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KKertz

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About KKertz

  1. Hi ladies - here are some pictures from Sanctuary - shot from a friend's camera.
  2. @cnwilson I really hope you enjoy your visit to Sanctuary. My husband and I did a tour of the property 10 months ago and were so impressed. It's a great spot for a wedding (classy) and it's small enough for your entire wedding party to bond. We loved it (as if you couldn't already tell from my raving review, lol!) If you choose Sanctuary for your wedding (and I hope you do) feel free to reach out, I'd be happy to answer any questions you have. All the best and good luck!!
  3. Hi ladies! I feel the need to say that I just had the BEST experience at Sanctuary Resort...so if any of you are reading this because you're still picking a place ( I was between Paradisus and Sanctuary) go check out the Sanctuary thread (http://www.bestdestinationwedding.com/t/80257/sanctuary-cap-cana-brides/50) because they were fantastic. As cliche and perhaps trite as it sounds...I'll say it anyway...they gave us the wedding of our dreams!!! Either way - I wish you luck with your weddings!!!
  4. Hi ladies! ...and hubby My husband said it right - it was amazing! Not so sound like a total cliche but they gave us the wedding of our dreams. It was perfect. I don't quite know how to recap the past two weeks of our lives in the Dominican Republic so I'll try to keep it to what I think you'll want to know - and if you have any questions, please PM me: #1. Stop stressing out. As Americans we all think we need to plan our weddings 5 months in advance and obsess over every single detail. 3 months before our wedding I still had a LOT I thought I had to do and the response from the resort was lacking. But then a month before the wedding Scarlet and her team (Cristina, etc) started emailing me almost everyday. The are pros. They have good taste. They know how to make you happy. Respect them. Be good to them. Be clear with what you want and they will deliver on it. If you're a complete control freak and need to touch, feel, see, etc. every single detail then you shouldn't be having a destination wedding in the first place. But if you have good taste, show them what you want, then they will deliver on it. I remember showing Scarlet (and Lara Estaras of Caribbean Celebrations) our tables and centerpieces idea. I sent an email with a picture saying, can you do this? Exactly this? They said yes. I trusted them. And the night of our wedding the tables were perfection. #2. Meet with wedding coordinators and vendors and stylists BEFORE the wedding!! My family and I arrived on the Tuesday before the wedding. On Tuesday afternoon my husband and I dragged ourselves out of the gorgeous pool, and drinks in hand, we met with Scarlet to create a timeline of events and go over details. On Wednesday my husband and I went from pool to meeting to pool to meeting all day. It was the best day of wedding planning ever! We met with DJ Mannia and gave them our lists of requests (what to play, not to play, CD of must have songs, etc etc). We met with Caribbean Celebrations to go over details (finalize look of arch, look of bouquets, etc) met with photographer Reno Cassius of Photo Souvenir (who we loved!!) to go over details and timeline. Each meeting only took about 45 minutes and it was time well spent. Then in the afternoon, I met with my bride stylist Yessenia (who made me look beautiful and she's a wonderful person!) to have a trial run with my hair and make up. Side note: go in with an idea of what you want or allow her to tell you what would work (I did the latter). Then let her do her thing because Dominican women know how to do hair! Trust me, you want to meet with these people because they are total professionals and will put you at ease. After it was done, I felt totally relaxed, I knew my hair and makeup would look good, music, decor, and photography was set, and could totally enjoy the next couple of days with family and friends - which is what it's all about in the first place!!!! #3. The Resort is stunning!!! This is a 5 star resort, and it should be ranked the #1 hotel in Punta Cana area. I have no idea how any other hotel is ranked above it - and I imagine it's because most people that visit Punta Cana don't know it exists in Cap Cana and settle for a fist pumping/Spring Break place. This is not that!! And thank God it's not!! This resort is stunning, it's 5 star, it's classy. The lawns are immaculately groomed. The architecture is Spanish colonial with touches of southern Spain mudejar style. And the staff!! We were sad to leave them! Every single hotel staffer that we met is a good person, and the resort goes through a rigorous screening process