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Melia Caribe Tropical-Wedding Inquiry


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#51 xviex

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    Posted 21 June 2010 - 11:17 PM

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by chrissytina924
    Great!!! you can stop stressing then!!! Im not all that happy with destinationweddings.com as my TA anyway.. thankfully ill never have to use them again after this :o)
    Hi! i just reserved my date w Melia for 4.2011 and am using Destination weddings.com also, can i ask what happened .. i've been so apprehensive about working with an online company . Just about to give them our room deposit

    #52 xviex

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      Posted 22 June 2010 - 12:21 AM

      Hi! How funny we had requested 5.21 date and they said it was no longer available! Guess we took too long! we ended up 4.16 which actually worked out better for us :)

      #53 xviex

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        Posted 22 June 2010 - 12:23 AM

        Quote:
        Originally Posted by FutureMrsG521
        I just emailed the price guides to the individuals who requested it. Please let me know if there was a problem. Also, I heard back from my WC today and was told I could change my package to a different premium if I'd like to, just need to specify. My wedding date is not until May 21 2011 so I will wait until I get some RSVPs to see if it is necessary to upgrade.
        Hi! How funny we had requested 5.21 date and they said it was no longer available! Guess we took too long! we ended up 4.16 which actually worked out better for us :)

        #54 Nikki777

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          Posted 26 June 2010 - 09:56 AM

          Melia is a great place for wedding. My friends wedding was there and she used Frank Panaro Photography out of Miami.
          www.frankpanarophotography.com

          Frank is spectacular by all means and you are garanteed great photos.
          He is in range of $2500-$3500.00
          Well worth every penny if you desire beautiful wedding images.

          The hotel coordinator will take care of all for you as they are good but avoud staff phptographers. Not the Best in my opinion.

          Best of luck in Punta Cana.


          Nikki

          #55 laurabrea78

          laurabrea78
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            Posted 23 July 2010 - 06:54 PM

            Hi Everyone!!!! Sorry this took so long!!!

            I just had my wedding at the Melia Caribe Tropical in Punta Cana on June 6, 2010, and wanted to give everyone a review! This forum was really helpful for me, and I am hoping my review will be just as helpful to someone else☺

            ARRIVAL - We traveled to Punta Cana with about 20 of our family and closest friends. We arrived in PUJ at about 11:30 AM local time. It was BEYOND hot and humid, and everyone was melting away. You are immediately transported to tropical vacation at the airport. It has a thatched roof and a band playing island music as you enter! The airport process was pretty painless – we grabbed our bags off the carousel and made our way to find the rep for our vacation provider to find out which bus to get on to get to our resort. Travel was included in our particular package so it made it really simple! I would make sure that travel is included when booking your trip. There are lots of people who will try to carry your bags for you in hopes of making a tip – just be firm and say “No, gracias” and they should leave you alone.

            CHECK IN/FIRST IMPRESSIONS – The lobby at the Melia the impressive and beautiful. It is an open-air building with nice d©cor! I could do without the weird mirrors (worn from the humidity) behind the check in desks, but otherwise very pretty! We were directed to the separate check in for our wedding, and there was a waitress giving everyone drinks as we waited on line. The worst part of the entire trip was the check in! The check in took probably almost an hour and a half in the extreme heat. To be fair, there is A LOT of information for them to go over with you about dining, towels, entertainment, room service, minibar, spa etc. but it was torture! Now, those of us who were staying in the “Royal Service” were quickly escorted to an indoor air conditioned reception area for a speedy check-in. I HIGHLY recommend paying the extra money for this!!!! (more info on Royal service later). After check in a trolley or golf cart (depending on availability) comes to take your bags and us to your rooms. We were in Royal Service and the man who drove us to our rooms and carried our bags in for us, we soon found out would be our butler in Royal Service. His name was Eddy – HE MADE OUR TRIP PERFECT! He was just awesome!! We explained to him that we would tip him at the end in one lump sum rather than a little here and there – no problem….

            RESORT – This is a BREATHAKING and beautiful resort! There is eye candy everywhere – whether it be trees, flowers, flamingos, or peacocks. The grounds are absolutely immaculate – everywhere you look you will see someone working at trimming the grass, hedges, raking leaves. It’s always kept in pristine condition. Now I am a bit of a spoiled brat when it comes to accommodations, but if you are in the tropics, you are going to see little lizards and bugs for sure. The only bugs in our rooms were the occasional mosquitoes we let in when we were opening the doors (in the Royal Service). My family did see some other expected bugs (mosquitos/ants/etc), but as soon as they did, the hotel immediately took care of it (either switched rooms and upgraded them or eliminated the bugs). In tropical countries you are bound to find bugs anywhere Believe me the resort is impeccably clean and the rooms are beautiful – this resort you WILL be happy with. The resort is quite large, it was about a ten minute walk from the lobby to where our rooms were located. During the hot and sunny days if we were heading to the lobby we would usually catch one of the trolleys (they run very often), just so we didn’t have to walk in the intense heat, but Eddy would also pick us up and take us where we needed to go as well. In the evenings we would always walk, and enjoy the cool time together. The scenery is just gorgeous, and you could spend hours just walking around taking amazing pictures or just enjoying the views..

