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#851 futurearlington

futurearlington
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    Posted 13 February 2013 - 08:46 PM

    It has taken my nearly 10 hours to read through this thread & all I have to say is THANK YOU! Our November wedding is booked & guests have already started making their reservations (we sent STDs last week) through the local travel agent we decided to go with. We're an older couple (late 30s/early 40s) & didn't want to stress over planning a wedding. I can now see that issues are going to need to be dealt with but I'm hopeful that the overall process will cause less stress than planning an event in our home town. We are going with a "beach casual" theme & have invited 170 guests! Statistics show roughly 40% will attend so we're looking at quite a large party! We have no cares about the linens/decor and probably won't upgrade any of that, we have very little cares about the food (aside from making sure my PKU nephew does not get I'll) and are more concerned about atmosphere, photography, music & cost! I'm paying for this myself & can't seem to find enough pennies for it despite the event being 8+ months away. So far, I do not have a high level of confidence in our WC & am struggling with the photography issue but aside from that I'm confident all of my questions will be answered either by the slow-to-respond WC (eventually) or this forum. That being said... (1) is it safe to presume that your outside photographer passed on the $1000 fee to you? (2) are you charged full price for small children at your reception? (3) re: changes in wedding/reception sites - did the resort drop notes or messages to your guests advising them of any changes from the original plan? (4) is there anything else we should know? Thank you much past, present & future brides (& grooms)!!!

    #852 maridr2012

    maridr2012
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      Posted 14 February 2013 - 08:59 AM

      Hello.  Congrats on booking your wedding!  Rest assured you've selected a gorgeous resort.  And yes, although you want to make it as stress-fee as possible there will be a few blips along the way but they can be easily resolved once you make peace with the options you have, lol.   I was married at PPC on November 9th 2012 - just a bit over a year from your date.  It's a beautiful time of the year to be there - low occupancy/slow season which is great when you want the team's attention : )   Not sure who you worked with from the Miami WC team - I worked with Jessica and she was wonderful.  You may need to switch or just bring it to the attention of the manager.  You're paying for this service - so don't be shy or worry about coming across as a bridezilla!

       

      (1) is it safe to presume that your outside photographer passed on the $1000 fee to you?   The fee is charged directly to you; that is bypassed from the photographer altogether.  Apparently the workaround to this is if you book a room for 3 nights for your "photographer" than you don't have to pay the $,1000 fee.  Ask your WC or travel coordinator if they have a perks program.  Usually it consists of booking X # of rooms and/or guaranteeing X # of rooms, they will comp you up to 3 standard rooms for a max of 3 nights at the lowest rate less taxes.  That alone may offset the cost of you having to book a room for 3 nights for your external photographer.  I was able to bypass all of that b/c I booked by wedding in Dec 2011 (for Nov 2012 date) and I was grandfathered in to their old policy which stated nothing about external photographer fee.  I got lucky.  

       

      (2) are you charged full price for small children at your reception?  I was charged 1/2 price for children - under the age of 12.  I only had 1 child so it wasn't a huge savings.  And, he selected an adult's meal anyway so it was fine - he didn't get jipped on a meal, lol.

       

       

      (3) re: changes in wedding/reception sites - did the resort drop notes or messages to your guests advising them of any changes from the original plan?  I booked my wedding ceremony at the gazebo and reception in one of the terraces that was half open with covered ceiling - particularly b/c I was worried about inclement weather and having to come up with a backup plan (although the onsite WC's will do a walk-thru with you upon your arrival and they will go over a backup plan for your ceremony/reception site should their be inclement weather).  We had gorgeous weather the day of our wedding so it was fine.  HOWEVER - I had a Welcome Party Cocktail Party 2 days before the wedding for my guests.  I had already selected the area where this party would be which was another smaller terrace - and turns out they double booked that space and didnt realize it until the day we checked in!  I was pretty pissed about that, especially because I had printed up an activity booklet for my guests outlining all the events - locations, times, etc. and that had already been delivered to them in their OOT bags to their rooms.  The WC's fixed this by printing up a small  note and hand delivering it to EACH room the morning of the cocktail party day.  So, guests knew where to go that late afternoon and there were no issues.  Point is, yes they will communicate any changes to your guests.  They're pro's at this.

       

       

      (4) is there anything else we should know? Ahh...there are so many questions that will come up along the way, it's almost impossible to answer them all here.  Just ask away as they pop up in your head - someone here on the forum will surely know the answer.

