By konachick, · 526 Views · 0 Comments
I was just married at Dreams Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa on February 15, 2012.
Here is my review of the resort in general on Tripadvisor: http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g150793-d481596-r124831105-Dreams_Puerto_Vallarta_Resort_Spa-Puerto_Vallarta_Pacific_Coast.html
Overall A - The following are my thoughts on my wedding experience at Dreams Puerto Vallarta. We booked the Dreams of Love package.
We worked with Eleane throughout and she was great. She always responded to our emails promptly and was very organized when we met with her. She went out of her way to find us some bubbles (that I forgot to pick up at home before we left), and we made last minute floral additions up to a day before the wedding. We gave her my dress and my partner's wedding clothes to be steamed right after our meeting with her, and they were back in our room by that evening. All of the instructions I gave her for setting out decorations was to the letter, and she even helped spruce up our cake without our asking (as I was just expecting a plain white cake and she decorated it with some orchids and some of our other wedding decorations around the base). It had started to downpour only 15 minutes before the ceremony was to start, and she got decorations set up inside, all of our guests corralled and ceremony started only 20 minutes late. She was literally soaked, but got everything together and ceremony rolling very quickly. She was there throughout the evening and was really great to work with. My flowers were exactly as expected, as I chose a bouquet that was shown on their website and just asked for a colour adjustment to match my wedding colours.
My sister (MoH) and I booked our hair and makeup at the resort salon (it is all done in the salon, not in your room). I brought down all of my own makeup (primer, foundation, powder, eyeshadow, blush, lipstick) as I wanted to be sure to control as much as I could and I had a makeup test-run before heading to Mexico. My sister brought her own eyeshadow and lipstick. Bianca did my make up and for the most part it was applied well, and I had lots of complements. However, the blush was applied a bit heavy, and a friend of mine had to lighten it up a bit for me after. My sister's make up (didn't catch the stylist's name) was applied well if you saw it in dim light, but when we got back to my room and saw it in natural light, the foundation was applied quite splotchily and we had to fix it a bit. The rest of her makeup was really nicely done, so I'm not sure what happened with the foundation. However, as mentioned, I used my own and she used the foundation supplied by the salon, so it could have been older product. My hair was done exactly how I had requested, and my sister's hair was more elaborate than expected, but very nice. I had my hair curled/wavy and pulled to the side, and I brought a purple feather flower to be tucked behind my ear. My sister had requested a french roll and the stylist added some nice curls out the top (sounds funny but it looked nice). In general, the service was good, but we did have to make some adjustments once we got back to my room. If you are relying on the salon to do your makeup, I recommend bringing as much of your own makeup as possible.
Our ceremony was supposed to be in the Gazebo, which looked like it would have been beautiful. My sister took a picture of it before it started raining. As discussed, we had to move inside because of the torrential downpour, but it worked out fine in the end - it was held in the foyer area where the ballrooms are. We had a symbolic ceremony (mixing of the sand). You can pay extra for coloured sand, but we liked the natural look. The marriage commissioner was a woman, and she did a good job (she made one of our uncles cry!). You also sign a certificate, so if you have a nice pen to bring down, that is a nice photo op. The ceremony was quick (15 mins), then you go off and have pictures. We brought wooden folding fans down to Mexico with us to place on each chair.
Our photographer was named Eder. He did a great job even though we were limited to some pretty low-light areas as the ground was still very wet so we had to stay mostly in covered areas. We were pleasantly surprised by the great photos! A friend of mine was married last year in the Mayan Riviera, and I remember they were unhappy with most of the photos they ended up with (and they paid a lot more!). Eder did a really good job. Of course, not all photos were winners, but he can't help that we're not photogenic (hahaha!). Generally they were high quality photos and we had lots to choose from. You can upgrade your photo package, or you can buy additional pictures for $15 per. You then receive them on a CD and have full copyright of those. We did the $15 per. Eder did miss our cake cutting, as he has his own break while we eat dinner. He was probably going by the usual length of time it takes for a group to finish dinner, but our group finished dinner pretty quickly, so we may have been done sooner than he expected. This was not Eder's fault, but it may be helpful to pre-arrange a time with your photographer so that you can be sure he/she will be there. It was fine for us because my brother is an amateur photographer, and we got some good photos while Eder was on break. We started dinner at 6:55pm (5 mins early), and had the cake cutting at approximately 7:45pm. Here is a link to our slideshow: http://150212donnaandadrian.
We had a cocktail reception for our guests while we were off having photos taken. I didn't get to try any of the appetizers but heard that they were very good. For dinner, we had a 3 course meal, plus the wedding cake. Appetizer: we had the crab cakes... I might recommend something different. The taste was good, but for some reason the texture was kind of grainy so it put me off... it didn't bother some people, but it's just something to be aware of. Soup: was apparently quite good, we had a cream of something... (I can't have cream, so I didn't have any soup, and cannot further comment). Entrees: we had a miscommunication with Eleane when booking our food, and we thought our guests could choose from all 8 of the options we were given. After we received all responses back and sent them to Eleane, it turned out we were only meant to give them two choices. We paid an extra $10 per person to keep our orders as is, which worked out fine. If you do offer two choices, my personal recommendation is to include the "steak and chicken" option as one of your choices - it was really yummy! We ordered chocolate for our wedding cake and it was surprisingly REALLY good! The cake was moist and the frosting was not overly sweet. The wait staff were very professional and kept the wine/drinks flowing throughout our event. To decorate the table, we brought down fabric rose petals to sprinkle on each table... we would have purchased candles to place on the tables if we remembered while in town --- we forgot but it worked out fine anyway because we had to move inside. If you order candles from the resort, they charge you $10 per candle, so either bring some down with you or buy them while you're walking around PV (and don't forget, like we did!).
- We brought our own sound system down with us. It would have cost $300-450 to rent a sound system, then extra for a DJ (who would have been playing an ipod anyway). Instead, we spent $200 on a Bose ipod dock, loaded up our ipods, and brought the dock down in our carry on. We had tested the docking station in Best Buy before we bought it and cranked it up to see how it sounded in a large setting. I think it would have been fine if our reception was outside on the terrace as planned, and it sounded great in the ballroom.
- Tipping: There is a 15% gratuity that is already added to your bill, but we also tipped on top of this gratuity.
- This has been noted in the forum, but it was not possible to host a private group function for our guests without paying quite a bit extra. Instead, we asked everyone to meet up at the Rendezvous Bar (lobby bar) at 5pm on our second day, and we just occupied a corner of the terrace. It worked out well as an informal meet and greet before dinner.
- Communication book: The concierges are really helpful at Dreams, and we were able to put a notebook at the main concierge desk to communicate with our guests. We were a little bit late getting our book out, as we didn't know this was possible and had to go into town to buy a notebook. It would have been better if we got it out earlier to help our guests connect with each other, as they could leave notes for each other and for us. We also put our wedding day itinerary in the book.
We had a really great time even though we got moved inside. Eleane was very professional and great to work with. My friend who had her wedding last year in the Mayan gave me a good reminder the day before our wedding... she said that at a destination wedding (actually any large event in fact), expect that things will not go exactly as planned --- just go with it because your guests don't know what you planned and they'll think it was a really great event no matter what. And it's so true! If we didn't do the bubbles, no one would have known. And we forgot the candles on the tables, and no one was the wiser. Everyone is there to have a good time and enjoy themselves, not to judge the details of your wedding (and if they *are* there to do that, then they are not worth your energy!).
Hope this review has been helpful!