Laura and Jim’s Destination Wedding in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

August 8, 2013

Real WeddingsRiviera Maya

Laura and Jim were married this past May in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. As you can tell by the opening shot, these photos, courtesy of Julian Moniz are beyond stunning! FYI – make sure you scroll down all the way to the end as we saved some of the best for last!

About Laura and Jim:
Occupations: Financial Advisors
How they met: At the office. It seems so cliché but really when you spend over half your day in the work environment, it can be more effective than dating! We started off as colleagues but developed a genuine friendship. I could tell him anything and he could offer me a guy’s perspective. Though I was hesitant to risk our friendship in the name of something more, I knew that he was someone I couldn’t pass up. And with all he already knew about me, if he wasn’t scared off yet, there was nothing left to shock him.
What attracted Jim to Laura: Laura is one of the most motivated people I’ve ever met. She has that killer combination of intelligence, ambition and good looks. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was her smile that got me. And her eyes…. Look at her picture… you’ll know what I mean.
What attracted Laura to Jim: Anyone who meets Jim knows he is quite the charmer, but I think what really caught my interest was his sense of humour and wit. I have generally been the most sarcastic in my immediate group of friends, but had I ever met my match! To this day I still find humor in the silly things he says, even when I’m trying to be serious…. I crack every time.
What was the best advice you received as a bride/groom? “Have a destination wedding”. Surprisingly, most of the advice that we received was not with respect to keeping a marriage strong for years to come, but rather advice from past brides & grooms with respect to the wedding itself. From couples who got married away, it was apparently the best decision they felt they made. From those who had an in-town wedding, if they could do it all over again, they say they’d get married away. Going forward, we’d offer the same advice to brides and grooms. A destination wedding allows you more than just the standard 24 hours spent with your closest friends and family members, and a beautiful setting and backdrop for your special day.
Their engagement story: It was the night before we were leaving for an all-inclusive vacation. Our bags were packed and parked at the front door. Jim reached into a bag from Shopper’s Drug Mart (he had to buy soap last minute) and pulled out a Kinder Surprise- my all time favourite. “Babe I bought this for you while I was there”. Now anyone who knows me and my sweet tooth knows I seldom leave chocolate lying around for more than half hour, but for some reason, I wasn’t feeling it. “Just leave it on the counter, I’ll have it later” I said. He reluctantly sat it on the counter; shocked I didn’t plow through it immediately, but wondering WHEN I’d get to it. Time was passing, 20 minutes, half hour, an hour…. Soon we’d be leaving for the airport. He was feverishly texting (which at the time I thought nothing of- he’s always glued to his phone) one of my best friends “she won’t open the chocolate!!!”. Eventually he grabbed the Kinder egg and asked for a piece of it….. “Sure I said, just give me the surprise”. He handed over the plastic egg and I cracked it open and saw a piece of folded paper. “Crap it’s a puzzle! I hate the puzzles”. He was sweating. I was about to put the ‘toy’ down, having no interest in putting a puzzle together, when something shiny lay beneath. . I then looked up at him as I slowly moved the paper and he was already down on one knee. I read the piece of paper: “I love you still and always will”, pulled out the ring, and he finished the proposal. The proposal which almost didn’t happen!

The Wedding Day:
Wedding date: May 22, 2013
Number of guests: 52
Wedding colours: Jade and Persimmon
Laura’s most memorable moment: Seeing his face as I walked down the aisle. I could not believe how emotional he was.
Jim’s most memorable moment: Seeing her walk down the aisle. I tried to keep it together as much as I could, but the tears were inevitable. She was simply stunning; just as I knew she would be.
Favourite wedding detail: My Stuart Weitzman jewel covered sandals with a large tear drop crystal on the arch. These shoes were the perfect match for my custom made Valencienne gown which also boasted hundreds of crystals and beads.
Most unexpected moment: Having had perfect weather the few days leading up to the wedding, it was much to our surprise to wake up to a thunderstorm the morning of the wedding. The rain let off early afternoon, so we thought we were in the clear, until torrential downpour ensued 30 seconds before the ceremony was to start. We had to relocate both our ceremony and reception to an indoor location. Fortunately, the resort staff was very efficient and helped ensure the day still went-for the most part- according to plan. Weather is something you can never control; at least they say its good luck!
Most romantic moment: We did a trash-the-dress shoot one day at sunrise. Because it was so early in the morning, it was just the two of us (and our photographer) occupying the gorgeous private beach. The sunrise itself, the sound of the ocean, and the pictures taken, epitomized ‘romance’.
Did you include any traditions in your wedding? Neither of us are conventional when it comes to these things. We opted instead to add personal touches to our wedding, hand written thank you (postcards) doubling as seating cards, a guest book full our our engagement photos, and letters to each other which were kept secret and only shared the morning of the wedding.
Honeymoon: September 2013- Greece, Island Hopping
The day in three words: Intimate, relaxed, perfect

Wedding Details:
Ceremony location: Was scheduled for the wedding gazebo- moved to indoor banquet hall due to weather
Reception location:
Was scheduled for the Himitsu Terrace, moved to indoor banquet hall due to weather
Bride’s gown:
Custom Made Valencienne
Bride’s shoes:
Stuart Weitzman
Bridesmaids dresses:
Jade (bridesmaids) and Persimmon (maid of honour) chiffon knee length dresses, Bridesmaid Bliss
Music:
We put together our own playlist for the wedding of our favourite music and a few requests by our guests
Flowers: I opted for a fresh cut bouquet put together by local florists. Our bridesmaids had hand-made faux flower bouquets by Ardesign, an Etsy shop.
Photographer: Julian Moniz Photography

Fun Stuff:
Astrological signs (Laura’s) and (Jim’s): Cancer & Aquarius
What was new? Dress
What was borrowed? Hair piece
What did you put in gift bags? We distributed gift bags at a “Black and White” themed welcome party a couple days before the wedding. Gift bags were filled with “travel” items including: gum, travel size tic-tacs, headphones, luggage tags, sunscreen, chapstick, travel lint rollers and toothbrush cases.
Is there anything else that helps tell the story of the day? Other than the rainstorm and multiple relocations, the day is pretty well told through the pictures our photographer took – a day of fun, romance and celebrations.

Tell us about your experience working with LUXE Destination Weddings: I don’t know that I would have gone ahead with a destination wedding without the help of a destination wedding planner. Deciding to work with LUXE was the first decision I made with respect to the wedding. LUXE brilliantly assigns two coordinators: one for group travel and one for the wedding day details, which really helped keep both highly unrelated tasks separate. The attention to detail on the part of our wedding coordinator, Alexandra, was incredible. She returned to me in such a timely manner, all the answers to my questions, advice, and pricing. The on-site wedding coordinator (at our resort) even comments on how professional and detailed they have found LUXE to be. The true benefit of having used LUXE, is not only are they true seasoned professionals in destination event planning, but having someone assist a busy career-driven couple along the way, was such a relief.

Stay tuned for a follow up blog featuring their amazing Trash the Dress sunrise shoot!