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jellyfish wedding dominican republic {elizabeth + johnny}

August 21, 2016

Johnny was one of Elizabeth’s students! She was teaching salsa at the time and he began frequenting the dance studio. Elizabeth remembers, “He always came in with this girl so I thought that was his girlfriend. We would take turns changing partners so there were quite a few times we danced together. Johnny is very quiet but he would always flash me this big smile every time we would be in front of each other and I always thought how handsome he was. Then I left the dance studio and we reconnected over Facebook (it really does happen, people!) He was really funny, witty and sarcastic (all off my favourite things)! Incessant email flirting continued for almost a month and a half!! Finally I realized I had to be more forward, so I asked him to join me on a night out with friends. A few hours later he called TO SAY HE COULDN’T GO!!!!! We still spent that night texting each other till 2 am. The next time we planned a date, he picked me up, opened the door for me, and was super chivalrous the whole night. We have literally been together ever since. Johnny is the ‘ying to my yang,’ he is kind, patient and the most gentle loving man I have ever met. I fell in love with him fast, faster than I ever have with anyone. He is so genuine and honest that all the walls I’d built came right down. He swept me off my feet and still hasn’t stopped showing me how much he loves me.”

Johnny: “How the hell do you follow that?! I JUST LOVE HER!! In all honestly, I cannot forget when I first saw her at the dance studio. She lit up the room when she walked in. Her wonderful personality and her confidence attracted me to her from the very beginning. I had never felt so motivated to learn something in my life! AS FOR THE WOMAN I WOULD GO TO THE CLASS WITH, SHE WAS MY SISTER, haha! When I did get the opportunity to dance with Elizabeth, my heart rate would pick up and I would get so nervous that I didn’t know what else to say other than “Hello!! How is it going?” And smile. I was so nervous that I would make mistakes on things I already had down packed. (By the way, I still get nervous when I salsa with her). The more we wrote each other, the more I loved the sarcastic banter we had going on. I remember being so nervous when I had asked her to go out on our first date that I bought 3 different shirts for that night. When I went and picked her up, she was more beautiful than I even remembered. I fell in love with her more and more every time I saw her. I fell in love with her love for her family and respect for my family. I knew I fell in love with her when I could no longer imagine my world without her. She is my everything and I knew my life would never be the same (in a good way, of course).”

WOW! How inspiring and powerful is that?!

Elizabeth & Johnny got married at the famous Jellyfish Restaurant in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Magical, absolutely magical day!!

EPC entertainment took care of the beautiful dance floor. Jellyfish arranged for a Perico Ripiao Band and Crazy Hour. Elizabeth’s stunning gown by Casablanca Bridals. Johnny’s sleek attire by J Ferrar. Cake: Cake Studio Bavaro. Favours for the guests by Dominican Favors.

Hair & make-up: Jazmin Abad Brito. Videography by our wonderful friends Cores Films. Honeymoon: Paradisus Palma Real.

Rob & I are so happy these lovebirds currently live in Santo Domingo – only a couple of hours away from us! Dear Elizabeth & Johnny, we’ve fallen in love with your hearts and can’t wait to host you for dinner & beach dates in Punta Cana! xoxo Katya, Rob & baby Z.
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Elizabeth: “When I was younger I would ask the married people I knew ‘how did you know he was the one’ and most of them would respond with ‘you just do’ and I would get so frustrated thinking about how that was not a good enough answer. I mean, how was I gonna know?!?!? But I realize now that they were right all along. You do just know. I knew then and I still know now.”i have loved you for ... days wedding card

Top three things Elizabeth loves about Johnny:His patience and compassion know no bounds, he makes me feel beautiful everyday, no matter what I look like 😉 You can always count on him, his word really means something if he says he is going to be there he will!”

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Top three things Johnny loves about Elizabeth: “Her strength and confidence in herself. She is a strong and independent woman and can handle herself in any situation. It is inspiring to me and I respect it very much. Her loyalty. The fact that she always has my back, no matter what the situation. She can always make me smile. She will do whatever it takes, no matter how silly or embarrassing, she will do anything and everything just for me.”

