The start of 2020 will hopefully mean a chance to catch up with posting on our website but in the mean time we decided to do something we haven’t done in a long time. A year-end summary of our favorite images from 2019. It’s not just a “best of” compilation. But a collection of images that have a little extra meaning to us. A big thank you to all the couples that partnered with us in 2019 as well as those whos weddings take place in 2020. We can’t wait to document new memories and create visual art for you.
If you like what you see here, please share with friends and loved ones. So, with further delay, here we go. Check out the video slideshow first as it will include more images beyond the stills posted here. Enjoy!
Destination Wedding Photographer in Cancun Mexico!
It’s 84 degrees with 71% humidity and a slight breeze at 10 miles per hour. A typical day in July you might say? No, actually this was the setting for a balmy December day as we stepped off the plane in Cancun, Mexico. This represented the beginning of our adventure covering Miguel and Lauren’s fantastic destination wedding. This is the life of a destination wedding photographer.
A quick stop for a cool drink while our gear is loaded on the shuttle bus and just like that we’re off. Roughly 40 minutes later we arrive at the resort. Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun is a lovely property located in the Playa del Carmen area of Quintana Roo. After getting our room settled, we begin to explore the grounds. What a fantastic setup! The entire lobby of the resort has a constant breeze blowing through the grand staircase located in the very middle of the building. A beautiful pond sits inside the hotel just under the stairs. But… this place is all about what’s outside. So as we make our way around a pool that almost stretches the entire length of the property, we encounter our couple enjoying the sun with their family and friends. The party has already begun and the wedding is still a couple of days away. Herein lies one of the advantages of a destination wedding. It’s like having a reception before the ceremony. Except everyone is in the water with an umbrella drink; relaxed and having a blast. Miguel and Lauren warmly welcome us into the festivities and we take a moment to catch up with them on some small details.
So…how did we get here?
We first met Lauren while working a styled shoot in a very high-end wedding venue in Atlanta called Ventanas. Sporting sweeping all glass views of the city, this location offers a helipad for the ultimate in wedding exits. Not to mention the best spot in the city to photograph bridal portraits with epic sunsets. It was impressive to see Lauren handle everything like a pro. It was an extremely hot summer afternoon in Atlanta that day and she was modeling a very delicate and expensive Zuhair Murad dress ($13,000) from Elite Pour La Vie. Despite the heat, the hectic pace of the schedule and having so many other folks pulling at her, she was always cool, calm and collected. In passing we heard her mention to someone that she was engaged. Of course a statement like that always makes a photographer’s ears perk. However we sort of assumed she already had a photographer for her wedding by that time. So we proceeded to complete the shoot and a few days later we delivered all of the images. Several weeks passed and we jumped into our fall wedding schedule. The heaviest time of the year for us which included two weeks in Iceland shooting a couples session and a wedding. When we finally got back into town we received great feedback from Lauren of the photos from the Ventanas shoot. So at that moment we struck up the nerve to ask if she had secured a wedding photographer, thoroughly expecting to be turned down. To our surprise she had not settled on a photographer and was hoping that we were still available for her December destination wedding. Before we knew it we were booked with plane tickets to the Yucatan Peninsula. Funny how things come together.
So here we are, on the beach scouting the property for photo locations. While we were on the job, Lauren wanted to make sure we had a day to ourselves. This blessing gave us a little time to unwind from the non-stop wedding schedule we had completed through the fall. We even managed to get a spa day in prior to the wedding. By nightfall all of the guests had arrived on site and everyone was enjoying a breezy evening on the beach for the rehearsal dinner (after a downpour). A great time for us to meet and get to know everyone better.
Wedding day is here
So Saturday morning arrives. It’s wedding day! It’s about 7AM and a family of White-nosed Coati greets us on our patio. In case you’re wondering Coati’s are Mexico’s version of a raccoon. Just so much more exotic in appearance. Totally unafraid, they tap on our glass doors. They even swipe an apple from our hand. In the distance a huge iguana keeps a close watch on the scene. While all of this is great fun we’ve got a wedding to shoot. So we grab all our gear and head off to our individual assignments.
The getting ready portions were simple, relaxed and very straightforward. There was one challenge. The girls lost power to their suite for a significant amount of time. Nonetheless they kept moving forward with their activities. This gave me a chance to photograph the details for Lauren outside their suite. Check out Lauren’s beautiful wedding gown by Martina Liana Bridal.
Let’s meet our bride Lauren
One look at Lauren and it’s easy to understand why she’s a model. A stunningly beautiful woman with a personality to match. She’s also an actress with commercial, film and television credits to her name. However, perhaps her proudest accomplishment would be teaming up with her sister and Matron of Honor Lena and creating their own line of high performing natural and organic cosmetics called Adeline Campbell.
