Information from a photographer that recently photographed a wedding on the La Barcaza
"and i hope you're ready for an honest answer...
at the moment, they are terrible. it's such a shame actually. it's obvious they've never been in the wedding business and don't know how to deal with brides. i sincerely hope they get a good wedding planner soon!
at our most recent wedding there, the owner's father, an older Romanian man with a big belly and a loud rude demeanour, was in charge. the couple whose wedding we documented was so sweet and chilled about everything - thank goodness... first off, they said it would only take 30 minutes to get to the beach (from where a smaller boat takes you to la barcaza) from their hotel and it took a little over an hour. because of this, by the time we made it to the boat the sun had already set and it got dark very fast - defeating the whole purpose of sailing leisurely and enjoying the views. our bride was very sad about this, but just went with the flow. by the time we got to the natural pool, it was pitch black. they (the owner's dad) were very rude about the dinner - a few of the vegetarians (Rob & I included) changed our minds and were inquiring if we could get a seafood meal instead, because the vegetarian option was quite poor. he made a very big deal about it costing more and caused a scene in front of other guests which left us feeling very embarrassed. he then interrupted the party after only 2 hours (we were supposed to be on the boat for 3) and told the couple they have to get off, the fun is over (accounting for the hour that we'd spent in transit) - again making a scene in front of their guests. he doesn't speak very good english (or spanish for that matter) and kept amplifying the unnecessary confrontation by calling his son, the owner, to 'talk sense' into usâ€¦ right there at the end of the wedding reception! we made the best of it of course, but i would be absolutely mortified if this was our wedding. to add insult to injury, the seafood meal that used to be amazing before is now the cheapened version. it's obvious that the new owners are trying to cut corners and save everywhere they can. there are more examples, but i don't want to sound petty - you get the picture. it's just that â€¦ it's all about the little things in the end, you know? the girl who was in charge before, Flori, is gone. i really do hope they find someone like that again!
also note - there are absolutely no wedding decorations (or some very cheap tacky ones), so if you want everything to look nice, bring the decorations yourself / hire a decorator (let me know and i can share a good one. if you bring your own - allow for even more time before sunset and have a team of bridesmaids ready to get everything done quickly with you.
we really loved working with la barcaza before because it can be such a wonderful and unique experience compared to the resort. i hope you may appreciate that i'm being totally transparent with you because i really care about other brides' experiences here in Punta Cana - so please take this account with a grain of salt. having said all this - i believe that if you voice your concerns and lay out all your stipulations to them ahead of time - your wedding there will be absolutely unforgettable!! the main entertainer there (I believe his name is Jorge) is an absolute gem - he also was a great catalyst on the boat and complained about the new owners.
bottom line advice: double-check the timeline and check when the sun sets - you want to board at least 90 minutes before sunset to enjoy this experience; don't go for the plastic chairs, the wooden ones really make a difference and are so much classier; remind ladies to bring pashminas (or get pashminas as a gift) - it may get quite cool towards the end of the evening; carefully select your playlist, there's no dj to get the crowd roaring and the transitions can be awkward; consider wearing a different wedding dress for after the swim in the natural pools (it will be much more pleasant to enjoy yourself - so you might want to bring your dress carrier / sleeve)."