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Gran Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado Brides?


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#151 KatyaNova

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    Posted 16 January 2013 - 11:13 AM

    Hi ladies!! 

     

    My husband & I just came back from photographing a beautiful Cayo Levantado wedding late November... The majority of our weddings are in Punta Cana, so we were thrilled to explore Samana area and see this place. I'm happy to share feedback from the perspective of both a photographer AND a recent bride... Take a look at the link to the blog post below, you'll get a good feel for how the day unfolded! 

     

    - feels intimate despite its size, really lush green & well-planned out resort. all the rooms are gorgeous. 

    - as a bride, you'll likely get to stay in the main building, make sure you ask for one of the ocean-view suites as high up as possible, the view is stunning (see pictures on blog below). We did the 'first look' there and it was out of this world! 

    - the food is fantastic, especially the a la carte restaurants. book as soon as you arrive, they fill up very fast.

    - the planner is lovely, but she is NOT a decorator, do not expect anything remotely creative. I would strongly suggest bringing some details and decorations with you, hit up Etsy for ideas! Generally, they have pretty old school / Dominican taste (even more so than in Punta Cana), so if details are important to you, make sure you coordinate colours, etc yourself. 

    - photographer vendor fee can be avoided by simply booking your photographer a room for at least the night before & of your wedding. We had to take a short ferry to the island after the 6-hour drive from Punta Cana, piece of cake :) 

    - CEREMONY LOCATIONS: the beach & beach gazebo are lovely, but it's oh-so-crowded! It's hard to believe they haven't yet come up with a solution to make it a little more private, because there are so many cool secluded places on the property… In my opinion, the terrace off-the main building is the best option for your ceremony. 

     

    We did a Rock the Dress (trash the dress) session there the next day, that was SO much fun!!! Let me know what you think of the photos - and if you have any other questions - I'm here for you! 

     

    We just booked another wedding there mid-April 2013 and are really stoked to make the trip back there. 

     

    http://www.katyanova...christie-graig/

     

    Hugs from here, 

    Katya. 



    #152 KatyaNova

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      Posted 16 January 2013 - 11:14 AM

      Hi ladies!! 

       

      My husband & I just came back from photographing a beautiful Cayo Levantado wedding late November... The majority of our weddings are in Punta Cana, so we were thrilled to explore Samana area and see this place. I'm happy to share feedback from the perspective of both a photographer AND a recent bride... Take a look at the link to the blog post below, you'll get a good feel for how the day unfolded! 

       

      - feels intimate despite its size, really lush green & well-planned out resort. all the rooms are gorgeous. 

      - as a bride, you'll likely get to stay in the main building, make sure you ask for one of the ocean-view suites as high up as possible, the view is stunning (see pictures on blog below). We did the 'first look' there and it was out of this world! 

      - the food is fantastic, especially the a la carte restaurants. book as soon as you arrive, they fill up very fast.

      - the planner is lovely, but she is NOT a decorator, do not expect anything remotely creative. I would strongly suggest bringing some details and decorations with you, hit up Etsy for ideas! Generally, they have pretty old school / Dominican taste (even more so than in Punta Cana), so if details are important to you, make sure you coordinate colours, etc yourself. 

      - photographer vendor fee can be avoided by simply booking your photographer a room for at least the night before & of your wedding. We had to take a short ferry to the island after the 6-hour drive from Punta Cana, piece of cake :) 

      - CEREMONY LOCATIONS: the beach & beach gazebo are lovely, but it's oh-so-crowded! It's hard to believe they haven't yet come up with a solution to make it a little more private, because there are so many cool secluded places on the property… In my opinion, the terrace off-the main building is the best option for your ceremony. 

       

      We did a Rock the Dress (trash the dress) session there the next day, that was SO much fun!!! Let me know what you think of the photos - and if you have any other questions - I'm here for you! 

       

      We just booked another wedding there mid-April 2013 and are really stoked to make the trip back there. 

       

      http://www.katyanova...christie-graig/

       

      Hugs from here, 

      Katya. 

       

       



      #153 Barash

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        Posted 22 January 2013 - 07:19 AM

        @Katya, I am checking your blog quite regularly and get a ton of inspiration from your photos. It was exciting to see Cayo Levantado wedding.

         

        Is the beach really "oh-so-crowded"? Even the very sides of it? I am sooo into barefoot ceremony on the beach, that I wouldn't like to give it up for a terrace even if the view is stunning...



        #154 charlong

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          Posted 22 January 2013 - 09:00 AM

          I had my wedding on the beach in November and it wasn't that crowded. The wedding coordinator does get people to move..I really don't recall a lot of people around at all actually. The beach is stunning and if you found another spot on the beach I am sure the coordinator would be willing to set you up there.

          I do agree with the photographer about the decor. I brought all my stuff with me and had friends do up the tables/chairs etc. I did hit up etsy as well and you can find lots of good stuff on it. I brought fake flowers with me for the tables, my own ribbon for the chairs, we made our own centerpieces. You can bring very little, but make it very elegant and simple.