to ensure that they have the best, most professional staff possible. And they do. We tipped when we could because a few dollars goes a long way down there. Just because you're at an all-inclusive doesn't mean you shouldn't tip for better service....and honestly any ignorant American or traveler that posts otherwise on TripAdvisor or anywhere is just a complete moron. They are a fantastic crew at Sanctuary and it made me so happy to see them treat our friends and family so well. #4. Treat the staff well. This one is simple. What goes around comes around. Treat them well, with respect, tip where needed, and they will go above and beyond to make this the wedding of your dreams. When I say this was the wedding of my dreams, I mean it. I knew the wedding would go well but it wildly exceeded my expectations, and we are SO glad that we chose Sanctuary for our wedding. #5. Be Organized and Get everything in writing! As amazing as the wedding coordinators and hotel staff are, I felt comfortable knowing that I had a huge folder that had everything we needed. From our DJ music requests to room reservation confirmations, I was on top of my wedding business. Though I never had to pull any documents out because Sanctuary was on top of it all, I felt better knowing that I had papers should I need to show them to anyone. #6. If things don't go as planned, it will be ok! We had 100 guests join us for wedding (85 adults and 15 kids). We splurged and paid for wedding on the "Big Island" and the wedding reception at Seaside Terrace of the Castle. We had the most perfect ceremony outside, photos taken outside, cocktail hour outside, and then after our first dance and salads, it started to rain!! We were all guided to the Ocean Club where we had another cocktail hour for an hour. But instead of freaking out during that time we were totally relaxed as poor Scarlet and Cristina and the ENTIRE staff rushed to recreate the same scene in the giant ballroom. An hour later, we were brought into the ballroom and it was perfect. The centerpieces, tables, etc were all there. They even saved the cake! So many of my friends and family say they liked the impromptu cocktail hour because it got the group talking to people they normally wouldn't have known. Though things didn't go as planned it all turned out great. So remember to roll with the punches. #7. Don't stress about things you can't control (like weather, etc) ...but be VERY organized with the things you can. #8. Make time for fun! I knew I wanted to golf with my Dad, Brother, Godfather, and husbands Uncle before wedding, so I set us up a teetime on Thursday. My husband really wanted to take a group to the "Hoyo Azul" so we all went out on Sunday afternoon. Make sure to schedule time for fun otherwise the pool will suck you in (which isn't bad either!) Other things to note: ROOM DROPS FOR WELCOME BAGS: I paid to use the room drop. Think it was $3/bag or something. Not sure I would do this again. I would say 90% of people got their bags - but some of our guests changed room upon check in (ie. their room wasn't ready but the hotel had another one available so some bags got lost. At every wedding I've ever been to the welcome bag process isn't perfect so this didn't bother me too much. SPA: My husband and I did a couples massage at the Spa. I highly recommend it. I wish we had spent more time at spa, it's gorgeous. Room Upgrades: The Sanctuary upgraded our parents rooms (and ours) and it was such a nice touch. Our parents were treated like royalty and they got a well deserved vacation. Wedding Coordinators: Though we paid Sanctuary for our wedding we felt the need to tip Scarlet and Cristina because they went above and beyond to deliver on our wedding. If they do a good job for you, it would be right to tip them too. They do a lot behind the scenes. Shipping Items: Traveling to Punta Cana, it would have been a lot easier for us if we had shipped all our wedding items ahead of time (welcome bag items, reception favors, shells for names, table numbers, tea lights, etc etc) but I didn't feel comfortable shipping to another country. So we checked in two additional huge bags. In hindsight, it probably would've been fine to do so. Vendors used: Music: DJ Mannia Decor: Caribbean Celebrations Photography/Videography: Photo Souvenir Amazing Golfcourse: Punta Espada (talk to them about giving your guests a preferred rate) Fun Outing for Guests and Super Beautiful: Hoyo Aul. It's 10 minute shuttle ride from resort. A natural freshwater spring that you can swim in after a quarter mile hike down. It's well worth it. Scuba Diving: If any of you are divers, check out Bayahibe - it's a small, local diving town 45 minutes from Sanctuary resort. Amazing diving! And use Scuba Fun!!! They are total pros and a lot of fun!!
