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msredbird51

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About msredbird51

  1. Thanks for the congrats ladies! It feels so good to be his Mrs.! We got our marriage certificate in the mail from Carolina yesterday, so that made us smile all over again! I'm going to break this up into sections/several posts, since I want to go over our thoughts on everything. Hopefully, it will be helpful. For all of these it will be helpful to know that we, and all of our guests, were staying in the Bavaro section. Resort and Grounds The resort is absolutely beautiful. I've been to several all-inclusive resorts and this was by far the prettiest one I've been to. The grounds are so well kept and beautiful. All of our guests were in a standard room, which was pretty nice. The bathroom situation is a little odd, with the shower and toilet in a separate (little) room and the tub in the middle of the room. But it still feels big enough. We upgraded our room to a Romance Suite, the one with the outdoor shower and hammock. It's outdoor but kind of not. It's on a patio that is completely covered by thatch and has walls, but it's still open air. So, it's not like you're showering for all the world to see. The bathroom has a shower and a big tub. The small cost to upgrade to Romance Suite was SO worth it! The room was quite a bit larger and we were right on the ocean (the view and sounds of the waves from our room was incredible!). Plus, the extra room on wedding day was awesome. I had my parents, my sister-in-law and my maid of honor in there spending time with me and helping me get, plus the photographer and videographer came later as well, and even with all those people we never felt crowded. I recommend the bigger rooms for wedding day alone. The rooms were cleaned everyday, and the mini fridge was restocked with water, soda and beer everyday. Oh, and the resort is BIG. Be prepared for lots of walking! Reception and Check-In/Check-Out They were always so nice and helpful. Anytime we had a question, needed anything, etc., they were so nice. A few of the staff here had better English than the others, but they all spoke English and tried very hard to make sure we were happy. Even with check-in when there a few issues (rooms not ready yet, people in wrong rooms, my parents' AC didn't work at first), they were so accommodating, nice and helpful in getting everyone fixed up. When we got there, the reservation for my husband's aunt was all messed up. She booked on the same reservation with my in-laws, but they clearly paid for two separate rooms. Well, when we got they had his aunt in the same room with my MIL and FIL. The resort got it sorted out and got them in their seperate rooms, then later that night they sent a bottle of champagne and a BIG fruit basket with a nice apology note for the mix up to his aunt's room. The bell boys were awesome, too. They were Johnny On The Spot getting everyone's bags to their rooms (and from the rooms on check-out), plus a few times throughout the week when we were tired and didn't want to walk, we would see them driving their golf carts around the resort and flagged them down for a ride. Always tipped them a buck or two, but they were so nice about it. Check-out was a breeze! Oh,and the Bavaro lobby is hopping at night time! I've never seen a lobby like this at any resort/inn/hotel/motel before. It was full of people every night. There was a band playing every night. Basically, we and our guests ended up here each and every evening after dinner for drinks, a little dancing and spending time together, having a great time! The Train Some days they had two or three trains running, so there was only like a 5-10 minute wait for one. Other days there was only one train running, so the wait was the advertised 20(ish) minutes. Never waited longer than that though. And for people like my parents (bad hips for my mom) and his elderly-ish aunt, it was perfect. Heck, it was even great for us on days we were tired, drunk, etc. The second day we decided to just pick it up at the lobby and ride it for a complete loop back to the lobby. It was a great idea. We got to see all four resorts, know where everything was, check out the sites, etc. On wedding day this is also how our guests and my husband got to the ceremony site. Carolina told us a time to have them in the lobby, right on schedule it was there to whisk everyone away. Pools We really liked the pool at the Bavaro, so must of our pool time was spent there. Same was true for most of our guests. We spent a lot of time here. The pool bar here is a big palapa that extends into the pool, plus there are lots of trees around, so it provides lots of shade. And it's just pretty! It is the activities pool, so at times there can be lots of action. There are also vendors who setup here. They are not intrusive by any means, but do ask if you're interested from time to time. So if you're looking for quiet, this may not always be your place. We loved the action, entertainment and people watching here though. Plus, for people looking to not be sun baked this was a great option. The two pools in the Punta Cana section also have the pool bars, but there are just places you can swim up to on the side of the pool, not necessarily "in the pool". And there are not trees really around these pools either, so they were always smack dab in the sun. There are places you can get chairs in the shade around the pool