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My Almost-Planned Thread - Paradisus Palma Real Wedding 2/27/2016

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Hi ladies!


So I have been very reluctant to have a planning thread for privacy purposes. I was afraid of someone simply googling my name and my resort and then finding my planning thread and having all the surprises ruined! I know this is probably stupid right? I should have made a different username!


However, over the last year i have probably gone on this site several times a week, and have found SO much helpful information and got so many ideas that I decided I needed to give back. (shout out to all the brides who have gotten married over the last year, and plan on getting married, because i have endlessly read all of your posts, and you have been incredibly helpful). I have "stalked" so many photographer blogs, googled "paradisus wedding, destination wedding, palma real wedding" in all variations on every social media site, just to see pictures and ideas. Unfortunately, there are not many Palma Real brides, and I figured if I made this post, another uncreative and paranoid bride like myself, will benefit at some point in the future. 


I will make this purely about the wedding, as condensed as i can. and luckily I have most of my things already planned out so I will post all the final inspirations. And then report back after the wedding (which is in 28 days EEEEK) with an official review and actual pictures. So here it goes!


Why Paradisus Palma Real?


 - The short answer is that its the most luxurious resort that allows kids. We have 2 baby newphews and I have a 14yr old sister.

- They are known for weddings and have a romance department that is based in Miami so the communication is very quick and easy

- My best friend's brother got married there in May 2009, and it so happened that my fiance and I were in Punta Cana on our first vacation that week (we stayed at a cheaper place next door). We got to spend the day there and were in such awe of its luxury and beauty, that it always had a special place in our hearts

- The bad: its expensive, definitely the most expensive all-inclusive that we looked at. They charge you for absolutely everything. If you are paying for your own wedding, like us, beware. It will make you upset, but just keep reminding yourself, it will be worth it at the end. 

- Room tip: do NOT do a group contract. Cecilia who is in charge is awful, awful, awful. And the room rates are more expensive (for in-season) than rates online.  Have all of your guests sign up for melia rewards and book through the melia website. We probably saved our guests on average $80/night/person by doing so. Yea it sucks we didnt get a free room for every 10 rooms booked, but we cared about our guests saving money more than getting a free room. (for any  palma real brides PM me about this)

- Why Punta Cana? Direct flights form every city we have guests coming from (besides LA but quick stop in Miami/Ft Lauderdale), short flight from east coast (nyc, philly), and the first place we went on vacation together. (also my fiance cant go to mexico because he gets sick)


Wedding Date Choice

- February is arguably the coldest month in NYC so we figured everyone will want to get away at the end of the month

- the rates usually drop after president's day so we still get the high season, but not the super expensive holiday rates

- not a rainy month (we were in Punta Cana in May and it rained after afternoon - I am someone who worries WAY too much about everything, so I would literally not sleep for weeks if I thought there was a good chance of rain on my wedding)


Quick Us Background 

- feel free to checkout our wedding website: www.mashandkev.com

- we met in college and have been dating for almost 8 years. we live in NYC and have lived together for 3 years. we have an amazing dog named Stella, she is a cavalier king charles, and we are obsessed with her. we are also incredibly sad she is not coming to our wedding. 

- we have a place in Miami and go there all the time, so we are huge beach people, and will eventually live in  Miami where we can go to the beach every day - so the beach wedding was a no brainer, decision made many years ago



Palma Real charges $1000 outside vendor fee (plus tax and service) unless they stay at the hotel for 3 nights. 


Photographer - Tropic One - in house vendor. Not my number one choice but the pictures are good enough where we couldn't justify paying more. (My number 1 choice was Katya Nova.) I had them send me portfolio for each wedding photographer and we liked Rodrigo and requested him. We are also getting their photobooth for the reception. 


Videographer - PJ from Life In Rewind (http://lifeinrewind.com/). We are flying him down and he is attending all of our events. He did 2 of our friends weddings last summer, and we just fell in love with his work and decided to fly him down. 


Decor - Caribbean Celebrations - in house vendor, had no choice here. 


DJ - Mannia. Paying the outside vendor fee. Music is very important to us and we read several reviews recommending Mannia over the in house DJ. He helped us with price given the outside vendor fee so it turned out to be a tiny bit more expensive, but not a lot. We are having him come for the welcome BBQ and the wedding. Resort wanted to charge us the outside vendor fee for EACH DAY. I pushed back HARD citing it never said that in the contract and eventually they agreed to only charge it once. 


Hair/Make up - I rented the bridal suite and getting all of our hair and make up done by the in house stylists. I have 9 bridesmaids, myself and my mom. I am treating all of them to their hair and make up as part of their gift. There is a package that includes bridal suite, 4 hair/make ups and bridal hair and make up, which i purchased. Since i get my hair done free with my wedding package, i only  needed to add 4 more hair and make ups (if anyone wants more info on this or pricing let me know). 


