Rising country music star Carly Goodwin and songwriter Josh Kear weren't looking for a flashy Nashville wedding. In fact, they chose the Dominican Republic because Carly had fallen in love with the island's down-to-earth flavor during a family vacation.
Not surprisingly, their weeklong November celebration was filled with what the couple does best: music. The 45 guests were welcomed with a night of performances, during which the twosome serenaded each other with songs they had written for the occasion. Josh's father, an artist and musician, sang, too, and presented the couple with a guitar that he'd painted with a Caribbean scene.
The next day, Carly and Josh brought music into the wedding itself by asking their guests to shake maracas every time the word "love" was uttered during the ceremony, which took place under a canopy and included handwritten vows as well as a mix of rituals from around the world. The last personal touch? A playlist that skipped the singers' own tunes in favor of dance hits—from "Hey Ya" to "The Hokey Pokey"—that got everyone on the sandy dance floor until the down-home duo moseyed back to their suite. —Leigh Newman
3 Things Carly Learned
Hire Pros: Invest in the best photographer and wedding planner you can afford. "These are the two most important people in your life! The photos are what you have forever."
Date to be Different: Josh and Carly made all their wedding decisions together, creating a very personal ceremony. "We spent a year planning the day and writing our vows."
Focus on Last-Minute Details: Carly met with the hotel's wedding coordinator several times throughout the wedding week to share her vision. "Hotels know what they're doing, but if you want to add special touches, you'll have to plan for them once you get to the resort."