@pamelas21, have you guys considered the Jamaican Experience Package? For 53 guests with 6 hours of open bar, it works out to $85 per person.
$1799 base for 20 guests
+ $20*53 for an additional 2 hours of open bar (cocktail hour + 3 hours during reception are included)
divided by 53 = $85.08 per person
I know it's about the same as your $82 per person rate you already have, but the package comes with other perks (steel drum band, raggae band, rum tasting) so this could potentially help you save on other areas of the budget (like you could potentially shorten the time the DJ has to be there). Although you are sacrificing food quality (it's no surf and turf!), I just thought it might be an option for you guys to consider if you haven't already.
Regarding welcome bags, there are some great posts on this site about them. People have all types of great suggestions on things to put in them, from medicine/first aid kits to sodoku/crossword books to decks of cards. Most things can be purchased online in bulk for pretty cheap or at stores like Target, the Dollar Store, and Michaels.
@Bridetobe771, have you looked into the WPAJ (Wedding Photographers Association of Jamaica)? The photographers are more up-and-coming so it is a little riskier, but based on the portfolios, some of them do really nice work! Because there are more options to choose from, it's more likely someone will be available on your day (however, just ensure that someone has a style that you like). Additionally, they're less expensive. The rate is below:
- 3 hours for $1175
- 5 hours for $1675
- 8 hours with 2 photographers + 2 hours for honeymoon, rehearsal, or TTD for $2175
Also, in regards to Merrick Clousey, if you are seriously considering him, you should ask for the lower rate. Say you were referred by a friend, that you would really like to choose him, but you had only budgeted the other rate. Worst case, he'll say no (which is what happened when we tried to negotiate with our photographer), but at least you know you'll be getting the best price you could have gotten!
Edited by CherJK, 16 May 2014 - 09:34 AM.