Katya Nova Photography » Destination Weddings | Intimate Portraits | Punta Cana | Edmonton

… thanks for stopping by to share our journey of documenting love! we are a rocking team, crazy about each other and what we do… learn a bit about us HERE
… below is our approximate travel schedule for the next while – we might be closer than you think, so drop us a line and follow us on INSTAGRAM @katyanovaphoto

we’ve also recently started our new ‘nurturing nova’ blog, which is a tribute to our passion for wholesome living & saving our pennies towards our Dream of building a boutique Yoga & Ayurveda wellness sanctuary retreat in Cabarete, Dominican Republic. hope you’ll get to visit us there one day!

TRAVEL SCHEDULE: 2014

* April 18 – May 4 2014   |  Abruzzo, Italy  Destination Wedding 

May 5 – July 26 2014 +   |   DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (Punta Cana & Cabarete)

July 27 – mid-October 2014    |   CANADA

* August 25 – 31   |    Burning Man, Nevada Desert Destination Wedding

* September 4 – 9 2014    |    Halifax, Canada Destination Wedding

* October 5 – 8 2014    |    Palm Springs, California Adventure Always Beloved Collective Conference

late October 2014 – July 2015   |   DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (between Punta Cana & Cabarete)

******************************************************************

P.S. Here are some quick links to our fave blog posts that you might enjoy:

DESTINATION WEDDING 101: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR PUNTA CANA WEDDING (password: LOVE)

CONFESSIONS OF A PUNTA CANA BRIDE

CONFESSIONS OF AN INTIMATE PORTRAITS PHOTOGRAPHER

10 THINGS I LEARNED AT BURNING MAN 2013

INDIA VIRGINS, OR HOW TO SURVIVE ASHRAM LIVING

MEET OUR ASSOCIATE TEAM! (password: LOVE)

  • October 20, 2013 - 11:43

    Shauna Prokopchuk - Thank you Katya and Rob for everything at my sister Megan and her new husband Jordons wedding! I can’t wait to see all the amazing pictures. The engagement pictures were unbelievable and I’m sure the wedding ones will be even better! You were both so wonderful to work with. Enjoy your upcoming travels :)

  • December 8, 2012 - 23:40

    Shyloh - Katya and Rob!!! Every one of your pictures makes me fall deeper in love with both of you! I have never been one consumed with thoughts o marriage… But your pictures certainly capture true uncontrolable love. You both cause me to miss love that I have had, and yearn for the love that is coming. Thank you for spreading your talent and joy with every picture. I love you both! And I wait for the day when I will spend time with you, talk about our love for the universe, and share our passionate energy.

    Love you both unconditionally…. Shyloh

Where do I even begin. It’s obvious to anyone who’s ever taken even a short glance at Wendy & Sean that they are soulmates – or whatever word you want to use to describe two people who complete each other so perfectly and love each other so deeply, that your eyes well up with tears of joy and gratitude.

They met at work and the innocent flirting started pretty well right away. At the time, a group of co-workers were playing pranks on each others’ cars and Sean dared to leave a ‘ticket’ on her car for being ‘not such a great driver.’ Naturally, Wendy decided to flirt back … by asking him to come over to her apartment and help her bake for a baking contest at work. Booya! Nice moves, Wendy! Would you be surprised if I told you they didn’t do much baking that night? :)

Wendy: ‘I had butterflies the night before our first date. I was so smitten with Sean and really hoped he liked me as much as I liked him. Confession: the day he showed up to help me bake, we talked for hours, had snow crab legs and curly fries, went out for snowballs and watched a movie – only 30 minutes of that evening was actually spent baking brownies out of a box for the contest, hence no blue ribbon to show for it. However, I ended up with the best prize, Sean!’

They managed to keep their relationship a total secret from everyone at work for 7 months, only keeping in constant contact on BlackBerry Messenger, which was their lifeline. So romantic!

Here’s their gorgeous Punta Cana, Dominican Republic wedding at the gem off-resort Kukua Restaurant, run by the wonderful Bego. Enjoy!

