We had a fun chat with Dominican Wedding Planner, Richard Weber….Read what we found out
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m originally from New York and moved to the Caribbean for a year…24 years ago. My background is in adventure tourism and emergency medicine. It is remarkable how many of these skills can apply to wedding planning…at least to the kind of weddings I do!
When did your journey as a wedding planner first start?
My wife Sandy and I planned our destination wedding. She, a Catholic German, and I, a Protestant North American, living in the Dominican Republic celebrated a civil ceremony in Southern Germany and a church ceremony in Tuscany. The priest was Irish. The choir sang in Latin. Guests hailed from the UK, Germany, Austria, USA, Spain, the Dominican Republic, Canada and, of course, Italy. Sandy fired the caterer and changed the reception venue two weeks before the wedding. Then, the florist in the quaint village nearby ran out of flowers…so we had to buy plants…lots of them. It was complicated, stressful, perfect, awesome and full of love and laughter. It turned out to be on-the-job training for a new profession.
Describe your style.
When it comes to planning, I am all about high energy and straightforwardness. I am professional, yet playful. My focus is on the experience. A florist arranges flowers. A stylist decorates. A baker bakes. These and many others aren’t my jobs. My interest is in how the wedding FEELS. I indeed hire and manage those people, but my primary focus is the vibe, and nothing else.
A unique wedding that you’ll never forget?
Well…there was the time at an oceanfront ceremony that I directed a helicopter for the wedding party’s procession and it landed too close to the bar, shattering £400 of glasses—paid by yours truly. Or the time wild parrots were released at the end of the ceremony and attacked the flower girl. It was a scene straight out of Alfred Hitchcock’s, “The Birds”
The weirdest request you’ve ever had?
I think it is split between a surprise giant trampoline for the groom (from the bride) and a Burning Man-style Festival reception instead of a formal dinner after the ceremony.
The best time to get married in the Dominican Republic?
The DR has year-round summer-like temperatures. May can be wetter, whilst September is the hottest month. Because of the wide variety of venues available, any time works, so it’s best to let the expense of flights guide you.
Your top tip for couples?
High heels don’t work in the sand!
Consider a large private villa instead of a boutique hotel or resort. You are going to spend some extra money on tables, chairs and such, but you will save a ton of money on food and drinks.
You can’t control your guests. Tell them what you’re doing and what your schedule is for the wedding week. Make suggestions on where they should stay, but resist playing the role of concierge. You have a fiancé and a wedding to focus on!