5yr Anniversary ~ Punta Cana Saona Island ~ Destination Wedding

As many of you know I do not write about myself or my life on my blog. I usually don’t because of  time and I am not the best when it comes to spelling. I used to love writing poetry and was so happy when computers became more popular. Do you know how annoying it was to have to correct words on a type ridder! I was miserable!! So most the times the misspelled words just stayed. Well today I have decided I will try to write more about myself and my family. Not only for my clients to get to know me more on a personal level but to have a place to look back at different times in my life. Today is the day that my family and I celebrate our 5yr anniversary. Today is not an anniversary just to celebrate my marriage to my husband but to celebrate when our blended family came together as one. My girls were very involved in our ceremony as I wanted it that way. Our wedding was very interesting and full of surprises and unexpected events which really did make it a day to remember.

After a long flight and slight disappointment that several of our friends arrived to the beautiful Dominican Republic before us due to us choosing to stay in paradise for 10days instead of doing the charter and only staying for 7 days with our friends we landed in the new country. This was the first time that I have ever arrived to a location where the airplane did not pull right up to the gate at the receiving airport. Instead we land and pull off to the side of a building that was made of what looks like the straw house one of the little bigs may have built. The plane instantly got hot due to the heat outside as soon as the flight attendant opened the doors. While everyone was moving around the cabin trying to gather their items a large shaky staircase was wheeled up to our plane so we could de board.

One thing that my soon to be husband Brian had to learn on this trip is that I do not check bags. This is something I have not done much in my life. I have been flying alone since I was 3. You know back when you could trust strangers. I would fly by to Ohio to Arizona to spend most of my summers with my grandma whom I was very close to. Sometimes she would fly back to Arizona with me to visit the rest of our family. This time I think Brian was happy I talked him into not checking a bag due to the hassle of trying to find them in this very small airport with very few technologies we are used to having at our airports. After going through the various check points to enter the country we were finally greeted by local woman with warm smiles welcoming us to this new land.

Once we survived the crazy bus driver that weaved in and out of traffic on the way to the resort we were more then happy to plant our feet on the ground and enter the resort were our wedding was planned to take place. When we walked up to the lobby we has several friends that had arrived before us greeting us with nice cold tropical drinks welcoming us to our vacation. I am not going to go into detail or share some of the more then hundreds of photos that we captured between the 20 something of us that were there. All I will say is we choose to go for 10 days so we would have a few adult days to have fun and party with friends a few days with our families and a few days alone. You see we wanted to be able to spend time with everyone and let everyone enjoy their vacation. One thing many brides do not take in consideration is when you have a destination wedding it is not all about you. Your family and friends are using their hard earned vacation days to go to your wedding. So remember this is their vacation as much as it is your special day and they should be allowed to do what they want on every day of their vacation except for your big day. Let me say we definitely enjoyed our adult time before the family and children arrived.


We had tried several times to get ahold of the lady that we were supposed to speak to about our wedding. After stopping by her office twice we finally set up a meeting with her on our third try. At this point it was the morning before our wedding and my family and I had planned an excursion for a day of family fun to unwind before the big day. We planned to play with sting rays and swim with sharks. Before that fun could begin we needed to decide the details of our wedding. After some time discussing what they planned to charge us was $700 for a few chairs and flowers. I was not happy about this nor was Brian since I did not want flowers or chairs and I brought with us our own ordained minister to marry us as well as two photographers to capture the day. Frustrated and upset Brian went to hand with his friends and my family and I headed off for our morning/afternoon of fun and events.

After a long day out in the sun with many things on my mind about what we would do for our wedding the next day Brian and I finally had some time to chat. You see there was an all day excursion to Saona Island that myself and a few others wanted to take but we were not wanting to pay the $100 a person to go. Well one of my husbands friends is well a talker for one thing and had met a few of the locals. After some negotiating he had arranged for us to do the excursion not through the resort which would be a tad cheaper. So as we showered and got dressed for our rehearsal dinner we were the only ones besides one friend that we would not be getting married at our resort and instead leaving all together. I was not sure how this would go over as I love to leave the resorts and to see the country I am visiting but I know not everyone including some of my family members feel the same way.

We had a great dinner and some interesting toast and then it came to the part of the evening when we tell everyone thank you for coming and go over the details for the next day. We explained how the hotel wanted $700 for us just to borrow their beach for 30 minutes and we were not willing to pay that. They also let us know that if we tried to get married without their involvement they would interrupt our wedding and that is something we did not want. Plus I was not sure how I would feel with having topless woman laying on the beach around our ceremony since it would not be sectioned off if we did it along. So instead we explained that we applied that $700 towards the excursion that some of us wanted to go on and that if they still wanted to attend our wedding it would be $10 a person to board the bus. Brian and I did not expect everyone to go as they had already gave up their vacation and paid so much to be there with us. However I was excited when everyone was ok with our decision and I was worried as like I said some people do not like to adventure into foreign counties the way I do and did I mention a few people get sea sick and we would be on a boat for about 2 hours!

