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Dreams Punta Cana Wedding Review - Jan 25, 2010


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#1 Jocy

Jocy
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    Posted 09 February 2010 - 05:35 PM

    Dreams Punta Cana - Wedding Review - January 25, 2010

    So after a year and a half of planning which will undoubtedly be the most memorable day of both of our lives i can't believe it's my turn to write a review of our wedding day!! Forgive me if this is long but i want it to be as detailed as possible to help ease the worries and minds of those future brides planning their weddings at Dreams Punta Cana. I also want to start by saying the entire day and the entire weeks holiday for us and our guests was above and beyond our wildest dreams and expectations. We are now basking in all the glorious memories that we will cherish for the rest of our lives. I wouldn't even point out any of the "mishaps" or things i may change if i did it again, although i think in doing so it might help other brides get their perfect day as well.

    Travel / Transport & Wedding Dresses!!
    I'm not going to spend to much time on this because it's not really a reflection of the resort and more so of your luck with weather, natural disasters and your specific airlines!! There were 34 of us traveling to Dreams from Washington DC, Chicago, Cleveland, Cincinnati, London and Manchester and not a single person had any travel problems getting to the resort. All flights were on time and all luggage made it where it was supposed to be. Nothing shy of a miracle in my opinion. We tried our hardest on all 6 of our flights (honeymoon as well) to get upgraded but sadly no luck on that front. Still nothing lost from trying!! My wedding dress was a traditional wedding dress and the shop where i purchased it from stuffed it with a carboard bodice and tissue paper so it would keep it's shape during travel. The only pleasant thing about carrying such a large item through airports is the smiles and well wishes everyone gives you as you pass!! Other than that it was a royal pain in my ass. You literally have to put your dress through the xray machine and they are not gentle with it at all. The air hostess at the gate did let me and FI board as priority boarding (1st) so i could get on with my dress and hang it up in the closet for the flight crews jackets. Just a word of advice...this closet is tiny and only about 4ft tall so the bottom of your dress is folded in half. But by comparison to checking it (not a chance!) or putting it in the overhead locker where things move around it's still the best option. (IMO) My dress made it to Dreams stain free and looking beautiful. It was wrinkled and i got the resort to steam it and it looked as good as ever...I'll cover that below.

    Arriving into Punta Cana airport was amazing!! We stepped off the plane and walked into the cutest airport I've ever seen. We were instantly hit with the heat and humidity (you're hair will never be the same!!) We had our photo taken with two girls in Dominican dress (i can only presume!) and they offer you the picture to buy when you leave. You have to pay $10 a person (it might be $15 i can't quite remember) to enter the DR and then you pass through immigration and go get your luggage. Guys will insist on loading up your luggage and taking you to your transfer. I say let them, as the few $$ means a lot to them and not carrying my bags (and dress!) means a lot to me!! One more thing i want to mention here is the transfer from the airport to Dreams. I wouldn't even mention it but I'd read so many bad reviews i wasn't sure what to expect. If you have ever left the US...then you have nothing to worry about at all. It was a mini van and took about 50 mins. The roads were paved and the scenery was fascinating (tons of funky looking cows!) and the only real DR we saw the whole trip. I could easily compare it to any other transfer I've been on in Mexico, St Lucia and a lot of European destinations. If you have never left the safety of the US before...then it's about time you did (hee hee) - enjoy every minute. This is what traveling is!! lol


    Dreams as a Resort

    Before i get going on this section we had one wee mishap here, :o) My sister (bridesmaid) booked Dreams La Romana out by the airport by mistake. Her tour rep was amazing and she and her FI had to spend one night there before being moved into Dreams Punta Cana for the whole week. They were gone for less than 24hrs and now it's a really funny story to look back on! Really this was the only thing that went wrong for us the whole week - I'll take it!! So double check with your guests that they know about the 2 other Dreams resorts in the DR!

