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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Dreamy Nuptials in Punta Cana

Words by Courtney Cox
Photos courtesy of Jenny Ostenson Photography

Angie and Brad knew a wedding in their hometown of Tacoma, Washington wasn’t their dream. In fact, they had something very different in mind for their December nuptials. “As this was both of our second weddings, we wanted to get married somewhere neither of us had ever been before,” explains Angie. “It was also important to us to have a ‘family vacation’ at the same time as our wedding.” The couple intended their destination wedding to be very small and intimate and their nearest and dearest were happy to oblige. “Everyone was very supportive – Brad and I paid for all of our girls to be at the wedding and the rest of our family was able to attend,” says the bride. “We only invited family and a few close friends. Our total group was only 19 people.”

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The paradise the couple chose to experience for their wedding was Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. “We chose the destination because of the weather in December,” says Angie. “We also chose the location because it was an all-inclusive resort, which made it more affordable overall. The resort we stayed at was The Majestic Elegance in Punta Cana. They were okay. I am really glad we didn’t have our ceremony at the resort, but had the ceremony at Kukua Beach Club. Kukua provided a much more personalized and intimate ceremony than we would have received at the resort.”

The couple did run into a logistical issue with not hosting their wedding at the resort where they were staying. “The biggest problem we encountered was the resort was not accommodating in regard to having people come and do our hair prior to the ceremony,” explains the bride. “We ended up having to pay extra to get the people into the hotel to do our hair. I would recommend discussing this ahead of time with the hotel or the people doing your hair for your wedding. We were able to figure it all out, but it did delay things about two hours. But, when you’re on vacation, it didn’t really matter in the big picture and it all worked out fine.”

Our bride Angie brings up a great point here. It’s not uncommon for all-inclusive resorts to charge a fee for you to bring in outside vendors – whether it be a hair stylist, photographer or florist. At times these fees can be very expensive. This is something you will want to discuss with the resort’s wedding planner before signing a contract – especially if you have your heart set on a particular vendor not on the hotel’s preferred vendor list. While Angie and Brad did run into a few hiccups, overall their planning experience was wonderful.

“It was a really positive experience for us as it was not just planning a wedding, but planning an event for our families to join together and have a memorable trip,” says Angie. “Bego at Kukua Beach Club was amazing, as was our local wedding planner Tammi Barber at TLB Events. I couldn’t have done it without them and worked at the same time! Bego coordinated all of the details for the ceremony – we literally showed up, got married and it was perfect!”

In terms of arranging travel for their guests, the couple had that handled. “We had AAA Travel in Tacoma, Washington arrange all of the travel documents for our guests. Maria Nelson at AAA Travel was amazing and got everyone to and from the Dominican Republic!” We asked the couple how a hometown wedding would have differed from their dreamy destination wedding: “Well, it wouldn’t have been our wedding. Having the ceremony on the beach at sunset, surrounded by only family and friends wouldn’t have happened at home.”

Angie and Brad ultimately held a beautiful, colorful destination wedding on the beaches of Punta Cana. We asked them if they had any advice for other couples currently planning a wedding away: “Surround yourself with talented people you trust and stick to your vision. At the end of the day, you get to marry the person you love and that’s really what matters. The details all fall into place. The ones that work out make you smile and the ones that go sideways make for a good story later in life. No matter what – it all becomes part of your story, which makes it special.”

Vendors: Photographer: Jenny Ostenson Photography, Wedding Planner: Tammi Barber with TLB Events, Ceremony/Reception Site: Kukua Beach Club, Florist/Cake/Hair & Makeup/Food/Entertainment: Bego with Kukua Beach Club, Gown Designer: Claire Pettibone

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