As 2015 comes to an end, I am looking back on some of my favourite moments. It’s been an incredible year and one that has taught me a lot about myself and the life I have created. I quit my job to become a full time blogger. I broke into the UK with Brittany and Nicola as an international blog. I found inspiration in watching family and close friends find themselves. But I have to be selfish and say that my favourite moment of 2015 was when I finally married Julio on a beach in the Dominican Republic after months of keeping it top secret. Along with Booking Hello and Catalonia Hotels & Resorts, we were able to create the perfect destination wedding and want you to know that in our opinion, it’s the best way to get married.
Allow me to give you some context on my relationship with Julio.
When people ask us how we met, they are usually surprised to know that it was on Instagram. Our mutual friend Aidan and Julio were out for some bubbly one night, and I noticed a photo he was tagged in online. After clicking through to his account, I followed him and began a flirtatious conversation back and forth. After following one another on Twitter, I mustered up the courage to ask him out for coffee. One year later, to the minute (because I am after all king of the hopeless romantics), I proposed to Julio on Instagram. I was lucky enough to have Amanda in town to capture the moment and it was perfect.
As we transitioned from boyfriends to fiancés, life got busy. I’m sure many of you can appreciate that and feel the same way leading up to and during your engagement. Our engagement was magical and although I didn’t get a 2 carat cushion cut diamond ring, I’ve got someone who I will now share the rest of my life with! I can always incorporate my desired engagement ring details into my wedding ring anyway… Almost immediately afterwards, the “So, when’s the wedding?” questions began. We had recently been a part of my baby brother’s wedding and realized very quickly the stress of planning such a momentous occasion. Though it was an incredible moment for my family, as we started to plan what we wanted our wedding to look like, we questioned if that was the way to go. Some people may want to go all out for their wedding and look for, for example, affordable garden wedding venues and wedding entertainment, like the ones featured on Headliner, whereas another couple might want to go for the complete opposite. It isn’t a competition. It depends on your budget and your vision. You are the ones getting married, so whatever way you want to make it even more special is completely up to you.
While planning our trip to the Dominican Republic, we quickly realized that the wedding packages available to guests of Catalonia Hotels & Resorts via Booking Hello were amazing. Not only can you enjoy a six night, seven day stay at a beautiful resort, but you can customize your wedding and the experience of those you have with you. We knew a few people who wanted to have something like a Winnie Couture type wedding but instead went for this.
Though we kept our wedding top secret until the big reveal on Periscope, we were in constant contact with the Wedding & Events team at Catalonia Royal Bávaro. Once booked, the team is there to help create the perfect day and to take the stress of organizing food, flowers, hotel arrangements and so much more off your shoulders. I think that was one of my favourite parts of it all – the ability to actually enjoy my wedding vs the stress of hosting something more traditional, knowing that every detail was planned and taken care of before the big day. A HUGE thank you to the wedding team for helping to make every last detail perfect!
Prior to leaving on our trip, I gathered together some travel must haves (click here to see the items I never leave the country without) and we had to decide on wedding rings. Now, being that this would be something I would wear for the rest of my life, it had to be the best. It’s why we chose to head to Maison Birks here in Toronto to pick out matching wedding bands. Not only were Julio & I amazed at the selection of ethically sourced diamonds, but also knew that the luxury and quality Maison Birks had to offer would last a lifetime with us as husbands.
Being that our relationship started via Instagram, it was only apropos that I share the big news with you all via Instagram on the day of our wedding:
But Maison Birks isn’t only about us when I look back on this special moment. I knew that with Gracie Carroll attending the wedding both as fellow media but also as a dear friend, I wanted to get her something special. When our eyes fell on the Birks Muse® Monogram Pendant, it became clear that is was the perfect gift for her. It makes for a beautiful gesture for those special people in your wedding party and will help to show them how much they mean to you on your special day. As you can see, I think she loved it!