The morning arrived for our big day and I kicked Brian out of our room around 5am so I could get ready and get dressed. Then once I started to get ready a huge chunk of skin falls off of my forehead. I was pretty upset because I woke up in the middle of the night with my lip puffed up like a balloon due to fresh lobster and now I would have a big white batch right in the middle of my forehead in all of my photos. Then after some hesitation wondering if this was a sign I realized its just a sign that I do not get to take a vacation without some work. You see Brian made me promise not to take my professional camera with me to our wedding since we had two photographers coming. Do you know how hard that was!!! Oh well I decided to suck it up and I would just have a lot of photoshop work to do to all my images. Thank God for Photoshop!!! So once I was dressed I walked to the top of a beautiful staircase that was at our resort. With no one around but our photographers I walked down the stairs to see Brian for the first time on the morning of our wedding. I was so excited and happy that the day had finally arrived. Even though nothing was happening the way I thought it would I had him and my family and friends so I knew it would all work out.

After posing for some image Brian and I ran to the room to hurry and change into comfy close pack our wedding attire we were just wearing and get ready to board the bus. As we rushed through the lobby with everyone already on board that he bus getting ready to depart so we would not be late I grabbed a very unique flower out of the massive bouquet in the loby. Now I did have wedding flowers. We were on this old bus that was probably 30 years old for over an hour. Looking out the window passing through the towns we saw sometimes up to five people on one motorcycle while swerving in and out of traffic. We also saw the shops and homes where the locals lived that looked like they were ready to be condemned to American standards. We also saw skinned goats hanging above a live goat just waiting for his turn to be hanging for someone to purchase and eat.

We arrive to the spot where we will all pile into these tiny pontoon boats to take us out to the catamaran. You would think they would make several trips for how many people we have with us and considering that my wonderful bridesmaids were smart enough to put all the dresses into on suitcase and take it along for the ride. Oh no they crammed us into two little boats and when we pushed off the shore I was sure we were going to sink. Surprisingly we did not however the top edge of the boat was even with the water. I swear if we had just one more pound on either boat we would not be floating!

We had such a great time on the catamaran!! There was dancing and singing with drinks being passed around. They have a local drink called mohomawamma and I am sure that is spelled totally wrong! It is a combination of something like honey, wine, whiskey and local plants. It takes something like 20 days to make and will kick your butt if you are not careful. Luckily we had already figured this out so everyone knew not to have much as we still had a long day ahead of us. After our 2 something hour boat ride we say the beautiful island appear. It was time for our adventure to begin!

Pulling up to the shore in small boats again I notices a curved palm tree growing at the edge of the water. I remember looking at Brian and saying right there that is where we are going to get married. Right by the bent beautiful palm tree at the waters edge. I can only image what the other people were thinking when our large group arrives to the island with some luggage in tow. We all walk up to the beach and instead of having our swim suites on and joining the party we walk over to the area by the tree and start changing clothes. Yes right there on the beach we were all changing our clothes and putting on our formal wear. We fixed our hair and makeup and held towels foe each other to change behind. I am sure the on lookers thought were we crazy! Once we were dressed we started capturing our family photos before the ceremony. I wanted to do this as I planned after we said I do to walk right into the ocean. THe only ones that knew this was my husband, my photographers and myself. Well I told my photographers just to be ready after the kiss for something unexpected. So posed for our pictures and had a quick 3-5 minute discussion on were everyone would stand and we lined up and the wedding began.

During our ceremony I looked back and there were a ton of strangers watching what was taking place. There was a lot of emotion and we included the girls within the ceremony. Brian and I said our vowels and the girls had their own vowels to say as well. We then walked over to preform the sand ceremony with colored sand I had brought from the U.S. as well as sand we got from the resort and sand from our location. This gave us four different colors which is what we needed to blend our new family of four. We then performed our ring exchange and had necklaces that were presented to my girls as well. After the formal part was done it was time to kiss and then walk into the ocean! The wedding party was a tad surprised and so was our family to say the least! We took a few family photos in our soaked wedding attire and then asked the wedding party to join us. After playing in the water and having fun it was time to take the heavy wet clothes off and get into our swims uites so we could enjoy the food and beverages that were provided on the beach. Oh and of course we had to have some stranger take a group picture of everyone before we would leave.

It was time for us to leave this beautiful island but we would not be leaving the way we arrived. Instead this time we would all load onto speek boats and race across the ocean. We then came upon an area that had a bunch of boats anchored in the middle of no where. We stopped at this location and to our surprise the water was just a little over wait deep in the middle of the ocean! There were giant star fish for us to hold and take pictures with. It was such a neat treat that was unexpected. How could there be any more adventure…. Oh the day was not over yet!