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Top three things Sean loves about Wendy: ‘She is a nurturer. Also, I love her ability to interpret people and their emotions, intentions, and feelings so easily. She picks up on things well before other people do. Last but not least, I love her spirit for what is important in life: she is light-hearted and fun but also shows serious dedication to what matters to her most, like completing nursing school and her relationships.’

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The fabulous Bego, standing by the labour of her love…

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Top three things Wendy loves about Sean: ‘I love Sean’s heart. He wouldn’t hurt a fly… (well maybe a fly, but nothing else). He has this innocent and humble heart that makes me want to be more like him. He always focuses on the positive aspects of every situation and cares so much about people. I also love his sense of adventure. He taught me to ride a bike, to love the ocean, to take risks, and he was even *almost* successful in teaching me to drive a stick shift!’ Oh, and to me, he’s the most beautiful man in the world. I never get tired of staring at him. He still gives me butterflies, even 5 years later…’

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Ideal day together according to Sean:We’re having a blast, most likely traveling somewhere warm and trying something new. It doesn’t have to mean adrenaline-pumping activity (but it might). Or it might just be sitting watching the sunset. Ideally, we are enjoying great food as well. The point is, that we are together, enjoying the moment, living youthfully.’

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Ideal day together according to Wendy: ‘A sunny day playing in the ocean, followed by a delicious meal, (we are true foodies) and lots of cuddling. Ahhh, what a perfect day.’

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Wendy & Sean didn’t want to see each other before the ceremony, but were excited to share a few moments ‘alone’ together before the ceremony… I ran around frantically, trying to conceptualize the perfect shot of their ‘First Touch’ – until Bego, bless her heart, pulled out this genius ‘divider’ wall. It was perfect. And so special, we were all in tears. 

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Sean, on the proposal:

‘It happened while on a trip to the Outer Banks, NC. I purchased the ring months before and had kept it a secret from Wendy the whole time. I had a plan to propose by the ocean at the Hatteras Island Cape Point. This plan was almost spoiled by sea turtles! When we purchased an off-road pass to drive to this area on the beach, the National Park Service informed us that this area was closed to vehicles due to turtle nests, but it was still accessible by a 3/4 mile shoreline walk. I wanted to propose at this spot, so I had to figure out how to make it work.

Forgetting about how I would actually get Wendy to the beach so early in the morning (sunrise), I moved forward with the rest of the plan, which included gluing letters made of wood, which spelled ‘marry me,’ to a shell. The nice lady at the campground store did not sell any large conch shells, but said she could bring one in from her garage which she collected during the last hurricane. The next day I picked up the shell from her and sneakily spent a very long time “taking a shower” that night – working on the shell. Wendy agreed to wake up very early the next morning to go watch the sunrise at the point.  As we walked towards the spot, I continued to add shells to my backpack so Wendy wouldn’t become suspicious. We collected shells and took pictures along the way, and when we reached the point, I strayed off from her while she took pictures. During this time, I took THE shell out and held it under the waves, calling Wendy to come look at what I’d supposedly ‘find.’ As she got closer, I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me. She freaked out! We enjoyed our time on the beach and began making our way back, forgetting only to stay along the shoreline as to not disturb the sea turtles. At about this time, a law enforcement officer showed up and pointed out our missteps: 1. driving on the beach before the time allowed, and 2. walking on off-limit parts of the beach. He took our IDs and went back into his truck. Wendy flashed the new ring and the ‘marry me’ shell to the officer and said ‘We just got engaged!’After some time he returned with: ‘Well, between the two violations, you’ve racked up over $700 in fines, but because you just bought that ring, I’m sure you don’t have any more money left, so … just have a nice day and be more careful.’ We left the beach and enjoyed the rest of our day without breaking any more laws!!’

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Our dear Lacy Bear behind the scenes!!

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Wendy’s nickname for Sean:HFL (husband for life). I think this came from some reality tv show…’

Sean’s nickname for Wendy: ‘I sometimes call her Wen for short, or ..  I guess she’s my WFL (wife for life).’

