Drool-worthy, magical, inspiring, heavenly Caribbean eye-candy … describing this wedding by Mayte Mari at Pearl Beach Club is tough, so just enjoy it through this lovingly curated story.
In my humble opinion, words don’t do it justice. It wasn’t just about beautiful decorations: everything felt like a living, breathing piece of ART.
Erin & Adam, we LOVED every minute spent with you. Thank you for being such down-to-earth, open-hearted, beautiful people!
If you’re a Punta Cana Bride-to-Be, don’t miss Erin’s AMAZING and in-depth POST-WEDDING REFLECTIONS at the bottom of the feature. I really can’t add much more to her eloquent & honest thoughts!
Oh, there is just one more thing … Erin & Adam didn’t plan this, but their Big Day happened to fall on a very special FULL MOON (SuperMoon), very special energy & blessings!! xoxo
Top three things you love about each other …
Adam about Erin: her ability to think on her toes and make rational decisions, her close family structure, we share interests in things like sports; which is a big part of my life.
Erin about Adam: his sense of humor, his love for my family, his work ethic.
Ideal day together according to Erin: have some sort of event planned earlier in the day with a few beers (how about a Cavs victory parade or a World Series game?) with my family or friends to meet up with, then enough time to get home at a decent hour, have a nice dinner, and relax with our dog while watching something on Netflix.
Ideal day together according to Adam: waking up and going to breakfast, followed by errands or shopping that needs done, late afternoon Netflix series watching, then relaxing or hanging out with close family or friends at night.
BRIDE & GROOM POST-WEDDING REFLECTIONS:
Erin on the Proposal:
“I thought he’d propose on Christmas, so a middle of the week, New Year’s Eve proposal totally took me by surprise. From his point of view, the ring was burning a hole in his pocket all day. I had been sick all week and had just finished an online training meeting with my coworkers, when I told Adam I was going to go to bed early, precisely at 8:30pm! He yelled “no, wait!” and I turned around and he had the ring. From there, it was all broken words and sentences (from my point of view) in which he just kept saying, “but I have things to say! I didn’t think I’d be this nervous…” but no real sentences came, just stammering 🙂 It was perfect, it was “us”!”
Most memorable moments from the Day / Wedding week?
“To begin with, straight off of the plane, having our amazing wedding planner Mayte pick us up, then walking into our venue (Pearl Beach Club) and just being completely taken aback by all the colors and textures – the pools mixed with the sand, beach, and ocean in the background. It made everything REAL and we knew we were exactly where we were supposed to be.
Another highlight: being there before our guests, and greeting them when they arrived.
Wedding day itself – just how well “taken care of” we felt. Our vendors were so professional, yet so incredibly down to earth. The First Look was especially awesome because Adam hesitated doing it at all, but Katya & Rob totally created the moment – it felt like I was in a movie with the music that perfectly coordinated each moment in time and encompassed all of our emotions.”
Any regrets? What would you have done differently if you could?
“No true regrets, nothing I would take back or undo. If we had to do it all over again, we would have designated some people (friends) to have more right-hand-man-type roles because we didn’t have a wedding party (which we loved and wouldn’t have changed), but it would have been nice to have one person on the “job” of thinking about all the little things while we were busy soaking it all in. We had a small group of friends with us and they were definitely helpful, but I didn’t realize how busy I would be!”
What inspired you to have a destination wedding? How did you pick the right venue?
“Several reasons we chose destination – we have a big family, we go to 5-10 weddings every year since we’ve been together, I have been non-stop planning in other areas of my life (and tend to be a control freak), and we both work hard back home. Even further: we knew to pay for all of our loved ones to be there, it would just feel like a day for them; to feed them and to entertain them for a few hours, but without the frills and decor and whole experience.
If you couldn’t tell, I LOVE fresh florals and greenery. I also love planning parties and decorating – and I just know to have what I wanted would have cost me an absolute fortune to attempt on my own. I’m not a “some decor here and there” type of woman – I’m the “all the decor” type! We’d been to a lot of other nice weddings and some more memorable than others, but we wanted ours to feel special, and like OURS – not all the others. In our personal lives, we knew we wouldn’t have a lot of the traditional aspects, so we decided to go completely non-traditional, and own it! Another big factor was that I can be a perfectionist, which drives me nuts at times, and I just knew I wouldn’t have the time or energy to devote to my own wedding myself, so I found the best of the best to do it for me so that I didn’t have to stress over it, and still know everything was going to be absolutely perfect – which it was!”
What inspired your colour palette / decorations / any DIY elements / any unique details or traditions?
“Adam and I both like the rich, deep, jewel tones. I wanted to do something different than I’d seen in the past, and those were just my favorite colors to look at – just so much depth. I knew the one thing I did not want to budge on whatever was the floral. In my opinion, it’s always the one thing that stands out to me most as a wedding – the flowers. Just the living, pure, natural beauty. We also went with some more rustic themes, and I think that’s just because we both grew up in the country and my country roots run deep!”
