Here's our review. We were married April 11, 2011 in the gazebo just off the beach. I have absolutely no complaints when it comes to the wedding planning and wedding day.
When we checked in we were giving a folder and inside was a letter from Carolina welcoming us and telling us what time and where we would be meeting the next day. So no stress there. Next morning we went to the bavaro side, the wedding section is right by the sports bar. We met with Carolina and in less then an hour everything was planned and organized. Our ceremony was set for 330 which was a perfect time, pictures were beautiful and weather was gorgeous! Carolina basically said the spanish restaurant is open for your dinner, we had 19 people so no private reception which was fine because we choose to have a beach dance party. For food we had one of the pasta's so an appetizer which was really good, beef medallion which was amazing! They were cooked between medium to medium well a few were rare but no one complained. For dessert we did the chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream....this was amazing! By far the best dessert we had in the two weeks we were there. If you like chocolate I highly recommend this it was moist and mouth watering. A side note the chocolate lasagna is nasty! You can get it at the italian restaurant as dessert and some people in our group took one bite pushed it away and a couple we sat next to another time didn't eat it either the layers between the chocolate you couldn't even cut. We then had the wedding cake which most people were way to stuffed to eat. We did half chocolate half vanilla. It's a nice light cake and very tasty, the left overs we had the waiters hand out to the other guests in the restaurant so it wouldn't be wasted. We had given Carolina our cake topper, favors, knife and napkins the day before the wedding when they came to pick up my dress to steam. She had everything set out and organized for us when we got to the reception. It looked beautiful. When we met with Carolina we also got offered chicken nuggest and fries for the kid and we had a vegetarian so there was a vegetarian menu to pick an entree off of.
My color was purple and she does have purple decorations for the gazebo and chairs, looked amazing!
Next my flowers, they were absolutely beautiful! My bouquet and john's bountineer were included but I got 2 bridesmaid bouquets, 3 boutineers(groomsmen and my dad) and 2 wrist corsages for the mom's. For the extra flowers you have to pay cash so Carolina pays the florist. It was $135 for all the extras but sooo worth it, they were truly beautiful. My flowers also lasted all night and dried beautifully. They were brought to my room the morning of our wedding with my wedding dress after being steamed.
I had my hair done at the spa it was $120 but looked amazing and with the wind and humidity it held up great. I didn't have to worry about my hair all day/night, they use a lot of product but it is needed especially for pics on the beach and the wind. It looked perfect in every photo. One of my bridesmaids got her hair done there too and put flowers in her hair for free then gave us extra flowers for the other bridesmaid and flower girl. You have to put your deposit down a head of time but Carolina discusses that with you at your first meeting and books your hair appointment too. My friend did my make up but it's a full spa, they do everything.
So after the dinner(your at the restaurant 2 hrs) the train picked up all up and took us to our beach party. This was so worth the money, I highly recommend this. We used their dj and he had a huge assortment of new and old music that everyone could dance too. We only brought the cd for the first dance, father/daughter, mother/son and parents dance. The rest he did and we danced the whole time, we also had the dj and waiter dancing with us they were such nice guys. It was a little chilly because its right on the beach and it was windy but anyone who was dancing was hot. I told people to go change if they wanted because the beach party is really close to the palace and was walking distant to the rooms. I was really hot but I'd walk towards the ocean and lift up my dress to get a nice breeze, there are some hilarious pictures of me getting caught doing this. Almost everyone said the dance party was the most fun and you get your own waiter and private bar. The bathroom is by La Uva restaurant. The dance party finished close to midnight then we headed to the palace lobby for drinks and some people went to bed others partied.
My only complaint is that out of 19 of us, 5 weren't upgraded to the Royal Suites. They were at the palace, they had nice rooms and beach front but they were not allowed on the royal suites side. Everyone paid the same rate but the RST guests were treated better and I didn't agree with that. The reason there are so many upgrades is the palace is greatly over booked, they told us it was 120% booked. There was another wedding group which was all adults and some of their guests weren't upgraded to the RST. Both groups were talking(we had the same amount of guest) and it just didn't make sense why they wouldn't of upgraded their whole group being adults and not ours since we had a kid, that way everyone would of been together. Palace and RST are close to eachother but Palce guests couldn't go to the RST side. When we were checking in I was arguing that I didn't want us split up that I wanted everyone at the same resort, the staff at the reception wouldn't listen to me just blew me off. Telling me RST much better and nicer, but I didn't care. They had a bell boy come and shuffle us to the golf cart to go to our room. I was upset even though yes RST you have a butler in your building, free beach towles, free rides all over the resort, wifi in rooms except for building 5805-5812, free internet in lobby, your own pools and beach area. You dont have to fight for lounge chairs and your almost always the only people in the pool. I just felt bad that everyone paid the same rate but some got treated better. I guess some people wouldn't care about that but it bothered me.
