Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Laughed Until We Cried: An unforgettable honeymoon adventure

This is gonna be a long ride folks, so grab a drink, snuggle up, and come all the way to the Dominican with me for a stroll through our once in a lifetime honeymoon!

All I needed for our honeymoon to be considered AMAZING to me was:
  1. Time to breath
  2. Three meals a day
  3. Some sleep at night
That was it! I might have been easy to please but we were definitely not expecting how truly phenomenal our honeymoon would be.

After no sleep for me and 1 hour for him the night of the wedding reception, we headed to the airport at 4 for our 6am flight to Atlanta. The next stop...Punta Cana, Dominican Republic!!!

We arrived at the Secrets Sanctuary Cap Cana Resort, located 15 minutes from the Punta Cana airport. We were a little delirious from the whirlwind 36 hours, but in awe of the beauty.

I chose this place based on the Spanish-Colonial style architecture, combined with the rave reviews on Trip Advisor. And Sean trusted me.

It was breathtakingly gorgeous. And not a typical cheesy, beachy couples resort. It felt very old-world, Mediterranean and exclusive.

The beautiful fountain and stone columns welcome you into the entry.

Our room was exotic and island-style.

For ALL the days leading up to the honeymoon, we talked about how we could not wait to arrive, drop our bags, then fall into a LONG quiet, peaceful sleep for several hours. Something that wedding planning had robbed us (or at least me) of.

But when we arrived to THIS:

Snoozing inside no longer seemed so appealing.

We suited up and made our way straight to the beautiful lagoon-style party pool.

We eventually both drifted off to sleep while floating on rafts, and slept in the sun for a few hours.

Walking to dinner in the evenings, was like strolling the promenades of Spain or Italy. The lighted cobblestone pathways were amazing in character (although killer on high-heeled feet in the wee hours!)

The Wok was located in the Fortress, a secluded area of the resort that was built like a castle.

Playing in the castle on the way to dinner.

Another draw to Cap Cana, was the selection of restaurants. All-inclusive Sushi was our first stop!!

You would never expect such sushi perfection from an all inclusive, but reviews told me otherwise. And they were so right!! It was heavenly.

Our room came with its own patio, but we spent all of our time at the beach or pool, where we would soon meet all of our awesome vacation friends!

I loved this wedding present! Denise and Danica...It made it on the blog!

The private beach was small, serene, and soothing.

And the drinks were ever-flowing! {I must say, this picture is very Canon-esque of me:) }
I made my way down the drink menu, eventually consuming at least one of everything they offered and progressing to made-up concoctions by the last 2 days. Did I mention I needed to unwind??

I was not alone in my quest, for Mr. Gray enjoyed a little unwinding as well.

Back at the pool, we were experiencing next-day feigning for the sushi we had at dinner. Who-da thought they would take your order poolside and deliver it to you all the way from the castle!? Sushi by the pool was just plain euphoric.

You could not have found a happier couple on that beach!

Tall-boy was recruited for some beach volleyball by our new friend Micky Mouse, who we would soon fall in love with and miss terribly still! I wonder why Micky didn't recruit me out of the crowd?

We cleaned up and made the moonlit walk to dinner again, this time at the Steakhouse.

Here, we dined next to a couple who shared a plane ride with us from Atlanta. We initiated conversation, beginning with the typical southern greeting, "Where yall from?" The couple who was seated to the other side of them overheard our conversation and joined in. Sean and I both already knew who the guy was. But we just listened. The six of us casually had parallel conversations and then dinner winded down.

The next day, we ventured to the castle to take in the view from the top.

It was so amazing!

How often do you find yourself atop a beachfront castle with a view like this?! We felt so blessed.

The castle swim-out was too cold for KK, but Seany took a dip.

How cool is this place!? And how brave am I for perching on top of that castle ledge with nothing behind me?

Tropical storm Emily had everyone back home worried. But here, no one seemed to think much of it.

