Hi everyone! Ok, I am going to try to give a FULL review on everything I can in regards to the Hard Rock Punta Cana. Our wedding was on Friday, July 27, 2012. My husband and I got to the resort on Sunday, July 22nd. We booked the wedding back in August of 2011 and chose the Amethyst package. We had to pay appx $2700 for the collection; the first half we paid for and the second half we used the resort credit to pay the remaining balance of the wedding collection. I made all original plans with Marlyn Tobon from the Miami office. She was ok â€“ when I needed something or had any questions, she was fine to deal with. I booked an on-site visit for the first week of December 2011. There I met with our wedding coordinator Jacqueline. I have to say, she is amazing! Honestly, everyone I dealt with in the wedding office on-site was great and always accommodating, but Jacqueline has been beyond a pleasure to work with the past 8 months. Miami office told me the wedding coordinator would contact me three months prior to the wedding in order to make all the plans. However, since I had already met with Jacqueline in December, I had continued to email her any questions and decisions we were making in regards to the wedding. She confirmed everything as I emailed her items. Always a pleasure to speak with! Melina, the manager of weddings, was amazing also! Melina and Jacqueline were the ones who took care of any issues I had and were ALWAYS available to help me and fix any problems that arose.
Rooms/Group Check in: We had over the 75 nights required for unlimited private events booked by our guests for the wedding. My husband and I received 7 free nights stay (we stayed a total of 7nights, so our room was free) and since our room was paid for before getting to the resort, on the day before we checked out, we already had the credit for our stay. We used it towards the wedding fees we had to pay. Group check in was terrible! It was the one thing that had us going crazy all week. So many of our guests had problems with their rooms in regards to which building they were in and the type of beds they got. We were all supposed to be in the same building â€“ as promised to us â€“ and the resort did not deliver. They had some guests all the way on the other side of the resort. We were under the assumption when booking a group wedding contract that all the rooms would be in the same building. My husband and I were in building 5B and had guests in building 1A and 8A (opposite sides of the resort!). Then we left welcome bags for our guests every morning with the group check in for whoever was checking in that day and so many guests didnâ€™t receive them. I would have to go back, get the bags and deliver it myself. They do not communicate over there and make empty promises. Group check in actually had me crying one morning because one of the employees was giving me attitude! Not what we needed to deal with. I tried to be understanding that it was a very busy time for them and they were 97% full, as I was told countless times. My biggest complaint would be the lack of communication in group check in.
Welcome Bags: Our welcome bags included the following items: Bag, itinerary, disposable camera, activity book or deck of cards, monogrammed cup, key holder, and survival kit. The survival kit included a first aid kit, aloe vera, shout wipes, pepto, advil, off! wipes. The advil was the most used item. Plenty of our guests had hangovers throughout the trip!
Private Events: Wednesday, July 25th we had a private moonlit pool party for our guests at the Eden pool from 8pm to 11pm. We had hors deourves and cocktails served. We surpassed the 75 nights, so we had unlimited events. We paid only for an ipod player and speaker so we could have music. This was amazing! All of our guests had a fabulous time and the set up of cocktail tables was so nice! It really surpassed my expectations.
On Thursday, July 26th, we had a White night lounge party on the element terrace from 7pm-10pm. It was a buffet dinner and cocktails. The food was excellent. We had the BBQ buffet, which overall was very good. We had the DJ play for three hours from J&S Audio Visual which is the resort DJ. The d©cor was an extra cost of $3,828 and the food was no additional cost because we had unlimited private events. Another hit! All the guests enjoyed the party and the view!
Wedding Day: The day of the wedding was wonderful. Perfect weather and mostly everything went as planned. I had my hair dresser and makeup artist with me, so I got ready in my room with no problems. Jacqueline had the tram car vehicles ready to pick up the groomsmen and bridesmaids to bring them to Isla beach where we were having the ceremony. Then there was a golf cart to bring me there last once they were all set up. We had the guitarist playing at the ceremony. Everything was great. The cocktail hour was on Isla beach also. Some of the guests didnâ€™t like it outside, but there was a very nice breeze so the heat wasnâ€™t bad. After the ceremony we took photos on the beach, first with all of our guests and then my husband and I. So by the time the guests finished taking photos, there werenâ€™t at cocktail hour for that long. Then Jacqueline had the tram cars available to transport most of the guests to the reception, which was in the Fillmore ballroom.
Salon: Many of the girls had their hair/make-up done at the salon for the wedding, and overall, great results. One or two girls didnâ€™t like the style, but for not being at home, I think everyoneâ€™s hair was really done well. And they were all on time!, which is important. I had a polish change and pedicure done the day before the wedding and they really are very organized and do a great job in the salon.
D©cor: The d©cor was provided by Creative Punta Cana. The drapery was perfect! They did an excellent job! We had one wall (behind the bride & groom table) with the star drapery and the rest of the room in white drapery. The centerpieces were beautiful, even though I would have wanted the actual flowers to be fuller/bigger, but it was already done, so couldnâ€™t worry about it.
Food: We chose the International buffet. I had originally wanted the reception indoors so we could have a sit down dinner (canâ€™t accommodate sit down dinners if you choose to have the reception anywhere outdoors). BUT, for the sit down dinner, you can only choose ONE appetizer, ONE entre, ONE dessert for ALL of your guests! Obviously we cannot force everyone to eat the same meal. So we went with the buffet. It was fine. Throughout this process in planning a destination wedding, I realized I would have to choose my battles wisely lol.
J&S Audio Visual: We had the same DJ for our white party and reception. We really had no complaints about them. Besides the MC at the reception, the DJ was good. The MC was all over and was more worried about being social than being somewhere when I needed him. I provided them with CDs of Albanian music (I am Albanian and my husband is not) which they played well and mixed into the music for the night. For specific slow dances and any specific dances we had, I put all the music on a CD for them, just to make sure we had it. They wrote everything down and it worked out well.
HDC Photography: We decided to go with an outside vendor for photography and videography. THE BEST DECISION WE MADE! The resort charges $500 for an outside vendor, WELL WORTH THE MONEY! Side note: With our wedding package came a photo book with 36 photos from the resorts photographer. Since we had HDC for the wedding, we used them at our white party. The photographer was too busy drinking by the bar and I always had to call him over for photos. Then I just received my photo book from them in the mail the other day, straight from Shutterfly! And they did a tacky job with the layout. From my experience, STAY AWAY FROM HARD ROCK PHOTOGRAPHER! Now back to HDC. Milan was the photographer and he was amazing!!! HDC was worth every penny. They have sent me the photos already so I can download and then can order or print them. But with my package came 300 prints and a coffee table book, which I am in process of choosing the photos for. The pictures and moments that Milan was able to catch are amazing! And we barely noticed him throughout the reception. Milan and the videographer were in all the right places at the right time. Still waiting for the video, so I canâ€™t comment on the quality of it yet.
Oro Nightclub: Went on Saturday night and paid a $40 cover. Lucenzo was performing. The cover was high, but we had a group of ten people who wanted to party one more night before leaving. We had a blast. The DJ was ok, but we had fun with our group. So it all depends on who you are with and what you want to do while at the resort.
I hope I gave a detailed enough review on everything. I will try to upload pictures for everything. Any questions, let me know! Good luck to all the future brides!