Oh, Kelsey & Dave. Their light-heartedness, selfless care for everyone else’s well-being, incredible ability to collect magnificent friends, passionate dedication to each other, and a rare talent to find positivity in any situation are only a few of the qualities which make them SO special. These sweethearts are from Woodstock, Illinois, and for their intimate destination wedding they travelled all the way to THE most magical wedding villa on the island, Flor de Cabrera, Dominican Republic.

Kelsey: “How we met & fell in love?! Let’s go back to 2007. I was attending a high school in Nebraska and came home for winter break. One of my girlfriends invited me over to hang out while her sister was having a little party. When I arrived at my friends house, the older sister had a few words to share with us younger girls before the guests arrived. She told me that she had a SUPER big crush on this guy, and we were not to talk to him. Well this was a “guacamole party” where everyone was competing for the “best guacamole” award. My girlfriend and I took a stroll into the kitchen for a snack (and of course check out the older boys). I sat down across from where one of those older boys was making guacamole and we locked eyes. That’s it. We just kinda knew that we were supposed to talk to each other, regardless of what the older sister had to say. We stayed in the kitchen talking with all her friends, and Dave took my old nextel dinosaur phone and tried to put his name in my phonebook. His name turned into “DATU” and then his digits were in my phone. We left that night and I received a myspace notification that Dave Tummillo had sent me a friend request. We began commenting on one another’s myspace walls and then started texting and he asked me on a date. At that time, I was only 17 and he was 22. Trying to get approval from my parents to go on a date with a 22 year old was not going to go over well, especially since Dave was older than my older brother!

I promised my parents that he would come to the door and introduce himself and they will understand why I wanted to go on a date with him. Dave pulled up in his fancy car and came to the door. My dad saw his car, talked to him for a few minutes, and let me go. That’s exactly how this all went, it all just “worked,” and it worked so SO good. Dave was a drummer in a local band and I called him my rockstar. I attended his band practice and met his friends. He also took me out with his family for dinner on New Years Eve. This was all in week 1. We went on a few more dates before I had to go back to Nebraska for school. He gave me a stuffed animal gorilla and I went on my way, back to the prairie. We talked every day and couldn’t get enough of each other. I came back home for a short break at the end of January, and he asked my father if he could date me. On a date night, he lit some candles and asked me to be his girlfriend. We fell hard, fast. That little LOVE word came a few months later and despite the distance, we always found a way to fall deeper. Here we are now, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Dave: What she said.”

Enormous THANK YOU to Wilvia Medina, planner extraordinnaire, and all the wonderful Flor de Cabrera staff… and of course, the incredible MUA Ryann Marie Doyle & her team … Ryann, you’re a magician!  xoxoxo  Katya & Rob. 

Top three things Dave loves about Kelsey: “1. She is always so creative with our relationship, never letting things get dull. 2. She is beautiful. 3. She loves mac & cheese ALMOST as much as I do. 4. She plays Playstation with me.”

We want to remember our wedding day as the best day of our lives. We are doing a destination wedding because we just wanted the people that mean the most to us to be with us on our wedding day. Everyone in attendance has had an impact on our relationship, and we want to remember our favorite people on our favorite day.”

Kelsey’s favourite things to find in the fridge: PICKLES.”

Dave’s favourite things to find in the fridge: salami, hot dogs, pizza, cheese, and chocolate in any form.”

Top three things Kelsey loves about Dave:1. Dave can always make me laugh. 2. Dave is the most driven person I have ever met. He will do anything to make his dreams a reality. 3. Dave wants what’s best for me. He will always support me, encourage me, and light a fire under my ass when I need it.”

Ideal day together according to Kelsey: A summer morning in northern Wisconsin, waking up from puppy and Davy kisses in a tent on a lakefront surrounded by pines. Do some boating and fishing while sipping on some whiskey and soaking up the sun. Road trip back home with some country music blaring and the dogs’ ears flopping in the wind. Finish the day with cuddles on the couch and a concert special on TV.”

Ideal day together according to Dave: Actually same as above….this is why we work so well.”

Kelsey: Whenever I’m angry, upset, had a bad day, whatever, he will always flip my bottom lip with his finger, or point out my dimples. I can’t help but smile every freakin time. Grrr.”

Dave: “When I’m upset or irritated, Kelsey can help in two ways: cookies or non-stop kisses.”

Kelsey: “How is my life different because of Dave? Holy smokes, this one hits me hard. Dave is my best friend. I can honestly say that I am a better person because of him, in all aspects of my life. He has taught me that anything is possible, and I can take on anything that life throws at me. He ignites my sense of adventure while keeping me grounded. He pushes me to succeed while forgiving my failures. He is pretty much the best person to be around if you want to change your life for the better.”

