So, I’ve known Joline for a really long time. 🙂
As any of her friends will tell you, Joline is the one you call when you are drunk outside a bar and need a ride home. Or if you need help putting together a fundraiser or a birthday party. She’s the type of friend who will be there for those she keeps near to her heart, no matter how much trouble you got in, how low you feel, or how crazy your ideas, Jo’s got your back.
She’s good people. Really good people.
A few weekends ago, I was super duper honored to photograph her marrying her dude, Matt on a warm sandy beach in Punta Cana. This loud, sarcastic guy, who likes to make people laugh and is so hard to read, I can never tell if he is messing with me or not.
This guy, whom I caught numerous times over the past five days, looking at Joline from afar with a big grin on his face, looking all sorts of in love. You know, that goofy smile which is beyond endearing, and speaks volumes to just how much he really loves her. This guy, who happily announces just how perfect he thinks his girl is to a bar full of people, curse words and all.
Matt keeps Joline on her toes, and she in return keeps him grounded. It is kind of a wonderful, quirky little romance, built on humor and solidified with patience and respect. Not only do they love each other, I am pretty convinced they genuinely like each other, too.
He makes her happy.
And she’s got his back.
The entire trip was a lot of fun. I’ve never stayed at an all-inclusive resort before, so that in and of itself was quite the experience. My favorite parts were the breakfast and lunch buffets, since I always suffer from a serious case of food FOMO. Being able to load up your plate with a little bit of all of the things was like a slice of noshing Nirvana. Chilling by the pool, an epic two hour battle of tennis with the hubs (I lost 6-0 and 6-4…whatevs) and lots of late night dance parties made the first three days incredibly entertaining.
Speaking of entertainment, the resort put on a show every night, and they were ridiculously good! Our first night there, we were treated to a Michael Jackson show, and it took a lot for me not to jump up on stage and rock out with them (who hasn’t practiced the Thriller dance in front of their mirrors? Come on now!). Night two featured a crazy acrobatic show, with two dudes who pretty much blew our collective minds with their antics. And on the third night, a sassy 70s dance show made us all laugh and shimmy-shake in our seats!
Of course, the best entertainment came that Saturday, just watching everyone dance their asses off at the reception, most of all, Matt. Never thought he would be the one to open and close the dance floor, but he did! Add in that one of Joline’s friends also happens to be her Zumba instructor, and you know no one sat down the entire night. Ckick HERE to see some of those epic dance moves 🙂
It was truly one of the most entertaining, fun, happy and best receptions I’ve been to… a true testament to the great group of family and friends Matt and Joline surround themselves with.
So Mr. and Mrs. Girdzis, here’s to a lifetime full of laughter, sassy jokes (from Matt), kindness, inappropriate comments (again, from Matt), trust, ridiculously kickass adventures, goofy smiles (Matt, again) and above all, so much damn love.
Here are A TON of my favorite images from our time in Punta Cana.
↑ A couple of quick shots of the Punta Cana landscape from inside our tourbus to the resort.
↓ ‘Squad’ hats for all the ladies.
↓ We were all greeted with champagne and cold towels, which is the BEST way to start off your vacation!
↑ Fruity drinks by the pool…always a good time 🙂
↓ Joline and Matt had cute little bags full of nips, sunnies, and various hangover remedies for each of their guests.
↓ On night two, we were all invited to Joline and Matt’s White Party, which was super fun!
↑ My girl Christina was a good sport and woke up early one morning to explore the resort with me 🙂
↓ These birds were photogenic AF…just look at those jawlines!
↑ The morning of the wedding we all showed up at the gym for a Zumba class, lead by Joline’s fabulous friend, John.
↑↓ Joline’s dress was stunning, and something she completely designed herself 🙂
↑↓ Her First Look with her dad…it was so emotional, I was holding back my own tears!
↓ Joline’s gift to her dad. Every Christmas, he always asks for socks. So, this time around she gifted him a pair that says “Of all our walks, this one is my favorite”.
↑↓ Joline and Matt asked their guests to dress in sunset colors, and I freaking loved how good they looked in all these happy hues against the bright green tropical plants!
↑ Yay! They’re married!
↑↓ It’s not just blood which makes a family. It’s love, experiences, trust, understanding, a shoulder to lean on, cry on. A safe space, a comforting hug, a welcoming smile. Family, true family, are the people we choose to surround ourselves with in good times, in bad times, and every moment in between, and know that they will be there come what may.
↓ As promised, a photo of Mr. Lennon -the most curmudgeonly, no nonsense, straightforward, surly dude at the entire resort- crying, because he really does love Matt like a son.
↑ Had to employ these two goofballs to toss up that veil for me 🙂
↑ Even though their dogs, Gizmo and Kramer, were sorely missed, they made an appearance on the custom cake topper. Can’t wait for our Trash the Dress session, with both Frenchies in full tuxedos!
↓ The bride and groom surprised everyone with a choreographed first dance!
↑ When your reception is next to a swimming pool…this is pretty much inevitable.
↓ These two danced the entire night…which made me so happy! They really, truly enjoyed their party as much as humanly possible. 🙂