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Dominican Republic
Amazing Wedding! Riu Palace Punta Cana
This is a review of:

Hotel Riu Palace Punta Cana, Dominican Republic ~ All-Inclusive Resort

Detailed Ratings
Accomodation Value:
4.0
Communication:
3.0
General Location:
4.0
Wedding Sites:
4.0
Wedding Value:
5.0
FutureMrsTO

By FutureMrsTO, · 2,375 Views · 8 Comments

Pros: great value, amazing grounds, professional & friendly staff
Cons: wedding website needs updating

On Saturday October 9th 2010 we got married at the RIU Palace Punta Cana with 110 guests.
Our wedding was the only wedding that day (not sure if this is cause of the size of our wedding or random chance) We had our ceremony at 5:00 pm in the beach gazebo, our cocktail hour in the main lobby bar from 5:30-6:30pm, and our reception in the Alta Gracia Steakhouse from 6:30-12am.
We arrived at the RIU Palace 4 days prior to our wedding and stayed for a total of 9 days.


The Packages:
The RIU offers a variety of packages to help you plan your wedding. 
We went with the Caprice Package (which is their high end package)
For 2010 the package includes (I have made notes for 2011)

* Wedding Planner to assist you in your special day
* Decoration set up for the ceremony location with natural flowers.
* Bridal Bouquet and matching boutonniere for the groom
* Two rose petals bags
* CD or recorded music during the ceremony
* Semi private dinner for the couple and the wedding guests at one of our specialty restaurants
* Wedding cake for the couple and 60 wedding guests or less *(40 guests for 2011)*
* Sparkling wine for the couple and 60 wedding guests or less (during the main toast only) *(40 guests for 2011)*
*Reception Decoration(Chair sashes & linens)
* Romantic massage for bride and groom
* Manicure, pedicure and hairstyle for the bride
* Ten percent discount on all spa services for bride and groom
* Complimentary room upgrade for the wedding couple subject to availability upon arrival (External Jacuzzi Suites are not included)
*There a limited number of suits so make sure your travel agent reserves in advance*
* Late check out for the wedding couple subject to availability
* Riu “T- Shirts” for bride and groom
* Breakfast in bed the morning after the wedding
* Fruit with chocolate & bottle of sparkling wine.
* Minister/Judge service & wedding certificate
* Witnesses if required

**For 2011 there is an external vendor fee of $200 per vendor**

Additonal Charges:
These are things that we paid extra for that you should inquire about!

International Bar Set Up (reception area doesn't come w a bar set up-waiter service only)
OOT Bag Delivery
Candles on Reception Tables
Upgraded Ceremony Flowers / Decoration
Extra Hours For Reception  / DJ

Per guest charge over the amount in package


The Resort:
The grounds are beautifully landscaped and the resort looks exactly how it is named...like a Palace.  We were impressed with the decor and proximity to the beach.  Our guests enjoyed the swim up bar at the pool and the variety of restaurants and places to hang out.  They also appreciated the Sports Bar (as we were there during World Series Playoffs!!)  The staff works hard to entertain and does a good job of providing a high energy, comfortable atmosphere!

 

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The Rooms:
We stayed in the Superior Suite, aka the honey moon suite. It was HUGE! Even had a walk in closet!
The room was always cleaned and decorated with beautiful towel and flower arrangements.
Our only complaint was that the bed was a little hard for us.  Truthfully though after a day of sun, cocktails and activities we still passed out at night and slept soundly. Our guests appreciated the unlimited mini bar included in the rooms and that even in a large group, we were all placed in the same location of the hotel.  The staff all knew we were there celebrating a wedding and went out of their way to congratulate us and make our time there special.  We felt very VIP!
 

The Planners:

Magnolia and Maria (the wedding planners) were absolutely amazing! They literally took care of every detail. When we first arrived Tuesday we met with them first thing to go over everything. Magnolia had all of my emails, pictures etc that I had sent her printed out and ready to go! (i had printed and brought with me also, but she was prepared!)  They had a ton of pictures on the computer to show us too of cakes, ceremony sets ups, floor plan options (which i don't know why they don't have on their website in advance!!)

Magnolia set up a meeting for us to meet with the DJ and photographer following our appointment with them. We used all the house vendors (with the exception of the pastor) and could not have been more pleased.

I brought a lot of stuff with me ( not necessary-but that's just me) and these women took care of everything!! They took great notes, arranged everything accordingly and not a detail was overlooked. They work extremely hard and truly made magic happen for us.

