go where the wind takes you. this has always been a bit of a personal motto of mine. in this case, the wind took me to isla, cantabria, to the gorgeous venue VENUE NAME AND LINK to photograph the very intimate and charming wedding of stephani and jason. it was a cloudy and very windy day, december definitely letting itself be shown. i loved every detail in this wedding, carefully thought of. not too over the top, not too cheap, juuuuuuust right. stephani looked gorgeous, and the nervousness was palpable. the fierce wind made us have to move the ceremony to a different side of the garden, as it knocked down the flowered arch before it all got started. the rose petals flew through the air instead of hitting the ground, making it seem like it was raining rose petals. the ceremony was beautiful and only had the closest friends and family. this is definitely a personal favorite of mine, small international weddings. we had just enough time to do some photos after the ceremony before the downpour. but it can’t rain on their parade! the music started playing and let me tell you… venezuelans can dance! it was so fun to capture all the dancing and joy around, including the crazy hour where everyone worse masks, blew whistles, and went all out. thanks for letting me be part of such an intimate and special day guys, i can’t wait to see where the wind takes you next!
rain rain go away, come again another day… preferably on a day that my little sister isn’t having a garden wedding. we spent half of the night wide awake, as lightning lit up the room and thunder roared directly above us. it was all a bit surreal, thinking that the wedding would be held in a garden in the morning. this was madrid, it’s not crazy like bilbao where rain could come at you at any moment. alameth and i shared a room, along with nervous laughs, about what we would be waking up to in the morning. sure enough, the day set out to a bit of a disastrous start… the rain didn’t subside, the hair dresser took longer than expected, we were showered by the storm while we dealt with bad traffic, and right when we were pulling into the parking lot… the bride got in a fender bender!
after shaking all of it off, filing paperwork, and frantically trying to get back on schedule… the ceremony started and every thing that went wrong seemed to trickle off, like the rain on the windows. she looked stunning, everyone’s eyes filled up with tears as dad walked her down the aisle. our little sister anna sang “a thousand miles” and we all breathed a sigh of relief. the rest? party time, of course! there was plenty of singing, bouncing, chanting, and cheer going around. in fact, at a given point even alameth and jose’s greyhound were brought over to them, as a surprise. i guess they didn’t want to miss out on their big day either! all’s well that ends well!
ok, i have to come clean about this. it has taken me forever to actually get around to blog this wedding… i’ve been going through my head about how to find the perfect words to describe this wedding. you see, it really wasn’t just any wedding. no, this was my brother’s wedding. for those of you who may not know his, i am the fifth of seven siblings. this was the first time i had to go to one of our weddings and i’m sure you’ll understand that along with the excitement of the day i am finding it hard to let the words come out in an eloquent way. so let me start by saying that it was an incredible experience altogether.
ana and nick got married on september 13th. as tends to the case, a small herd of family and friends traveled from near, far, and everywhere between to be able to attend. it was held at the small, and i mean small chapel at the british cemetery of bilbao. they wanted to have somewhat of a tim-burton-ish theme to the wedding, so this setting was a perfect fit. the ceremony was held by rev. alberto sanchez. at home, we like to call him dad. the pianist was someone that at home we also like to call “mom”, and the witnesses are also known as “grammy” and “yaya”. So you see, this was quite the family affair. In fact, at the end of the ceremony i had to switch my cameras for my ukelele and sing a song for the newlyweds with my favourite little sidekick, my sister anna. i won’t lie, i had a hard time not crying.
after having a very intimate lunch at a fantastic local restaurant, we proceeded to celebrate in style. they had rented out a house in practically the middle of the woods, and what a house! the celebration was just taking off by two local bands playing, “blues’n’breakers” and “enkore rock”. interestingly and unfortunately enough though, the neighbours complained of the noise, so by 1 am the police showed up and shut down our concerts. but there would be no stopping this celebration. in fact, a handful of people, including yours truly, spent the whole next day enjoying the sun by he poolside. so seriously, can you see why this was the best wedding ever?
i could spend a whole day talking about all the little anecdotes and details that made this wedding one of the best personal and professional experiences that i’ve had, but instead i’ll send you off with this: ana and nick, it was an honor and a tremendous joy to have shared this day with you. i wish you the very best that life has to bring, including but not limited to a small child who you may name adina or adino. congratulations!!
the groom’s family goes to the house of the father of the bride. tradition dictates that she must arrive in a special type of tent that is carried by a camel and guided by a man whose name must be mohammad or ali.