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Most romantic memories together according to Sean:

‘… We have a tradition of writing notes on dinner receipts at restaurants. We probably have hundreds by now.

… Our beach engagement for sure.

… The first date at her apartment and the first kiss on her couch.

… When we’re laying around, she sings songs in a delicate voice – ‘you are my sunshine’ and one she made up called ‘heart strings.’

 

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Most romantic memory together according to Wendy: ‘The first time we said ‘I love you.’ I felt it for several months but wanted him to say it first. We were sitting in his truck in a parking lot of a restaurant after a yummy dinner. He finally said it. My life was complete!’

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Sean: ‘My life is so great with Wendy. She is my better half and we really complement each other. She pushes me in areas where I need it, and I think I do the same for her. We are a great team. With Wendy by my side, my life is different because I know that I have a life-long partner to tackle all of life’s challenges with and to celebrate all of life’s prizes with. That is huge.’

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Wendy: ‘I love that I can literally feel that he loves me. He shows me how much, every day.’

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Sean: ‘I really appreciate that Wendy is there for me 100% and that she always wants to be with me all the time. She really takes great care of me too. Also, she makes the best breakfast burritos on earth.’

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Wendy: ‘After I met Sean, for the first time, I felt I would be happy living the rest of my life in its current state. I am happy, satisfied and in love with our life together. It’s fun and exciting, yet simple. My favourite part of the day is coming home to him.’

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Wendy’s favorite things to find in the fridge: ‘Blackberries and sweet wine.’

Sean’s favourite things to find in the fridge: ‘Pizza!!! And anything she has made leftover… chicken parm, pot pie, steaks, shish-kabobs, smothered pork chops, jerk chicken, burgers.’

 

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Sean: ‘If Wendy had magical powers, she would be able to stop time. She doesn’t like to go to sleep at night because that means one more day has gone. Not that is has passed by (as in wasted), but she is just very aware of the immense value of our time.’

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POST-WEDDING REFLECTIONS:

What did you love most about your wedding?

‘We loved that it was so different from the traditional wedding. It was all about fun and love, and our friends and loved ones were all on a beautiful Island, thousands of miles away from home, supporting us and cheering us on as we tied the knot.’

 

Any regrets? What would you have done differently if you could?

‘We have zero regrets. It was hands down the best wedding we have ever been to. We spent a year planning our wedding, down to every little detail, but in the end all we remember is that we had a blast and everyone was happy.’Most memorable moments from the Wedding?
Wendy: ‘Walking down the aisle to Sean. I was filled with happiness, excitement and out-of-control butterflies. I couldn’t wait to see him, marry him and show him my dress.’
Sean: ‘Seeing Wendy come out in her dress left me in awe, but standing at the beach gazebo together during the ceremony was very special for me as well. Wendy and I held hands while her brother delivered a heartfelt ceremony – I couldn’t fight the tears and felt elated the whole time!’
Seandy: ‘The First Touch was so awesome. We got a chance to hold hands and talk without seeing each other before the ceremony. It was pretty darn special. A moment we’ll cherish forever.
Also, my big and tough Army Ranger brother, Kwame got all emo as he officiated our wedding. Love love love!’
On Melia Resort:

‘The Melia Punta Cana was a great resort for our group. It’s very large, but beautiful. The grounds are very clean and well kept. The food and drinks were pretty good and the pool bars became a daily ritual.’
On Kukua & vendors:

Kukua Beach is breathtaking! It has a unique design and holds lots of character. The view of the ocean is absolutely gorgeous there. We loved that it was private and had an intimate feel. The beauty of having a destination wedding is not having to worry about finding vendors on your own. Bego is the awesome wedding coordinator at Kukua. I sent her my vision with lots of pictures and she delivered. We had a meeting and tasting with her a few days before the wedding. It literally lasted all day. We had a great time discussing our ideas and seeing them come to life. Everything turned out amazing.
I had my hair and makeup done by the spa at Melia. I was happy with the results.
We loved our MC Raul. He was a lot of fun and such a nice guy. He kept the party going. Katya Nova, Rob and Lacy are beyond photographers. They are incredible people with such positive energy. They were obviously very passionate about photography, love, and life in general. Our guests loved them, and so did we.’Advice for future Brides?
‘If your reason for having a destination wedding is so you can take it easy and have fun, then keep that in perspective and don’t stress. Enjoy the planning process because you’ll probably miss it after it’s all over. Focus on the positive, and it will feel like the best day of your life.’