Any comments about vendors, resort etc
“Resort – Dreams Punta Cana Resort and Spa: We LOVED it. The rooms were a bit outdated, but we literally only were in our rooms long enough to shower and sleep. The grounds were so beautiful and well-maintained, which is where we spent majority of our time. It wasn’t huge on night-time entertainment, but we were always involved in activities during the day. The staff was extremely attentive and responsive. Plenty of food options. The pool there is most definitely a selling point – each day our entire group of 24 had their own section of the pool. It definitely had more of a chill, family vibe (our group didn’t bring kids), but it was perfect for our preferred sun-soaking, athletic, day-drinking crowd.
Planner – Mayte Marie: I can’t even begin to say enough about Mayte. Her vision and execution are incredible. During the planning process, I knew right away after research she was the ONE I wanted. We would have even changed intended dates just to have her. I put a lot of trust in her from the start and she helped take care of every single little detail. She connected me with all of my potential vendors, gave me honest background info on all of them, and even would help me follow-up with them if I hadn’t heard back. We only met once via Skype, but we emailed for several months. Her replies were not immediate, which never concerned me because from the start she was open about this. She’s so busy all the time. That said, all of her weddings are insane so I knew it wasn’t like mine was going to be forgotten about. She coordinates EVERYTHING. She had a hand in every single detail! The wedding day itself was unbelievable – the decor was drool-worthy and all the extra little details she added did not go unnoticed either. The time and energy she commits to her work was not only seen, but FELT on our big day. Even though we hardly knew her, we felt like she knew us and really channeled US and everything we wanted in that moment. She is an absolutely incredible human being that will just surprise the shit out of you time and time again. She is so on top of things and working behind the scenes when you don’t even realize it. I knew I was in good hands and that gave us the ability to enjoy every moment with no stress. I love Mayte! Some of our guests loved her dress and she told them she made it herself – I mean seriously! She can do it all.
Hair & MUA – Anna Nuet: I knew we would like her from the start! First, I chose her based off of her style and reviews, and Mayte also personally recommended her. She arrived to the venue looking so beautiful and ready for the day (as all of us looked like we had just rolled out of bed…) and she really got the party started for us. She was able to communicate with the staff about where to take us, which was super helpful because we were set up with people who worked there and spoke very limited English. She was super down-to-earth. The topics of conversation during the prep were so real and so relatable to our group, things you wouldn’t think to talk to a complete strange about (childbirth, things you do and don’t do in front of your husband 😂), it was nonstop laughs from there. For my hair and makeup – she did awesome! I consider myself to be low maintenance… I don’t usually wear makeup or spend too much time on my hair, so I was a little nervous that no matter who I picked that I’d feel like I looked like a clown with big hair. The hair and makeup were both so perfect! She made my makeup look so natural with the airbrushing, and my hair was exactly what I wanted. My husband also loved my look. I cannot say enough about choosing the right hair and makeup – how you feel that day sets the tone for the entire day and night. I felt so comfortable with how I looked, even though dressy is out of my comfort zone, which made for an awesome night!
Photography – Katya Nova & Rob: They inquired about so much more than just photography. In return, I feel like they are very open and personable people who also want you to get to know them and feel comfortable with them. This doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it really was in the end. Feeling comfortable enough around them before getting to know them in person was huge because Adam and I are both a little camera shy and reserved haha. They helped us work through it all and our photos are so incredibly PERFECT! Adam said Rob was awesome and just like one of the guys, and he helped Adam loosen up and be in the moment more before he saw me. Adam had some serious anxiety about the moment, and he was happy to have Rob by his side to walk him through the whole thing.
On the flip side, us girls got ready with Katya – she seemingly stops time and explains how our unconventional First Look will happen, all in her voice that we swear could bring any man to his knees and any woman to tears – even if she was just reading an IKEA instruction manual, haha. What I mean is, she did that and we were immediately IN THE MOMENT. They set up an amazing First Look experience for us, made us feel comfortable, and did I mention they had the whole day feeling like a movie because they brought a portable speaker with a song/soundtrack for every moment of the day? I still remember different songs that went with each part of the day, which is so cool when we I hear them again because it takes me right back. It was totally unexpected and 100% amazing. It really MADE the moment. Like I said, we weren’t really picture people and Adam especially was very nervous about this, but they are a wonderful working couple that totally vibe and it made things easier for us. Katya is a creative genius and Rob is so light-hearted and humorous. At one point, right before the First Look, we each got to speak to both of them separately. I talked to Adam about that moment later and both of our recollections were the same – Katya spoke in a way that made everything so real, so right now, where we are and where we’d been – all coming together in this moment, on a high. Then they switched places, and right before I was to see my husband Rob came over and was so down-to-earth, so light-hearted, so grounding. It was the perfect mix. So hard to explain, but just what we needed! They are the true definition of a “total package” in my opinion. They didn’t just take pictures. I found that Katya really truly helped immerse us into each and every moment that otherwise would have seemed so fleeting.
