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About DRwedgal2011

  1. If you have a CapitalOne Credit Card, they do not charge international fees. We actually signed up and got a credit card two weeks before we left just to avoid paying the international fees. It worked great, we earned cash back rewards, and the resort had no issues. We also asked the resort for a copy of the bill (i.e. room charges, wedding charges) two days before we left to make sure that everything was right.
  2. I used Michael Weiler and his brother for videography and was SOOOOO happy! They are soooo nice and their pictures are amazing! We are SO happy we used them!
  3. Not sure if you're interested, but Dreams sponsors vendors that come on site and sell jewelery, art, etc. on Wednesdays and Saturdays to help guests who don't want to travel off site. We saw every vendor selling the "blue stone of DR" (which I think is the one you're talking about) at their stands. I wouldn't say it was the cheapest price you can find, but since there are SO many vendors (and I mean at every corner) you could probably bargain them down or "threaten" to go to the next stand. Good luck!
  4. Hi Sylvia, I used Charlotte Poiron (TA/wedding planner) at Honeymoons and Get Aways. I thought she was very helpful in helping us book the resort and organize travel/accommodations for our guests. Her number is: 215-480-6652. She works in PA, and we are from NY, but she was so helpful over the phone and email. Good luck!
  5. Hi Shelly 21, It took about 45 seconds of my song for me to walk from the beginning of the aisle to the gazebo. I'm not sure if I was walking fast or not, but I was trying not to. So give or take 45 seconds for me.
  6. Hey Starr082012, The photo shoot package we chose the silver (?) package which included Video and Photography for two hour pre-ceremony, the entire ceremony and reception, photobook, a bunch of pictures in different sizes, and TTD for $2000 total. It was a great deal and we're soooo happy with the results!
  7. Hello all To-Be-Dreams-Brides! So sorry for the long delay in writing a review of my wedding. We got married at Dreams Punta Cana July 11th at 5 p.m. Our wedding coordinator was Jennifer Castro. Our photographer/videographer was Michael Weiler and Pascal Keller, Caribbean Emotions. Arrival: When we landed at the airport, the cab ride to the resort was about 45-50minutes. We didn't have to pay for the transfer since our travel agent took care of this for us in our package, but some of our guests said that they ended up paying $50-70 for a one-way trip to the resort. Some said they could haggle; others couldn't. And some said their cab ride went straight to the resort while others said that they made multiple stops to the different resorts along the way to drop passengers off. So, I guess it just depends. We arrived at the resort and were greeted with a cold washcloth to wipe ourselves down with, which was great! Some people were also offered cold beverages, but we must have missed ours, which wasn't that big a deal. Check-in for us was fine. Some of our guests said that their rooms weren't ready even after the 3p.m. allotted check-in time and that when they got to their rooms, it still looked unfinished (i.e. slippers weren't ready, bathrobes were missing, little amenities werent available). But if you make enough calls to Reception, things were fixed. Their customer service their was EXCELLENT! I was expecting to get a letter from our WC about our wedding meeting, but we didn't get it the first or second day we were there. I just called down to the Concierge and they let me leave a message with Jennifer re: when our meeting was. (I wasn't too concerned about this, ok, maybe a little, but I remember previous brides on here saying similar things happened to them, so I wasn't too worried). Jennifer then called us back and told us our meeting would be for the next day and we would get a letter reiterating this (which we did later that evening). WC Meeting: We met with Jennifer with all of our luggage (we brought our own chair bows, tablecloths, table numbers and stands, place cards and holders, favors, programs, etc). I gave her a word document outlining what we needed, with pictures, for the ceremony, reception, table seating name chart, cake pictures, bouquet options, music list (we brought an IPOD and used their sound system) and how we wanted everything laid out. She was great with accommodating our request for my husband's sister and cousin to sing a song with a keyboard. We finalized all of the details, including the ceremony procession (5-6pm), Silver cocktail hour food and location (6-7pm Himitsu Terrace), and reception process (7-10pm Himitsu Terrace). She also offered to congratulate us in their daily newsletter on the day of our wedding as a souvenir. We chose the Wedding in Paradise Package, and were told we would get a champagne breakfast in bed the next day. Since we were at the Himitsu Terrace, we didn't need to rent a dance floor, and opted to use our IPOD for music with their sound system. We also added the 1-minute firework display. We agreed on everything and she sent us a itemized, preliminary bill the next day to our room. I'll tell you how everything turned out below. P.S. I know people keep going back and forth about this, but we were told by Jennifer that the resort IS charging for brides to bring outside vendors to the resort ($150). She kindly did not charge us because we argued that noone had told us of this and that we had been told when we booked the wedding that there would be no such charge. Rooms We had the honeymoon suite in Building 8, 3rd floor. It was beautiful and big! Room