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Destination I Do
Friday, February 22, 2019

A Dominican Republic Wedding

Words by Victoria Hill
Photos courtesy of Swish + Click

Russell and Sarah’s love for the Dominican Republic’s natural beauty and island lifestyle made it a perfect location for their seaside destination wedding.

Stationery for Dominican Republic destination wedding
Newlyweds celebrating Dominican Republic destination wedding
Groom's accessories
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While the couple admits flying to the small island was a concern for many guests, the promise of tropical drinks and a fun celebration made the journey well worth it. “It was a once in a lifetime experience to enjoy a group trip with a happy ending,” says the pair.

Although the couple is in the wedding industry at home, they underestimated how different it would be to plan the wedding abroad. Russell and Sarah say most of the vendors they used “did not have websites, wouldn't return emails or calls, and had no way of really communicating what they had to offer, let alone have any type of pricing.”

The answer to this issue? According to the newlyweds, it was all resolved with a local wedding planner. “In the end, we found it was best to hire a local person who knew the island vendors and was able to coordinate everything for us,” they say. “This is key when doing a destination wedding like we did, otherwise it would not have gone as well.”

Without the planner, the bride and groom admit it would have been a lot more difficult to communicate. They often used WhatsApp to message and video chat with vendors.

“With a destination wedding, there are some cons that are different,” says the couple. “Like not being able to get the finer details you might have imagined for your wedding or being hands-on in the selection process of chairs and tables or even the exact flower arrangements, since most of these things are done via email or text conversations.”

However, the pair says visiting the location before the big day helped them feel more comfortable with the area and allowed them to coordinate details with their planner. “Sometimes, pictures and videos of the location don’t do it justice. You may not understand the layout fully or there could be issues with your plans that you can not see unless you are standing there,” says the couple.

Aside from vendors, Russell and Sarah say because their wedding was held in a non-touristy part of the island, travel logistics were slightly trickier to coordinate with guests. Visiting the location in person again helped them get a better idea of what to expect. “We were able to give our friends and family a good idea of the pricing, airports available, along with personal notes and suggestions based on our personal travels to the location,” says the newlyweds.

After all of the planning, Russell and Sarah ended up exchanging their vows just as they had envisioned — and at a good price. “Though the price was about the same as we would have spent here in the States, we did get a whole week with family and friends,” says the couple. “So in our opinion, it was worth way more to do a destination wedding.”

While the price may have been similar for a wedding at home, the pair agrees the memories would not have been. “On the island, we were able to enjoy a weeks worth of peaceful bliss,” they say. “If it had been here in the States, we would have focused more on the glam and the ‘wow,’ since it would have been a one day event.”

Vendors: Photographer: Swish + Click & Christine Gosch, Wedding Planner: Laced with Grace & Dominican Wedding Planner, Ceremony & Reception Site: Villa Coco Mar, Hair & Makeup: Juan Pablo Taveras Makeup, Gown Designer: Whittington Bridal & Casablanca Bridal, Calligrapher: Hey Bernadette, Video: 8K Studios, Music: Punta Canal Live Music & Bar: Palace Party

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