hard rock punta cana wedding. {lily + steven}

August 1, 2014

Lily & Steven met and fell in love at a beach in New Jersey. Steven says he never believed in love at first sight but one fateful day he changed his mind. ‘She was very stand-offish at first and mean for no reason, so I was going to just leave it alone. But as the day and weekend went on, she started to warm up and we were inseparable. Really, we haven’t stopped being around each other since. She always asks why I liked her so much and I always tell her I just knew she was different. It’s hard to explain but I just knew we would be together forever.’

Lily adds, ‘I indeed was a bit mean to him just because my guards were up! He was in a frat and I had never really talked to a frat guy before. We were both single at the time and just enjoyed each other’s company that whole weekend. We had a romantic walk on the beach and have been inseparable since that day!’

Steven & Lily were made for each other. They have many things in common and are AMAZING human beings, but what impressed Rob & I the most was how they are always stepping up to be the ‘bigger person.’ Their Wedding was a very special and emotional one for us (for everyone, actually!) We got to spend more time with them than we normally do with Couples AND we lived through a couple of pretty traumatic events together 🙂  I mean, seriously, how much crazy stuff can happen in a day?!   🙂  Lily & Steven astonished us with the level of their emotional maturity and ability to keep their eyes and hearts on what was most important – their beautiful union as husband & wife. 

Here’s their beautiful Hard Rock Punta Cana wedding + a yummy sunrise Rock the Dress session photographed by our wonderful associate photographer Karla!! FEEL THE LOVE!!
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Top three things Lily loves about Steven: ‘I love how logical he is, his humour and his thoughtfulness. We talk about everything and he has me see things from a perspective I didn’t even consider. He helps me work on my flaws in a non-judgmental way, which in turn makes me a much more well-rounded person. He’s always supportive of my dreams and goals. For instance, he supported me the whole way through graduate school even though I rarely had any extra time for our relationship. He always listens to my ideas and encourages me to go for them.’

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Top three things Steven loves about Lily: ‘She’s kind, always open to try new things and I can always count on her.’

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So happy we’d snuck in a ‘First Look’!
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Lily, on the Proposal:

‘It was typical ‘Lily & Steven’ to me. I didn’t realize what was going on until after the ring was out. 

So, at the time Steven and I were living together in the Bronx and my family was in Brooklyn (it’s about a 1 ½ hour commute). He knew it was important for me that he asks for my parents’ permission if we ever did decide to get married. I never really considered marriage before I met him… So, one day he told me he was going to the movies with one of his guy friends. It was a Friday, so I got home exhausted and tried to stay up and wait for him but just couldn’t keep my eyes open. While I was counting sheep, Steven was at the movies before heading to my parents’ house to show my mom the ring. My mom, being who she is, was trying it on and was so anxious for my dad to arrive from work. My dad finally arrived and Steven asked for his blessing… Steven came into our bedroom around midnight and started talking to me while I was still half asleep. He started telling me how much he loved me and how his life isn’t complete without me… and that he wanted to make me his WIFE. Now, Steven would often say this to me so I was thinking, awww, he’s being sweet but I want to sleep!! Then was like ‘Lily turn around and open your eyes.’ I turned around all groggy and saw a sparkle! ‘Will you marry me?’ followed. ‘Yes! Yes! Do it all over!! LOL He started laughing and got down on his knee and put the ring on my finger. I was laughing so hard because I was so concerned with sleep that I didn’t realize what was going on. It felt like a dream.’  

Steven adds: ‘I ended up going to the movies by myself that night (I watched Judge Dredd, lol!) When I finally showed the right to Lily’s parents, they both smiled and her mom started crying. Everything was a blur and I just wanted to race home so I could ask Lily. This was even more nerve wracking than asking her parents… I think Lily thought it was a dream. So she asked me to do it again, and I got on my knees this time and asked her again. So, she said yes twice. We then called our moms and told them.’