          #155 KatyaNova

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            Posted 22 January 2013 - 09:56 AM

            Originally Posted by Barash 

            @Katya, I am checking your blog quite regularly and get a ton of inspiration from your photos. It was exciting to see Cayo Levantado wedding.

             

            Is the beach really "oh-so-crowded"? Even the very sides of it? I am sooo into barefoot ceremony on the beach, that I wouldn't like to give it up for a terrace even if the view is stunning...

            Hey Barash!! 

             

            Thanks for the warm words! :) 

            Don't change the vision of your perfect wedding - barefoot on the sand is AMAZING. Just ask the wedding coordinator to do the very best to keep bystanders off the beach!! In the midst of it all, you won't see anyone but your Beloved and your favourite people!! Lastly, make sure the photographer is good and will be both assertive & creative so that you don't have 'beach bums' in your pictures :))) Hope your wedding is everything you've dreamed of and MORE! I'm here if there's anything else you need :) xx



            #156 saucypantalon

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              Posted 22 January 2013 - 12:14 PM

              I have to disagree with the comment of it being very crowded as well.  We got married on the beach in November and it definitely was not crowded.  Of course there are going to be people on the beach around you, as it's a resort.  They are very respectful and don't invade your space at all.  They absolutely keep their distance from the area designated for the wedding.  As I mentioned in a previous post as well, you're in the moment and don't even notice them.  As far as the comments about the coordinator and decor, I don't think it is the responsibility of the coordinator to be creative in decorating.  They have offered the same decor options for quite some time now and have remained the same through 3 different coordinators.  Simona is very professional and great at what she does, which is coordinating your wedding.  If the pictures provided to you ahead of time are not your taste, then you have the option to do what the previous poster did and bring your own decor.        
               



              #157 StephG2013

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                Posted 30 January 2013 - 12:09 PM

                Hi Everyone!

                 

                I just returned from my wedding at Cayo Levantado a few weeks ago and all I can say is I can’t wait to go back! Our entire group of 41 had a truly amazing time!! I want to give a thorough review as I know planning a destination wedding can be a bit scary with all the unknowns so I hope this will provide some insight and clear some things up for everyone planning their wedding here. First let me just say the photos the wedding coordinator gives don’t do it justice. I will try to separate my review by each aspect of the trip/wedding.

                 

                Wedding Preparation: As we expected there was a note in our room with a time to meet the coordinator the morning after we arrived. At this time we met with the minister and Simona (wedding coordinator) to finalize all the details. The minister spoke with us about what kind of ceremony we wanted and was very easy to work with. Simona was fantastic! She is very well organized and wrote down all the details we discussed. At this time I also gave Simona by ceremony music on a cd to play as I walked down the aisle. She had a few things she needed from us which was to meet with our MC, where we wanted the ceremony, pick our menu, provide a seating chart, how many bouquets and centerpieces we needed, what colour sashes we wanted on the chairs and what kind of arch we wanted for the ceremony. At this time I also gave her a schedule that I had done up with my photographer using my ceremony and dinner times to let Simona know where we would be during the day.

                 

                Morning of the wedding: We started the day at 9 a.m. taking fun shots by the pool with all the girls. I started to get ready around 11:00 a.m. as I opted for first look photos (So glad I did). Our first look photos were scheduled for 3:00 p.m. which gave us an hour of time for photos of just me and my husband before the ceremony. One thing you should look into prior to arriving is if the hotel has a steamer or something to get wrinkles out of your dress if you need it.

                 

                Ceremony: My ceremony took place at 4:30 p.m. Just as she promised, Simona called me when it was time for me to arrive and came to pick me and my bridesmaids up on a golf cart at my room. We opted to have our ceremony on the patio off the main building. I LOVED this location. It had a beautiful view of the ocean and the hotel gardens and even better it was private. Nobody was walking behind us while we were in the middle of the ceremony.

                 

                A side note: The beach can be very windy most days so consider this when picking your location. As for some of the back and forth comments about the beach being busy I never had a hard time finding a spot on the beach to sit however I can see how if you opted for a beach wedding you will need to be weary of people walking behind you especially if you use the Gazebo. As other reviewers said I’m sure Simona can help with this. One thing I loved about this resort is it wasn’t busy at all. Throughout the entire day I never had trouble with people getting in our pictures.

                 

                Back to the ceremony, all the chairs were decorated with white sashes just as I requested. I also had coral pendants to hang from the sashes which she did for me. The music I requested went off without a hitch. You should pick two songs, one for the walk in and one for the walk back. The minister was fantastic! His English is not perfect but we absolutely loved it accent and all. He does a really amazing job and makes the ceremony fun for everyone. The ceremony itself lasted about 20 minutes followed by champagne toast.