friends and family put on a show with intricate acrobatics atop camels and horses. The higher the male attendance the more prestigious the marriage.
afterwards the bride is carried into the house, while still hidden under a sheet, and a sac of oil and henna is thrown and burst upon the door post to the house, for good luck. she will then wait for the groom who is finally allowed back in his house. when he arrives singing and cheering accompany him into the room where his new bride awaits. everybody sings and dances while the newlyweds have their first moment alone together. the celebration will continue all night but the bride and groom will remain together.
the day after the wedding the bride is dressed in her finest clothes and goes to her new home. she then spends the day sitting on a throne while friends, family, and neighbours make way to the house throughout the day to congratulate her.
note: a while back i had the amazing opportunity to do an arab wedding in tunisia. it was quite the adventure and i got a chance to explore other cultures, set my feet in africa for the first time, and explore a bit of the sahara desert. because of the complex nature of a 3-day wedding, and because i want to make sure that i do good job documenting every little bit of it, it has taken me a while to prepare this blog post with all the necessary information. i hope you enjoy it as much as i did! 🙂
it took four days, and then they were husband and wife. the celebration starts the night before the wedding by way of a traditional reunión between friends and family at the groom’s house. interestingly enough, the groom is no longer there. in fact, he won’t return until his wife is there. the men get together outside the house and kill the animals that will be eaten during the wedding reception. the women, inside the house and always kept separate from the men, receive the animals, and prepare the meat.
day 1: the father of the bride goes to he groom´s house, where the father of the groom awaits accompanied by friends and family. the men meet in the living room where they they look through the wedding contract. the women wait outside. once the contract has been signed the music and celebration begin. when night falls, everybody goes to the bride’s house, where she will remain hidden by a sheet, and the music and celebrating continue as both men and women remain separated each on their side of the reception grounds.
day 2: the wedding takes place at the bride’s parents house. everyone gathers as they sign the wedding contract, exchange rings, and toast to the newlyweds. afterwards the groom and his friends go celebrate together for the day. at night time they continue celebrating, in the middle of the street, and everyone who wants to join in is welcome to do so. men and women sit on rugs on opposite sides with a big space in between. musicians play on the side between the two groups. and men make money offerings for the newlyweds into a dancer’s hat. needless to say, it all makes for a pretty memorable night!
murcia, spain. unexplored territory. i flew down for a weekend to photograph inma + fernando’s wedding, and to be fair i wasn’t sure what to expect. i got it all wrong from the beginning since i thought i would never need a proper jacket in the south of spain. wrong. i also thought i could just pop into a large electronics store, or into the local h&m for whatever my last minute needs might be. wrong again. but after some minor setbacks and being able to resolve them quickly, there i was, with a borrowed jacket, discovering not only the charming little cobblestone street but most importantly the love shown to me by their people. i could go on and on about this small town that made me feel like a city girl 1,000 miles from home. i will spare you the details. all i can say is the experience was unlike any other, in the best way.
the wedding day started out like many others, light rain, big smiles, and big expectations. as soon as the ceremony started though, it was a beautiful display of southern spanish culture. from the traditional choir, to paying a visit to the virgin after the ceremony, i felt somewhat like a foreigner in my own country, but loved seeing different traditions standing strong in modern days. afterwards we took to a small road for portraits, then the formal dinner, and then after many surprises, it was time to let it all go on the dance floor. my favorite thing was definitely counting on inma and fernando’s fabulous fun-loving attitudes. ready to celebrate, to display their love, to go nuts. enjoying every single second… and i guess it was contagious because so did i!
looking back on this very special wedding i am filled with gratitude for being given the opportunity and the amazing amount of honor and responsibility, by two complete strangers, to travel hundreds of miles to be the one who gets to tell their love story. and what a story! as for me, all i can honestly say are those infamous three little words: i’ll be back.
we got lost in the woods. mye, miguel, and little marcus… that was the love triangle, their family, their story. we met in the natural reserve of urdaibai, and it was definitely worth the drive up there. the lush fall colors and all their surroundings just made everything look magical. i had always wanted to go there for a session and i think these guys were the perfect excuse to go. marcus insisted on wearing his robin hood costume, which made for some of the most memorable wedding portraits i’ve ever done! haha. as i look through these photos i think back to the wonderful time that we had, and all i can do is congratulate them on their new life together. so congratulations, mye and miguel, you found each other.