       

      Good luck!

       

       

       

       

      Originally Posted by futurearlington 

      It has taken my nearly 10 hours to read through this thread & all I have to say is THANK YOU!

      Our November wedding is booked & guests have already started making their reservations (we sent STDs last week) through the local travel agent we decided to go with. We're an older couple (late 30s/early 40s) & didn't want to stress over planning a wedding. I can now see that issues are going to need to be dealt with but I'm hopeful that the overall process will cause less stress than planning an event in our home town. We are going with a "beach casual" theme & have invited 170 guests! Statistics show roughly 40% will attend so we're looking at quite a large party! We have no cares about the linens/decor and probably won't upgrade any of that, we have very little cares about the food (aside from making sure my PKU nephew does not get I'll) and are more concerned about atmosphere, photography, music & cost! I'm paying for this myself & can't seem to find enough pennies for it despite the event being 8+ months away.

      So far, I do not have a high level of confidence in our WC & am struggling with the photography issue but aside from that I'm confident all of my questions will be answered either by the slow-to-respond WC (eventually) or this forum. That being said...
      (1) is it safe to presume that your outside photographer passed on the $1000 fee to you?
      (2) are you charged full price for small children at your reception?
      (3) re: changes in wedding/reception sites - did the resort drop notes or messages to your guests advising them of any changes from the original plan?
      (4) is there anything else we should know?

      Thank you much past, present & future brides (& grooms)!!!


      #853 futurearlington

      futurearlington
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        Posted 14 February 2013 - 08:50 PM

        Thank you maridr2012!!! I priced out the resort nearly a half dozen different ways & a local travel agent ended up not only having the lowest prices, but is also able to give us direct $$ perks to lower out travel costs and just seemed more personal than simply talking to someone over the phone - our guests can actually pop into her office to get travel questions answered, book travel, etc. And with the amount of traveling I do for work she's taken a great burden off of me by being the one handling everything for our guests. I don't know if someone from a Miami office should have contacted me but my only contact for the resort itself is WC Jennifer and from the phone number attached to her email tag, she is AT the resort. I feel like I'm pulling teeth to get any responses from her. Even this week it's been 3 days I've been awaiting a response. I realize our "day" isn't until November but living in a summer resort town, we won't have 2 minutes to do any planning or make any decisions between April & October so I need to get everything done now - a point I can't seem to get across to her. I guess I'll give it through the weekend, then make calls Monday if I haven't gotten the information I requested by then. Thank you again for explaining some things to me!!!

        #854 maridr2012

        maridr2012
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          Posted 15 February 2013 - 08:33 AM

          I'm glad to help, I know it can be frustrating!  What they want you to do is work with their 3rd party - a company called AskMe - they're the "wedding coordinators" in their "Romance Office" in Miami.  They don't tell you upfront though that it's actually a 3rd party contracted by the resort.  Working with them can actually be challenging too b/c they're not onsite and often when you ask them questions they will have to get back to you, as they need to get the answer from the onsite WC at the resort!  Jennifer - the onsite WC you've been working with is actually really great.  I'm sure she's bombarded with weddings going on right now.  She's the Romance Mgr onsite, and the other onsite WC is Miguelina who is also just lovely and so wonderful to work with.  But keep in mind, not that this is an excuse for them - they're truly working on "island time".  LOL most islanders just don't have the sense of urgency that we do.  But trust that they do value your business and will work very hard to make your big day special and just the way you want it.  You may want to consider working with Theresa Calcos from Barefoot Bride.  She actually used to be the "offsite" Wedding Coordinator for Paradisus, she basically handled everything from soup to nuts for weddings and knows that resort (as well as PPR) like the back of her hand - so much so that she planned her own son's wedding and her own vow renewals recently at their properties.  She was laid off about a  year ago by PPC/PPR because they wanted to outsource their planning services.  But she started her own business and is now a "destination wedding planner".  I started to work with her when I first started planning my own wedding over a year ago but then she was displaced and I had to start working with the Miami folks.  It was only when I was at the tail end of my planning that I learned about her new business, at that point I was basically all done with planning and didn't feel the need to spend the extra money so late in the game.  Had I known about her own business earlier on, I would've gladly hired her.  I'm not sure what her fees are but I don't think they're terribly high so if you really want to just entrust a PPC subject matter expert and can afford a few extra dollars, you may want to consider working with her.  Just google her or look her up on this forum.  Even if its just to run a few ideas by her or find out what her fee is and then make your decision from there, it's worth it!