    When you pull up to the huge lobby at Dreams you will instantly feel at ease with picking this place to have your wedding!! It was stunning, absolutely gorgeous. Truly, truly beautiful. We were given glasses of champagne as we checked in and the bell boys took our luggage to our rooms for us. (be sure to tell them your room # so they know where to take your bags). We were the first to arrive out of our group and went to the room to change into shorts (it was roasting!) and sat in the lobby for 6hrs drinking champagne and greeting our guests. The best time ever. Because the bell boys take your luggage to your rooms for you there is obviously a slight delay. We were so glad we had shorts in our hand luggage as it was really hot!! Also if you plan on putting together OOT bags when you arrive it prob took about an hour to get the luggage. Anyhoo...small details!! Where was i?!

    I've been to 3 other all inclusives aside from Dreams and i think this one is perfect for a destination wedding for so many reasons. It's huge!! The resort is big...not so big that you don't run into your guests all the time, but big enough that you can have privacy if you want it. The pool is fantastic, the beach is one of the best beaches I've ever seen! There are tons of loungers (although my parents did get up at 8am and reserve an entire section for us every day), tons of loungers in the shade. The snorkeling off the beach is fantastic (if you look at the sea and walk to your far left). There doesn't appear to be any other resorts nearby so you can walk for hours along the beautiful white sands. The pool bar is great and there are beach BBQ grills going on all day. Never a shortage of somewhere to eat!! Actually i like the buffet a lot for lunches too. I didn't get to eat at the Bordeaux restaurant (i didn't even see it!) but my guests who ate there said it was fantastic. I also didn't eat at the steak restaurant but my guests who ate there said it was just ok. We ate at the Mexican twice (my favorite!), the seafood restaurant was truly wonderful and the Italian which also really good and the Himitszu Japanese steakhouse - you cannot miss out on -AMAZING!!

    We were staying in the honeymoon suite with the jacuzzi on our balcony! It was great although we were out partying so much we only ended up using it one nice. It was however worth having the suite for the wedding day. There were 4 of us getting ready in there, plus my make up artist and a couple of friends who stopped by for hugs. The more space the better!! The best man and his wife lucked out on a free upgrade to a Junior suite so the groomsmen also had a ton of space to get ready in and their room was only across the hall from ours. I don't have a complaint about our room at all but i know I'm not a fussy traveler. There were ants over our sink by most evenings and the cleaners bleached them away every day. Not a big deal to me...might be to some. There was also a weird smell from time to time but nothing bad enough to make me complain. (we were in bldg 7) Our guests were all spread out and nobody had any complaints about there rooms.


    Wedding Preparations!!

    We arrived at Dreams on Wed and were given a note from Carolina (our WC) to meet her at 10am on Fri morning. We met with our DJ, DJ Mania on Thurs morning at 10am for like 10 mins to confirm all our song choices. I can't recommend him enough....just wonderful. But I'll write a separate review on outside vendors. So by the time i met with Carolina i'd had one day and 2 nights with the favorite people in my life in paradise and all my worries about the wedding were gone. She is so on top of everything, so so lovely, super organized and really just has it all under control. I gave her a small roller suitcase filled with stuff for our wedding day and she set it up pretty close to perfect, :o) She starts by confirming all the details about your day from times to locations to music choices. etc.

    So on the Sat morning the bridal party had a quick rehearsal with Carolina on the beach. This only took about 10 mins and it was perfect as the set up was still there from the day before. This reassured me that everyone knew where they were supposed to be! Then that night we had a rehearsal dinner on the El Patio terrace outside the main buffet restaurant. This is so worth doing in my opinion. It was $10 per person and we only had 14 people. This ended up being both of mine and Mikes family along with the two groomsmen. The set up one big long table and covered all the chairs in white linens with a funky table centerpiece. This was perfect for us since our parents live in different countries how often will we get to have dinner with them both?! We handed out presents and said our thank you's in a private and intimate setting. We had the cute little terrace all to ourselves and were served a set menu that we picked out during our meeting with Carolina the day before. The food here was amazing...in my opinion it was actually better than our wedding food. They also constantly fill up your wine glasses...a nice touch!

    At the rehearsal Carolina told me our hair appointments for the wedding day were at 2pm. For a 4pm wedding...not a chance. I told he calmly that wasn't going to work and she immediately changed it for me so not problem.