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Ideal day together according to Johnny: “The exact same thing (except I lean toward movies while she leans toward TV shows).”

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Ideal day together according to Elizabeth: “A perfect Lazy Sunday where we binge watch TV shows or movies and don’t get out of bed. THE. BEST. EVER.”

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Gianna & Clara, the amazing decor team at Jellyfish! clara gianna jellyfish decorators

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Elizabeth on the Proposal:

“So Johnny and I had been talking about getting married for a while now. We both knew that it was something that we wanted. We’d gone to a friends wedding that Friday and on Sunday one of my friends asked me to go to a family BBQ with her (which in hindsight was a little weird). So we went to the BBQ and two hours go by and I want to go home, but she is stalling and taking her time. Finally, we leave and I’m at my doorstep. Johnny’s Dad opens the door and says “just a minute” and closed the door again! In my head I was like WTH….  Then I see Johnny coming down the stairs saying “just let her in.”

Inside are Johnny’s parents, his sister, his brother with his family and my Grandparents. I was super surprised! My parents were still on their way, which is why my friend was trying to stall me. Johnny tells me that I do so much for him, that’s why he threw me a surprise party. I thought it was so sweet that he had put everything together but didn’t think anything more was going to happen. I sat down to chat with my grandparents and his mom while Johnny ran around all frazzled. Once my parents arrived, Johnny grabbed my arm and started leading me upstairs. I got worried because he was super serious and I kept asking him if anything was wrong?! I walked into the bedroom to find it was filled with candles, balloons and rose petals. The balloons said “will you marry me?” and he had attached a different picture from our years together at the bottom of each one. And in rose petals he wrote “will you marry me?” I immediately started to cry and he got down on one knee and popped the question. Then we went downstairs crying… At this time, nobody knew what was happening except his dad, sister, and my dad. Then I brought down the balloons and everyone started crying of happiness! Lol!!! It was so unbelievably special. Our families mean the world to us. He knew how important it was for me to be able to share that special moment with them. Everyone was so filled with joy and happiness that day I could not have asked for more. After that we all just hung out, had a bbq and kept reliving that moment. It was something I will never forget.”

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Johnny on the Proposal:

“Since Elizabeth and I are ‘literally’ inseparable, I needed help!!! The planning went on for 2 weeks. Ordering balloons, going through pictures of us together at any possible moment I had without her. But I was able to figure it out. Even going to the extent of hiding pictures I had printed in the trunk of my car under the cover for the spare tire and all. LOL, No Joke!! Knowing Elizabeth’s family, I didn’t want to risk their excitement to possibly tip off my beautiful fiancé-to-be since she is so observant and can tell when somebody is hiding something from her. When the day came, I acted as relaxed as possible all the way until she left with her friend. As soon as she left, I messaged Gigi (who was waiting around the corner with the balloons, candles, streamers, tape and all. We basically planned 2 parties, the party for Elizabeth for being so wonderful and the proposal upstairs. I bought a cake for her that said “She said YES” and hid it on top of the washing machine. All the guests arrived at 3:00pm, all except Elizabeth’s parents. When Elizabeth called me wanting me to go pick her up, I was in the middle of getting our bedroom ready for the proposal with the pictures and the rose pedals all over the room. I had over 50 small candles in the room. When she called, I told her of course. And then got a call from her friend to just bring her back. To not worry, it would be fine. I continued as guests were arriving for the “Elizabeth, You’re So Great” party and my sister took care of them. As I was finishing lighting the candles in the room, Elizabeth rang the door bell. My father thought it was another guest and opened it. When he saw Elizabeth, the poor guy had no clue what to do and told her to hold on and closed the door in her face! The whole time I was running around the house making sure that everyone was good, that Elizabeth wouldn’t go upstairs, and kept running upstairs to check that the house hadn’t caught on fire. As we walked into our bedroom, I saw Elizabeth’s expression go from completely worried and confused to shock, amazement and tears of joy. It was one of the greatest sights I have experienced. I will admit, I shed some tears as well. How could I not with the sight of happiness she gave me. I will never forget it. It was 1000x more special than I could of ever imagined.”