It did bring a little rain and wind that brought that day to a close around 3, but that night at the LoveBar we had the BEST time ever!

The same six of us from the night before at dinner formally introduced ourselves to each other, in addition to a few other couples of new friends to round out our core group of 10. We hit it off with our new friends, and Louis got the party started.

Round 1...Round 2...Round 5?

Who cares...Cheers to new friends!

My new friends were soon introduced to my stanky leg.

They later joined me.

With Sarah, Jessica, and Amanda

The next day we were bright-eyed and bushy tailed at 7am. NOT! But we didn't waste too much time getting a spot at the pool. Our new friends found us and sat near.

We ordered poolside service and it was delicious!

Micky Mouse rallied us all on his team for a giant water balloon fight. I took a moment from tossing bombs to capture the moment. Sean busted so many unsuspecting people in the face, laughing, "We didn't come here to make friends!" And yet somehow, we still did:)

That day, we made plans with our new friends, Jessica and Jason, to meet for dinner at the Italian restaurant.

These guys were awesome!!

Sean and I at dinner.

The four of us after dinner. We loved them!

We met up with our big group afterwards at the bar guessed it.

And then took no pictures of all of us cuttin' it on the dance floor. We were too busy dancin'!!

The next day started a little later, with the last of Emily's clouds passing by. But we still had a fabulous time!
We had some lunch and our new friends came by to share champagne and toast with us just after their vow renewal. Then everyone got together for a volleyball tournament.

Jason, Sean, and Jessica getting set for the game.

Jacob, Sean, and Jason with Mickey.

Seany spikes!

And digs!

Jason sets!

Our team also showed some great athletic moves. Like Jessica with this:

And Sean with this:

Whatever those moves were... :)

Amanda and I, dubbed "Paparazzi Girls" by Mickey, kept the team hydrated with plenty of water.
"Paparazzi Girls, I love you!"

And our team won:)

We closed the pool bar down that afternoon with all our awesome new friends from all over the country. We didn't want the last day to end:(

The last night brought us back to The Wok for more sushi on the patio by the pond.

We were beginning to miss the place already knowing we had to leave the next day but had so much excitement to talk about. We couldn't believe who we were able to meet and spend time with on the trip and were just so happy to be there!

Our friends sat inside and joined us for a ride back to the main area for our last hurrah at the Love Bar.

I am my hubby's and he is mine.

Twin Grins!! This pic of Mickey and Sean warms my heart. We loved this guy!

I seriously wonder when we'll be able to go back to see him again.

Dos Equis!!!
We all admired "The most interesting man in the world" all week for his GQ swagger and style. He was so uber-cool, we likened him to the man in the famous commercials. This man was from Denmark and totally got a kick out of us thinking he was so cool like the Dos Equis guy. It was our mission to get a picture with him. Success!

Us with Willy Wonka, another of the one-of-a-kind entertainment staff.

We all agreed that we had to throw down for mine and Sean's last night, so it was by far the best yet.

It was even Elvis night for a hometown shout out!

Us with an awesome Elvis!

Me and Sean with Sarah and Adam, fellow newlyweds from July 30th!

Sean and Jessica

Everybody all paired up! Sarah and Adam (Wisconsin), Greg and Emily (Chicago), Jacob and Amanda (Georgia), Jason and Jessica (Tennessee) and WB and Amanda. With Usher in the middle!

Yes, for one last time...

"Tonight... I will love, love you tonight.
Give me everything tonight.
For all we know, we might not get tomorrow"

Goin out with a bang!! Absolutely on cloud nine.

The next morning was sadly our last. We had breakfast at Casa Bella...french toast for breakfast everyday? Like I said...Heaven.

Not even the pile of unopened gifts or stories to share were luring us back home. We fell in love with this place.

But we had a plane to catch...

...that was headed home sweet home.

It's taken a while to adjust to real life again. But the experience we had was unforgettable. Stay tuned for part 2, featuring our zipline adventure!

Mr. and Mrs. Gray

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