are currently an additional $250. Vendor fees have been implemented for outside vendors coming in ie. photographer and the fee is $800. Small details such as chair ties, decoration colors, and reception venue can be requested in advance when deposit is given yet will not be confirmed until a few weeks in advance or upon arrival to resort. From what I have read on the forum the steel pan drums are fantastic yet do come at an additional charge. 7 days until we leave and 11 days till the wedding for us
  14. Hi Ladies, Not sure if any of you have received the latest email from Donnalee or not at this point. We have booked the unforgettable wedding package and were informed today that we are now responsible for paying the Government fees of $250. I was originally told that these would be included in this package due to the price of the package. Just wondering if anyone else has received this email or any other information regarding the fees, as well as your response as she clealry states that all other brides have agreed to this change. Definitely am not impressed at the last minute changes as we leave in 18 days.
  15. Hey Kristo, Good luck for your wedding! We will miss you by a few days, we arrive on the 30th and get married June 2. Hope everything goes as you planned!
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