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Dolfinluck's wedding review - Dreams La Romana (*Lots of PICS Included*)

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#1 dolfinluck

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    Posted 25 May 2010 - 09:45 PM

    Wedding Details:
    14 Total people
    Ceremony at 4:30 at the gazebo
    Reception on the beach at 7:30

    Sunkissed Vacations: A++
    I used TA Dina from the forum and this was one of the best decisions that I made. It was great to have a DW expert and it defiantly paid off. Even though I had a small group, a bunch of the bookings had changes made after the initial booking (good luck with trying to do that with orbitz) and had a couple of late bookers (like my uncle booking on Monday and leaving Thursday). The best part was that Dina saved me $800! DLR has a policy that you cannot change your wedding package within 90 days of the wedding but the problem is this is stated nowhere, so when I switched my wedding package on day 67 the WC let me downgrade to the free wedding package but said I would have to pay for it! I even asked the WC in March 2009 if I could change my wedding package and she said yes but never mentioned a time frame. Well Dina was not happy with is and fought for me. She had to go up the chain at the resort and in the end got me the free wedding package that I qualified for. I would have never been able to get this resolved without her. Thank you again Dina!!

    Airport and Continental airlines: A
    I was stressing out a little bit about this part since I always feel so rushed at the airport to move quickly along and since we had so much stuff to carry and wedding items I was a bit worried that everything wouldn’t make it. In the end everything went smoothly. We each checked in one bag, each had a carry-on suitcase, DH carried on my bouquet in a box inside a re-usable grocery bag and I had my wedding dress and a small purse. There were two other brides on the flight and Continental didn’t let any of us get on early, but I planned for that and picked the last row so I was the first one on but the closet they had was way too small so they suggested to just take up a whole over head storage. It worked out better since when we landed in Punta Cana they also opened up the back door of the plane as well so we were off the plane a lot quicker than I was expecting. Just a reminder, employees at the Punta Cana airport will try to help you 100 feet with your luggage and then want a $10 tip, I forgot to tell my guest to just say no thank you; my parents fell for this.

    Prieto Tours - Airport Shuttle: A
    The drive over to DLR wasn’t too bad, about an hour and 15 mins. The plus was we were the only ones on the transfer so we got a private transfer for free. The driver we had was very cautious for DR standards.

    Dreams La Romana: A-
    Overall the resort is well laid out and the food was great (comparing to the 1 other AI I have been to). The entire group loved DLR and wanted to stay longer. Some even are planning on a trip back next year. They have so much to do all day long or you can just relax if you want. We did not have a problem with getting a chair at the beach or the pools at any time of the day. There was a slight bump with check in, my TA sent in my room requests and they were not correct at all (not a major issue) but a couple of us switched locations and really was not too much of an issue to do so at the front desk. I would def recommend if you are getting married at the gazebo and using the spa for hair and make-up to be in building 5 as the spa is right at the one end and the gazebo is at the other end . In my opinion the preferred club was not worth the extra money if the rest of your guests are not also there, but I could be wrong since we did not get the preferred club. We just got the standard room and it was perfect. Also the beach was great, pretty blue calm water with tons of fish to see when snorkeling.

    Two cons: there was no deep end in any of the pools (very minor but would have been nice) and the vendors they have on the resort every other day around the main pool. DH was really annoyed by the vendors and would be a reason for him for not returning since they are located in such a main part of the resort and there so often. The other AI we went to only had them in the lobby once a week. It got to a point we would have to plan a route out of the way to avoid them as some would not take no for an answer. Plus there are vendors right at edge of the resort in and in the little town down the beach that have much better prices.

    WCs : B+
    All my communication was with Tiara up until a week before the wedding and then I was assigned to Yanna (think Tiara handles the larger weddings as there was another wedding the same day with over 50 ppl). The WCs are very busy, but there are a couple of things that could improve. One issue was having different answers for different brides and even different answers for the same bride on different days. Just one example is I got 3 different answers about the non-private reception costing anywhere from being free to about $400 (just $100 less than the private reception!?!). Also, I booked my wedding for gazebo at 4:30 over a year before the wedding but never confirmed the reception location until three weeks before the wedding when I submitted the wedding questionnaire. When the other bride had her meeting with Tiara, Tiara told her that I was at the beach for both the ceremony and reception so the other bride switched her wedding ceremony to the gazebo for a 5:30 ceremony. This doesn’t make any sense at all since I never even questioned about changed the ceremony location (this was the #1 one reason for picking DLR), the questionnaire had the gazebo written down as the ceremony location and I was sharing gazebo decorations with Amy and Bridget which she knew. Lastly was the missing/broken items that I was sharing (was not a huge deal but would have been nice to use all the items that I paid for).

    So back to the meeting, Yanna was very friendly and helpful. I gave her all the stuff I brought down, and showed her pictures of everything. The meeting went by so quickly but everything was great in the end. If you want things set up a certain way be very detailed in pictures and instructions. Also I asked my sister to be in charge of the reception set-up and it was great. And asked my SIL to cover the gazebo, which she did a good job at supervising.