            ROOM – The hotel could not place my entire group in the same area, so we were spread out. I was a bit upset in the beginning, but honestly it really didn’t matter, as we all met up for meals and activities. We were in Royal Service, as I mentioned, but most of our group was near the beach. I would prefer to be closer to the lobby/casino/restaurants, so the walk home at night is closer…but the preference is yours. I will say that my sister was upgraded to a room in building 60 – and it was gorgeous (prettier than the rooms in royal service even – but you don’t get the service) That building is new and just stunning! The typical rooms were quite nice. They are NOT run down or old looking – they are roomy and comfortable and well decorated (not cheesy). The rooms in Royal Service are beautiful. They are more modern with dark cherry woods and marble. As an accommodation snob, I was very happy with them for myself and the regular rooms were complemented by my guests as well.. The Royal Service also has a private restaurant, pool, and beach which I heard was beautiful….unfortunately we didn’t get to take too much advantage of it because we wanted to spend time with our guests. We did eat at the royal service buffet, and the food is just as good at the other restaurants. The rooms were clean, cool and comfortable. Let me tell you, you have NOTHING to worry about. Even the regular junior suites are HUGE with a separate living area from where the bed is. The fridge would be restocked with water every day; I don’t think they restock pop unless you request it, which they have no problem doing: my in-laws requested one more bottle of Coke and they brought 3! Our rooms were always cleaned immaculately every day and nobody had a problem with anything getting stolen. Our chambermaid even straightened our shoes and toiletries in the bathroom for us! We tipped $2 a day for that.

            WEDDING COORDINATOR – WE LOVED OUR WEDDING COORDINATOR!!!! Her name was Esterlin. The WC we had been dealing with via correspondence seemed to change weekly (two other ladies). We were assigned Esterlin about 2 weeks prior to the wedding. I am usually a control freak, but at the advice of my other BDW brides, I confidently sat back prior to the wedding and didn’t let the lack of quick response upset me. They were all right. When we got there EVERYTHING we sent was filed and referenced, and all our requests were organized and known by Esterlin. One thing we did do was print off all the emails that we had exchanged just in case, but we didn’t end up needing them. Everything was under control, taken care of and ready for our meeting. Esterlin was so professional and efficient that it put us at ease right away – she is very pretty too J. Do not worry – they are experts! They do at least one and sometimes as many as five weddings a day, so they know what they are doing. When we checked in, we got the request for our meeting with Esterlin for the afternoon before our wedding. Unfortunately, we planned our scavenger hunt for that time, so I called her to reschedule. No problem at all…in fact, we went right over to her office to make our arrangements. During our meeting she went through our plan with us and confirmed everything we had previously requested. We also chose the menu for our rehearsal dinner and our reception dinner (we didn’t have a private reception). Note: I gathered from previous reviews that they typically offer the American Grill and the Dominican Restaurant for the Restaurant Receptions….so I was prepared. I had asked for the French Restaurant for my reception earlier and was told it would be decided at our meeting with the coordinator based on availability. As expected the only availability was at the American Grille for the rehearsal Dinner and the Dominican Restaurant for our reception. Esterlin saw my disappointment and immediately did her magic to get the French food delivered to my reception location. This turned out to be the BEST because the Dominican restaurant has a separate area for a semi-private reception there…and I got the food I wanted!!!! DID I MENTON THAT I LOVE HER!!!! The rehearsal dinner is not necessary, BUT book it so that your whole party can be at the same restaurant (not buffet) at dinner together for another night other than your wedding night. It is nearly impossible for this to happen otherwise. (NOTE: Esterlin did help arrange another group dinner for me (far less people though) – but she did pull some more strings for me. In addition, she arranged for some vegetarien-gluten-free meals and childrens’ meals as well. She explained how best to take of the music (we brought an ipod), and went through everything VERY thoroughly. After everything was finalized, we paid for the wedding up at the reception desk.

