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Tracy0716's Paradisus Palma Real Wedding Review!

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#1 tracy0716

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    Posted 21 July 2010 - 03:05 PM

    Our wedding was Friday, July 16th at the Paradisus Palma Real in Punta Cana. We chose this resort because I stayed there 4 years ago with a large group of family members and absolutely loved it. I was sure if I chose another location I would constantly be comparing it to the PPR. I’m glad I stuck with my decision, because despite changes in the resort (good and bad) our wedding was fabulous!! We had a total of 27 guests attend our wedding. They ranged in ages from about 2yrs-65yrs old.

    We flew from Newark airport on Continental Airlines. My mom had called the airlines 2 weeks before our flight to ask about hanging my dress in the closet, she was assured this would be no problem. Our plane was very small, a 737 I think. When we got on the plane, the flight attendant told us the closet was too small for my dress and it had to go in the overhead compartment. Thankfully, my dress wasn’t prone to wrinkling. We also flew first class and there was plenty of room in the overhead compartment. Other than that, our flights there and back were uneventful.

    Hotel Arrival
    We booked a garden view room in Royal Service so we checked in at the RS Lounge. It was really nice!! There was lunch set up, mimosas, and other kind of drink we would like. The resort had us booked as a regular room but I brought our paperwork from the travel agent that stated we paid for a Royal Service room so that problem was solved quickly. My mom kept asking the person at the desk about upgrading us and eventually they did so instead of a garden view room we got an ocean view.
    Here’s our view:
    Click the image to open in full size.

    The rooms were clean and pretty. A few people had difficulty getting their rooms to be as cold as they wanted. Our house cleaner came regularly and we had no problems. I really saw no huge differences between the regular and royal service rooms. I think our sitting area might have been a tad bigger and royal service gets bottles of vodka, rum, and scotch. We took them from my family that didn’t want them and gave them to our friends staying in regular service.

    Everyone loved the main pool! The Royal Service pool was smaller but nice and quiet. We went there to get away from everyone. My in-laws used the Reserve pool for kids on our last day. We have two nieces ages 2 and 4yrs old and they were so excited about the slides. I didn’t go with them but according to them they stayed for about an hour and a half until they were told they couldn’t be there without a special bracelet. According to the staff the Kids Zone pool is only included for the kids and my SIL had the option of leaving her young kids with a nanny at the pool or paying a day pass to use the pool with them. She chose to leave with them and go back to the main pool. This really pissed me off!

    The beach was beautiful!! There was some seaweed in the water but once you swam a few feet it was gone. The Royal Service beach was not as exclusive as I remember it being 4 years ago. People from the Melia Cribe were coming over at one point and grabbing our towels. Not very classy!! Other than that the beach at the resort was awesome. Also, if you look closely you’ll see pink specks in the sand!!

    I made my spa appointments a few weeks before we left by emailing the spa. They responded to my email within a day and set up all of my appointments. I stopped by the spa the day before the wedding (I was next door at the gym working out that morning) to confirm my appointments. We arrived a few minutes late for our appointments because my mom can never be on time for anything! But the girls were very sweet about it. Kayra did my hair, make-up, and nails. She was phenomenal!! I was and still am so very happy with how she made me look. She spoke very good English but I also showed her pictures of how I wanted my hair to look.

    I completely forgot to tell the WC I wanted flowers in my hair so when we were at the salon my friend went outside and picked these for me!
    Click the image to open in full size.
    With my veil:
    Click the image to open in full size.

    The back of my mom's hair:
    Click the image to open in full size.

    I can't find pics of my sister's hair and make-up but you'll see her if you look through our album (blue dress, MOH). She was really happy with how she looked too!

    We had an issue at the salon with my aunt. She is ridiculously picky and made the girls do her hair at least 3 times. I was absolutely mortified by her behavior and felt so bad for the girls in the salon. It was not their fault at all and the only reason I mention it was because all of the girls handled her so well. They did her hair to her standards and did not get flustered at all. I tipped them all well after she left and apologized. My mom called her out on her behavior the next day …
    Oh yeah and did I mention it started pouring rain while I was at the salon and the WC came with a waiver for me to sign since we wanted our reception outside, so stressful!!

