Best Places To Elope

In Orange County

Punta Cana Wedding · Published

Hard Rock Hotel Punta Cana
Boulevard Turístico del Este Km.28No.74
Macao, República Dominicana

I am excited to share the following wedding that I photographed in the Dominican Republic which was subsequently published on the popular destination wedding blog Jet Fete by Bridal Bar! I am posting everything here in the exact form that it was published on Jet Fete. They definitely get credit for putting together such a nice representation of this beautiful wedding. The included text is a result of interview questions that the bride Shannon responded to. Enjoy their story!! I had a blast photographing their weekend . . .

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Shannon and John met years back when one of Shannon’s cats came ill and her regular vet was unavailable. Much to her surprise, the vet that would fill in and save the day for her little furry friend would also turn out to be her own knight in shining armor. John fixed her kitty right up and they parted ways, though neither could get the other out of their mind. Another visit a few days later with an overly attentive doctor and in just a few days they were on their first date to a Humane Society fundraiser (how fitting). The rest…well, you know how this story ends!

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When it came time for their destination wedding, Shannon and John said “I do” at the trendy Hard Rock Hotel Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. “We knew we wanted a destination wedding but our friends just recently got married in Mexico and Puerto Rico so we wanted a tropical location that a lot of our friend haven’t been to and was still affordable. Once we settled on Punta Cana, choosing the Hard Rock was easy. We had the best of both, beautiful beaches with still a touch of the states.”

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What a beautiful beach backdrop for the big day!

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This wedding was all about the branded personal details. A great idea for both décor and guest gifts -“We brought our own pashminas that our friends graciously tied around the chairs and after the ceremony was over our guests were able to take them and use throughout the night. It does get chilly in the Dominican at night, but they also served as cute accessories in pictures.”

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We asked the couple what hurtles they faced in the planning process (in hopes of our readers avoiding them) and here’s what they had to say. “Our first challenge came from the simple task of trying to ship sparklers and matches with our logos on them to the Dominican. It appears that the woman at UPS in the states marked the wrong value for the package and in addition to the $400 it costs to ship the package which was only $85in value, to the Dominican customs wanted an extra $600 to release the package because of the incorrect labeling of the value. When it was all said and done our package arrived the day we were leaving to head back home. It was a little disappointing but our wedding coordinator at the Hard Rock Punta Cana was wonderful throughout the whole situation. At the end of the day we still had one of the most beautiful wedding days even without the sparklers.” Note: Customs can be tricky!! Leave plenty of lead time and if you can’t live without it, travel with it (except in this case when sparklers might be seen as explosives).

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Then it came time for the seaside ceremony…

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This wedding was a labor of love for not just the bride and groom, but close friends too! “We are lucky to have our good friend Tera Duckhorn in our lives. She is extremely talented and helped to add a number of personalized touches from our itinerary to a phone list so people could keep in touch since the resort was quite large. She also designed the logos that were used on our welcome bags and tshirts. A big thanks also to ibrands who helped us print all the bags and tshirts. The last personal touch that we loved were the sand dollars Tera individually painted with everyone’s name for our table seating at dinner.”

Love these “I do” letters!

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But there were more personal surprises on this day. The cats that brought this pair together couldn’t travel to the big day, but John had a surprise in store for his bride-to-be. Shannon shared one of her teary-eyed moments from the day. “The funny thing to note is the video John made me. So every couple usually exchanges on the day of their wedding, whether it be a card or a present well when John told me he had made me a video I was very surprised. I thought to myself we are exchanging our own vows what more do you need to say to me that you aren’t going to say in front of all these people in 30 minutes. As soon as it started to play and our two cats came on the screen tears filled my eyes and laughter overwhelmed me. He had made video using pictures of our pets and narrated the whole thing. It was called what Max and Molly did while we were on vacation. It was cute and funny and meant so much, and in that moment I thought the man I was about to walk down the aisle and marry knows me so well and I cannot wait to spend the rest of my life with him.”

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Congratulations Shannon & John (and your kitties!)

Dress: Mikaella Bridal

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"We could just elope"

Sometimes a big wedding just isn't what
you want. Elopements are pretty much my favorite thing EVER to
photograph, because you get to make the day totally unique to you.
When you elope, there aren't any compromises necessary – You can go
anywhere you want to, do anything you like, and have the adventure of
a lifetime. The beauty is that since you're saving a TON of money
that you'd spend on a big wedding, you have more flexibility to
travel, buy that perfect dress, splurge a $1000 on flowers, or spend
a little extra on details you might not be able to afford with a big


Elopements are simple, relaxed, and
beautiful. And the best part is you can do it anywhere, anytime.


So if you're
planning an elopement in Orange County or Southern California, I've
put together a list of great elopement venues. These range from urban
to the 100% wild outdoors. The beauty of eloping in Southern
California is there is literally EVERYTHING to choose from. Want to
elope on the beach in Laguna? We can do that. Want to head off into
the mountains and have an elopement in Big Sur? Easy peesy. Dig that
desert vibe? Have an elopement at Joshua Tree! We have some of the
best elopement locations in the world. (and that's why I love being
an elopement photographer in Orange County!)


With that intro
out of the way, lets get into this list of the best elopement
locations around Orange County!