            WEDDING CEREMONY – We were blessed with nice weather the day of our wedding (except for the heat)– it was sunny and the humidity was finally down. Our ceremony was at 4 PM which worked out really nicely because we were able to get up early, have breakfast with everyone and enjoy the beach for a few hours before getting ready. We chose the tides package with a few upgrades in terms of decorations, bouquets, cake etc. Everyone was instructed to meet on the beach at 3:30 PM. We told our guests about this the evening prior. My mom, dad, mother-in-law and best friend came to my room and my husband went to his dad’s room. Eddy drove everyone where they needed to go on the day of the wedding (except for me and my dad who took the horse ad buggy- DEFINITELY WORTH IT – you don’t want to be riding on a golf cart or trolley/train in your wedding gown). Esterlin called well in advance of the wedding to see if everything was ok and if I needed anything. Eddy showed up again to take the moms/friend to the beach for the wedding. Then the horse and carriage came for me and my dad. (Later I found out that the horse and carriage took my husband and minister to the beach wedding location as well - very nice). Shortly thereafter, the horse and carriage came to pick me and my dad up to take us to te beach. When we arrived, Esterlin had everything in order, the guests were seated, the music had been playing (we chose Vitamin String Quartet doing several Rock Tunes - It was awesome), and my was cued (I walked down the aisle to "After All" - Peter Cetera). I didn't have a wedding party, and Esterlin took care of everything from taking my bouquet to making sure the champagne was poured and ready on the beach after the I do's.

            My best friend's husband is a minister, so he married us, and it was very special. The ceremony was beautiful! The decor was gorgeous- we had beautiful flower bouquets on posts down the aisle and an arch covered in flowing material and palm leaves. We read our own personalized vows which had everyone teary-eyed. After we had shared our kiss, we walked back down the aisle as a married couple to Weezer's "Island in the sun". After the ceremony, we drank champagne on the beach while our photographer took photos. It was perfect – just how we wanted it.

            COCKTAIL HOUR - Esterlin arranged to have a trolly waiting to transport my guests from the beach to the wedding gazebo in the garden. My husband and I took the horse and carriage. The wedding gazebo was decorated beautifully with pub tables and the chafing dishes of hot and cold appetizers. We had chicken fingers, beef skewers, cheese, fresh fruit, melon with proscuitto. Esterlin had set up a table of more champagne as well as bottled water. She also made sure that our music for the cocktail hour was properly piping through the gazebo speakers. We chose songs like Colbie Collait "Kiss the Girl", Jason Mraz "I'm yours", and "Somewhere over the Rainbow" by Isreal Kamakawiwo'ole just to name a few. We enjoyed the time with our family and friends in this gorgeous gazebo. BTW, the wedding gazebo (in the garden) is FAR more beautiful and much larger than the beach gazebo (which in my opinion was nothing impressive). I have seen pictures of wedding ceremonies in the garden gazebo as well as the sit down dinner which were both beautiful. But if you are looking to save some money and NOT have a private reception, I would suggest my choice of a beach ceremony, garden gazebo cocktail hour, and dinner in the restaurant.


            RECEPTION – we decided against a privatized reception because we figured for the amount of people we had vs. the amount of money it was going to cost, it wasn’t really worth it. We had dinner at the Dominican Restaurant. They sat us at one long table with me and my husband at the head. In this reataurant, there is a semi-private room which was great for a small recption/dinner. The interior d©cor of the restaurant is very pretty (though not the prettiest restaurant) and I was happy with the way it was decorated. The table was done very tastefully, and I didn't feel there was any need to bring my own seating cards or table decor. The mood was set with candles as well. Because of the semi-private room, it made it very easy to make speeches and talk amongst ourselves even though there was a restaurant going on in the room beside us. As I mentioned before, we were lucky enough to have the WC arrange for the French food to be delivered to the Dominican Restaurant for our reception meal. The food was EXCELLENT!!! In fact it was the best food we had the whole time we were there. As the appetizer, we had a choice of either field greens salad or lobster bisque. We had a choice of beef filet with a wine sauce or chicken stuffed with spinach and goat cheese. I had a cilicac/vegetarian, and they accomodated her perfectly for every meal! She loved the food. The wedding cake they provided was very tasty – vanilla and chocolate depending on the layer. We paid a little bit extra to have both flowers and shells on the cake (~$20). We were happy with the whole thing and all of our guests loved it. After the dinner we headed over to the lobby bar for drinking and dancing!

