Danielle's Paradisus Palma Real Wedding Review (long)
Posted 26 November 2008 - 01:08 PM
Airlines: We flew US Airways on the way in. We checked in 4 bags and were only charged the $50 overweight fee. We carried on one bag and my dress. They did have a closet to hang my dress in but the flight attendant recommended I fold my dress in half and stick it in the overhead bin because she thought the closet would bunch the bottom of my dress up and it would be more wrinkled that way. So I folded it in the overhead and luckily everyone was nice enough not to put anything in the overhead I had it in. It was a full flight too. So the whole plane ride I was a nervous wreck about my dress, actually I was a nervous wreck about my dress the moment we stepped in to the Philly airport and had to go through security. But my dress was fine!!! The Palma Real cannot steam your dress for you, I brought a hand steamer but luckily I didnâ€™t need it for my dress.
On the way home we flew US 3000. We checked in 3 bags and were charged $25 for one being overweight and $25 for an extra baggage. We were happy with the $50 each way, we expected to pay more. And we carried on two bags. We packed my dress in the bag that had the wedding favors since it was empty now. The flight was fine, when we had booked the flight it was supposed to be nonstop but that got changed to a short layover. It wasnâ€™t bad at all. We literally got off the plane, went through customs, and got back on the plane.
Palma Real Arrival: We walked into the resort and I was in awe at a how beautiful it was. I saw a ton of wedding pictures, girls vacation pictures, etc but they didnâ€™t do the resort justice. It was gorgeous. We had to check-in to the royal service. Our TA had us upgraded to royal service free of charge. At check-in we were asked for our credit card which is pretty normal. Than we were told our card would be charged $600 for incidentals. We had never heard about this policy. Derek argued with the girl that itâ€™s an all inclusive resort why would you charge people $600 for incidentals they probably wonâ€™t even have since all food and drinks are included. We didnâ€™t care about us having to pay for it because we were planning on using most of it at the spa, salon and gift shop but all of our guests had no idea about this. I have young siblings that donâ€™t have a ton of money or many credit cards. I understood that they charged you the $600 now and if you didnâ€™t use it you got it back at the end of your stay but it just seemed to me that it was a bad policy at an all inclusive resort and $600 is a lot of money for some people. But the girl that checked us in really couldnâ€™t help us she told us to talk to the wedding coordinator. Actually she kind of threw the wedding coordinator under the bus by saying to us â€œOh the wedding coordinator never told you about this chargeâ€. Honestly, it didnâ€™t seem like the wedding coordinatorâ€™s job to tell us about the charges. I would think it would be booking who should have told my TA and than my TA would have told me. So we stopped in to the WC office and she was out. And we then found out that our WC meeting that was supposed to be on Tuesday was canceled and needed to be on Weds, the day before my wedding. When the WC assistant first told me this, I got really nervous about the meeting being changed like that and also not being able to get a straight answer about the $600 incidental charge. Our butler had told us if someone didnâ€™t have to pay it they didnâ€™t have to but a couple of other staff members insisted that everyone had to pay it. The next day we went down to the guest services desk and tried to explain our situation, we had almost 30 people coming and none were aware of the incidental charge. Finally we got to speak to a manager. He was great. He talked to the WC and they both wrote up a letter that said our guests did not have to pay the $600 deposit and they would have to pay any room charges at the end of their stay when they checked out. And if they didnâ€™t pay their room charges than Derek and I were responsible. Problem solved and I felt so much better and could finally relax.
Private Dinner for Two on the Beach â€“ Sunday Nov 2nd A+ When we first started planning I really wanted to do the dinner on the beach but I thought $300 was too much plus we had a ton of other things to pay for. But luckily we got it as a gift from a friend. It was awesome. It was my favorite dinner during the week and it was really romantic. Derek is a really picky eater so we usually frequent the same restaurants (Chickie N Petes, PJ Whelihans, Brios, Olive Garden, On the Border) so it was really nice to have a nice dinner. The atmosphere was gorgeous. We were right in front of the ocean. We had two servers; they would take turns going back and forth to get drinks and food. They were great. For a starter course we had the grilled vegetables with goat cheese. I thought it was delicious, Derek didnâ€™t like it but he doesnâ€™t like his veggies anyway. For our entr©e we had filet with grilled lobster. Both were huge portions and delicious. The lobster just melted in my mouth. One of the best meals Iâ€™ve ever had. For dessert they made us a little heart shaped cake with strawberries and chocolate sauce. We were so stuffed but I managed a couple of bites. $300 is definitely worth it. It was so perfect. If we go back I want to do it again!