Let’s meet the groom…Miguel
Miguel is a personal trainer and a program manager for one of the largest fitness companies in America. He lives and breaths exercise and graciously shares ideas and tips across various platforms for shaping a healthier lifestyle. (Check out his instagram feed for exceptional workout demos). His efforts have changed the lives of many people in Atlanta.
So Miguel and his groomsmen had it a little easier. They had full power and as is the case with most guys, they were dressed so quickly they had time to hang out and have a chess match.
It’s show time!
Finally it’s time for the ceremony. A beautiful flower trellis stands right by the shoreline of the beach. All the guests have been seated and Miguel makes his way to his spot. From a distance it’s a picture perfect postcard of an intimate wedding. Here’s when the emotions begin to flow. Miguel begins to tear up the moment Lauren turns a corner escorted by her father. A truly genuine feeling that lasts well into the ceremony. After a ring exchange and a sweeping kiss, it’s official. They’re married!
Next stop, bridal portraits!
One of the best parts of any wedding for photographers, particularly when you’re in paradise. There’s only one problem. Storms are building in the distance. So we have a limited amount of time to take advantage of the views to secure some epic shots while also completing the family photos. Somehow, some way we’re able to grab all of the essentials before the clouds open up and drop buckets of rain on us. Everyone scurries indoors and we continue our coverage inside. Thankfully this resort offers a vast array of interior locations to create gorgeous wedding images. The bride and groom take a few minutes to freshen up and before you know it we’re shooting again. Just about every corner of the building offers something unique to shoot with. From the large Mexican paintings on the wall to the expansive ornate hallways to the grand staircase and the golden dome ceiling at the very top of the hotel. However the lantern foyer is truly a unique spot that everyone remembers fondly.
Thankfully Miguel and Lauren appreciate the importance of photography. So we had plenty of time to create a variety of images before having to head back to attend to their guests.
Let’s get this party started
The reception was a fast moving series events. A beautifully tender first dance from the couple was followed by tearful dances with their parents. The toasts were heartfelt but hilarious and straight to the point. The dinner was fabulous and the cake cutting was playful. But make no mistake about it. The focus for this evening was on getting down. So the dancing began. This wasn’t a 400 guest wedding. It was a much more intimate group. Yet they could party like nobody’s business!
In the end we are truly grateful we had the opportunity meet and work with Miguel and Lauren. Not only are they beautiful people on the outside, better yet they a beautiful people on the inside. It was a privilege to watch their story unfold before our eyes and we are excited for their future moving forward.
If you are recently engaged and planning a wedding anywhere in the world, we would like to visually tell your story through images that stand the test of time. Your adventure can begin right here!
Over the past three years we’ve been blessed with opportunities to photograph weddings in far away destinations. Recently, The Travel Channel wrote an article highlighting some of the most exotic locations couples have chosen for their weddings. We are so grateful that one of our weddings was selected for their special feature.
First and foremost we would like to thank David and Rachel for bringing us along for this Iceland destination wedding. Secondly, we want to thank The Travel Channel for taking the time to consider us for this article.
It’s 5 a.m. in the morning and we can’t sleep. It’s not because of the hotel. The Stracta Hotel is charming and quite comfortable. It’s not the weather outside. Everything is calm and serene. It’s not even the threat of the towering Hekla volcano in the distance that has been rumbling in recent days. No, it’s none of those things. It’s simply the fact that David and Rachel’s nuptials are just hours away and we have the incredible privilege of documenting their day. How surreal is this? We’re in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on a Nordic island the size of the state of Kentucky. Outside our window is the small town of Hella. A population of roughly 780 but sheep and horses seem to dominate the view across the fields. Anticipation and adrenaline mix into this dreamlike state. There’s so many opportunities to create photographic memories with a setting like this. It’s no wonder we’re ready to get out of bed so early.
How did we get to Iceland in the first place?
Everything begins in the capitol city of Reykjavík. David and Rachel decided to move here from England to create a new life for themselves filled with adventure. Reykjavík provided the perfect balance for their lifestyle. Mixing professional careers with their love for the outdoors. David could follow his path as a software engineer and Rachel could expand her rise as a talented graphic designer. With gorgeous terrain and shorelines all around them, every afternoon becomes an opportunity for exploration.
