Please meet today’s darling bride, Lauren! She and her handsome husband Anthony planned the perfect destination wedding in Punta Cana full of love, elegance and genuine simplicity that we are so honoured to share with you today. While reading through their story, we couldn’t help but shed a tear, and we know that you won’t be able to hold back either! Without giving away too much, prepare yourself lovebirds, because if there are any “daddy’s girls” in the house, you’re going to need a tissue…or ten!
“Anthony and I met while I was in graduate school and working at a sports bar in Boston, MA. My best friend from college and then roommate was dating Anthony’s college friend and roommate. We had worked together for over a year and became friends before it became a romantic relationship. It was a very unexpected relationship that over night turned from friendship into a life long partnership.”
“We had been together for just about four years and bought our first home outside the city of Boston. We had found out that our beloved dog, Duke, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Together, we decided to forgo an engagement and put money towards Duke chemotherapy treatments.
Half way during Dukes treatments, we were in the car and we started talking about getting married one day (a conversation that we had had many times). Anthony had told me that Dukes treatments were more than he had imagined, and that at the moment a ring wasn’t in the picture.
I told Anthony that I didn’t need a diamond in order to be engaged. So right there, we simply decided to get married.
A few weeks later we had gone out to dinner with my mom. Anthony had asked her permission to marry me. My mom was so thrilled that she gave me her wedding band that my father had given her. My dad has passed, so this was a very emotional and personal experience for me.
About two months later, Duke had unfortunately lost his battle with cancer.
About two weeks after that, on a Friday night, Anthony had come home from work and I was already cuddled up on the couch with our rescue puppy, King. Anthony had asked me MULTIPLE times to come into the kitchen and I refused because I was exhausted after a long work week. I finally listened and once I entered the kitchen, there he was on one knee with my dream ring, a bottle of Rose and my favorite pizza to be delivered.
For me, this was simply perfection.”
“We invited a total of 43 guests to our wedding and we had a total number of 40 guests attend. We chose to have a small and intimate wedding because I had never wanted a big wedding, or was that girl that would dream of her wedding day. I was a girl who would dream to find a man to marry. 🙂
We each chose half of the list. We wanted to be able to share this day with everyone and enjoy every memory with the people who have impacted our life past, present, and future.”
“We chose simple and classic as the theme for our wedding decor. Navy blue and gold were perfect for us. I love gold, and the ring that my father had given my mother was gold, so I really wanted that colour to be a special part of our day. For flowers, we wanted something that wouldn’t take away from the natural beauty of the venue and location, so we decided on white. “
FONDEST MEMORY FROM THE WEDDING:
- Wife: “Locking eyes with my groom walking down the aisle. I don’t remember the music, or the faces of my guests. I simply remember seeing him and thinking “ holy cow….he’s actually crying!””
- Husband: “Seeing Lauren for the first time. She is a very simple girl who never complains much about hair and makeup. I was so emotional and I never thought I would have that reaction.”
“At first I had said yes to a different dress. But, after having a few nightmares and looking back at the picture on my phone, I called Alexandra’s Boutique the following Monday morning and asked them to NOT put the order in.
Luckily they hadn’t and I went back for another visit.
The first visit I brought an army with me and I was very overwhelmed. The second time it was just my mom, sister on facetime, and my sister in law. I tried on everything and anything. Liked so many but only LOVED one. I felt like a bride and saw myself much different than I ever had.
I knew that it was the dress I would want Anthony to see me in and a dress that I could picture myself loving forever. I chose a cathedral veil and I always knew I wanted that. That was something I’d always seen in pictures and just knew would be perfect for me.
One feature of my dress I had to have was an open back. I have a tattoo of my dad’s eyes on my back. It symbolizes him always being with me and watching my life even though he can’t be there. I was 23 when he passed unexpectedly.
Our photographer was able to capture many beautiful shots of “him” and I on my wedding day. ”
“We wanted the groom to be comfortable but not too casual. It was our wedding after all.
Anthony is not a suit type of guy and with the hot weather it just wasn’t in our vision for a conservative look. Again to go along with our simple and elegant look, we decided on white textured linen shirts.
The groom and grooms father matched in the same shirt and light tan pants. The groomsmen matched with the white textured linen shirts, but wore navy blue slacks that matched the bridesmaid dresses.
The bride, groom, wedding party and all guests went barefoot for the ceremony.
“Our favorite shot of the wedding was when the photographer threw my veil over our heads and we started laughing. We aren’t very serious people, but he caught such a fun-loving image that it brought me to tears from the moment that I saw it. It captures our day, our love, and our carefree way of life.”
“We did not have any entertainment, but used our money to upgrade items at the venue that we thought would enhance the setting and make the entire night more enjoyable for our guests. We added a starlit dance floor, bistro lighting, beach lounge with chair and pillows, and our LOVE sign.”