though, just not many. For my MOH and other friend, who are both tan/sun worshippers, this was their hangout. Beach The beach is beautiful! About a week and a half before we got there a hurricane had come through. It was mostly over Haiti, but it still caused some havoc on the water. The water was more rough and wavy, and cloudy than usual. But each day we were there it kept getting better and more to its normal, calmer, very blue state. On wedding day it was exactly the color it usually is! So blue and pretty! Couldn't have worked out better! The beach had plenty of chairs, lots of pretty white sand and not a lot of vendors. I never saw anyone pushing souvenirs, hair braids, etc. like on every other Caribbean beach. There were tour vendors, but like the pool they weren't pushy. They would ask once then pretty much leave you alone. It's easy to take great walks and runs on the beach, too. Several of our guests walked the beach to other resorts to check them out. Toward the end of the beach there is a flea market many of them walked to as well. Towels When you check-in they give you towel cards. We all two people in a room, so each room got two towel cards at check-in. The idea is that you can take these cards to huts by the pool (I think there might be huts on the beach too, but I'm not 100% sure) and trade them in for towels. Once you get the towels, then you just trade your wet and dirty ones in for clean ones. The problem is that the huts only get very few towels at a time. So most of the time you'd go there and they'd say they didn't have clean ones and to come back later. People would also stalk the huts and as soon they got clean ones they were bombarded. So the clean and fresh towels would be all gone in five minutes. No joke. So the only real way to get trade in for the towels was to either be there first thing in the morning, or stalk the hut. This might been my only slight annoyance. We're pretty low maintenance travelers though, so it didn't really bother us all that much. We just always sort of say "ehh, whatever" and go with the flow on vacation. We had brought some towels with us, too. We gave them to people in their OOT bags, but most of them didn't pack the towels--the cups and everything else from the OOT bags, but not the towels. So it was more of an issue for those guests than for us. Oh, and don't lose the towel cards. If you don't have them at check-out they charge you for them. Basically, I would advise people to bring a towel if I were you. Food My husband and I pretty much loved the food. So did a few of our guests who are well traveled in the Caribbean. I would say everyone else, who had never traveled outside of the country or to the Caribbean, liked the food. They never hated the food, in fact they found many things they did really enjoy, I just think they didn't prepare themselves mentally. I tried many times before we left to explain the differences, but they didn't really listen. In fact, since we've been back I've spoken with them and they've talked about it with me, saying they liked the food it was just different/culture shock. Basically, my family are good ole Southerners who LOVE their American food, and their diet consists of steak potatoes pretty much all the time. lol. So, if you have any guests who are not well traveled I would just keep making sure they realize things are different. Like I said though, everyone liked the food and enjoyed their meals. Restaurants We ate the buffet a lot. That's simply because my husband and I are very simple people and just liked the ease of it. The food was also pretty darn good. Plus, the beauty of the buffet and being in a different country with foods you're not necessarily used/not sure how you'll like it, there is so much to choose from and if you try it and don't really like the flavor of that item, well there are lots of things to try again with! We did dine at La Uva one night and it was phenomenal. His family dined at many of the a la cartes and liked them all. One night, everyone but me dined at the Japanese place. I was too drunk from too much Mamajuana (I'll that story later, lol) and was pretty much passed out in the room. There were so many people though,and it was quite busy, that only some got to eat where they cook it in front of you. Everyone else had to eat at a table in the back where there is a menu and they just bring it to you. Those who ate where they cook it for you really enjoyed it. Those who ate a table with wait service said it was okay. The sports bar was also a place we and our guests went many times. A) It's open 24/7 and there is always food out. It's basically American food. So it's awesome.....especially when you've had too much to drink. Lots of greasy foods like pizza and chicken tenders and it's always there! The sports bar always has food out buffet style (which is good), but there is also a menu from which you can order things like paninis, burgers and fries. The stuff on the menu is AMAZING! So when our guests needed a drunken, sober up meal, or just an American food fix this was the place to be! Plus, they have sports on. So on the Sunday night, my husband (who is from Boston) and all of his family and friends packed the place to watch the Patriots game. They could not have been happier! lol. I'll be back with more later. I think I've covered everything resort related there, so it will mostly be wedding commentary. Yay! P.S. Sorry for any typos! I was trying to type in a hurry at work!