    Ceremony- Garden Gazebo
    The location was intimate and secluded. I loved being surrounded by the greenery, water, and beautiful flowers. We added veils to the gazebo and I loved how they came out. I also liked the runner they placed on the bridge. I would also recommend walking over the bridge a few times prior to the ceremony for practice because it is a bit steep. Thankfully I did not fall or trip!!!
    The ceremony itself was simple and sweet- exactly what we wanted!! We had a symbolic ceremony. The judge spoke in Spanish and Leni (WC) translated. We simply said, “I DO” when asked and then signed a piece of paper to make it look legit. After we were pronounced husband and wife and kissed, they played “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz. It was perfect and we did not even ask them to do that. Then we had our champagne said thank you to everyone and headed down to the beach for pics.
    The resort worked hard cleaning up the gazebo garden area two days prior to the wedding. They even drained the pond, scrubbed the bottom, and refilled it with clean water. I walked by the day before our wedding and almost died when I saw the water was gone! I ran up to the romance dept. and they assured me it would be filled by our wedding and it was!
    The area was small so I cannot recommend this site however for a large wedding. Also, if you are using the garden gazebo forewarn your guests about wearing heels. It rains just about every day (even if for a few mins) and the ground was not firm enough for some guests to wear their shoes. If you look through our photo album you’ll notice my mom and aunt standing during the ceremony because their heels kept sinking into the ground.
    Click the image to open in full size.
    Click the image to open in full size.
    Click the image to open in full size.

    Cocktail Hour- Covered area by flamingos
    Originally our cocktail hour was supposed to be in the Plaza Colonia. Due to the weather forecast, we were unsure if we should change our cocktail hour and reception location. I was fine with this spot for the cocktail hour but did not like the available options for our reception (Apollo Theater and Naos Grill). We had three high tables and a private bar set-up. I missed half of the cocktail hour for pictures and in my opinion it was just okay. I wish I stuck with my original decision despite the weather. It was very hot by the flamingos since there was no breeze. Plus, it was not very private! They had a sign announcing our wedding, there were black ropes blocking the area, and of course, me in my wedding dress but people still walked through our cocktail hour to get to their rooms. There was supposed to be someone from the romance dept. to tell people they couldn’t walk through but she wasn’t there for much of the cocktail hour. I didn’t eat any of the food but everyone said it was great. We also had the Dominican Trio- they were fantastic!!
    Here’s a pic: Click the image to open in full size.
    Reception- Gabi Terrace
    We stuck with our original plan despite a rain forecast of 30% and having to sign a waiver stating the resort warned us it might rain and they won’t be able to accommodate our wedding if it does and I’m so happy we did! Our reception was from 7pm-10pm and I swear it didn’t start raining until 10:01, and it was only a drizzle! Originally I wanted one long imperial table, like this:
    Click the image to open in full size.

    I discussed this with Jennifer and asked her if she thought this would work with 30 people and she said it would. The next day after a meeting with the designer guy he recommended 4 round tables. I didn’t care and made a list of people for the 4 tables. This is what our set-up looked like:
    Click the image to open in full size.

    Wedding Coordinator
    Almost all of my planning and communication was with Noelia or Ana. I did not meet either of them at the resort. I worked with Jennifer and Leni at the PPR and they were excellent! They did everything I asked and even more. They have a great eye for details and made sure everything with the wedding went smoothly.

    #2 tracy0716

    • Jr. Member
    • 431 posts

      Posted 21 July 2010 - 03:06 PM

      I emailed the WC these pictures for my bouquet:
      Click the image to open in full size.

      I asked them to do a smaller bouquet of just orange flowers for my sister (MOH). This is what our bouquets looked like:
      Click the image to open in full size.
      I think they did a fabulous job and couldn’t have been happier with the flowers!!

      Originally, I asked for a custom cake but had to cut it since it was so pricey ($15 per person). We went with the two tiered white cake included in the package. It looked and tasted great! We asked that one layer be chocolate and the other be vanilla but the whole thing was vanilla. No biggie since I prefer vanilla.
      Click the image to open in full size.

      We used Jorge Allocco and he was excellent!! I found his information on the forum and contacted him. He responded quickly and I liked his photos and thought his pricing was fair. I’m really happy with the pictures he took. Honestly, I’m not the most photogenic person (I also close my eyes or make faces) and I think he got the best pics of me! I barely noticed he was there taking pictures. We met with Jorge the day after we arrived, looked at some of his work, and talked about what we wanted. Originally, we were going with the silver package (I think) where we got full even coverage and 100 photos on a disc and printed. We met with Jorge two days after our wedding and looked at our pics (409) and decided to pay an extra $250 to have all of the pictures. He took some great shots and I’m really pleased with his work. Here is the link to the photos on his website:
      Wedding photographer: Tracy & George-Paradisus Palma Real Hotel Punta cana, July 16th 2010.