A beautiful gift from two beautiful friends celebrating something very special this afternoon with @cataloniahotels and @booking_hello! Tune in to @dothedaniel’s #periscope account at 3pm EST today to see what he and @fashionights are up to today ??? #SayHelloToLove #outfitprep #ootd #PuntaCana #birks #maisonbirks #love #fashion #style #travel #vacation #dominican #gctravel #fashionblogger #graciegoestodominican #outfit #whatiwore #pretty
A photo posted by Gracie Carroll (@graciecarroll) on
I am proud to say that Maison Birks was a part of my wedding and I’m sure that as anniversaries come over the next few years, they will continue to add to our loving marriage as a brand we love both professionally and personally.
So… with the wedding package that helped to create the perfect day, the rings ready and alongside a few very dear friends, it was time to finally share our special day and the biggest secret I have ever kept with you all. On the beautiful beach of Catalonia Royal Bávaro in the Dominican Republic on December 3rd, 2015 at 3:00pm EST Julio and I were ready to get married. In case you missed the big reveal, take a look at the following Periscope video (uploaded to our Facebook Page) to see what this special moment was like when it finally came to fruition.
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One of the best wedding gifts we have yet to receive was having Catherine record our wedding song. Many people might not know, but Rihanna’s “Diamonds” has been “our song” for years. Although Catherine couldn’t make it on the trip with her busy schedule, she recorded her own version of Diamonds for the big day before we left. It was a very emotional moment to have her be there in spirit with us and being that she is my favourite musician, it helped to make the day all the more special. I am happy to finally share the following video she made and yes, I still get teary eyed every time I watch it. Thank you Catherine for helping to make our wedding so special.
Love her version as much as we do? Click the link below to share it and share our #SayHelloToLove story:
Our friends at Catalonia Hotels & Resorts also have a YouTube channel and recorded the moments leading up to our wedding. Take a look below!
One of the items that the Wedding & Events team at Catalonia Hotels & Resorts can help to arrange is photography. Capturing your special day in paradise is an important part for those family and friends who aren’t able to join you and will help you look back on the fond memories you create via Booking Hello. Here are some of my personal favourites that I can finally share with you all.
Don’t forget to check out the Spanish Blog & English Blog posts written by our friends at Catalonia Hotels & Resorts about our wedding with some fun behind the scenes. I won’t ruin the surprise, but you’ve GOT to see them!
Stay tuned to GracieCarroll.com & FASHIONIGHTS.com as they take you on their very own #SayHelloToLove adventures. I know that all of us are already looking forward to planning another vacation at a Catalonia Hotels & Resorts property in the Caribbean via Booking Hello. It is after all, one of the best ways to plan a vacation in a few simple clicks to ensure you get the relaxation and special moments you deserve!
If you’re recently engaged or know that it’s on the way, I would encourage you to entertain the idea of a destination wedding with Catalonia Hotels & Resorts via Booking Hello. As mentioned, their wedding packages can help to create a special moment like the one Julio & I will cherish for the rest of our lives. Click here to learn more.
And of course, if it’s not wedding season yet, it is time to start planning your trip down south to avoid the Canadian winter which has finally arrived. As you would have seen both in Mexico on our #HelloExperience and now in the Dominican Republic for #SayHelloToLove, Catalonia Hotels & Resorts via Booking Hello is our first choice for a perfect getaway from the Canadian winter we are about to face.
Make sure to click here to create the perfect vacation and find your very own special moments at their beautiful resorts.
Remember to follow @FASHIONIGHTS & @GracieCarroll on their respective social media accounts to see the best parts of traveling with us. To join in on the excitement we all experienced during our week away, follow the #SayHelloToLove hashtag. Tag us when you arrive at your Catalonia Hotels & Resorts property via Booking Hello to show us all how you enjoyed the ease and convenience of our favourite way to travel to paradise.
To get inspired from your own travel adventures, follow @BookingHello on Twitter & @Booking_Hello on Instagram today. For behind the scenes from the entire Catalonia Hotels & Resorts family of destinations follow @CataloniaHotels on Twitter & Instagram. Trust me when I say their photos will inspire you to book your next vacation today!
Photos: Booking Hello, Catalonia Hotels & Resorts, Catalonia Royal Bávaro, Julio Reyes, Gracie Carroll & Daniel Reyes
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