We got married in Dubrovnik last June. We had booked our wedding with Dubrovnik Riviera Weddings.
I think many of you are wondering what the endresults are of planning a wedding abroad, so here comes our story for those of you that want to hear feedback.
1. the wedding planner: we are so happy to have decided to work with this agency. Allthough at some stages it took a while before Nina replied to an email, it was well worth the wait. She has always been honest, helpfull, direct and had some good ideas of which we never would have thought. She has also surrounded herself with a very reliable team, the price this company charged us is well worth the investment.
2. the ceremony: we decided to have our ceremony at the sponza palace. What a fantastic setting. DRW organised the whole thing: set up, booking, payment, decor, officiant and even helped us to personalise our wedding ceremony. I was happy to have chosen this location, allthough you do not have the sea view. The building is so lovely and in the old town itself, we felt fortunate to say our vows in such a nice surrounding. The pictures we have from the ceremony are absolutely great. We have only one negative point: the officiant! She was dressed like she was going to the market, her hair looked like she just got out of bed and during the whole ceremony she maybe smiled only once! It was not appropriate at all.
3. the dinner: we booked the grand villa argentina to have our wedding dinner outdoors on their terrace. The terrace has a sea view and is located between the hotel building and the sea. Guests from the hotel cannot see you because the terrace is located much lower than the main hotel building, this was an important and decisive factor for us. We were very impressed by the venue, and because this hotel had contacted our wedding planner and asked for some kind of cooperation before, we had the impression they were really keen on the wedding business. We chose the grand villa argentina above the palm terrace because they allowed music until 2am at that low terrace (it is quite far from the hotel building). At the palm terrace you had to stop all music at midnight, we were not interested in that at all.
The start went smooth: DRW booked the date and we started discussing menus. The real surprise came when we went to see the hotel to talk about the dinner details a few months later. We were welcomed by sales representative Sanela, who knew almost nothing and had to check with her boss for every little detail. She also said that the hotel now charged 50 euro per table to set it up at the terrace and 9 euro per chaircover. These were new rules they had implemented after we booked the date. We were stunned by such arrogance. To rent a torch (the metal ones with a real flame) they charged 50 euro rental! We had the impression that this hotel had obvioulsy received several wedding requests and they now thought they can ask for anything. Our wedding planner seemed just as upset as we were. We ended up not paying for these charges but it took a lot of discussion between our wedding planner and the hotel to get to that stage.
After all that came the icing on the cake: the hotel said the beach bar (there is a small bar where you can order drinks and snacks for beach guests) closes at 11.30h, and so no drinks can be served after that! Again... discussion. I could not believe it. The hotel actually made us pay for the waiters just to keep the bar open, when we all know they earn on the drinks consumed! Then Sanela also said music had to stop at midnight when that was a main reason for us to book there!
The whole dinner booking was messy. I do not believe it had to do with our wedding planner, I know she has been in business for a while and we checked several of her previous couples before booking. We saw her twice before the wedding, she is a pro. We found it hard to believe that a five star venue can have such a poor business attitude towards a wedding couple that is spending thousands of euros in one night. Maybe that means nothing to them, but it did mean a lot to us. The dinner turned out to be fine, the food was nice and we ended up staying long past midnight, but the amount of stress they gave us before was just too much.
I would not know what we would have done if we would have had to speak to the hotel directly regarding all these issues. I started talking to them before we contacted DRW but it got me nowhere. Now, looking back, I am so happy I stopped doing that.
Music: we hired a local DJ who was great. Nina put us in touch with each other, he was really nice.
Flowers: all the flowers of the whole day were organised by DRW, we decided upon a theme and they made sure this theme was respected in all venues / details. Easy.
Rehearsal dinner: we wanted something exclusive with excellent food. Nina reccommended Gils. We went there and absolutely loved it. You cannot miss that place!
It is an experience if you are a food lover, like we are.
So, looking back on it all, we did have a dream wedding. It was everything I hoped it to be. I just wished we woud not have had all these issues with the Hotel grand villa argentina. It does give me a bitter feeling at times, but all of our guests did not know and they all said the organisation was flawless.
We are married, that is the most important, and we had a dream wedding in the end. I hope you will have too! Now, we are off on our delayed honeymoon! Carribean, here we come!!