  5. Hi ladies, Just want to say I'm getting married at Sanctuary Hotel in a month and I've had really good contact with them - but it definitely took some getting used to. In NYC, when I send out an email I get a response within the hour. Obviously you all know it's not like that in the DR. May take a couple days/week to hear back (especially if you're a few months out til your wedding day). But as our wedding day has gotten closer, their correspondence has improved tremendously. It may help that both my fiance and I speak Spanish (and he's Dominican) - but that's absolutely not a prerequisite. So I know this isn't the best advice - but be as patient, be consistent, be professional - and they will get back to you in due time. I'll let you know how my wedding goes - Good luck!!
  6. Ladies, thanks SO much for the good advice. Great to know I'm not alone feeling this way. @maridr2012, I think your advice on not sharing things with people (at least certain people) is a good idea, I may have to do the same. At the end of the day there are many reasons we decided to go this route and I just have to keep them in mind when things get crazy... If anyone has other thoughts, keep 'em coming.
  7. haha. Eloping is tempting at those stressful times, but I know that I'd miss spending the day with our families. In fact, I would totally regret it. For us, the point of our destination wedding is to really introduce our families to each other because I'm from Northeast, he's from Southeast, and they've never met! We want our families to play on beach, do water activities, relax, and give our parents a vacation from their daily stresses. In theory it all sounded so perfect for us. It's just been all the unexpected stresses (the hotel management changes, the increasing flight costs, being everyone's travel agent, etc) that have stressed me out. I guess, honestly, I should've known to prepare for this? So by venting and posting this thread I guess I was hoping other brides or brides to be would chime in and say, "Me too! Planning a wedding in another country is SO hard!! But hang in there girl, you two will get through the rough spots, it's all worth it in the end!!"
  8. Ladies... Are any of you fighting more with your fiance now that you're engaged than you ever did before you were engaged?? So my fiance and I have had the most amazing 2 years together. It's been unreal at times how loving, secure, and right it feels. Simply put we just clicked right away and from the moment it started I knew we were going somewhere. So when he got down on a knee and asked me that important question, I didn't have any doubt in my mind, of course I said yes, and couldn't wait to officially start our lives together. ...Then came wedding planning!!! UGH! I knew it would be hard, I've seen the Bridezilla shows and heard stories from friends. But I thought destination wedding planning would be less stressful than a wedding in the states, I had NO idea things would be so hard at times. The guilt over asking friends/family to travel. Dealing with "Caribbean time". Friends/family that make me feel selfish for doing this. It's all adding up and it's making me stressed out or anxious all the time - and I'm usually a low key person. I mean, the stress even has me posting on FORUMS and asking STRANGERS for advice?? This isn't me! Anyway I don't know what's happened to us?? We used to be on the same page, we used to understand each other, talk with respect to each other, be a team...and now, I feel like this wedding planning is pushing us farther apart. And no, I'm not a crazy bridezilla, just dealing with more stress, he's dealing with more stress, etc. I just want to marry him, to tell him I love him enough to commit to him forever. And I hate all the other bullshit involved. Anyone else feel this way?
