Sooooo sorry for taking so long to get back on this site...we got home on the U.S. Thanksgiving and it's been ridiculously busy trying to get loads and loads of laundry done, see family, friends, and now, back to work trying to get caught up after being off a little over 3 weeks! Again, I'm sorry!
First, rest assured each of you has made the right decision when booking your weddings at DLR...it could not have been any better! We met both wedding coordinators - Yanna was ours, but we saw and spoke with Tiara a couple of times; both are lovely and extremely busy. I think the day after we left they had 3 weddings going on in 1 day!!! Have no idea how they do it, and make it look effortless. They really are miracle workers...
I was so lucky to have met Rikki and Alla. Rikki, you and your husband were wonderful. Your photos are beautiful...you were stunning! Sorry, no luck finding the lost board game!
Alla - thanks for the kind words...Jay and I felt the same about you and your husband! We too felt like we were having drinks with old friends. I am so glad to hear your wedding was amazing!!!!! Looking forward to seeing your photos when you get home and settled. I can't believe how long it's taken me to get back in the swing of things...still on "Island Time" and can't seem to shake it!
OK, back to the wedding and the resort...we had the free wedding package, and were a relatively small group of 17, including my husband and I. We simply added whatever extras we wanted.
All of our group stayed in the Preferred section, which I would highly recommend to everyone. Well worth the little bit extra you will spend. They treat you wonderfully and we met some terrific people working there...miss you Waddy! Sweetest bartender at the Preferred Club pool bar. And, Eddy, our man at the Preferred Club lounge! Loved them!
Perfect...the location is AMAZING! Our wedding was at 4pm, the weather could not have cooperated more, and Yanna and staff did a great job of setting everything up. They hung our paper lanterns for us (at no extra charge), and did a lovely job setting up the chairs (we rented the white wooden folding chairs), ceremony table (we had a picture of my husband's late father as well as a unity candle/tapers) and the champagne table. Even the way the champagne glasses were arranged was beautiful.
We had Elke (Spa Manager) perform the ceremony for us, based on recommendations from past brides, and she did a GREAT job! My boys were a huge part of our ceremony and she & Yanna did a fantastic job of including them and making it a very relaxed atmosphere. We laughed, we cried, but it was so stress free. I met with Elke the day of the ceremony when I was getting my hair done at the Spa as she wanted to go over the script I had provided Yanna to confirm any wording she was unsure of. There was no charge for her to perform the ceremony, but a tip is suggested, and well deserved.
We hired the DJ for the reception, but it is another one that does the music for the ceremony, so, even if you don't hire a DJ, you will still have music for your wedding, from my understanding. This DJ did a great job of playing our music that we had selected. My husband spoke to him when he arrived at the gazebo (about 20 minutes before the service), showed him which folders to play and when (we had our Ipod with us, with music listed in a bunch of different folders - i.e: seating music, walking down the aisle before ceremony, walking down the aisle after ceremony, etc...), then gave him the Ipod to hook up to his system and that was that. After the ceremony, he gave the Ipod back to my husband to use at the reception.
HDC - PHOTOGRAPHER:
We hired HDC from Punta Cana, again based on past brides on this forum and could not be happier with this choice!!!!! Arnaud is fantastic to deal with, always gets back to you promptly via email and his prices are very reasonable. Francisco was our photographer and he was AWESOME...their work is unbelievable. We had 3 hours, so Francisco arrived at DLR at 3 pm to take some pictures of us getting ready (hubby got ready in my parents' room with my boys), so he went to each room. He came to ours first, where I was getting ready with my mom, then went to the other room to see Jay, the kids and my dad, then came back when I had my dress on. From there, he went to the gazebo, took a few pics before, then during, took plenty of group shots immediately following the ceremony, then hubby and I went off for the duration for our private photo shoot around the resort. A little after 6 pm, Francisco left and we joined the rest of the group for our dinner/reception. While we were doing our photo session, the rest of the group went to the Preferred lounge and drank champagne and relaxed until it was time for dinner.
I'd like to post some pictures, but have no idea how...help!!! Thanks!
