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pearl beach club punta cana wedding {kait + ro}

July 30, 2018

Love wins.

Kait & Ro, you have our hearts forever. I’m at a loss for words actually, but to feel our love, all you have to do is reminisce about the guac & Patron picnic shoot before we took you to the airport, right?

Kaitlin is a public defender in New York City. Rachelle designs waterfront houses in Connecticut.

Their favourite guilty pleasures are chocolate and staying up too late to watch ‘one more episode’ and then being SO tired at work.

On falling in Love:
“We met on OKCupid. We were both looking for something casual at the time, so we set up a brunch date. It turned into an 8-hour two-person bar crawl. By the end, we were both smitten (and a bit drunk). Kait spent the next few weeks playing the least successful game of hard-to-get that has ever been played. Ro was polite enough to (temporarily) pretend like she believed she still needed to win Kait over.”

What inspired you to have a destination wedding? How did you pick the right venue?
“We didn’t like the idea of only having 1 day with our favorite people. Tricking them all into coming on vacation with us was the smartesttt thing we’ve ever done.
We did a site visit— if you can swing it, do it. Katya told us about Pearl Beach Club so we added it to our list. Seeing the venues with our own eyes made all the difference. Also spending a long weekend being wined and dined by a bunch of different restaurant venues was a blast. We 10/10 would recommend it.
What sold us on Pearl was that it’s pretty from every angle. No matter what direction you turn, you’re still looking at something beautiful. That said, is Punta Cana couples are spoiled for choice. Picking a venue was just a process ranking which one was slightly more awesome than the others.”

Wedding details that are most exciting to you?
Kait: “Ro drew the design for our wedding menus (and our welcome bags!) I’m also pretty stoked on my earrings. Ro’s getting her “bro’s-maids” wooden bow ties with the skyline of the city each one is from engraved. We’re both excited about those. 
Also, my best friend bought me my dream dress as a surprise wedding present. It’s the kindest most unexpected gift I’ve ever gotten. It’s Rue de Seine.”
Ro: “Kaitlin is my wedding detail. I’m hoping to get a really beautiful image of just her.”

Special thanks to Mayte Mari (genius boho-industrial decor, florals & planning), Pearl Beach Club staff, Anna Nuet, Olga Montilla & Olga Kislitsina for fabulous hair & make-up.

Ro: “Kaitlin is a God damn smoke show, she has an uncanny ability to make things feel larger than life. She has taught me a love deeper than I thought my heart would ever be capable of. It’s so amazing to married a person who makes every situation the best of all worlds. I couldn’t feel more in love with her. I love her curiosity for other people’s walks of life. It has really opened my mind and heart and broaden my world views.”

Kait: “Our most ordinary days are ideal to me. Ro is a top-notch cuddler, so I’d start out with that. We’d have a bunch of shows in our Netflix queue to spend the first half of the day snuggled in the couch. Then we would go out with our color coordinated outfits (planned in advance) to some big party to get rowdy at later that night.” 

Two guys Bowties: the coolest gift for groomsmen (or bros-maids) I’ve EVER seen. http://www.woodenbowties.com/

Kait: “You know how Beyoncé talks about her “cocky fresh”? Ro has that, if we could bottle some of that self-love up and sell it, we’d be millionaires.  She talks about her job, parents, friends and our relationship like she won life’s lottery. She is fun even in really ordinary moments.” 

Kait: “If I’m upset about something real, she’s a great listener. But if it’s something silly? She finds a way to gently remind me it’s not worth my energy. Lately she’s started pretending to see something behind me. And when I ask what she’s looking at (you’d think I’d have figured it out by now), she’ll say something like, “babe, I think I see a stick up your ass, and I’m worried about you. I’ve got to pull it out right away!” Then she chases me around the house trying to get it. It is 100% IMPOSSIBLE to take myself seriously when I’m sprinting around trying to dodge her. Whatever I’m mad about is always less important than being grateful my fiancé is so much fun.”
Ro: “Normally when I’m stressed it has the ability to consume my day but when I’m around Kaitlin it’s so easy to lose the world around us and just “be.” I can’t remember the last time something really had a lasting negative impact on me.”