    Sunday afternoon my mum and my two sisters and i all went to the Spa to have our mani / pedi's done!! I strongly recommend doing this the day before the wedding so your not worrying about wet nails but it's obviously a personal opinion. Neither my sisters nor my mum had ever had a pedicure done before so it was hilarious watching them giggle a the ticklish bits!! This was so peaceful and so relaxing...the spa was amazing. Even if you just walk in to take a look - it shuts out the madness of everything else! It also made it hit home to me that this was me beginning to get ready for my wedding!!

    Sunday night we all split up into guys & girls and had separate dinners. We all ate at the Japanese steakhouse but we ate at different times. You have to go along at 6:30pm to get your reservations for that evening (this is the only restaurant that requires reservations) so the girls ate at 7:30pm and the guys at 9pm. There ends up being a queue of people at about 6:15pm waiting to make reservations so if your reception is on the Himitzu terrace that might be something to take into consideration. I don't think it would have made me change location, just might have been nice to know. I said my goodbyes to Mike at 11:55 pm and my sister stayed with me in our room and Mike stayed in her room. I then didn't see him until i was walking down the isle the next day!! We did ask at reception for the complimentary room for the groom but we were supposed to ask Carolina for that in our appointment with her earlier in the week. No harm done.


    Wedding Day!!


    Here's the time line of our day

    3:00pm Photographer arrived in my room
    3:45pm Groomsmen, Groom and Guests in position at the Beach
    3:55pm Meet WC outside seafood restaurant with my sisters (bridesmaids), mum and dad
    4:00pm lets do this!!

    We walked down the isle to Carolina's version of Pachabel's Cannon in D (tropical version), she gave advice on marriage, Mike's sister did a reading, we said our vows, we did the sand ceremony, exchanged rings and had our first kiss as Mr and Mrs!! We walked back up the isle to Jason Mraz, I'm Yours.


    4:30pm - 5:30pm Bride and Grooms photos with photographer while guests hung out in the lobby bar
    5:30pm - 6:30pm Cocktail Hr
    6:30pm - 10:30pm Reception
    10:30pm Guest continued to party until the small hours and we sneaked of back to our room!!

    OK, so the things i gave Carolina were name place-cards and favors for the reception, chair sashes, a seating plan, guest book to be placed on the cake table, disposable cameras for the tables, ribbon for the 3 bouquets, ribbon and flowers for the wedding cake, sand and vases and sand for the sand ceremony. I think that's all.

    We chose the free wedding package since we were staying in the honeymoon suite for 7 nights. We had our ceremony on the beach (extra $300) with the flowers they provided (which were beautiful!). We then had both the silver cocktail hr and silver dinner packages. We bought extra champagne for the speeches and upgraded our cake so there was enough for 1 slice per person.

    So my wedding day got off to a great start with me meeting my family and 3 best friends for breakfast in the World Cafe at 8:30am. I had made vest tops for everyone saying things like, Bride, Bridesmaid (2), Mother of the Bride, Best friend of the Bride (2) and Make up Artist of the Bride and then put everyone's names on the back. I think my Dad was delighted to eat with 7 ladies!! So we had a quick photo session in front of the gazebo before heading to the hairdressers at 9:30am. They will wash you hair if you want them to or just put your hair up as is. They did an excellent job on all of our hair and we were all super duper pleased with how it turned out. I had photo's of what i wanted but everyone else just described it. My one sister had hers all tied up in curls and it kind of looked like she was going to prom so we just told them we didn't like it and they washed it and dried it straight for her. No extra charge, no fuss. But i strongly recommend getting your hair done early!!

