By jks123, · 1,589 Views · 0 Comments
We were so pleased with our wedding at Dreams La Romana and I am so happy we chose this resort for our destination wedding. My husband and I had actually traveled to this resort the year prior for a vacation, and when we began planning our destination wedding we knew this would be the perfect location. It took a lot of the stress away during the planning process that we had already been to the resort and knew what to expect. I will try to break down the review into different categories to help future brides who may be considering this resort:
Planning Process: Once we decided to book at Dreams La Romana for our wedding we were able to go on their website to look at potential available wedding dates and then submit a date request to the resort. We reached out to them in May 2015 to book an April 2016 wedding date. This was probably one of the only frustrating parts of the planning process. It took quite a while to hear back from the resort to confirm our wedding date, which raised concerns for me about the timeliness of communication. I started to worry that I would need to pick another venue. My fiancée ended up calling the resort and was able to speak with the wedding department right away to book our wedding date. He gave them several date options in April and were able to get one of the date options we wanted. My advice is at this stage when you are booking your date if you don’t hear back right away just reach out by phone to book the date. After that we were assigned a wedding planner (Bibia, who was amazing throughout) and there were no other issues with communication. In the beginning months (6-12 months out) it took her about 2-3 weeks to respond and as we got closer (a few months away from the date) she would respond within a few days. I cannot speak highly enough about our wedding coordinator Bibia who was extremely friendly and accommodating! When we got to the resort she was so calm, cool, and collected and helped everything go extremely smoothly. We ended up bringing a lot of our own decorations (paper lanterns for the gazebos, centerpieces for the reception, etc.) and she and her team set everything up and it looked absolutely perfect.
Wedding Package: We ended up selecting the Ultimate Wedding Package, and were very pleased with this option. We had 33 total people at the wedding (including groom and myself)- this package included ceremony/reception set ups for 20 people so we paid the difference for the extra guests. It included almost everything we ended up wanting/needing for the wedding. We did end up purchasing some upgrades, including the welcome cocktail hour, upgraded menus for the cocktail hour and reception, and DJ and light up dance floor. The resort/wedding planning team was on point with coordinating everything in our package- for example, making sure that my wedding dress and my husband’s wedding attire were steamed/pressed immediately upon arrival, etc. The package also included some nice perks like breakfast in bed with mimosas after the wedding, etc. The main item my husband and I were debating about upgrading was the chairs-- upgrading them was pretty expensive though so we stuck with the ones in the package (plastic chairs with white satin covers), and these looked fine so I am happy we didn't upgrade.
Photos: Though our wedding package included 50 photos from the ceremony and wedding album (along with video of the ceremony), we ended up purchasing an additional wedding photo package (Pearl package) from the on site photography company Adventure Photos. We were very happy with this choice. They did a great job and we loved the photos. The Pearl package included photos of groom and bridal party getting ready, ceremony, bridal party/family photos, couples photos, and some photos of reception. We were able to get 200 photos on CD (we were able to choose our favorite 200 photos out of 500) and this incudes a photo album and canvas in addition to the album we got of the ceremony that was included in our wedding package. I would definitely recommend Adventure Photos- the whole team was very nice and accommodating and our photographer did a great job. The only drawback was it was raining right after the ceremony/family and bridal party pictures when we were supposed to take couple photos. The photographer recommended we come back another day to take photos (meaning- get back in our wedding clothes, re-do my hair and makeup, etc.). I absolutely did not want to do this unless we absolutely had to so we waited out the rain and ended up being able to do our couples photos that day before the reception.
Spa/Salon: I can’t speak highly enough of my experience at the Dreams salon to get my wedding hair/makeup done. The wedding hair/makeup and the trial was included in the wedding package we bought. I went into the trial with a picture of the hair and makeup that I wanted. The stylist that I worked with Maria was amazing and so sweet! She was very understanding of my indecisiveness and tried several different things on my hair/makeup to see what I liked. I ended up so happy with the final results. I also got manicure/pedicure and massages at the spa/salon and every treatment I got was great. My maid of honor got her hair/makeup done at the salon, and my mom and mother of the groom both got their hair styles, and all were very pleased with the results. The recommendations I have for brides are: 1) the hairstyle I initially wanted required thicker/fuller hair than I have. The stylist mentioned that I would have needed to bring my own extensions, which I did not know. We ended up going with a different style that I loved, but if you want a thick/full style and do not have the hair to match, bring your own extensions. 2) Bring your own lipgloss/lip color that you want to use on the wedding day, as they do not sell these at the salon. They have different colors they can use for application but if you want to retouch throughout the night you will want to bring your own- I did not plan ahead for this and ended up needing to borrow lipgloss from my maid of honor for stylist to use on the wedding day.
Welcome Cocktail Party: We upgraded our wedding package to include the welcome cocktail party for our guests the night before the wedding. This was held on the beach and was set up with string lights and cocktail tables, and included an open bar and appetizers. We were able to select from four different menu options for the party and everyone was very happy with the food. I am very glad we splurged for this event as it gave a chance for all of our guests to meet before the wedding and socialize. This also included a bonfire which was a fun touch. We were either able to play our own playlist on an ipod or have soft music in the background- we played our own playlist and ended up doing more fun party music.
