This Wedding in the Dominican Republic Was Full of Lush Details and Luxe Glamour

bride and groom on stone stairs
David Abel Photography

Not many couples can say they first crossed paths in their middle school halls—but Alexa Quirch and Sergio Fernandez-Soto can. They were high school crushes, senior prom dates, and long-distance friends throughout college; after graduation and a move back home to Miami, their adolescent spark rekindled.

A surprise engagement on September 19, 2020, in Cat Cay, Bahamas, the couple's favorite place on earth, was made even more special when both of their families secretly flew in to celebrate the happy couple together at Alexa's family's home on the island. This unforgettable weekend kicked off an even more unforgettable celebration season. As soon as Alexa and Sergio were engaged to be married, they knew exactly where they wanted to exchange vows. Alexa grew up visiting her grandparents' family home in Casa de Campo—and both she and Sergio had fallen in love with the people, the culture, and the food in the La Romana region. They knew it was the perfect place for the effortless, natural, and—most of all—fun wedding they envisioned. Alexa and Sergio brought in the destination team at Claire Duran Weddings & Events to plan a 320-person celebration on September 4, 2021, that brought together the culture of the Dominican Republic, the Mediterranean architecture of Casa de Campo, and a luxe, tropical vision.

Looking back on this season, Alexa says, "We had a wonderful time planning the wedding. I wanted everything to be simple, natural, and effortless, which made it easy to decide on the flowers, linens, etc. Claire and her team made the process so easy and fun. We wish we could do it all over again!"

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Natural Invitations

wedding invitations with engagement ring
David Abel Photography

The natural beauty of Casa de Campo spoke for itself, so Alexa and Sergio decided to keep their invitations simple and classic, with moss green ink calligraphy and a subtle nod to their tropical destination: a simple palm tree motif. The invitations were designed by Lori Calleja of Just Write! and printed by Arzberger Stationers.

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Private Ceremony

guests gathered outside wedding ceremony venue
David Abel Photography

On Thursday, the pair had a religious, family-only ceremony inside the Altos de Chavon, a church on the property.

  • Four Ways to Personalize a Religious Wedding Ceremony
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Quick Kiss

bride and groom seated in church
David Abel Photography

The pair snuck in a quick kiss before they were officially pronounced husband and wife by their priest.

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Modern Meets Classic

bride in satin strapless wedding dress holding white floral bouquet
David Abel Photography

It took 30 wedding dresses of all styles, fabrics, and silhouettes before Alexa found the one. The voluminous silk-faille high-low strapless gown from Oscar de la Renta was everything she dreamed of: It was simple and classic, yet fun and modern—and it was perfect for a night full of dancing. She also donned Alexandre Birman shoes, a simple veil, also from Oscar de la Renta, and her great-grandmother's necklace.

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Matriarch Moment

mom and bride smiling at each other
David Abel Photography

On the morning of the big day, Alexa got ready with her mother, who slipped into a formal embroidered shirt dress for her daughter's nuptials, and sister.

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Creamy Bouquet

bride and groom embracing focusing on bride's bouquet
David Abel Photography

The bride's monochromatic bouquet was consistent with the rest of the event's florals: It was tailored, but tropical and natural. White anemones, spray and garden roses, ranunculus, ruscus, and astrantias defined the bulk of the arrangement, created by Carmona Decor.

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Bespoke in Sage

bride with eleven bridesmaids
David Abel Photography

Her bridesmaids wore custom dresses by Krewe du Q, a company owned by the bride's cousin; the gowns featured both a print—a sage floral—and silhouette made just for her and Sergio's wedding. The pattern also reappeared on the DJ booth and plate shelves.

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Little Attendants

three flower girls in matching white dresses with sage bows
David Abel Photography

The flower girls' linen dresses were tied with a sage bow, connecting them to the more senior members of the wedding party.

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Timeless Groom

groom getting ready in black tux and spotted feathered bow tie
David Abel Photography

Sergio wore a classic black tuxedo from Damiani, a shop in Miami, paired with a feather bow tie from Brackish, which is based in South Carolina, one of the couple's favorite travel destinations. (They took a trip to Low Country shortly after their engagement and stumbled upon a store carrying the ties. Sergio knew then and there that they would be part of his big-day look)

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Tropical Contrast

groomsmen gathered in living area with white jackets and black pants
David Abel Photography

Groomsmen's white jackets offered an elegant contrast to Sergio's attire—and felt appropriate in the tropical climate of the Dominican Republic.

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Luxe and Laid-Back

wedding ceremony set up with flowers down the aisle and white chairs
David Abel Photography

The ceremony setup took the sophistication of an indoor space—stunning furniture, large urns, and architectural elements, like wooden consoles—and translated it for the outdoors; the impressive, greenery-forward florals blended perfectly into the natural surroundings. "We added on a whimsical aisle that looked like an illusion garden using one flower, locally called 'sonrío,' that has a similar look to baby's breath—but with a bit more movement and subtle touches of yellow," says wedding planner Claire Duran of Claire Duran Weddings & Events.

