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Melia Varadero, Cuba: Art Gallery Destination Wedding Reception Venue Report

Over the last six months I’ve received a handful of requests from brides-to-be, asking to describe Melia Varadero’s art gallery.

As I’ve mentioned before, a lack of Internet access presents all sorts of obstacles for foreign couples trying to plan their Cuba wedding. I didn’t find Melia Varadero’s wedding coordinators to be especially interested in my wedding – until I arrived in destination.

Now that I have been working in travel media for a few years – on both the leisure and trade (agent) side – I know that there are teams of people who work for travel brands (like Melia) whose jobs are solely to help advisors sell their product. These people are called brand development managers, or BDMs for short and they are incredibly resourceful. I find it difficult to believe that Melia is willfully neglectful of their bridal clients so I’m going to chalk it up to that pesky Cuban embargo and unreliable Internet.

However, all this means I get to connect with brides who are planning their Melia Varadero weddings which I do enjoy.

But let’s get back to the art gallery.

Melia Varadero Art Gallery Wedding Venue

In my experience – wedded in January 2016 – I brought over 40 wedding guests to Melia Varadero, thus qualifying for a free wedding reception in a private venue. The minimum to qualify was 25. I presume, though I did not investigate because I knew I would secure 25+ guests, smaller wedding parties enjoy their reception in a semi-private space within one of the restaurants. Perhaps in Fuerteventura Restaurant, which serves international fare, or the airy, poolside Trinidad Ranchon?

The space

The art gallery is located at the rear of the resort. Windows look out onto the sea, framed by palms and a tidy green lawn. Two sets of doors close the room off from the public. Regrettably, one of the walls is branded “MELIA VARADERO” which is slightly garish but hey, you’ll never forget where you were wed.

By day, you’ll notice the floor of the art gallery is littered with pedestals topped with sculptures and the walls are decorated with canvas art. Of course the statues were removed for the reception but my fiance really like the art so it remained in place.

Table settings

We had a total of eight bridesmaids and groomsmen, so a long head table was set up at the front of the room with a microphon and podium to once side. Tables and chairs were draped in white covers. Some white gauzy material was draped from the ceiling to the wall. We opted for seven-person table settings at each round table. My math is fuzzy but we must have had five or six tables which felt neither too crowded nor sparse. Flatware was silver and plates were an elegant ivory with gold accent.  Centre pieces started at 25 CUC each so we simply opted for pineapples and small rose votives.

Melia Varadero Wedding Reception Dinner Service

We selected our three-course dinner menu a few days prior to our wedding. I can’t quite remember what we had but perhaps a bisque, I recall salmon and capers, and a custard dessert topped with mousse. Servers refilled wine and beer throughout the evening but we also hired a cocktail bar and bartender from 10 p.m. – midnight. A two-hour bar cart cost 35 CUC per person.

Are you ready for some photos already? I thought so.

Melia Varadero Art Gallery Wedding Reception [Photos]

Photos by Wade Carr, edited by Wild Whim Design + Photography

Hopefully this helps all you brides-to-be! Drop a comment below if you’ve got more questions.

Keep reading about my destination wedding

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My Melia Varadero Destination Wedding: the good, the bad & the ugly

5 Considerations Before Deciding to Wed in Cuba

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