service and the maids were great. If you need anything, don't hesitate to call or ask. The only recommendation is it might be helpful if you speak a little Spanish or have a translation dictionary with you. We were practically drawing to our maid to explain that we wanted our sheets changed or what times we wanted our rooms cleaned. (P.S. tips go a long way in this area). For our 65 guests, they were scattered throughout buildings 2, 3, 4, and 5. Some guests upgraded to the Preferred club (Building 6) and loved it. The preferred club has its own 24-hour buffet and open-bar, yellow beach towels, and is closest to the beach. Guests in buildings 2,3,4, and 5 on the first floor complained that their rooms smelt musty. It was definitely true. Unfortunately, I'm not sure what could be done about it. Some were worse than others. People on the 2nd and 3rd floors didn't complain as much. Other than that, everyone loved the resort and how beautiful it was! Like other brides have posted, DEFINITELY bring bug spray. They are the worst at night! The A/Cs in the rooms got mixed reviews. Some rooms were very cool, others were always warm with the fan just blowing warm air (like our room). Some guests said that, again, if they called down to Reception enough times, it got taken care of. Also, a lot of guests said their safes weren't working (i.e. batteries were dead), so make sure you check yours before you put your items in them. Restaurants: GREAT! The food and service at all of the restaurants were great! We ate at the Himitsu (Chinese and Hibachi), Seaside Grill (American), Oceana (seafood), World Cafe (Buffet), and El Patio Terrace (Mexican). None the restaurants need reservations EXCEPT for the Hibachi option at the Himitsu Terrace (there's only three small, separated rooms for Hibachi that can hold up to ten people in each room). The food at all restaurants were good. A couple of the people (myself included) had digestive issues (to put it modestly), but we found that if you ate the Probiotic yogurts from the buffet restaurant, it really helped with any stomach issues. Other than that, the service at all of the restaurants were excellent! The drinks were also top shelf, but of course watered down. Our wedding party did get VERY drunk off of the "mamajuana", so be warned! Special Notice: between 4-6 p.m. all of the restaurants are closed, including the Buffet, so make sure guests eat before this time, or go to the pool towel area where the Barracuda Bar is-- they serve hamburgers and hot dogs there until 4:30pm. After that, you're hungry until 6p.m. Also, EVERYONE who ate the hamburgers at this location had severe stomach problems- so either make sure you know how to say "I want my burger cooked very well done" in Spanish, or just go for the hot dog (or the nice liquid diet of unlimited alcohol). Spa: OK, again, I loved the service at the Spa. Everyone was so friendly and accommodating. But, I definitely had problems scheduling appointments for my bridal party. I had tried emailing the spa and my WC two weeks before I left to DR to remind them of my appointments, but never heard back from them, so my husband and I went there the day after we landed to confirm the appointments, and they apparently hadn't been booked. I told my WC what I had needed, and somehow it got lost in translation when she told the Spa, (i.e. everyone was scheduled for manis, but no pedis and at different times instead of together) and it was a problem because there was only two people doing nails that day (Sunday). They were able to schedule one person per half hour, and allowed us to hang around in the room while the girls were getting their nails done so we could be together. Re: the manis and pedis --> again, the service is great, but to be honest, the whole process was less than appealing. My bridal party all said that they didn't see the servers clean the nail tools between people. I, overall, wasn't thrilled with the my nails, but I'm not really picky, so it didn't matter that much to me. However, my bridal party was a bit disappointed with the outcome of their nails, but again, we shouldn't expect the same mani/pedi treatment we might get in the states (although, for those prices, it would be nice...). Re: my hair, on Monday they only had one server to do hair, and they could only schedule one girl per hour. My sister's hair came out beautifully and I was OK with my hair. Again, we definitely recommend bringing a picture of your hairstyle to show them. And they gave us flowers to decorate our hair for free. So overall, I wasn't exactly thrilled with the Spa's inability to accommodate more guests at the same time, and the cleanliness of their mani/pedi process, but they were extremely friendly and really tried to work with me to make sure all my girls got in when they needed to. Wedding Ceremony: So to the main event. We got married at the Gazebo Monday at 5 p.m. It was sooooo hot! All of my guests complained about being in the sun at that time, so I would recommend any future July brides to get married at 6 p.m. if they care about the heat, and it was plenty bright to take pictures at 7 p.m. We paid for the gazebo decorations (6 floral pieces on the pillars of the gazebo) and Jennifer agreed to use three of them for our reception tables at no extra cost. The only gliche was that our guests told us they there were only starting to decorate the gazebo at 4:45ish, which is when they told our guests to be at the gazebo. So it's up to you if you care about your guests seeing your decorations going up. Jennifer also used the chair bows we had brought with us to decorate the chairs for the ceremony AND the reception, which I thought