We were handed a beautifully printed and well thought out itinerary at the airport. The very last page was our words to the couple in a fill-in-the-blanks sort of fashion. The first question was: When I first found out Amy and Brian were getting married I.........and our answer was: I hope they call us to shoot the wedding.
And they did.
We photographed Amy's sister and two cousins last year and now it was her turn in beautiful Punta Cana. We met all their family and friends at the airport and headed off for a week in paradise at The Majestic Elegance. After being bumped to first class when flying (and running into an old friend in the one of twelve seats), we were also upgraded to the Club section of the resort and stayed in the section with the bride and groom and families. We were instantly welcomed and felt so honoured to be part of this special time.
We awoke to beautiful weather. We headed to their wedding venue for a tasting and meeting with the coordinator at The Jellyfish. I loved that they chose to get married off the resort. We met the superwoman herself, Mayte over signature cocktails and gourmet food; all the while enjoying the oceanside breeze. We learned that Mayte runs the restaurant as well as plans and decorates all the weddings at her venue. She has over 600 weddings from now until 2015 and sometimes has to drive 2 hours to a large city to gather decor for her couples. She lives in a small one bedroom apartment with her daughter and after 9 invitro's trying to get pregnant, she finally had her miracle daughter named Luna. (The moon). Noted. I am obsessed with the moon. She is a twice survived heroine of cancer, an overall amazing woman and after a mere one hour consultation with Amy about desired colours and theme, we had no idea what we were in store for.
The couple had a sort of rehearsal/welcome dinner at the Italian restaurant the second night we arrived. Family bought bottles of wine and toasted to the events to come.
It was a perfect day in Punta Cana. A slight breeze and a bit of cloud cover. It was a hot one. We worked thoughtfully yet quickly to get the family out of the heat for photos. We met Anna the hair and makeup guru who lived in Spain & NYC and had recently moved to the Dominican. Amy had sourced her out and she was fabulous. It can be quite the ordeal bringing in outside vendors to hotels. You really have to be careful sourcing photographers, makeup and florals outside of the hotel package. Speaking spanish to the guards at the front gate always ensures a smoother transition.
Tom, Amy's dad, being a foot taller than Michael or I helped us carry her dress to a great spot on the terrace to photograph the dress. Like all of our weddings, Michael headed to the groom's room and I spent some time with Amy and her family. It was time for Amy and Brian to see each other during their first look. I've yet to see a more emotional groom than Brian. He's such a great guy, a bundle of fun with a deep belly laugh, and just the same, he is a huge softie. After giving them some private time to soak in the moment, we were off to take some photos around the resort.
The bus picked up the guys and then us. As the rain started pouring, Amy sat calmly at the front of the bus and didn't look back at the rest of us. I whispered to her mom: We've yet to be rained out of a wedding and I'll be damned if we are today.
The bus arrived and the rain stopped. Michael excitedly ran up to me and told me that the details were un-bee-lee-vable! The guests waited and palm trees swayed above, as if to taunt us that the rain had either already come or was going to continue.
Alas, the show must go on. The music started. I can't even begin to tell you the sensory overload I was feeling. The weather was so perfect and warm against our skin. The music, perfectly piped from every angle both indoors and outdoors was like we were in a dream. The tears were flowing from all the guests and I too, had waterstained cheeks, albeit hidden behind my lens.
The ceremony was absolutely gorgeous and the details that Mayte had promised were out of this world. I tried to wrap my head around her putting all this together the night before in her one bedroom apartment, two year old child in tow. When she said she gives her clients 200%, I believed her. She even took care of the best man's son for a while in her office to give them a break at the reception.
The speeches, food and decor were lovely. The dance floor was set up outside and for the first time ever, we photographed the entire reception barefoot. The breeze kept us cool. As did the bartenders who brought everyone trays of drinks. A random dog joined the party. We later noticed armed guards off in the darkness, surrounding the parameters of the venue so we were not bothered or worst of all, robbed. We were all in our own world and didn't notice the guests dining above also joining in our party and celebrating the wedding from above. It was an epic moment.
The bus arrived to pick us up and we spent the remainder of the week reminiscing about the fabulous day. We also did a quick 6 am Trash the Dress session later in the week.
Amy and Brian, thank you so much for inviting us to be part of your special week. I was waiting for your photos to be published in a wedding blog but I couldn't wait any longer so here is my version of your week....in still photos. I hope you enjoy them.
We wish you both nothing but the best in life.
Mayte, the superwoman herself.