Videography – Weddingroll: We haven’t yet received our video, but I can touch on their creativity and professionalism. Video was something we decided to add later in the game, and I’m so glad we did! Weddingroll was easily our favorite video team, based on countless videos I watched. We asked around for quotes and packages and none of the packages at various places seemed exactly like what we wanted, but they worked with us and created a little mix that worked out perfectly for our needs (Adam’s parents didn’t make the trip, so having our vows on video was important to us). Their communication throughout the planning process was great. Once we met them, they blended in so well. You would think that someone videoing your every move would seem intrusive, but that was not at all the case! They were very professional and had wonderful ideas. We saw them doing some pretty cool stuff (think lighting a cigarette just to blow smoke into a hanging terrarium with our rings in it type stuff). We can’t wait for our videos, and I’m sure they will be awesome. They were so flexible throughout the process and we are sure this was the perfect choice for us!
Officiant – Jehison Cabrera: We didn’t have a full idea of what the officiant would do throughout the wedding, but we did get a recommendation from Mayte for Jehison. What a perfect choice! He kept the entire day on a timeline and was great at announcing and orchestrating the whole entire flow of the ceremony and reception. He has a great personality and several of our guests commented on how great of a speaker he was – and how heartfelt he seemed. He was totally our style – a little sarcastic and funny which we all enjoyed. During our vows, he improvised a bit which was awesome! Still to this day we think about his 90/10 comment; a successful marriage is not 50/50, it’s 90/10 – give 90% of yourself and only expect 10% in return. His vows were perfect for us. I never knew how vital this role was, but he kept the entire day on track and flowing perfectly – with his little ad libs in between. I would 100% recommend him! To those who believe this role is not as important as the others – it totally is! I can’t imagine our wedding if we had someone who wasn’t as personable or relatable.
Venue – Pear Beach Club: We absolutely loved our venue. The food, the scenery, the staff. I have to say – I still crave their food and drinks. We were treated so so well from our tasting all the way through the wedding. At one point, the staff was even allowed to join us on the dance floor which was fun because we saw them dancing off to the side when they weren’t occupied attending to our drinking needs (or habits rather). I will say that majority of my correspondence with them was directly through Mayte, so I can’t comment a whole lot on this. Mayte did all of the coordinating with them for us. She was present in every email message and all of our physical interactions with them as well. This was very helpful and I loved that she had a hand in everything – again, she was our go-to person and she knocked it out of the park for us. In review though, it was the perfect venue for us. Other than the obviously beautiful scenery, the food and drinks were to die for. Their dishes were so stunning presentation-wise, and the flavor matched it. They had vegetarian options for some of our guests, and that too looked amazing. We had a BBQ menu and I ate absolutely everything on the menu – things I’d never even tried before and still loved.”
How to stay on budget while still getting the wedding of your dreams?
“Honestly, I can’t say we had a budget. We more so had a “worst case scenario, and we have to be okay with that if it happens…” ha ha! We added everything we wanted, truthfully. That was our WHY for having a destination wedding – have everything we’ve ever wanted, and sharing it with our closest people. I would say from start to finish, we were able to stay within and add little things here and there based on a few people not able to make the trip (if we saved some money here, we just threw it right back into the wedding). Once we had our minds made up, we didn’t want to feel like we were making any “cuts” – again, that was the whole idea.
Everything was completely, 100% worth it. We added a cake, an extra hour of reception, and videographer somewhere past the midway point, but Adam wanted a cake (I still could have done without), and we both wanted the extra time and video to have forever. It was ALL WORTH IT. I do no regret a single dollar spent. I would have even done a Rock the Dress after if our family and friends weren’t staying. If it is exactly what YOU want, then it is all worth it. We don’t work our butts off to not have awesome once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
The only things that ran us extra, unexpected money were dropouts/cancellations, and room editing fees that we experienced with Apple Vacations.
BOTTOM LINE: If you have the money and its something meaningful to you, make it work. If you don’t have the money – think about your group as a whole and what you can and cannot live without. Think about what creates your tribe’s vibe – it worked for us!”
Guest list: how did you narrow down your guest list to a reasonable number?
“This wasn’t too tough for us to begin with. We picked our CLOSEST (life-long) friends and closest family members (not all of them) and only invited them. It was the perfect group. From the start, we told ourselves that we are paying for this wedding so that it can be EXACTLY what WE want, and that we weren’t in the business of taking too many opinions on the details of the day. If we would have gotten into that habit, we felt like we’d lose what WE truly wanted. We had 24 guests total, and only a few couples unable to go.”
