The Dominican Republic, Haiti and Wedding Plans

“Lauren, my husband says I’m not going.”

My matron-of-honor texted me this week and said her husband didn’t want her going. I don’t blame him. I didn’t want to go anymore. You’d have to be living under a rock if you haven’t heard about the recent deaths of tourists in the Dominican Republic. I think the number is at seven deaths and at least a hundred sickened since May of this year.  

It wasn’t the first concerned phone call my fiancé and I received since the news broke about the Maryland couple who were found dead in their hotel room and the subsequent deaths. We received several calls. Our family and friends who were planning to celebrate our October nuptials felt uneasy about going to the Dominican Republic, and as I said, so did I. I started to worry about bringing my children there. The children wouldn’t be drinking from a minibar, but I was worried about them getting sick. Some tourists have complained about falling ill from unknown sources. I finally made the decision to scrap our wedding plans in the D.R. when my fiancé texted me at work last week asking how much money we’d lose if we changed all of the flights we booked. I knew then that even he had concerns. So, despite all of our wedding invitations going out, our Dominican Republic destination wedding is scrapped. At least scrapped for that location. Our wedding planner (She’s the best), is working hard to find a new location so we can keep the same wedding date. Worst case scenario is the date may be pushed back a couple of weeks, but since we believe in the God of miracles, we are still hoping for an October 11th wedding – somewhere…in the Caribbean…where we don’t have to worry so much about dying (Got to have a sense of humor, right?)  

The message on our wedding website.

We greatly apologize if this causes any inconvenience to our vendors, but we will be able to change the flights with little to no costs, and our wedding planner, if not already, will be in contact with you. We just didn’t want to put anyone at risk, and we didn’t want to have a dark cloud over our wedding day.

We talked about changing the location with our pre-marital counselor, and he encouraged us and said we were making the right decision. He said he wouldn’t want his wife going either. We believe with all of our hearts we are making the right decision even though we took a financial hit with the invitations and might have to pay more money to change people’s flights.

Why did you choose the D.R.?

I randomly chose the Dominican Republic. I knew people who went there last year that had a great time. People kept talking about it, so when my fiancé asked where should we get married, I threw it out there. However, even before the tourist deaths, I started to become conflicted. I just started working for a nonprofit organization that does work in Haiti. As part of my job, I had to learn quickly about Haiti’s history and relationship with the U.S. and Dominican Republic. Needless to say, I was disgusted to learn about the genocide against Haitians that has taken place in the history of the D.R. and the injustices against Haitians that continue to happen today. I no longer wanted to give my money to the Dominican Republic. As of today, I’m traveling to Haiti in August to see the work we’ve done in Gros Morne at the Jean Marie Vincent Formation Center. I’m excited to go.

So, we are still getting married, but our wedding planner is working hard to find us a new location that will hopefully have an opening on October 11th. We solicit your prayers and patience. I know that in the end everything will work out. We know that it’s not about a wedding, but about the marriage and the life that we will create together. So, that’s where we are…   

Comments

  1. Donna Barnes says:

    Lauren if you still would like to have your destination wedding have your wedding planner try St. Maarten, Grenada, St. Martinique, St. Thomas, Barbados, St. Lucia or Turks and Cacios. All these are beautiful places. But do your own research as well.

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