Hair Trial â€“ November 3rd 10:30 am. I scheduled a hair trial and my other spa appointments by email about a month before we left. The spaâ€™s email address is email@example.com. Cristella did my hair trial. I brought two pictures of styles that I wanted to combine and I also brought my hair trial. In about an hour she was finished and I loved it. I was so happy because my hair is very fine and poker straight. When I curl it, it straightens itself out in an hr. But she got the style to work in my hair. She then changed my hair so Derek wouldnâ€™t see what my wedding day hair looked like.
Welcome Dinner â€“ Tuesday Nov 4th. A+ We had Vivianna make us reservations at Bana Bistro restaurant; itâ€™s a family style restaurant with Chinese type food. Thatâ€™s the one she recommended for a large group. Since it wasnâ€™t a private event it was free. We were the only guests in that part of the restaurant so it was private to us. We had a set menu, the festival menu. The food was great. They just kept bringing dish after dish out. They brought out about 3 different appetizers and would have multiple dishes of each one so the whole table would have plenty to share. For the main courses, they brought a chicken stir fry, a beef dish, seafood dish, & fried rice. I think there was more that I canâ€™t even remember. They brought out two desserts a Tiramisu and a chocolate mouse cake. Both were great. My mil is a vegetarian so she asked the waiter for something she could eat and he was happy to get it for her. Everyone liked the food and we all waddled away from the table stuffed. Derek liked the restaurant so much that we ate their again later in the week. Vivianna the WC and Anna Marie showed up to make sure everything was okay, I thought that was very thoughtful. They also let me know that they gave us a big suite for 3 days as a surprise and also so I and the girls could get ready in it.
Meeting with Vivianna, WC â€“ Wednesday Nov 5th A+ Vivianna was a sweetheart and so was her assistant Anna Marie. At the meeting Vivianna went over each question on the Wedding Planner to make sure she had all the details right (menus, flower choices I choose the tropical bouquets, etc). She explained to me the order of the ceremony and reception. I gave her my place cards/wedding favors, menus, and wedding programs, ceremony music and reception music. After we went over all the details, she showed us Plan B in case of rain. It was in an open hallway that had a lagoon behind it for the ceremony, it was actually very pretty and for the reception it was a ballroom which was also very nice. But of course I hoped I wouldnâ€™t have to use either location. She said she would call me by 1 on the day of the wedding to give me a weather report and I could decide to have the ceremony/reception outside like I planned or move it inside. She then walked us to our locations and again went over the order of the ceremony and who would do what and when. I chose the beach for the ceremony, the Plaza Colonial for cocktails, and the Olympic Terrace for the reception. I did go with a wedding package I did the Aqua Package which was a sit-down dinner and ½ hr cocktails. After the walk through we went back to her office and our parents paid for the reception by credit card. If you plan on using your credit cards while away definitely call the credit card company and give them a heads up. Fil was able to use his credit card for the reception but the credit card company didnâ€™t let other charges after that go through.
Wedding Day Nov 6th
9:00 am Breakfast I realized midnight the night before that I lost my hair flower when I moved our stuff into the new suite. So I told my mom at breakfast that I lost it and she went to find the florist. The florist is off site so my mom went to Viviannaâ€™s office and she was able to order me 4 orchids that would be at my hair appointment at 130. Problem solved and the live orchids went better in my hairstyle than the hair clip I had! Make sure you eat the day of the wedding. I had breakfast and no lunch, I was starving after we took our pictures. Thank goodness I at least had breakfast.
10:30 am â€“ Mani and Pedi with Cristella. I asked for a simple Mani/Pedi. Cristella that did my hair also did this too. It ended up relaxing me a little. The spa has massage pedi chairs which were really comfortable. FYI the spa doesnâ€™t have many polish colors so if you have a certain color in mind bring it with you. I didnâ€™t want to do a French mani/pedi because my nails were too short so I wanted a pale pink color for my nails, I didnâ€™t find the color I had in my head so I went with a brighter pink which I liked because it added some color to all the white I had on. After the mani pedi I ran up to my room to take a shower.