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Most romantic memory together according to Lily: ‘A romantic candle light dinner with Jazz in the background while devouring a crème brulee dessert in Turks and Caicos.’

Most romantic memory together according to Steven: ‘Probably our first vacation together to Dominican Republic. The first candle light dinner we had there.’

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Lily: ‘I love Steven’s lips! He hates compliments so I don’t often tell him how irresistible they are. I could kiss him all day long.’

… and if you’re wondering what’s up with the fallen gazebo, I’ll tell you all about it at the end of the post…

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Lily’s favourite guilty pleasures: ‘Anything Chocolate, COFFEE, bread, and dry white wine.’ 

Steven’s favourite guilty pleasures: ‘Pinkberry. Fresh bread from the bakery. Chocolate ice cream. Pastries.’

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Ideal day together: ‘it would start off with the alarm going off and us cuddling for those few extra minutes while the snooze mode is on. Then, it’s a shower/coffee for me and shower/sports for him.  After that, it’s off to the park for a run. Once we get home, it’s showers or shower 🙂 and then we’re both in the kitchen making breakfast. He’s the head chef and I’m his sous chef. After breakfast it’s back to bed to watch some Bill Maher and sneak in another quick nap. Once we’re up, its movies, shopping, bowling, and/or new restaurant; usually a combination of three. It most definitely must end with a trip to Pinkberry.’ 

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Sunrise with Karla & I … All photos below are by our AMAZING new associate photographer, Karla!! hard rock creative weddings

Lily: ‘I love his humour! It’s an ongoing battle in our home… He always uses it because it always works. Even when I’m right in an argument, Steven always makes me laugh and I just give in!’

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Lily’s favourite things to find in the fridge: ‘Chocolate cake, half & half for my coffee, and ketchup!’

Steven’s favourite things to find in the fridge: ‘Fruit. Coconut water. Bacon.’

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Steven: ‘I really appreciate that she always compromises and that we can always talk to each other,  about anything.’

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Steven: ‘She actually calms me down. I’m a laid-back person, but I’m very stubborn, so she makes me see things in a different light. Lily is always willing to try new things, which makes me more open to trying things as well.’

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Lily: ‘With Steven by my side, I am a much calmer and more patient person. I used to be much more impatient! I am like the energizer bunny and he has helped me slow down and enjoy every minute of life. We’re totally opposites so we really do complete each other.’

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Steven: ‘I love her puppy dog eyes. Irresistible.’

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What did you love most about your Wedding?

Lily: ‘Getting married on the beach! I can’t believe I almost didn’t want to. I LOVED that we were facing the ocean because it felt like it was just us. Hearing and seeing the waves while taking my vows with Steven and hearing the words “on this beautiful island of Punta Cana, I now pronounce you husband and wife.”‘

Steven: ‘Finally saying I DO! The ceremony was the best part. Very romantic and relaxing to be on the beach and hearing the waves of the ocean.’


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

Lily: ‘I would have held the reception off site. It was obvious the team at the Hard Rock was so overwhelmed with other weddings they didn’t take enough time to care about ours.’

Steven: ‘I wouldn’t have had our wedding at the Hard Rock at all. Wasn’t the greatest experience and we didn’t feel special the whole time we were there.’


Most memorable moments?!

Lily: First Look! It allowed me to refocus my energy on Steven. Him talking to me and bringing me back to our center really was what I needed. Best decision before walking down the aisle!

Also, the ‘bar’ picture after all the craziness and taking shots with Katya 🙂 SHIT HAPPENS! lol

Running down the halls of the Hard Rock with Steven and friends after being moved to a new location for the 3rd time. Hearing our friends scream “she said yes” as strangers cheered when we passed them. LOL Felt like a superstar!’

Steven: ‘Getting ready with the groomsmen and Rob was a blast.

The First Look was cool because it let us talk for a bit and calm each other down.

The last reception area (Moon Lounge) … everyone let loose and had fun.’


