Saturday, July 1, 2017

Royalton Punta Cana: Wedding Review

As I had mentioned in my welcome back post, Zac and I tied the knot at The Royalton in Punta Cana on May 16, 2017! After six years together and almost three engaged, we're officially husband and wife, yay! It was an amazing day with 21 of our closest friends and family. I will cherish the memories we made that day (& all week) forever!

I read many reviews before deciding on The Royalton for our big day! I thought I would return the favor and post a review of the resort in general but more specifically on our wedding! We booked through Vacation Express and I would highly recommend them as they have competitive pricing that combines air and hotel (which is all inclusive!)
When you book a wedding with the Royalton you get two wedding planners, one based in Canada (mine was Charlyne) whom you communicate with via email. She gives you all the information you need to make your decisions and creates the invoice, then sends the information to the onsite coordinator. Both of my wedding coordinators were so helpful and Charlyne was always quick to respond to my (never ending) emails. 
Charlyne didn't attach a copy of the music form for the reception. This was an easy fix as Ines realized at our initial meeting and I simply emailed the file to Ines and she printed it out. I would suggest printing another copy of your music form just in case so you don't have to waste time looking through your emails to find it!

I'll start with check in, which was refreshingly simple after a long day of traveling. We were greeted with a frozen beverage and cold towel, then asked if we were Diamond Club. We had booked Diamond Club so we told them yes and we were escorted to the private Diamond Club lounge for check in. It took less than five minutes, then our butler was showing us the grounds and to our room! It was stress free and easy to relax as soon as we arrived. We were in the ocean less than a half hour after we arrived!

We were upgraded to a honeymoon suite that was amazing and had plenty of room for us to get ready in the day of the wedding. I had hired Magda Riccardi for our hair and makeup so it was important we had plenty of room for the total of nine people that would be in the room! Magda did an amazing job on our makeup and her partner was great with our hair. They started at 8am and we were done by 12:30, our wedding was at 4 so I was happy to not be rushing or anything at the last minute.
In regards to the room, while it was spacious I think I would have preferred a swim out. We upgraded for the last two nights of our honeymoon and the swim out was breath taking. It was room 1430 in building 6, right across from the diamond club beach! It was absolutely amazing and I will definitely request this room for our future stays.

We met with our on site wedding coordinator, Ines, the day after we arrived. She was so attentive and was happy to answer my questions and add on a few things.
The ceremony was done by Pastor York, who I highly recommend if you're looking to get married in Punta Cana! He made it personalized and formal. Investing in Pastor York to perform the service was the best decision we made!

We had brought fans and programs to be placed at each seat. I was pleased to see most people using the fans as I was on the fence about it. It was a nice touch!
We chose the dream package which includes cocktail hour and a musician. The saxophonist was incredible and started playing right away. Appetizers were also included, we chose guacamole and chips, chicken satay with roasted red pepper cream and coconut shrimp. Our guests loved them! We also had the bahama mama as our signature drink but I was pleased they had a pretty well stocked bar so our guests could get whatever beverage they would like! The champagne toast we did right after the ceremony, there is also the option of doing it at dinner.

We had our semi private dinner at Opa! It was the perfect location, right on the beach, and the food was fantastic. It felt like a private dinner because the table is set up outside of the actual restaurant. We brought with us table runners, mason jars (10 in total, we used 7 but I wanted to bring extra in case some broke), shells, sand dollars, starfish decorations, tea light candles, Mr & Mrs signs (a set of burlap ones for our chairs and wooden signs to go in front of our place settings), thank you cards and place cards. Ines did an outstanding job setting up the table for us! It looked amazing. We used the bridesmaids bouquets in four of the mason jars and three mason jars were filled with sand, shells and a tea light candle. I made a seating chart and put the place cards in order so the seating would be in order. I brought everything to the initial wedding meeting and Ines took notes and put all the center pieces together for us! It was stress free and perfect!

I purchased a matching layout for the program, thank you cards and place cards from Etsy. I also mailed out a brochure that matched two weeks before we departed. This had some information on The Royalton, advised people on the $10 tourist card you have to pay upon arrival and gave a full schedule of events for the week.

Instead of giving favors we decided to rent out a full day excursion to Saona Island with Kelly Tours RD! They were amazing to work with and it was awesome to extend the wedding festivities into the next day! The excursion included a private Catamaran ride to Saona Island with open bar (rum, coke & sprite), a few hours on beautiful Saona Island, delicious buffet lunch and open bar on the island and a speed boat ride to a natural pool in the middle of the ocean (there is an abundance of starfish, awesome for snorkeling!) It was an hour bus ride to and from the area where the boat left from. Everyone really enjoyed this day trip and I'm so happy we decided to thank our guests in this way! On the thank you card we reminded our guests to meet in the lower lobby at 7:45 in the morning. We also mentioned it on the brochure we sent out ahead of time so everyone was already aware.

Now back to the day of the wedding, for the reception we chose to rent out the Disco (it was $850 for two hours, full bar & DJ included!) I'm so happy I found out about this option through the Royalton Brides Facebook page! They don't advertise it and I was afraid our only option was to rent out the beach or poolside area and add on open bar and the DJ, and boy does that add up quickly! The Disco was air conditioned which our guests loved after being out in the heat for the ceremony and dinner. We hired a MC when we met with Ines, so he could announce our walk in, the cake cutting and get the party started. I originally thought the included DJ would do this, so I would advise other brides to book the MC in advance just in case they are not available the day of you wedding if you decide to add it on last minute as we did.

Originally, the wedding coordinator based in Canada, Charlyne, told me that I could not do the cake cutting in the Disco and it would have to be done following dinner at Opa. I was a bit disappointed as I knew dessert was included in the menu and I knew most of the guests wouldn't want double dessert. When I met with Ines for our meeting, she informed me that I could do the cake cutting in the Disco! This was greatly appreciated as we got to have our cake cutting song play and our guests were ready enjoy some of the delicious cake! We also upgraded the cake so it had two layers (one chocolate, one vanilla) and each layer had a strawberry filling. This was well worth it, such delicious cake and the second layer made it feel like more of a traditional wedding cake.
We brought our cake topper with us (they have great, customizable ones on Etsy!) and I asked to add on three cake flowers. I also brought the cake cutting utensils!

I couldn't have been such a calm, cool and collected bride without my Stress Away essential oil, not only did it calm my nerves from the plane ride but I practically bathed in it the entire week leading up to the big day! I put a drop on each of my wrists and wow, it's just heavenly. Think vanilla, lime and lavender bliss. This is a must have for any bride! Who has time to be bridezilla while in paradise?! Not I! Email jessicamdeer@gmail.com for more information on this amazing essential oil! 

Our day was everything I dreamed it would be. My biggest advice to brides is do not stress! Everything will work out. Most days, The Royalton does two or three weddings, they are professionals! Have trust in them ~ they do an outstanding job. 

 
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