I just got back from my wedding at Paradisus (Oct. 26th) and had an amazing experience! We chose the Gazebo and Gabi Club for wedding/reception. We did the Tailor Made package. We used their provided vendors Alquimia Events, JSAV, and Blue Lens for decor/audio/photography. Some tips along the way:
1) We took advantage of the LAFS package and visited back in March '14. At the time we thought it was amazing and we accomplished so much there. What we failed to do during this though was confirm everything in writing from the meeting. We thought we had the menu done, locations hammered away along with some miscellaneous things. Problem was that this manager eventually left the company and none of our decisions were documented and we basically had to start over. Lots of tribulations later, we eventually had to settle on menu choices and other items that were not what we wanted. So in the end, we treated this as just a cheap vacation where we only paid for airfare!
2) Communication between Miami office and the onsite office is extremely slow and frustrating to get answers back from. Be very patient and take everything that they say literally. Don't try to read between any lines and think what they said is what you wanted. Re-ask the question in a different manner if it doesn't quite sound right.
3) Once in contact with the onsite office, information does seem quicker. Aurora was my onsite person and she was fantastic as a couple of others have mentioned. You will meet with her when you arrive at the resort and hammer out all other questions that there might be and decide on all of the timelines. Extremely helpful! She even cleared up our confusion from the LAFS meeting before about our menu options and changed out menu on the spot to exactly what we had previously wanted! Aurora and all other romance coordinators on site are always walking around and will ask everytime if there is anything they can help with. Don't hesitate to ask as they accommodated every one of our requests!
4) We did go with the Bridal Suite option to prepare us for the day. Makes hair/make-up very easy for the spa personnel to work with and allowed for a large space for family or friends to walk in and out of. I knew the suite would have fruits, coffee, and mimosas provided, but what I did not know was that a ton of club sandwiches would be delivered later (My bridesmaids and I all ordered room service prior to this since we didn't' know).
5) Alquimia Events - very poor communication back and forth. I was 2-3 weeks late in giving my proposal to the romance office. I started an email chain in May and it took through September to get it all squared away. In the end, everything turned out ok, but patience was extremely key in dealing with it. Probably my biggest point of stress throughout the entire planning and I am not a picky person by any means! I thought I had everything discussed with what I wanted, but I was still missing pieces the day of. So if you want specifics for your wedding, make it very clear and go over it yet again during the on-site planning meeting once at the resort. The outcome was very pretty and more then we hoped for so I really can't complain.
6) JSAV - we only had a very basic setup with a projector and audio equipment. Absolutely no problems! We used the projector to just play a slideshow of pictures throughout the entire cocktail/reception and everyone loved it! The slideshow randomized pictures of the bride/groom together and each growing up, along with group pictures of family and friends that would were attending. So many callouts happened when somebody saw a picture with them in it. For the music, we created a playlist and just hit random for the reception. We hate dancing, so we weren't trying to encourage it. By the end of the night though, guests of course were dancing and the engineer for JSAV started acting like a DJ and taking requests even though we didn't ask for it or pay for it! Exceptional service!
7) Blue Lens - They were on-time for all of the events. Even 15-20 minutes earlier then we agreed on! We had 2 photographers and a videographer. We received a 10-minute slideshow and ~700 pictures 36 hours after the event before we left the resort! It will be another 3 weeks or so before we get the video, but so far we are very pleased! It did feel very pricey, but they worked with us and made it all fun for our special day!
8) Random info - Make dinner reservations! The food is very good at all of the restaurants. My guests did not enjoy the family-style dinner at Mole, but anybody who ate off the regular menu thought it was their favorite place!
We specifically requested room 1008 (Master Suite - Swim-up) after visiting. This room is right next to the gazebo and Bridal Suite and in the closest area to the restaurants and rest of the resort. Best decision, as we constantly had friends stopping over for board games and swimming. You can order drinks straight to the room or through the pool.
About all I can think of right now. I would do it again in a heartbeat as having a vacation with all of my friends was a ton of fun and I only wish it didn't go by so fast! If anybody has any questions, feel free to ask!