            PHOTOGRAPHER – We used PhotoSouvenir and they were AMAZING!!!!!! The highlight of our whole wedding are the incredible photos....everyone is saying the are the most spectacular wedding photos they have ever seen!!!!! The photos look like something out of a magazine and our family and friends cannot stop raving about them. People stop by their desks at work who don't even know them and stop to see the pictures....and we are getting facebook stalked by people we dont even know who are loving our pictures! If you haven’t booked a photographer/videographer yet then GO WITH THEM! You will NOT be disappointed. Our photographer Reno arrived about an hour before the ceremony to take pics of me getting ready, then he traveled to the beach for the ceremony. After the beach, he took candids of our champagne and also family shots and a group photo. Then we headed to the gazebo for cocktail hour where he got some beautiful candids (more of what I like). After the coktail hour he took us to various locations around the resort for the most gorgeous picture session ever!. All of my guest were commenting at the wedding as to how great he was and how they knew we were going to get amazing pictures. He followed us to our reception dinner where he took a couple more photos including us and our cake before heading out. BUT THE BEST PART... was the next morning! We booked a trash the dress session as well as another session in rural Dominican Republic. Now these pictures were TO DIE FOR!!!! The ones in rural DR (Wild TTD) were very photojournalistic and cool!!!!! And the TTD ones were just stunning. I am NEVER going to be able to narrow down for my album. TRUST ME BOOK PHOT SOUVENIR, RENO IS INCREDIBLE!!!!!!! PS. We had our wedding on Sunday and TTD on Monday, and Reno had all our photos on DVD on Tuesday night before we left on Wednesday!!!

            STAFF – All the staff were so friendly and accommodating. Yes, many speak little or no English but they do their best to communicate with you. Learning a few Spanish words for simple food items, bathroom etc. will be REALLY helpful.We gave our guests a Spanish for Dummies book in the Beach Bag Gift we gave out at the beginning of the trip (PS the fans were the biggest hit in the bag in the heat of the summer). These people are SO hardworking. We talked to a few of them and learned that they work anywhere from 8-16 hours a day, anywhere from 12-18 days IN A ROW with only THREE days off in between. Their work ethic is really admirable. Please see my review above about Eddy.

            DINING – All the restaurants we tried were very very good. We never had to wait longer than 10 minutes for a table, impressive considering we were often eating in groups of 10 or more! Most of the time we sat at 2 tables but in close vicinity to each other. My favourite meals of the week were at the Japanese Hibachi Restaurant, the French Restaurant, and the American Restaurant. All the a la carte restaurants are decorated impeccably. The main buffet restaurant was beautiful as well...and the food was excellent!. I ate at the Gabi (Royal Service) Buffet and though it was great, I didn't think it was anything better than the other buffet restaurant (though the service is better). The breakfast and lunch buffets by tyhe pool are FAR less beautiful, but the food was great with tons of selection. We are pretty adventurous eaters and tried many of the dishes that weren’t labeled or were more local cuisine. They were always fantastic!

            POOL – The pool is PERFECT! It’s huge and warm and beautiful landscaped. There are tons of beds and places to sit/lie around (even for our huge group), including a few cabana-style beds. There are always lots of activities going on in and around the pool including water aerobics, volleyball, and dancing. There are two pools and one is more family friendly and the other is more for the younger crowd...take your pick. The swim up bar was our favorite hang out...we had a blast!

            BEACH – the beach is absolutely beautiful! The sand is like powder and the water is clear and blue//green like a postcard. The beach was extremely clean and there are huts and thatched umbrellas for escaping the sun. There are plenty of activities on the beach (most of them are additional cost, but not expensive - such as parasailing, jet-skiing.etc). Looking back, we wished we had taken opportunity of some of the cheaper activities, because they were triple to quadruple the price on our honeymoon). One of our guests even got SCUBA certified whikle we were down there. He had a BLAST!!!! And it was a ton cheaper and quicker than getting certified in the states (he did have to do some studying on the beach though ).

            ENTERTAINMENT – There is always something to keep you entertained. Basically anything that is not motorized you can do for free. For my husband and I, the purpose of our trip was just to relax and enjoy the beach so we did not do any paid excursions, but those who did said they were a lot of fun and highly recommended it! Every night in the theater in the lobby there is a show. It usually starts around 10 PM. These shows are good fun and a great way to start off the night. We spent alot of time in the casino since it was so hot outside. It wasn't huge, but big enough for gambling fun. Those of us that didn't gamble could dance there (small dance floor) or play pool, or just hang out in the lounge area by the bar. So much fun was had by all!!

            MY ADVICE TO BRIDES – The first piece of advice I have for anyone considering a destination wedding is to keep it small! It’s so much more fun and intimate with a small party where everyone can get a chance to get to know each other and spend time together. It really makes the trip that much more memorable, in my opinion. I think anymore than 40 people would be really hard to manage and organize. My advice to any brides having a destination wedding is to just RELAX, enjoy your vacation as much as possible and let it all come together! Like I said, these wedding coordinators are absolute professionals at what they do. A huge amount of importance is placed on weddings at all these resorts as these are big moneymakers for them and when they need to get something done, believe me they will do it. This is your wedding! It’s supposed to be the GREATEST day of your life and not the most stressful. Don’t let the importance and meaning of the day get lost behind all the details. At the end of the day, you are getting married in PARADISE! So enjoy yourself!

            Best of luck ladies !And if you have any other questions then feel free to send me a private message.