Ceremony: We received an email from our wedding planner Bibia around 2pm the day of the wedding (the ceremony was scheduled for 5pm) saying that it was calling for 100% rain at 5pm and whether we wanted to move the events inside or risk the rain. We had originally planned to have the ceremony and cocktail hour at the garden gazebo, and the reception at the Seaside Grill (it is an extra cost to rent one of the restaurants such as the seaside grill for the reception). My fiancée and I had already been talking about what we would do in case of rain, and decided to do the ceremony outside and move the cocktail hour and reception inside to the convention center. I am really happy we did this because the humidity was so bad outside that it would have been VERY hot to have dinner and dancing outside for the reception. In retrospect if I had known how humid it is at the end of April I would have selected one of the indoor air conditioned restauarants (Portofino Italian restaurant or Bordeaux French restaurant—the rest of the restauarants are open air) for our reception or just picked the convention center (which is more like your typical wedding hall). Be aware that Seaside Grill and Jungle Restaurant are the two restaurants that aren’t covered at all—so if you select these restaurants then you will need to have your back up plan as the convention center. The other restaurants even though they are not air conditioned are at least covered (Oleo, Oceana, Himitsu).
The rain ended up holding off until after the ceremony. We brought our own paper lanterns for the ceremony and there was a $30 fee for the resort staff to set them up. The paper lanterns looked great in the garden gazebo. My brother conducted the ceremony (a symbolic, not legal ceremony). Overall the ceremony went perfectly. We had time to do bridal party and family pictures at the gazebo before the rain started and then the wedding group went to the convention center for cocktail hour while my husband and I took couple photos with the photographer once the rain stopped about 20 minutes later.
Cocktail Hour: My husband and I didn’t attend the cocktail hour since we were taking photos, but we did have the 3 piece band that was included in the wedding package (they played Latin style romantic music) and guests were able to enjoy an open bar and appetizers. One of my absolute favorite parts of the wedding is that my husband I were walking into the cocktail party at the convention center right as the band was walking out- I said to them in Spanish that I was sad that I didn’t get to her them play anything, but thanked them for their time. They asked if we wanted to walk into the cocktail hour with them serenading us with a song—they played a romantic song called “Hasta El Fin Del Mundo” (Until the end of the world) as my husband and I walked into the cocktail hour, and we were able to dance to this song. This was an amazing moment and one of the most memorable moments of the wedding.
Reception: We had our reception indoors at the convention center due to rain. It was air conditioned so we were very happy- we could dance all night without sweating in the humidity! I brought all of our own centerpieces and some other décor (cake topper, guest book, etc.) and the wedding coordinator set up everything perfectly. The venue looked great. We upgraded to the Mexican buffet and the food was good overall. The cake they provided was very simple (white cake/two tiers), but tasted good and we were able to choose the filling. We booked a DJ and also upgraded to the light up dance floor. The DJ asked me right before the reception what type of music we liked so I told him the different genres we wanted. We didn’t have a chance to submit must play/do not play lists before the wedding but probably could have provided to him at this time. The DJ was great and very open to suggestions and feedback. He asked what song we wanted to walk into, and I wasn’t prepared for this so had to pick a song on the spot. We didn’t end up doing a first dance/father daughter dance/etc.
but he asked us at this point for any special music we wanted. The DJ did a great job and had our guests dancing all night. He even played the Michigan State fight song for my husband and his family (found it on YouTube!).
Tipping: I know there has been a lot of debate on this website about tipping at destination weddings, particularly at all inclusive resorts. I’ll share what we did and others can make their own assessments. I did ask the wedding planner prior to the wedding who we should tip and she said: cocktail hour band, waitstaff, and DJ. We ended up setting aside tip envelopes for the following and asking my dad to distribute them throughout the night: Cocktail hour band, reception waitstaff/bar staff, DJ, wedding planner, photographer. We also tipped all staff that we worked with at the salon/spa as well as the waitstaff/bar staff from the welcome cocktail party.
- If you have difficulty getting in touch with the resort wedding team at the beginning of the planning process, give them a call. After we got the wedding date settled we had no other issues with communication
- If you want a full/thick hairstyle but don’t; have the hair for it, bring your own extensions. Also, bring your own lipstick/lipcolor for retouching throughout the night
- Be happy with an indoor contingency plan in case of rain, or choose a ceremony/reception spot that is covered. Having our reception indoors due to rain ended up being one of the best things that happened because we were able to dance all night in air conditioning rather than outside in the humidity, though I was very happy we could still have our ceremony and photos outdoors. If you want to have your reception at one of the restaurants (for an extra fee) keep the following in mind:
- Portofino (Italian), Bordeuaux (French)- indoor, air conditioned
- Oleo (Mediterranean), Oceana (seafood), Himitsu (Asian)- covered, not air conditioned
- Seaside Grill (grilled/oceanfront), Jungle (Dominican)- not covered, not air conditioned); if it rains you will have to move your reception indoors
- Be warned that the end of April is bordering on rainy season (which starts in May). It didn’t ruin anything related to our wedding, we just had to be more flexible. It rained every day at least a few times a day, but usually for only 15-30 minutes at a time.
- Have music options ready to go: a playlist for your welcome cocktail party (unless you want the soft music from the resort playing), a song to walk into the reception, a final dance song for the end of the reception, and any other special songs you have for the night (first dance, etc.).
- For my husband and I personally, if we could go back and re-do it, we might have gone to a different resort after the wedding, at least for a few days. While we enjoyed seeing all of our friends and family, we didn’t get much alone time after the wedding because there were still friends and family at the resort until the end of our trip
I hope this review is helpful! The reviews we read on this site were super helpful for us so I’m hoping this can also help
someone in their planning process.