Paper - my very good friend is starting her own etsy  business with her mom after her wedding this summer became a huge hit. She did everything herself and really enjoyed it, and now her wedding is featured in brides! http://www.brides.com/blogs/aisle-say/2016/01/washington-dc-wedding-ideas-photos-sarah-bradshaw-photography.html

So I was her first client! She did all of my menus, welcome letter, door tags, and ceremony fans! I will post pictures later when i get into details of each event. 



Wedding Package


Paradisus has a lot of wedding packages - i will keep this short but for anyone looking at the resort just reach out to me for more details. We chose the Tailor Made - which is the most expensive but it includes the welcome BBQ and many other things we knew we wanted. Unfortunately, it includes some things we didn't want decor wise, and we are still paying a lot of money for flower upgrades. I work in finance, so naturally I ran all the numbers and still decided for what we wanted, it made sense to do this package over others. 




We are having 88 people total, including us and 2 kids (our nephews). Everyone is staying at the resort. 

Schedule of Events


Thursday 6-9pm: Rehearsal dinner on La Baraza boat: http://weddingboatpuntacana.com/

this is for family and wedding party only. 


Thursday 9pm: Welcome drinks at the resort bar for everyone


Friday 6pm: All White Beach BBQ


Saturday 5:00pm (official start time 5:30pm but want guests to get there early) - ceremony on the beach

6:30pm: cocktail hour at Fuego beach

7:30pm - 11:30pm: Reception at Fuego Restaurant. We had to pay extra to privatize this space. But it is incredible and exactly what we were looking for. 

11:30pm: after party at Red Lounge (the resort bar/club)


this top floor will be just the dance floor and then theres a level that wraps around this where the tables will go. 


I will go into detail for each event and post more pictures. 


We are getting to the resort on Tuesday. Everyone else is getting there either Wed. or Thurs. with a few people getting there Friday. 


Edited by maria1488
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posting a picture of our dog to test the best way to post pics! sorry having minor issues trying to attach images to the messages. but nothing says happy friday like a cute puppy right?!


Edited by maria1488
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Save the Dates: we sent these out in April, so about 10 months before the wedding. We had our Engagement Party in June and wanted to have the invitation in the save the dates. A lot of people that can't make the wedding attended our engagement party, so it worked out well!. I used https://weddingpassports.com/for my save the dates. 


Bridesmaids: 9 bridesmaids. all of my bridesmaids are wearing Dessy dresses - Lux Chiffon fabric in Sunflower  (yellow) color. Everyone got a different style from weddington way. The picture posted is just to show the color, not one of the styles actually chosen. We used weddington way because they had free returns and it was easy to control everyone ordering together, etc. I picked like 30 different styles and added them to my show room, then invited all the bridesmaids and they each chose a style they liked. I told them to choose their own shoes. barefoot in the sand is fine with me too if thats what they wanted to do. but since the reception is on marble floor, I am guessing most girls will wear heels or wedges for that part. 


Groomsmen: 9 groomsmen including officiant.  the groomsmen are all wearing grey (lighter grey) pants, white shirts, black suspenders, black tie, and black shoes. while my fiance is wearing a blue suite with white shirt and black tie. 


My dress: for the same privacy concerns mentioned above, I am going to wait to post a picture of my dress until after the wedding! i have my second fitting tomorrow. My biggest concern is that the top part of my dress is lace with minor beading and it is VERY itchy. like to a point where I cant wear the dress. It didnt feel like that when i tried it on (twice for 1hr each time, before ordering). So i am bringing in different bustiers tomorrow but i have a feeling i will have to ask them to sew in a liner, which is not ideal given my dress is slightly shear, and the liner will be white. if anyone had any issues with itching/rashes from their dress, please let me know how you fixed it!!


My shoes: for the ceremony I am wearing bottomless sandals I got on etsy, and i got matching hair pins (TBD on if my hair style actually works with wearing them though). And for the reception i am wearing the Alana Jimmy Choo shoes in gold! I bought them as a sample sale so I got extremely lucky!


Officiant: my best friend from growing up is marrying us. We have been friends for 18 years. He got ordained in NYC and we are all going to officially sign the marriage license the day before we leave (while we are still in NYC), but perform the actual ceremony in DR, so it still feels like we are getting married only once. 











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Our wedding decor is all white and gold, with yellow accents (bridesmaid dresses, accent flowers, etc). 


Chairs: white Tiffany chairs with white chair covers on end chairs


Aisle decor: plain white aisle runner with scattered fake rose petals (bought on chair cover factory), and white ikea lanterns along the aisle (excited to see how @@yycbride2016 looks!)


