Friday, November 28, 2014

Pam's Wedding: A Beautiful Celebration in Punta Cana, Spanish Wedding Cards, & My First All-Inclusive Resort Experience

Pam - beautiful bride!
On November 12th, 2014, Pam and Cody were married in a beautiful, small, ceremony in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.  I travelled there for the in-all inclusive week, and the ceremony was on Wednesday.  Pam looked absolutely stunning, and while I don't have photos of my own, here are a few that the photographers took.

The ceremony was small and beautiful; there were about 20 guests, so we had a chance to get to know each other well. The bridesmaids wore lilac dresses, and the decor at the wedding reception was impressive. The Jellyfish, the restaurant off the resort where the wedding took place, was a unique venue...the wedding dance was on a tent in the sand! Cody composed a song for Pam - which was played at the first dance; so romantic!  The playlist that followed was definitely the best wedding playlist I have ever listened to.  What a wonderful event!

Note: A few of the pics below were taken from the pile of photos we took together and shared, so photo credits go to everyone who shared a photo in the wedding folder on Dropbox ;)

The Happy Couple

Dance floor

A Backpacker on an All-Inclusive Resort

For Teresa, Des and I, this was our first time at an all-inclusive resort.  The wedding was really beautiful, but I think backpacking is still my travel style. As I said above, the food at the wedding was delectable and the cake (gluten free and vegan) definitely the best I've had, but at the resort...the chickpea salad was definitely my go-to. I won't start to describe the drinks...let's just say that their target market is definitely people who want to get REALLY, REALLY, DRUNK and don't care about the quality of the alcohol (or the way the "cocktails" are made...) There was one, hidden, bar on the resort that made some decent drinks, but we didn't find it until the last day!)   I will always remember our "apple martinis" and my favourite  quote of the trip ...

"Is that a cherry in your apple martini?"--Teresa

We did go on an excursion to experience "life outside of the resort", but I felt that the trip was a bit too packaged for me. Holding a starfish was interesting (see the pics of Teresa below), but I was annoyed when the tour guide told us not to buy items from the vendors at the first stop (presumably because the second "better" shop, (which was much worse!) was giving him a commission. I purposely bought two bracelets from the vendors and spoke Spanish to them, even though he tried to stop me,  even as we were making a transaction - take that, tour guide!  

On the contrary, the beach we visited at the second stop was beautiful!

 I can understand the appeal of having everything taken care of for you, I suppose - but the lack of discovering the native culture of a country you have never been to is something I craved. One of the girls in my Spanish class, Cristina, is from Florida, but her family is originally from the Dominican - she says I should go back to experience the other towns nearby.

More importantly, the wedding was a beautiful event and I am so glad I was able to attend.

Sandy beach on the excursion trip

Teresa with a starfish!

Sea turtles
Teresa and Des at the resort
A millionaire's house on the island of poverty

Local island shopkeeper

The Spanish Wedding Card Fiasco

So, before I left Barcelona, I wanted to buy Pam and Cody a wedding card.  In a big, metropolitan city, that'd be easier, right? Nope! It turns out the Spanish celebrate everything by saying "Felicidades!" (Congratulations). All I could find were Happy Birthday and Congratulations cards, no matter how hard I looked. The shop owners gave me the STRANGEST looks when I asked (in Spanish!) where I could find a wedding one.  One shop lady told me she had never in her life given someone a wedding card!

So, I improvised and found a blank Felicidades card and a few Spanish quotations about love online ;)

CONGRATULATIONS Pam and Cody!! Here's to your life long happiness!

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