was so sweet (because previously we were told this wasn't doable)! Jennifer came to my room once all the guests were seated and gave me and my MOH our bouquets, and walked us and my father through a back path to the gazebo so no one would see us. Jennifer made sure everything went according to how we asked (I gave her a word document with everything outlined- including how I wanted the favors placed on the chairs, keyboard stand, extra mics, etc- and she followed it).Overall, the ceremony was BEAUTIFUL. The speakers worked great and the only complaint we heard was about the sun beating down on the guests (but, hey, they all agreed to a destination wedding in DR, so that's part and parcel of the wedding)! Wedding Reception: Following the ceremony, our guests were ushered by my sisters to the Himitsu Terrace for cocktail hour. Jennifer did not make this announcement, so make sure you have someone you can ask to do this. While guests went there, we stood with our families to take pictures. (I'll tell you all about Michael Weiler below). Following this, we arrived at the Himitsu Terrace at 7pm for our grand entrance. I know some brides go back and forth about having or not having a cocktail hour, and to be honest, if I could do it again I would've saved the $800 we spent on the Silver Cocktail menu, and just take pictures with all of our guests following the wedding and have everyone walk over the reception at 7pm after freshening up. But it's an individual decision, that's just my thoughts. The reception had some glitches re: how we had requested things to run. Apparently, according to Jennifer, the WCs play a larger role in the ceremony than they do during the reception. Apparently once the reception starts, the responsibility goes to the head waiter of the restaurant. So some of the things we had told Jennifer about (i.e. Indian traditional things that had to be done, stands for people saying speeches) were not done. We had to scramble and wait for an awkwardly long time to have these things prepared during our Reception, or were told last minute that it wasnt possible. I wish we were introduced to the head waiter before the wedding so we could have talked to him about these things directly, because things definitely got lost in translation, so I definitely recommend future brides request this meeting if you need to finalize any details. Also, Jennifer was no where to be seen during the reception, and we were told only later that she was in her office and that if we needed her, someone would have to get her from her office. This was another thing I wish someone would've told us just so we could have made sure we spoke to the right people before. But again, these are minor things that guests don't notice and only we were bothered by. Another glitch: there was no champagne toast ready for our guests for the toast (although of course it was on our bill)!! We told Jennifer the next day about this, and she immediately removed the charge from our bill, but we were still bummed that most of our guests where toasting us (us included) with either water or empty glasses! Jennifer, again, said that she had told the staff about it, but apparently someone dropped the ball. Another glitch: I was under the impression that when you pay for the private reception at one of the restaurants, that it would be private. But, we were actually all (7 tables, and a sweet heart table) squished to one end of the terrace and the other end was open for resort guests to walk in, take pictures, watch our reception, etc. Again, this is an individual issue and maybe some people don't care about that. But I was more annoyed that we paid for a private reception at the Terrace, but we ended up being all cramped at one end of it with resort guests free to walk into our "reception". So enough criticisms, the positives about the reception: the tables, seating, and decorations were EXACTLY as I had requested, Jennifer and the wait staff followed them perfectly. Again, she agreed to use the ceremony decorations from the gazebo for three tables (for no cost), and we brought our own vase centerpieces for the other tables. The food was EXCELLENT according to my guests. We chose Buffet Option #2 with the open bar included because we have over 50 guests and paid about $70/pp. We chose the Vanilla cake and they decorated it exactly like the picture I had given them. They didn't exactly serve the guests the cake, people had to go up to the buffet table to get it, so make sure people know that (some of our guests, including us, didn't know so we didn't get to eat our cake, but we heard it was good). The wait staff was also AMAZING. We also paid for the 1-minute firework show ($1500) which was nice (a little short). Guests had to walk from the Himitsu terrace to the lobby area because apparently this is the only location where they can do it. After the reception ended, we had all our guests go to the Resort Club and we had a GREAT time dancing the night away. When we got back to our room, they had decorated the room with rose petals. The next morning, we did not receive our champagne breakfast we were promised, nor did the newsletter congratulate us, (again things Jennifer said got lost in communication-she said she told people, but I guess they dropped the ball). It wasn't that big a deal, we just called the Concierge and they gave us the breakfast the next day and Jennifer reprinted the newsletter for us and sent it our room the day before we left (with the wrong name, but at that point, we stopped caring). PHOTOGRAPHER/VIDEOGRAPHER: We had Michael Weiler and Pascal Keller [Caribbean Emotions] (brothers) and THEY WERE AMAZING!!!!!!!!!! I called