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lauren's wedding review: dreams pv etc.

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#1 1elephant

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    Posted 01 March 2008 - 12:00 AM

    sorry this is so long but i didn't want to leave anything out. if you have questions, let me know, as i know that dreams pv doesn't have the best reputation.

    (***i put info for fireworks on p2 - forgot about those!)

    Dress: Rita Rosa Bridal in Denville, NJ
    I knew I’d found the dress the second I put it on. Everyone at the store is so kind and helpful – except Rosa. She was only happy when I paid her. If I went for a fitting and she wasn’t getting money, she was crabby. She also was a little upset b/c I made her match the online price of the dress.
    Overall, the place was great to work with, and not even that overpriced before price matching.

    Etsy :: Your place to buy and sell all things handmade
    I can’t say enough good things about etsy.com. I never would have found anything similar to my jewelry for double the price without etsy.com.
    Anklets and necklace for rehearsal dinner: kdbeadery (seller)
    Kathy was so nice. She custom-made 6 anklets, and sent extenders b/c I wasn’t sure if my MIL’s would fit.
    Necklace for wedding day: mlrstudio (seller)
    Custom-made; not the nicest,cheeriest person, but transaction went smoothly.
    Earrings: becial (seller)
    Quick easy transaction; not custom-made, so not too many conversations.
    Bridesmaids gifts (purses): jpleasant (seller)
    I ordered 3 different purses, all different sizes, shapes, fabrics, and 3 wristlets to go along. I didn’t love the fabric for one of them, so Joyce made a different one for me. SUCH a great price for custom-made purses and such a nice woman.

    Airline: We flew Aeromexico (club premiere – which is their first class and really isn’t first class but the seats are a tad bigger which is nice for a long flight). There were no available non-stop flights when we booked. We stopped in Mexico City, which I highly recommend over Atlanta/Chicago/Dallas/etc. b/c we didn’t really go through customs. We had our passports stamped in Mexico City, but they didn’t go thru our stuff b/c we had no stuff w/ us. In PV, we didn’t even have to hit the green/red button. During the first flight, the flight attendant put my dress in the coat closet, but the closet in the second flight was so short that I was better off putting it in the overhead. I don’t know what it looked like after b/c it went straight to be pressed (part of wedding package)

    Travel Agent: Our TA was Nancy from Honeymoons and Getaways, Destination Wedding, Vacations. She was so helpful at first, but in the end, we wound up doing our own research and telling her what to book. None of our guests used her b/c while she would price match, if they were already doing the work, what was the point of using her…? The only time she really came in handy was at the beginning of the wedding planning, when I was having a hard time getting in touch w/ Gaby (she was brand new, and now I know that she also works as a waitress at Dreams, so she’s SO busy). Nancy emailed Gaby’s boss and asked what the deal was, and Gaby got back to me right away.

    Now the more important stuff….

    Photographer: Rick Collins (Vancouver wedding photographer Rick Collins. Wedding and portrait photography in Vancouver, Victoria, British Columbia and worldwide.)

    Not only would I recommend him, I want him at every event from now on. He was SO awesome to hang out with and made all of the pics seem a bit more natural.

    Here’s the review that we wrote for Rick’s site:
    Once we decided on a location for our wedding, our immediate priority was to find a photographer with a fresh, journalistic approach. Our overriding requirement was a studio that would be able to capture the slightly off-kilter nature of a destination wedding, and not simply take formulaic wedding shots that happen to have palm trees in the background. After searching through literally hundreds of online portfolios, our decision was instantly made as soon as we encountered the first picture on Rick's site. It may be true that a picture is worth a thousand words, but in Rick's case, the number is much, much higher - Rick was able to encapsulate the entirety of our emotion and experience into pictures, and his visual style is nothing short of jaw-dropping.

    Rick was immediately able to insinuate himself in with our group - so much so that a few people asked us if he was an invited guest with a nice camera - yet remain constantly vigilant for the next photo-op. This split personality allowed Rick to unobtrusively be omnipresent throughout the weekend - he didn't miss a shot! He quickly sussed out our personalities and milieu, and was able to capture both. Rick became such a part of the crowd that we missed him once he left - it felt like the show was over!

