This post is also available in: Spanish
Congratulations to Michelle Ward and Howard Calk, who earlier this year tied the knot in a magnificent Casa de Campo wedding, surrounded by hundred of friends and family and a series of magical celebrations.
Michelle is the daughter of Dr. Mirtha Ward, a retired Obstetrician/ Gynecologist and a Casa de Campo villa owner in the Las Cerezas neighborhood for over 25 years. Dr. Ward is originally from the Dominican Republic, but was in private practice in the United States. The bride and her brother, Israel Alvarez, grew up in Santo Domingo attending Carol Morgan School and continued to spend their summers in the country throughout high school, so the Dominican Republic and Casa de Campo has always had a special place in the heart of the bride, especially since much of her family continues to live in Santo Domingo.
The bride and groom, Michelle and Howard own a home in Baltimore, Maryland.
The beautiful bride – Michelle Ward – is a Manager at Exelon-Constellation NewEnergy, Managing National Accounts with their energy across the United States. She has a two masters with her MBA from Fordham University and a Masters in International Business from Thunderbird School of Global Management. The bride lived in New York City for 10 years where she worked in Risk Management at American Express and Private Client Services at Deutsche Bank.
The dashing groom – Howard Calk – is an Engineer at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and manages the Earth Observing System Automation. He has a masters in Engineering from the George Washington University (where the bride has her undergraduate from). He enjoys flying his Burt Ratan Long-EZ plane across the east coast of the United States and in his spare time he is also building the same plane from scratch.
Unbelievable, the bride and groom had lived right around the corner from each other for many years and did not even realize it… until the bride’s friend and groom’s neighbor – Caroline Ullrich – hosted a dinner party, and the rest, as they say, is history… ending or rather beginning with a magical Casa de Campo wedding.
“We had the wonderful pleasure of hosting over 100 guests, 55 who came from the United States and Europe alone, for fours days of celebrations.” Michelle told casadecampoliving.com.
On Thursday night Dr. Ward hosted a party at her home in Las Cerezas in order to welcome all the friends and family to the country, Casa de Campo and the wedding festivities. There was live music in the backyard around the pool where Mrs. Gladys Quinones owner of Eventos & Catering served some amazing food for the guests. The cocktail party was supposed to be from 5-8pm, but this set the mood for the entire weekend – when everyone stayed at the house until late into the night!
The following day, the groom organized a group, including family of both the bride and groom and friends from the United States, to play golf on the Teeth of the Dog. They enjoyed some friendly competition, some refreshments along the holes and the beautiful scenery of one of the most famous golf courses in the Caribbean. While the groom was playing golf the bride enjoyed a day at Minitas Beach with friends taking in the sun and crystal clear waters of the Caribbean Sea… while sipping on some Piña Coladas. On Friday evening, after a quick rehearsal at the “Wedding House”, the mother of the groom, Mrs. Nancy Calk, hosted a dinner for 25 at La Casita in the Marina Casa de Campo. Mrs Calk is a retired coordinator for HCFA- Health Care Finance Administration and a former Registered Nurse.
The atmosphere at the dinner was amazing and Mrs. Julia Martinez took care to make sure that the guests had the best experience at her restaurant. The restaurant set up one large table on the deck of the restaurant filled with beautiful candles and flowers.
Later that evening the celebrations continued with a party at Minitas Beach, which was organized by Casa de Campo Wedding Specialist Betty Medina. The guests were asked to wear all white and the women were provided flip-flops at the door. Arriving along a candle-lit pathway, the guests were greeted by the rhythm of local music, drinks and cigars. The bride wore a hot pink dress in order to stand out among her guests, while the groom embracing the Dominican culture wore his Guayabera. Even though it rained towards the end of the night the guests stayed until 2 in the morning!
The bride wore a strapless off white rouged lace dress from Betsy Robinson Collection while the groom recalled some old Hollywood-Humphrey Bogart with a white dinner jacket and black pants. Before the wedding the bride and groom had exchanged watches as gifts for each other, making sure to inscribe some words to live by, their initials and their wedding date. The bride also wore as her “something old” a bracelet her mother had made for her of the Aras (old coins) that the bride’s grandfather had given her grandmother on their wedding day 70 years before. The “Aras” is part of a traditional wedding custom from Spain, where the groom gives the coins to the bride as his commitment to support her. The brides “something blue” was a sapphire ring that her uncle and godfather Wilfredo Gonzalez Abreu had given her on her 15th birthday – Quinceañera.
The bride and groom had their magnificent wedding celebration at Punta Minitas #15. A group of guitarists playing old Dominican songs and a glass of Prosecco welcomed their 100 guests where the justice of the peace performed a short ceremony in Spanish that was translated to English by the bride’s cousin Laura Gonzalez de Baez. The ceremony took place in the beautiful backyard overlooking the ocean at sunset.
Cocktail hour followed the ceremony where the guests had a chance to mingle, drink some signature cocktails and enjoy the Caribbean weather. The decorations complimented the ocean side scenery with ocean blue table cloths and bright colored flowers including hydrangeas and hot pink peonies. The bride worked closely with her wedding planners, Gabriela Ortega and Maria Elena Corripio owners of Torcello in Santo Domingo, to create an elegant atmosphere surrounded by many candles and natural lighting. Michelle and Howard had their first dance to Bob Marley song “Is This Love” and then the groom surprised all of the guests with his merengue skills by finishing the first dance with “Tu” by Juan Luis Guerra. DJ Carlos Perez started the music immediately and the dancing continued until the late hours of the night, where the guests enjoyed a mixture of American rock and salsa and meregue.
Mrs. Gladys Quinones owner of Eventos & Catering and Andreina Reyes organized an amazing buffet for the guests including some Dominican dishes and taking the opportunity to serve some delicious local fish. They produced an amazing wedding cake with layers of Dulce de Leche and a desert table made of traditional Dominican sweets including “Bocaditos de Guayaba” and “Mani”, as well as “Dulce de Coco”.
After dinner, the party was elevated to another level with some performers dancing traditional music for the guests and the traditional “hora loca” or crazy hour. Crazy hour included glow in the dark necklaces, party masks and streamers as well as men on stilts and a PitBull impersonator.
There was so much food at the wedding that Mrs. Quinones took a Sancocho – a traditional Dominican Soup to Dr. Ward’s house for breakfast on Sunday morning which many of the guests stopped by to enjoy.
After the wedding
The bride and groom enjoyed a much needed honeymoon a the Ti kaye Resort and Spa on the island of St. Lucia before returning to Baltimore.
A month after the Dominican festivities Dr. Ward hosted a reception in Baltimore where guests who could not join in Casa de Campo were able to celebrate with the couple while viewing a picture slide show and video.
Congratulations to Michelle and Howard!
Photos by Daviel Taveras, owner of Vlok Studios in Santo Domingo.