My fiancé and I recently booked a destination wedding in Punta Cana. We had never been to Punta Cana but did a lot of research and planned 4 site visits with various resorts in hopes of finding our dream destination wedding venue.
After visiting the 4 resorts, we booked our dream destination wedding at Paradisus Punta Cana. Here are our tips for planning a destination wedding:
Tip 1: Visualize your Dream Destination Wedding & Make a List
Before you research any resorts, its important to know what you want. This will help eliminate resorts that don’t fit your criteria. Here are some questions to ask:
- Do you want a venue that offers a beach ceremony & beach reception?
- Is it important to have an adults only venue?
- How important is the quality of food and drinks?
- Will your guests be happy with the accommodations?
- Do you want to choose decor from a package or customize everything?
- What is your budget?
Tip 2: Research Resorts
Once you have your list, you can begin researching resorts. Most Punta Cana resorts have a weddings webpage that will provide basic information. Here are some tips when you research:
- Research the various beaches. It may be easiest to choose a beach you love and then look at the resorts on that beach.
- Does the resort offer anything unique for your guests? (i.e. unlimited golf, room upgrades, etc)
- Does the resort offer anything special for the bride & groom? (i.e. complimentary room or ceremony)
- What are the dining and drink options? What time does the bar close?
- How many weddings per day does the resort have? This is very important. If you choose an outdoor area for your wedding or reception and the resort offers multiple weddings per day, your backup options can be very limited in the case of bad weather.
- What are the average nightly rates for your guests?
Tip 3: Contact Resorts
Once you find resorts that fit your criteria, you should contact their wedding departments. While you may have found information on their basic wedding packages, many of the extras and customized service pricing will not be available online. Here are some things you should ask when contacting the resorts:
- Do you have a customized wedding services menu? This will help you see the true cost of the wedding. If you want to add things like dance floors, lighting and other special features, the cost will increase from the basic packages
- What is the cost to bring an outside vendor? Do you have a list of vendors (i.e. DJs, photographers, etc) you work with and their pricing?
- Ask if your preferred dates are available
- Many packages are set for a certain amount of people. Ask about the cost per person over that amount
- Ask about deposits and payment information
Tip 4: Schedule Site Visits
Because we had never been to Punta Cana, it was very important for us to visit the resorts before making a decision. We scheduled the site visits with the wedding coordinators for specific days and times. If you do not have a site visit scheduled and you are not staying at the resort, you will not be allowed onto the property – the resorts in Punta Cana are very strict about this. Here are some tips for your site visit:
- Ask to see the lowest priced room. Many resorts will want to show you the nicest rooms but will probably not be the ones your guests will stay in.
- Make a list of specific questions you have for each resort
- Bring your camera and take photos of ceremony & reception spaces
- Visit all the spaces available for ceremonies and receptions
We hope this information helps you plan your dream destination wedding!