Guess where Rob and I are having our wedding reception?! You got it, Jellyfish! And we couldn’t be more excited. All our guests are spending a week at Dreams Palm Beach with us, and originally, the thought of having our wedding off-resort property didn’t even cross our minds. Then our awesome friends & photographers Julia & Mark suggested it as an option (they are now our neighbours here in Punta Cana too!) I really wanted to share this post as both a photographer AND a bride. So, there will be some pretty pictures of the place, but more importantly, insights as to why Jellyfish might be the perfect alternative to a resort reception.
BUDGET. I’ve never met a bride who wasn’t on one! We all want our wedding to be remarkable, unique and perfect – but there are pennies to pinch. I’ve compared Jellyfish pricing to many resorts in Dominican Republic, and as far as value for money goes, it rocks. At resorts, the moment you say ‘wedding,’ they feverishly begin to charge you (naturally, some resorts are better than others). Basically, a nice dinner will run at $40-$110 per person and drinks on top of that, per person per hour! I still find that to be a little crazy, but that’s the game. Although Jellyfish prices are comparable, alcohol options tend to be more affordable and you get more value in general.
LOCATION & AMBIANCE. Here’s what freaked me out about a resort wedding: there were 3 location options: beach, pool side, and conference center. Hello, we’re in the Caribbean! Why would anyone want their wedding inside? Well, for most it’s a back-up option in case of rain. Yikes! RAIN! Not that big a deal… but it kind of is – if my beautiful outside wedding was moved inside. That’s why I love the open-air concept at Jellyfish – you’re still on the beach, enjoying the breeze. The decor and ambiance are amazing too! Even when the place isn’t decorated, the thoughtful accents and modern European flair are perfect. Getting there is easy – it’s within a 15-20 minute drive from most resorts (shuttle back & forth $5/person) and I love that our guests will have the opportunity to see the surroundings beyond the resort. They also won’t shut down the party right at 11 pm or earlier (like they do in resorts).
UNIQUE. Mayte is unbelievable, if you’ve ever exchanged emails or talked to her on the phone, you already know that! She takes such care to get to know every couple personally and make their dream wedding vision come true. To be honest, I’ve been dreading even choosing our wedding colours (I know I want something awesome, but not sure what) – and within minutes of our last chat, Mayte painted me a picture that made my head spin. The imagination and creativity on that woman!! Did you know she has a whole entire apartment filled with stuff for decorating weddings? Every imaginable colour, seashell, ribbon, candle etc – and if there’s something she doesn’t have that her bride wants, she will go out of her way to get it. That’s not something we can expect from resort wedding planners. So if there’s one piece of advice I can give here, it would be to tell Mayte what elements are important to you – then step back, relax, and let her work magic.
ENTERTAINMENT. The semi-private beach area in front of Jellyfish sets the perfect stage for entertainment. There are countless options – a fire show, samba dancers, Dominican dancers, belly dancers, a Hollywood show (hm, interesting :)), circus & clowns, cigar rollers, singers, musicians etc. You can even hire a fake ugly ‘bride & groom’ to greet your guests, to their bewilderment! I asked Mayte what was the most unusual request she’s even manifested… a white piano airlifted to the beach! ($1500) Also, making breakfast for the still partying guests at 5 am!
MAYTE. Her love for design was inspired by her mom, who taught Mayte to sew at the age of 8. Mayte studied Architecture & Sociology in Ibiza, Spain, then Fashion Design in Madrid. The wedding world found her when a friend in Ibiza asked Mayte to design a wedding gown and do all the wedding planning… that turned out to be a Royal Wedding, bringing Mayte into the spotlight as the emerging celebrity wedding planner extraordinaire. How incredible?! Mayte’s world has recently become illuminated by the birth of her baby girl, Luna.
Welcome drinks will greet your guests upon arrival to Jellyfish!
Mayte does everything by hand. Incredible attention to detail. She also personally picks flowers and visits the bakery. The perfect area in front of the restaurant to mingle after the ceremony.A little to the right, waiting for a bride to walk down the isle!The view from the main level…Just wow.The food is unbelievable. Their specialty is seafood (mostly locally caught). And fantastic tapas too.A few more glimpses of the restaurant on a regular weekday… Our place is about a 20-minute walk on the beach from Jellyfish, so I have a feeling we’ll have quite a few date nights here! View from the upper level…I love the beach in front of Jellyfish Restaurant, it’s a perfect set-up for a unique and versatile photo session and of course for any kind of quality time!
And last but not least…
If you’re a bride, hope this was helpful! Questions and comments welcome! And here’s a link to email Mayte.