them the day I landed at the resort to confirm our appointment time with them. They came to my room the day of my wedding two hours before the ceremony to take shots of me getting ready. They were sooooo funny and totally made me and my family feel relaxed and comfortable taking pictures (we are not picture people). They then went to my husband's room to take shots of his family and him getting ready. They then took shots and video of our ceremony AND THEY CAME OUT AMAZING, STUNNING, AND BEAUTIFUL! I CANNOT STOP RAVING ABOUT WHAT AN AMAZING JOB THEY DID. After the reception, they got our families water (we were sweating at that point) to drink while they took family pictures (sooo thoughtful). Again, they were cracking jokes and making sure everyone had a good time and were relaxed. While my families went to the cocktail hour, Michael took my husband and I around the resort to take our own shots which also came out beautiful (some of my favorite pictures!!!). They were all over the reception, taking shots and video of everything, and even helped our cousins with their cameras and shots!!! We signed up for the Trash the Dress session (TTD) the next day, and so they picked us up at the resort and we drove about 20-minutes to the Caribbean side of the beach and they took the most AMAZING, BREATHTAKING SHOTS!! I do not know how they got me and my husband to be so relaxed and even look good in those pictures, but they did! They even got a horse from a group of horseback riders who passed by us and took shots of my on the horse with my husband leading us. They got amazing shots of us in the water and even made sure none of my jewelery got lost in the ocean! I wore an Indian traditional white lengha to my wedding & the TTD and it got see-through during the final shots in the water and Pascal (the videographer) was sooooooo great about accommodating our request for an edited dvd for our parents (who are ultra conservative) which excluded the end portion of the TTD session, and he gave us our own copy with everything on it. After it all finished, Pascal gave us bags to put our wet clothes in, and then bought us beer, water and snacks for the ride back!!! The whole thing took about two hours and it was the most fun we had taking pictures! ABSOLUTELY NO REGRETS!!! They didn't even harass us about the payments: everytime I brought it up, Michael kept saying "Dont worry about it, I'll get it from you later, just have fun" !! He then made an appointment with us to give us the pictures and DVDs the Friday before we left, but the next morning after the TTD session, he called us telling us the photobook was ready and to check our email to let him know if we wanted any corrections!!! We emailed him back the corrections and by Friday everything was ready. We actually forgot about our appointment time and Michael was sooooo nice about coming back later in the day to give us our stuff. At our meeting, he gave us our photobook with AMAZING SHOTS, our parent DVDs, our own DVD, and 5 poster size pcitures, and a bunch of pictures in different sizes (5x7, 8x10, etc). THEY WERE AMAZING. OUR FAMILIES WERE BLOWN AWAY WITH NOT ONLY HOW PROMPT THEY WERE, BUT HOW AMAZING THEIR PICTURES AND VIDEO CAME OUT. I TOTALLY, WHOLE-HEARTEDLY RECOMMEND MICHAEL WEILER AND PASCAL KELLER!!! That's all I can write for now. If anyone has any specific questions, feel free to ask!!
  8. Hi Aug4Bride, Yes, the hotel does provide shampoo, but no conditioner. They also provide soap, bath gel, a razor, & shower cap. Sorry, but I'm not sure about the hotelbeds tour credit.
  9. Hi Alyssa, I just got back from my wedding (I PROMISE to post a review the minute I have a chance!) but we also had to do a Buffet Dinner because we had 65 guests. I was just as mad as you about the hike in price based on it being Buffet. We ended up going with Buffet Option #2 which was $69/pp. Everyone ended up loving the food, and they got to eat (based off of Buffet Option #2) steak, fish AND chicken, if they chose, which made us feel a little better about the price. (I also took all three even though I barely ended up eating). If you'd like I can email you the list of options that our WC sent us.
  10. Congrats Alykay! So glad to hear your wedding turned out so great! I'm so excited we're leaving in two days! But I'm still waiting to hear back from the Resort about our spa appointments! I emailed them three times over the last two weeks and havent heard anything back! Does anyone know how many salon servers they have available on Sundays or Mondays because I have 8 girls who need mani/pedis and 4 who need their hair done for a Monday 5 pm wedding?
  11. Yeah, we asked our WC Jennifer Castro and she said that we could do a "semi private" welcome dinner with us and our 60 guests at the Buffet Restaurant with no extra charge. It would only be a cornered off section of the buffet, so other people will be there, but we didn't mind since we didnt want to have to pay twice for a dinner for our guests.
  12. OMG I cant believe we leave in 7 DAYS for our wedding! Crazy how fast the time flew by! I will definitely post all the details (and as many pics as possible) when I come back!
  13. Does anyone know how much we should tip our videographer and photographer?
  14. How did people coordinate the shuttle service for their guests from the airport to the resort? Is there any easy way to do this? Also, does anyone have the menu and prices for the Buffet? I just found out we cant get the Gold Dinner menu since our number of guests are too large.
  15. Has anyone has Ms. Jennifer Castro as their wedding coordinator? Any reviews on her?
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