1pm â€“ I had to meet Derek and my two brothers (our witnesses) at Viviannaâ€™s office. We had to meet with the civil judge to sign the legal papers because he was unavailable later in the day. We exchanged vows in her office which I was not prepared for so I started to tear up a little. When we left her office we legally married. So we kissed and I rushed off to my hair appointment
130 pm â€“ Bridal hair appointment with Cristella. My hair took a little over an hr. Cristella is very precise and makes sure your hair is perfect before you leave. She did a really great job. I was really happy with her. My sister had her hair done by another woman in the salon, I donâ€™t know her name, but she also did a great job. I think she did my milâ€™s hair also.
3pm I got back to my room and had to get ready very quickly. The photographer came to my room around this time too. She asked if I wanted pictures of me getting ready, I said no. I was already shaking when I was putting my makeup on without someone being in the room. I did my makeup myself. I did a makeup trial at a Laura Mercier counter 2 months ago and the girl taught me how to do my makeup for the wedding. And after two months of practice I did a pretty good job. We expected the retired judge that was doing our symbolic ceremony to be late but since I was running late he was on time. So my mom and sister quickly shoved me in my dress and raced off to the ceremony location. We took back ways and didnâ€™t cut through the pool area so it was a much longer walk. The whole walk there guests were saying congratulations, you look beautiful, etc. every time someone said something to me I started to tear up. I was extremely nervous and anxious for Derek to see me in my dress all done up. I finally got to Vivianna, we both commented about how great the weather was no dark clouds in the sky and I took a deep breath before she sent me down the isle with my father. I was really glad I didnâ€™t wear shoes on the beach because it would have been really hard walking through the sand.
We had our guests meet at 330 at the Sky Bar (Ciel Bar) by Naos Buffet and Vivianna walked them over the ceremony location.
Naos Beach Ceremony â€“ 4pm A+ We had Derekâ€™s aunt read the translation. She doesnâ€™t speak a bit of Spanish but it was really easy. The judge would say a paragraph and pass the microphone to her and she would read the translation form a piece of paper. It was about 5 short paragraphs. The ceremony lasted about 5 minutes. After they announced us husband and wife we walked back out the isle and servers handed us champagne. Other guests of the resort were taking pictures of us and videoing us, it was kind of strange. I could see taking pictures from a far but some people would run up to us and take a pic and run off. Dark clouds started to come so our photographer grabbed us and we started taking family pictures. We then took our couple pictures on the beach while everyone else went to cocktails. Vivianna met us on the beach and asked if we wanted to move the reception inside. She was worried about the weather since the clouds looked pretty bad. We decided to keep it outside. We figured if it rained it would probably stop in 10 minutes so weâ€™d chance it and maybe get a little wet.
Plaza Colonial Cocktail Hour â€“ 5pm A+ We were able to meet our guests at the cocktail reception. It was longer than the ½ I think because they were holding off setting up some of the final details of the reception area because of the chance of rain. But I was glad we were able to eat some appetizers because I was starving. For cocktail ½ hr we got to choose three appetizers which were mini crab salad tarts, chicken satay with Caribbean spices, and coconut shrimp. All the coconut shrimp were gone because they were so good but I did get to try the chicken skewers and crab tarts which were both good.
Olympic Terrace Reception â€“ A+ I think started around 615 and ended around 10pm. The terrace was roped off from the public for the reception. There were some people that would watch us dance or watch the fire dancers. It was kind of fun that they were having fun watching us. I guess our bad dance moves are entertaining. We had Vivianna do our intros but you can have a friend or family member do it. Right after our intros we did our first dance, the DJ played the wrong song. He played our cake cutting song. Derek asked if I wanted to stop by I just said to keep dancing. Our first song was supposed to be â€œYellowâ€ by Coldplay but we ended up dancing to our cake cutting song â€œthe Sweetest Thingâ€ by U2. It was kind of my fault because I had burned the cds 9pm the night before we left and I didnâ€™t put the songs in the right order. I had put the cake cutting song first instead of our first dance. It really wasnâ€™t a big deal to me, I thought it was funny and laughed over it. But if your first dance song means a lot to you I would have a bm or friend check with the DJ before you are introduced. Then I danced with my dad and Derek danced with his mom. The best man (Derekâ€™s dad) did his speech and then we had dinner. The aqua package we got was a sit down dinner which worked good with our group size. Our menu was a green salad with spinach, goat cheese, and shrimp with vinaigrette (delicious), Lobster tail and beef filet duo It was very delicious and cooked perfectly, you could cut your steak with a butter knife it was so tender (mil asked Vivianna at the meeting if she could get two lobster tails or a lobster tail with extra veggies since she doesnâ€™t eat meat and Vivianna delivered and we asked Vivianna if we could have the steak cooked well), and dessert was Coconut cake with pistachio (really good). The food was incredible, everyone loved it. The servers were outstanding at the reception. If my drink was 1/3 full, they would bring me a new one. Derek was hammered trying to keep up with all the drinks they brought him lol.
