Hey. Congratulations on your Big Day. I am sure it is going to be a time of your life.
We had our wedding in Paradisus Punta Cana in June 2013. Best time ever!!!
Here is my thoughts on it:
1) We had the Aqua Package with some add ons. We had the ceremony and cocktails on the beach and reception at the pool side. It worked out great.
2.) Cake was ok, but I would not say it was something special. We did care much about the cake so did pay any extra for it. We just added some real flowers for decoration from our centerpieces for free. I do not regret it.
3.) I brought my own flowers for Centerpieces and Bouquet. I really wanted Peonies and the resort quote was totally unreasonable. We had a florist from Santo Domingo Delivered it to the resort on a day of the wedding. Saved a lot of money by doing so.
4) I had My hair and makeup included in a package. Everyone else were responsible for their own hair. I know that salon charged about $100 extra per person. I went for a trail a day before for extra $100 which was a great idea. I did not like my hair at first, but then we were able to make it work after some time. So on a day of the wedding I just came to the salon and had it done with no stress whatsoever. Was very happy
5.) We have used a photographer from the resort to avoid any external vendor fees (Which was around $1000). We were little scared in the begging and felt like we had no choice. But after seeing the final work we were relieved. They did such an amazing job. We were extremely happy.
6.) Did not use the bridal room as our own room was right in front of the ceremony space. Just send my groom to change in his parents room. Do not regret doing so
7.) We hired a DJ provided by the resort. I prepared a list and CD of ALL the songs for the reception in order that I wanted it. Everything went great and guests had a blast.
8.) We had an open bar. I feel it was a must for the wedding. Even though groom and I did not drink, our guests really liked it and had fun
9.) We had dinner on a pool side and it was perfect. It was not windy at all but very pleasant. DO NOT HAVE RECEPTION ON THE BEACH. We have seen many weddings there and it was so windy that everything was flying, plus it got chilly at night (June 1) plus I've heard that they have sand flees that come out at night and bite. I've heard horror stories about it.
Let me know if you have any other questions. Would be happy to help