Dave: I am a planner by nature. She has taught me to be more outgoing and creative in life. She always gives me a purpose to do the best I can, and makes me excited for our next adventure, even if it is picking out what frozen pizza we want to eat on a friday night while searching through Netflix for 3 hours and not deciding on a single movie.”

Kelsey: Sometimes I think he comes equipped with magical powers of reading my mind. On a weekly basis, he will say something or come home with something that I was thinking about. It always freaks me out.”

Dave: “Kelsey’s magic powers? She can make certain things disappear and appear out of nowhere (money, and laundry). She also has the power to make you smile no matter where or when.

Most romantic memory together according to Kelsey:Watching Lion King together. KIDDING! Everytime we go on a vacation, whether it be camping, a cruise, or a resort, we turn into different people. It’s like Dave and I are 17 and 22 again and the fire just ignites. Those are the romantic memories that I never want to forget. Honestly, when he asked me to be his girlfriend, that was the most romantic side of Dave I’ve ever seen. He lit candles around the hot tub and then had candles lit in his room and just made me feel like I was the sexiest girl on the planet. Dave doesn’t really need to say sappy things, because his look says it all. I could fall over and over again with that look.”

Kelsey: Dave is an incredible drummer. You put a drumset in front of him and he transforms. He loves cars, better yet, anything with horsepower.”

Dave: Kelsey is an amazing artist and writer. She is ridiculously creative and always has great fun ideas.”

Kelsey: “For my 18th birthday, Dave surprised me by detailing my Jeep Wrangler and filling it with camping supplies and a new hard top. He had planned a trip for the weekend to our favorite camping spot in Wisconsin.”

Dave: Kelsey always gets me the best gifts. One of my favorites was getting Jason Aldean tickets with a hotel room booked for the night because we both got to get away for a night and have a great time together.”

Kelsey: “I love that every night in bed he gives me a goodnight kiss. Even if I fall asleep before him, I always get a kiss. AND he does the dishes, and gets the mail, and takes out the garbage.”

Dave: “I love that Kelsey can never get enough hugs and kisses and always wants to have cheat meals with me even if they are every single day.”

Kelsey: “Our little fur baby Chief, the Alaskan Malamute, is our life. Dave had a malamute when we started dating, and we always dreamed of wanting one of our own. I had been asking Dave for a puppy for about 5 years. First Dave said we could get a puppy when I have a job. I got a job, and no puppy. Then Dave said we could get a puppy when we have a big back yard. We bought a house with 2 acres and still no puppy. I told Dave we have everything we need and I’m not waiting any longer. He finally caved in and found a breeder that blessed us with our little Chief. He is a whopping 80 lbs at only 6 months old. Chief brings us so much joy and happiness, we couldn’t dream of life without him.”

Dave on the Proposal:It happened in the downtown Woodstock square (where the movie Groundhog’s Day was filmed). She didn’t want to do anything I had planned because she is a scaredy cat. I wanted to propose in the big gazebo thing that had music playing but she was like ‘no, I’m not going up there, let’s get dinner instead, what are you doing, why are you being weird……omg you aren’t….and then she said YES (didn’t even grab the ring from me or look at it until I said, ‘don’t you want your ring’?)”

Kelsey adds: I honestly remember it being the most romantic thing he has ever said, but I don’t remember what he said. I just know I lost it, like, full on tears and sobbing and it was the happiest day of my life. You see, Dave never, I mean NEVER gets sappy. So when he did, wowza, I was so taken aback that I just wanted to give him a trillion kisses and never let him go. Best day yet!”

First Dance: “Burning it Down” by Jason Aldean.

Rock the Dress at Playa Diamante, Cabrera. 

Kelsey’s favourite guilty pleasures: Depleting Victorias Secret inventory, racking up the credit card, chocolate.”

Dave’s favourite guilty pleasures: eating cookies and brownies and pumpkin bars… in bed, also motorsports and fast cars.”

Kelsey: “I love that sexiest little smile he gets when he knows he’s doing something he shouldn’t…oh, and those arms. Hot damnnnnnn.”

Dave: I love her eyes when she stares at me, and her touch – except when she does it too much and tickles the hell out of me. And of course her gorgeous body, she is so sexy.”

