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My Wedding Review-Long

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#1 LadyCheese

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    Posted 30 November 2008 - 03:14 PM

    Wedding Coordinator (Lissette)—C-

    Wednesday: Where do I start…Lissette was not my original coordinator, she is in fact the 3rd person I had to deal with in the 10 months leading up to the wedding day. I must say however that she was the only coordinator who emailed me back fairly quickly and that was really appreciated it. She didn’t always answer all my questions but I would email her again to say she missed something and she’ll reply with an answer. We met with Lissette on Wednesday and lets just say she’s not the most enthusiastic person you will meet, which is a let-down because this is a happy occasion so you expect the coordinator to show that kind of emotion as well and be excited to be a part of your day and planning it, etc. She asked me how many guests (even though we had emailed her a list prior to our arrival), what kind of cake flavor, and which flowers I wanted for my bouquet…basic questions and then that was it. She didn’t ask me about the ceremony music or decorations, centerpieces, nothing….she didn’t even ask me if I needed any corsages or extra bouquets for the girls (even though I didn’t need them, but the point is she should’ve inquired about this at this point). Her part of the meeting took about 10 minutes (if that). She told me to put everything (decorations, etc) in a suitcase and bring by her office and that’s what I did. She called me Friday afternoon to ask me how I wanted the centerpieces, etc…this was my fault because I took a picture of the centerpiece but left it at home but I explained to her how I wanted them set up.

    I then asked her about having a brief rehearsal on Friday and she made a comment saying she doesn’t think it’s really necessary but if I wanted to do it, then she doesn’t mind (WTF). She really just didn’t seem interested which again makes me frustrated and killed my happy mood.

    We had told her prior to arriving at Punta Cana that we would like a welcome reception for our guests…the manager told us our guests can come to “Dominican Night” at the beach and there would be no extra charge because it’s a weekly sponsored event at the hotel. When we get there, Lissette (and the manager, Gabriel) tell me that “Dominican Night” starts at 3pm till about 6pm….mind you my guests arrive after 6pm that night. My travel agent was upset because she was the one who worked this out with him (and he had confirmed everything in writing) and he kept saying its “Dominican Night” but when we get there he tells me it’s not a party at night, it’s just a Dominican buffet at the World Caf©---big difference!! Lissette summed it up as a miscommunication (you think?!). My letters to the guests were already typed out inviting them to a Dominican Night that didn’t even exist! So I asked the manager to secure enough seating at the buffet so when my guests arrive we can still get them together and eat…he gives me a nonchalant response that Lissette will have to speak to the food & beverage manager and see if they can arrange that…and he walks away back into his office because he didn’t even invite in to sit down (gasp!). So I asked Lissette to let me know if that will be a problem and I leave.

    Thursday: Lissette finally tells me that they will have a “Dominican Night” just for us as a private event at the beach at 8:30pm. I asked her where at the beach and she tells me she’s not really sure but once I get there I should see them set-up somewhere towards the right (ok!). Mind you it’s been drizzling on and off the whole day and it’s windy…but I thanked her for her help with this and proceeded to the lobby to await my guests. The majority of the guests arrived on Thursday on one bus…it was such a beautiful feeling to see all of them get off the bus, I had goose bumps! While our guests are checking-in and getting situated, my fianc© and I head on to the beach to see what’s going on. We almost didn’t go because there was a light drizzle and super windy but I suggested we go because if there is staff waiting, we’re going to look bad not showing up. I tried looking for Lissette first but she wasn’t around. We get to the beach and look around…we saw staff members under the roof of the bar that’s close to the beach area (on the left) and they had a buffet set up. We talked to the staff for several minutes and realized this wasn’t going to work…the space under the roof was too small for 65 guests, there were no tables set-up under the roof, all the tables were out in the open and it was drizzling, and it was super windy. The staff was asking me what we wanted to do giving the conditions, I felt horrible because there was about 6 waiters there and a supervisor, the food was out but the supervisor was very nice (I think Melvin was his name) and said that its okay, that its not our fault, Lissette should’ve communicated better with us and with them…he assured me that it was no trouble to put away the food and do it another day if we wanted. I felt so bad, I wanted to cry. Not only did these hard workers waste their time doing this but now we also have no reception for our guests. In the end, our guests were all starving and ate at the buffet then we met them all by the bar located in the theatre and had a really great time.

