Hello! So, I just got married at the Barcelo Bavaro Palace Deluxe! I have been reading this blog for many months and never posted anything until now. I feel like I need to give back since the blog helped me so much with the planning!
We got married in the garden gazebo, had a cocktail hour and then a reception in the Ibiza ballroom.
In a nutshell, I would highly recommend this resort for a wedding and for a vacation! It exceeded my expectations in every category! My wedding coordinator was Susana. She definitely did a solid job.
Here is my advice...
Don't underestimate the humidity (especially when it comes to your hair), the wind, and the crowds.
We watched many weddings during the week we were there. The weddings on the beach and at the beach gazebo were comical. It was so windy (on some of the days) and so loud. I highly doubt any of the guests were comfortable, let alone heard anything! We were standing pretty close to one and couldn't hear the musical trio at all.
Complete strangers will gather around the beach gazebo or your huppa on the beach. For the beach gazebo, brides have to walk down the main path from the hotel, with people literally at your feet (in the pool). In one instance, everyone started clapping as the bride walked passed them. It's not private at all. You're just a few steps from the nearest lawn chair. I don't understand why they would put the gazebo right there!
If you definitely want to get married on the beach, I would get married in front of building 1 or 2 (near the adults only hotel). It's very quiet over there (for whatever reason). Another wedding we watched was in front of building 5 and 6, which are the largest of the buildings with the most rooms. It was a circus and the bride didn't look happy.
I was so bummed we couldn't book at Bar Higuey because it looks so beautiful in all the pics. I'm so happy we didn't. Trust me - climate control and no bugs are way more important to your guests. Our groomsman wore linen suits and they were sweating through them (and we were inside). They were dancing up a storm! Outside would have been terrible!
The garden gazebo is soooo pretty and private. It's also on the adults only side, near the convention center and bar higuey. You could hear everything (the pastor, the trio) and never once did I see someone who wasn't invited to our wedding. It felt very special.
Since it's on the adults only side, they took everyone there via the trolley and took everyone back to the BBPD where the Ibiza ballroom is located. I thought it would be a hassle for guests but it wasn't at all. It's a pretty, short ride and it looked fun! They decorated it with white balloons. It was so nice to go back to the other side because everyone stayed at the Palace. So, if anyone wasn't feeling well or wanted to change clothes (which some did), they could walk to their rooms. It was perfect! The ballroom was beautiful!
I was super stressed about Susana, the food and the DJ. Susana definitely isn't the best wedding planner around but she's solid. She can keep up with fast talking Americans (haha) and she gets what you want. She's organized and there were no unexpected or hidden costs with anything.
The DJ and MC were great too. The MC spoke great English. He was fun, very attentive to what we wanted, he played our requests and nailed the introductions. It would have been boring without the MC (I think).
The food was awesome except the cake (it was dry). We stressed about giving everyone the same dinner. I just didn't want anyone to think we were cheap. Ummm, no. The presentation of the meal was very upscale. Actually, the presentations at most of the a la carte restaurants were impressive and the wedding was no exception. Also, remember you're at an all inclusive! Guests can eat whatever they want, whenever they want. If people were flying in just for 2 days for your wedding in Colorado and this was the only meal they were getting--that changes things. We had some foodies there too and they said this was the best wedding meal they've had! We got the caprese salad, chicken pesto, and creme brulee. My dad loved the creme brulee but I think it was just okay. I'm like a creme brulee connoisseur! It didn't have the crusty top!
The flowers were to die for! I had white roses and white lily's. The lily's wilted a little but they were still sooo pretty. Those flowers are included in your package too! The bridesmaids were $30 each.
I wouldn't have paid to have the bridesmaid hair and makeup done. First of all the prices jumped from $60 and $70 (what Susana quoted me) to $75 and $85 (when we got there). None of the bridesmaids liked their hair, except one. I didn't love my hair either. I should have did a trial or just did it myself.
Here are some more tips...(that could save your hours of time and heartache )
1. Don't buy from Factory 21 for your OOT mugs. The ink on them all speared off. I was pretty embarrassed but the mugs were still a hit! Everyone used them at the pool and the beach
2. Don't buy the hibiscus flower tote bags from Oriental Trading! The ink dyes on your skin and clothes. I was 2 for 2! Ugggh.
3. If you need a veil, I bought mine on etsy and it was soooo beautiful and inexpensive!
4. If you need a rhinestone belt, I also bought it on esty! It looked like a $400 belt, seriously. My seamstress couldn't believe how much I paid.