Go ahead and think that I’m exaggerating, I can’t help it … Ivanina & Adriel are the kind of power couple you meet and immediately think to yourself, “how can I befriend these people for LIFE?” Rob & I knew this would be a very special wedding, but then drove away after saying our final goodbyes and fantasized about Iva & Adriel moving to Punta Cana from New York (Ivanina would professionally homeschool all our children, obviously!) Okay, sorry, let’s back up to the beautiful story of their Dominican Republic destination wedding at the famous Jellyfish Restaurant here in Punta Cana!
They are a passionate, creative, adventurous, warm-hearted couple who can out-party most people, especially when hot latin beats are involved.
Adriel on how they met and fell in love: “I was looking for part time work and I applied to about 100 jobs on Craigslist! One day I got a call from the owner of a Wedding Entertainment company to come in for an interview. That was the first time I met Ivanina, she was a customer service rep / planner there. I love to tell people that we met on Craigslist. It is a great conversation starter! I tried for about three months to get her to go out on a date with me. Finally, I persuaded her to get a coffee with me. The coffee turned into dinner and dinner turned into our first kiss.”
Ivanina adds: “The first time I saw Adriel, I felt butterflies in my stomach immediately. When he got hired, I swore to myself that we would keep our relationship professional… That obviously didn’t happen! His charm, wit, and his big heart won me over.” 

Adriel: “She always reminds me to smile and be present. She loves all things nature and constantly encourages me to go outside, get some fresh air, go for a walk, and look around at all the beauty. It has had a profound impact on my life.”

Ivanina: “I moved to America at age 7 (from Bulgaria) and my 1st grade teacher decided it would easier to call me Iva. I didn’t speak English well enough English to tell them I would prefer Ivanina. I think I also wanted to fit into this new culture and environment. I was named after my Grandfather Ivan, I love my name and it carries a lot of meaning to me.”

Ivanina’s favourite things about Adriel: “I love the way he looks at me (with love is in his eyes), his sense of humor, and his calm easygoing spirit. He grounds me.”
Adriel’s favourite things about Ivanina: “She is the most genuinely caring person I have ever had the pleasure of being around, she truly loves unconditionally and has taught me how to love and be loved. Her smile lights up my life. The way she moves is so amazing, I cannot resist her.”

Ivanina’s favourite gift from Adriel: “Confidence. Before I met Adriel, I struggled with doubt, trust, self-esteem, and the ability to communicate what I really wanted out of life. Without this love, knowledge and awareness of oneself, we cannot grow alone or as a couple. Don’t get me wrong Adriel has always given me beautiful presents, but his best gift to me will always be his unconditional love to me.”

Adriel’s favourite gift from Ivanina: “She surprised me and brought me to a Russian Banya for my most recent birthday. I love the gift because this gift was an experience, not just a material gift.”

Ideal day together according to Ivanina: “We wake up early, prepare breakfast and leave for an outdoor adventure at the beach, or park. We would stay and watch the sunset or come home and relax on our balcony.”

Ideal day together according to Adriel: “Wake up with the sun and have a light breakfast. We would head to the beach to exercise and lay out in sun. We would talk about how lucky we are to be married to your best friend and lover. Go home to make love, take a nap and have a bite to eat. A Home cooked meal with a glass of wine or beer and make love again. Sweet Dreams.” Adriel on the Proposal:

“We were on a family vacation in Punta Cana. My parents just celebrated their 35th anniversary and we told Ivanina that we are going to have dinner to celebrate the occasion. The original plan was for Ivanina and I to leave a little bit early and go walk on the beach under the stars, where I would propose… or so I thought! Ivanina didn’t understand why we weren’t waiting for everyone and headed in the wrong direction (towards the beach). I could not get her to leave the rest of the group. I began to panic and just as Ivanina was about to walk away I decided to grab her hand and get down on one knee right there. It is a night I will never forget.”

Most romantic memory together according to Ivanina: “We took a trip to Newport, Rhode Island for our three-year anniversary and it was one of the most beautiful places we had ever visited together. During our trip we went on a sunset cruise on this old sailboat that traveled up the shoreline. I remember sitting on Adriel’s lap feeling overwhelmed with love and joy in my heart. The sun was going down and all I could think was please don’t let this day end. Later that night we watched fireworks I kept thinking to myself I want to marry this man, he fills my heart with such joy and excitement.”

Most romantic memory together according to Adriel: “We were in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California just in time for sunset so we decided to go for a walk on the beach. As we held hands and walked, there was a moment where we locked eyes and we didn’t blink for what seemed like forever. At the same time, we both of us started laughing and in that moment I said to myself I Love Her. Even though I had already told her I loved her many times before, this was a powerful reaffirmation. The kind you physically feel in your heart. The moment was incredible.”

Adriel: “I love the way she moves. When she dances, I cannot take my eyes of her. Ivanina brings happiness to the world with just with her presence.”

Ivanina’s favorite guilty pleasures:“Pickles, Dark Chocolate, and watching sappy movies.”
Adriel’s favorite guilty pleasures: “My guilty pleasures used to be Doritos, and Taco Bell but since I met Ivanina, my guilty pleasures have become more healthy; dark chocolate, popcorn, and the occasional ice cream.”

