Where It All Started
For Erica and Mike, love took a long time. The couple met in ninth grade in Milton, and both became smitten. He saw a beautiful and sweet soul, and she had a big crush on the “cool kid.” They formed a lasting friendship, hanging out after school and going on a few tentative dates during college and university. But it wasn’t until they were finished with their education, until Erica was working as a kindergarten teacher and Mike was working in the business world, that they finally decided to take a leap and make their long-simmering affections official. On their first real date, Mike surprised Erica with dinner at Skylon Tower (an observation tower with a revolving restaurant) in Niagara Falls and then a romantic stroll around one of the world’s most amazing natural wonders.
Years later, Mike planned another surprise over a Thanksgiving weekend. He took Erica back to Niagara Falls and back to the Skylon Tower. It was there, on the observation deck on a chilly autumn evening, that Mike got down on one knee and asked Erica to marry him. Erica was completely shocked when she saw the ring, and her first question was whether Mike had asked her Dad first. (He had.) She was thrilled and said yes. They finished their perfect night by having dinner at the Skylon’s restaurant, a perfect circle from the moment they first committed to building a relationship together.
Planning the Wedding
Erica was initially seduced by the idea of the big “princess” wedding. But her love of travel made her realize that a destination wedding would be perfect – not only would she get to celebrate on the big day, but she and Mike would also get to vacation with their nearest and dearest. When Erica told Mike about her dreams of a wedding down south, he was immediately onboard and, admittedly, just keen to make Erica happy.
They chose Grand Palladium Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, a resort they had traveled to together and absolutely loved. Already familiar with the property, they could really envision how their wedding would unfold. The couple worked with a wedding planner named Meghan, who was attentive and committed, always keeping Mike and Erica’s interests and budget in mind. Erica notes that she’s prone to stress, and letting Meghan take the reins of organizing their wedding allowed Erica to let go and really enjoy the experience.
On January 24, 2017, Erica and Mike got married in front of sixty friends and family on a white-sand beach. It was a sunny day, and the clear blue sky, azure waters and swaying green palm trees created a bright and colourful canvas for this glam-meets-rustic bohemian wedding with coral and teal accents. Erica mesmerized Mike as she walked down the beach in her champagne and ivory lace dress, accompanied by her beaming father. When the ceremony was over, and as the sun began to set, Erica and Mike and their guests moved on to a beach barbecue reception.
Erica was determined to make her destination wedding personal, and she made almost all of the decorations herself. Even though it was a busy day, Erica’s favourite moment was when she just took a moment for herself on that perfect balmy, starry evening and watched everyone she loved having a wonderful time together. After a successful wedding and vacation in the Dominican Republic, Mike and Erica are looking forward to some alone time when they unwind on their honeymoon in Jamaica in March.
Wedding Day Wear
Erica’s gown: Strapless, fitted and flared by Mori Lee.
Erica’s shoes: Bottomless sandals with diamante starfish and pearls.
Erica’s accessories: Diamond earrings and a bracelet.
Mike’s attire: White linen button-up from Le Chateau, with sandy-coloured linen pants from Banana Republic. He was barefoot and wearing a necklace gifted by Erica.
The bridesmaids wore: Coral knee-length dresses from David’s Bridal.
The groomsmen wore: Same outfit as the groom, with white linen button-up with sandy-coloured linen pants.
Wedding bands: Spence Diamonds.
Flowers: The bride’s bouquet was made with artificial flowers and broaches. The bridesmaids had real white roses.
Hair and makeup: Done at the Grand Palladium spa.
Photographer: Junior Cruz from Bridal Punta Cana.
Stationary and invitations: Designed their own “Save the date” cards and printed them from Vista Print.
First dance: John Legend – You and I.
Welcome gifts: All guests were treated to a private catamaran ride.
Old, New, Borrowed, Blue
Old: A garter that belonged to Erica’s grandmother.
New: Erica’s dress.
Borrowed: Erica’s grandmother’s garter.
Blue: Erica’s garter.
Tips for Brides and Grooms
- Use a wedding coordinator! They are fantastic and take away a lot of the stress around planning a wedding.
- Know that not everyone can make it but the important people in your life will make it work.
- Things will come up and not go exactly according to plan, but no one will even know.
As always, for more tips, real weddings, and fun articles on destination weddings keep visiting www.weddingvacations.com, follow us @weddingvacations, or contact a consultant to start planning your own destination wedding.