Dream Wed-Cation In The Dominican Republic – Leah + DJ Married!

My people.

They are not ordinary. They do things their own way. They’re practical and kind. And they know how to have fun.

These two got married the first time in Minnesota at the start of the year, even though their destination wedding (hereon wed-cation!) in the Dominican Republic was already planned. While their marriage in the DR would have been completely legal and recognized, the hassle and cost of obtaining copies of the marriage license in the future were a bit much. Leah and DJ held a small ceremony, made photographs in the snow and their dogs, and were grateful that family members unable to travel to the Dominican for their wed-cation could see them exchange vows and become officially married. For the first time.

And for their second official wedding, a handful over forty people fled the latest Minnesota snow storm and met them in Bayahibe at the Dreams La Romana resort. They enjoyed the all inclusive resort with different kinds of food, drinks with umbrellas, the views, and of course the temperatures that took them from below freezing to well above and comfortable in one layer of clothing. Many flew down over the weekend prior. I flew in Tuesday and had the pleasure of joining this crew partying on a catamaran on Wednesday, the day before their beach wedding. And mid-Thursday morning, I joined Leah with her Mom, sister, and two dear friends in the spa while they got their hair and make up done. It kicked off a relaxed day filled with love and laughter. And true enjoyment of the company shared by everyone involved.

Leah and DJ did a first look on this wedding day and said they felt completely relaxed. Perhaps it was because they were already married and had done this once before that the normal wedding day jitters stayed at bay. And perhaps it was because these two are incredibly laid back people. The skies opened up a few times throughout the day and there were discussions about pulling the ceremony indoors. But then the skies cleared up, chairs were wiped down, and the ceremony took place in the gazebo on the beach as originally planned.

Dominican Republic mountains beyond a farming field
The Dominican Republic has gorgeous mountains that can be seen when flying into Punta Cana and then driving an hour west to the coast and Bayahibe.
Sunset in Bayahibe, Dominican Republic with man and palm trees in silhouette
The gorgeous Dominican sunset that graced the island on Tuesday night but not again the rest of the week.
Mom laughing with daughter in Domican spa waiting room
Women walking through a spa breezeway
Bride getting hair and makeup done in Dreams La Romana bridal salon
Succulent hair comb in a bride's hair
Bride and sister leaving Dreams La Romana bridal salon
Bride holding onto special handkerchief
This was Leah’s Grandma Arlene’s handkerchief. They were fortunate enough to have Arlene attend their Minnesota wedding before she unexpectedly passed. Hug your Grandmas, people. They’re never around long enough.
Bride smiling while necklace is clasped behind her back
Bride walking up to her groom for the first look

It’s always awesome to get unrushed time for portraits and to work out the nerves a bit before a ceremony. Of course, Leah and DJ didn’t have any nerves so all they had was fun together!

Wedding couple kissing in a Dominican gazebo and the sea behind them
Bride and groom in silhouette in Dominican Republic gazebo on the beach
Bride and groom walking hand in hand between palm trees on Bayahibe beach in the Dominican Republic
Father walking his daughter and bride to the ceremony
Bride looking and smiling at her dad as they walk to her her wedding ceremony
Mom exiting wedding gazebo and trying to be quiet
Wedding ceremony in a gazebo surrounded by palm trees in the Dominican Republic
Family laughing in front row during wedding ceremony
Wedding couple laughing during ceremony while holding hands
Bride and groom kissing after wedding ceremony
Bride and groom kissing while surrounded by cheering family and friends
Red head wedding guest kneeling while drinking a Smirnoff Ice in one go
Bride and groom goofing around on Dominican beach with sail boats in the background
Leah is so much like her Mom. They have THE best facial expressions!
Bride and groom getting massively splashed while standing on Dominican Republic beach rocks

I told you my people aren’t ordinary. These two went searching for crabs in the middle of making portraits. And that was totally okay. (There had been dozens of crabs on that fallen tree when we first walked up!)

Bride and groom looking for crabs on Dominican beach
LED lit dance floor on the beach in front of Dominican wedding tent
Bride and groom giving a speech to guests during the reception
Bride and groom dancing on beach dance floor
Wedding guests flamboyantly dancing with arms out reached

Leah’s Mom Sherry made the most incredible bejeweled L for the top of their wedding cake! I loved the outline of all the beads from behind.

L wedding cake topper at back of tent
Groom standing over laughing bride in the hot seat
Bride pinching her husband's nipples through his wedding shirt
Wedding guests on dance floor surrounded by bubbles
Groom singing with a friend while holding drinks at wedding reception
Groom dancing and hip bumping with friend on wedding dance floor
Wedding guests dancing and crying

Such a fun display of photographs of Leah and DJ!

Wedding reception display of photographs of the bride and groom while dating and engaged
Women dancing and celebrating with drinks raised while singing at wedding reception
Laughing wedding guest dancing in Dominican Republic
Groom dancing and singing with wedding guest friend
Bride dancing in middle of crazy dance floor

Sherry is a dancing machine. If you didn’t see Leah and DJ’s day on the catamaran and all the dancing, you should check it out now.

Mom of bride dancing crazy at wedding reception
Bride dancing and singing with friends
Wedding guests dancing and raising hands in the air

Leah and DJ.

Your wed-cation was phenomenally and wonderfully incredible.

It still feels like a dream in an alternate reality.

Thank you for inviting me to join you and document such a fabulous week with you and your friends + family.
The relationships you have created show nothing less than the love and caring I wish everyone could have the good fortune to experience.

May these images from your wed-cation and the memory of that fun + love fill you with warmth when you close your eyes and remember when you started your marriage for the second time on a gorgeous beach in the Dominican Republic.