Ro, on the Proposal:
“We went to Nashville for Kait’s birthday, with 20 of her best friends. That morning I woke her up early to grab coffee at a local spot. While we where waiting in line I got down on one knee and popped the question. Meanwhile, everyone at the house was watching a slideshow I had made with pictures of Kait with each of my friends. When we got back to the house Kait’s sister had set up a ‘congratulations’ mimosa bar brunch. It was perfect.”

Kait: “I call Ro King, she calls me queen. It’s tongue in cheek. On one level it does mean you rule my world. But, the secondary meaning is, “of all the butt heads in the world, you’re their king” (ie. the biggest one). Like if she’s eating the very last cookie, I’ll tell her she’s “being the king again.” It roughly translates to: I love you boss lady, but I’m watching you.”

Ro: “One of my favourite memories together is from a trip I planned, a weekend trip for our three year anniversary to Atlantic City. I was crushing the romance part. I even found a restaurant owned by one of Kaitlin’s favorite food network chefs. The food was SO good. That’s when things started to go wrong. I ate so much of it that by the end of dinner, I was basically dying. I won’t lie- I laid on the concrete sidewalk while we waited for our uber. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed as hard as I did watching Kait trying to give off the impression that we were just parting hard, rather than the truth– we over ate and had to go home at 9:30 to put on pants with elastic waist bands.”
Kait: “I got a really bad flu early in our relationship. Ro made the longggg drive to my place on a work night and scrubbed the disgusting biohazard that was my apartment till it shined. Then she loved on me so hard even though I was basically a human snot production machine. I guess it doesn’t sound as romantic on paper as it does in my mind. Just trust me – it was really sweet.”

Deepfried avocado fingers + cilantro dip = LIFE.

Kait: “I absolutely Ro’s super sexy mix of masculine and feminine energy. She’ll be the prettiest woman in a room, sitting around chillin like one of the guys. That cool androgynous vibe makes me frickin melt.”
Ro: “Fergie most certainly was talking about Kaitlin she said, “I’m get, get, get, get you drunk – get you love drunk off my hump.” Women have paid good money for a behind like Kaitlin’s. I fo-sho lucked out on this one!”

The letter Johnny Cash wrote to his wife has really special meaning to our relationship.
Katya’s office manager Lissette is a talented calligrapher and surprised us with this!

First dance: “We chose “Shameless” by Billy Joel (and later Garth Brooks). A local singer, Malorie Leogrande (@thetinylionsings) recorded a version for us with the right gender pronouns. She turned an old country song into a slow Amy Winehouse style jazz song.”

Island Life Session (Tequila Sunrise Edition)

Ro: “Kaitlin is a phenomenal cook. My ideal day would probably start with her trying to sneak out of my cuddle grip early in the morning to make us breakfast. We’d eat while jamming out to whatever Kaitlin’s favorite song of that day is, over and over again. The rest of the day would be spent doing whatever would make my wife happy. There really is nothing more true than, “happy wife, happy life.”

“We both take care of a life’s small tasks that the other hates doing. Ro hates talking on the phone, making appointments, putting in apartment maintenance requests, etc. I (Kait) take care of that. It’s small but it’s one of the ways I let her know how much I love her. When it snows, I (Ro) get up early enough to scrape off both of our cars, so that she doesn’t have to. I also keep her kitchen basically spotless so that she can try out a new recipe whenever she wants without having to deal with dishes in the sink.”

POST-WEDDING REFLECTIONS:
3 most memorable moments?
“There were so many hearts-pounding-out-of-our-chests level happy moments that we expected – our vows, our First Look, our friends and family speeches.
But there was also SO much awesome that we didn’t see coming.
For example, Kait was in the middle of getting hair and makeup done, when one her bridesmaids pulled out a “citation” pad and started writing everyone up for ridiculous things like “killing me with your beauty.”

Or the next day, on our party boat. We were in the water drinking from a floating bar in the ocean. And all the sudden a guy shows up in a speedboat with a bazillion blowup toys strapped to the back. Our bridal party bought them as a surprise and somehow coordinated the whole thing.

