We arrive to the Palms Villa. As soon as Bri’s sister sees me, she bursts into tears. Whaaaaaaaaaat?!
She tells me the bride is in bed sick and cannot imagine standing up at the altar. I tiptoe up to her room. After many months of planning this wedding and following each other on Instagram, it feels like I’m seeing a sweet old girlfriend.
Yes, I know this kind of thing is every bride’s worst nightmare, but Bri & Mike’s Wedding ended up being so incredible and totally unique, despite being a ‘backwards’ wedding.
Thank goodness we were at the Palms Villa Punta Cana, where Kelly & Seely went out of their way to rearrange the schedule so that we would have a SUNRISE ceremony instead. They even put Rob & I up in one of the rooms!
The energy was so magical as the sun came up and the wind danced in Bri’s hair.
See for yourself!
Venue The Palms Punta Cana | Florist Sisay Flowers Punta Cana | Bridal gown Rebecca Ingram Marjorie | Groom’s attire Bespoke suit by Romualdo in Cincinnati | Flowers girl Moon Kitty Baby Girl Dress Pageant Bow Formal Dress on Amazon | Stationery Zazzle.com | Hair stylist BriAnna Perry | Cake designer Cake Studio Bavaro | Planner Kelly Setzer | Transportation Renny Travel | Officiant Marcos Paruker Soares | Cinematographer Jules for Katya Nova
To Bri & Mike: you two are so special to us. Whatever life throws at you, you got this! Thank you for treating us like family (and snuggling baby Phoenix!) xoxo The Nova Family.
… for 5 years we had lockers side-by-side and shared home room. It wasn’t until the last 6 months of high school that we started hanging out as friends. on graduation day Mike couldn’t stand the thought of heading off to college with no guarantee of having Bri in his life. So he awkwardly asked her to be his girlfriend at 11:53pm (while she was rushing him home to meet curfew). She said yes, he leaned in for the kiss, she was shocked, but it happened anyway. The end 🙂
BRIDE & GROOM POST-WEDDING REFLECTIONS:
1) Most memorable moments from the Day + Wedding week?
Bri: “After the teary ceremony we ran away to the beach, and what happened next was the reason we booked Katya Nova’s amazing team: her effortless, romantic, playful beach portraits! This was my favourite part. It felt so surreal, we finally made it to Punta Cana, to the Palms Villa which we’d been drooling over for over a year, with the most amazing photographers on the island and we were ready to capture it!”
Mike: “Watching Bri walk down the aisle was incredible. When she made it to the altar, she did a little skip right into my arms and gave me the biggest hug. That hug went a long way towards calming both our nerves.”
2) Any regrets? What would you do differently, if you could?
No regrets here! We were so excited and stress free leading up to the wedding! The Palms Villa & Katya Nova’s team made it so easy for us!
3) What inspired you to have a destination wedding? How did you pick the right venue?
Once Mike and I were finally ready to do some planning and venue shopping, we had to narrow down whom we wanted there. Before I knew it, there were 150 names on the list! We looked at each other and knew we wanted to do something different. We wanted to spend QUALITY time with these guests. We love the ocean and wanted something exotic and tropical.
Punta Cana popped up online and The Palms Villa was listed on AirBnB. Whoa, this was our perfect place! We peeked at a few resorts, but we wanted something much more personal and intimate. The Palms Villa is a GEM!
4) What inspired your colour palette / decorations / any DIY elements / any unique details or traditions?
Simplicity. We already had the most gorgeous back drop: the ocean! So we went with ‘white on white’ colour palette. My wedding planner, Kelly, suggested these small square mirrors to be placed under vases and that ended up being gorgeous as well.
5) Working with the Palms Villa Punta Cana:
Kelly at the Palms Villa Punta Cana handled everything with the vendors. She set up decor, ordered us a cake, planned the meals, picked up the flowers, hired the DJ, and even got this really cute “Unplugged Wedding Ceremony” sign. She was literally a magic fairy for the wedding. Oh, and … the Wedding was planned for Saturday night, but we didn’t end up having it until Sunday morning!!! Everything STILL looked perfect. I just can’t say enough good things about the Villa and every beautiful soul that works there.
6) How did you stay on budget?
Honestly, we didn’t have a number. We were paying for the wedding ourselves and had some money saved up. This was our Big Day and it would only happen once so we spent a lil’ extra for things that we truly appreciated.
7) How did you narrow down your guest list to a reasonable number?
Mike and I have a really small circle. We love our family over everything else and have a handful of close friends. It wasn’t difficult for us.
8) Communication: any challenges in keeping your friends & family in the loop about your wedding plans?
Not for us. We sent an email every couple months filling people in on details and our family was very open with us about their plans so it was pretty seamless.
9) Bridal buys: shopping advice for stationary, accessories, wedding dress etc
The dress I ended up wearing on my wedding day was the dress that we had tried the very first day: Rebecca Ingram Marjorie. I knew I wanted Katelyn Molitor to help me find a dress at Bridal and Formal in the Reading Bridal District, and she was wonderful. Mike wore the Bespoke suit by Romualdo in Cincinnati.
I used Zazzle.com for our save the dates, wedding invites, and even beach stamps. They were adorable and affordable.
10) What was most challenging in the wedding process & what helped you get through it?
Second guessing whether we made the right decision having a destination wedding. There were times when we were disappointed that we wouldn’t have our WHOLE family with us and certain friends, but we had to keep in mind why we made the decision in the first place and all of the things that we were continuously EXCITED for during all of the planning. Nothing would have topped the wedding we had. It was absolutely perfect.
11) What were your musical selections & why?
“Perfect” by Ed Sheeran. We were a bit worried that song would be cliche, but it was … PERFECT! Mike & I ended up dancing on the grass, barefoot, on the Sunday morning after our sunrise ceremony.
12) Which images are your favourite and why?
“Long pause…… can I say ALL of them?! I know that’s a cop out, but we really loooooove them all. Each time I look at them, I notice something I hadn’t before and it’s amazing.
13) What did you find most surprising about wedding planning process? What’s most surprising to you now, looking back?
We were shocked at how EASY the wedding planning process was. I’m pretty sure it was so stress-free because we decided to do our destination wedding with The Palms and Kelly just handled everything. Also our families were very “go with the flow.”
14) Advice for future Brides & Grooms?
This Big Day happens once! Make the most of it. Do exactly what you two want to do and don’t let any family member, friend, or vendor change your mind.
15) Your Honeymoon?
Three days at Breathless Punta Cana and five days in a “Romantic Beach House in Bavaro” found on Air BNB.