    Friday: We met with Lissette near the gazebo and she’s just standing there, not saying anything or doing anything…looking once again like she rather be somewhere else than there! If I was a wedding coordinator, I would introduce myself to the bridal party, get them to line up, and tell them what they need to do. That’s not what happened…she basically just tells me that everyone has to meet in my room on Saturday and pointed where we would be walking down, and instructed me to wait in the room until she come get me. I thanked her for her time and she left. That was what she considered a rehearsal! (I later come to find out that Lissette has only been there fpr 6 mths. I'm not sure if she has had prior coordinator experience)

    Now the rehearsal dinner…prior to leaving the states, I also let her know that I would like to reserve approx. 25 seats at a restaurant for our rehearsal dinner Friday night, I selected the Italian restaurant (which is not a restaurant by itself as I come to find out once I’m at the resort, its actually a small area located inside the buffet restaurant, with no divider). So I asked her if I can have it elsewhere, she says yes “Oceana” but it has to be a set menu, which is not a biggie. We go through the whole menu, I give her my selections, and ask what if there’s people that don’t eat fish (I had to choose only one main dish)…once again she says she doesn’t know what would happen but she will ask the restaurant and see if I can choose an alternate (I never get an answer). Several hours later she calls to say that there is a private event being held at Oceana so we won’t be able to do it there after all. So we just have it at the Italian “restaurant”. We ended up having a really good time and I had to have a set menu as well but I picked chicken parmesan which most people like and it went very well (FYI-they don’t offer a dessert at this restaurant so if anyone wanted dessert they had to go to the buffet to get it).

    As part of the wedding package, Dominique received a room for the night and they accommodated him without any problems.

    Saturday: After 2 days of rainy and windy weather, I awoke to find a clear, sunny day (hallelujah!)…I can’t even remember if I ordered room service for breakfast, I don’t think I did because my stomach was not feeling too good still…but I went to the salon to get my hair done…

    The lady who did my hair was very nice…I brought a picture with me of what I wanted and she had to try it 3 times before she finally got it and it looked very nice. She was patient and she cared about what she was doing which I really appreciated; she just didn’t give up and let me walk out with something I didn’t want. She even asked someone to get her fresh flowers which she added to my bun as a special touch.

    Click the image to open in full size.

    Dominique was going to be at the pool with his friends, so I knew the coast was clear…I headed back to my room and began the preparations. Severine and the videographer (I think his name is Francois-he wasn’t Fran however) arrived shortly there after as scheduled.

    I cannot begin to say enough about Severine and PhotoSouvenir. She was prompt, professional and yet caring and sociable (unlike Lissette). She was always asking me if I needed help with anything…as we were walking towards the beach for pictures she bustled my dress so I can walk better…she even carried my parasol and helped me with my shoes. She was just a genuinely nice person who loves her craft but also knows how to connect with people and make them feel comfortable. The videographer (Francois) was also very nice and friendly…they were always smiling and that was nice to see. Here is a pic of us with Severine that we took once we got to Excellence:

    Click the image to open in full size.

    The ceremony was scheduled to start at 4pm but Lissette didn’t come to get us until approximately 4:30pm (maybe a few mins before that)…she said she was waiting for more guests to arrive and be seated (don’t know if that was the case or not but I really wasn’t stressing it, too nervous to care). She played the song selections I gave her for the bridal party and for myself…it was so nice seeing everyone there. As I got closer to Dominique I began to cry….he was crying himself. We had a friend do a reading and then Lissette said her part…no one could see her, she was off to the side which I guess was a good thing because she was wearing her uniform…you’d think Dreams would require them to put on a blazer or something more appropriate for weddings but apparently not (according to the manager, this will be changed in the near future).

    Finally we exchanged our personal vows and we were pronounced man and wife…she played the wrong song for the recessional but it was not a big deal. I was too happy to care. We managed to get everyone together for a big group picture and although guests were aware that the cocktail and reception was taking place at the Himitsu Terrace, not everyone knew where the Himitsu terrace was located and Lissette was nowhere to be found to direct guests in the right direction. So Dominique and I were actually telling them where they should go and with 65 guests it’s not the easiest of tasks. After the guests make their way upstairs, Severine whisked us away for some beach pictures before the sun started to set. I loved the beach pictures so much…it was really windy but we had a great time and they came out fabulous.

