I started working with Amy & Drew in April, 2019. When I first met with this couple, they had just moved, gotten engaged and were in the midst of crazy times at both of their jobs. They were excited about the prospect of a destination wedding, but had zero time to plan.
At the time, Amy was a finance director at an investment management firm and Drew was a creative director at an advertising agency (hello, my past life before travel!). I was instantly drawn to their fun and laid back attitude ... from minute one, it was obvious that they were a wonderful couple! They are also dog people, which was a sign that we were meant to work together... animal people are my people!
Amy and Drew were interested in both Punta Cana and La Romana, two very different parts of the Dominican Republic. As fate would have it, I had literally just come back from seeing the new construction of a brand new resort, Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana. I showed them my hard hat tour pictures and off we went... planning a wedding for late Spring 2020.
Planning a wedding at a brand new resort is not for the faint of heart. When you plan a wedding at a property that hasn't opened yet, there are so many unknowns. Most visuals are just renderings; there are no official photos or videos of the venues, the rooms, etc.
With my relationship with the hotel, we were able to secure some sneak peeks of the wedding venues, room layouts, etc. Combined with my reconnaissance trip during construction, Amy & Drew felt comfortable enough to sign on the dotted line. Away we went!
Amy and Drew even planned a last minute visit to Punta Cana just after the opening in winter 2020. They were able to see this weeks-old resort with their own eyes, which did a lot to set their minds at ease.
Little did they know, "brand new resort" jitters were going to be the least of their worries, haha!
This story may seem tired to some, but it is devastating to each individual couple: Just a few short weeks after Amy & Drew's "scouting" trip to Punta Cana, the entire world changed. The resort closed for what would be 5 months, finally re-opening in late 2020.
Amy and Drew decided to postone for a year, hoping that COVID would be behind us. They picked a new date of May 21, 2021.
My team got to work moving reservation after reservation, essentially copying and pasting old trips for a new date 12 months in the future. We set our sights on 2021 and stayed in touch over the next year.
I truly love getting to know my couples on a personal level - and I love it when they do the same. During Amy & Drew's planning, had a scary dog incident with our terrier, Sally. They were sweet enough to send a box of DELICIOUS cookies and a get well card for Sally, which of course she enjoyed (LOL!) That is the part of my job that you just can't replicate using a generic, big box travel agency. The friends I have made on this journey are one of the best parts!
DESTINATION WEDDING q&a WITH amy & drew
- What were your biggest fears when planning a destination wedding? Initially, it was the unknowns of the resort itself since we booked prior to it being complete and was it going to be fully functioning at the time. Then Covid hit and we had to reschedule – our next fear was were our favorite people that were initially going still able to come a year later.
- What is your favorite memory of your destination wedding? The dance floor – every single person was dancing until they told us to go home. We almost didn’t get one since we were on the beach and last minute decided to get that and the photo booth. We had some surprise rain at the perfect time of the night to add to the magic.
- Did you splurge on anything travel or wedding related? If so, what was it and was it worth it? We upgraded our room to a master suite and our flight to 1st class, so worth it to start the adventure! We also added VIP coming into the Punta Cana airport and won’t ever be flying in without it now! Thanks Ashley!
- Did you attempt to *save* on anything travel or wedding related? If so, what was it and was it worth it? Decorations/flowers – ABSOLUTELY! You’re in the Caribbean, THAT is your décor/background.
- If you could change anything with your wedding (planning, the day itself, the location, resort, ANYTHING) - what would you change? Would’ve made a better schedule throughout the trip of where we’d be. Definitely rough trying to corral different groups. Our initial maid-of-honor/best-man couldn’t come to the rescheduled wedding (big crocodile tears here – silly babies), but would’ve appointed someone else to help with the day of to make sure we had everything we needed and fully supplied with “hydration”
- Now that you've been through it, what is your #1 best piece of advice for wedding couples entering the planning process? Listen to your gut and Ashley, and literally no one else. If something is super important to you, make it known and keep focus on that, the rest is minor details that no one will remember. Have an event (whether inside or outside of the resort) for all your guests to get to know each other. Make sure to have a Whatsapp channel with everyone on it made life so much easier to let people know where you are and share pictures/stories.
- What kind of feedback did you get from your guests? They had an amazing time, loved the resort, and can’t wait for our wedding reunion trip.
- In what ways did Alpaca Your Bags Travel make this less stressful for you? If it hadn’t been for Ashley helping us through it all and the rescheduling w/Covid, we probably wouldn’t have had a wedding. Ashley talked us off all the ledges and made us feel heard through the chaos and drama. We also thought we were going to miss a connecting flight, but Ashley was already on it watching.
- Travel Advisor: Alpaca Your Bags Travel
- Photographer: Twelve One Projects (Donovan Carboney)
- Resort: Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
- Yacht Charter: Renny Travel DMC