Real Weddings: Charmaine & Juan

Where it all Started

Sixteen years ago Charmaine and Juan began their relationship, as high-school sweethearts. While Charmaine attended an art high school and Juan studied at a Catholic school, they met through common friends. When Charmaine’s family got their first computer with ICQ (one of the original online messengers) she asked her friends for some people to add—one of them ended up being Juan. It didn’t take long for Juan to message her, and the relationship blossomed online and over the phone. Finally meeting in person at friend’s party months after, Juan plucked up the courage to ask Charmaine out, and they have been inseparable ever since.

From their first date, Charmaine adored Juan’s sense of humour, and it became a cornerstone of their relationships as they were able to smile through all the trials and tribulations they encountered. For fifteen years, the couple loved each other but never really had marriage as a goal—they were so happy together they felt they didn’t need a piece of paper to define their relationship. Instead, their care and effort for making each other happy served as the symbol of their relationship.

While they both knew they would be together forever, after cementing plans for a big trip to Asia to celebrate their 15th anniversary, Juan decided that would be the perfect opportunity to surprise Charmaine with a proposal. “It would be the perfect time for us to be engaged and give her a proposal that she deserved after 15 years together.”

The romantic scene was set while kayaking and dining on the water of Phang Na Bay in Thailand. After marvelling at the amazing sights of the surrounding nature, they camped out on a remote island beach underneath a star-filled sky. It was there Juan asked Charmaine to be with him for the rest of their lives.

Planning the Wedding

In Charmaine’s words, “Juan proposed on a beach so it was only fitting that we got married by one too.” The pair also wanted to spend their special day with their closest friends and family, so what better way to do that than with a destination wedding?

Punta Cana was their destination of choice, they loved it so much they had vacationed there 10 times already! And, being experts on the area allowed them to help their family and friends enjoy all the perks and attractions of the Dominican. With plenty of beautiful beaches and attractive resorts to choose from, the couple eventually decided on Now Larimar for its family-friendly yet small and intimate vibe, and its numerous amenities.

When everyone arrived at the resort, Charmaine and Juan welcomed their friends and family with tote bags filled with goodies to help them enjoy their stay. To say thanks for making the trip to celebrate their day bags included: bottles for drinks, a selfie stick, sunglasses, a mini first-aid kit with bug spray, Advil and Tums, and a personalized thank-you note with the wedding and itinerary for the week. They even got everyone ramped up for the wedding by booking a boat tour.


Day Details

On the day of the wedding, Charmaine walked down the aisle, grinning the whole time at Juan as she strode towards him in a stunning gown. Light pastels and coral illuminated the venue as 60 guests gathered round for the ceremony. For Charmaine and Juan, celebrating their union with their friends and family was a beautiful and surreal moment. After the ceremony, they celebrated their union by dancing to Elvis Presley’s I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You.



Once the “I do’s” were exchanged, everyone cheered and celebrated the couple’s union. After 15 years, this day was a significant day for the whole family. The entire stay at Now Larimar
was smooth, relaxing, romantic, and fun all rolled into one. After nuptials and celebrations were wrapped up, Juan had used his amazing design talents to create a full deck of cards with pixel characters of each of the guests to distribute and show his and Charmaine’s appreciation for their guests’ presence. Charmaine and Juan haven’t taken their honeymoon yet, but they are planning to go somewhere special in 2017.

Wedding Day Wear

Charmaine’s gown: Impression Bridal from Mona Richie Boutique.
Charmaine’s shoes: Kate Spade.
Charmaine’s accessories: A few pieces of bridal jewellery from Mona Richie.
Juan’s attire: Garrison Bespoke. The lining of his suit was a blueprint of the Batmobile, and his pocket square was silk cut from the bride’s dress; something the seamstress was able to save during alterations. Lastly, the cufflinks were old school pixel videogame characters of Mario and Luigi.
The bridesmaids wore: Different dresses from ASOS and BCBG.
The groomsmen wore: Suspenders from Topman, bowties from Frank & Oak, and H&M trousers.
Wedding Bands: Worked with a jeweler, who happens to be an uncle to one of the groomsmen, to design the bands.

Small Details

Flowers: One of the bridesmaids’ mother put together silk flowers for the wedding party and reception.

Hair and makeup: Done by Krystie Ann.

Photographer: Brian Huynh, an amazing photographer and brother of one of the groomsmen, and an amazing friend.

Stationary and invitations: Juan designed a logo, the save-the-dates, the tote bag and the itineraries.

First Dance: Elvis Presley – I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You

Welcome gifts: Each guest received a ‘Totes getting married’ bag with some special goodies.

Traditions: Worked with a priest to add the Filipino Rites (candle, veil, chord, and coins) into the ceremony, and used the chord that Charmaine’s mom and dad used for their wedding 30 years ago.

Old | New | Borrowed | Blue

Old: The pillows that held the rings and the chord for the Filipino Rites. The coins from for the rites belonged to Juan’s grandparents and were passed down to the couple for the ceremony.

Borrowed: The veil belonged to the bride’s best friend, who was married a year earlier.

New: The dress, shoes and jewellery.

Blue: The garter

Tips for Brides and Grooms

  • “Drink tons of water, and remember to EAT throughout the day.”
  • “You can save a lot of money when you order things online, just make sure you start purchasing/planning 4-6 months in advance (to account for shipping and delays).”
  • “Book a few days (2 to 3) after your guests leave just for you and your new spouse. Trust me, you’ll thank us later.”