  2. Hi ladies! So sorry I haven't been on here since we got back. Between the wedding and honeymoon we were gone for 2.5 weeks. We got back last Sunday (as in a week ago yesterday), but it wasn't until 10:30 PM that we got back, plus having to go to work the next morning....all made for two very tired people. There was some event/dinner every night last week with people wanting to congratulate and celebrate with us, too. I swear by the time we worked everyday and then attended one of those, the only thing we had energy to do when we got home last week was sleep! Anywho--Things could not have been more fantastic! Carolina, the GP, everything was WAY BEYOND what we'd hoped for. I mean, I've said several times since then that not many things in life go exactly the way you've built them up in your head, and with this EVERYTHING did. The trip, our guests, the "rehearsal dinner" (catamaran, snorkel, sunset sail tour) the wedding, the dinner, the beach party...everything was just EXACTLY how my husband and I had planned and hoped it would go. It was perfect! I want to type up a little review and my thoughts on every aspect--the resort, the food, the tours we did, Carolina, the photographer (HDC), the ceremony, Pastor Rick, the dinner, the beach party, etc. Unfortunately, I don't have enough time at work right now to type up the whole review that I totally intend to write. I plan to try to do that tonight. I will reply to one thing I saw just glancing over this page though--I can't imagine that the dinner would ever not be quiet. Our dinner was at La Uva, and since we had the beach party afterward and that is literally right outside the doors of La Uva, we never thought of trying to switch it. The dinner was setup on the side outdoor patio, and it was only our party dining outside. There were certainly other parties inside (although, not very many), but we never noticed them. We only noticed the lovely setup (all done by Carolina), the sound of the waves, the ocean breeze, the delicious food and our wedding party. Like I said, the were other people dining inside that night, but even on the other night that my husband and I dined a la carte at La Uva it wasn't busy then either. Could've just been that week though. At any rate, the fact the wedding party dinner was in our little section, completely away from the other diners it was as if it was private anyway. I'll be back for more later tonight and write a full review. Promise. P.S. I can't believe tomorrow it will already be three weeks since the wedding! Time flies!
  3. We leave in the morning. Yippee! Thanks so much for all the help along the way ladies. I'll be sure to post a full review when we return. .... It will be after Thanksgiving when we get back from our honeymoon, so it will be a few weeks though. We get back on the 28th, so expect a review then.
  4. I'll be sure to post a full review on his services when I get back in a few weeks!
  5. Thanks so much for the confirmation on that! My dad and brother will be glad to hear that!
  6. Thanks so much for the well wishes everyone! I really appreciate them! To anyone who has been to the Grand Palladium in the past--Several of the men in our family are asking emergency/last minute packing questions about dress code for the a la carte restaurants. The Grand Palladium website says "long pants are required in the a la carte restaurants for men". Does that mean they have to wear khakis (dress pants/slacks), or are jeans allowed in the a la carte restaurants? It does not really specify. Thanks! Dana
  7. Only two days left until we leave. Well, I guess it depends on how you're counting, lol. We leave Thursday morning bright and early, and only counting the two days between now and then helps me feel better. But, I guess it's a good thing that we have three nights to pack, since we haven't started yet. Good thing we have tonight, tomorrow and Wednesday. lol, we are such procrastinators! I can't believe it's finally here! So excited to finally be a Mrs.! Now I just have to hope getting my dress there in one piece isn't the chore I am afraid it's going to be. I have to admit that it has me nervous. It's the only thing that has me nervous. We're so laid back about this whole thing. We haven't given one thought to anything--ceremony site, flowers, colors, cake, menu, music, nothing. We figure it will all be decided when we meet with Carolina on Friday, and she's made that point more than clear in all of her emails. She always says (paraphrasing), "we'll meet and discuss/decide everything then. Don't worry about it until then". Listening to some of you though I might start to get a little nervous about that other stuff though. Past brides--should we have been doing more before now? ........ I hope it all works out. I'm sure it will though. lol. Oh well, in the end I'll be married and that's all I really care about!
