After ten years together, Heather and Josh weren’t interested in having all the bells and whistles of a traditional wedding. Instead, the couple simply wanted to celebrate their love in the most authentic and intimate way possible surrounded by their closest friends and family. In choosing a destination wedding they were able to comfortably invite 90 people and avoid any hurt feelings while knowing that the guest list would naturally shrink to an intimate and manageable number. In the end, the bride and groom exchanged their vows in a beautiful Love Mala ceremony on the beach in Punta Cana with 50 of their nearest and dearest by their side as they shared in all the love, happiness, and joy of their special day.

Special thanks to Asia Pimental for sharing all the beautiful photos of Heather and Josh’s beautiful day with us!

punta cana wedding

Heather 32, & Josh, 36

Location: Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Wedding Date: April 15, 2016

Number of Guests: 50

Wedding Cost: $15,000 

Wedding Ceremony Location: Bavaro Beach, Huracan Café

Wedding Reception Location: Huracan Café

wedding thank you card

wedding rings

bride and daughter standing in front of altar before ceremony

bride portrait on the beach

groom on the beach with step daughter

groom hugging bride and daughter

Why did you have an intimate wedding?

Josh and I have been together for 10 years. We have a very special relationship and are very fortunate to be surrounded by a beautiful family and group of friends. We knew that an intimate wedding would allow us to celebrate our love, rather than focusing on all the bells and whistles that come along with some wedding venues. Our wedding was a beautiful celebration of our love for each other, witnessed by our closest family and friends. It was truly amazing!

bride getting make-up done

bride looking in the mirror

bride looking in the mirror

flower crown hanging on chair

flower girl's hair

What are some of the challenges that you faced planning an intimate wedding?

In all honesty, there were very few challenges! The seating chart was the hardest part for me. Because options for table size and the number of tables available were limited, we had to place people together who didn’t know each which initially felt awkward, but turned out to be amazing in the end. The only other challenge was the cake and desserts – I was afraid we weren’t going to have enough!

groomsmen getting ready

son helping groom with his tie

groom's tie bing adjusted

groom and son hugging

groomsmen walking to the beach

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?

No, it wasn’t. We invited about 90 people initially, but because it was a destination wedding, we knew the guest list would naturally shrink and it did! We had the perfect number of guests. 

wedding party portrait on the beach

bride and groom portrait on the beach

bride and groom portrait on the beach

bride and groom portrait on the beach

Did you have any ‘issues’ with the small guest list from friends and family? If so, how did you address them?

Not at all. We opened the guest list up to everyone and anyone. We knew people weren’t going to be able to commit because it was a destination wedding so we weren’t really worried about the size of our guest list.

wedding ceremony set-up on the beach

wedding ceremony on the beach

bride during wedding ceremony

What were the highlights of the ceremony?

I can’t pick! Our choice of music was definitely a highlight – every song meant something to Josh and me, but it also carried the soundtrack to many memories we have with friends and family members. Another highlight was our Love Mala ceremony. During the ceremony we asked each guest to hold a bead which sat on a table as they entered the ceremony area. The beads have since been used to make a Love Mala, holding all the love, friendship and intentions from our friends and family who were at our ceremony. It was beautiful. My bridesmaid read something aloud to our guests to explain the definition of a mala and the purpose of the ceremony. 

groom putting ring on bride's finger

bride putting ring on groom's finger

bride and groom first kiss

flower girl and groomsman walking down aisle

What were the highlights of the reception?

The décor, the venue, every little detail was amazing! Sitting around enjoying dinner, speeches and the ambiance with 50 of our closest friends and family, we honestly couldn’t have asked for more. I felt like I spent time with everyone, danced the night away, enjoyed my meal and even ate a donut at the end of the night (one of the best donuts I’ve ever eaten)!

wedding reception set-up

wedding reception set-up

hanging lightbulbs

wedding reception set-up

wedding reception set-up

wedding reception set-up

candle centrepiece

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?

Experiencing our wedding with every guest, feeling the love and joy in the air, and being surrounded by those we love. It was a true reflection of our partnership and marriage.

wedding reception at night

wedding guests raising their glasses

wedding cake with Best Day Ever topper

bride wiping away tear as groom and son hug

bride and groom first dance

wedding guests dancing on the beach

wedding reception on the beach

What advice do you have for couples who are considering an intimate wedding?

DO IT! It’s the only time in your life where you get to be selfish and do only what you want for yourself! I can hardly put into words how incredible it was to be surrounded by everyone we love and who love us, and really feel it. 

bride, groom, ad daughter at wedding reception


Photographer: Asia Pimental

Venue and Wedding Planner: Huracan Café/ Natalia Roldan

Cake: Punta Cana Cakes

Welcome Bags: Wedding Chicks

Cake Topper: Itsy Bitsy Paper Cuts

Bridesmaids’ Robes: Plum Pretty Sugar

Makeup Artist: Olga Montilla