    Sorting through our photos is incredibly difficult, because each one indelibly captures a moment and a memory, and we're loathe to leave even a single one out. Our experience simply would not have been the same without Rick there, and we will certainly recommend him whenever possible (and proudly be those insufferable people that leave their wedding album out on the coffee table for perpetuity, as if it were the latest magazine.. the pictures are that good!)

    Rehearsal Dinner: Barcelona Tapas
    My MIL made all of the arrangements, so I can’t comment on how they were to work with before we got there. She did mention how nice the owner was, so I’m just assuming that everything went well.
    We were 25 people, placed at 2 long tables of 12 (with our photographer at the end of our table). We were on the top floor (there are 2 floors, but even the first floor is 4 flights of stairs up!) – it wasn’t a private room, but there were only about 5 other tables with 2-4 people at each table. No one bothered us – and everyone was American, so totally thought that our destination wedding was the coolest idea ever.
    Anyway, our glasses of sangria were always filled, and our table always had great food on it. The great thing about the place is that if you do like something, you can continue ordering plates of it until dessert comes. The dessert was my favorite part J There was a banana with some kind of chocolate on it, and a scoop of ice cream with some kind of chocolate on it, and flan – which I normally don’t like, but it was SO good! I think the total bill for 25 people came to $1400 incl. tip – but don’t quote me on that.
    DH and I are quite adventurous people when it comes to food, as are most of the adults that we were with. Some of the ‘younger generation’ is a bit picky, so they weren’t too pleased with the food choice. If your crowd isn’t adventurous, I probably wouldn’t pick BT.

    Wedding Favors: Pie in the Sky
    About 3 days before we left, DH decided that he did indeed want wedding favors. I had previously discussed favors with someone at Pie in the Sky via email. Their choices were besos (brownies w/ walnuts) for $4, besitos (little brownies w/ walnuts) for $3, or chocolate chip cookies for $2. We picked the cookies only b/c I don’t like brownies w/ nuts, and I emailed the owner (Susan – I’m pretty sure she’s the owner) to let her know that we’d pick up 35 cookies the day before the wedding sometime between 4 and 6. She was so nice; emailed back that they’d be ready whenever we were, and not to worry about waiting until the last minute. We were pleasantly surprised when we finally got to Pie in the Sky (apparently none of the cab drivers in PV have ever heard of it and I forgot the address) – 35 6” cookies, each individually wrapped with the Pie on the Sky sticker on one side and room for our own sticker on the other (Susan volunteered to put our sticker on, but b/c of the time constraints, we did it ourselves). They smelled good…….and they tasted PHENOMENAL! I was so happy that I ordered a few extra b/c they were the best cookies I had ever tasted. They weren’t soft, and looking at them, you’d think they were burnt, but OMG how fantastic they were (I’m now drooling).