“I used my dad’s navy and gold tie to wrap my flowers. I wanted a piece of him there with me without making it obvious to everyone.
I also wore Anthony’s grandmother’s pearls around my wrist as a bracelet. It is their family tradition that every woman who either marries into the family or family member wears them on her wedding day. Anthony’s mother wrapped them around my wrist and it was a beautiful moment for us, as I had never had the opportunity to meet her.”
“I walked to the instrumental version of “ Good Life” by One Republic. I have always loved that song in general, but if you listen to just the instrumental it’s perfect for a tropical setting.
The groom INSISTED on his own entrance song as well….YES I let him pick! Anthony made his grand entrance to the instrumental song that WWE wrestler John Cena enters the ring to (this was a big hit, and Anthony was in his glory).
The bridesmaids walked down the aisle to Ellie Goulding, Still Falling For You. We chose this song because it’s different. It is semi-upbeat and the words always make me think of Anthony. Everytime I hear it, it brings me back to seeing my girls walking down a beautiful white wooden aisle toward my groom. The vision will never get old and that song will always bring me back.
Our first dance was to “ One Step Ahead” by A Great Big World. We had gone back and forth as to what our first dance song would be because we didn’t have a “song”. We listened to MANY songs but the minute this one came on it was an instant winner. NO guest had every heard it, and this song describes our love perfectly. There’s a line in the song “ How could I be worthy of someone else’s love?” and for us, that was so powerful that we had each found that person who could answer that question.
As a little girl my dad used to always say to me “have I told you I loved you today?’ and I would say “nope!” …even though he already had. And he would say “well just in case… I LOVE YOU”. So we had always said we would dance to Rod Stewart, “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You”. Since he wasn’t able to dance with me, I danced with my mom and let me tell you it was TEARS OVERLOAD! I am 5’10 and my mom is 5’2 and somehow I was able to cry on her shoulder. It’s not how I ever thought it would be, but it was perfect.
Anthony and his mom danced to “ A Song for Mama” by Boyz II Men. Anthony and his mom have a very fun loving relationship so seeing them smiling and sharing this special moment was perfect.
Later on in the night, both of my brothers (who gave me away) surprised me with songs that had been our childhood favorites. I am the the youngest of four (two boys and two girls) so having two older brothers is like having your own superhero and I have two! My oldest brother chose “Ballerina girl” by Lionel Richie and my next brother chose “ Kokomo” by the Beach Boys.”
“We danced the night away under the starlit sky and on top of the starlit dance floor! Our guests didn’t sit down all night and the party could pick up right where it left off if we had the chance to do it all over again. It was by far the BEST day of our lives and our guests couldn’t have been more amazing to share this day with.”
“After a week in the Dominican with our loved ones we traveled to Santo Domingo by private car and flew on InterCaribbean Airways to Turks and Caicos. The short 50 min fight was just what we needed to start our week long honeymoon on Grace Bay as the new Mr. and Mrs. Grace.
Turks and Caicos exceeded our expectations! We felt like we lived in a screensaver for the week. White sand and crystal clear waters accompanied by amazing food, drinks and the locals were one of a kind. Turks and Caicos was exactly what we needed to begin our married life!
Our resort made us feel like we were in an Italian villa but on a Caribbean island. We had a full view of Grace Bay from our living room, kitchen and sprawling outdoor space.”
Any advice for brides to be/ newly engaged couples?
“Our advice would be to make your wedding for you! Don’t worry about what people will think or say because at the end of the day it is about YOU! Once you find something you LOVE, stop looking for that thing and move onto something else. Have patience because it goes by in the blink of an eye. Enjoy the planning, be kind, and always remember the best gift at the end is the life you have with the person you walk back down that aisle with.”
Thank you to the most adorable couple of all time, Lauren and Anthony for sharing their love story with us! We wish you all the happiness in the world darlings!
Photography: Caribbean Wedding / Alex Newman/ Irina Avvakumova | Wedding Dress: Essense of Australia, Alexandras Bridal Boutique | Venue, Wedding Co-ordination, Music/ DJ, Lighting & Decor, Transportation, Event Rentals, Floral, Catering, Bar Service & Cake Artistry: Jellyfish Restaurant | Bridesmaid Dresses: Dessy | Hair Stylist & Makeup: O.K Beauty Studio, Olga Kislitsina | Groom Attire: Shirt- Cubavera Textured Linen Shirt, Pants- Jos A. Bank Signature Collection British Tan, Shoes- Brown Cohl Haan | Groomsmen Attire: Shirt- Cubavera Textured Linen Shirt, Pants- Jos A. Bank Signature Collection Navy | Invitations: Paper Tales, Amy Savinon | Favours & Gifts: Dominican Favors | Officiant: Shay Drysdale, Fairytale Endings | Travel Agency: Margie Pearl (guest travel) Destination Weddings | Guest Accommodation: Riu Palace Punta Cana | Honeymoon: Villa Renaissance |