    We get back from taking the beach pictures and we’re about to go upstairs when one of Dominique’s friends asked us what’s going on because they’ve been sitting there for almost an hour with no food (where’s the cocktail hour?)….so of course that’s not what any couple wants to hear on their wedding day!

    So we head upstairs and the entire reception is indoors instead of the terrace where I had chosen but I assumed it’s because it was windy and they feared it may rain. No biggie yet. What I came to later find out is that everything was set up outside on the terrace however glasses were falling over because it was very windy. A family friend asked Lissette if they can move everything indoors…Lissette refused because she states I requested the reception to be outdoors. Mind you I asked Lissette at the rehearsal the day before, what would happen if the weather was not good and she said everything would be indoors and I said “ok” and so I assumed she had a plan B ready just in case (not exactly!). Our family friend and my mom were insisting everything be moved inside and Lissette left to her office for about 20-30 minutes. She came back with a gentleman and he repeated that the bride requested the reception be outdoors and they couldn’t move it without my consent. Mind you, no one came to ask me what I wanted to do while I was taking pictures, if it was such a big deal. Eventually my parents tell them that everything should be moved because it’s windy, glasses are falling over, napkins are blowing—and they finally agreed, however they asked to be given 30 minutes because the banquet room was not clean nor was it set-up with tables or linens (so much for having a plan B in place). They should’ve had a room ready for something like this. Some of our friends were helping set the tables because there wasn’t enough staff and from what they told me Lissette looked overwhelmed and nervous. Eventually more help arrived and they took over to finish setting up the tables.

    We get introduced into the reception around 6pm. The tables looked a mess. I had 6 chocolate brown runners for the round tables…she put 5 runners on the round tables and 1 runner on our long table, the other round table had nothing…the candles were all mixed up-it was supposed to be 1 tall, 1 medium, and 1 short candle for each centerpiece…some tables had all short candles, it was just a mess. She didn’t turn any of the candles on either….I provided her with “bling” to sprinkle on the tables, she never used them. I provided her with “I Do” letters to put on the cake table, she never brought them with her so they didn’t get used either! The cocktail hour was set-up next to the buffet area so no one knew that they could help themselves until we walked into the room. The best man wanted everyone to have flutes to do a toast, we were told they didn’t have enough flutes…they only had 13 flutes for a party of 65! I asked for a Kahlua with milk, they had no milk…LOL. They sent someone to get milk but I didn’t get my drink til after about 30 minutes or so. I must say the food was pretty good…I chose buffet option#2 and the chicken and salmon were tasty. For appetizers I chose chicken wings (I didn’t taste them, they ran out pretty quickly and they didn’t seem ready with a second batch but they did bring out more eventually), sushi (I liked), and turkey canap©s (didn’t try them)…Lissette kept disappearing and was not directing the guests to the cocktail hour, etc…so the lack of communication is what caused our guests to sit there for almost an hour with no cocktail hour.

    My problem with Lissette her lack of interest (that's how Dominique & I interpreted anyhow) and she’s not proactive at all. Granted I know these ladies are overworked and most likely overwhelmed as well-so I don’t entirely blame Lissette, I blame her superiors for putting them in this type of environment without giving them extra help….especially for our wedding since we had 65 people. There was a wedding at Dreams every single day we were there and on Friday there were THREE weddings…On Saturday, there were two weddings. (I spoke to the manager the next day and he said that they are currently working on upgrading their wedding department and the way things are done).

    DJ— F
    We had purchased an airline ticket and paid for his room—he’s a longtime acquaintance of Dominique’s—who is a professional DJ in NYC. He was supposed to arrive on Thursday along with everyone else but he didn’t. When I called my travel agent she said there was no notes in her computer, it just looks like he never showed up! We tried calling him but got voicemail. He never called us or emailed us-to this day we have no idea what happened to him. The week before we left we spoke to him and he went to pick up his airline ticket at our friend’s house. Dominique is thinking of how to deal with the situation. We spent $900+ on him and he never showed up. Maybe he had an emergency or maybe he just totally screwed us over but this will have to be continued…

    Two of our friends played DJ for us with their Ipods…and although it wasn’t the way we had planned everything turned out great. People were dancing and having a good time anyway. We didn’t get to do our 1st dance to the song we wanted because no one had it on their Ipod but we picked an alternate song and it was still very special.