Trying to get into a boat in the middle of the ocean without stairs is a bit challenging but we somehow managed to get past this obstacle. At this point we were all looking forward to getting on the bus as it had already been a very long day that started at the crack of dawn. Well you would think we would get on the bus and enjoy 2 hr ride back to our resort. Well right when most of us dosed off to get a quick nap the bus broke down!! Oh yes we were stranded on the side of the road in a foreign land. There was smoke coming out of the engine and needless to say we were not going anywhere! So we waited until another bus arrived to pick us up and return us to our resort.


Finally back to were we began and we still were not married as we forgot to take the marriage licence with us. So off to Charlie’s room so we can sign it and make it official. We signed the licence and celebrated into the late night!

The next day we were all tired so we laide on the beach and soaked up the sun.I am sure the girls were excited they could finally wear their swim suites the way they were ment to be worn. You see burn lines are one of the hardest things to remove in photoshop at least for me without making the person look fake. Trying to adjust that bright red is never fun so I had reminded the girls about how quickly you can get tan or burn lines at a beautiful tropical destination like Punta Cana. So many of the girls myself included were tying our swim suites in strange ways to keep our lines to a minimum for the wedding day. The next day some of our family and friends had to head home. We walked many of them to the lobby and said our good byes. After everyone left Brian and I slept for a day. It had been a long week of activities that went from morning to night every day. Plus add the hot tropical sun to that and we were past exhausted! After a full day of rest we got up and headed to the beach once again. We felt bad as we ran into Sven and he had thought we left. Sven yes I forgot to tell you that our group adopted a German while we were down there. Poor Sven had planned to go to the dominican for two weeks with his best friend. However just a few days before their big trip his best friends broke his leg so severe that he could not fly. Sven had to decide if he wanted to loose his money he invested or go along. So he traveled alone to a country he had never been to. He came across members of our group before we arrived and he hung out with us the entire time even attending my wedding. He was a trooper to travel along and hang out with our crazy group while not speaking much english! Brian had never parasailing and said we would not. With a little persuading I talked him into it! So of the three of us went to enjoy flying above the beautiful ocean.


Our last act before we left was to find Sven a new group to hang with and to pass off our QT mugs that we had my father in law bring down for all of us. Yes we paid to call him and asked if he could buy and pack as many large thermal mugs to bring down as the tiny cups they give you at the resort suck! One the only hold like three gulps and they get so hot as they were not made for the tropical sun. So we found him some new friends and left our mugs behind and headed home. We had a flight delay and got stuck in I think Miami but I really do not recall the airport we were in. I had hand carried our sand unity thing since the beach. Yes this thing had made it on a speed boat, a broken bus, through airport security and on the first plan. However that was not match for Brian’s foot! We were both tired and I told him I was going to plug my phone in to charge it and make some calls. The last thing I said was do not hit the sand as it has made it so far! Well I walk to the wall plug it in and as I turn around to sit and start to make a call I see Brian on his hands and knees scooping up sand! Yes I left it out of my sight for seconds and it got spilled 🙁 I was way to tire to be upset so I just made my calls. When I returned I actually liked how the sand looked. More then half of it was layered with the four colors we had layered but then on the top all four colors were blended together. They could never be divided again into their individual colors. I really liked that thought. Just another thing out of my control that turned out to for the better.

Several days after we returned we started to set up for our wedding reception. We were just going to have a small party at a family friends barn. We were expecting about 150 – 200 people and that is when the adventure continued. It poured! I mean a lot of rain. It flooded the barn and we were trying to get it out, we could not open the doors or have areas set up outside like I had planned. And oh ya the road was flooded so not everyone could get to the barn if you did not know an alternate way around. Needless to say it was another entertaining evening along with the heat and a tad muggy due to the rain. Plus it was going to be a long weekend as not only was it our wedding reception that night but I had a wedding to photograph the next morning!


All and all our wedding 5 years ago was full of twist and turns. There were ups and downs and things that happened that were out of our control. Long story short our wedding was the beginning of our roller coaster life together. Like our weddings we have had our fair share of bumps in the road but in the end its all wonderful! We have a set of friends that just got married and I wanted to go back for our anniversary. When we learned that our friends wanted to celebrate their honeymoon with us the beautiful country we got married we were more then happy to wait and not go on the day we were married. I can not wait as we are counting down the days to June 29th, 2013 when we once again board a plane to go back and visit the beautiful country were we got married. I want to thank all of our friends and family for the love and support they give to us. I want to thank them for spending our special day with us 5 years ago. I wish that all of our friends and family could go with us yet again but I just does not work this time.  I can not wait to go back and enjoy it and this time I will be taking my camera!