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Rotha Penn

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About Rotha Penn

  1. We didn't upgrade, but the closet on our Delta flights were too small for my dress (ball gown) and we just put it overhead and everyone was very nice and didn't shove their things in there. Just ask the flight attendant when you get on - they were very helpful. I'm sure it helped that I boarded early because I'm a medallion member.
  2. Wifi is spotty with the exception of the lobby. I also used the computers in the Royal Service lounge from time to time.
  3. Yep, I even had one of my group dinners at Aqua. I booked this through the Romance team. All of our dinners were booked by our butler. He just asked us what we wanted to eat that night and he took care of the reservation. We also ate at Palazzo a lot - one of our favorites. We tried every restaurant except Vento because my husband doesn't like Mediterranean food but my in-laws ate there and they enjoyed the food. We didn't get to try Mole because they were never open the entire time we were there. Apparently they close some of the restaurants some days, I never cared enough to figure out since the butler took care of the reservations. You can't go wrong wherever you stay because the resort is absolutely beautiful.
  4. Sorry you are stuck, but I am jealous you are still there It was so hard to leave because we were just getting in the groove. This is my first full week back at work and I'm already trying to figure out when our next vacation is. Out of curiosity, what were the 3 restaurants that you mention. As part of Royal Service, we were also given access to Aqua, Mizu (I think that's the name) and Gabi Beach. Were there others?
  5. Anxiety is part of any event planning process, especially for your own wedding! Do I regret having my wedding at PPR - no. Would I have done things differently if people would have shared honest feedback about the communications problem and some of the other issues people are talking about in advance of my wedding - yes. No matter what, you will have a beautiful wedding. At the end of the day, you get to marry your best friend and you will only have beautiful pictures to look at. The minor details will fall to the wayside and you will look upon your wedding with pure joy. Trust me, I am a type "A", thus a major control freak and my wedding wasn't even close to what I envisioned - it could have been a comedy because it was that bad. Our groomsman ordered the wrong colored pants and didn't realize it until the day of the wedding...seriously? I digress, point is that I laugh and smile now when I think about my wedding, hiccups and all. Just remember to enjoy the day and have fun no matter what. As for the Reserve vs Royal Service (RS). We loved the Royal Service. Yes, the rooms in the reserve are newer and thus more modern but since the RS is on the main resort, you are closer to everything. The RS has 2 pool areas that are only for RS guests and the beach is literally a few steps away. This is nice because you have more access to beach and pool cabanas. Also, you get drink service with RS for the pool and beach areas. You have to wait for go carts at the Reserve to take you to the main resort to the beach. Most of the guests that we met that stayed at the Reserve told us they spent most of their time at the main resort. Since you get a butler as part of the RS package, I feel they tend to pamper those on their wedding/honeymoon, so that was an added bonus. Hope this helps!
  6. Seriously, have fun everyone no matter what. Hopefully, we are only doing this once so savor it to the last second.
  7. Definitely cut corners where you can because it does add up pretty fast. We thought we would be saving money by doing a destination vs in town because we had a tiny group vs the 120+ we would have had in town, not so much. We actually spent more than our original budget because we wanted everyone to enjoy it since we knew it was about $1400/person (flying out of CVG is very expensive). For example, tango dancers were nice but definitely not needed. Like I said before, since we had a small group, we cut the DJ out and just used iPod with the basic sound package. We're a bunch of dancing fools so we didn't need a DJ to get us on the dance floor. The basic bouquet is pretty so no need to upgrade unless you want a bigger one for your pics. I regret upgrading since I'm pretty sure I held it for a total of 15 min max. Also, no need to do centerpieces for the cocktail reception tables. I don't even remember what they look like since everyone was excited about the food and drinks. Don't be afraid to ask for substitutions. We did for cocktail and dinner menu and no charge so long as they approve. We didn't do didn't dinner menu cards since it was buffet. We didn't upgrade cake and it was delicious, just bring your own cake topper. My biggest advice is to enjoy your day no matter what. At the end of the day, if it's a vendor that you didn't choose, there is a good chance they will disappoint you. I gave them plenty of feedback in hopes that it will help future brides so fingers crossed. And yes, best of luck EV! You've worked so hard for this, so enjoy your time off. Can't wait to see your pics because I know you are going to be a beautiful bride.
