Andrea & Arash | A Story of Connection and A Relaxed Destination Wedding in the Dominican Republic
The first time you meet someone you have no idea how big a role (if any) they are going to play in your life. When I met my friend Mitch at SUNY Cortland, a state college in upstate New York, who would’ve guessed that several years later my fiancé and I would be the photographers for his wife’s sister’s wedding in the Dominican Republic—but as Kurt Vonnegut would’ve said about life’s unpredictability, “and so it goes.”
In February 2017 Heather and I stepped off a plane into an overcast, muggy day in Punta Cana to head towards a resort complete with the canopied huts and aquamarine waters that define vacation prizes on game shows. Eager to dip our toes into the warm water, we made it to our air-conditioned room, dropped off our stuff, threw on some flip-flops and swimming trunks and headed to the beach. As we approached, Andrea and Arash were standing among family and friends, laughing and smiling in a relaxed circle of reclined beach chairs.
Between the telling of stories, their eyes lifted to meet ours and they gently drifted towards us with open arms. I remember their skin being sandy and a little sticky but when you meet someone for the first time and their first move is to hug you rather than shake hands—you know you’re in good company. We grabbed a couple of drinks from the poolside cabana and joined the circle as we quickly felt like part of the family.
We captured Andrea and Arash’s first look beneath an opal dome made of stone, it’s curves and edges as clean and crisp as the vest hugging Arash’s body. Andrea’s smile shone like the bright glare reflecting off of the white granite floor—almost too beautiful and overwhelming to look at directly. When they embraced and his arms wrapped around her lower back they whispered into each other’s ears the words reserved for lovers and their eyes slowly drew closed as their smiles pushed their eyelids into a happy recession.
Andrea and Arash carried this intimate gentle air all around the resort, strolling on scorching hot stones with the lightness of a breeze flowing across a rippling pool of water. When they stood at the altar during their ceremony, the guitar strums of Somewhere Over the Rainbow followed suit and the stride of passersby slowed in relaxed admiration of a scene so serene.
To think that we would’ve never been in attendance of such an occasion without the meeting of two 18-year-old college kids in upstate New York over ten years ago is an idea that’s hard to wrap your head around. It shows that life can bring you all sorts of places if you are mindful about the connections you make and the people you decide to keep in your life.
Dedicated to Andrea, Arash, and Kayla; Mitch, Diana and Maya.
We love you all.
Caribbean Destination Weddings | Andrea and Arash have their winter wedding in the Dominican Republic
I'm always up for a good destination wedding, but *especially* one in the Dominican Republic during the winter! The weather was perfection and the company even better. No better way to break up the cold months than a trip to the islands.
The best part about a destination wedding is that you are surrounded with the friends and family that you will probably have for life. People make that extra effort to be there, and literally go the distance with you. Plus you get multiple days with the people you are closest to, rather than just one day with everything packed into the course of a few hours.
Planning a destination wedding can be surprisingly easy! Andrea and Arash had an intimate wedding with small wedding parties. The resort took care of a lot of the moving parts that usually weigh down the planning process. Catering, cake, decor, room rentals, hotel blocks, DJ, and other vendors were essentially taken care of.
Hiring their wedding photographer was one of the few vendors that they did not want to use the venue for, however. It was really important to them to have timeless wedding photography and beautiful albums to look back on, and this was not one of the areas that they wanted to compromise on! I couldn't agree more.
Terrence and I flew down a few days early to ensure that we wouldn't have any problems with travel since international flights in the winter can sometimes get a little tricky. Lucky for us because that is exactly what happened to a few traveling guests. We flew from Denver International Airport to JFK to Punta Cana. Little did we know, we just missed the big snow storm in New York! Unfortunately, a few guests did get stuck in NYC airports and missed the ceremony.
PLANNING AN INTERNATIONAL DESTINATION WEDDING?
Always leave extra time for travel! Flight delays, rental cars, all of these moving parts can go wrong. We were so glad that we got down there early! And it meant that we got extra time hanging on the beach and going snorkeling so that was also a bonus!
Enjoy some of our favorite shots from the day!