    Spa at DLR: B
    I booked my hair and make-up and my sister’s back in Feb but the other wedding that day already booked hers and she had a lot of ppl getting their hair done so getting a time that worked was a bit of a issue and cause some stress. I don’t want to get too much into the details as I think this is an issue that rarely happens, but would recommend contacting the spa directly beforehand especially if you have a wedding in April or May as this is their busiest time. In the end I was very happy with my hair and so was my sister. The make-up was ok. Because there was so many ppl getting their hair done, I believe the woman that normally does it was so busy with hair, so different girl did it and took forever since she didn’t know where any of the make-up was and never put on fake lashes before. I had the right one put on my left eye and 3 tries later the right eye was good to go but had to be taken off before the reception as the right one was coming off. The plus was after every step she asked me if it was ok, which was good because she did my eyebrows and whoa! I had her take the color off right away. Because of this I was running about 30-45 mins late but my photographer had built in enough time. Also you get a 15% discount on anything from the spa so I put my sister’s hair and make-up under my room to save $21.

    My sister and I with our hair and make-up done by the spa
    Click the image to open in full size.

    Ceremony: B+
    Everything was set up perfectly except I wanted about 5-10 more paper lanterns in the gazebo (not sure if more did not get hung since the other wedding was so close to mine and they had to completely change over the space or if that was all the paper lanterns that where left in good condition) and was missing the starfish for the chairs and hanging in the gazebo but in the end this was a minor issue and did not ruin the wedding. Yanna had the speakers and mic set up, DH just got to the ceremony site 15 mins beforehand and went over what to play and when and all went perfectly. We had Elke from the spa perform the ceremony; it was $50 and would definitely recommend this option. I gave Yanna my ceremony script at our meeting. Elke has an accent but it’s not hard to understand her in my opinion. After we walked down the aisle we only had about 5 mins in front of the gazebo for pics as they had to completely change over the space. I would have like another 10 mins to take in the space as ceremony just flies by and had complete tunnel vision. I had to look at family pictures to see what details were missing. Also we did start the ceremony a bit late; I’m not sure why since DH got to the gazebo at 4:15 and I was in my room at 4:20 like Yanna instructed. I believe Yanna came to my room around 4:40. Not a big deal though.

    Ceremony set up
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    #2 dolfinluck

    • Sr. Member
    • 2,424 posts

      Posted 25 May 2010 - 09:49 PM

      Reception: A+
      The reception site was just perfect. We were set-up right behind building 4. The resort marked off the wrong location with yellow caution tape in the morning but Yanna was on top of it and went down there and had them move it to the correct location. I gave Yanna most of the details for the tables, and my sister just finished up with favors, LED lights for the paper lanterns and the food for the smores. I got the silver menu and the food was great. We got the assorted Assorted Dominican Appetizers; Dominican “Sancocho” (warning has big pieces of bones in it); Chicken Cordon Blue in a Pomodoro Sauce & Broiled Beef TampiqueÂħa Style; Pineapple “Volteado” with a Rum-Raisin Sauce and chocolate for the wedding cake. Yanna stay around during the reception and would come over every once in a while to ask if everything was good. Once we cut the cake the bonfire was lit and we had our first dance near it. And then made s’mores!! Overall there was too much food; I only had a little bit of each course. I thought we should have ended at 10:30 since we started at 7:30 but Yanna wasn’t there so we kept going till a little bit after 11. The workers were patiently waiting for us to end so they could clean up, so once we saw that we moved it along to wrap things up. The other wedding was at the SSG and I could hear their music a couple of times but it did not affect us at all and was only really during our softer songs. But if we would have been at the pier for the reception it would have been more of an issue. We did have some onlookers but it didn’t bother me, the resort did put up a private function sign but that didn’t stop some people. We even had a women asked to take mine and DH pic so she could show her niece. But once again I didn’t mind at all.

      for better pics see the link at the bottom of this post for the pro teaser pics

      Reception set-up
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      Table set-up (a little dark)
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      Click the image to open in full size.

      Seavis: A++
      So glad I found Seavis, Alexander is very quick to respond and open to ideas if you want to do something a little different. Plus he reorganized a couple of things so they could fit us in. Since we had ppl coming and leaving on all different days we just had 8 of us go on the Hookah Catalina half day Tour on Friday. The staff is great and we all had so much fun. My dad stayed in the water forever we almost had to pull him out of the water so we could go back. If you’re planning a trip for your group book it with Seavis. Also they are still collecting items for Haiti, they have a truck go over every two weeks, and the day before we left we dropped off the items we had for them to take over.

      My friend using the hookah
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      Beach at Catalina
      Click the image to open in full size.