          Originally Posted by futurearlington 

          Thank you maridr2012!!! I priced out the resort nearly a half dozen different ways & a local travel agent ended up not only having the lowest prices, but is also able to give us direct $$ perks to lower out travel costs and just seemed more personal than simply talking to someone over the phone - our guests can actually pop into her office to get travel questions answered, book travel, etc. And with the amount of traveling I do for work she's taken a great burden off of me by being the one handling everything for our guests.

          I don't know if someone from a Miami office should have contacted me but my only contact for the resort itself is WC Jennifer and from the phone number attached to her email tag, she is AT the resort. I feel like I'm pulling teeth to get any responses from her. Even this week it's been 3 days I've been awaiting a response. I realize our "day" isn't until November but living in a summer resort town, we won't have 2 minutes to do any planning or make any decisions between April & October so I need to get everything done now - a point I can't seem to get across to her. I guess I'll give it through the weekend, then make calls Monday if I haven't gotten the information I requested by then.

          Thank you again for explaining some things to me!!!


          #855 mariel12

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            Posted 15 February 2013 - 09:42 AM

            Hi past & future brides! I wanted to get some ideas for our OOT bags for our June wedding which is coming up upon us quicker than we thought! We're so excited! What essential items and fun things did you guys include or are thinking of including in them and what did your guests think of them? Any tips would be greatly appreciated! Thank you! XO



            #856 futurearlington

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              Posted 17 February 2013 - 08:07 AM

              We haven't made our bags yet but I've been collecting ideas from Pinterest.  So far our wish list for our bags includes:  Shhh/Do not disturb door hangers, fans, flipflop playing cards and luggage tags, body sunscreen, sunscreen for lips, advil/tylenol, upset stomach meds, drink coozie, Guest of the Bride/Groom mad libs (to be left in a basket at the reception), snack, agenda details for the wedding day & day before activities, thank you card and aside from that we may pick up stuff at the resort once we get there.



              #857 LoriOlivia

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                Posted 17 February 2013 - 11:39 AM

                Hi Futurearlington,

                Your gift bag ideas sound like fun.  I know our guests enjoyed ours (we got married 1/25/13).  However if you read through these posts you will see many brides suggest you do not leave your gift bags at the font desk and having seen how things operate there I HIGHLY AGREE.

                Reception is slow, speak very little english, and are easily confused.  I would NEVER trust them with my guest bags and on top of it all, they charge what I think is $3 a bag to hand them out.

                 

                Miguelena in the Romance office on site delivered our itinerary (she typed it up herself) under our guest doors (Could probably do the same with your door hangers) and I'd say about 98% of people got them.

                I dont know how many people you have coming or across how many days.  But we had 85 across 4 days and basically we'd bring a bag of the gift bags with us to the beach every day and hand them out... the very few we missed we gave out at our welcome cocktail reception.

                 

                I know I owe a full write up of the wedding... and it really was terrific.  Complaints mostly have to do with the office in Miami.

                Our wedding was amazing and our guests raved about it.

                 

                --Loriolivia



                #858 LoriOlivia

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                  Posted 20 February 2013 - 06:33 AM

                  Hi Everyone,

                  So I wanted to give you the lowdown on our wedding Friday January 25th, 2013.  Overall we couldn't have been happier, as I mentioned in a previous post, most of the issues stemmed from the Miami office which I now realize is a 3rd party contracted by Melia to work with brides in the US.  I am writing this so you can be aware of how unorganized they are.

                   

                  It all started several weeks before the wedding from the Miami office.  We got an email saying we must submit payment for our final bill the next day (FYI if you pay by credit card there's a surcharge, and clearly I can't transport a check that quickly).  However, according to the contract we had 2 weeks before the final bill was due, oh and the bill they sent us in that email was completely wrong.  Ladies, go over your final bill with a fine tooth comb!!!!  We were due credits for all the rooms we had booked (83 people) and for our site visit and none of those were on there and it took tons of phone calls and emails to rectify.  In the end we got the correct final bill well after it was actually due.

