Close your eyes and step into a dream with our Bella Bride of the Week Dara. Dara had the most magical wedding which every girl dreams of. Congratulations Dara and Daniel!
When and where was the your wedding?
May 26, 2012 in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic at the Paradisus Punta Cana Resort
How did you and your fiance meet/ how did he propose?
Daniel and I met through a mutual friend, Frank, who happens to be a childhood friend of mine and ended up being Daniel’s fraternity brother. Frank also served as the best man at our wedding.
Daniel proposed on a hot air balloon overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains. Initially he told me we were going to an air show and later that morning told me we were in the air show riding in a hot air balloon (I still suspected nothing). As it turned out, we did not go to the air show at all, he’d used the air show as decoy to get me out of town and to suspect nothing. I was completely surprised and never suspected a proposal was coming on a hot air balloon! This is why we adopted the theme for our wedding, Love is in the Air.
How would you describe your style, and how did you incorporate it into your wedding?
I would describe my style as girly and detail oriented. Since our wedding was about the two of us and not just me, my “girly-ness” was reserved for my dress which was EXACTLY what I wanted in terms of fabric, style, and details (thanks Phyllis! You ROCK!), my shoes, and jewelry. As for the details, they were captured in everything from our welcome bags which featured our name, theme, and a hot air balloon and included a custom acrylic tumbler (perfect for beach drinks), lip balm with SPF, sunscreen, snacks, hand sanitizer, lotion, body wash, and a custom magazine designed by husband to the fire dancers we planned as a reception surprise for our guests! We really wanted to make sure our guests felt special and appreciated. Other special touches included my custom dress monogram that my mother made, carrying my great grandmother’s handkerchief down the aisle, and incorporating the D&D candy dishes my sister gave me for Christmas into our candy table. We literally traveled with 8 suitcases in order to transport everything for the wedding to the Dominican Republic!
How did you pick your dress/ know it was “the one?”
I went shopping for dresses 4 times and felt like a lot of bridal consultants didn’t really listen to what I wanted or didn’t have a lot to match my description. I described my dress to Phyllis and she walked me around the salon picking out choices while being careful not to overwhelm me. My dress was actually the first one I tried on and it was exactly what I wanted but a little over my price range, I ended up between two dresses and took laps around the bridal salon in both. To help with the decision, we ended up putting on accessories and although we thought a sash would be too much, when we put on my sash with it’s subtle shimmer, I was sold…it was PERFECT and I felt like a bride and myself!
What was your favorite moment at your wedding?
The first look…I hadn’t seen Daniel since the night before and I got to walk up to him with his back turned to me. Just the anticipation in that moment, seeing one another for the first time after a year of planning. It was just the two of us, our photographers and videographers, a very intimate moment during a day filled with hustle and bustle. I tapped him on his shoulder and he turned around, gasped, and burst into tears. We hugged and it was such a special moment. I felt such relief in seeing him, it immediately calmed me and I knew everything was going to be perfect.
What did you enjoy most/least about the planning process?
I enjoyed planning out all of the details the most. Working with our stationary designer on the invitations and custom signage, brainstorming useful items for our guests’ welcome bags, ordering our custom cocktail napkins and striped straws. Putting so much thought into every detail of our wedding made it all the more rewarding to see it all come together on our wedding day and truly be a reflection of us. The thing I enjoyed the least was choosing the music for the ceremony; it was so hard! There are so many options out there and we literally had to listen to every word…we’d think a song was okay and then a particular lyric or word would come up and I’d say, “That doesn’t describe us” or “I don’t want to say that at our wedding!” It was also probably my least enjoyable part because you don’t really think about it until a month out…all the major decisions are made and this is still a major part of your wedding day that has to be decided upon but hasn’t been really discussed in detail.
What advice would you give future brides?
Make sure your wedding is a reflection of you and your fiancé. Don’t worry about what you see on Pinterest or what someone else tells you you should have. Do/pick/have what represents you two because that’s what will make you truly happy and will make your wedding memorable and exclusive.
Congratulations Dara and Daniel! You guys are too cute, we are so happy for you!
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