Gazebo: white draping with white wood construction, chandelier, and flowers on poles made out of white roses, soft yellow lilies and baby breath. I really wanted more flowers on the gazebo, but I just couldnt justify paying $800+ for a 15 min ceremony!


Escort stands: we are setting 2 big white cubes/blocks infront of the whole ceremony, 1 on each side, with a tall cylindar on each consisting of a topiary of white and soft yellow roses, white hydrangeas and baby breath. we are going to re-use these center pieces for the escort tables at the reception. 


i am attaching pictures of my inspiration, obviously all different colors, etc but you can get an idea. 


Ceremony fans: my friend did these, they came out amazing. she used ivory paper and very heavy card stock so they dont fly away. we plan on placing them on everyones chairs. 


Bubbles: going to place bubbles with little tags to blow wishes for the new mr. & mrs. on all the end chairs. 


Welcome table: going to have the 2 posters in the pictures on the welcome table along with a shoe rack for those that want to take off their shoes. (need to confirm with wedding coordinator). I wanted to get a lot more signs, like directional signs, but we ended up realizing there is just no way we can carry everything with us down there. 


Music: we are going to use their speakers to play the welcome music, and the processional. But - this is a surprise for guests - right before i walk down the aisle, one of my bridesmaids is going to take her violin and actually play Canon in D while I walk down the aisle! I was really torn paying for the violinist because he was very limited in the songs he could play, and as everything at Paradises, he was just super expensive. So one day she offered to play saying she used to play competitively, which was so nice of her. We are still trying to find a piano version that we can play over the speakers to accompany her violin version. Logistically, we will have to really nail out the details at rehearsal to make sure the WC knows how to time all of this with the music. We plan on using that wedding DJ app you all have talked about. Just need to actually download it. Did you guys use your iphone or ipad to play music? 


(sorry i dont know why my pictures are sideways arghhhh)










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Welcome bags!


I got my totes from wedding chicks (like many others on this site) during one of their sales. I think the quality is awesome and they look really nice. We are giving 1 per couple, or 1 per a single person. We are doubling the survival kits for couples. 


Contents: survival kit (advil, pepto, emergen c, life savers, shout wipes), travel size sunscreen and aloe, personalized chapstick (etsy), personalized mirrored sunglasses  with our hashtag on the side in white ( https://www.inkhead.com/reflection-malibu-sunglasses/33557/),a bag of personalized M&Ms with a picture of our dog :). We are debating adding Mamajuana bottles but they are $6/each from Dominican Favors (deliver to your resort for free) and I am afraid they will go to waste since its already an all inclusive resort, and they are too big to bring on a plane back (and i doubt most people are going to check in bags). 


We are also going to have flip flops for ladies at the reception and a cigar bar. 





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@maria1488  Wow - you've done a fabulous job of putting everything together, and your date is really getting close now!! You and @@yycbride2016 are very close together!


Definitely keep posting your updates so we can see your plans coming together!

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Thanks for all the input! Do you have pictures yet from the actual wedding? I'll be getting married there in September! How did the spa ladies do with hair and makeup? Where have you seen reviews on the in house DJ? I'm nervous to use him but I really don't want to pay a fee to use another DJ! We are considering bringing our own music player for the welcome beach BBQ. Hopefully that works out okay! Thanks Again for the post :)

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@@brittneyo2 i dont have the wedding pictures posted anywhere yet, but here is our wedding video which should be a little helpful: 


I saw some DJ reviews from previous weddings, I cant recall exactly where, but we loved Mannia, he was great. And he came down in price for both events where it was not more expensive than using the in house DJ anyway. The hair and make up ladies were mostly good, 2 of them were great, the 3rd wasn't as good. The biggest issue was that I had confirmed several times with a detailed schedule 4 stylists, and only 3 showed up on my wedding day. It was unacceptable and made me super stressed and late for pictures (we ended up not getting half of the pre ceremony pictures that we wanted to get). That was by far the worst thing that happened though. The wedding coordinator was furious too, and the salon manager came up with a lame excuse as to why the 4th didnt show up, but I think it was just their mistake. So i would demand a contract from them stating exactly who will be your stylists. 

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@@maria1488 your video is amazing!! Sooo beautiful! Everything! Where did you find your ceremony sand frame? I've been looking for the perfect one. Were you able to get it home with out mixing? And did y'all end up staying at the reserve? Your entertainment was awesome! I didn't see that option, how long did reception last? I believe ours is 3 hours! Our ceremony is supposed to start at 6 since I didn't want it to be too hot but they told us the sun goes down by 7. Do you think 6pm is too late? Thank you again for the video!! You are a gorgeous bride!!

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