After dinner there was a little bit of a lull because we were surprising our guests with fire dancers so I didnâ€™t want to start the dancing yet. I hired the fire dancers through the resort. They were great. Everyone enjoyed them. After the fire dancers I grabbed some of girls and started dancing. And danced my butt off. We even got Vivianna and Anna Marie out on the dance floor. After that we cut the cake, Vivianna and Anna Marie left. The cake was delicious, we got the basic Palma real cake vanilla with vanilla frosting. The cake was very moist and the frosting was like a whipped cream type. I should of upgraded the cake d©cor. I just didnâ€™t think I cared that much about the cake until I saw my wedding pictures and I thought it was kind of too plain. After the cake we danced for about another ½ hr â€“ 45 minutes. I thought everything went perfectly.
DJ- We hired the French DJ from the resort. He did a really great job. I had given him CDs of the music I wanted but he also played some of his own stuff which went great with the songs that were on my list. And the only mishap was our first dance song but again that was kind of my fault. I would definitely recommend the French DJ.
Photographer â€“ A+ Severine from Photosouvenir Photosouvenir Punta Cana, Wedding Photographer Dominican Republic Photosouvenir is based in Punta Cana so I got to get the great quality of an outside photographer without paying for travel expenses. I cannot say enough great things about Severine. She did such a great job. She was everywhere capturing every moment. She was very sweet too. She kept apologizing for rushing us because it looked like it was going to rain and it was starting to get dark. She was trying to get the good light. We didnâ€™t feel rushed at all. Derek and I take the worst pictures, for the first 4 yrs of our relationship we had one good picture together. I was so relieved and happy to see all the great pictures that Severine took. I was super happy with her and highly recommend her to all Punta Cana brides. My two regrets that I have is that I couldnâ€™t talk Derek into doing a TTD so I could have more great pictures and that I wasnâ€™t ready earlier so I could have more pictures taken lol. Iâ€™m becoming a wedding pic whore. My pro pictures are on www.pictage.com/579412
Translation and legalized documents â€“ Wedo.com.do Since we were legally married in the DR we had to get our documents legalized and translated. We used wedo for this. It was very reasonable and I got the documents back within a week. We are going to use them when we get our Marriage License back.
Summary: Vivianna and the romance department at the Palma Real were excellent. I could tell that Vivianna and Anna Marie really wanted to make sure I had the wedding of my dreams. They were on top of everything. Severine at Photosouvenir is an amazing photographer, if your getting married in Punta Cana hire her! At the end of the week, I had so many or our guests come up and tell us how they had such a great time. I think everyone wants to go back again. We did have a couple of people that werenâ€™t too crazy about us having a DW and they were the ones that thanked us the most and probably had the best time. If anyone wants any more resort details like how the food was at each restaurant, etc. just email or pm me. I had the wedding of my dreams, it was absolutely perfect. It was the best day of my life!
My vacation photos are on Danielle's Gallery- Albums I took a lot of pictures of locations like Garden Gazebo, Olympic Terrace, and Naos Beach.
Posted 26 November 2008 - 01:08 PM
My hair with orchids
This is my ceremony setup on Naos Beach
The judge and Derek’s aunt translating
Plaza Colonial where cocktail hour was held
Posted 26 November 2008 - 01:08 PM
The best waiter and bartender at the resort. These guys rock!
We got Vivianna, Anna Marie, and some other staff on the dance floor
My cake with the cake topper we brought. I should have gotten an upgraded cake.
Posted 26 November 2008 - 01:45 PM
ps, your cake was beautiful; very classic and simple, the perfect display for your topper to make it shine
Posted 26 November 2008 - 01:49 PM
Posted 26 November 2008 - 02:56 PM
I'm glad it was perfect! ))))
Posted 26 November 2008 - 04:08 PM
Question... is there an option to have the recepetion on the beach?
Posted 26 November 2008 - 04:14 PM
Posted 26 November 2008 - 05:10 PM
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