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Non AI wedding... Need info!

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Hi everyone!

I am getting married in the DR (Cabarete, near Puerto-Plata) next year but not at a hotel. Due to the fact that my fiance is from there and I have lots of friends and family, I can simply not afford to get them all at the resort for the event. Also, we want to have a BIG reception party without bothering anyone with the noise or such. So, I was wondeering if any of you ladies had experience rgarding getting married OUTSIDE of a resort. How did you go for finding flowers, decorations, cake, photographer etc... Even if it's not in the Dominican Republic, any information about 'doing it on your own' would be greatly appreciated. At first it seemed easy, but now I am a little overwhelmed!

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I'm not sure how much help I'll be since I got married in the US (Florida Keys), but I had a non-resort wedding. Basically you just have to be prepared to book many more vendors than you would at resorts which typically offer a package deal for everything. It was a bit overwhelming at first, but overall I found planning extremely easy and fun once I discovered some great vendors in the area. I felt like I had a lot more input and customization by hiring separate vendors for each aspect of our wedding.


We ended up renting a private estate (2 beach houses) which I found on VRBO.com. VRBO lists rental properties worldwide, so you may want to take a look. Looks like there are fabulous properties in that area - like this: Cabarete - Magnificent Beach Front Mediterranean Villa. The houses functioned as a secluded event location and also doubled as lodging for our immediate families and bridal party.


Our next step was to find a caterer and figure out how to arrange for ceremony and reception tables/chairs/etc. We found a caterer who could provide all of the rentals we'd need, food, cake, reception staff, day of coordinator and even outdoor lighting. I'm not a DIY type person and wasn't interested in lugging a bunch of decorations on a plane, so our florist handled all decorations and of course the flowers. Vases/candles/glass hurricanes were borrowed from that florist, so we didn't have to worry about what to do with them after the reception. The florist staff just picked them up the next day at the same time the catering company was picking up the rentals they'd provided. We then chose a photographer and DJ and nearly all of our work was done. We chose vendors based on local recommendations (the real estate company we booked with and our caterer were a great help with local vendor recommendations) and on reviews from sites like WeddingWire.com. Tripadvisor.com and WeddingMapper.com were also somewhat helpful.


Since I'd imagine finding vendors may be harder in the DR than in the US, you might want to talk to your FIs family who live there about any recommendations they have for florists, caterers, bakers, etc. Or perhaps hire a well connected wedding planner who lives in the DR, especially if there will be a language barrier. I'm sure you can find photography and other vendor recommendations in the DR forum. You might also want to bring a photographer to the DR with you. Some photogs will give a hefty discount if you pay for their travel expenses.


I hope this helps a little. Congratulations on your engagement and good luck with planning.

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