            #56 laurabrea78

            laurabrea78
            • Newbie
            • 40 posts

              Posted 23 July 2010 - 07:07 PM

              Hi Everyone!!!! Sorry this took so long!!!

              I just had my wedding at the Melia Caribe Tropical in Punta Cana on June 6, 2010, and wanted to give everyone a review! This forum was really helpful for me, and I am hoping my review will be just as helpful to someone else!

              ARRIVAL - We traveled to Punta Cana with about 20 of our family and closest friends. We arrived in PUJ at about 11:30 AM local time. It was BEYOND hot and humid, and everyone was melting away. You are immediately transported to tropical vacation at the airport. It has a thatched roof and a band playing island music as you enter! The airport process was pretty painless – we grabbed our bags off the carousel and made our way to find the rep for our vacation provider to find out which bus to get on to get to our resort. Travel was included in our particular package so it made it really simple! I would make sure that travel is included when booking your trip. There are lots of people who will try to carry your bags for you in hopes of making a tip – just be firm and say “No, gracias” and they should leave you alone.

              CHECK IN/FIRST IMPRESSIONS – The lobby at the Melia the impressive and beautiful. It is an open-air building with nice d©cor! I could do without the weird mirrors (worn from the humidity) behind the check in desks, but otherwise very pretty! We were directed to the separate check in for our wedding, and there was a waitress giving everyone drinks as we waited on line. The worst part of the entire trip was the check in! The check in took probably almost an hour and a half in the extreme heat. To be fair, there is A LOT of information for them to go over with you about dining, towels, entertainment, room service, minibar, spa etc. but it was torture! Now, those of us who were staying in the “Royal Service” were quickly escorted to an indoor air conditioned reception area for a speedy check-in. I HIGHLY recommend paying the extra money for this!!!! (more info on Royal service later). After check in a trolley or golf cart (depending on availability) comes to take your bags and us to your rooms. We were in Royal Service and the man who drove us to our rooms and carried our bags in for us, we soon found out would be our butler in Royal Service. His name was Eddy – HE MADE OUR TRIP PERFECT! He was just awesome!! We explained to him that we would tip him at the end in one lump sum rather than a little here and there – no problem….

              RESORT – This is a BREATHAKING and beautiful resort! There is eye candy everywhere – whether it be trees, flowers, flamingos, or peacocks. The grounds are absolutely immaculate – everywhere you look you will see someone working at trimming the grass, hedges, raking leaves. It’s always kept in pristine condition. Now I am a bit of a spoiled brat when it comes to accommodations, but if you are in the tropics, you are going to see little lizards and bugs for sure. The only bugs in our rooms were the occasional mosquitoes we let in when we were opening the doors (in the Royal Service). My family did see some other expected bugs (mosquitos/ants/etc), but as soon as they did, the hotel immediately took care of it (either switched rooms and upgraded them or eliminated the bugs). In tropical countries you are bound to find bugs anywhere Believe me the resort is impeccably clean and the rooms are beautiful – this resort you WILL be happy with. The resort is quite large, it was about a ten minute walk from the lobby to where our rooms were located. During the hot and sunny days if we were heading to the lobby we would usually catch one of the trolleys (they run very often), just so we didn’t have to walk in the intense heat, but Eddy would also pick us up and take us where we needed to go as well. In the evenings we would always walk, and enjoy the cool time together. The scenery is just gorgeous, and you could spend hours just walking around taking amazing pictures or just enjoying the views..

              ROOM – The hotel could not place my entire group in the same area, so we were spread out. I was a bit upset in the beginning, but honestly it really didn’t matter, as we all met up for meals and activities. We were in Royal Service, as I mentioned, but most of our group was near the beach. I would prefer to be closer to the lobby/casino/restaurants, so the walk home at night is closer…but the preference is yours. I will say that my sister was upgraded to a room in building 60 – and it was gorgeous (prettier than the rooms in royal service even – but you don’t get the service) That building is new and just stunning! The typical rooms were quite nice. They are NOT run down or old looking – they are roomy and comfortable and well decorated (not cheesy). The rooms in Royal Service are beautiful. They are more modern with dark cherry woods and marble. As an accommodation snob, I was very happy with them for myself and the regular rooms were complemented by my guests as well.. The Royal Service also has a private restaurant, pool, and beach which I heard was beautiful….unfortunately we didn’t get to take too much advantage of it because we wanted to spend time with our guests. We did eat at the royal service buffet, and the food is just as good at the other restaurants. The rooms were clean, cool and comfortable. Let me tell you, you have NOTHING to worry about. Even the regular junior suites are HUGE with a separate living area from where the bed is. The fridge would be restocked with water every day; I don’t think they restock pop unless you request it, which they have no problem doing: my in-laws requested one more bottle of Coke and they brought 3! Our rooms were always cleaned immaculately every day and nobody had a problem with anything getting stolen. Our chambermaid even straightened our shoes and toiletries in the bathroom for us! We tipped $2 a day for that.

