Grand Palladium Destination Wedding, Punta Cana Dominican Republic – Derek & Laura

As many of you know, I recently just came back from a week long trip in the Dominican Republic and while down there I had the unbelievable opportunity to capture Derek and Laura’s destination wedding day at the Grand Palladium Resort in Punta Cana.

This post is near and dear to my heart as I have considered Derek and Laura family for over two years now.  They are an amazing couple who are small town friendly and always quick with a hug, smile or to pour you a glass of wine.  Totally my kind of people!

This was my first destination wedding and I have to say I learned A LOT:

1.  Ceremonies are max 10min long so you gotta be fast photo ninja!

2.  Ceremonies are better performed in a private gazebo just off the beach rather than on the beach for many reasons (ie: privacy is a big one!)

3.  Weddings that happen at 3pm (or thereabouts) in Punta Cana, Dominican have beautiful lighting and are a photographer’s dream!

4.  You plan most of your wedding when you’re down there by picking our your flowers, music, meals, and even ceremony location!

5.  If the wedding is mid-way through the trip (ie: day 3) and you’re the photographer, don’t burn your shoulders the day before.  It makes carrying your gear a little difficult.

6.  Animal vendors will approach your wedding couple to take photos with their monkey or iguana, tell them to take one so you can sneak it and then tell them to bugger off.  Be aggressive with these folks!

7.  Don’t just stick to the beach for photos.  Explore the grounds for lush greenery because it makes for amazing moments and you don’t have to yell at people walking on the beach for walking or swimming into your photos.  After all, they’re on vacation too!

8.  Drink lots of water!

9.  Clean your lens constantly for sand and ocean spray.

10.  Have LOTS and LOTS of fun!!

I learned a lot, but mostly I learned that I LOVE shooting destination weddings!  There’s just a vibe that doesn’t match the typical Canadian wedding.  It’s not just the fact that everyone is carrying a Banana Mama icy beverage or that the sun is peeking through the palm trees making for amazing photos.  There’s more too it.  There’s a closeness between family members and a bond between friends that existed and I was proud to witness and capture.

In reviewing these photos, it’s hard not to smile proudly.  Not because they are my images, but because of the story they tell: Derek and Laura are absolutely perfect for eachother and the Palmer/Bayliss family deserve to relive these proud moments for many years to come.

Honestly, this was the most epic way to kick off my wedding season of 2012!

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