  8. I can't believe it's finally November! Only 9 more days until we leave!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  9. I think so. If I remember correctly, they're scheduled to be there an hour before our ceremony, too. We got the three hour package, so I figure an hour for before pictures is MORE than enough. I'd rather have more of the ceremony and after. 23 days until we leave!!!!!!!!1
  10. We're using HDC as well. Obviously, I can't share my personal opinion on their work yet, but all the photos I've seen from brides in this forum have been great. I know the booking process was easy ans efficient though. My emails and questions were answered ASAP.
  11. We just used a local MO travel agent. Well, local to my parents. She's located where my parents live, not in St. Louis where we are. I've never actually met her. Just talked to her via email and 800 phone number. My parents are very graciously paying for them, us, my brother/ SIL and the ceremony costs. That, plus the fact that they have never traveled internationally and are nervous about the whole thing, made us decide that someone who they could physically go see would be best. Turned out to be true, too. They've been able to go out to the office and make payments in cash (online credit card things make them nervous), and while there they're able to ask the TA question after question. So, all in all, it's made them very comfortable with the whole process, which was one of my main goals. They are in MO, but the company does have a website, or toll free number if you'd like their info. I did price around with several agents though before I decided on using the local TA. There are agents here on BDW, too. Go to the home page and click Vendors. You'll find some there. I've seen many brides here rave about using a TA they found on BDW. If you haven't already, try Apple Vacations. Most TA's use them anyway. My TA used them for all of the bookings she did for us. A couple of my guests booked with Apple directly, and a few used Travelocity and Orbitz. You can also try Googling around for TAs. About a month before the wedding Carolina asks for your guests reservation numbers. I believe they mark all the reservations as being part of your wedding party. I would assume so they can better serve you??? I also asked her to put in a request for each those reservations for the rooms to be as close together is possible. She said she'd make the request, so hopefully.
  12. I'm honestly not sure where we're getting married. We planned this, and are still planning this, as we want to be married with our toes in the sand. We have all of these people though (parents, friends, other guests, etc.) talking in our ears saying, "But the beach isn't private!!!!!". We could not care less if other people are there. I just know that people will try to steer us away from what we want. So we're going with the intentions of doing the beach, but I have a feeling we'll have people trying to talk us into the beach side gazebo. We're going with an open mind, and I guess we'll just see how we feel when we get there. I put my MOH in charge of getting music together, but I figure if she doesn't get it all done, forgets, etc. I'll just use what Carolina and the DJ (for the beach party) have. We're really not all that picky. I think you'll find that's the theme of our wedding--we don't care. lol. We just want to be married, and to do so in a pretty place surrounded by our family and friends. Don't worry though. I totally plan to come back and report on our experience. I know all the brides before me in this thread really helped put my mind at ease! I read this thread and all of the DR threads a lot in the early planning stages, and just sort of kept track of ideas that I thought were great. I remembered a couple of people posting about a snorkeling tour instead of a "rehearsal dinner". Fiance loved the idea too. So I searched and found the threads/posts again. Ended up contacting one of the girls here to see who she used since her review was most like what we were looking for. She and I exchanged messages on here back and forth where she gave me some more insight on what they did. She even friended me on Facebook, so I could see pictures of the tour. It was all very helpful. I contacted that company, and that's who we are booked with. I did Google around and find some companies who I did price check. A few were a little cheaper, but each one didn't quite have what we were looking for. In the end, we booked for $1,925, which is $77 per person, based on 25 people. It's a 4.5 hour private charter, with drinks, snacks, snorkeling, swimming and bar time, ending with a sail back at sunset. It's definitely a little pricey, but I think it will be worth it. A nice thank you to our guests. Like I said though, there were definitely companies that did private charters a little cheaper. If you want more names, etc., just let me know. Also, as you shop for OOT bag stuff I'd be happy to look back and see where we bought some items to make some recommendations. My fiance became awesome at Googling for wholesale items. We got our underwater cameras for $4.60 each!!!
