Planning a wedding, in general, is a daunting task, especially when adding in the factor of a destination wedding. Planning from afar, scheduling travel and coordinating with family and guests is never easy. But, Katelin and Matt did it with ease. They planned a destination wedding in the Dominican Republic, specifically at the Hard Rock, Punta Cana.
Even though we were wary when we arrived due to the tourist incidents, we felt safe and taken care of upon arrival and I loved being there. The culture and people are fun, vibrant and happy and so easy to get along with. The Dominican Republic reminds me so much of Colombia and I felt at home! For those that aren’t aware, I am half Colombia and fluent in Spanish, so I was in my happy place!
Weddings at Hard Rock Punta Cana
Katelin and Matt had an amazing on-site coordinator named Camila, she was on the ball and so very wonderful to work with! So if you’re having a destination wedding make sure that you have a trusty coordinator that will walk you through everything. Having a travel agent is always a good idea if you’ll be traveling with larger groups of people. Even if it’s just you, your fiancé and a few vendors, it’s still worth looking in to!
The timeline wasn’t a traditional wedding timeline, per se. Because of the heat they purposefully planned things out to have breaks in between the different events. We did the first look in the early afternoon in a grove of palm trees that was beautiful. Then we ventured indoors for some AC because it got too ridiculously hot in that afternoon sun.
Then we had an hour and a half break until the ceremony and an hour or so between the ceremony and reception. This allowed guests to retreat to their rooms and freshen up so they didn’t get too overwhelmed by the heat. Once the sun had set and everything cooled off (just a bit, it wasn’t ACTUALLY cool haha) it was way more enjoyable for the reception. It was genius! Having a little bit of time to cool off was really nice.
Now without further ado, here is a collection of photos from the Centeno Wedding!
When I say it was hot, I mean hot. Even in the hotel rooms with AC full-on, it was hot. These poor guys were burning up in their long sleeves and standing under the air vents to find some relief from the heat. It was pretty hilarious. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t stand over there a few times during the getting ready process haha.I asked Katelin to show me how excited she was to be getting married. HOW ADORABLE IS THIS?
First Look among Palm Trees at Hard Rock Punta Cana
Katelin and Matt’s first look was SO special! They literally didn’t stop smiling, kissing, hugging and loving on each other the whole time. We had an hour + to just explore around the hotel grounds and get some sweet photos of just the two of them before the big day and it was super special.
I know a lot of people go back and forth on whether they should do a First Look or not. It has become increasingly popular for couples to pick and choose traditions or create new ones. If you want to follow traditions, great, if not, that’s great too! Do your own thing because you want to. I think it’s super refreshing when couples choose to do their own thing!
Everyone thinks it is ‘unlucky’ for the groom to see the bride before the wedding. This originates from arranged marriages where bride and groom weren’t allowed to see each other before the wedding. If you aren’t doing a first look because of superstition and family pressure, don’t feel like you have to!
First Looks are becoming a big thing for couples that want to have a private moment together before the ceremony. It allows them to take a breather, reduce jitters, and be together to enjoy their time before the crazy starts.
Down the Aisle
If you prefer the down the aisle look for that moment you lock eyes as the first steps are taken, then yessss, that is totally okay! Both versions of the ‘first look’ are equally special moments. Just don’t choose one or the other because someone is pressuring you.
Katelin and Matt spent time before there wedding to learn two choreographed dances with a dance instructor. Their first dance was romantic and sweet and their second dance was a surprise dance to Happy. It was fun and upbeat at the end they pulled all their guests out to dance. Towards the end of the reception, we could hear thunder far off and see lightning flash across the sky. We were trying to wrap up all the last things with the reception and Matt got up to give a thank you toast to their guests. Right after his speech the heavens opened and let down a torrential downpour. We all laughed crazily and everyone scattered towards their hotel rooms. As we booked it out, lightning struck right at the Hard Rock Punta Cana and all the power went out. It went pitch black and I screeched to a halt, almost eating it on the slippery ground. A few seconds later the generator kicked in and we all started running again. It was the perfect chaotic end to the most amazing wedding day that felt like it was straight out of a movie.
Are you having a destination wedding?
I would absolutely love to be a part of your big day! I provide a stress-free, super fun and easy-going experience that will make you forget you’re in front of the camera. Plus, if it’s in a Spanish speaking country, I can be your personal interpreter if ya need me! Let’s chat!
If you’re planning a wedding at the Hard Rock Punta Cana or the Dominican Republic in general, you should read this!