 

Ceremony:

We had the ceremony on the beach gazebo.  We had an overly large group (110 guests) so this was the best option for us (and also very beautiful!!!)  They did section it off from the resort guests but we still gathered a lot of onlookers & by standers in bathing suits. (Which at the time of the ceremony i didn't even see, they didn't show up in my pictures and my guests thought was funny!)

 

We up-graded our ceremony flowers and decorations upon our arrival to the hotel. They used our flower colors (pink and orange) in the palm leave arch ways, created two flower arrangements on either sides of the ceremony table as well as a show piece for the table.  They wrapped the columns in white fabric.  The sashes on the chairs were already included and we picked orange to match our wedding colors.

 

We let Magnolia know ahead of time that our friend would be singing our wedding processional and recessional.  She made sure that he was set up with microphone and music etc. I didn't have to stress about this. It was such an amazing touch and we were glad that we were able to pull it off with her help!

 

On another brides recommendation we decided to use Pastor Rick York. We were doing a symbolic ceremony and wanted the ceremony in English.  Through email Pastor York worked with me and my fiance to create a customized ceremony that really reflected us as a couple.  He helped us chose readings that we loved.  Everyone commented on how intimate the ceremony was and thought Pastor York was a friend of ours!! I highly recommend Pastor York.  

CONTACT:

ryork@codetel.net.do

 

beach gazebo w ceremony upgrade.

ceremony.jpg

 

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FLOWERS:

all of the flowers were gorgeous! no complaints!! i was very specific about which flowers i wanted and sent magnolia lots of pics--she matched the pics i sent to the tee!!!  I asked for calla lilies (in colors they didn't have, but had them floral painted to match and they looked perfect) I did have to pay extra for the calla Lillis and square vases that I wanted.  I provided ribbon that i wanted wrapped around the girls & my bouquets and she made sure that was done as well. 


here's a pic of my maid of honor holding mine and her bouquets!

flowers1.jpg

Boutineers:

bout.jpg

Bouquets

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Not the best angle or pic but here's my centerpieces....

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Reception:

After the ceremony they directed our guests to the main lobby bar for about 40 minutes or so while we took pics on the beach w the photographer.  They were happy to have that time to cool off!!!

We then did a private reception (worth it!) w the caprice package at the Alta Gracia (steakhouse).  Everyone loved the food and set up!! We had Cesar salad, seafood platters served family style to the table and then a choice of 4 main dishes w the sides served family style.

As far as the centerpieces, ahead of time I sent the WC pictures of what I wanted and she had the florist recreate them perfectly. I brought my own candles (as it was cheaper to bring from home!) I also made my own table numbers and created my own menus which they placed on the salad plates (PS I'm a graphic designer) The chair sashes & linens are included (she will give you colors to select from) We decided to alternate the colors w the pink & orange on the chairs for the reception.

 

We had to pay extra for a Bar set up in the room as waiter service is what is available.

They set the bar up in the corner of the dance floor.

 

Everything that I brought was returned back to my room in the boxes--from the champagne glasses to cake knives, I didn't have to worry about a thing!

 

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our table!!  they put the ceremony flowers on our table and on the pedestals next to our table

 

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my friend (a guest) did decorate my cake but feel free to use it as a reference!!  Truthfully from the other pics I had seen of their cakes I didn't really like how they decorated it.  If you have a crafty friend ask that he / she can decorate it.  On the other hand, they did display it beautiful! the table was under lit in orange lighting and was set up on a table across from us.  (Just a note: They supplied the flowers but i brought the ribbon, petals, knives and topper as well as the candles w me for the table)

cake.jpg

 

The DJ:

we used RS Entertainment (the house DJ).  we payed an extra for the MC as we wanted the bridal party introduced and the special dances etc announced.  We brought the DJ a play list on an ipod w each play list labeled for what it was for.  ex: first dance, mother/son dance etc. that way he had all the music we wanted played.  we told him, high energy lots of dancing etc.  He did a great job!!! He played all the songs we wanted, was on cue w everything and i have to tell you mixed it up very well (hip-hop, Spanish, typical bar songs, r&B etc) we were very fearful but i have to say, they did a great job.they even had lights at the edges of the dance floor too!!