1) Most memorable moments from the Day /  Wedding week? Our wedding week was straight out of a dream. The Flor de Cabrera team didn’t miss a beat on bringing our vision to life. From the bus ride to the villa, the excursion to Lake Dudu, the wedding day, to the free day, we had the time of our lives. The best part about our wedding? The full moon. As if everything wasn’t perfect enough…
2) Do you have any regrets? What would you have done differently if you could? Just one more day in paradise. We spent Wednesday night through Sunday morning with our guests at Flor de Cabrera. Everyone fell in love with Cabrera, they begged for just one more day. 
3) What inspired you to have a destination wedding? How did you pick the right venue? We’ve been to so many weddings that were about the production instead of about the couple. We wanted a wedding that reflected us and the love we share. What better place to bring passion alive than the tropics of the Dominican Republic? Anytime we vacation together, there is always a little spark that starts a fire between us, and we wanted to capitilize on that feeling for our wedding day. I (Kelsey) have had a slight obsession with weddings since forever, so even before my engagement I was known to scroll a few times a day through StyleMePretty looking for inspiration. I came across Flor de Cabrera and immediately fell in love. I showed a picture to Dave, and we both decided we would get married there someday. So we made it happen. 
4) What inspired your colour palette / decorations / any DIY elements / any unique details or traditions? All the little details, decorations, and colors in our wedding were inspired by a “feel”. We told our planner we wanted a romantic feel with natural elements and a touch of class. We found our AMAZING bridesmaid gowns that were blush, and so we went with blush. We wanted the natural feel so we went with greenery. And we wanted a touch of class, so we went with gold. We incorporated pineapples into the decor because when I traveled Central America in college, bringing a pineapple to an event was a sign of hospitality and love. I wanted all of our guests to feel that sense of hospitality and love, because we are who we are because of them. 
5) Any comments about vendors, resort etc The best part about our vendors? They all worked together to give US the best day/week of our lives. The Flor de Cabrera team was unbelievable. Our planner, Wilvia, did above and beyond what we could ever imagine. The wedding week was a breeze because of all the love and genuine regard Wilvia has for EVERY detail. The service, the food, the logistics, the feel, absolutely incredible! Our photographers, Katya and Rob, made sure we didn’t have the “dreaded picture time” as part of our wedding day. Katya and  Rob were like our best friends, there to party, who just so happened to take outrageously breathtaking pictures. When looking at the photos, the smiles you see are from the vibes they bring. The bridal party was glammed out by Ryann Marie Doyle and her crew. I gave her my vision and inspiration, she went with it, and made me feel like a queen. I would pick the same vendors over and over and over again. 
6) How to stay on budget while still getting the wedding of your dreams … anything you feel comfortable sharing is tremendously helpful to other Brides! Always remember what’s truly important on your wedding day when thinking of your budget. I found myself asking questions like ” Will orchids make me feel more in love with Dave than roses?”. We went from a $$$$ flower budget to a $$$ flower budget so we can bring our entertainment, vendor, and alcohol budget from $$$ to $$$$. Dave and I paid for the wedding ourselves, so we were able to make it EXACTLY what we wanted it to be.  
7) Guest list: how did you narrow down your guest list to a reasonable number? Dave always asks “Who would you call up right now to take to dinner?”, so that’s how we chose our guest list. Immediate family and best friends, giving us a perfect number of 36. Small, intimate, and full of love. 
8) Communication: any challenges in keeping your friends & family informed about your wedding plans? We sent out our invitations to our guests a year in advance, made a wedding website, and a facebook group to keep everyone in the loop. Since we picked our best friends and family, we had no issues with communication. For all our other family and friends, we sent out save the dates for a reception back home to make sure they know we are ready to party with them upon our return. 
9) Bridal buys: shopping advice for stationary, accessories, wedding dress etc Shopping Advice: Etsy is your friend. The best items I purchased were from Etsy! My wedding robe, my barefoot sandals, and my garters. Also, don’t worry about the price as long as it fits your “feel”. The bridesmaid dresses, clearance rack. The bridesmaid earrings, clearance rack. I found the best deals by NOT searching by keywords like wedding, or bridesmaid, or flower girl. No one will know the price, only how it looks.
10) Any advice for future brides/grooms! The best advice we can give is to do it your way. If you want a ceremony at sundown, do it. If you want cocktail hour before the ceremony, do it. If you want to be the last one at the bar with your groom at 4am doing shots of mamajuana, do it. It’s your wedding day, so do it your way. 
Here’s all my sources:
Wedding Veil and Earrings: Simply Luxe Bridal
Groomsmen Attire: Perry Ellis Suite and Express Shirt
Groom’s Watch: Fossil
Bride’s Bracelet: Nadri
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: BCBG Natasha Chiffon Evening Gown in Bare Pink (No longer available)
Bridesmaid’s Earrings: H&M
Barefoot Sandals:Catherine Nicole
Bridal Robe: LoveJenXO on Etsy
Garter Set: BeadsBroochesBridal on Etsy
Flower Girl Dress: NicolettesCouture on Etsy
Photography: KatyaNova

“When we look back on our wedding day, we wanted it to be what Dave and I are all about. Laughter, love, and a whole lot of fun. We didn’t want to fit into someone else’s idea of a stereotypical “perfect” wedding, because we are so happy with how we have it.”


Wow, that encounter sounded like something special! It’s amazing the people we end up meeting or getting paired up with – such a small world. And these cookies look fabulous! I love all the coconut in here!

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