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Most romantic memory together according to Elizabeth: “OMG have you read my essay on our engagement?? I don’t know if it can get more romantic than that!!!! He went all out and it was the biggest and best surprise!”

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Most romantic memory together according to Johnny: “Nothing tops the engagement…”

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Elizabeth’s favourite guilty pleasures: “Staying in bed all day and only getting up to eat or go to the bathroom, haha! Also, stinky Cheeses or actually cheese of any kind I think they should have their own food group, and desserts… there is always room for dessert!”

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Johnny’s favourite guilty pleasures: “I agree with the staying in bed… and Chick-fil-A on a Saturday afternoon!!! That Chick-fil-A sauce and Polynesian sauce are to die for!!! If you haven’t noticed, I’m a little bit of a fatty!!”

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Elizabeth is an Esthetician & MUA. I love helping people feel better about themselves and see themselves in the best light. It’s miraculous what a little lipstick and mascara can do. Or how much stress we can carry in the little delicate muscles of our face!”

Johnny is a Structural Engineer. “I started off working in an office designing bridges but I am now working in the field overseeing the construction of several large structures. I love being in the field, making sure that the end product is done correctly, safely and to all applicable standards.”

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Elizabeth: “I always wanted to be a singer. ALWAYS! My parents say I sang before I could talk. I even when to college and got a degree in Vocal Performance. Back in Miami I sang in a community choir. It was my musical fix. Music is still something meaningful in my life. A song can transport me to a moment or bring up emotions that I didn’t realize I had. I am grateful to have had a life filled with song. I think learning music makes you better at everything.”

Johnny: “When I was little, I never really wanted to be anything other than a superhero. In high school I debated between being a doctor (leaning toward Cardiology) or Engineer (Mechanical or Structural).

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Elizabeth’s favourite things to find in the fridge: “Wine, Good Cheese, and ice cream!!!”

Johnny’s favourite things to find in the fridge: “Orange juice, Bacon, Wine, and any type of sweets!!”

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Favourite gift from Johnny:My most favourite is my engagement ring but the funniest: he gave me a snuggy (if you don’t know google it, and everyone needs one) In my college logo and colours. It was a really funny gift and I loved it!”

Favourite gift from Elizabeth: “The Lego Set! It is of a remote controlled front loader (construction equipment) with actuators that made the parts move. I use it to play with our two dogs, picking up their toys and then taking them away from the remote controlled bucket.”

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Elizabeth: “I love his smile, his pristine beautiful straight teeth, and when he smiles his whole face lights up. Whenever I think of him, I see his face when he is smiling.”

Johnny: “I love the way she looks at me!!! Whenever she looks at me, she has a specific glow that is loving, sexy and amazing in all senses of the word. And she only does it to me!!! It’s great!!!”

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Johnny: “Her embrace and her words mean everything to me. She always knows exactly what to say to get me over whatever is bothering me or whatever has me stressed or irritated. My main struggle is stress!! I stress about everything and she brings me down to reality!! She saves me from my own mind!! I sometimes don’t even know how to repay her for that!!”

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Elizabeth: “Johnny is the best at fixing things. and building things. I have no patience to read manuals or any of it. He also is a pretty good singer… when he lets me catch him singing… haha!”

Johnny: “Elizabeth’s hidden talent is that she is a wonderful cook!!! She has the touch and the intuition that makes any recipe that she attempts simply delicious!! If she keeps it up we might have to stop going out to dinner because she makes it better than everywhere we have been!!”