Comments about vendors, resort etc

Lily: ‘I would not recommend for anyone to have a wedding onsite at the Hard Rock. The hotel is fun to stay at but not for hosting such a precious event of your life.

OUR PHOTOGRAPHERS WERE THE BEST!! I really really cannot say how thrilled I am that we chose Katya & Rob to share in this special moment. They were the best part of the wedding by far. We loved them and all of our guests were talking about how amazing they were. When I met Katya at the salon I already felt like I knew her and it’s when the wedding day really set in. They have a special energy about that is just so good to be around, especially during such an intense day. THANK YOU!’

Steven: ‘One of the best parts of the wedding was meeting our photographers. I feel like we genuinely bonded and they saved the day pretty much. I’m so happy Lily found them and we had them be a part of our wedding. Feels like we made life long friends. So I cannot recommend Katya and Rob enough to anyone doing a wedding! Daniel the videographer was very nice too.’

Advice for future Brides!

Lily: ‘Remember, it’s a celebration of your unity. Take a moment to just look around together and enjoy the day. Tell your partner how in love you are and just have fun. Don’t forget to have a bottle of champagne in hand!’ 🙂

Steven: ‘I agree, don’t focus on the little things. The important thing is that you love each other and nothing is bigger than that. People lose sight of what’s important and focus on everything but each other. If you two are happy then that’s all that matters.’

*** and here’s a little side note on Hard Rock Punta Cana. I feel it’s important to be honest, for the sake of future Couples planning their destination weddings. Rob & I have photographed a TON of weddings all around the world … and although Hard Rock is a great resort to stay at, you’ll likely have a much better Wedding experience if you get married off-resort property. I don’t know if it’s an unfortunate fluke, but more things go astray at Hard Rock than any other resort. Part of the reason is that it’s so big. Part of the reason is that they have a lot of weddings to take care of, so naturally, the experience is more impersonal. We LOVE the head of the wedding department, Nancy – she is absolutely fantastic … but some of the other coordinators fall short. They are all lovely, but they are just employees of a large resort, and do the best they can, which is not always enough. This of course applies to all resorts, but since this post is about Hard Rock, I’ll be more specific.

So, that huge heavy wooden gazebo structure?! It fell down. Thank GOD it wasn’t during the ceremony – there were so many kids standing up inside! I had just finished taking photos of the bridal party and a couple of the guys were saying ‘this thing might come down’ … I thought they were being funny / dramatic and didn’t think much of it. As the bridal party walked off, I was rearranging my gear, bending down over a chair in the first row of the ceremony… I heard a loud creak and instinctively stepped back. The heavy beams crashed down a couple of inches away, onto my stuff, where my neck would have been if I didn’t step away. {So, this is what Lily was referring to when she said ‘shit happens}! Thankfully, we always have back-up gear – because my $4k camera was done right then. Thankfully, no one got hurt – it could’ve been tragic. Naturally, the insurance company of Creative Punta Cana, is giving us a hard time – but I’m hoping they will reimburse us soon.

Lily & Steven also got rained out HARD shortly after their reception started – and everyone did the best they could … the hotel, the guests – it was still a wonderful and memorable night. However, there was miscommunication and some Hard Rock staff members did NOT handle the situation well.


Lily & Steven – we LOVE YOU GUYS, so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You have life-long friends in us and we are so grateful to have been there with you, on this incredible Day!!!!!!!!!! LOVE, K+R.

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  1. Kathryn Brador

    August 1st, 2014 at 19:58

    These pictures are amazing!!! I spoke with Katya for a few minutes while at the 2nd reception location and she was so sweet and so positive, by far the best vendor Lily had that day. The pictures look amazing, the sunrise set give such a different and deeper romantic feeling then the traditional after ceremony pictures. despite it all we had a blast sharing the time with family and friends, plus everyones tan looks great!!!! love love love you two and we loved being apart of your day! xoxoxoxooooo

  2. Katya Nova

    August 6th, 2014 at 14:54

    Kathryn, thank you for your beautiful and warm words! xoxo

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