I just returned from Jamaica!!! Irene turned our return home into quite a little adventure. But, I just wanted to share some highlights and things that kind of stood out in my head.
Wedding Date: 8/21/11
Host Resort: Iberostar Suites
All 49 guests including ourselves stayed at the Suites, which I thought was the best move we made since Iberostar security was pretty vigilant with keeping guests from straying off. Our travel agent and I sent a guest list to the hotel prior to arrival with a bed preference, which was matched pretty well. If not, they fixed it immediately. Iberostar also tried their best to keep us together in one building upon arrival. Iâ€™m not sure if they were going to put us in an ocean view room, but we asked upon arrival and Iberostar said, â€œWeâ€™ll see if thereâ€™s any availableâ€. I wasnâ€™t sure why our travel agent didnâ€™t put us in one to begin with but we got one and it was gorgeous. So, that's all that matters. Welcome bags were left in the front desk and they distributed them very nicely...slipped the guy a few dollars.
Ceremony: Offsite @ Rose Hall Aqueducts by Grande Garden (4:00 pm but moved to 3:00 pm because of possible rain)
Like a few past brides, I fell in love with this venue. My wedding coordinator for this was magnificent. Grande Garden also provided my centerpieces for my reception. Very nicely executed.
Welcome dinner: Aunt Rubyâ€™s Steakhouse (6:30 pm)
Set entrÃ©e menu for a large group. The wait staff was excellent. Appetizer buffet was great. Seafood was very fresh. EntrÃ©es came out very quickly. Very private even though other guests were there. No AC though. Guests were uncomfortable. Groom was very uncomfortable. Ceiling fans were not working either.
Reception dinner: Calabash (private 7:00 pm â€“ 10:30 pm)
I had 5 round tables. Even though Nicole said max. 10 I was able to squeeze 11 at one. We splurged for an International bar, which was $10/person/hour. Again wait staff was excellent. Everything came out really quick it seems. We were served first and we were starving so we were eating and we didnâ€™t really leave our head table too much. The reception went by really fast. We didnâ€™t really have an MC so I would recommend having a friend or family member since the DJ wasnâ€™t too proactive. We just told our toasters to go and grab the wireless MIC from the DJ between courses. Kinda just played it by ear. Not sure about past weddings, but the WC left after the introductions/entrances. My husband and I tried to get guests up on the dance floor after everyone was done eating which was around 9:00 or so. It was a bit bright on the dance floor so I asked the DJ to dim the light and he did. We were happy with the music he played. I'm sure if you asked him to play something to your liking he would. We weren't very picky.
Photographer: Misha Earle
Misha is very accommodating and easy to work with. Because we were expecting raining we pushed our ceremony time up an hour to 3:00 pm and Misha was very flexible. We did a 2-day package and met Misha during our honeymoon in Negril for a few more hours. Depending on the package you get she travels with a side shooter and lighting person.
*Bring a cell phone that takes a sim card. We bought a sim card when we arrived that allowed us to call locally and internationally. Digicell, Lime, and Claro are all the cell phone companies that you can purchase a sim card and minutes from for under $25. They are everywhere. Complete LIFE SAVER during 2 week stay.
*Bring lots of singles for tipping and have all your tips allocated in envelopes prior to leaving (wait staff, photographer, WC, etc.)
*A JUTA licensed taxi/driver company was recommended by our travel agent. We used them a lot while we were down there. A driver was always just a phone call away whether it was for a ride to the mega mart, airport, or a private group tour. Prices were very reasonable and definitely less than the ones at the hotel.
If you need any of the info. on the driver, photographer, Grande Garden, and etc. just message me. I'll try my best to answer your questions. I'll post some pictures as well.