Even though we only had 17 of us we rented out the entire SSG for the reception, so it was very private. We paid for the exclusivity of the restaurant for the evening, and, since we had booked it very early this year, before the changes in prices, they did honor that quote. I don't know what the current policy is on renting out the entire restaurant, but I would advise to do so, for a more intimate setting. We had our dinner and dancing on the deck, overlooking the water and it was stunning.
Yanna and staff decorated it beautifully (I had brought down fuchsia and orange table runners and linen napkins - which I left there, by the way, in case anyone ever needs them in the future). They even added some extra touches, such as candles on the tables, and menu scrolls using the menu I had sent Yanna ahead of time (in our colors too). I had included menu cards in each guests' welcome bag but Yanna thought to put the scrolls on each dinner plate the night of the reception, which I thought was very nice. She also put flowers on the tables in small fishbowl like jars, with stones and shells in the water, which were perfect. Nice little surprises that I hadn't thought about.
The food was amazing, and again, the extras were a nice touch! They brought out plates of shrimp to each table, which were not on the menu. Our guests enjoyed the food and the drinks were never ending. We had four excellent wait staff who catered to us non-stop, always there to ask if we needed anything. We tipped each of them at the end of the evening - they definitely deserved it.
As I said earlier, we hired the DJ - he was wonderful too! My hubby gave him our Ipod and showed him the dinner music folder as well as the reception music (i.e. - 1st dance, father/daughter, etc...) and he played it. We had older guests who preferred some of the "older" stuff, which were few and far between since we were there to dance with the boys, who like the current music, so our DJ ended up mixing in some of his music and that was awesome. We even ended up giving him a memory stick which included all of our wedding music on it for him to do with it whatever he pleases. It had tons of current stuff and music from Canadian bands like Nickelback that he didn't have, so he was thrilled when my husband told him he had our entire playlist for him to keep.
Yanna stayed around for a while following dinner, then they brought out our cake - beautiful! I had had some orange and fuchsia chocolate starfish made and brought them with me to DLR. A couple of them were broken (i.e. tips broke off), but I gave them to Yanna anyway and just asked her to see what they could do with them with the cake. We ordered an extra layer of cake, so one round was chocolate, the other, vanilla, with a cream colored icing, then they put the starfish on it, here and there. It was perfect! And, it was sitting on what looked like sand, but was really a cinnamon and sugar mix. Such a great idea. The only problem was that nobody could even think about eating any cake that night, so we had them put it in the fridge at the SSG and the day following our wedding we went back around lunch time and asked them to get it for us. Again, the staff was amazing and wouldn't let us carry the cake ourselves, so they asked where we would be (the Preferred Pool bar area!) and they brought it out, got plates and cutlery for us and the bar staff cut it and served it to whoever was by the pool that day. We had met tons of people at that pool, so we told them to serve it to everyone since there was so much cake. It was delicious and everyone ate it up...so much fun doing it this way! Great way to enjoy the wedding with the people at the resort and the staff you get to know so well.
I had the free trial a couple of days after I arrived and she did a good job, so I went back on the day of the wedding and ended up having the same girl (Alex) and again she did good work, but beware, they will use a ton of hairspray. I ended up trying to "loosen" my hair a little, but overall she did really well. I did have to keep pinning it throughout the day and evening, but it was really no big deal to me. I was glad though, that I had brought some bobby pins from home, just in case. Also, if using flowers in your hair, you might want to get some artificial ones, because my poor little white ones that she put in, which were so pretty, did not last very long in the heat. I ended up taking them out at the reception and putting a fuchsia flower hair clip in for dinner and dancing. It did the trick and did not wilt!
So, all in all, we LOVED everything about the resort and the wedding. I'll post pictures if someone can tell me how, in VERY EASY terms, please!!! This old girl doesn't know too much about this kind of thing!
If anyone has any questions, I will try to answer them as best I can...working again, so it may take a little longer, but I will be checking this site daily nonetheless.
Thank you to everyone for their well wishes and fantastic ides! You've all been terrific.
Rikki & Alla - Hugs and kisses to you both! Best of luck with everything!