2015 was a pretty incredible year – one of the best in my books so far – and ended in the best way possible. Not only did I finally take the leap and leave my 9-5 job to pursue my personal career full-time, but, shortly after, I hopped on a plane to Punta Cana and was able to celebrate the surprise wedding of two of my great friends, Daniel Reyes of DoTheDaniel.com and Julio Reyes of Fashionights.com alongside them. We had an amazing trip together and stayed at the wonderful Catalonia Royal Bavaro courtesy of our friends at BookingHello.com. With Valentine’s Day coming up, I decided to catch up with Daniel and Julio to find out more about their love story, Punta Cana beach wedding experience and how they’ll be spending their first Valentine’s Day as a married couple. Read our Q&A below!
GC: Tell me about your love story; how did you meet and when?
DR: We actually met on Instagram and I asked Julio out via Twitter – I guess you could say that we are a modern day couple! I officially asked Julio out at11:27am on January 16th 2013 (I’m a hopeless romantic obviously) It’s always an adventure with Julio and he truly inspires me every day.
JR: We met on social media and it felt very natural to be with Daniel from very early on in our relationship. Some days I want to kill him, but I do love him with all my heart.
GC: What were you first impressions of each other? Was it love at first site or did it take a while for the love to blossom?
DR: Love at first sight for sure. I was transfixed by Julio’s statuesque look and he was so captivating from the very beginning. I didn’t know what a blogger was, but I knew that I wanted to know since it was so hard to keep my hands off him!
JR: It took a little while for me, but that’s just who I am. Daniel is very charismatic and let me fall in love at my own pace.
GC: Daniel, what was your initial reaction when you discovered Julio was a prominent fashion blogger?
DR: Oh boy. I thought he was going to be a HUGE diva with an over the top personality to be honest. Though he was certainly over the top, I also got to learn that he was incredibly passionate and down to earth which was one of the reasons it was so easy to fall in love with him so quickly.
GC: At what point did you decide to venture in to the blogging game alongside him, and eventually launch DoTheDaniel.com?
DR: After writing for Julio for a year on FASHIONIGHTS.com, my marketing brain had already been planning our next step as businesses. I knew that I wanted to take a hold of my content on my own terms (Julio can be a difficult editor to write for as many prominent writers in Canada now know!) and help to focus Julio and his brand. January 1st 2014, I launched DoTheDaniel.com as a sister site to FASHIONIGHTS.com and we have been growing and succeeding ever since! I even quit my full time day job in October 2015 as my site expands and grows in Canada and The UK.
GC: What has blogging meant to your relationship together?
DR: I think it has been the perfect way for us to understand each other more than any other relationship I’ve ever had. Julio understands the pressures and schedules I live on a daily basis and can help to keep me grounded when the inevitable stress settles in. It’s also the best way to keep encouraging each other to achieve new success.
JR: Being that I’ve been blogging for almost ten years, its not always been easy to find someone who understands what I do. Daniel understands the business side of blogging and has really helped to get me focused, on a schedule and achieving new level of success with his ability to see the long term. I’m the creative and I leave the rest to him!
GC: What are some of the pros and cons of living your lives together online? Any advice for maintaining balance, and privacy?
DR: I guess you could say I’m a control freak who’s easy going when it comes to this. Social media and our blogs are simply an extension of who we are, and I like to believe I’m the same person online as I am in person. But I also insist that at least once a week, even if it’s just a few hours, we remember to have a date night and a meal that we are photographing. We are business partners, but first and foremost, we are a couple.
JR: I’m much more private than Daniel and believe in keeping some things to myself. I’ve always been very honest online and my personae and brand are known for that – but there’s nothing better than sitting on the couch with Daniel and our dog Canela eating snacks and cuddling. Balance is key, and you have to feel that out with your partner because we are all so different.
GC: Tell me about your engagement; how did it happen and when?
DR: Oh boy. I like when Julio tells this story because I put so much thought into the engagement
JR: Daniel proposed via Instagram! Being that he is the “hopeless romantic” of the relationship, he proposed via the social media that we met 1 year to the minute after he first asked me out. At Dupont subway station (the first place we saw one another in person), he posted a photo of my favourite engagement ring and asked me to check my Instagram. It was cold and I although I had an inclination something was about to happen, when I did and he got down on one knee, all I could say was “I’m gonna barf!” Daniel brought down our photographer, Amanda Hayden, from Ottawa to capture the whole thing and it was a beautiful moment. It was a beautiful moment and was so “Daniel”
GC: When the initial wedding plans kicked off, what did you have in mind?
DR: I always wanted an over the top wedding that was an expression of Julio and I. But when I stopped to think about it after being engaged for over a year, I quickly realized that whatever made Julio happy would make me happy. It’s strange to admit but we already “felt” married
JR: We were going to have models and runways and it was going to be all white (we had the idea before Solange stole it). Because, #Fashion. But as we started planning a huge media wedding for hundreds of people, we quickly realized that the more we involved other people in the planning process, the less of us there was in the wedding.
GC: At what point did you decide that a destination wedding would be right for you, and how did you decide on the destination?
DR: We sat down with contracts and quotes adding up from the big wedding we were planning. What we came to realize together was that as much as we would love to have a huge event, our lives have a lot of big events because of our line of work, and that it was best to have something very small and intimate to just focus on one another. We had had an amazing press trip earlier in 2015 and I suggested that we create the perfect destination wedding with close friends with Booking Hello based our on first experience at a Catalonia Hotels & Resorts destination.
JR: I didn’t want to add any more stress to an already busy life we lead. I didn’t want to sign my wedding away in brands and partnerships. I wanted it to be about us. After our #HelloExperience in Mexico with Booking Hello and Catalonia Hotels & Resorts, we knew that they would be able to create a beautiful wedding for us in paradise and I had never been to the Dominican!
GC: How would you describe your Punta Cana beach wedding experience at the Catalonia Royal Bavaro?
DR: It was exactly what I dreamed it would be. Once we decided to start planning, it was easy to work out the majority of our details via emails before we arrived. Once we landed, it was just a matter of meeting the amazing Wedding & Events team to finalize details and do a site visit. I would HIGHLY recommend it to those who are thinking of eloping. It was a beautiful wedding without all the stress!
JR: Oh my god, they were amazing. The team was on us to get details finalized before we arrived and helped to make the wedding exactly what we wanted. From the decor to the food, no detail was left untouched. It was perfect and we loved the whole team at Catalonia Royal Bavaro!
GC: What were some of your favourite highlights from the trip?
DR: Spending it with close friends was really important. It meant a lot to have people we love with us to enjoy good food, great beaches and some really fun excursions.
JR: The drinks (Piña Coladas and Mama Juana forever!), the sun, and the safari were amazing. My first time to the Dominican Republic was incredible and made me realize how much I love that country all thanks to the ease of booking our trip with Booking Hello.
GC: Why would you recommend Catalonia Royal Bavaro and Punta Cana to someone looking for a resort vacation, or destination wedding venue?
DR: I think I love the fact that it’s beautiful and affordable. I felt completely at ease, which for those of you who know me, is a miracle! The perfect vacation and a beautiful wedding venue… just go. You won’t regret it.
JR: Absolutely! The Dominican is amazing and Royal Bavaro is a beautiful destination to see why. The resort is beautiful, relaxing and our wedding was perfect.
GC: How will you be celebrating your first Valentine’s Day as a married couple?
DR: We will be enjoying dinner at FRANK at The AGO for dinner this weekend with a bottle of bubbly on ice back at home. Nothing over the top, but still a romantic night to celebrate as Valentine’s Day for the first time as husbands.
Congratulations, Daniel & Julio!