Ivanina: “I love his eyes, and …his whole being!”

The Island “Beloved” experience … 

Ivanina: “It melts my heart when Adriel takes me to this quiet wooded trail behind our home and squeezes me with a big hug.”

Ivanina: “Adriel’s magical powers would be to bring happiness and humor into peoples lives that really need it. He has this unbelievable way of always simplifying even the most difficult situations and finding positivity and sometimes humor. I wish he could share this power with more people! We need more of that in our lives.”


1) Most memorable moments from the Day / Wedding week?
Ivanina: “First Look! The moment when Adriel waited for the polaroid to develop (of me standing behind him, in real time!) that Katya had taken before he actually saw me. The anticipation was magical. Words can not explain the love & excitement I felt when Adriel turned around and squeezed me. My family traveled from Bulgaria and Germany to come to our wedding and it was such a pleasure to see them together with Adriel’s family. The island warmed our hearts, bodies, and souls.”

Adriel: “One of the most memorable moments for me has to be the First Look. I am so glad we decided to do it. Katya gave me the polaroid of Ivanina and as I looked at it Ivanina came up from behind me and hugged me. It is a moment I will never forget. Also, all the speeches were so emotional and truly from the heart. The whole week with family and friends was absolutely incredible.”

2) Any regrets? What would you have done differently if you could?
“We have no regrets from our wedding day or the overall vacation. It was absolutely perfect.”

3) What inspired you to have a destination wedding? How did you pick the right venue?
“We wanted to bring both of our families together for more than one day and why not be in paradise? We were lucky enough to stumble onto Katya’s blog when doing our wedding research and we fell in love with Jellyfish. Having the opportunity to meet Katya & Rob in Central Park last summer, along with some great couples who already went through the wedding planning process sealed it for us.”

4) What inspired your colour palette / decorations / any DIY elements / any unique details or traditions?
“My colour palette is inspired by our home, my personal style, and nature. I sent Janelky at Jellyfish my bridal shower photos which depicted my Bohemian style very well. Adriel and I really enjoy being in nature, walking, hiking and exploring new places so we wanted the greenery, wood and natural shimmer of the sun/water. Jellyfish is really a breathtaking location and shines on its own.”

5) Resort? “We loved Dreams Palm Beach!”

6) How to stay on budget while still getting the wedding of your dreams?

“Less is more, keep things simple. The island is so beautiful, you don’t need much. Jellyfish decor team did an amazing job on our simple and small centerpieces. Instead we decide to spend a little more on the phenomenal food. It is one beautiful day, don’t stress and remember why everyone is there….because they LOVE YOU!”

7) Communication: any challenges in keeping your friends & family informed about your wedding plans? 

“We had a wedding website ( & facebook event created. The facebook event page seemed more helpful and our guests were more responsive there. We would periodically send reminders and important details to all our guests on the page.”

8) Were there any special heirloom pieces used? 

“I wore a red ruby ring and a small heart on my necklace which were passed down to me from my grandmother. My grandmother was/is a very special person to me, her beautiful soul and spirit was there that day with me.”

9) Were there any special wedding surprises?

1. Adriel’s brother surprised us with a small speech in Bulgarian during his best man speech. It was awesome!
2. Kicking the Copper Pot: The tradition says that the bride has to kick a little copper pot that holds two flowers, a red and a white. According to the tradition, if the first flower that rolls out of the pot after the bride kicks it is red, the new family will likely have a baby girl as a first child. The white signifies a baby boy. The bets are on a girl, so we will have to wait and see what happens!”
3. Fire Show – This was amazing and it was organized by Jellyfish!
4. My Bulgarian family put together a surprise dance to welcome Adriel’s Dominican family to our family and culture. The dance is called Horo and it is done in a circle. We also wore handmade shirts that were embroidered by my aunt from Bulgaria. They are traditional folklore designs that were worn by Bulgarian Brides. It was absolutely beautiful to have both families on the dance floor dancing and laughing!”

11) Any advice for future Brides/Grooms?
“Be a guest at your own wedding. Sit back, take in the love, and enjoy your family and friends.”

Venue: Jellyfish 
Resort (guest accommodations): Dreams Palm Beach
Florist: Giana & Clara (Decor ladies at Jellyfish) 
Bride’s gown: ADK by Eddy K
Bride’s shoes: Feet Jewelry from Etsy Store : Barmine Club 
Bride’s accessories: Earrings- , Back necklace-
Groom’s attire: (Suit & Tie) 
Bridesmaids dresses:
The bridesmaids accessories: Foot Jewelry: Etsy Barmine Club , earrings- Francesca’s Flowers girl or ring bearer attire- Flower girl dress-
Ring Bearer: bow & suspenders set – Beautiful4Baby
Stationery / Itinerary cards for welcome bag: Kreativees (Etsy)
Hair stylist & Makeup artist: Olga Montilla 
Cake designer – Ana Bello
Cinematographer HeartBeat Video and German Paz
Other Etsy designers: Mens wooden tie clips: Etsy group- Smart Tie Rings – Mike at the Jewelry Exchange in New Jersey
Travel agency – Wright Travel Agency Honeymoon – Bulgaria in 2018!
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