I have done quite a few weddings now and I have to say this is one of my top 5 favorite at this point. Not necessarily that this wedding had the most grandiose of decor, or that there were hundreds of distinguished guest, or even that the duration of the ceremony(ies) lasted for days, but it was something more and something deeper!
Having said this, this wedding had many of the hallmarks of a fairytale-esque wedding based on the experiences and the moments that transpired, and in doing so, I feel forever changed as a photographer, a friend, and ultimately, a person. Actually, this wedding was understated in many ways, and what it may not have had in extravagance of things, this wedding made up more in terms of laughter, intimacy, and the inclusive nature of love for one another that will last many generations beyond.
First, the bride and groom are some of the coolest friends I have. Jen is a southern bell from Houston/Louisiana with gorgeous crystal blue eyes like the oceans and blonde, sandy hair like in Curacao. And her smile can truly melt some serious cajun hearts like ice cream on a hot day! Shawn and I use to work together at a former company of ours and from all accounts is a well mannered and brilliant statistician that is precise and technical in his skillset set, yet very practical and a razor sharp wit to go along with it. Both have advance degrees in planning and mathematics, respectively, yet have a fun and lighthearted side to them is a goofy and rambunctious when they are having a good beer together. These two do serious work and play just as seriously, and often with so much laughing and joking around going on as well. With this, they have opened my mind up to what a wedding is in term of possibilities of the pricelessness of the moment, and not how, what, when, and where it happens!
Secondly, this was a destination wedding on the caribbean island of Curacao off the coast of Venezuela. Have a wedding on such an island can really take your breath away with its natural beauty – white sandy beaches that is soft and warm on your toes, a vibrant underwater sea life with plumes of fish and corral all around, while the waters around the island are so pristine in shades of sapphire, teal, and navy! You can really be distracted from the fact that an actual wedding is going to happen with the picturesque beauty all around. But realizing that beauty is all around me and enjoying the moment with others was the real epiphany.
Thirdly, I found myself realizing how the fun and sincerity wasn’t just constrained to them, but also their extended family members. It wasn’t a huge family gathering, but it was the biggest time of joy, fun, and dancing I have ever gotten to see from about 30 people. From grandma, nieces and nephews, to siblings and in-laws – its about the connection! It really reaffirmed to me as a destination wedding photographer how tightly knit and bound this family is even though they are thousands of miles away from home. From the white and crystal dress Jen had on, to the blue and brown Van shoes Shawn had on, and how adorable the flower girl, Zoey, was. I was enthralled with how perfect this wedding was in terms of how it fits the couple so well and the unexpected was somehow expected. This wedding was filled with so many pleasant and unexpected suprises, like a plane fly-by during the ceremony, a carnaval-type celebration that people came from to watch the wedding, a chicken dance, and a special image of Jen and Shawn out in the water!
Ultimately, this wedding taught me about love, and how amazing to me about Jen and Shawn’s relationship and wedding was how genuine their union is as lovers, friends, and as a team of two really awesome people. They care deeply for each other by how they have a good ale and meal together, how they work as a team, and from the looks of things share a lot of experiences together moment to moment. That is love – epitomized perfectly in terms of genuineness, inner strength!
Thank you so much Jen and Shawn! You guys have a special place in my heart for showing me love in a very special way and I am beyond grateful for you allowing me the opportunity to share your special day, in a special day, with a very very special family!!