 
Dearest Wendy & Sean – we loved every moment with you! You know we’re not just saying that too — the beautiful tears and hugs we shared were absolutely magical. Wishing you all the love, joy, and bliss of connectedness that you deserve… You two are incredible. LOVE, K+R.

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  • September 22, 2014 - 01:42

    Patricia Whetsell - Wow!!! Gorgeous Pictures and enjoyed reading all your comments in between. Love you guys!!

Michele & Clayton met on Match.com (side note to single ladies who follow my blog – you know who you are – see, how much more proof do you need that online dating is awesome?!)

Michele remembers: ‘Clayton was holding moonshine in a picture, my opening was to ask about that. He asked me to meet him at a crowded dive bar, bought me 2 beers at once since it was crowded, and had me from that chivalrous moment.’  

Here’s their beautiful destination wedding at Now Larimar resort in Punta Cana … Enjoy!

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Top three things Michele loves about Clayton: ‘his sense of humor, patience, and fun-loving spirit.’

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I tear up on many wedding-related occasions, but this was a very special one. Michele’s family lovingly put together a ‘Collaborating Kitchens’ cookbook with family recipes that must have taken many months to compile. In my opinion, this is the most thoughtful wedding present I’ve ever encountered. Also, it’s inspiring me to start gathering recipes from our families (except we’ll have to create vegetarian versions, hehe)  :)

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Top three things Clayton loves about Michele: ‘humor (she always makes me laugh when I need it most), his ability to talk to anyone,  patience with me.’

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Ideal day together according to Clayton: ‘Anywhere she is: we can have fun whatever we are doing.’

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Ideal day together according to Michele: ‘Sleeping in, lounging, then heading to a fest to have a few drinks and listen to live music.’ 

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now larimar first look
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Michele on the Proposal:

‘Clayton would say it was nerve-racking. I say, it was amazing! He woke me up at midnight, right when my birthday began. He then told me to come up to the roof deck and that he had something to show me. He had a lantern lit and music playing. Clayton wasted no time and asked me to marry him; then we spent hours drinking champagne and just talking. It worked out perfectly that it was too late to call anyone, that way we had that time together to soak up the moment.’  

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Clayton’s favourite guilty pleasures: ‘snickers ice-cream bars & 80’s music at outdoor street fests.’

Michele’s favourite guilty pleasures: ‘pizza & watching honey booboo.’

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Clayton: ‘I love the way she holds on to me. Michele has a very caring touch, I love the way she touches the back of my neck.’

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Michele: ‘I love that Clayton can always make me laugh… I also love his giant strong hugs.’

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Clayton’s fave gift from Michele: ‘Engraved Zippo lighter “I love you more than a zombie loves brains.”’

Michele’s fave gift from Clayton: ‘my beautiful engagement ring.’

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Clayton: ‘With Michele by my side, my life is more meaningful, yet more complex. Everyday is different and fun.’

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Michele: ‘I smile every day because of him, he is so unbelievably caring and loving, not just of me, but to all of our family and friends. Clayton is truly an amazing man.’

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First dance song: ‘Please be Kind’ by Frank Sinatra.

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Dear Michele & Clayton, hope you’ve felt the love not only on the Day, but seeping through these images!! You were such a joy to be around, we’re so honoured to have shared your Wedding with you! Warmest wishes, K+R.

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  • September 23, 2014 - 01:01

    Jen Kowalewski Hanenburg - Beautiful pictures and a beautiful day!

  • September 22, 2014 - 14:02

    Cathy Beverley - these are fantastic!!! brought me right back to that amazing day!!!

