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DOMINICAN REPUBLIC WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER {VANESSA + STEVE, HURACAN CAFE}

Vanessa was born in Santo Domingo, DR. and raised in New York. Steve was born and raised in Staten Island but proudly mentions his Greek heritage. This gorgeous multicultural couple chose the beautiful Huracan Cafe in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic as the location of their tropical destination wedding.
 
Vanessa, on having a Destination Wedding: “I am originally from the Dominican Republic and having my family be part of that special day was a no-brainer. Also, Steve and I always wanted a beach wedding, but most importantly we did not want the ballroom wedding, we wanted something that would reflect our free-spirited personalities, something our friends & family would enjoy in a different way, and what better than a destination wedding!
 
We went for simple & elegant: white and silver with gray accents. I loved how everything turned out. Etsy was my BFF on some items, like our Jenga guest book (Steve and I are puzzle and board games junkies). That was definitely my favorite element! Also, the Flower Girls sign.”

Jenga as the guest sign-in book! What a unique idea! On meeting and falling in love:

Vanessa: “Ha! Online! At first, it felt like a friendship, I did not think we would make it anywhere due to how far we lived from each other, but that changed quickly.”
Steve: “We met on OkCupid and in person a few months later. Awkward 1st meet, second time we kissed and it all went away.”

Vanessa: “After a full year of planning, seeing everything come together its simply relieving, but my most memorable moment was our First Touch, it made everything real, we were just minutes away from committing to be with each other for the rest of our lives. The emotions were so raw and palpable. Steve was extremely emotional, and I, well… I was living my fairy-tale.  It was a very special moment.”“The most special detail of all was my veil, made by my Mom! Growing up I remember my grandmother wearing a “mantilla” (Spanish for veil) for church, and I wanted to honor her by wearing something similar.”What they would’ve done differently:

“I wish we would have planned better to incorporate Steve’s Greek heritage in the reception, I though that by giving the DJ some greek songs to play, would be enough. I should have included them along with the timeline and when to do so. It was a bit disappointing for both of us. It was a great party nonetheless, but something to keep in mind for those bride-to-be planning a multicultural wedding.”

A few days after the wedding, a unique and memorable “Just Married” session, commonly called Trash the Dress. My favorite, Macao Beach! Vanessa, on chosen vendors:

“All of our vendors were truly amazing! I really feel like we hired the best of the best. Thank you for being part of this special day, and keeping me from turning into bridezilla! 
 
Royalton Punta Cana: The resort exceeded our expectations, they went above and beyond to make sure we enjoyed our stay. Our friends & family shared the same opinion. Check-in, food, pool, staff, everything was exceptional, without mentioning its a beautiful Resort! 
 
Cores Film: Oh Manuel and Roderick! these guys are true professionals, I am so happy we chose them to film our day!!!
 
Florence of Punta Cana Wedding Girl: “After stalking you guys on Instagram for months I think I got emotional when I first saw you.  I don’t remember how I landed on your page, but you were the reason I changed my venue from the resort to Huracan. Best decision EVER! Florence was my bestie for the day! Pictures mean a lot me, memories! and she made sure to capture beautiful images I will cherish forever. My only regret, was that in middle of the commotion of the day, I failed to tell her some specific pics I wanted, e.g with my flower girls, my dress from the back showing the train. Florence kept asking me but with so much going on you just go with the flow. My recommendation to all bride-to-be’s: write these down, with so much going on, your memory will fail you on that day!
 
Anna Nuet: Sweet Anna!!!!! Anna and her team made sure to keep me calm and entertained all morning, I definitely chose the best, I looked and felt like a billion bucks!!!! Forever grateful!  
 
Huracan Cafe:….. where to begin… Planning a wedding from far, with only emails and Skype calls can be a bit frustrating, but Nati is a star, she has so much experience and can read her Brides so well. Everything she creates is so unique. I gave her my idea and she delivered well above it.  Her staff is so amazing, I remember peeking out the Bridal room on the wedding day seeing things being created from scratch! that is talent! The food and drinks were exceptional!!! The cigar rollers too, which everyone loved! The entertainment and fire show, which definitely got the party started. “
Staying on Budget:
“Budget? Ha! that went out the window! Things do add-up, and we were over budget for sure. I, however, refused to spend too much my dress, this one-time outfit that now is just laying somewhere in my closet. Also the invitations, which some people don’t even remember what they looked like or what type of paper they were. Group events for guests: we considered many options, but after all our guests were on their on vacation and we did not want to force them into a group activity not everyone would enjoy, a simple rehearsal dinner can save on 2k-4K depending on group size.
It was a big expenditure for sure, but we would do it again, if we could. I feared I would regret spending all that money, but seeing all the joy on the faces of our loved ones was really rewarding, Steve and I had the best time of our lives.
Narrowing down the guest list:
“We invited everyone of our friends & family, but we knew deep down that most would not be able to attend. Hopping on a plane is not as easy for some! We went with the flow, and adjusted our budget as we got a clearer idea of how many guests are able to attend (the less guests we had the more orchids I could afford, hehe :)”
Communication challenges:
“Indeed! As much information as we included in the website and invites, our guests STILL called us about details.”
Advice for other Punta Cana Brides & Grooms?
“Plan in advance, have a clear idea of what you want, and what you DON’T.  We had many disagreements with guests who disliked the idea of travelling for a wedding, but it was our wedding after all, whoever really needs to be there will go the distance for you.
To all brides-to-be out there, trust and believe it will all be okay. All your hard work will pay off, smile and enjoy your day, it goes by so fast!”  

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