      DJ Mannia
      Awesome!! We worked with Alex. I didn’t get a chance to meet Alex until the day of the wedding but he was great. I gave Jennifer our play list (1st dance, father-daughter, mother-son, and 3 songs my mom wanted played) during our meeting. Alex asked if we wanted introductions and speeches…I didn’t but my DH did so we did. They turned out great and he’s a really good MC. He also asked us during the reception what song we wanted for our last dance and always let me know before we did something big like cake cutting. He got a good feel for our crowd and played music everyone liked (70s/pop). They even had lighting and did balloons at the end which everyone had fun with!

      Dinner reservations were my biggest gripe about the resort. We had a total of 29 people staying at the resort. About 12 people had rooms in Royal Service and 17 were in regular service. I did not expect the restaurants to provide private dinners for us but I did expect to have 5 or 6 tables for 5 people each at the same restaurant at the same time each night (does that make any sense??). We figured we could each make the reservation using the royal service room- big mistake! They were so annoying about making dinner reservations I wanted to scream!! They flat out would not accommodate the 9 of us that were there the first night and we had to eat at the buffet. Don’t get me wrong, the buffet was good but not what I envisioned for our first dinner at the PPR.
      At my meeting the second day with the WC I asked for help with dinner reservations. She put me in touch with Silvia who is in charge of group reservations. Silvia was really nice and helpful. We had two different reservations Tuesday night so our group had to split up. I ate in Passions and another group ate at Bana.

      The food was good, just not as great as I remember it being. The wait-staff was accommodating and very nice. This is supposed to be one of the fancier restaurants that require men to wear long pants, closed toe shoes, and long-sleeved shirts. Our guys complied with all the requirements except the long-sleeved shirt rule but it didn’t matter because we saw a guy eating there in denim shorts. That really annoyed me!

      Le Cirq- Dinner Show
      I’m not going to lie, I almost lost it this night. We were assured we had two tables reserved for the dinner show. Dinner didn’t start until 7:30 and by 7:00 there was a long line outside the theater. I did not see this since we were upstairs having drinks at the Lobby Bar. So half our group waited in line and got the first table. We went down at 7:30 and had to wait in line too. By the time we got in there the hostess gave away our table! I couldn’t believe it! The table had my name and a reserved sign on it. When the hostess sat these people my mom asked her what she was doing and explained it was reserved to which a woman sitting there responded “I’m not getting up!”. No need for me to go into detail just that I went nuts and eventually the rolled in another table for us and set it up. It was cramped and I was pissed and so embarrassed! The show was good but I would have enjoyed it much better if my freaking table hadn’t been given away. My advice- get there early even if you have a reserved table because it don’t mean jack!!

      We ate here the night before our wedding as our Welcome Dinner. This is 3 restaurants in one- hibachi, sushi, and teppanyaki. We ate at the teppanyaki section. They set up 2 large tables for us and gave us the fiesta menu which is smaller portions of everything on the menu and we just had to ask for more of whatever we wanted. I thought the food was fantastic and really enjoyed the atmosphere. The wait staff was great and even sang happy birthday to my brother-in-law.

      Vento (breakfast only)
      This was supposedly for Royal Service guests only. It was nice and I enjoyed the omelets but it was hot! Supposedly, the air conditioning was broken. Eventually and only, after asking several times they opened the doors and let some breeze in. We did not eat there for dinner because of the lack of air conditioning and it was closed the second half of our trip.

      Naos (Buffet)
      Everyone enjoyed going there for breakfast, lunch, and/or snacks.

      Gabi Club (Reserve)
      We had a fixed menu here which I didn’t care for. I also didn’t like that we were given such a problem about dinner reservations and the restaurant was empty!! The food was okay but the wait staff spoke very little English and could not make any of the drinks on the menu. We stuck with wine and beer. I just wasn’t impressed.