Love, love, love these two.

You could say Yuli & Adrian are high school sweethearts… They rarely spoke at school, but one day Adrian bumped into Yuli at a bus stop and had the courage to ask her for her number. Adrian remembers: ‘I actually started falling in love with her (or at least confirming my love for her) while on our ride back from Six flags (amusement park) the summer of 2005. I was sitting in the front passenger side of the car and she was sitting behind me. Through the side mirror, I could see her sleeping, tired from the long fun day. I noticed how beautiful she was and then I was hooked!’

Yulissa & Adrian are such a precious Couple – you’ll see their radiance in the collection of images below!

Here is their beautiful Jellyfish Punta Cana Big Day!!

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Make-up & hair by the fabulous Anna Nuet.

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Top three things Adrian loves about Yulissa: ‘she’s beautiful, smart and resilient.’

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Top three things Yulissa loves about Adrian: ‘he’s honest, loyal and a great listener.’

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Ideal day together: ‘Taking a long walk on a nice day and chatting about random things… just being together doing anything.’

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Yuli, on the proposal:

‘He scheduled a photo shoot with our friend around the Golden Gate Bridge the week before our wedding. We were supposed to have a photo session some time ago, but there was always a conflict with scheduling. So while our friend took pictures of us in awkward and funny poses, I turned my back on him to look at the scenery, when I turned to face him, he took out the ring and got down on one knee. I started laughing uncontrollably due to excitement. I couldn’t stop laughing and couldn’t believe it because I didn’t expect it at all. Adrian always said he dislikes diamonds and that the whole engagement thing is a business to sell over-priced diamonds, so I didn’t think he was going to do it! People starting clapping and I just kept laughing. Our friend recorded it! It felt like an out-of-body experience, I finally understood why its so emotional when your partner proposes to you.’

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Most romantic memory together according to Adrian: ‘our ride back from Six Flags amusement park.’

Most romantic memory together according to Yulissa: ‘Our first Caribbean cruise vacation.’

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Adrian: ‘she has shown me true love and understanding. I have learned to communicate and express my emotions better. Yuli also encouraged me to move to California which has completely changed my life for the better. She always encourages and supports me in trying new things, especially with food (I am no longer such a picky eater).’

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Yulissa: ‘My life is different in many ways because of Adrian. We are now living in San Francisco which I love! Adrian was hired and relocated from NYC to California in 2012. More importantly, he has supported me with having a more positive outlook in life.’

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Adrian’s favourite guilty pleasures: ‘Ice-cream, bacon & doughnuts.’

Yulissa’s favourite guilty pleasures: ‘In-n-out burger, sour skittles, sour worms, gummy bears, & salty potato chips.’

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Sunrise Rock the Dress next day…

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Adrian: ‘I love that she’s able to prepare a meal out of scratch. She’s also a great storage organizer!’

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Yulissa: ‘I love that he is a handyman who is able to do anything and everything around the house. He also makes a delicious flan.’

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Yours truly, from behind the scenes.

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Adrian’s favourite things to find in the fridge: ‘Ice-cream! Also, Granny smith apples.’

Yulissa’s favourite things to find in the fridge: ‘cheese, wine and cilantro.’ (Yuli, ME TOO!!!!) :)

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YULISSA’S POST-WEDDING REFLECTIONS:

What did you love most about your wedding?

• ‘I loved spending time with my family and friends, especially after experiencing the recent loss of my mother. Since I live in San Francisco and all of our family members live in New York City I felt the wedding helped facilitate some quality bonding time with some of my closest friends and family members.’
Any regrets? What would you have done differently if you could?
• ‘I do not have any regrets about anything. However, as many brides have previously mentioned it would be a great idea to have all your guest stay at your same hotel for coordination purposes and to spend more quality time with them, although we understand that is not always possible.’
Most memorable moments from the wedding?

