Iâ€™m finally married and back from the GBPJ!! I had the best week of my life so far, and for all you ladies who will be getting married at GBPJ, you made a great choice!
Iâ€™ve received a lot of helpful information from BDW over the past year, so I will do my best in providing a thorough review in the hopes of â€œpaying it forwardâ€. So this might be kinda long lol.
Wedding Planner: We dealt with Donnalee for the last few months leading up to the wedding, and we also met with Donnalee the day we arrived at the resort. Throughout my entire experience with Donnalee, I never had any issues with her being rude, or unhelpful, etc. On the contraryâ€¦she was always very nice and polite, and always had a smile on her face. So itâ€™s unfortunate that other brides have had issues with herâ€¦.she was great with us! There were 2 weddings on my wedding day, so I think Chandlyn was more involved with the other wedding, whereas Donnalee was more involved with mine. Donnalee was very helpful and ensured that all of my requests were met. Since I brought my own flowers, she gave me a centrepiece for the head table free-of-charge. I didnâ€™t bring any decorations for the gazebo or any chair ties, but since my colour was bright pink, the resort had pink tulle on hand and Donnalee ensured that the gazebo and chairs were decorated nicely. (We originally werenâ€™t planning on doing chair ties, but Iâ€™m glad we opted to pay the $2.50/tie because it really made a difference in the pictures.) Also, we had 4 surprise guests on our wedding day, so even though we hadnâ€™t accounted for them, Donnalee made sure that they were included in our wedding dinner. (Sidenote: I donâ€™t think she even charged me for the 4 extra people afterwards!)
Weather: If youâ€™ve been to the resort, youâ€™ll know that it rains for about 10 minutes every afternoonâ€¦.no biggy, the grey clouds come and go. Plus itâ€™s super windy out by the gazebo, so it keeps you cool. However, 2 hours before our ceremony, it started thunderstorming and it proceeded to downpour for about 1.5 hours. Totally freaked me out, because I really didnâ€™t want to get married in the lobby. Chandlyn called me 45 minutes before the ceremony and asked whether to move the wedding to the lobby, so I begged her to wait another half hour because I finally started to see some blue sky in the distance. Thank goodness I waited, because 10 minutes later, the rain stopped. Chandlyn and Donnalee quickly set up the chairs by the gazebo, and everything turned out perfect. Only downside is that the wind stopped dead after the storm, so it was extremely hot and humid. I stuffed a handkerchief into my wedding bouquet and used it as a sweat napkin throughout the ceremony LOL.
Hair Salon: Loved my hair! I didnâ€™t even have to show the salon a picture, but they did a great job and the hairspray/freezing spray they used was so crazy heavy-duty, nothing moved all day/night.
Ceremony: We wrote our ceremony script ahead of time, so I sent it down to Donnalee a few days before we left and she gave a copy to the minister. The minister was awesome and everything turned out perfect, except for a couple things: 1) This is pretty ridiculous, but they donâ€™t stop the poolside entertainment during your ceremony, so throughout my ceremony, I could hear club beats and guys on microphones coming from the pool. I tuned it out and was off in my own little world, but I know a lot of my guests complained about this afterwards. I wrote this in my comment card after the wedding, but Iâ€™m not sure if this will change in the future. 2) Some stupid kid was snorkeling by the wedding gazebo and at one point, started yelling â€œSHARK! SHARK!â€ Again, I was off in my own little world and didnâ€™t even notice, but a bunch of guests told me afterwards. Other than those 2 issues, everything was great. Our ceremony was at 3:15pm (originally 3pm, but there was a slight rain delay), which gave us enough time to take pictures before the sun started setting. (Sun started setting around 5:15-5:30pmâ€¦.it was pretty dark by 6pm.)
Cake: Delicious! We added an extra layer for $40, and weâ€™re so glad we did since we had 65 guests with us. We chose vanilla, vanilla raspberry, and coconut. Everybody told us it was delicious. Downside: We didnâ€™t get any of the extra cake afterwards, which we didnâ€™t care too much about, but it would have been nice to try the other flavours. I spoke with Donnalee about this a few days later and she felt really badâ€¦she had instructed them to leave it in my fridge after the wedding, but they never did. Oh well. If you care about saving the cake, I suggest you bring your own container and have somebody scoop it up for you.
Steel Drum Band: They were awesome! They played for the entire hour after our ceremony and really added to the Caribbean setting.
Dinner: We had our dinner at the Dolce Vita and the menu we chose was: caesar salad with chicken, roasted thyme and squash soup, stuffed chicken and risotto, and tiramisu. Not many people liked the Caesar salad, so Iâ€™d probably avoid ordering that. Everybody loved the soup, and the chicken was also really good! Our dinner was supposed to be at the Garden Grill, but when we got to the resort, we found out that the Garden Grill was under renovation so both weddings were held in the Dolce Vita. Since our wedding group was larger, we were in the main room while the other bride was in the circular room off to the side. It was a little awkward having 2 weddings in the same restaurant and I felt really bad because our wedding group was a little loud. We originally planned to do all our wedding speeches at the gazebo after dinner, but the best man brought a bunch of Bristol boards with him with pictures on them, so he asked to do his speech at the restaurant since the lighting was better. So it was a little awkward because the other wedding probably heard his entire speech, and all the hootinâ€™ and hollerinâ€™ from the pictures.
Reception at the Gazebo: AMAZING!!! So so glad we booked out the gazebo and hired the DJ. We didnâ€™t pay for the bar set-up because I thought it was ridiculous to pay $1,800 for liquor at an all-inclusive resort. So instead, we just asked Donnalee for a table to be set up in the gazebo with ice and cups, and our groomsmen left the dinner 15 minutes early to set everything up. We brought our own inflatable palm tree cooler (