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About johnm

  1. You cannot go wrong with HDC. We really feel blessed and lucky that we chose HDC. Rarely does a photographer actually become part of the wedding experience but Milan's interaction with the guests, his personality, and his presence actually made our wedding day better for us and our guests. And the photographs that we now have are even more amazing!
  2. Go with HDC - you can see my review on them for more on my experience with them but to sum it up it was great! They were easy to work with and the quality was excellent. Our photographer, Milan, actually added to our wedding celebration not just by the photographs but his interaction with the guests and attitude made things even better. Everybody raved about him that day and still do to this day and the photographs were amazing too!
  3. You cannot go wrong with HDC. The reviews I read made me comfortable booking with them and the ease of working with them and their responsiveness via email before our wedding made me even more at ease. Once we got there everything was even better. Our photographer, Milan, was great from the start and made us very relaxed and comfortable. Right from the start my wife said he was joking with them in the bridal suite and helping calm her down and her mother and sister loved him. He came out and spoke with me while I waited from my bride and told me about some of the shots he would be getting and giving me tips to help make the shots come out best. And he just chatted with my brother and I. He raved about Pastor Rick and Rick raved about HDC (separately away from each other) so that helped put me at ease that we made great choices. Once the ceremony started he was snapping away but not in the way at all and didn't impact our ceremony at all - yet he got so many great pictures. Once our cocktail reception started it was almost like he was a guest rather than a photographer. He was professional and working hard but he didn't get in the way or bother anyone but instead he was so friendly and easy to get along with that everyone at our wedding loved him. So he would flow through the crowd taking pictures without really standing out as "the photographer". When he wanted to get a posed or group shot people were happy to do so. And he would scan the crowd and find great moments to shoot. Some of my favorite pictures are from that cocktail hour because they really capture the fun, friendships, and real joy of the day. He was very flexible with when we wanted to do group shots on the beach - he did urge us to do so before a certain time because of lighting and did the same at the dinner but he explained it us and gave us the power to make decisions rather than boss us around (which I've seen from wedding photographers before). When we wanted to wait for the group shots so that everyone could enjoy the cocktail hour he said no problem. Whatever we wanted he would make it work and make it work amazingly. He was great with suggesting poses or particular shots. We feel so blessed and lucky to have chosen HDC and gotten Milan as our photographer. His personality and style was perfect for us and for our crowd. Most importantly, the photographs were so amazing! And we met with Arnaud just a few days later to go through our photographs and he was great offering suggestions and explain options for sizes, package additions, etc, etc. We were so happy to not only see the photographs and pick them out but we had our copies before we left DR. Our book came as scheduled after we were home. Go with HDC and you won't have to worry about your photographs!
  4. The Gazebo and beach area in front is actually right next to the Royal Service beach. We were there and watched a few weddings on the beach. One group had groomsmen and guests just ask people that were sitting right by the ropes if they would mind moving during the ceremony. This was a later ceremony (4 or 6pm I think) so there was plenty of other open chairs for people to move to. That is one solution but if it's earlier in the day people may not have anywhere to move to as most of the chairs were occupied during the day. I will say that to me the beach chair area is less of a problem than people on the beach itself. The people walking on the beach will watch from behind or next to the wedding ceremony and are more likely to be in photos or plain view whereas the people in lounge chairs are less noticeable. It's all personal preference but if you really want the beach you might see about just making sure the staff and guests help by talking to guests sitting nearby about staying incognito and then talking to the photographer to be sure he stays aware of people in the background and moving to keep them out of the shot.
  5. We had our ceremony at the gazebo with cocktail hour there as well. Definitely a great set up. In terms of beach and gazebo vicinity. We saw the beach ceremonies in a couple spots but the main spot seemed to be directly in front of the gazebo (and that is the spot I would push for if you want the beach). But if you prefer the gazebo, I would tell your husband that the gazebo has all the benefits of the beach except the sand in your feet. The view, the breeze, the palm trees, etc, etc. We preferred it actually because it was a better view (slightly elevated above the beach) and a bit more private plus it helped eliminate the beach gawkers in their speedos that will inevitably stand 10 yards away if you're on the beach. The cocktail hour location is just next door and again is such a beautiful place. It's perfect. Here's a link to some of our photos that might help you get a feel for the gazebo and we had our reception poolside which turned out amazing - better than we thought. I tried to put photos together in this slideshow that offered some perspective on event planning, places, etc... http://www.flickr.com/photos/morytko/sets/72157631098991090/show/
  6. If your Uncle is already one of your guests they shouldn't charge you anything. They get away with the $120 because they are giving the person access to the resort for the day but since your Uncle already has paid for the resort as a guest there should be no charge.