                   

                  In the meantime our guests were getting charged the final payment on their hotels (this happens automatically on the card you give the without notice, be aware).  However my husband and I realized our card was not charged and we got no invoice for the zero balance on the room (The wedding and the extras are separate from room bill).  Again tons of emails and phone calls were exchanged until we got an invoice and confirmation for our Royal Service Room.  We paid for Royal Service and were hoping to be upgraded to Ocean front.  We were told that everyone in our party should get a "voucher" from the Miami office that they "must bring" in order to check in.  However I spoke to my family and a few friends and no one had this voucher.   The Miami office told me it was a new system they were sending them with and it may be in everybody's spam box.  They wanted me to contact all of my 83 guests to have them scour their inboxes for it.   And even though I did that most people did not have this voucher.. Again tons of emails and phone calls to rectify.

                   

                  Ten of us arrived several days before the wedding.  My husband and I were the only people in Royal Service and were taken there alone to check in.  Turns out even with voucher in hand, they had us arriving the day after and had no room for us that night.  The hotel blamed the Miami office and the Miami office blamed the hotel.  We were offered a Royal service with two beds (how romantic) or a Reserve room which again, was a downgrade because we PAID for Royal.  Finally after almost 4 hours!!! we were given a Royal service room with a king bed and a view of the back of the next hotel.  When we finally met up with my family we found out it took them three hours to check in as well.  The hotel had never seen this new voucher and  didnt know what to do with it.

                   

                  I went ballistic and got on a conference call with the wonderful girls in the Romance Office at the resort and the Miami office.  

                  It was resolved that my guest arriving each of the next 3 days would be greeted by Jennifer or Miguelena and none of this would happen again. 

                   

                  As for the rest of my guests: check in was slow (it takes an hour on average, and apparently this is normal) but they had none of the issues.  However the excel sheet the Miami office gives you to fill out to request where in the hotel you want your guests to stay and near whom, was useless and people were everywhere.  Dont even bother filling it out.

                   

                  The manager of the resort, a wonderful man who is fluent in english, came to us the first night to personally apologize for all the issues.  He did a wonderful job the whole week making it up to us and our families.  We are very thankful he was around.

                   

                  We had our welcome reception at the Gabi Club in the reserve which was fun because it was the only time anyone went up to that area since most of my guests were in garden with a few in royal with us.  We were there for 6p which was perfect for sunset.

                   

                  As for the wedding itself, everything came into place perfect.  

                  I booked the bridal suite which was the right move, even though it wasnt a big bridal party.  My mother , cousin and aunt joined my two sisters and I and we drank champagne, snacked and had lots of fun getting ready with the extra space.  My husband and his guys got ready in our room.  

                   

                  The weather was amazing.  The set up was on the beach by the gazebo was EXACTLY how I envisioned it.  I brought my own sashes and flower petals and the ladies set them up perfect.  We had Pastor York (who we contacted personally and only had to pay $350 + $30 outside guest fee) and he did an amazing job.  The cocktail hour was supposed to happen 30 minutes after the ceremony to give time for pictures but it happened immediately after so we missed all of it.  We hired a specific Dominican trio (there are two of them and we were extremely clear about which we wanted) but the other showed up.  Still our friends laughed and sang along not knowing any different-- so oh well!

                  The reception was also on the beach blocked off from gawkers by a wall of palm leaves.  We had a full moon and the sky was all pink and perfect for our first dance.  The buffet process was slow (we were a large group and they were calling people up by table) and it definitely cut into our dancing time, but they let the party run a half our over the 3 we paid for.

                  Our flowers were awesome.  The DJ played all the songs we asked for. We brought cigars that one of the bar tenders passed out at the end...Everyone had a blast, dancing up a storm on the sand, drinking and partying... and when it was over we all went to the Gabi Beach bar which is just200 feet away to drink and dance some more.

                   

                  We really were extremely happy in the end.  All our friends want to go back next year for an anniversary party, so if that tells you anything....

                   

                  I would tell any future bride you may the right choice getting married here.  The setting and the staff on site can't be beat!

                   

                  If anyone has any questions about any specifics I would be happy to answer.  I know so many helped me and I really appreciate it.



                  #859 jodie56

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                    Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:12 AM

                    HI Ladies,

                     

                    This review is long over due. First I must say if it wasnt for Theresa Calcos ( Barefoot Bride int Destination/ Events )  I dont know what I would have done. I had one conversation with Miami and was not happy with the coordinator. On this site another bride to be mentioned she was working with Theresa Calcos who now is a independent wedding coordinator with a great relationship with Paradisus. She helped me so much and we were lucky enough to have her on property for our wedding. Our wedding was October 28 2012 with her help we planned a wedding and rehearsal dinner all within 6 months of getting engaged. Our wedding was beautiful . Weather was amazing but it was HOT. It was at the Gazebo followed by cocktails and reception was in  the ballroom.  