  13. Yay! I'm so glad to see to this thread active again. We leave in only 27 days! And it's just 32 days until we're married! I'm so excited to finally become his Mrs.! I can't believe it's finally here! When we planned this whole destination wedding thing it was the perfect solution to our low key, laid back, don't like "fuss" personalities. The fact that there were no worries, no stress, and we just show up while they do everything could not have been better for us. We would never have been happy with a traditional wedding. So this was just awesome. .... Except for one thing. I never thought about how having nothing to do would make the seven months between engagement and marriage creep by! lol. We're now in the home stretch and doing all of the things that couldn't be done until last minute though. I just sent our paperwork off to be translated and legalized. Waiting on it to come back. I have a second dress fitting next week. Carolina emailed and asked for our all of our wedding guests booking numbers. We've booked a "rehearsal dinner" snorkeling and catamaran cruise for us and our 21 guests for the night before the wedding. Now we're just planning a few other excursions for us, working on our final honeymoon details (we're leaving and going somewhere else entirely), putting together a little welcome packet for our guests, and securing gifts for our parents, MOH and BM. All the fun stuff. Bring on the next 27 days! Make them fly by! roxy--I used a travel agent. I NEVER use travel agents when booking my own trips, but since this was such a big deal, and many of our guests don't travel and/or have never left the country, we thought it would be more comforting to provide people with a travel agent to use. A little over half of our guests used the agent and the others booked on their own. I looked around a bit in the beginning for group rates, but didn't find any for the GP. That, combined with the fact that most times hotels make you put down a deposit and guarantee so many rooms made me stop trying to find a group rate altogether. I really wasn't sure how many people would go, and didn't want to get stuck with rooms for people who backed out, etc. So I didn't even try to find one. I'm not sure if the GP offers them, or if that's their policy or not though. And, in the end, we did have a couple of people who committed and then backed out last minute, so I'm even happier that we took the approach of, "Here's someone to call if you want to go, but other than that, you're on your own for booking if you want to go." Glad to hear you got your save the dates out! That was so exciting when we got those done! Passing out the gift bags was a lot of fun, too. To save on us packing them and taking them with us, we passed most of them out at our engagement party last month. We filled ours with towels, personalized cups, a beach mat, puzzle books, playing card, chapstick, an "oh $^!+ kit", underwater cameras, etc. None of our guests had any clue they were getting something like that. It was great to see their smiles and got everyone excited and ready to go. Good luck dress shopping!
  14. I've had the same excitement over the last few days. We're up to 16 booked, and still waiting on a few to book who said they're coming. If all of those book we'll be at 24 guests. They better get cracking though. November 16th will be here in only two and a half months. Wow, do I love being able to say that! Â
  15. Congrats CherryBomb! Thanks so much for sharing your story and I'm so happy to hear about another smashing success of a wedding at the GP. I simply cannot wait for November 11 when we leave. It can't get here fast enough! lol For anyone who has already been married at the GP, can you tell me a little about the ceremony itself. Since there is no "rehearsal" I'm sort of trying to make sure that I have the order of things in my head, so I can prepare certain guests/wedding party who are asking questions. Also, I'm trying to figure out how much music/songs I need for processional stuff. Like does the groom and best man walk in by themselves? First? Do the parents get a special entrance? Before or after groom? How long were you guests seated and waiting for all of this to happen? Trying to figure out how many songs I need for people to walk into, and if/how much music I need for guests to listen to while they're being seated and waiting. Thanks!
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