By lisa203, · 1,589 Views · 6 Comments
My new hubby Omar and I got married at Moon Dance Cliffs in Negril Jamaica on June 21, 2011. We had about 80 guests (on and off-site) come celebrate with us and could not be happier with how everything went.
The resort is absolutely gorgeous and so well kept. The views are breathtaking and the layout of the resort is perfect. Everyone kept saying how it looked exactly like it does in pictures and was blown away from the very beginning. Shuttles from the airport were easy to find, the two hour ride to Negril was smooth, and the cold rum punch to greet each guest was a super nice touch. Most rooms were ready for guests as they got there and each of our on-site guests (us especially!) were pleased with their rooms.
What an awesome group! From our butlers and wait staff all the way up to Richard the concierge, everyone was so good to us. They each made sure that the two of us as well as each of our guests had a blast. The level of service they deliver is like no other we’ve ever experienced.
We had two minor issues that were not deal breakers by any means but disappointed us a bit and seem worth mentioning.
1. We wanted to greet each and every guest as they pulled up and got out of the shuttle van. Omar and I bought leis from home and planned on putting one around each guests neck as we greeted them. This was pretty important to us. We got to MDC a couple days before most our guests did and told the front desk staff of our plans right away. Most of our guests flew on the same flight and were coming on a number of shuttles that left the airport at the same time. They promised they’d call our rooms when they got close to MDC. From what I understand, the resort stays in contact with the drivers throughout the ride via cell phone. It seems calling us slipped them because we didn’t get the call until our guests were already on MDC’s property looking around. We were so disappointed but in the end we didn’t let it spoil our fun as the only people that knew it didn’t go as planned were us.
2. The front desk had agreed to deliver our OOT bags to our rooms for us. The idea was that they’d do that before guests got room keys so that guests would find their bag in their room. Each bag had a tag on it with our guest names and we had them ready to be picked up a full day before guests were to arrive. They weren’t picked up until the day of. Worried they wouldn’t get done in time, we offered to help deliver them but were turned down. As we feared, some bags didn’t make them into the rooms before our guests did. Some never made it to guests at all. The situation was especially frustrating because we had offered to help to make sure they made it to everyone. Looking back we should have gotten a list from the front desk and just had room numbers on the tags because I think that was the biggest part of the confusion. Future MDC brides, short of delivering them yourselves, this may be the best approach.
Food and Drink
The food was delicious. Not much variety but delicious. More than half of our guests were born in Jamaica and are pretty picky about their Jamaican cuisine. The worst complaint I heard was about the time the food took to be served. Those same complainers went on to rave about how worth the wait the food was. The bartenders made our drinks strong and kept everyone but our Heineken drinkers happy the entire trip. I heard a few times that the bar was out of some of our guy’s favorite green drinks. They didn’t dwell on it for the most part. They just drank Red Stripe instead. Future MDC brides, it may be a good idea to request guest favorites beforehand to avoid any must haves running out.
Moon Dance Cliffs handles all reservations out of their office in Chicago. I dealt mostly with Kim and Miriam who always had a good handle on things. Some of our guests are known for giving a hard time and being quite last minute on things and the two of them handled any trouble they caused professionally. I didn’t deal with a travel agent and never felt like I needed to. Kim and Miriam did a great job of keeping me in the loop with guest bookings, payments, etc. Hats off to them.
Kerry, the wedding coordinator in Jamaica was an angel and I loved her from the very beginning. My new hubby Omar visited Jamaica six months before our wedding and stopped by to meet Kerry and fell in love with her then too. Whatever MDC is paying her needs to double. I mean it. She’s that good. We booked our wedding about a year in advance and Kerry reached right out to me. I was pretty easy going throughout and went with her flow for the most part. We spoke entirely through email and she never took more than a week to get back to me. Towards the end of the planning process Kerry sent me a wedding overview in word that included every idea, request, and inspiration picture I ever sent her in order to make sure we were on the same page. I was super impressed, considering it was a year in the making. She didn’t miss a beat and reminded me how good she is at this.