                     

                    Everything that we used to put on our planner was exactly how we wanted it and in some circumstances better.  Theresa took all of our visions and made them happen.   The rehearsal dinner was on the beach. We had perfect weather but once we got to Paradisus we picked out 2 back up locations that were equally as beautiful. My advice..... be ok with having the wedding indoors if it rains because it could. Even the indoor locations are breathtaking. Miguelina was the onsite coordinator from the Paradisus who also worked with us . She was so  professional and also amazing. Theresa and her had everything organized and under control. From the pre wedding meetings untill the wedding was over they both took care of everything.  We had nothing to worry about.  We brought music on our cd for ceremony. We had lots of songs and every song  Miguelina played on time. FYI  they do a rehearsal the day before the wedding. These 2 ladies really helped make our dream wedding come true. 

                     

                     Food was for the most part good. Service was good. rooms were spacious and nice we stayed at the reserve. I used the bridal suite for hair makeup. It was small, our room was much bigger and to be honest it was difficult getting ready with all the girls in the suite. Bring pictures of how you want your hair done.

                     

                    Photographer I used Arecife photographer Joquin. This is the resort photographer. Now when I was on this site brides to be heard they werent good. Theresa reassured me they were and they new the property well. They were amazing. We have the most beautiful pictures. We used video from resort as well . Video was good. If you want certain songs to be the backround for your video bring the music. The video person filmed all of our pre-ceremony,cermony, picture taking, reception and got   all the key footage. But he picked odd songs to play in the backround, Had we known this we would have given him music selection. The video footage itself was beautiful just not the most appropriate wedding video songs. DJ Mania from resort dj both our events and played really good music. They are also part of the meeting and review your music taste.

                     

                    We had welcome drinks at the lobby bar were we gave out bags filled with our itinerary (Miguelina actually created one for us and slipped it under each guests door) so you prob dont have to do this, customized chapstick, sunscreen, aloe  (target sells them for a dollar) and customized mints.  For our favors we had customized candles.  Think about how you are getting all this stuff there. LOL we had suitcases filled with just wedding favors , weddign gifts etc. Well worth it though, our guests appreciated the gesture.

                     

                    Jetblue also must say they treated me and my husband so nice. Originally I thought I would put my dress overhead compartment. The flight attendent told the pilot and he let me hang it in the cockpit closet. So unexpected and nice. Politeness  goes along way .

                     

                    I believe Theresa Calcos and Arecife have facebook/ websites .

                     

                    Congrats to all enjoy the process dont stress!

                     

                    Jodie Scott



                    #860 MelanieL018

                    MelanieL018
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                      Posted 24 February 2013 - 01:24 PM

                      Hi PPC Brides!

                      I was wondering if anyone has used the complimentary WISH package? FI & I moved out of state recently and our wedding is supposed to be June 29th of this year... which is coming up quick! I don't want to deal with starting all over with wedding planning & a destination wedding seems so much easier but since it is just a few months away most likely no one will be able to attend with us. Since it will just be the two of us, it makes more sense to use the free package & have a reception at home later to celebrate.

                      I have been speaking with Lauren & she sent over the paperwork to book the date, at that time I was informed that the free package is not legal and it is $1,000 extra to make it a legal ceremony.... so we will have to get married here legally first and then have our ceremony at PPC.... but that just means that family & friends will be able to see us get legally married (even if it is just at the courthouse!). I always wanted to get married by the beach -- but with the free package we are only able to use the garden.

                      Has anyone gotten married at in the garden location.. pros/cons? Is it worth it?

                      Has anyone ever used the free package but upgraded the location to the gazebo or beach -- or added ceremony decor to the garden location (canopy/aisle).. If so, what were the costs involved with that?

                      The resort looks amazing and the price is good (compared to other All Inclusive resorts that we have looked at), even with the photographer package and private dinner fees it is the least expensive option that we found... I am just worried that it won't be the "dream wedding" with the location... If anyone has gotten married at the garden location & has pics I would love to see them!! Lauren only sent me one pic, and there aren't any pics of the garden on the house photographers website.

                      Thanks ladies!! 






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