    Resort: Dreams Resorts and Spas, PV
    Dreams was perfect. It was everything we hoped for. If we wanted a drink, there was a waiter to take our order. If we wanted to eat, there was a restaurant or room service 24hrs/day. We were a little nervous b/c there were a few negative reviews on tripadvisor.com, but everything went perfectly. I would definitely recommend staying in the newer tower (it’s called the preferred tower) b/c you do have preferential treatment. Your room is ready when you get there and check in and out is a breeze. Every room has a balcony and ocean view. Anything you want at concierge is available. Our guests that stayed in the older tower had to wait a few hours for their rooms, some didn’t have balconies or ocean views and had to wait on line to check in or out. We had a Jr. suite w/ jacuzzi. We paid for the upgrade to the Jr. suite, but were given the upgrade to jacuzzi b/c of the business we were bringing in (tho our TA said it was b/c of her…….). The jacuzzi was out on the balcony and was a giant bathtub. It took forever to fill and we only used it once. My 3 and 5 yr old cousins, however, decided that was a bathtub, and insisted on having bubble baths out there nightly. J
    After our first night there, DH decided that he could NOT sleep on those hard pillows for 10 nights, so we picked up some new ones at Walmart (while buying snacks for OOT bags). We did not know until a few days later (when we read the ‘Dreams Manual’) that they have 5 different kinds of pillows available for guests and that all you have to do is pick up the phone to get a new one.
    It seemed as if most people there woke up early and went to sleep early, as the bars were mostly empty at night, and overall, the crowd didn’t seem the type to go into town. This was fine w/ us, as our party hung out at the bars for a while and then went to sleep at a decent time.
    As far as the beach is concerned, there were people taking chairs at like 4 am. But you could always find a chair, and if you noticed that there was a group of chairs w/ towels that no one touched for a bit, you just needed to tell someone and they’d take the towels off for you. There were a few vendors on the beach (which is private), but all you need to do is say, “No, gracias,” and the vendors would walk away.
    We enjoyed most of the restaurants. We did get sick of the buffet, which was the same every morning and afternoon (didn’t go there for dinner), and didn’t like the Mexican restaurant. I loved Portofinos (Italian), he loved Oceana (seafood – have the fried ice cream for dessert!), and we both liked the Seaside Grill for lunch and dinner.
    While we were there, DH and I went on jet-skis ($65 for ½ hr) and went parasailing ($50 for the ride, it’s about 10 min or so). Both were so much fun! I did feel like I was ripped off for the parasailing, but it was such a great experience that I didn’t care. These were both available right on the beach daily.

    Wedding: Dreams Resorts; Ceremony – beach, Reception – Las Palmas
    All I can say is wow. This review is already terribly long, so who cares - I’ll take you through my day.
    Previously, DH and I had met with Gaby, the WC. She had all of our emails printed out and only had a few questions regarding our stuff. She told me to bring down our stuff whenever we got a chance; I literally left it for her, and she knew what to do. We also had a 10 minute rehearsal the day before.
    Anyway, that day, I went to the spa with one of my bridesmaids at 11. At 12, I got my nails done. I asked for a French manicure, but apparently you have to ask for it when you make the appointment, so the girl didn’t have time. She did, however, have like every OPI color, so I didn’t care about the French. Once I was done, I hung out and watched the other girls get their hair and makeup done. The champagne was flowing, and my bms took turns going to the buffet to get me comfort food (mac and cheese, fries, etc).
    Around 2, Blanca started my hair. I showed her the pic that I wanted, and strangely enough, the pic had been taken at that salon! It was the first page in their book of styles. It took awhile, but looked perfect. She was so gentle, too –whenever I get an updo, the stylist is always yanking at my curls, but Blanca didn’t tug at all. I was a little apprehensive about using their makeup, but I didn’t have time to go out and buy my own…I was pleasantly surprised at their makeup kit. All different colors and shades of BedHead makeup. They did have eyelashes available, but I had brought my own. She stuck those babies on good, too!
    I got dressed, took some pics, and Gaby met us on the walk to the ceremony with flowers. They were just as I wanted – only gerbera daisies, no greenery, orange wraps for the bms, and white for me, w/ the starfish in the middle. We took more pics, and walked down to the ceremony location. Gaby took all of our bags (bride bag, and my bms’ stuff) and carried them wherever we went. She set us up and cued us to walk down the aisle.
    Now the minister is another story. We’re putting the ceremony on youtube b/c it was THAT damn funny. We asked Gaby to tell her not to use the word god anywhere, so instead she used everything but – deity, higher power, a guest in our home, 3rd party, etc. She talked about how we are both the bottom of the letter A and how we rise up to form the base of the triangle, which is completed with a higher power, should we let that higher power into our homes. At one point, there was high pitched feedback from the speaker and she started talking about how it was a shock, which we all need in our lives, like a car crash at 70 mph….yeah, I don’t know what she was talking about, but all of our guests were cracking up, including our photographer and my bms behind me. I almost peed myself, and DH and I couldn’t look at each other during our vows b/c we were trying not to laugh. It was recorded by the videographer (don’t know his name) which came in the package, so I’ll let you know when we put that up.
    Accordin-- to my parents, the cocktail hour was good. The Mexican trio (part of package) was perfect to introduce the guests to the area. The hors d’oeuvres were supposedly good, but I don’t remember what we picked out. My dad was raving about the shrimp though. Food was good; we had poblano soup, some kind of crab salad w/ mango vinaigrette, and either chicken and steak combo w/ black pepper marrow or fish w/ mango sauce. Wedding cakes were just ok. Tres leches cake was good (well the one bite I took was) but the chocolate cake sucked. This seemed to be the case with all of the food at Dreams – food good, dessert blech.
    We had 2 bartenders, one behind the bar and one walking around. At one point, I asked oene of them for 27 of one of our signature drinks, and less than 5 minutes later, they were walking around making sure that everyone had one.
    At about 10, Gaby went home. She had stayed to make sure all went well, and told me that she’d catch up with me on Monday. By this point, I think I had already jumped in the pool and had had several drinks, so she could have told me that I was a blue elephant and I wouldn’t have known the difference. We wanted to send her a bottle of champagne or wine at the end of our visit, but were told that the employees couldn’t accept gifts of alcohol. Instead, the concierge helped us pick out a bouquet of flowers and gave us a blank card to write in. I, of course, picked out the most expensive bouquet w/o knowing…
    The only word good enough to describe the wedding day was magical. I was a guest at my own wedding, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