    I had the best time hanging out in the room while my best friend Anna, did our make up. She is a make up artist for Bobbi Brown and did all our make up for free so i know i was truly blessed to have her in my life. We ordered champagne (that we never got charged for) to our room and had pizza and nachos for lunch. It would be around this time that the heavens opened up and an almighty thunderstorm came through. Bummer!! It was so weird, my sister was more in a panic than i was. I just knew that nothing could spoil my day and if God wanted it to be inside then inside it would be. Little did i know he had different plans for me and at 3:15pm the black clouds started to roll on out and we had blue skies for our ceremony!! :o)

    Carolina brought the flowers to my room at 3 pm and i was so delighted - they were stunning!! I told her that i didn't care what the bouquets looked like just to make the bridesmaids all creme so they didn't clash with their dresses and then she could pick a bit of color for mine. It was white lilies and orange roses and it was so pretty. The white lilies ended up being an exact match to the fake flowers in my hair!! In fact the maid put the fake flowers in water the next day, she must have thought they were real...too funny. The men all had orange roses on their pockets...it looked great.

    The ceremony was beautiful, i cried from the moment i walked down the isle till it was finished. I'm an emotional wreck with such things!!

    Our photographer was from Photosouvenir and along with our DJ i truly cannot recommend him enough. Now that i'm home and have only photo's and memories left of my day i realized how important the photos are!! VERY!! Anyway...he'll get a separate review!

    He took pics of the whole group and then families and bridal party etc before taking just me and mike for some alone shots. By this point the storm was coming back in and i personally think our photos are cool with the stormy sky. So i wasn't surprised when i found out our reception had been moved indoors and in actual fact it was a welcome relief from the heat and the wind!

    So our cocktail hr & reception were supposed to be on the Himitzu terrace but they were moved into the ballrooms right opposite that terrace. It was perfect. Guests could come inside to the AC and cool off or stand on the terrace and smoke the cigars from our cigar roller!! (Until it rained but at that point it was dinner time anyway) So for the cocktail hr we had a Caribbean trio who were excellent!! And the cigar roller. This was fun coz nobody was expecting it and it's something different. But he did try to sell cigars which i wasn't to impressed about at our wedding. Looking back we prob should have just bought cubans and handed them out to the men. But it was still a pretty cool thing to have. Makes great photos too!! So the only thing Carolina didn't do that well was the seating plan. She had the correct names on the correct tables but not the right people sat next to each other. Like my Mum and Dad weren't sat next to one another which was a bit of a bummer i think. Again...such small things!!

    I had such an excited, nervous feeling all day that i couldn't really eat but the food was good. It wasn't as good as the other restaurants on the resort but it was definitely good. No complaints - just an observation!! lol Waiters came round and topped up your drinks constantly. They brought every guest a glass of champagne for our speeches / toasts.

    Here's the order of events at our reception
    Bride & Grooms 1st Dance - Frank Sinatra Way You Look Tonight
    Bride & Father - Caledonia (there wasn't a dry eye in the house, including me!!)
    Groom & Mother - Elvis, The Wonder of You

    Speeches
    Father of the Bride
    Groom
    Best Man 1
    Best Man 2

    Food

    Once desert was served we cut the cake and the DJ pumped up the tunes to get everyone dancing and i'd say every single person was on the dance floor the whole time until it finished. Amazing turn out with the dancing for such a small wedding.

    What am i forgetting?? The Cake!! It was SO yummy!! Don't even give the taste of the cake a second thought. Infact i would ask to skip the dessert and just serve the cake coz so many guests were too full. But don't skip the cake..it was amazing!! I actually think it looked beautiful too. My expectations of this were so low from previous photos that i couldn't believe my eyes when i saw it!! We had a vanilla cake.

    Ok i'm going to stop now and let you digest all of that and feel free to come back with questions!!

    [photo link removed at request of poster]

    Thanks for being patient!!

    #2 Jocy

    Jocy
    • Jr. Member
    • 209 posts

      Posted 09 February 2010 - 05:39 PM

      I knew i stopped to early..

      When we got back to our room that night the maids had put a happy honeymooners banner on our door and had rose petals leading to our bed!! They even made a wedding dress out of the sheets and had some dodgy seedy music playing! lol I'm guessing it was supposed to be romantic....it made the too of us burst into giggles!! Very nice touch though.