  9. Hi all! WOW, it's SO good to read these responses!! So, like everyone else reading this SAD thread I'm going through the same feelings of guilt and stress over our upcoming wedding in the Dominican Republic. 4.13.13. The truth is, I've always loved the idea of a destination wedding and I was so excited to plan this. Also my FI and I attended a wedding in Costa Rica last February and we both had the BEST trip of our lives. We thought by having a destination wedding our guests would come away with the similar memories because in theory it's an adventure, it's less stress, dealing with less vendors, less expensive (for us), and it's an opportunity for our friends and family to get to know each other in a unique setting. My fiance grew up in the DR and his family moved to Miami when he was 10. My family is from NJ and mostly tri-state area. I'm the youngest in my family and thought a destination wedding would be a a great chance for my family to vacation together, plus my siblings all did the tri-state weddings already. And, since our families have never met before, they can now meet in a relaxed fun setting. Right? Also, and importantly, my parents were hit hard during the recession and don't have the money they used to. So I'll be paying for the bulk of the wedding. But what I really did not count on was the STRESS and the GUILT. OMG. From family. From friends. The guilt over not having a cookie cutter country club wedding in an easy location like New Jersey. Guilt over asking guests to fly somewhere. Going to...gasp...another country. So many opinions. It's so much and I feel terrible that I'm letting the comments and stress from these people affect my feelings. This is supposed to be a fun time. A crazy time, yes, but also fun. And somewhere along the way I lost that feeling and I'd really love to get it back. I think this is easier said than done - but I need to grow a pair, be more confident with this decision, and move the hell on. I am somewhat of a people pleaser so in my moments of doubt I think about changing things up and having a wedding in Florida - which would be so stressful to plan in 6 months and much more expensive. Girls, I'm marrying the most amazing man I know and every day that I wake up with him (yes, ahem, we're living in sin lol) I realize how lucky I am. He is funny, he's sweet, kind, sexy and is going to be the most loving husband and father I could every imagine. All that matters is that we're starting a life together, and we're committing to each other. I hope as many friends and family can be there as possible to witness this...and if they can't, they cant. RIGHT??
  10. @Jello - love that quote We've decided not to do a bridal party either for many of the reasons you all already listed out. Also, we have a lot of little cousins, nieces, and nephews in our family. So, instead of asking friends & family to buy matching dresses, suits, etc. we've decided to have a bunch of little ring bearers and flower girls to walk down the aisle. I'll still have my sis as my MOH and my fiance will have his best friend as BM. Other than that, we're keeping it simple. And honestly, I think my friends are grateful for it.
  11. Not sure if it's too late to post...but def agree with Cinnagirl. Your FI needs to lighten up and understand that things aren't always going to be perfect and if your girls aren't going to be there, he needs to understand that. Also...not sure if this is weird or not...but so what if things are asymmetrical? If you just have your mom up there he can still have his boys?
  12. Hi ladies! This is a really helpful thread. My FI and I are getting married in DR in April 2013. This is causing major stress in my family because it's a lot of money to fly down for some members. So, we'll be holding a AHR in June 2013 and hoping this appeases everyone. Is the general consensus that you invite everyone on the DW invite to the AHR party?? I was originally thinking we'd do something small and intimate back home but the more I think about it I wonder if we should make this AHR really big? Did some of you wait to decide how big/small until after you got your DW RSVP's?? Thanks!
  13. 12/29 seems a tough time to have one because it's holiday time. People may get annoyed. I would wait til early Spring when things warm up? Or even Summer in case there's lots of children/families you want to attend? I don't think there are rules when it comes to this, but some people on here may disagree. My fiance and I are getting married in April in the Dominican Republic. A few members of my family have been a huge stress on me because they a) don't understand a destination wedding idea think it's too expensive and are asking me to have a wedding stateside instead (ie Fort Lauderdale, The Keys, etc which would be more expensive but they don't seem to get that). Therefore, we came up with the idea of having an at home reception in NYC or NJ after the wedding - in June when kids are out of school. At first I thought it would be a simple BBQ style party at my brother's home, with white tent, catered, etc. but now thinking we'll have to make this bigger at a local venue, tbd. Point is, I don't think there are rules when you have the AHR, but I do think it's nice to do especially for people that may want to come to your destination wedding but simply can't afford it. I just hope that this appeases everyone...
  14. Hi! Just a quick question, are you having a big destination wedding? Or keeping it small and then having a big at home reception afterward? My fiance and I are sending out the save the dates this week for our April wedding. We expect approx 75-100 friends and family to attend our wedding in the Dominican Republic but still want an AHR in NJ in June for close family and friends who aren't able to attend (obviously we don't know who they are yet because we're sending save the dates out this week). Just curious if you all are doing something similar.
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