Love in the Dominican RepublicWords by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Two One Photography
Katie-Beth and Jared’s families come from different parts of the U.S., so since they were going to have to travel no matter what, the couple decided to give their friends and families the beach vacation of a lifetime. The couple set their sights on the Caribbean, but narrowed down their venue options by factoring in travel time, price and the wedding logistics. “After doing this, I found that Paradisus Resorts has centralized wedding planners in Miami,” says the bride. “This was an attractive offer as they ensured all wedding details would be finalized prior to our arrival. Many other resorts that I looked into required me to sit through meetings to sort through all of the details upon my arrival. We wanted to get to the resort and be able to relax with our family and friends and the Paradisus [Punta Cana] Resort allowed us to do that.”
In an effort to keep things simple, the couple hired a travel agent to help them and their guests coordinate all the travel to and from Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. “Having a travel agent who knows how to coordinate large groups, international travel and how to juggle various group discounts and tour operators is a must!”
Aside from the travel aspect, the couple had another strong reason to host a destination wedding. “It was very important to us that we actually spent time with the guests at our wedding. We knew that if we had a wedding in Colorado or Vermont we wouldn’t have been able to spend quality time with everyone who was in attendance. Being at the beach enabled everyone to take a break from life and relax.”
True to form, Jared and Katie-Beth incorporated their family and friends into the wedding wherever possible. Their photographer, Casey with Two One Photography, is a close friend. “Casey is an incredibly talented photographer who not only perfectly captured our big day, but helped make the process of taking pictures seamless and fun." Also, because the couple legally wed in the U.S., Katie-Beth’s father conducted the symbolic beach ceremony.
It’s important when having a destination wedding to remember the logistics of getting married away. Thankfully, Katie-Beth and Jared kept this in mind and it ultimately helped them save money. “There are many little odds and ends that I saw in magazines and online that I would have liked to purchase, but I always had in the back of my mind that I would need to pack everything I purchased,” says the bride. “Knowing that I needed to travel with all of my decorations really eliminated many things. Since our ceremony and reception were on the beach, we didn’t have to (or want to) decorate too much. The backdrop of our wedding was the beautiful beach!”
When asked what advice they had for other couples planning a destination wedding, Jared and Katie-Beth had two tips. “Make sure to hire a travel agent who has experience working with large groups, with international travel and various tour operators. This will make your life much easier so that you can focus on the wedding and your guests can direct all travel questions to the travel agent.
“The greatest decision [we] made was to book our wedding at a resort that helps complete all wedding plans prior to the bride and groom’s arrival. The last thing you want to do is arrive at your destination and have to sit in meetings all day to discuss linens, flowers and cake flavors.”
Vendors: Photographer: Two One Photography, Ceremony/Reception Site: Paradisus Punta Cana Resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, Florist: Caribbean Celebrations, Stationery: Wordshop Paperie, Cake: Paradisus Punta Cana Resort, Hair & Makeup: Yhi Spa at Paradisus Punta Cana Resort, Gown Designer: Monique Lhuillier, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Volcom shorts, Express shirt, Bridesmaids/Groomsmens’ Clothing Designer: Francesca’s Boutique/Volcom shorts & Express shirts, DJ: Nick Winkelman
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