“You can find something extraordinary in an ordinary place.” like, for example, the love of your life. So next time you are complaining and dreading your imminent moving, think that the love of your life could be just sitting there waiting for you. Just as happened with Ashley and Lance, who met at their new complex of apartments where they had just moved to in Downtown Saint Paul (Minnesota).
Dream La Romana Resort & Spa was the spot chosen by Lance & Ashley to celebrate their beautiful destination wedding in our sunny half-island. Scroll down to enjoy a short preview of their pretty destination wedding and to read why and how they decided on this location.
We met at the pool in the apartment we both lived in Downtown Saint Paul. Lance had just relocated to Minnesota from Nebraska to be closer to his sister after she had a baby. Ashley had relocated from rural Minnesota. Our first weekend in our apartments one of the neighbors brought a Big Screen TV down to the pool for the apartment complex to watch football while enjoying the sun and Lance & I, ended up in a group of people getting to know one another. I (Ashley) am the outgoing type, while Lance is more of the quiet kind, caught up in group conversation Lance walked away without being able to get a word in. I felt I’d left a wrong impression, not trying to engage him in the group conversation more, so I walked over to take time to get to know him.
We took things very slow at first hanging out with their apartment friends in group settings. After about a year in, we were inseparable, INCLUDING Lance finding a job at the company where I worked at where we’ve spent many lunch hours making plans for the future!
We started discussing marriage very early in the relationship. About a year after we began dating, we started looking at engagement rings together. I gave Lance ideas of ring styles that I liked, was so much more than just about the “look” of the engagement ring. Lance wanted to find a ring that he felt like provided the look I wanted, something that stood out but also stayed true to his upbringing. He grew up in a small town in Nebraska and always wanted to be someone who put the focus on simple things in life, which meant he did not want something so extravagant. The Jeweler at Wedding Day Diamonds was SO helpful through this process and kept an eye out for THE perfect center stone that stood out and helped Lance stay true to his roots.
A year after our first time looking at engagement rings, Lance picked out the engagement ring (about a month before Christmas and their anniversary). He had planned on proposing Christmas morning by putting the ring in the bottom of a coffee mug. The jeweler called a few days before Christmas to let him know that the ring was in. All of a sudden, it was as if the ring was burning a hole in his pocket! Lance HAD to propose as soon as possible. So, he made a special dinner and opened a particular bottle of wine they had saved for months, and when Ashley arrived home from work Lance was waiting at the top of the stairs on one knee eager to propose! Since our family lives all over the country, we quickly Facetimed everyone we could to share the news! It was the perfect fit for the two of them and represented how they enjoy spending their time; In the simplicity of their own home where the relationship, not the things, matter most!
We honestly couldn’t decide what kind of wedding we wanted! We had discussed a mountain wedding in Denver, a Napa valley wedding on a ranch, in the back yard of a beach house in Florida, Jamaica, Mexico, and more. Ultimately, we put a kind of a cryptic message out on Facebook asking friends for their favorite and most affordable all-inclusive resorts (before we were even engaged). Ironically, of the 20+ responses we had, Dreams Resort & Spa La Romana was mentioned SEVERAL times. It was a gamble for us because we had NEVER been to the Dominican. But we know why people had loved it so much!! Our guests raved about the hospitality at the resort, and honestly, the wedding was beyond our most beautiful dreams!! Our main priority for picking a venue was finding one that was going to be the most affordable for guests but also gave them the biggest bang for their buck. Dreams Resorts & Spa in La Romana offered that, from affordable stay to babysitting, numerous restaurants, kids activities, nightly activities, and more than we needed to dig into the wedding side of things. The ultimate deciding factor was the wedding options and prices. Once we started communicating with Yessica about our wedding plans and sifted through photos of the resort’s ceremony and reception location we felt like Dreams Resort & Spa La Romana was truly a “Dream” destination wedding!
We invited 135 guests and ended up with 60 guests at our wedding. We are both from different states, and our families (immediate and extended) live all over the country. Individually, we have been through some challenging times and we truly wanted our guest list to be those that we felt like remained close during those times and who helped shape and mold us into the people that brought us closer together in our relationship. We also thought it essential that we would have people that would continue to help us remain strong when we’d run into difficult times in our marriage. The day felt like we were genuinely joining two lives together. Having several days for the guests to get to know each other before the wedding day made the day so much more unique and special.