CONTACT:

Roberto Sigarán
809-445-0612
Rs Entertainment,EIRL

Web Page. www.rsentertainmentrd.com
Facebook.  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rs-Entertainment-EIRL/130773313618268?filter=3

 

The Photographer:

AMAZING!!! we used Daniel from Antillana de Fotografia (the house photography) We sat with him and Anja (the wedding team director) prior we told him we didnt want a lot of the posed cookie cutter pics  So dont' be afraid to be very direct in what you want / don't want and he will capture it for you. He was awesome.  We actually had to upgrade our package cause we had so many amazing pics to choose from.  we got all our photos, book and prints before we left. On Monday after the wedding we did a photo shoot w Daniel for the trash the dress...it was 100% worth it. i can't even tell you how amazing the pictures are! *SEE ATTACHED* I recommend making a list of pictures that you know you want to take to make sure you get them all.  

You need to make a reservation to book the photographer-no deposit is required.  They only take reservations via email. 

 CONTACT:

Antillana de Fotografia
Tel/Fax  809 468 4896
Tel         809 468 5019
www.antillanafoto.com
 
 
A few tips:
  • make sure you clear your debit & credit cards for international travel.  We forgot to do that and had a little situation paying the bill.  All ironed out in the end but it created a little stress!
  • A side note here: I had a second wedding dress..a short party dress.  Everyone told me I wasn't going to wear it and I wouldn't need it. I AM SO GLAD I HAD IT! It's a tropical island-its HOT! I was able to truly party and dance all night and remained in my wedding dress until after the father daughter dance.
  • ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS!
  • Leave yourself a financial buffer of 500.00-1,000.  There are extras or additions that come up and it was nice to have that buffer and get those things that we wanted.
  • DO A GROUP EXCURSION! We had 45 of our 110 guests do a private ATV / Buggie excursion and it was amazing--and our guests truly enjoyed it!!
 
Everyone asks what I would have done differently...
Truthfully nothing.  We were so happy with the way that everything turned out. We couldn't have asked for a better day.  Other than a few missing faces, we had the perfect wedding.
 

This photo is not from our wedding but I was able to snag while we were there...
ceremony on the beach
 

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8 Comments


Wow! That was a fantastic review of the sort and I found it to be extremely helpful! I'm planning my wedding at the Riu for dec 2011. I'm glad to hear that you were able to have a private reception too.

 

Thanks vey much!

Susanna

Susanna_koren@hormail.con

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Thank you so much for all the info, especially because I will be having a group of about 50 guests. I'm still waiting to hear from the Riu to get the 2011 wedding packages and additional costs.

By any chance could you e-mail me a brief breakdown of your costs, especially costs for extra guests? I'm hoping to stay around $3,500 (ceremony & dinner). It sounds like you had a lot of extras so I'd probably be able to cut a couple costs.

reneejessop@mac.com

Thank you,

 

Renee

 

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Thank you so much for a great review!! My only question is that the gazebo looks so close to the beach did you have lounge chairs in the background? Where people and lounge chairs in your pictures? Just want to make sure they did a good job of blocking peopel off lol Thanks so much for the help!

 

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I have just begun looking for venues, thanks for the thorough review of this one! If you can, would you please send me how much the additional add-ons costed and maybe the total cost of your everything together, since many of the extras you have I would like to add to? Was the semi-private reception very private, and was the DJ set up near the dining area where ya'll ate?

Your wedding looks beautiful, and your color-scheme is along the lines of what I'm looking for! Thanks for the advice on sending pictures of center pieces and such, I didn't really know you could do that.

Thanks,

Stefani

stef104154@aol.com

 

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Hi,

Your wedding was beautiful. I am considering having my wedding at Riu Palace Punta Cana or Dreams Palm Beach Punta Cana. I have a question? Was your reception inside with air conditioner? I am wondering because I am looking for a wedding venue with an inside reception. I really do not care for Dreams Palm Beach Punta Cana reception venues. Please help

Thanks,

Valencia

vivanti02@yahoo.com

 

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Awesome description and pictures! I am trying to figure out how much everything will end up costing in total for the privated reception and your wedding is the most similar to what ours will hopefully be! We are anticipating about 100 guests as well and would like to probably do the Altagracia steakhouse with private bar, meal, and DJ. With having such a large party, I'm sure the charges will continue to go up. Will you please let me know about how much the reception ended up costing you guys in total for the food and bar, etc...? I would really appreciate it!!

Thank you,

Shelley

sziemba14@hotmail.com

 

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Such a helpful review!!!! Wish more people would take the time to do this. Lovely wedding. Wishing you many continued blessings in your marriage!

 

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This has been very helpful, but i was wondering if you could tell me the price you paid for the international bar. I have a wedding planned here and more details could really help. Thank you , 

 

sbounmany@hotmail.com

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