Destination Wedding: Punta Cana

Somerville Family Beachside After the Wedding Ceremony

I just returned from five amazing days in the Domincan Republic celebrating my Zodiac Sister's wedding.  We had an absolute blast.  I think that one reason why destination weddings are growing in popularity is that everyone gets an extended wedding celebration.  A five-hour celebration becomes a five-day celebration.  "Wedding Day" becomes "Wedding Weekend," or even "Wedding Week."  And quite frankly, it's about time we Americans join the rest of the world with week-long, multi-event wedding celebrations.

Beachside Group Picture Following the Wedding Ceremony

So we all packed bags and boarded planes for Punta Cana, a touristy beach city on the isle of Hispaniola, in the country of Dominicana (more on the actual country, culture, and food in later blog posts).  People came from as far west as California, and as far East as Germany.  And lots of people came--nearly 90 in all.  Fifteen of my friends from my freshman dorm in college came. Fifteen!

There were three official wedding events--a welcome reception Friday evening, the Wedding Ceremony and Reception Saturday afternoon/evening, and a Post-Wedding Brunch Sunday morning.  It's great that there were numerous official events because it allowed all of the wedding guests to come together, mingle, and get a chance to spend time with the bride, groom, and their families.  This resort was so gigantic that it would have taken a concerted effort to ever find anyone otherwise (and everyone was cell phone free since we were out of the country!)  In fact, the resort was so gigantic and our rooms were all so spread out that you had to take a golf cart to get anywhere.

Golf Cart Transportation at the Melia Caribe Tropicale

{I will detail more about the beautiful and vibrant country of the Dominican Republic, Dominicana food, catching up with friends, and the actual resort in coming posts.}

This post is divided into parts since it is lengthy, but it's oh-so worth the read!

The Cocktail Hour

We painfully tore ourselves away from the beach and bar to try to make a dinner reservation before the cocktail party.

Bride and Groom Following the Cocktail Hour

The cocktail party was lovely, and the bride and groom made their rounds greeting their guests.  There was a bar right next to the area partitioned off for the party, so we easily made our way over to the bar and continued the party.  Eventually, the bride and groom led a procession to the "Fun Club!" where we wobbled, twerked and drank :)

Near the bar following the  welcome cocktail hour

The Wedding Ceremony

The wedding was beachside in a lovely gazebo.  White chairs lined the yard for the near-sunset ceremony.  The groomsmen looked dapper in fitted gray suits, and the groom wore a classy, classic white tuxedo jacket with black detailing.  The groomsmen marched in, followed by the groom, and we all turned with anticipation and waited for the bride to arrive.  Finally, the bride, along with her father, rode in inside a white horse-drawn carriage.  The groom gazed past the guests, and finally, his eyes met hers.  He wore a look of sheer admiration, wonder, and awe.  It was officially showtime.

The bridesmaids strolled down the aisle in their varying shades of blush pink, faces all rosy and aglow.  The adorable, tiny flower girl toddled down the aisle to Canon in D.

The bride, dressed in a sophisticated and sleek ivory white gown, along with her father, made their way towards the gazebo. Towards the beach. Towards the groom. Towards her future.

The ceremony proceeded.  Kind words were expressed.  Families were united.  The groom was choked up and had a difficult time even beginning to read his vows.  After a few seconds to gain his composure, he began.  Tears from all edges of the audience flowed.  The bride read her vows, proclaiming, among other things, that her groom is patient and loves her just the way she is.  Tears flowed both under the gazebo and in the audience.  Finally, the two were proclaimed husband and wife!

Bride and father walking down the aisle
Just Married!

The cocktail hour immediately followed the reception.  We ate; we drank; we were merry.  The bridal party took pictures by the beach, as did we.  It was "blue hour"-- not quite daytime, not quite dark.  Also known as dusk--and it makes for some remarkable photos.  (See photos at end of post)

At the of the cocktail hour, a large choo-choo train came to shuttle guests to the reception venue.

The Wedding Reception

The bridal party danced in.  The bride and groom shared a special, choreographed first dance. Food was eaten.  Toasts were made.  One line that sticks out was a prayer offered by the father of the Groom, asking the Lord to give us enough challenges so that we remain humble, and enough success to know that He is with us.  Amen!

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Then, the real party began.  We wobbled, cha cha'd, and electric slid.  We threw off our heels and made our way to the beach, where we reenacted "Drunk in Love."  There is only one word to describe the reception: epic.  Ladies lost their shoes--never to recover them.  Shots were taken.  Celebratory cigars were smoked.  Silk dresses were ruined--covered in a mixture of ocean spray, cigar smoke, and sweat.

Unofficial
Cigars on ice.

We danced, and we danced some more.  The DJ ended the reception with "Let's get wasted," which we did, as we danced atop chairs in the middle of the dance floor.

The bride then proclaimed that we would return to the Fun Club. So, there we went. And the party continued. And the dancing continued.  (See more pics at end.)  At the fun club, we shared a special impromptu moment with the bride.

Sharing a sentimental, impromptu moment with the bride.

As the night neared an end, we were all aboard the choo-choo train ready to be taken to our next destination.  The bride and groom waited for a golf cart buggy, so we (at least 20 of us) serenaded them with Boyz II Men at the top our lungs---complete with each intonation absolutely exaggerated.  It was a priceless moment, and one of my favorite of the entire trip.

The Breakfast

The last official wedding event was the post-wedding breakfast.  It was scheduled at nine, which remarkably enabled us all to gather to go on an excursion to Santo Domingo that day (we left the bride and groom at the beach).

Somerville Family at the Post-Wedding Breakfast

{The End.  Well, not the end of our trip, but the end of the official wedding activities}

More Photos:

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Doctors from Somerville
Just the girls pic
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drunk in love at reception
dancing at reception 4
dancing at reception 3
dionne tamara cigars
cutting the cake
dancing at reception 2
me and bride and girls at reception