Were there any special heirloom / precious details?
“10 years ago this September, my dad passed away from cancer. He was young, fit, athletic – and it all happened pretty quickly. He was mine and my brothers’ childhood hero. I am the only girl in a family of 5 – 3 older brothers and 1 younger. This had a lot to do with so many of the non- traditional aspects of our wedding. Right before our trip, my Mom gave me his wedding band to keep (a gold band). It only fit my thumb, so I wore it there. I also had one of his handkerchiefs. I did try to ask my Grandma for a bracelet before we left, but she too is a simple lady and said she didn’t even own one! I took that as a good hint – me not even wanting to wear a bracelet and not finding one I like was probably more of an heir to her than wearing one of hers anyway ha!”
Were there any special wedding surprises? (A fun dance / entertainment / live performance?
“The only true surprises at the wedding was the setup of our First Look. Katya and Rob totally built this moment for us at the resort that we got ready at (Catalonia Bavaro – which was very accommodating even considering we were not long-term guests there) and it was more than we could have expected. The music, their words, the LOVE sign with balloons that happened to be right there, in front of their entire pool full of people!? I mean c’mon! It was a storybook moment that I don’t think anyone could have thought up if they tried – and to top it all off, filled with so much emotion just because of what the moment held.
A few late night surprises included a mildly-embarrassing, somewhat-proud performance by myself and a few of my friends to the men – singing “I Wanna Know” by Joe, and almost the entire wedding guest list jumping into the pool in their underwear (and spanx for those of us whose brothers refused to see our bare skin) just to cool down. Although this meant all of our hair and makeup was somewhat trashed after this moment – this was a complete game changer for our group. We were all SO sweaty and sticky that it was uncomfortable (my dress was sticking to my legs). Everyone was seriously ready to PARTY after that – before they hardy wanted to move.
The other little surprises for one another were our vows – we knew we were writing our own but we didn’t share them with one another, or anyone else, in advance.”
What were your musical selections & why?
Ceremony: “Something Beautiful” by Josh Rosenet, a Needtobreathe cover. It was a song I’ve always loved and felt personal to us in that moment, and I loved the cover more than the original. It talks about the pursuit of something beautiful taking over a person, waiting for it and being afraid of but now that it’s here – you won’t leave its side. The lyrics also talk about being in someone’s ocean – which obviously applied here! It just seemed like the perfect song and we were so excited to incorporate it somewhere.
Adam entered to an instrumental version of Thomas Rhett’s “die a happy man” as his pick.
I walked down to an instrumental version of “Stand by Me” because I have for the longest time thought that this would be my wedding some someway or another. Since I wasn’t into all of the sappy stuff, this seemed like the perfect song for me to walk to. I walked in by myself, so having him there to stand with me after the fact just seemed right.
End of ceremony: “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” by Stevie Wonder. , because, obviously!
First dance: “It All Started with a Beer” by Frankie Ballard. This song just kept sticking out to me time and time again. A little backstory to go with this – I met Adam through a mutual friend of ours, and he was a bartender for a couple years at a bar I frequented in college. About 2-3 years in, somewhere in that timeline, I lived in a duplex with coworkers of his and we actually started talking to one another. So, quite literally, it all started with a beer for us. We also dated for over 6 years before we got engaged and consequently married – so the lyrics just felt like they were made for us and that moment!
Any advice for future Brides/Grooms!
“Very late in the game, we decided to add an extra hour of reception. We just could not get enough. The day is only one small day. If you haven’t already – add video. I want to relive this moment every single day if I could! If you want to budget – don’t do it on your hair & makeup, or your photography. Again, how you feel that day is so important. You want to feel comfortable and beautiful, it is worth every penny. Your pictures (and video) are the only real things that make those memories tangible. You will want them to be out of this world. Don’t feel bad about not inviting +1s… I mean this. Think about the people you want in your photos forever. Think about the people who could potentially not care about your wedding as much as you do, and may act so accordingly.”
Venue: Pearl Beach Club
Getting ready: Catalonia Punta Cana
Resort (guest accommodations): Dreams Punta Cana Resort and Spa
Planner / Floral Design: Mayte Mari
Bridal Gown & shoes: David’s Bridal & Barefoot Sandals from Etsy (GlovesbyJana)
Groom’s attire: Sharkskin Blue 1905 suit from Jos.A.Banks
Invitations: Etsy (InkAndVeil) & Vow books (paperpunched)
Mua & Hair stylist: Anna Nuet
Cake: Studio Cake Bavaro
Dance Floor: EPC Events
Transportation: Renny Travel
Officiant: Jehison Cabrera