      Photographer - Elisabeth Millay: A+++++++++++++++++++
      Photography was the most important item of the wedding for DH and I. I love Photojournalist style and really couldn’t find what I was looking for in the DR. So I went to wpja.com and looked at all the photographers in NJ (30 plus!) and cut down the list to my top 5 and contacted all of them. Elisabeth responded very quickly and with such a cheerful tone and like she really wanted to travel down there and shoot our wedding; where as some of the other photographer I contacted it sounded like more of a hassle. She was a little out of our budget but worked with us to make it work. Plus Jonathan Young (from Love Captures) would be coming as well as our second photographer and his work is just as great! Our first meeting with Elisabeth went so well; we talked about our ideas for the wedding and colors; she is so easy to talk to. Whenever I had any wedding related question during my wedding planning she would lend me her expertise. The best piece of her advice was to build in extra time to cool off in the AC, which helped sooo much. It was amazing to have someone I trusted so much to just do her thing and know that it would turn out perfectly. Like I was running late at the spa and I left out all of my wedding stuff so when Elisabeth got to my room she just started taking pictures and setting up all the little stuff for some really great shots, this really helped to make-up some time. We did our first look at the pier, and my dress got pretty dirty and when I went back to my room to cool off before the ceremony Jonathan took the chalk from my sister so she could help my mom finish-up getting ready and started to work on hiding the stains, thanks again Jonathan! They were such great people to have at the wedding; they had tons of great ideas and were open to ideas as well. Below is the link to the teaser picture I just got from Elisabeth and words cannot even describe how overjoyed we are with them. It brought a tear to my eye and that is something really hard to do! When I look at her pictures all the little bumps and things that annoyed me that happened that day are completely forgotten and I just remember all the great things from the day!!! My co-workers even commented that they look like they are from a movie! I can’t wait to see the rest of the pictures!

      Teaser pics from Elisabeth!!!

      -Hire a BDW TA
      -Hire an amazing photographer (ie Elisabeth and Jonathan)cause when it’s all said and done it’s all you have to remember the day
      -Get your room in building 5 if using the spa and gazebo so you will not melt in the walks over.
      -Build in extra time before they ceremony, I thought I would be on time but so many little things pop up and in-laws did their own thing that pushed back the timeline
      -Sharing items, if you must have those items you are sharing you should be the first maybe second person to use but being the 3rd person things went missing or were not in the best condition. For me in the end it did not save me any money but live and learn.
      -Assign someone to go over the reception and ceremony locations so everything is set up the way you want (if it’s important to you) & to make your instructions for the WC as clear as possible (I even drew a reception layout on PowerPoint that was very easy to follow)

      Feel free to ask any questions!

      #3 *Linds*

      • Sr. Member
      • 5,776 posts

        Posted 25 May 2010 - 10:04 PM

        great review! Thanks for sharing! Congrats!
        Loving married life! <3

        #4 SonyaR

        • Jr. Member
        • 299 posts

          Posted 25 May 2010 - 10:57 PM

          Congratulations, I love the gazebo set up. The bonfire with smores is a really cute idea as well.

          #5 nsimpson

          • Jr. Member
          • 325 posts

            Posted 25 May 2010 - 11:29 PM

            Congrats Dolfinluck,

            I LOVE your pics!!! Your photog did an amazing job and eveything looked just wonderful. I'm sorry that the lanterns were not in the best shape but you really have no way of telling by looking at the photos.

            Thanks for the heads up with the wc and the ceremony site! I will contact Yanna ASAP to make sure she is clear about what was outlined for my day! Thank you for taking the time to do such a fantastic review.

            Last but not least, you are a GORGEOUS bride!! LOVE THE DRESS :)
            Love is a wonderful thing!
            Nadia and SergeSeptember 2010

            #6 kriztie707

            • Jr. Member
            • 196 posts

              Posted 26 May 2010 - 10:10 AM

              Congrats! Thanks for sharing!

              #7 amygirl1169

              • Member
              • 653 posts

                Posted 26 May 2010 - 10:11 AM

                Awesome review, Heather!! I LOVE your reception set up!!! I can't open the photography blog, but the pics you posted look great!

                Sorry the shared items weren't in the best condition. I didn't even check them out on my day or realize that some were missing!

                Congrats on being a MRS! xoxo

                #8 amygirl1169

                • Member
                • 653 posts

                  Posted 26 May 2010 - 10:14 AM

                  OMG ok, the links opened up. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!!! I can't believe how incredible the pics are!!! Excellent choice!

                  #9 lizzyjayne

                  • Newbie
                  • 95 posts

                    Posted 26 May 2010 - 10:26 AM

                    YOU LOOKED BEAUTIFUL, I am so pleased you were happy with your big day, and thank you soooo much for coming back and giving us a few tips.

                    Can I just ask as we are goning in 5 weeks and we have 12 people so similar numbers, how much did your beach reception cost? Thanks

                    #10 nsbride2010

                    • Sr. Member
                    • 2,528 posts

                      Posted 26 May 2010 - 10:36 AM

                      I'm so glad to hear your wedding day at Dreams La Romana went well! Your reception set up was gorgeous :)
                      Enjoying marital bliss since July 1st, 2010

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