    Around quarter to 10pm, Lissette came to be and said it was time to wrap it up…I asked her if we could extend it until 10:30 and she said no problem. I was glad she gave us the extra time because everyone was up and dancing. After we left the reception, we headed to the Desires Lounge for the after-party.

    Cake— B
    Lissette had emailed me a picture of the complimentary cake and we really did not like the way it looked plus we had a lot of guests so we needed something bigger. Overall, I think they did a good job on the cake…it was a little lopsided but what could I do at this point. The cake itself was delicious!! Everyone couldn’t stop raving about the way the cake tasted. I had a lot leftover still so I wish I would’ve brought cake boxes for guests to take some at the end of the night.

    Click the image to open in full size.

    Overall I must say we had a blast. Things didn't necessarily come out the way we planned but everyone looked to be having a good time and the most important thing was Dominique and I are now husband and wife. Dreams is still a spectacular place to have a wedding, one just has to really stay on top of the coordinators as much as possible so that certain details do not get looked over. [/CENTER]

    #2 KHarrod

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      Posted 30 November 2008 - 05:27 PM

      Thanks for the review, it was helpful and it makes me nervouse about my upcoming wedding there. Did you have a symbolic or legal wedding and was it in English? I cant wait to see the pics, did they charge you for using a outside photographer?

      #3 foxytv

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        Posted 30 November 2008 - 05:39 PM

        Great review. I don't know if I would have given Lissette even a C based on all those issues, but I'm glad you were able to roll with the punches!

        And I would have a hit on that darn DJ - WTF? You still don't know what happened?

        #4 weddingchick

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          Posted 30 November 2008 - 05:41 PM

          I'm sorry that you had so many challanges. I'm sure that your guests had a great time!
          Can't wait to see your photos!


          #5 BC Bride2be

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            Posted 30 November 2008 - 05:43 PM

            great review, I'm glad you were able to overcome the non-emotional Lissette and not let it spoil your day.
            and can't wait to hear what happened to the DJ - that is messed up, hopefully he had a really good reason!!
            looking foward to see your pics... congrats on being a MRS!!

            #6 MsSunshine

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              Posted 30 November 2008 - 06:07 PM

              Thanks for the review. I'm sorry you had to go through this...especially with the dj that was a no-show. I can't wait to see your pics :) Congrats on becoming a Mrs!

              #7 LadyCheese

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                Posted 30 November 2008 - 06:12 PM

                Originally Posted by KHarrod
                Thanks for the review, it was helpful and it makes me nervouse about my upcoming wedding there. Did you have a symbolic or legal wedding and was it in English? I cant wait to see the pics, did they charge you for using a outside photographer?
                We had a symbolic ceremony and Lissette performed it in english but at times it was hard to understand what she was saying and it was really short, 10 minutes tops; I seriously don't remember what she was saying. If I were to do it over again, I would have our reader do the entire ceremony. The only thing we had to pay in regards to the photographers was for their "visitor's pass" which are $75 each.

                #8 LadyCheese

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                  Posted 30 November 2008 - 06:14 PM

                  Originally Posted by foxytv
                  Great review. I don't know if I would have given Lissette even a C based on all those issues, but I'm glad you were able to roll with the punches!

                  And I would have a hit on that darn DJ - WTF? You still don't know what happened?
                  She was close to receiving a D, I'm just too nice at times.
                  I still don't know what happened to the DJ but lets just say there are several guys looking for him already. That will have to be on a thread all on its own, LOL.

                  #9 shellb

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                    Posted 30 November 2008 - 06:33 PM

                    Thank you for the review. I wish you hadn't had the issues with the coordinator and the DJ. I am sure the photos will be gorgeous, loved the flowers in your hair.

                    #10 ErinB


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                      Posted 30 November 2008 - 06:43 PM

                      Great review. I'm sorry you had issues but you really did take the high road and focus on what was the most important - GETTING MARRIED!

                      Did you post pics somewhere that I missed?

                      Keep us posted on the DJ situation. I would contact your credit card company and see if you can refute the charges for failure to perform/no delivery of goods. Did you have a contract with him?

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