I (Ashley) have a background in interior design, and I believe that God and nature always provide the best color palette. Inspired by the sand on the beach, the greens and browns in the palm trees, paired with hints of pink in the sunset and white in the clouds, we wanted all things neutral using green, white, and pink as accents.
I spent a lot of time discussing with Lance what I wanted to wear. I showed him images off Pinterest and got his input (communication is the foundation of our relationship). I knew I wanted something simple yet elegant. I had my heart set on crepe, and I thought I wanted a halter neck. With such broad shoulders, every halter I tried on didn’t seem to suit me. So, with the help of my bridesmaids and mom, they helped me pick two dresses I loved but for very different reasons. The most helpful advice I had was from one of my bridesmaids who said, “when you put those two dresses on your whole presence changed. You could tell you felt confident.” One with a dramatic V-Neck, the other with a beautiful form-fitting crepe bottom. The only problem was I wanted to mix the two dresses. After LOADS of research, I found a dress online I thought would perfectly mix the top from the first dress and the bottom from the second. I knew what I wanted, I saw where it was, and had planned to go try it on after I got back from our family trip to Texas. When we got to Texas, my sisters and I decided to have a “girls day,” and we went wedding dress shopping. It was just for fun. I wasn’t ready to buy a dress yet. The store even called in advance to let us know that there was construction going on next door and that if I didn’t want to come in, they’d understand. We decided to make the most of it, and us girls went and tried on several dresses. They were all STUNNING, but WAY out of my price range. Two stood out as my instant favorites, and the dress that I ended up buying was way more dramatic than I had ever planned. But once I walked out the expressions, I received from my sisters and especially my niece who told me I was a princess made me realize it was time to save up for that dress! The assistant at the shop looked at the tag and luckily enough for me it was available off the rack which scored me a 25% discount and I carried it home with me on a plane the next day!
We found them ALL on social media! Pinterest was a lifesaver planning for a wedding in another country! Especially when you have a design background and know pretty specifically what you want but don’t know how to make it happen! Once we found the venue and Niko & Asia the rest quickly fell into place! Niko & Asia had a long list of recommendations and so did Yessica with Dreams Resorts. We were truly blessed to have Anna, Niko & Asia, and Yessica to work with for the wedding. With my attention to detail coming from a design background and Lance’s attention to our budget, we know we asked the world of them for our big day, and they delivered!
NCH Studio stood out to us the second we saw a Pinterest post with their photography featured when searching “Dominican Republic Destination Wedding.” The most important thing for us in a photographer was to capture candid moments with our family. We cared more about raw emotion than posed photos, and you could tell that was the type of work Asia & Niko excelled in. We LOVED the questionnaire they provided to us since we did not have a chance to meet in person, we loved their recommendations for vendors (like Anna Nuet!), and we sincerely appreciated their time spent with us over Skype planning how we wanted to capture our perfect day! I mean they even told us what times to avoid the sun before the wedding, so we weren’t lobsters for the big day!
That’s the most challenging question here! Too many to name! The photo of us kissing at the dinner table after the ceremony is probably my favorite! It just perfectly captured the feel of the evening. We were on a beach with so many people walking by, but we just felt like we were in our little world surround by so many people who loved us. For Lance ANY photo of us by the beach!
We chose to extend our stay at our resort with family and friends! We NEVER get to see them and even if we do have a little time together, its never all together at once, so it meant so much to us to have more time with them! Ironically, we returned home from our trip to the Dominican to 14.6” of snow in Minnesota that weekend which provided us with a very romantic winter getaway in front of the fireplace all weekend!
Planning a wedding is exciting and stressful all at the same time. Your conversations quickly go from “what do we want to do for date night?” to “we need to sit down and look at the seating chart” or “let’s go through the budget.” Pretty soon it seems like all you do is talk about the wedding. As romantic as you may think it would be, it certainly makes your relationship feel like a business. It can often make you feel like you’re morphing into another couple. In all honesty, some of the biggest fights we had was planning our wedding. Just remember that that phase will end! After the wedding, it’ll feel like your dating all over again! The best advice someone told us was “anything that ends up going wrong the day of will be a funny memory to look back on. At the end of the day, you’re still married!” Our wedding day it POURED out the entire morning of the wedding up until two hours before the ceremony. We weren’t even a bit nervous because come rain or shine at the end of the day, we’d be on our way to forever with one another!