  7. Yes you can have anyone you'd like do the ceremony. If you are getting a civil/legal ceremony you'll still need to meet with the judge separately to sign the official paperwork and say an official "I do" in front of him. But the ceremony can be read by someone else.
  8. We didn't use Wedo but I don't think their fees are all that bad. I would contact them for a quote. We're in the NY area so I was able to go into the Dominican Consulate in NYC to do everything ourselves. Here's what you're going to need. 1. Statement of Single Status - notarized (cost depends on the notary but maybe $10 per?) 2. Official Birth certificates 3. Official divorce documents 4. All of the above (1-3) will need Apostilles from the states where they are from (if it's different than where you live now) - an Apostille is basically the state's official certification that these documents are legal and valid for international legal purposes - these generally cost us about $30-$40 per document 5. Once you have all these documents you will need to have them translated and certified by the closest Dominican Consulate and in NYC that cost us $80 per document but I believe the fees vary by consulate office. Here's a web link with the Consulate offices - if you don't have an office nearby, you might want to consider WeDo or call the closest office to see how you can do it by mail Plus you will want to ask the resort what their fees are associated with a Civil Ceremony as they are higher than a symbolic ceremony. Hope this helps get you started. Let me know if you have any more questions.
  9. We went the full legal route down in the DR and we are glad we did. It was some paperwork and definitely added expenses but we wanted the same thing - one wedding in the DR. Now we did meet with the judge to sign the marriage license and swear before him the afternoon before but to us that was the legal/paperwork side. It wasn't a ceremony really we met with him and our wedding coordinator (and two witnesses) in their offices to "sign the book" and make it legal. Even in the US you have to sign the marriage license to make it legal and that really isn't done during most ceremonies. If you want to do the full legal thing in the DR go ahead and do it. Just be prepared to wait for your paperwork to be processed. We got married at one of Melia's sister resorts and we got our marriage license yesterday and were married on June 7. We were prepared to wait longer so we're happy. Any questions I can help with glad to - I'm in the US so it might be a bit different but basically everything they need in the DR is the same.
  10. Use Pastor Rick - we used him for our ceremony. He is excellent and all our guests commented on how good he was. He's very warm and definitely added to the experience. We actually did civil/legal route down there and all the necessary paperwork and while it was some work it was worth it and no matter what route you go I would definitely use Pastor Rick. He will make your ceremony special.
  11. If you booked with Pastor Rick direct then be very clear that you have done so and made the arrangements on your own and will not pay them anything for his services that you will pay him directly. I contacted Pastor Rick myself and didn't pay Paradisus anything for his services. Be firm and tell them that you don't want them to pay or contact Pastor Rick and that you have him confirmed already.
  12. Did you book him on your own or through Paradisus? I booked him directly and told Paradisus it was taken care of. If you already booked him on your own you don't have to pay via Paradisus but if the resort does it for you they upcharge it. If you booked through Paradisus I would still challenge them on the cost and hope they lower the price. The people on site are great but the salespeople will try to nickel and dime you.
  13. Book with him direct - he charges $350 but often times the resorts mark that price up. Just contact him directly and then tell the resort after you have him booked you are having him do the ceremony. Then pay him directly the day of the wedding.
  14. We just returned from our wedding and I have to give a huge A+++ to HDC. We had Milan do our wedding he was so great all day. Everyone commented on how good he was but also how fun/nice he was. He really helped make our day even better and we've already gotten the photos (before we left) and they are excellent! We worked with both Arnaud and Milan and they were so good. I'll be posting a review and more info but definitely recommend HDC.
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