Today’s real wedding takes vacation to new heights! Andrea and Arash got married with a small group of family and friends in Punta Cana! A winter wedding meant the possibility of snowstorms which caused 10 of their guests to miss their flights, but their day was still a beautiful celebration of love. Enjoy this Perfect Punta Cana Wedding on a $10K Budget!Xoxo, Jessica
Andrea + Arash
February 10th, 2017
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic | Melia Tropical
What was your total budget? Please provide a budget breakdown.
We didn’t want to go over $10,000 including airfare and our resort stay.
My dress was off the rack and happened to be my size. It fit me like a glove. It was originally a $2,000 dress that I got for $500.
Being that our wedding was at a resort we had about 4 package options of what we wanted. We went with the higher option because it included the flowers, decor, cake, more food choices for cocktail hour and top-shelf liquor for our guests.
Instead of renting a tux, my husband bought his suit at Men’s Warehouse.
We were supposed to have 38 guests at our wedding but having a winter wedding meant the possibility of snowstorms. The huge snowstorm the day before our wedding closed the airports. Because of this 10 of our guests (including my husband’s mother) didn’t make it.
Total Budget: $10,000
How did you meet?
Arash and I were friends for several years before we started dating. We met at the gym and would often talk during our workouts. Years later we decided to hang out outside of the gym and go out to dinner. We went out just as friends but after that night things changed between us. We stayed up until 6 am talking and just clicked. We realized we had a major connection.
What is your proposal story?
Arash proposed to me on the beach in Turks and Caicos. I thought we were going to dinner at a local restaurant but when we arrived at the restaurant, the hostess led us away from the dining area toward the beach. I was surprised when she pointed to a secluded table set for two before the tranquil ocean. It was a romantic dinner. Arash shared his love for me and expressed wanting to spend the rest of our lives together as husband and wife. It was romantic, beautiful and unforgettable.
Tell us about your wedding vision.
I wanted to have a small, intimate wedding with our closest friends and family. I didn’t want to have to plan a lot and I wanted it to be stress-free. After my sister got married in Costa Rica a few years prior, we knew we wanted to have a destination wedding.
Being that our wedding was small, we didn’t want to have a big bridal party. Our daughter who was 1 1/2 years old at the time was our flower girl. My sister was my maid of honor and my husband’s brother was his best man. We told them they could wear anything they wanted. My sister picked a beautiful pink, flowery dress and our best man wore tan slacks and a navy blue collared shirt.
I wanted beautiful bright tropical flowers and originally wanted to get married on the beach. However, the Melia has a gorgeous beach gazebo that I loved. While I wasn’t walking on the sand, it was placed right on the beach.
Tell us about your attire choices.
We wanted our guests to be comfortable and just have fun. The attire was nice, casual. The women wore beach dresses and the men wore slacks and a collared, button shirt. Jackets and ties were not necessary.
Our daughter wore a beautiful laced, ivory flower girl dress. My husband wore a grey suit he bought from Men’s Warehouse with a white shirt, matching vest and no jacket or tie. I wanted to steer away from the typical wedding dress and was looking for a blush pink dress. However, I couldn’t find one that was the style I was looking for. I wound up falling in love with a beautiful ivory dress with delicate beading and had a sweetheart neckline. It was fitted down to my waist and flared out at the bottom. Not as dramatic as a mermaid dress but similar style.
What was most important to you two? Was there anything you chose to splurge on or skip?
The most important thing for us was to have our wedding represent us as a couple and not adhere to the traditional rules. We wanted our guests to be comfortable and just have fun. Our wedding was at a resort so there weren’t a lot of options. However, food and drinks were very important to us as well as entertainment. We chose the top package because we wanted our guests to have more food options and to have high-quality liquor. They all traveled from far and we wanted to make sure they were all taken care of.
We skipped the traditional garter and bouquet toss and just focused on having lots of music and lots of dancing. I liked that I didn’t have to pick out limos, choose flower displays from 100 different options. It was simple yet elegant and beautiful.
What were your favorite parts of the day?
Our daughter (who was 1 1/2 years at the time) walked down the aisle with my sister, and one of our best friends married us. It was extremely special to have them both be such a big part of our wedding.
It was important for us that our wedding reflected us as a couple and not the typical traditional weddings. Arash and I wrote our own vows and our officiant and I wrote the dialogue for the ceremony. We incorporated the love letter and wine box ceremony. We wrote letters to each other and placed them in a wine box. After five years of marriage, we open the letters and share the bottle of wine. If times get tough we open it sooner to reflect back on this special day.
Another favorite was seeing how well everyone clicked on both sides. Some of our friends and family members were meeting for the first time. You would have thought everyone knew each other for years. Everyone had a blast and have stayed in touch since our wedding.
Tell us about your wedding flowers.
Having a beach wedding, I went with beautiful tropical flowers with bursts of all different colors (pink, orange, yellow, purple and white). Stargazer calla lilies are my favorite so I made sure to incorporate that in my bouquet. My sister who was my maid of honor held a long stem white calla lily and Arash wore a beautiful tropical purple and pink flower boutonniere.
Tell us about your wedding cake.
We had a simple yet beautiful 3 tier cake decorated with colorful flowers. It was placed on a table covered in rose petals. The flavors were chocolate and vanilla with a buttercream filling. We also had 2 smaller cakes to celebrate 2 friends whose birthdays were around the same time.
What did you do for favors?
We left cooler bags filled with some goodies in each of our guest’s room. The bags included snacks, mints, hangover remedies such as Tylenol and Pepto-Bismol tablets, candy, a welcome sign and signs for the door that said: “Please do not disturb we are recovering from Andrea and Arash’s wedding.”
Did you include any family heirlooms or special traditions?
I wore a beautiful diamond necklace from my mother in law that she had for many years.
My officiant (who is one of our best friends) and I, created the ceremony. Due to a snowstorm, 10 of our guests couldn’t make it including my husband’s mother. Thankfully due to the joys of technology, she was face-timed in during the whole ceremony and reception.
Do you have any advice for couples planning their weddings now?
In today’s world with Pinterest and all the bridal shows, you can get really crazy planning a wedding. Some people are so worried about all the extras involved that they forget what the day is really about. I think it’s important to discuss with your partner the things that are most important to you and stick with that. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing or what you think you’re supposed to do. Make your wedding personal and have it reflect who you are as a couple. If you want to wear a red dress, go for it. It’s your wedding and your day.
Photography: Apollo Fields | Ceremony Venue: Melia Tropical | Reception Venue: Melia Tropical | Wedding Dress: Bijou Bridal & Special Occasion | Groom’s Attire: Men’s Warehouse | Bride’s Shoes: Macys | Submitted via: Matchology
Editor’s note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more pandemic wedding resources here.