              WEDDING COORDINATOR – WE LOVED OUR WEDDING COORDINATOR!!!! Her name was Esterlin. The WC we had been dealing with via correspondence seemed to change weekly (two other ladies). We were assigned Esterlin about 2 weeks prior to the wedding. I am usually a control freak, but at the advice of my other BDW brides, I confidently sat back prior to the wedding and didn’t let the lack of quick response upset me. They were all right. When we got there EVERYTHING we sent was filed and referenced, and all our requests were organized and known by Esterlin. One thing we did do was print off all the emails that we had exchanged just in case, but we didn’t end up needing them. Everything was under control, taken care of and ready for our meeting. Esterlin was so professional and efficient that it put us at ease right away – she is very pretty too J. Do not worry – they are experts! They do at least one and sometimes as many as five weddings a day, so they know what they are doing. When we checked in, we got the request for our meeting with Esterlin for the afternoon before our wedding. Unfortunately, we planned our scavenger hunt for that time, so I called her to reschedule. No problem at all…in fact, we went right over to her office to make our arrangements. During our meeting she went through our plan with us and confirmed everything we had previously requested. We also chose the menu for our rehearsal dinner and our reception dinner (we didn’t have a private reception). Note: I gathered from previous reviews that they typically offer the American Grill and the Dominican Restaurant for the Restaurant Receptions….so I was prepared. I had asked for the French Restaurant for my reception earlier and was told it would be decided at our meeting with the coordinator based on availability. As expected the only availability was at the American Grille for the rehearsal Dinner and the Dominican Restaurant for our reception. Esterlin saw my disappointment and immediately did her magic to get the French food delivered to my reception location. This turned out to be the BEST because the Dominican restaurant has a separate area for a semi-private reception there…and I got the food I wanted!!!! DID I MENTON THAT I LOVE HER!!!! The rehearsal dinner is not necessary, BUT book it so that your whole party can be at the same restaurant (not buffet) at dinner together for another night other than your wedding night. It is nearly impossible for this to happen otherwise. (NOTE: Esterlin did help arrange another group dinner for me (far less people though) – but she did pull some more strings for me. In addition, she arranged for some vegetarien-gluten-free meals and childrens’ meals as well. She explained how best to take of the music (we brought an ipod), and went through everything VERY thoroughly. After everything was finalized, we paid for the wedding up at the reception desk.

              WEDDING CEREMONY – We were blessed with nice weather the day of our wedding (except for the heat)– it was sunny and the humidity was finally down. Our ceremony was at 4 PM which worked out really nicely because we were able to get up early, have breakfast with everyone and enjoy the beach for a few hours before getting ready. We chose the tides package with a few upgrades in terms of decorations, bouquets, cake etc. Everyone was instructed to meet on the beach at 3:30 PM. We told our guests about this the evening prior. My mom, dad, mother-in-law and best friend came to my room and my husband went to his dad’s room. Eddy drove everyone where they needed to go on the day of the wedding (except for me and my dad who took the horse ad buggy- DEFINITELY WORTH IT – you don’t want to be riding on a golf cart or trolley/train in your wedding gown). Esterlin called well in advance of the wedding to see if everything was ok and if I needed anything. Eddy showed up again to take the moms/friend to the beach for the wedding. Then the horse and carriage came for me and my dad. (Later I found out that the horse and carriage took my husband and minister to the beach wedding location as well - very nice). Shortly thereafter, the horse and carriage came to pick me and my dad up to take us to te beach. When we arrived, Esterlin had everything in order, the guests were seated, the music had been playing (we chose Vitamin String Quartet doing several Rock Tunes - It was awesome), and my was cued (I walked down the aisle to "After All" - Peter Cetera). I didn't have a wedding party, and Esterlin took care of everything from taking my bouquet to making sure the champagne was poured and ready on the beach after the I do's.

              My best friend's husband is a minister, so he married us, and it was very special. The ceremony was beautiful! The decor was gorgeous- we had beautiful flower bouquets on posts down the aisle and an arch covered in flowing material and palm leaves. We read our own personalized vows which had everyone teary-eyed. After we had shared our kiss, we walked back down the aisle as a married couple to Weezer's "Island in the sun". After the ceremony, we drank champagne on the beach while our photographer took photos. It was perfect – just how we wanted it.