Our “rock the tequila” session with Katya and Rob definitely falls into the unexpectedly awesome category. It was the last day of our trip and we were a little tired and not sure what to expect. They showed up with the most beautiful beach picnic of guac and patron (which has always been the quickest way to our hearts). The best thing about our relationship is how fun it is, and they totally brought that out in us. It was romantic, and the perfect note to end the trip on.”

Any regrets? What would you do differently, if you could?
Only small regrets – We should have brought a sign or made an announcement about our guest book so people knew to sign it. It also would have been smart to bring champagne and water from the resort for the getting ready rooms so we didn’t have to pay venue prices for it.
We got everything we wanted out of the experience so it feels greedy to wish for it to be any better than it was.

What inspired your colour palette / decorations / any DIY elements / any unique details or traditions?
“Picking colors was so hard for us! My engagement ring is sapphire so we decided to play off that and went with dusty blue as an accent color.
Ro made our wedding hashtag on a 3D printer at work. It made its way into some of our favorite images! (Kait: only my wife would figure out out to look fly air guitaring our wedding decorations).
We also had a table with our parents wedding pictures and a sign that said “Our ceremony is dedicated to our parents who demonstrate daily that it can be done.” It was important to us to honor the examples our parents set for us of what it looks like to love and commit to another person completely.
Honestly though, the OG decorator – Mayte Marie gets all the credit. We added a few sprinkles, but as far as decorations go she was the star of the show.”

Tell us about your vendors & resort!
“Our theory was that if we surrounded ourselves with badass creatives, then they would run the show without too much input from us. After illing out our vendor forms we were pretty hands off. We focused our attention on all the parts of wedding planning that can’t be delegated to someone else.
That worked like a dream for us.

Coordinator / Decor: Mayte Marie. If she ever gets a fan club we’re running on a joint ticket for pres and VP. That woman has so much vision. Quick story- there were anemones in some of the bridal bouquet inspo images we sent. Apparently you can’t get anemones in Punta Cana. So she pulled the center out of white flowers and put black flowers on wire in the center. They were stunning. She went above and beyond in so many aspects of our wedding.

Photographer: Katya Nova Arthouse. You know when you’re having a perfectly fun night, then someone buys a round of shots and the fun volume gets unexpectedly turned up a little bit more?
That’s what Katya and Rob are to weddings. They aren’t casual observers. They inject more fun into the party. Katya was the little birdie who whispered in my wife’s ear that a pool jump might be fun. I thought I was going to be against getting in the pool in my dress, and it ended up being one of the best parts of our wedding. The boomerang booth was their idea too and that ended up being hilarious.
Our photos are awesome and so are they.

Videographer: Weddingroll. Ani and Levi are so humble, and so incredibly talented. They’re calm people which is a great counter balance when you’re nervous. (And you will be!).
We hired them because their artistic point of view is so clear. I don’t know how they can make videos that are so romantic and also so not cheesy… But they do! The video they delivered captures the day just as it felt to us, and we could not love it more.

Bro’smaids Hair & Makeup: Olga Montilla. The coolest. Ro wanted her party in fauxhawks. That can’t be a common requestion, but Olga nailed it. And she brought great energy with her.
Bridesmaids hair: Anna Nuet. She did Kait’s hair and makeup and just hair for everyone else. Everyone looked so fly. Real life quote from my mom: “everyone keeps telling me how good I look. I want to be humble about it, but I can’t. They’re right- I look amazing.”
Bridesmaids makeup: Olga Kislitsina. Everyone’s makeup stayed all night, even in the pool. Some girls wanted heavy makeup and some light and she did both well. Communication in the front end was a little shaky but she really delivered on the day.