    DJ: DJ Extassis (contact via kristen of the dazzling details)
    He was good. I didn’t talk to him at all. DH gave him an ipod and a cd w/ our song, and our important dance songs, and said have fun. He mixed his own stuff in w/ our stuff. My friend asked for Like a Prayer, but he played Like a Virgin (which is when I grabbed the microphone and began karaoke….probably not pretty). We did the hora, tho I don’t remember how it began to a Beastie Boys song, and I’m probably one of the very few brides to have Boy George played at her wedding. He was contracted till 10:30, but we asked him to stay till 11 and he did. He brought a friend who just stood next to him the whole time, probably to keep him company. Neither one ate or drank anything other than water.

    Other little things: DH and his boys went on the dune buggy tour on the day of the wedding. They all loved it, and had a great time dune buggying thru the streets of PV. Towards the end of the tour, there was a stop at a tequila ‘factory’ where the boys were given tastes (shots) of different tequilas. It was not a factory, however. My sister and I did the canopy tour at Los Veranos. It was fun, but we kinda thought we'd see animals throughout the tour, and we didn't. At the end, a monkey bit my cheek, and the guys there just laughed at me. I was pretty pissed about that. DH and I also did a whale watching tour. It was fun – we saw whales, but I was bored by the end of it.

    After our guests left, we were a little depressed, and had pretty much had enough of Dreams. We still had 3 days left and we decided that those three days would have provided a good opportunity to go elsewhere in Mexico, or PV, maybe somewhere that’s not so ‘Disney-fied,’ as we didn’t really get to see the “real” Mexico. However, all in all, the whole experience was absolutely perfect and I wouldn’t change a thing!

    #2 amyh


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      Posted 01 March 2008 - 12:12 AM

      Wow, Lauren! Great review! I can't wait to see the video!

      #3 LCBride2007


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        Posted 01 March 2008 - 12:16 AM

        aww - CONGRATS. it sounds absolutely beautiful.

        #4 Kat81

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          Posted 01 March 2008 - 12:28 AM

          Sounds amazing... Congrats! You are a beautiful bride

          #5 Sarah


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            Posted 01 March 2008 - 01:14 AM

            Thanks for the great review Lauren! It sounds like you had a great time. Now I'm dying to see your ceremony... sounds too funny!

            #6 rodent


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              Posted 01 March 2008 - 01:35 AM

              Great review! I want your photographer at every event I'm at from now on, too.

              #7 Sandra E.

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                Posted 01 March 2008 - 03:28 AM

                Congratulations! It looks like everything turned out great.

                #8 tlomlad

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                  Posted 01 March 2008 - 05:03 AM

                  congrats great review!!!!!!!!!

                  #9 TammyDez

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                    Posted 01 March 2008 - 12:36 PM

                    Congrats and thanks for sharing that great review!

                    #10 MsShelley


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                      Posted 01 March 2008 - 12:41 PM

                      great review Lauren, sounds so beautiful!

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