                 

                Dinner: Our dinner was scheduled for 7:00 p.m. There is an extra fee to have your dinner at the Don Pablo so we opted not to do that. Unfortunately you don’t get to pick between the other two restaurants (Mediterranean or Italian) as they only open one per night. We lucked out as we wanted the Mediterranean and it happened to be open the night of our wedding. We were not seated in the actual restaurant but right next to it which is a covered patio by the pool. During the day it acts as the snack bar but they completely transformed it for our dinner. Our set-up was a small head table for 4 people and roundtables for the remaining 37 guests. It seemed to me like roundtables were the only option so for anyone trying to do a seating chart plan for roundtables of 8-10 people. I had place settings which I brought with me and my mom and some other guests help me put them out while I was doing photos after the ceremony. Simona helps you coordinate all this. The dinner service itself was great no problems here at all. We also opted to have a piano player play during dinner which was really nice. We did not opt for the microphone but a few people did have a hard time hearing as the outside noise was a little loud (kitchen, ocean etc.). This was probably the worst for my grandparents who I gave a copy of my speech for them to read after ;). If you have less than 40 guests you won’t need a microphone unless many people are hard of hearing and those giving speeches are very quiet.

                 

                First Dance: We opted to have our first dance at the disco on the beach. This was good and bad. The reason we did this is because we didn’t feel it was worth paying the couple hundred dollars for the sound system at the restaurant just for the first dance. After the cake cutting we told all our guests to meet at the disco around 10:30 and we would be doing first dance, bouquet toss etc. I brought my music on a USB and I gave the DJ 10$ to play it for us which was no problem whatsoever. However, the DJ doesn’t speak English very well so if there is anything you want him to do such as fade out the music after 2 minutes (what we ideally wanted) it may be worth talking to him in a few days prior to the wedding or cutting the music yourself before you leave. The Disco is open every night on the public beach as long as it’s not raining. It usually starts around 10:30 p.m. If no one shows up it will probably close early but our wedding party was there every single night often till close. There is a huge bar with seats and a dance floor with lights. Drinks are free at night just like at the all-inclusive.

                 

                My photographer: I brought a photographer from Ottawa with me as I loved her work and could tell we had very similar styles. Laura Kelly is her name and she is awesome! She blogged our wedding (Laura Kelly Photography Blog) so feel free to take a peak to give you an idea of the resort. We opted for first look photos as I mentioned earlier which are becoming quite popular. Why are these so great? Well it gave my husband and I time alone before the ceremony and a good hour to take amazing photos down by the pool and around the resort. Had we not done this before the ceremony there is no way we would have had time to get all the photos we did. After the ceremony we did all our family and wedding party photos. We finished with some beautiful sunset photos on the beach which had to be done by around 6 – 6:30 p.m.

                 

                Both my husband and I agree we would not change a thing. Simona was fantastic and the resort was stunning. I really can’t wait to go back and visit again. As a previous person commented, if you want to personalize your wedding with your own d©cor you will need to bring it with you.. Included in your package will be the flower d©cor for the ceremony and dinner, candles/lanterns for dinner and sashes for the chairs. I should also mention that the florist did a fantastic job and got my colours spot on for the bouquet.

                 

                I hope that I have covered everything and apologize for such a long message. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to PM me.

                 

                Best of luck in the planning!



                #158 Barash

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                  Posted 13 March 2013 - 05:55 AM

                  I got the price list from the resort SPA (spabpcle@bahia-principe.com) for makeup and hair. Just thought I'd share.

                   

                   

                  Bridal Hairstyle: Hair test includes 1 or 2 days before the wedding to choose the best hair stylist for a special day. PRICE: 95 US$   Make Up: Our makeup artist will perform a perfect make- up, in harmony with the hairstyle and taste. PRICE: 75 US$ *False eyelashes: 20 US$   Special Hairstyle: Hairstyle designed for bridesmaids, family and friends who want to be flawless for your big day. PRICE: 75 US$   Bridal Hairstyle and Makeup: 155 US$ Special Hairstyle and Makeup: 135 US$

                  #159 Peach

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                    Posted 13 March 2013 - 10:50 AM

                    Originally Posted by Barash 

                    I got the price list from the resort SPA (spabpcle@bahia-principe.com) for makeup and hair. Just thought I'd share.

                     

                     

                    Bridal Hairstyle: Hair test includes 1 or 2 days before the wedding to choose the best hair stylist for a special day. PRICE: 95 US$   Make Up: Our makeup artist will perform a perfect make- up, in harmony with the hairstyle and taste. PRICE: 75 US$ *False eyelashes: 20 US$   Special Hairstyle: Hairstyle designed for bridesmaids, family and friends who want to be flawless for your big day. PRICE: 75 US$   Bridal Hairstyle and Makeup: 155 US$ Special Hairstyle and Makeup: 135 US$

                     


                    Awesome! I was just going to email for this! So am I to understand that the bridal hairstyle comes with a free trial? Hmmm



                    #160 Barash

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                      Posted 14 March 2013 - 06:33 AM

                      Originally Posted by Peach 

                       


                      Awesome! I was just going to email for this! So am I to understand that the bridal hairstyle comes with a free trial? Hmmm

                       

                      Not sure about the trial. I just copy-pasted what was in the document they sent me. I'm going for makeup only since I'll be doing simple curls and should be able to handle it myself. You can contact them about the trial. I remember seeing somewhere that it's 40% of the hairstyle price, but I might be mistaking.






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