We got to MDC four days before the wedding and two days before our guests came and Omar and I met with Kerry the day before the wedding. She came to our villa and ran through the wedding overview and took all of the decorations and favors we brought. We brought paper lanterns, lights for the paper lanterns, fans, votive candles, chair signs, cigars, matches, favors, shot glasses, flowers for the cake, knife and server, etc. Kerry did an amazing job of setting everything up in a gorgeous way.
Noida Cooke did a phenomenal job on our cake. We went with a small 3-tier vanilla cake. The design was simple and gorgeous. We brought our own flowers and cake topper and couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out. Though we only had a tiny bit during the cake cutting, it was perfect. My mom took home the top layer for us to eat on our anniversary and I don’t know if I can wait a whole year to have some more, lol.
They were good. I had thought that the steel band would have just been steel pan drummers but there was also a guy on a guitar and another on drums. I would have preferred to have pans only though. After hearing the trio, I asked that Kerry have only the steel drummer play when I walk down the aisle and she did just that. Also worth mentioning is that while we were signing our marriage license I remember hearing them play “Silent Night”. I laughed to myself and thought that was a bad choice for them to have played but it didn’t bother me. Future MDC brides, these may be things to note if 1) you’re specific about having a steel pan only band or 2) if you think hearing a song like “Silent Night” played at any time during your wedding would bother you.
Crowd pleaser. He did an awesome job and everyone was surprised. I remember thinking he should have had more interaction with the bride and groom but still thought he put on a good show.
Rosemarie of Floral Fantasies is amazing. Kerry had sent me her contact info and I’m so glad she did. I had reached out to Rosemarie long before we knew what kind of flowers we wanted and how much we wanted to spend on them. We changed our minds a bunch of times and Rosemarie was super patient the entire way. We brought down real touch bouquets and boutonnières as well as freeze dried petals. We had Rosemarie do our centerpieces and aisle markers. We sent her a picture of what we wanted for the centerpieces and she delivered what looked 10 times better. We went with her suggestion on the aisle markers and were equally impressed.
We flew in photographers Gwendolyn and Matthew Tundermann (from Florida) who we loved and will review separately.
Table and chair rentals
We rented the rectangular banquet tables and gold Chivari chairs from MDC. Our budget could have done without this hefty expense (we had 80 guests to seat) but it looked fabulous. So glad we splurged here.
Forrester Gayle did a great job with our video. He turned it around just two days after the wedding and we’re super grateful to him for it. He asked for our permission to use our video for promotional purposes so you may see us on his site sometime soon. My only regret is not having him stay until the very end.
We couldn’t have made a better choice of a dj for our reception. DJ Kevan came early, dressed quite dapper and was willing to stay later. We didn’t want the party to end and wish we could have had him party with us the entire night.
Rashel Edwards is a superstar. She and her hair stylist Sherna arrived at about 10am and quickly set up and got started. Rashel perfectly applied airbrush makeup for both our moms, four bridesmaids, one maid of honor, and one of my good friends who insisted on having hers done to after seeing her work. Nine girls in no time flat. Everyone was thrilled with their makeup. We partied hard and our makeup lasted throughout. I was so sad to wash it off at the end of the night.
Rashel’s hair stylist Sherna rocked my updo. It looked exactly like I wanted it to and lasted the entire night. She also helped my mom and a few of my bridesmaids with tips and curling the front of some of their hair. I should also mention that it was her birthday. She was super pleasant and super talented.
Both Rashel and Sherma stayed until everyone was dressed and ready to go in case anyone needed any touching up. I am so glad she did as my dress had to be pulled over my head so I ended up needing some from both ladies.
I think we had a perfect wedding. Seriously. Great weather, a humongous group of our family and friends that surrounded us with love, and a gorgeous resort full of staff more than eager to please. I'm kind of sad the wedding is over and I just want to live it all over again.
I hope this review helps future MDC brides as I remember thinking during the planning process that the reviews on our resort are few and far in between. Happy planning ladies!