We had our destination wedding at Paradisus Punta Cana in September 2012, to say it was amazing is an understatement! We were considering many resorts to have our wedding, and it was difficult choosing one without having visited any; needless to say we made the right choice. I wanted to make sure to pick a family-friendly resort because we had about forty guests coming to our wedding, almost ten of which were children.
Review on resort itself:
When we got to the resort, we are all VERY impressed. Our transfer through the travel agency from the airport was in a big bus with people who were staying at all different resorts in the Punta Cana area, and ours was the last stop so we got to see a lot of the different resorts near by and I have to say Paradisus was definitely one of the nicest. Some of our guests had been staying at another resort for one week prior to our wedding (they came early on their own to celebrate their anniversary), and when they checked into the Paradisus for the weekend of our wedding, and they were blown away by the quality of service, the resort itself, the rooms, and especially they FOOD! They had been staying at another nearby all inclusive and they said even with the 9 restaurants there, they barely ate anything because the food was not good. I was scared initially for all my guests hearing this, but we were really impressed by all the restaurants. The wait time, the service, the food was great and best of all, there was lots of variety. My family having a lot of the diet restrictions that we have, (no pork, a lot of them don't eat meat, etc...) there was always great options for everyone at every restaurant. Overall, the resort itself was nice, beautiful, they really keep it well-maintained. The rooms were also wonderful. spacious, and nice decor, which is a nice touch :) Again, the family who had come for the other resort commented on how much nicer the rooms were here. The staff was extremely friendly everywhere we went. Always cheerful, a smile on their face, and greeting guests which was refreshing!
Because I was there for my wedding, I did not get to enjoy all of the amenities at the resort as much as my guests did, but from what I know, they had a fabulous time. Because it was all inclusive, they were able to go para sailing and bungee-jumping for absolutely FREE which was awesome! Some of them wanted to do other excursions and it was very convenient that the resort has a desk set up with people to help you easily sign up of them. My family members went on a dune buggy tour of the island where they took you inside a natural cave with a spring and to a private beach; my husband and I later went on a helicopter tour which was also easily set up by the helpful, friendly guest services staff.
They have a great set-up for kids and they post a schedule up for guests to see if you drop your kids off to the kids club which is great. It's very organized, and again our guests who had stayed at the other resort loved this because at the other resort they didn't really know what their kids were doing at what time.
The resort has shows almost every night of the week, and although I did not get to see them because I was occupied with my wedding, some of my guests went ant enjoyed it, so the entertainment is a plus.
Destination Wedding Review:
Planning a wedding from hundreds of miles away can be very stressful; to add to that, we planned ours in a little over one month. One great thing about Paradisus Punta Cana is that they have a wedding team office in Miami to work with brides in the U.S. planning their destination weddings there! This is great because we do not have to deal with international calls or language barriers, Initially when speaking to a couple of other resorts in the Punta Cana area, it was very difficult to communicate because of the language barriers. However, the coordinator that assisted us from their office in Miami was not as helpful as we expected. The wait time for a response was extremely long (sometimes we went one week without hearing from her), and until my destination wedding coordinator from home stepped in and emailed them when our wedding date was approaching and we still had nothing finalized, we had no luck getting anywhere with our planning process. I realize part of the reason was that we had such a short amount of time, and this was not their fault. Also, I do realize that we had some extenuating circumstances with our wedding because it was culturally different, that may have prevented the planning process from going as smoothly as someone who did not have these situations. And of course, this is not their fault.
The wedding staff I dealt with at the actual resort was a world of a difference from what I experienced through the phone with the ones in Miami. I worked with Elizabeth, the wedding coordinator at the resort and she was amazing! She was VERY sweet, and she genuinely cared to make sure all of our needs were met. The day after I got there we had an appointment and she went over each and every detail of the wedding to make sure we were on the same page about everything. If any last minute changes needed to be made, she easily made them and was very helpful. She brought to my attention how I didn't have music picked out, and even helped me pick it out right then. She then took us to show us the exact places our wedding ceremony, reception, and day-after dinner event would be. The locations were all more beautiful than the pictures. We had our ceremony on the beach, cocktail hour next to the gazebo (very beautiful), reception on the beach, and next day dinner event in the garden. They had other locations which I thought were gorgeous too, (I think lobby balcony looked very unique and I wanted it but our number of guests were too large to fit), but they were better suited for a couple with a smaller wedding. For wedding decor, we wanted to keep it as simple as possible ( I wanted the natural beauty to stand out since it was on the beach), so it was very simple but exactly how we wanted it. The day of the actual events, everything went smoothly. The wedding staff were all very accommodating to the fact that this was not a traditional American wedding, so although they were not familiar with all of our customs, they were very polite, respectful, and helpful. The ceremony went well, but we had one mishap (a huge mishap) that happened. Our little ring bearer dropped the rings off of the pillow ( I guess they were not tied as securely as they should have been) We didn't realize until after we said our I do's, the ceremony was performed and we were ready to exchange rings... all of our guests started crawling on the sand like ants to look for our rings! It was quite the scene. All of the wedding staff was very helpful. They even brought out metal detectors and started looking for the rings in the sand...after a good while of looking, we determined the rings were long gone and almost gave up, when one of the staff members found one!! It was VERY noble and genuine of him to return it :) later the other one was found. (thank God!!) after the ceremony, everyone moved over to cocktail hour which was great. Our family does not drink alcohol, and they were able to replace alcohol with a few more appetizers for us and they had a nice non-alcoholic bar with juices which was awesome. Again, the appetizers were great and even afterward at the reception, the guests raved about the food. The next day, we had our reception in the garden and it was gorgeous. The resort's garden area is very lush and beautiful. The coordinator had worked with us to come up with a custom menu for this day, and once again, the food and everything was great. The only downfall I can think of for each of the events was the heat, which is inevitable when you are having an outdoor event in the Caribbean. Besides the sweat and the mosquitos, everything was perfect!
Also, during the ceremony, because it was on the beach, every bride should keep in mind this is still the public beach for the resort so you will have MANY onlookers, a huge audience, and random strangers taking pictures of your wedding... I didn't mind mostly, but it got annoying when I had a lot of random strangers in their swimsuits in the background of my pictures and just passing by or standing very close to the guests. It would have been nice if the coordinators could politely emphasize this is a private event and have them leave....
A few other things worth mentioning- the resort photographer, Jouaqui ( I'm not sure if I spelled it right) is amazing!!! Initially, I was scared about this, because the resort requires you to use their photographer...but he is awesome! He was very friendly, fun to work with, and best of all he worked FAST! He got all of our pictures from both days (the wedding and the next day event) done and edited by the time we left the resort. His work was beautiful, shots were amazing, and he meets with you before to ask you what you want, if you would like any special shots, etc. Then again, before you leave the resort, he meets with you to show you all of the pictures in his studio (which is on the resort conveniently) and ask you which ones you want. I was extremely pleased with our pictures. I constantly get compliments from friends and family about my pictures and I owe it all to him!
-I got my hair done at the Spa at the resort and it was fabulous!! She did a great job.
Overall, our wedding experience at the Paradisus Punta Cana was great! I am SO glad we went with this resort, it was definitely the best decision, and I have no regrets at all whatsoever. I HIGHLY recommend this resort for any couple planning to have a destination wedding. I cannot wait to go back with my husband for our anniversary and enjoy more of the resort while on vacation!!