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Palm Aisle

outdoor wedding ceremony with white chairs and fan station
David Abel Photography

Palm fronds were loaded into stately urns and marked the entrance to the aisle.

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Keep Your Cool

woven palm fans on table
David Abel Photography

With the tropical climate in mind, the coupled provided fans to keep their loved ones cool; they ordered the palm leaf pieces and tied tags, complete with their names and wedding date, onto each one.

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Here Comes the Bride

bride walking down the aisle with father wearing high low wedding dress
David Abel Photography

Alexa's father, Guillermo, walked her down the aisle. Waiting at the other end, Sergio's eyes teared up as he saw his bride approaching him. Looking back on their decision to wait until that very moment to see each other, Alexa says, "I had so many butterflies! I knew I had made the right decision as soon as we locked eyes."

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Traditional Vows

Bride and groom exchanging vows
David Abel Photography

During the pair's large, 320-person ceremony, they exchanged traditional wedding vows. After saying sealing their union with a kiss, the couple walked out to the happy melody of "Here Comes the Sun" by The Beatles, performed by Batuta by Pablo Polanco; the music selection was an ode to Alexa's all-time favorite movie, The Parent Trap.

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Wave and Cheer

guest holding green and white streamer as the bride and groom leave ceremony
David Abel Photography

Loved ones waved green-and-white streamers as the newlyweds walked back up the aisle.

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Cocktail Hour with a Spicy Twist

cocktail hour with colosseum seating
David Abel Photography

While Alexa and Sergio posed for photos, guests took to the top of the grandiose amphitheater for a cocktail hour with a view. They enjoyed the signature spicy margarita cocktail (the couple's favorite!), while indulging in passed appetizers including Iberian ham croquettes, fried lobster, yucca empanadas, ceviche de Camaron, and other local specialties. Miguel Angel Soul, a one-man band, provided musical entertainment during the interlude.

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Meant to Be

bride and groom on cobblestone lookout spot overlooking water and trees
David Abel Photography

In the weeks leading up to their wedding, the couple almost considered moving the wedding back to Miami, due to the pandemic and travel concerns. They made the decision to stick with their original plan—and, in retrospect, can't imagine it any other way.

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Blending the Surroundings and Sophistication

wedding reception entrance with potted plants and floral arrangements
David Abel Photography

A gorgeous dinner reception was held in the Main Plaza at Altos de Chavón, with the jungle and the river on the one side and a beautiful Mediterranean-style church on the other. Inside a 20-foot-tall tent with a clear roof, the ambience was lush, tropical, and luxe; a ceiling full of twinkle lights lit the greenery-filled scene down below.

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Simple Settings

dinner table with high and low floral arrangements and candles
David Abel Photography

The tables—which, per Miami tradition, were free-flowing sans assigned seats or full place settings (the goal was to get people to the dance floor, rather than linger after dinner)—were layered with flowers and vine-centric arrangements. It felt as though a force of nature was tumbling around the room.

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Custom Bar

outdoor wedding bar with string lights and chandeliers
David Abel Photography

At the center of the room, around the plaza fountain, Claire's team crafted a custom 360-degree bar. It was covered in greenery and wood, and was punctuated with bamboo chandeliers and soft greenery overhead.

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All Night Dance Floor

bride and groom dancing on the dance floor as guests watch
David Abel Photography

For a couple that loves to dance, the dance floor's ambience was critical. They incorporated lanterns overhead that flickered with the music, making the entire space feel like a disco, while DJ Rascal, Alexa and Sergio's favorite musician from Miami, played curated crowd-pleasers to keep guests on their feet. When it came to their first dance, the newlyweds chose "Volvi a Nacer" by Carlos Vives. Alexa says, "We love Carlos Vives and every time this particular song comes on at a party, our eyes meet and we're on the dance floor in seconds!"

At the end of the night, Alexa's fathered surprised the happy couple with an unbelievable fireworks show, synced up to DJ Rascal spinning "Fireworks" by Katy Perry. After that adrenaline rush, everyone wanted to keep the party going all night long—which leads right into Alexa's advice for couples: "Live in the moment, take everything in, and don't leave the dance floor! It goes by in a flash!"

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outdoor wedding dinner with string lights and greenery
David Abel Photography

Photography, David Abel Photography
Venue, Catering, and Cake, Altos de Chavon, Casa de Campo
Wedding Planning, Claire Duran Weddings & Events
Videography, Studio by AP
Flowers, Carmona Decor
Rentals, Divano
Invitations, Lori Calleja of Just Write!
Invitation Printer, Arzberger Stationers
Bride's Gown and Veil, Oscar de la Renta
Shoes, Alexandre Birman
Hair and Makeup, Anna Nuet
Bridesmaids' dresses, Krewe du Q
Groom's attire, Damiani tux; Brackish bow tie
Music, DJ Rascal (reception), Batuta by Pablo Polanco (ceremony),Miguel Angel Soul (cocktail hour)
Cigar Roller, Fratello
Lighting, Vialx

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