So John and I got upgraded to a honeymoon suite on the RST, it was beautiful. All white linen, two balconies, huge bathroom with jacuzzi tub and 18 nozzle shower which was also a steam room. When we got there the bell boy brought us a fruit tray and a bottle of rum. Now the wall in the bedroom had wires coming out and looked like a tv should of been there so we told the butler but no big deal I didn't plan on watching tv. Our jacuzzi tub also didn't work no button for the jets, took about 4 days to get that fixed. Our phone let us call out but no one could call our room, which was a huge hassel for making dinner plans and carolina was going to call the day of the wedding to tell us when the butler would be coming to pick us up. We complained for 4 days, finally on the wedding day I call the reception and I said "Our phone doesn't work, fix it now"!. The guy said okay I'll get it fixed. Within 30 minutes a guy showed up with a new phone and had someone call our room to make sure it worked, I gave him a big tip and thanked him. But I shouldn't of had to be rude to get it done but really with other issues we had with rooms we had to be rude to get stuff fixed. So everything in our room finally worked and it's time for our second week where we were booked at the RST for the honeymoon. A few days before I asked if we were going to be moved, they told us we would have to come that morning and find out. So we had to move, to stay in that room they wanted to charge us an extra $500 for the week and it wasn't worth it. So we had to pack up bring our bags to the lobby and wait for a room to be ready. We paid an extra $100 for a swim up room. Once we got to our new room first thing is it STUNK! The people before must of smoked like chimneys, I had a small bottle of frebreeze but it didn't improve the smell. But whatever. We went to dinner came back and there was a puddle of water on our bathroom counter and I asked John why he left such a mess but turned out there was water dripping from our ceiling onto the bathroom sink and into the jacuzzi. John lifted the ceiling tile to investigate thinking it was the air conditioner. Turns out there was an older leak they had fixed by wrapping electrical tape around it and it was leaking through the tape. The worst part was that it was toilet water leaking onto the bathroon counter where our tooth brushes would of been. John took pictures and went to the reception and showed him the pictures and said "We want a new room, this is unexceptable" So we were moved to another room which didn't smell like smoke but the jacuzzi didn't work and the mirror was smashed so we got that all addressed and the rest of the week was great. We did notice they put another couple in that room with the toilet water dripping but they also didn't stay in that room long. We spent tons of time in the swim up pool and suntanning. A waitress would come and ask us if we wanted drinks or food then walk around to deliver it to us.
The food was great, really no complaints there. The room service breakfast was good but I dont recommend ordering toast, a few times it was so hard you couldn't bite it. Some days it wasn't even toasted just bread. Orange juice is tang not actual orange juice.
The staff were awesome, very friendly and fun. They work 24-25 days a month with 5-6 days off, you will see them at breakfast and again at supper. They get a 2 hrs break in the afternoon and only about 3-4hrs sleep at night. Yet they are still happy, friendly and smiling. We spent most of our money tipping, probably more on tips then the wedding package.
The grounds are beautiful and very well taken care of. Mosquitos were bad in the evening and they are so tiny you don't even notice their biting you until they start itching. Damn ankle biters...lol I was so glad I brought a tube of afterbite b/c some nights the bites were so itchy we couldn't sleep. They are nothing like north american mosquito bites they blister and ooze for a few days. We've been home a few days and they still itch at times. They only got bad after the rain, if it's dry they aren't to bad.
Bring tons of sunscreen because it's crazy expensive there if you run out, my aunt paid $35 for one bottle. We would of ran out but people leaving after the first week gave us theirs. We went through about 4 bottles.
We did an ocean spa excursion, all the women went and it was amazing I highly recommend it. We went the afternoon on the day before the wedding and it was incredible. John and I parasailed, some went on a safari tour and loved it. Others did quading and dune buggies. 7 went deep sea fishing but 3 of them spent the whole time puking their guts out and they ended the trip early. If you have people wanting to deep sea fish or do excursions book with the people in the hotel lobby or at the dive center on the resort. Your likely not to get riped off and get what you paid for.
For all the wedding stuff you can use credit cards except for any extras. The beach party, wedding package, photographer pass and dress steaming was all charge to our room and then we just paid it with visa before the wedding day.
We hired HDC photography, Arnaud one of the owners did our pictures and they turned out so good. They are amazing, he did a fantastic job and his service was incredible not to mention he had the best price I could find. Carolina also called him the morning we met with her so I could talk to him and decide a time for him to come to my room when we were getting ready. The friday after the wedding we met with him in the lobby so he could show us the pics and then we choose which picked we wanted printed and by 4pm that day the dvd of pics, slide show and prints were at the reception for us to pick up. They are breath taking photos and continue to remind me of what a perfect beauitiful day it was. Now there were of course people on the beach trying to get in our pictures or standing and watching to close. Also the rude people who didn't care you were taking pictures and would walk in front or behind us. There was also lots of nice people who came up to congratulate us on the beach and at dinner.
I think I covered everything but if you have any questions ask away. Just remember to relax and enjoy every minute of it. I wasn't stressed once I met with Carolina, she was amazing. I spent the days before the wedding on beach or at the pool with my friends and family. I hope you all have as wonderful of a time as we did. Oh I forgot the weather was perfect, we had a rain storm one night and other then that it was hot and sunny with a few scattered clouds. Dont trust the weather forecasts they were wrong everytime. It forecasted it would rain our whole second week and it didn't rain once.