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Elizabeth“With Johnny in my life, I found my home. He grounds me and at the same time gives me wings and lets me fly. He is the only person that I have ever felt so completely loved by. And I know that he loves me for me: the good the bad and the ugly! I know that he’s got my back no matter what, that he will be there for me and all those feelings allow for me to be able to focus on kicking ass in the real world, knowing that I have all of that love and support at home. Whether in Dominican Republic or in Miami, or wherever this life takes us as long as I am with him I am home.”

Johnny: “Elizabeth has transformed me to be the strong confident man I am today. She shows me what she sees and other people see in me. Her motivation has pushed me to places that I never imagined I could get to. I know I wouldn’t be in the same place without her.”

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POST-WEDDING REFLECTIONS:

Most memorable moments from the Day / Wedding week?

Our First Look. Seeing each other for the first time like that was so special and felt so intimate. It took the edge off the nervousness without taking anything away from seeing each other down the aisle.” 

Any regrets? What would you have done differently if you could?

Elizabeth: I know everyone says it but I wish I wouldn’t have stressed as much when planning. But I think as a bride its so hard not to. For any future Jellyfish brides: DON’T WORRY! They really do have it all under control.” 

Johnny: “Wish I didn’t stress so much about making sure everyone was where they were supposed to be, and timing. It all worked out in the end but it would have been better without the extra stress.” 

What inspired you to have a destination wedding? What inspired your colour palette / decorations?

Elizabeth: “Well, I am Dominican! I was born in Santo Domingo and moved to Miami when I was 5 and lived there my whole life. But whenever I thought about getting married I somehow always knew it was going to be back in the DR. When Johnny proposed, we started to talk about where we wanted to get married. We thought about having a wedding back home in Miami, but we wouldn’t be able to have everything we wanted within our budget. A few months after getting engaged we took a trip to DR to look at different venue options in Santo Domingo and Punta Cana. After a lot of consideration we decided on PC because we felt our guests would also enjoy the vacation! Originally we were going to stay on-resort but after crunching numbers we realized we would pay so much and still not have the privacy we wanted so we decided to look for off resort options. Then we found Jellyfish. It was a dream from the start! We had already sent out our save the dates so on a whim I called to see if our date was available and when I called I was told they had just had a cancellation on our date. I called Johnny frantically to tell him the good news and his response was “ what are you doing talking to me? Book it!!!!” It was DESTINY! We booked that same day and never looked back! BEST DECISION EVER (except for the whole marriage thing, haha)” 

Comments about vendors, resort etc

First things first, Katya and Rob are incredible souls and photography ninjas. They captured not just our wedding but the feelings and emotions I had no idea they would get. We are beyond happy with our photos! They are more than words can describe. I remember when we first got them we cried, we laughed, and we remembered all of those special moments. The Jellyfish staff is incredible. They are literally a well oiled machine that transform and make magic happen for all their Brides. Clara and Gianna were amazing to work with on decor and really delivered everything we wanted. Janelkis is my fairy godmother, she was with us from the time we arrived in the morning to get ready till the end of the night picking everything up. Always smiling and always there to provide incredible Service. Seriously you cannot go wrong! We also had the pleasure of working with Cores Films for Videography and they had incredible energy and such a positive attitude the whole day! Diego and Manuel were incredible. Truly from the bottom of our hearts we are so grateful for everyones love, good wishes, and attention on our day.”

 Advice for future Brides & Grooms?

Do a Rock the Dress (Trash the Dress) session! Our Sunrise photo session with Katya & Rob was so peaceful and full of love and it was such an intimate moment and the photos are BEYOND!!!

Also, I know its hard not to stress but try to breathe and take it all in. Be present in every moment you can on that day. It FLIES by, and you don’t want to miss a thing. Photos and Video are all you have left after that day is done, make sure you chose someone that you TRUST. Book someone who will capture your love, someone who consistently delivers amazing work. Look at lots of photos, lots of videos and see who’s style you connect to. Cheaper isn’t always better, your wedding only happens once (hopefully) you don’t want to look back and wish you had made a different choice.” 

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