• ‘The First Look was memorable and amazing. I felt butterflies flapping in my stomach when I saw Adrian calmly standing and waiting for me to sneak behind him. Once I hugged him and felt his heart beating quickly I felt like I was falling in love with him all over again. I loved his reaction when he turned around and saw me for the first time that day. I will never forget that moment and I am glad Katya, Rob, Lacy and Diego were there to capture the moment.
• When I took some time away from the party to walk with my 18 year old niece on the beach at night. We had not seen each other or spent quality time together in a long time. Those few minutes we escaped from the party and sat in the sand having an intimate conversation about life while looking at the water was priceless.
• Getting ready the day of the wedding with my girls from the moment we woke up until approximately 3:00 pm was one of the most memorable moments I have of that day. I had a very long time since I experienced an all girls bonding time and it felt great to talk about girl stuff and act silly while being beautified by the lovely Anna & Barbara. My girls made that day run so much smoother for me, without them I would’ve probably been a nervous wreck. The chats we had at the Jellyfish bridal room are memorable, like they say in Vegas “what happened there stays there”’ :)
On Majestic Resort:

• ‘All the guests seemed to enjoy the Majestic Colonial especially those that stayed in the adult’s only side. There were a few guests that did not stay in the adult’s only side and they had some room maintenance complaints. Some guests developed stomach illnesses during their stay but they were unclear as to what caused it. One severe case occurred where one of our guests was hospitalized because they had food poisoning. Other than that, since Adrian and I do not consider ourselves picky, we were satisfied by the hotel especially when we upgraded to Majestic Elegance for our honeymoon.’
On Jellyfish & vendors:

‘When we found out Mayte was no longer working for Jellyfish we were anxious and worried but when we met with Isaac and his father, they assured us they will make sure everything ran smoothly. The day of the wedding I forgot my cell phone at the restaurant and I appreciated that it was kept safely stored until we were able to pick it up several days after the wedding. Katya, Rob, Lacy and Diego were excellent. As everyone mentions, Katya Nova has a serenity and peaceful way of being that is soothing, relaxing and most importantly makes you feel comfortable on a day that can be very stressful for brides. Many guests commented on how great and cool Katya and Rob were. One guest even said she was inspired by them and wanted to begin practicing yoga. Make-up artist, Anna and her assistant Barbara were more than great, they did not only do an amazing job with our hair and makeup but they treated us so well and all the girls had a blast chatting and laughing with them.’
Advice for future Brides?

• ‘My advice for future brides is to really enjoy your day to the max, and believe when people say the day goes by in a blink of an eye, because it literally does and then it all feels like a dream. Make sure to remember that you are celebrating the love you feel for each other and don’t focus too much on the little things like decorations or how the cake tastes. One tip I would give which unfortunately I was not able to do, is to escape from the party for a few minutes with your significant other and take a romantic walk on the beach to remind yourselves why you are there.’

Yuli & Adrian – what a pleasure and honour it’s been documenting your love! You two are amazing!!! xoxo K+R.

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  • September 18, 2014 - 00:39

    Arlene Polanco - Whoa!! your work is amazing. These pictures brought me back to that moment. I was one of the bridesmaids (baby crier) this day was a day i would never forget in my life.
    Yulissa is my cousin (more like a sister) we grew up together in the same building. we were always together. i love her so much. and i thank and love adrian for being there for her and being such a great man.. Love YULIISSA & ADRIAN

She’s a great friend, a stunning bombshell, a loving and super talented artist, hard worker, and just an amazing human being.

Anna Nuet is one of the two rockstar hair & make-up stylists in Punta Cana and we do a lot of weddings together. This time though, it was her turn to shine in front of my camera as we met on the beach at sunrise for a sexy and timeless Boudoir session. As much as it’s meant for her fiancé, I feel that these images are such a powerful celebration of her beauty, fierceness, softness, and love — to cherish forever and look back to with pride.

Anna, you’re amazing and I adore you!!! Hope your Wedding is everything you’ve dreamed of and MORE. I’m sad we can’t be there with you! 

Lastly, huge thanks to our sweet Lacy for assisting with the shoot and getting up at the crack of dawn, time and time again with me:)

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lacy katya nova
punta cana photographer

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