              COCKTAIL HOUR - Esterlin arranged to have a trolly waiting to transport my guests from the beach to the wedding gazebo in the garden. My husband and I took the horse and carriage. The wedding gazebo was decorated beautifully with pub tables and the chafing dishes of hot and cold appetizers. We had chicken fingers, beef skewers, cheese, fresh fruit, melon with proscuitto. Esterlin had set up a table of more champagne as well as bottled water. She also made sure that our music for the cocktail hour was properly piping through the gazebo speakers. We chose songs like Colbie Collait "Kiss the Girl", Jason Mraz "I'm yours", and "Somewhere over the Rainbow" by Isreal Kamakawiwo'ole just to name a few. We enjoyed the time with our family and friends in this gorgeous gazebo. BTW, the wedding gazebo (in the garden) is FAR more beautiful and much larger than the beach gazebo (which in my opinion was nothing impressive). I have seen pictures of wedding ceremonies in the garden gazebo as well as the sit down dinner which were both beautiful. But if you are looking to save some money and NOT have a private reception, I would suggest my choice of a beach ceremony, garden gazebo cocktail hour, and dinner in the restaurant.


              RECEPTION – we decided against a privatized reception because we figured for the amount of people we had vs. the amount of money it was going to cost, it wasn’t really worth it. We had dinner at the Dominican Restaurant. They sat us at one long table with me and my husband at the head. In this reataurant, there is a semi-private room which was great for a small recption/dinner. The interior d©cor of the restaurant is very pretty (though not the prettiest restaurant) and I was happy with the way it was decorated. The table was done very tastefully, and I didn't feel there was any need to bring my own seating cards or table decor. The mood was set with candles as well. Because of the semi-private room, it made it very easy to make speeches and talk amongst ourselves even though there was a restaurant going on in the room beside us. As I mentioned before, we were lucky enough to have the WC arrange for the French food to be delivered to the Dominican Restaurant for our reception meal. The food was EXCELLENT!!! In fact it was the best food we had the whole time we were there. As the appetizer, we had a choice of either field greens salad or lobster bisque. We had a choice of beef filet with a wine sauce or chicken stuffed with spinach and goat cheese. I had a cilicac/vegetarian, and they accomodated her perfectly for every meal! She loved the food. The wedding cake they provided was very tasty – vanilla and chocolate depending on the layer. We paid a little bit extra to have both flowers and shells on the cake (~$20). We were happy with the whole thing and all of our guests loved it. After the dinner we headed over to the lobby bar for drinking and dancing!

              PHOTOGRAPHER – We used PhotoSouvenir and they were AMAZING!!!!!! The highlight of our whole wedding are the incredible photos....everyone is saying the are the most spectacular wedding photos they have ever seen!!!!! The photos look like something out of a magazine and our family and friends cannot stop raving about them. People stop by their desks at work who don't even know them and stop to see the pictures....and we are getting facebook stalked by people we dont even know who are loving our pictures! If you haven’t booked a photographer/videographer yet then GO WITH THEM! You will NOT be disappointed. Our photographer Reno arrived about an hour before the ceremony to take pics of me getting ready, then he traveled to the beach for the ceremony. After the beach, he took candids of our champagne and also family shots and a group photo. Then we headed to the gazebo for cocktail hour where he got some beautiful candids (more of what I like). After the coktail hour he took us to various locations around the resort for the most gorgeous picture session ever!. All of my guest were commenting at the wedding as to how great he was and how they knew we were going to get amazing pictures. He followed us to our reception dinner where he took a couple more photos including us and our cake before heading out. BUT THE BEST PART... was the next morning! We booked a trash the dress session as well as another session in rural Dominican Republic. Now these pictures were TO DIE FOR!!!! The ones in rural DR (Wild TTD) were very photojournalistic and cool!!!!! And the TTD ones were just stunning. I am NEVER going to be able to narrow down for my album. TRUST ME BOOK PHOT SOUVENIR, RENO IS INCREDIBLE!!!!!!! PS. We had our wedding on Sunday and TTD on Monday, and Reno had all our photos on DVD on Tuesday night before we left on Wednesday!!!

              STAFF – All the staff were so friendly and accommodating. Yes, many speak little or no English but they do their best to communicate with you. Learning a few Spanish words for simple food items, bathroom etc. will be REALLY helpful.We gave our guests a Spanish for Dummies book in the Beach Bag Gift we gave out at the beginning of the trip (PS the fans were the biggest hit in the bag in the heat of the summer). These people are SO hardworking. We talked to a few of them and learned that they work anywhere from 8-16 hours a day, anywhere from 12-18 days IN A ROW with only THREE days off in between. Their work ethic is really admirable. Please see my review above about Eddy.