  8. It was definitely a jam packed day but well worth it because I love photography. I had hair and makeup at 9 and finished around 11:45 or so. Went to my sister's room to get dressed and David got dressed in our room. We had 2 photographers that's why there are shots of both of us getting ready. We then met in the lobby for our first look pictures which took us to about 12:15. A few pictures and we were on our way. You are correct it is about 90 minutes away. We had an awesome driver (booked Cesar in advance with Yessica) and got us there by 1:30. My photographer took care of the paperwork in advance so it saved us time - there are fees to be paid and information for security purposes. We had 2 solid hours of shooting before we all wanted to pass out from the heat and hunger since none of us got a chance to eat beforehand (recovering from the day before on the boat ). Somehow Cesar got us back to the resort at 4:30 where we met with our respective bridal party. Technically they all should have been ready to go if not almost finished and we could have taken group pics in advance but not the case with this gang. Instead photographers snapped shots of everyone getting ready until our ceremony which started at 6:00. After the ceremony, everyone went to the beach for group photos. We then sent everyone that wasn't in the bridal party to the cocktail reception and continued to take more photos until about 7:30 where we joined everyone at Olympus Terrace (cocktail hour). Everyone was then escorted to Apollo Terrace for the reception at 8:00. David and I were held back so they could introduce us. For the reception, we immediately went into our first dance and then dinner (buffet style). We had tango dancers during the meal. Afterwards, parents dance, speeches, cake cutting, dancing/shots (the bar staff kept finding ways to get us taking shots - really professional and fun crew). We saved the fire show for the end since we had to relocate everyone back to Olympus Terrace. After the awesome show, we were fired up and since we were close to the beach, we decided to run into the ocean. If that wasn't enough we jumped into the pool on our way back Hotel security didn't care for it but after the debacle with the wedding, I didn't really care. We all went to change out of our wet clothes and met at the Red Lounge to party and dance the night away until they closed. It was so much fun! Sorry for the novel, but wanted to show that it is possible for the trek to Altos de Chavon should you desire.
  9. Thank you! Not sure on how long because it felt longer than 7 minutes. It was seriously awesome and I'm not easily impressed. We had it on the Olympus Terrace where we originally were going to have our reception but they moved the reception to Apollo Terrace because they were afraid it was going to rain, but it didn't. Olympus Terrace does not have a roof whereas Apollo does.
  10. We paid for the upgrade. We started off with the Royal Service Garden Suite (which was the same price our TA quoted for the Luxury Suite) and then upgraded for the honeymoon phase to the Royal Service Oceanfront because we wanted the honeymoon time to feel more special.
  11. Hi Ladies! Below is the link to a preview of our wedding photos. As stressed and upset as I was about the wedding, this slideshow put everything back into perspective. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did and it gets you excited for your upcoming wedding. http://nordicaphotography.com/slideshow/rothaanddavid/ These should give you an idea of what a garden wedding looks like. This is from Altos de Chavon: Beach shots: And the fire show - yes, they ask you go stand in between them at the end (scary but awesome).
  12. It was so hard to leave! Although we had a rocky start, they definitely made it up to us. They surprised us with a truly romantic evening. Dinner at Passions (by far our best meal at the resort - if you're the foodie type) with wine selection by sommelier with each course and there were a ton. When we got back to our room, everything was covered in rose petals and they had a bottle of champagne chilling with chocolate covered strawberries and a rose filled bubble bath. We knew they were going to do something special for us, but it definitely exceeded our expectations. This shows me the resort does care, you just need to make sure you over communicate everything for them to get it. Not sure if I mentioned it but Royal Service is worth it, especially if you are staying during your honeymoon. We barely used the exclusive areas when our guests were there and noticed a big difference after they left and started using the Royal Service areas. No pics from my photographer yet Apparently 2-3 weeks for sneak pics and 6 for the finished product. That's what I get for using a perfectionist
  13. Sorry, I didn't mean to be Debbie Downer. You are all going to be lovely brides with beautiful weddings. I just wanted to set everyone's expectations so you can communicate that with the Romance team. I had a good debrief with them yesterday and I understand what the mishaps were a result of. Just over communicate and don't sweat the small things and you will have an amazing day. I'm a PR manager and events are part of my job so my expectation levels are off the chart. Now that everyone is gone, we are having a blast on our honeymoon. We upgraded to an oceanfront room in Royal Service and it is spectacular. The private pool and beach areas have become our sanctuary. Francisco at the beach will get you the beds and Gloria the bartender was awesome. If anyone is planning to use a car service for trips outside the resort, book through Romance. Yessica got us a great deal $150 for 4 hours and he took us wherever we wanted. His name was Cesar and he was amazing. He carried my shoes and bottles of water throughout Altos de Chavon in the sweltering heat. Best of luck and let me know if I can answer any other questions.