      Then the next day the brought us yummy breakfast in bed and champagne!! Well we ate in on our balcony and then my friend Anna came over and redid my make up (bless her heart!) for the TTD. I slept in my hair and it stayed in perfectly!! Nothing made me happier than stepping back into my dress and the TTD shoot was so much fun. The champagne might have helped a little!! Plus we lucked out and got incredible blue skies for this which made up for stormy wedding day photos. '

      My dress was dirty on the bottom after the wedding day and was no more dirty after the TTD. Sandy..YES...wet...YES YES!! I actually showered in it to try and rinse the sand off but it came off easier once the dress was dry. I lay it on my balcony and by wed morn it was totally dry. We packed it into a suitecase and sent it off with Mike's parents while we flew to Costa Rica for a blissfull honeymoon!

      Ok...now i'm totally exhuasted!!

      #3 NyBeachBride

      NyBeachBride
      • Jr. Member
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        Posted 10 February 2010 - 02:41 AM

        sounds so perfect and your pics were great!! congratulations!! i cant wait for mines
        "

        #4 sunstarsmoon

        sunstarsmoon
        • Sr. Member
        • 2,233 posts

          Posted 10 February 2010 - 10:53 AM

          Congratulations, you review is amazing and your pictures are beautiful
          July 8, 2011, Couples Sans Souci Ocho Rios, Jamaica

          #5 cogswellgray

          cogswellgray
          • Jr. Member
          • 330 posts

            Posted 10 February 2010 - 11:24 AM

            i love it! i cant wait!!!!!!!!!! did u pick Jason Mraz to walk back down to or did she pick that?

            #6 cath_the_waf

            cath_the_waf
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            • 12 posts

              Posted 10 February 2010 - 11:48 AM

              Congratulations to you!! You review was wonderful and has put my mind at ease as we're getting married there in April. Did you book your photographer through the hotel or separately??
              Your photos are wonderful.

              Cath
              x



              #7 japonick

              japonick
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              • 78 posts

                Posted 11 February 2010 - 11:09 AM

                This is a great review! It is really helpful! How did you get your WC? She sounds much more responsive than the others I have been dealing with there. Do you have her email address? or phone number?

                Also, can you tell me what Dreams supplies in the rooms..I want to plan my OOT bags and I understand that Dreams puts a great deal of supplies in the rooms and I don't want to double if I don't need to..

                Thanks!
                Jennifer

                #8 Jocy

                Jocy
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                • 209 posts

                  Posted 11 February 2010 - 11:43 AM

                  We used an outisde photographer, Photosouvenir and also an outside DJ, DJ Mania. Both were absolutely fantastic!

                  Our hotel room had travel size shampoo, conditioner, sun tan lotion, cotton buds and moisturizer in it but some rooms had nothing. Not sure if that was dependent on your room category or just chance.

                  My WC was Carolina and we were assigned her about 2 months before the wedding date. And trust me...she was not responsive before i arrived!! :o) I was tearing my hair out trying to get information but she was wonderful when we were actually on the resort.

                  We picked both songs to walk down to and back up the isle. We just used Carolina's versions since she already had them on her ipod.

                  :o)

                  #9 Jocy

                  Jocy
                  • Jr. Member
                  • 209 posts

                    Posted 11 February 2010 - 11:43 AM

                    We used an outisde photographer, Photosouvenir and also an outside DJ, DJ Mania. Both were absolutely fantastic!

                    Our hotel room had travel size shampoo, conditioner, sun tan lotion, cotton buds and moisturizer in it but some rooms had nothing. Not sure if that was dependent on your room category or just chance.

                    My WC was Carolina and we were assigned her about 2 months before the wedding date. And trust me...she was not responsive before i arrived!! :o) I was tearing my hair out trying to get information but she was wonderful when we were actually on the resort.

                    We picked both songs to walk down to and back up the isle. We just used Carolina's versions since she already had them on her ipod.

                    :o)

                    #10 SonyaR

                    SonyaR
                    • Jr. Member
                    • 299 posts

                      Posted 11 February 2010 - 03:10 PM

                      Your wedding day sounds absolutely awesome. I've been thinking about having our wedding at Dreams and your review certainly has me wanting to book with them.
                      Congrats!




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