              DINING – All the restaurants we tried were very very good. We never had to wait longer than 10 minutes for a table, impressive considering we were often eating in groups of 10 or more! Most of the time we sat at 2 tables but in close vicinity to each other. My favourite meals of the week were at the Japanese Hibachi Restaurant, the French Restaurant, and the American Restaurant. All the a la carte restaurants are decorated impeccably. The main buffet restaurant was beautiful as well...and the food was excellent!. I ate at the Gabi (Royal Service) Buffet and though it was great, I didn't think it was anything better than the other buffet restaurant (though the service is better). The breakfast and lunch buffets by tyhe pool are FAR less beautiful, but the food was great with tons of selection. We are pretty adventurous eaters and tried many of the dishes that weren’t labeled or were more local cuisine. They were always fantastic!

              POOL – The pool is PERFECT! It’s huge and warm and beautiful landscaped. There are tons of beds and places to sit/lie around (even for our huge group), including a few cabana-style beds. There are always lots of activities going on in and around the pool including water aerobics, volleyball, and dancing. There are two pools and one is more family friendly and the other is more for the younger crowd...take your pick. The swim up bar was our favorite hang out...we had a blast!

              BEACH – the beach is absolutely beautiful! The sand is like powder and the water is clear and blue//green like a postcard. The beach was extremely clean and there are huts and thatched umbrellas for escaping the sun. There are plenty of activities on the beach (most of them are additional cost, but not expensive - such as parasailing, jet-skiing.etc). Looking back, we wished we had taken opportunity of some of the cheaper activities, because they were triple to quadruple the price on our honeymoon). One of our guests even got SCUBA certified whikle we were down there. He had a BLAST!!!! And it was a ton cheaper and quicker than getting certified in the states (he did have to do some studying on the beach though ).

              ENTERTAINMENT – There is always something to keep you entertained. Basically anything that is not motorized you can do for free. For my husband and I, the purpose of our trip was just to relax and enjoy the beach so we did not do any paid excursions, but those who did said they were a lot of fun and highly recommended it! Every night in the theater in the lobby there is a show. It usually starts around 10 PM. These shows are good fun and a great way to start off the night. We spent alot of time in the casino since it was so hot outside. It wasn't huge, but big enough for gambling fun. Those of us that didn't gamble could dance there (small dance floor) or play pool, or just hang out in the lounge area by the bar. So much fun was had by all!!

              MY ADVICE TO BRIDES – The first piece of advice I have for anyone considering a destination wedding is to keep it small! It’s so much more fun and intimate with a small party where everyone can get a chance to get to know each other and spend time together. It really makes the trip that much more memorable, in my opinion. I think anymore than 40 people would be really hard to manage and organize. My advice to any brides having a destination wedding is to just RELAX, enjoy your vacation as much as possible and let it all come together! Like I said, these wedding coordinators are absolute professionals at what they do. A huge amount of importance is placed on weddings at all these resorts as these are big moneymakers for them and when they need to get something done, believe me they will do it. This is your wedding! It’s supposed to be the GREATEST day of your life and not the most stressful. Don’t let the importance and meaning of the day get lost behind all the details. At the end of the day, you are getting married in PARADISE! So enjoy yourself!

              Best of luck ladies ! And if you have any other questions then feel free to send me a private message.

              #57 danielle.martinez

              danielle.martinez
              • Newbie
              • 4 posts

                Posted 24 July 2010 - 08:46 AM

                Quote:
                Originally Posted by kloc12
                HI to everyone. I am getting married at the Melia on November 5, 2010 as well. I just heard from my destination weddings .com travel agent that Melia is under new ownership and it is affecting the Riviera May and Cancun Melias but has not affected Punta cana just yet. Has anyone heard anything about this yet? I was just concerned. I really liked the Melia...and I want to stay but I dont want to have problems. This is new to me, I am not trying to scare anyone, just trying to find information, if any. Thanks!!

                Kristin
                Dear Kristin,
                Don't worry about the change of ownership of Melia in Punta Cana. The one in Cancun was only managed by Melia but the hotels in Punta Cana are company owned properties and will not be sold any time soon. For sure you won't get any problems with this.
                Danielle

                #58 danielle.martinez

                danielle.martinez
                • Newbie
                • 4 posts

                  Posted 24 July 2010 - 08:58 AM

                  Hi ladies,
                  Has anyone of you booked a DJ or small band yet? I'm looking for some options and would like to see if you have any info on that yet.
                  Thanks, Danielle

                  #59 kristiduhe1975

                  kristiduhe1975
                  • Site Supporter
                  • 12 posts

                    Posted 29 July 2010 - 10:49 AM

                    Hi, I'm thinking about having my wedding there next year. Can you please email me the brochures and prices that you attached? I couldn't open them.

                    kristimichelle1975@yahoo.com

                     

                    Thanks!



                    #60 lilsarahmae

                    lilsarahmae
                    • Newbie
                    • 75 posts

                      Posted 01 August 2010 - 11:59 AM

                      What a great review thank you so much I am getting married Oct 23 2010






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