  14. Ev & Angel - Hang in there ladies! I almost broke down as well because of family and friends. Honestly, if I had to do it all over again, we would have gone to Bora Bora and gotten married with just the two of us (the way I wanted) but fiancé wanted family part of it - he is regretting this decision since we learned how selfish everyone really is. Here is my review of the resort: While everyone said the wedding was lovely, it did not meet my expectations since there were lots of miscommunication. It just seemed that everything we did via the resort has been difficult and very slow. The only thing I have thoroughly enjoyed was the catamaran I booked myself. I think this could have been corrected if my MOH (sister) stepped up or our family was less needy so I had time to stay on top of the wedding coordinators. I highly recommend a full wedding rehearsal with them and literally run through everything like a dress rehearsal. I spent too much time chasing people down and babysitting that I didn't even get to focus on the event. I don't know if people checked out their brain because they were on vacation or what because I kept getting frustrated that no one knew what was going on or where to be although I had a detailed itinerary as part of their welcome kit....argh At the end of the day, I enjoyed my wedding because I ignored everything and everyone and just tried to focus on the fact I was marrying my best friend. As a result, we had so much fun. We even ran into the ocean with our clothes on and jumped into the pool afterwards - can't wait to see the pictures. I do get heated up when I think about all the details that got screwed up because of the resort and my family but I'm trying to ignore it and enjoy our honeymoon. Heads up if anyone is a foodie like me...the food is a bit on the salty side and a bit average. Please note that I'm a pretty picky eater because I've been fortunate to eat at some amazing places. Makeup - slow but great job. I brought my own makeup but you don't have too. I had a trial run at home so I had specific colors I wanted to use. Primer is a must in this weather. Hair - disasterous, it didn't even make it from the salon at the Reserve to my room at Palma Real. Tip: only tell them up or down because the more intricate, the less likely they will do it right. Let them do what they know how and bring extra hold hairspray for anti-humidity because the stuff they were using was definitely not strong enough. Please block about 3 hours for hair and makeup. If your dress needs to be steamed - make sure to do this ASAP. They almost didn't get this done in time although I was told I only needed to do the day before. Don't stress on shoes like I did. I think I wore my heels for an hour at most. I only wore them during the ceremony and our first dance. I was barefoot for pictures on the beach and wore flats for portraits at Altos de Chavon since we were running around. Cake - we didn't upgrade and it was amazing. We just bought a cake topper and it was perfect. This was our 2nd cake since we had a big one at out AHR. DJ - if you want to save money, get the basic sound system and use your iPod and have your best man or MOH be MC. They will have techs at the table to help turn the music on and off, you just have to prompt them. We did this and we had a blast just as much as our AHR where we had a DJ. After the reception, we went to Red Lounge and danced our butts off until 3 AM (?) Candles - save your money. They don't know how to use them correctly even though it is all over the resort (so frustrating). Splurge - if you can, you should definitely go with the fire show. It was insane and will really wow everyone. Group dinners - book through onsite wedding coordinator. Send request before you get here and follow up when you arrive. We were able to get 18 people at Bana for Welcome Dinner then 15 at Aqua post wedding. Not all the restaurants are open, which is annoying so they can't tell you more than a week's notice. No pics to post yet but here is a sneak pic of the Altos de Chavon shoot: Holler if you guys have other questions. Wifi is horrible here so my responses may be delayed. Best of luck everyone!!
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