Resort: Royalton. We had 97 people there and very few complaints. We liked that it was small that that visually it’s more on the modern side.”
How did you stay on budget while still getting the wedding of your dreams?
Kait: Budget? I don’t think I know that word… Jk, jk. (Kind of). We moved the party back to the resort at 11 instead of paying for extra hours of open bar at our venue. We also didn’t do crazy hour or a fire show, and we stuck with the local open bar.”
Ro: (scowling at Kait’s lame budget jokes). We cut back on food and booze, but we didn’t cut back on decor. I’m a big believer that design creates experiences for people. It was important to me to give Mayte a lot of freedom to create an experience for us and our guests.”

How did you narrow down your guest list to a reasonable number?
“We didn’t. Our number one priority was having allllll of our people there who could make it. Doing a destination wedding naturally weeds out a lot of people though.
We tried to make it as easy and as fun for people to come as we could. We gave everyone plus ones, because it’s no fun to vacation on your own.”
Communication: any challenges in keeping your friends & family in the loop about your wedding plans?
“We actually didn’t have too much trouble with that part. We spent approximately a bazillion hours making our wedding website user friendly. That was time really well spent.
Also, we made a pact not to complain about the stressful parts of wedding planning to our friends. We wanted people to come and be excited. So we hyped our wedding like it was the can’t miss event event of the year. I think that helped set the tone. No one wanted to be left out and for the most part, people took initiative to stay informed.”

Any special heirlooms? 
“Ro wore her dads wedding ring. He does HVAC work and can’t have metal on his hands so he only ever wore it on his wedding day.
We did an underwater shoot before the wedding and Kait wore her moms wedding dress (after removing the sleeves and turning it into a two piece).”

Wedding surprises? 
“We had the Boomerang Booth (Katya Nova Arthouse is the only one on the island with it) … and it was SO fun. Drunk people do hilarious things that are even more hilarious on a repeating loop. We laid in bed the morning after the wedding going through the booms and cracking up.”

What was most challenging in the wedding process & what helped you get through it?
Ro: “I struggled at first with the price tag of a wedding. Kait helped me by talking through each thing so we could figure out what we were getting for our money and what was worth it. After I got used to what we were spending, it was just a process of diving into the planning together.
Kait: Finding bridal party outfits. It was weird to force my friends to spend money on something I picked out that they might not even like. I did it, and I loveddddd how they turned out. But I know that some of them were more stoked on my choice than others.”

Musical selections?
“Ro’s one request was that she walk down the aisle to “I’m the man” by Aloe Blacc.
Everyone stood up and clapped as she swaggered down the aisle. It was a pretty cool moment, with all our nearest and dearest seeing her as she says herself – cocky fresh, beautiful and masculine AF.
For our first dance we had a local coffee shop artist, Malorie Leogrande (@thetinylionsings), re-record Billy Joel’s ‘Shameless’ for us with the right gender pronouns. That might not have been the best use of money, but it turned out cool.”

Which images are your favourite and why?
Ro: “Hands down the picture of Kaitlin on the rock. That picture takes my breath away.”
Kait: “My favorites are the semi-candids. Where people are looking at the camera but they aren’t posed. There’s one of me and my mom where she’s drinking out of a champagne bottle, and a couple of my sister and I laughing at the camera that I love. There are also a bunch of Ro’s bro’smaids hamming it up that crack me up every-time I look at them.”

What did you find most surprising about wedding planning process? 
“No matter how many decisions you make, there are always more. You finish your to do list and then fill it right back up.
We also couldn’t have anticipated the amount of love our friends and family threw at us. It was overwhelming (in a good way). We knew people would be nice, but the speeches, the energy, the gifts—it was almost embarrassing it was was so much love. Like how will we ever repay this amount of goodwill back into the Universe?”

Advice for future Brides?
Kait:”No matter how perfect your day is there will be small things that don’t go according to plan, and it’s totally in your hands whether you let that be a big deal. We both went in anticipating there would be some mishaps. I think that mindset put us in a grateful head space instead of a critical one.”
Ro:“Everyone says it, but the day really goes by so fast. Do your best to take it all in and have as much fun as possible with your people. Because you probably don’t get to do this again.”
Both:”Set time limits for speeches! We had 5 people speak, but we asked everyone to keep it at 3 minutes or less. That was one of the smartest things we did.”

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