      Gabi Beach Club (Royal Service)
      This was our final dinner at the resort. Silvia told me everyone could eat there even if they were regular service as a gift to us. We appreciated that but once again, it was a fixed menu. WTF- my guests knew this restaurant served lobster and they wanted lobster, which of course was not on the fixed menu. We asked for it anyways and they got it. The food was good- d©cor and layout so similar to Gabi Club. I’m still perplexed by why they put the same exact restaurant (name and style) twice at the resort.
      I do appreciate the resort eventually accommodating my group for dinners but I did not appreciate the attitude that I was putting them out. They made super early reservations 6-6:45 and there was no one in the restaurant when we arrived!! Once or twice, I felt rushed and like we were bothering them. Not the best way to convince me to ever come back again.

      Awesome!! I asked the WC for a schedule of the entertainment about 2 weeks before we left. I emailed this to my guests before we left and most of them appreciated the heads up. Most of the entertainment was music that took place in the Plaza Colonia instead of the beach I guess due to the high winds. We went to everything each night for at least a little bit.
      The Michael Jackson show was phenomenal and everyone loved it!!!
      The Retro Party was also a lot of fun!
      The Le Cirq show was great but I did not enjoy it due to the mess up with our reservations. It was packed and hot in the theater so dress lightly.

      My husband and his friends went golfing and scuba diving. Both were uneventful and okay. We also went on ATVs and Doon Buggies the day after the wedding. We booked the excursion through one of the groups at the hotel. It was a large group of us and we had fun. We drove to a cave and swam there and then to a beach and swam there. We got so dirty I had to throw away my shorts and tee-shirt! It was also pretty long and I got bored after a while. We also went scuba diving through the resort and I hated it! This was my first time and I just did not care for it. A few other people didn’t like it either but the others had a good time. We all agreed it was a bit long.

      Overall Experience
      The hotel was as beautiful as I remembered it with a bit of wear and tear. I really do love the PPR but I got the impression that all of the money lately has been spent on the Reserve and not on the other parts of the resort. I also did not like how much they’re pushing the time shares at the resort. It was not like this 4 years ago and I feel it was a change for the worse. I was really unhappy with the restaurant reservations and highly recommend you contact your WC and/or group reservations before you arrive so you do not encounter the problems that we did. Our guests had a great time and our wedding was perfect, everything else was a bonus!!

      Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions or want to see more photos. I’m in the process of moving in with my in-laws until our house is finished being built so I might be without Internet for a bit (they only have dial up)! So I swear I’m not ignoring any, just cut off!!

      #3 msjulie5475

      • Member
      • 528 posts

        Posted 21 July 2010 - 09:49 PM

        I can't wait to see more photos of your wedding! Congratulations and I hope your house is finished on schedule.

        #4 Canadiansandy

        • Jr. Member
        • 355 posts

          Posted 22 July 2010 - 12:32 AM

          Congrats!! I'd love to see more photos, what you've posted so far are beautiful! Glad you lucked out with the weather :)
          Sandy & Aaron ~ May 4, 2011 ~ Dreams Palm Beach, Punta Cana ------ Bride & Groom + 30 booked! (and counting)

          #5 Sax Lady

          Sax Lady
          • Jr. Member
          • 265 posts

            Posted 22 July 2010 - 08:53 AM

            congrats, sounds like you had a great time despite some problems.

            #6 sunstarsmoon

            • Sr. Member
            • 2,233 posts

              Posted 22 July 2010 - 08:59 AM

              great review and pictures
              July 8, 2011, Couples Sans Souci Ocho Rios, Jamaica

              #7 roo66

              • Sr. Member
              • 1,001 posts

                Posted 22 July 2010 - 09:10 AM

                wow you looked fabulous i loved your dress and flowers

                #8 Natie1971

                • Jr. Member
                • 342 posts

                  Posted 22 July 2010 - 09:15 AM

                  Very nice review!! I love your bouquet. I can't wait for it to be my turn...lol

                  #9 Thomasjsgirl

                  • Sr. Member
                  • 1,098 posts

                    Posted 22 July 2010 - 09:15 AM

                    Congratulations Tracy!!
                    Lucy & Tom - Married 24.11.08
                    Wedding Review - Dreams PC:
                    Leftover Wedding Items FS:

                    #10 tracy0716

                    • Jr. Member
                    • 431 posts

                      Posted 26 July 2010 - 04:45 PM

                      Thanks everyone!! Like I said I'm without Internet for the next few weeks (I hope). I posted a link to the photographer's website with some of our pics. It takes so long to upload our pics to the forum since they're huge. Once I get settled and have Internet access for more than a few hours at a clip I will try to put up some more. Thanks again for your kind words!!

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