Ladies, I'm back from my wedding (13 days ago!!) and overall am very happy with my decision to do it at the Paradisus. It was the best day of my life so far!!
My on-site coordinator was Beatriz Rosa and she and Miguelina (who is very pregnant) both were there making sure things were going as planned. Beatriz is very organized and made me feel confident that she was going to execute everything as planned.
Miguelina is her boss and again, also very nice and you can tell that they take their jobs seriously.
It has been said before but the grounds of this hotel are incredible. I mean, I really felt like I was in the middle of a botanical garden. The place is picturesque and my now husband (haha) and I walked in both directions every morning on the beach, and rest assured that the paradisus punta cana is the best looking hotel from the beach.
On to the details:
Friday night - I reserved room for 20 of my family and bridal party at the GRILL restaurant for dinner. The food was good and the wine kept flowing. The salad and dessert portions will be buffet style but for your main course the servers come around to take your orders.
The only complaint that I have here - I was told that I would have 2 long tables for my 20 guests but when we arrived there were 3 round tables. The configuration was bad because my new in-laws had to sit at the table that wasn't near ours. Just weird but I didnt pay for this so I didnt feel like I was in a position to complain and also to have them arrange the square tables. I would make sure that you tripple check the seating arrangement for your rehearsal dinner if you do this.
Saturday Night - We did the tailor made package that includes the BBQ. We made sure that everyone of our guests dressed in white and made it an all white party on the Beach. This event was just so cool and we are both really glad we could do this. The food was pretty good too and the bar was great. They had servers coming around taking beverage orders for all of the tables which I didn't know they would do, so that was nice. We paid for the ipod hook up and I was glad we did because this way we were able to set the tone for the party. Everyone was so happy and taking photos. Again, Beatriz was there for most of the event.
We paid to have vases with seashells and candles on each of the tables, they were nice but could not stay light up because the beach is so windy.
Sunday - The big day had arrived!!
I arranged to have ANNA NUET (hairstylist and makeup artist) come and do my makeup as well as the bridal party. I did A lot of negotiating with the Miami coordinator to remove the $1000 outside vendor fee for Anna because 1. i didn't want some random person at the spa to do my hair and makeup 2. I read ALL of the contracts and no where did it specifically state that hair and makeup artists were considered outside vendors. Make sure you read all of your papers very carefully. I worked with Jessica from the Miami office and just pushed very hard on this point. I told them that this was not negotiable for me as hair and makeup is quite a personal choice that I should be allowed to make. Anyway, I paid the 120 fee for her day pass only.
Anna Nuet is AMAZING, I was soooo happy to have her there. She worked fast and remained calm despite us running about 1 hour late. It was my hair that delayed everything because I have a ton of hair. She's worth the money and the fight with the hotel. I felt the prettiest I've ever felt.
A little about the spa - my mother in law and 2 of my nieces had their hair done at the spa and they actually did a great job! So don't be too worried about this.
I paid for the rental of the bridal suite to get ready form 9 am to 5pm and I'm glad I did. They had a really beautiful set up of food and champagne/water and OJ for us. Plus we ordered room service which is included inside the resort. Bridal suite rental was $300. I'm sure if you have a lot of people coming to the hotel, you could also negotiate to have this fee reduced and or removed.
We took photos of the first look, family and bridal party before the ceremony. This was fine except that because everyone was delayed from my hair delay, then some of the women who were still getting their hair done during bridal party photos were a bit late. We ended up doing the photos in the Lobby because the sun is too harsh for photos in any of the open spaces of the resort before 5pm. We did some photos on the beach after the ceremony with the balance of the guests.
The ceremony set up on the beach was perfect. Gold tiffany chairs, the included brown lanterns (plus and extra $30 for the candles), ivory drapes.
I paid for an extra table to have brushes for my guests to de-sand. They added a bunch of staging decor items to that table and I was so happy they did this. Everyone was saying how nice it looked.
I also brought with me some Burlap fabric and a "shoe Valet" sign for guests to leave their shoes. Again, Beatriz set up all of this stuff and didnt charge me extra.
Our officiant was the woman you may have seen in the paradisus albums, she has short hair. She was incredible and I'm so sad I can't remember her name! She read the ceremony so beautifully and also read our letters to her speaking to "why I love my mr. fashionista and Why he loves me". We saw this in a wedding and loved this set up instead of us reading our own vows. At the end of reading our letters, she actually was crying! How amazing is that?! The ceremony was my most favorite part of our wedding and I will never forget it.
For the cocktail hour - we decided to do it right next to the ceremony location on the beach. We paid for some lounge furniture to provide some seating for the older family. It was great. In the tailor made package, there are also 4 high-boy tables for guests to rest their drinks.
We had some extra money (from some last minute cancellations) and decided to pay for a signature cocktail. We chose strawberry mojito and it was worth the money. All of the guests loved it and it was different enough from what they had all been drinking in the rest of the resort. We brought out own signage. We also paid for the Ipod hookup for the cocktail hour which is nice because the cocktail hour is longer than 1 full hour.
For the reception - we decided to do this next to the pool. We paid for the master of ceremony and DJ. They were Ok, in the beginning during the formalities of speeches, cake cutting and first dances the music and the pace is slower. But eventually after dinner the party got really good and then the crazy hour happened which was a lot of fun. It feels like Mardi-gras! lol
but it was good because it gave everyone a second wind and it just a fun time.
Our cake, which we paid for fondant and 3 tiers was beautiful but a lot smaller than I thought it was going to be. I barely ate cake but my brother said the cake flavors we picked were great!
They messed up our intro song but it's partly our fault because we didnt give the file to Beatriz until the day before the wedding. They played the wrong version of our song, not the cooler remix I wanted.
In Hindsight, I should have paid for the extra hour for the reception. People are not kidding when they tell you how fast time flies. That is my one regret and at this point you've already spent a small fortune so what's a little more? :-)
We brought our own menus for Beatriz to place at each place setting.
We brought bathroom kits but wished we hand't because there arent private bathroom for the pool area.
We brought stuff for out of town bags and had Beatriz get us water bottles to add to them. She charged us for each.
Overall, we loved the hotel and comparing it to the other hotels on the strip of beach near us, we were convinced that we picked one of the best ones. No one from our group was sick from food which I thought was pretty remarkable. The food we found to be the best we've had from other hotels we've visited. Our guests kept telling us how tasty the food was from our events and these are all foodie-type New Yorkers!
When you get to the hotel, make sure that the people that you want near you in the hotel complex are moved to rooms close to you. I did this during my meeting with Beatriz and was glad I did. The hotel complex is HUGE, so big that they have trolleys and golf carts circling the grounds all day transporting people back and forth.
Bring a lot of singles with you! there is a lot of tipping you want to do when you are there. Don't forget this!
Remember that when in the DR, you are on island time. Things that take 5 mins in the states take longer to get done in the DR. Be calm and be patient otherwise you'll stress yourself out.
Feel confident that your wedding will be put together by people that do this very often. We saw multiple weddings happening and other events happening and the staff knows what they are doing.
Please write me with any questions you may have. I know how nerve wracking it is to plan a wedding via email but again, these people take their jobs seriously.
Edited by Nycfashionista, 04 April 2015 - 03:44 PM.