*All vendors will be linked at the end of the blog post, with links to their social media accounts – in case you don’t want to read through the details.
I’ve truly dreamed about sharing these details with you all since we booked our venue back in 2021. This trip was exactly what we wanted – a tropical getaway and the most perfect wedding we could have envisioned. Why the Dominican Republic? Well, I stumbled across our venue on Pinterest and it just felt like us. After showing Darrin, he agreed and the planning started.
Our wedding venue was Kukua Beach Club in Bavaro. A beautiful restaurant beach club tucked in between resorts. A small gem with the most kind-hearted staff. The venue itself is beachfront and outdoors, with an air-conditioned bridal suite. We opted to have our ceremony under the palapa with the ocean behind us.
All of our wedding venue details were planned with Kukua’s in-house coordinator, Rachel. She takes care of planning and communicates with Mayte, who is located at Kukua, and arranges the setup and execution of the details. They were both a dream to work with. As if the Pinterest account wasn’t enough, Rachel has a Facebook group for Kukua Brides/Grooms that was awesome for getting ideas and information during the planning process.
We used a travel agent, Will Medina with Destination Weddings Expert, to book a resort room block for our guests and take care of securing our flights. He organized tasks using Trello which was really convenient. We chose the Dreams Macao Beach All-Inclusive Resort, and I have reviewed our stay here.
Planning the wedding itself was relatively stress-free. With both, Will and Rachel, I just felt like I was planning a group vacation.
Now for the details:
We tied the knot in a symbolic wedding ceremony on November 19th, 2022 – surrounded by 40 of our closest family and friends.
Arriving at the bridal suite that morning I felt ready and at peace. I was expecting to have nerves but everything felt meant to be. Hair and makeup by Olga and her team was seamless and they had the kindest energy. It was such a great experience.
Mayte made us feel right at home. She showed me the tables and decor being set up for dinner and I cannot get over how beautiful it looked. She took my vision and executed it perfectly. I was going for a neutral-toned romantic meets boho vibe. I envisioned fewer pampas and dried palms than the typical boho style and opted for more roses and softer flowers. Since we were getting married in close proximity to the beach I wanted the decor to feel as organic as possible, and I think they nailed it. From the rustic wood tables to the arches constructed of branches – it was beautiful.
Here Comes the Bride
Walking down the aisle in my Essense of Australia wedding gown made me feel like a princess. My bouquet was gorgeous, it complemented my dress perfectly. I walked way too fast, oops.
As soon as I locked eyes with Darrin, all of the other details seemed to fade. It is funny because during planning you are hyper-focused on every single detail. But what truly matters is marrying your person. It wasn’t until we received our wedding photos back that I was able to see the decor for the palapa. I truly felt like I was seeing it for the first time.
It was important to Darrin and me that we wrote our own vows, but I couldn’t seem to get mine all out. Such an emotional moment! We were truly grateful to have our loved ones there to witness it.
We couldn’t have asked for a better group of family and friends
My biggest concern with having a destination wedding was making sure everyone had a great time. I wanted it to be a fun vacation and not all about us. We loved seeing our guests meeting each other and hanging out organically. Everyone got along and it truly felt like a big party. We stayed at Dreams Macao for seven days and enjoyed ourselves.
What’s a party without good music?
Darrin and I curated our playlists for weeks for the ceremony seating, cocktail hour, dinner, and reception. I feel like I listened to nothing but our wedding music any chance I got, just to make sure it flowed together. We provided the DJ links to our Spotify playlists and it was perfect.
- Ceremony Seating
- Cocktail Hour + Dinner
- Bride Entrance: 17 – Pink Sweat$
- Recessional: For Once in My Life – Stevie Wonder
- Bridal Party Introduction: Welcome to the Party – Pop Smoke
- Bride + Groom Introduction: Matrimony – Wale
- Cake Cutting: Cake – Rihanna
- First Dance: You + I – Avant & Keke Wyatt
- Mother-Daughter Dance: Every Mothers Dream – Wedding Music Central
- Mother Son Dance: A Song for Mama – Boyz II Men
- Bouquet Toss: I Like It – Cardi B, Bad Bunny + J Balvin
- Last Song of the Night: All of the Lights – Kanye West
We spent half of the cocktail hour taking portraits and the other half mingling with our guests. We used Valiko for photography and videography and both turned out stunning. I can’t get over how beautiful the photos are and I cannot wait to reveal more snippets from the video.
For cocktail hour we had signature cocktails – a pina colada & a passion fruit mojito, along with mini appetizers. They were delicious. I highly recommend attending your cocktail hour if you have the time for it. It gave us a moment to see everyone and relax before transitioning to dinner and speeches.
The food at Kukua is next-level delicious. The venue set up a tasting when we arrived in the Dominican Republic and it was so hard to choose. We went with a shrimp ceviche, salad with chicken served inside a pineapple, and then chicken filet and snapper with mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables. We had quite a few food allergies and accommodations but Kukua made sure all of our guests had a meal they enjoyed.
The most memorable part of the reception was seeing everyone vibe and dance the night away. So many brides told me their wedding day flew by, but I didn’t feel that way. Our ceremony started at 4:30 p.m. and transportation took us back to the resort at 11 p.m. We had a full day and it was a blast.
A fun detail that I can’t leave out was our audio guestbook. We opted for an audio guestbook where our guests could call and leave a voicemail for us. These voicemails will then be put on to a vinyl record for us to have as a keepsake. I will add that many of our guests did this after the fact and not during the wedding.
- Venue: Kukua Beach Club
- Travel Agent: Will Medina, Destination Weddings Expert
- Photographer/Videographer: Valiko Proskurnin
- Hair + Makeup: Olga Montilla
- Dress: Essense of Australia from Curve Bridal Collection in Jacksonville, FL
- Tuxes: The Black Tux
- Wedding Rings: Brilliant Earth
- Audio Guestbook: After the Tone Co.