In 2016 something totally unique occurred. Following an old leap year tradition, Rachel proposed to David on the 29th of February. They were soaking in a local hot springs pool by the city lighthouse when she popped the question. Of course he said yes and the rest is history. It was now time to begin planning an intimate destination wedding for their family and friends from England. Thankfully, photography was high atop their list as one of the primary items to secure. Through a series of emails and Skype video calls, we were able to finalize arrangements to photograph their wedding.
In late August we arrived in Iceland. Several days before the wedding so we could do our own sightseeing. Before heading out on our mini vacation, we were able to connect with David and Rachel and enjoy a wonderful dinner at Snaps Bistro. We were also able to enjoy an afternoon hike with them which yielded one of the most impressive sunsets we’ve ever seen.
Planning an intimate wedding in Iceland
So how exactly do you plan an intimate wedding in Iceland that takes advantage of the southern coast of the country? Well, allow us to take you through a visual journey of David and Rachel’s big day. In the end it may serve as a rough draft for future brides looking to elope or host an intimate wedding in Iceland.
If possible, plan to make a grand entrance. The wedding ceremony was set to take place in a small church in Hella, but the bride was getting reading in Reykjavík; about an hour and a half away. So she reached out to a close friend who happens to be a pilot so she could be flown to the countryside church. Not only was this a notable way to arrive for the occasion, but it also allowed her to enjoy a scenic tour of the coastline from the air with her father. He had never been to Iceland before.
We rushed over to the grassy runway with a our cameras to capture every angle possible. As we were waiting for the plane to arrive we ran into another group on a bachelor party weekend. Their groom was about to parachute in as they were enjoying some drinks and a feisty game of football (soccer for us American folks).
At last Rachel arrives with her father by her side and we quickly make our way over to the small quaint church.
the ceremony, we grab a few quick photographs in the sprawling fields and hills around the church.
Throughout the morning we’ve enjoyed sunny blue skies but in Iceland, the weather can break at any moment. As we make our way further east to seek out a waterfall for some epic portraits, the clouds begin to roll in and droplets hit our windshield. Nonetheless we push through and arrive at Seljalandsfoss, one of the best known waterfalls in the southern region just off the Ring Road on Route 1.
It’s also one of the only falls where you can actually hike up the side of the mountain and walk directly behind the cascading water. Our brave bride makes the trek up the mountain in heels with water spraying everywhere. Every step a slippery adventure. Thankfully the weather holds off long enough to get several images on and around the waterfall.
It’s now time to make the commute back to Reykjavík to meet up with family and friends for the festivities. On the way back into the capitol city, we make a quick stop at Heiðmörk as we try to squeeze in a few more portraits in between rain clouds.
Finally we arrive a Flóran Café Bistro, the site of David and Rachel’s intimate wedding reception. A wonderful spot located inside the Botanical Gardens of Reykjavík.
Without a doubt, Iceland left a gigantic impression on us. A dramatic landscape with volcanoes, geysers, hot springs, lava fields and massive glaciers. So many photographic options for a destination wedding. We sincerely thank David and Rachel for bringing us along to document such an important day.
If you are considering a simple elopement or an intimate wedding in Iceland; we’d love to speak with you. After traveling through this great island, we have many tips on how to plan your wedding on a mountaintop, the countryside or on a black sand beach. We can also share other suggestions on hotels, Airbnb’s and great places to eat. Feel free to pick our brain. Contact us here to begin your journey!
Kaelene met H (Helgi) in 2011 while studying abroad in Australia. Meeting someone special was not part of the plan at that time. Her focus was centered on two things, her internship and traveling as much as possible. Nonetheless she found herself falling hard for the guy from Iceland. Their journey to this very moment in time is quite interesting. So if you want to learn more about their love story, visit Kaeleen’s blog Unlocking Kiki.
We met up with Kaelene and H at Heiðmork. It’s the largest and most popular recreational park near Reykjavík. A location where millions of visitors enjoy nature and Iceland’s national pastime, hiking. It’s one of the only areas where you might be able to say there’s a forest. Well, maybe. You see Iceland is more about volcanic formations and hot springs than about tall trees. In jest some Icelanders will say “if you ever get lost in an Icelandic forest, just stand up”. However this country is spectacular in so many unexpected ways and a constant feast for the eyes.
Their chemistry is undeniable. This Viking loves his American girl.
Adorable Icelandic horses greet our couple as they make their way back down from the mountain. They are the only breed of horse in Iceland and are typically used for traditional sheepherding, showing and riding. Incredibly friendly and approachable at all times. They will take all the attention you can give them.
They even serve as great models. Next up, the beautiful black sand beach of Þorlákshöfn where a long shoreline meets volcanic rock clusters of basalt.
The one thing you can always count on in Iceland; the unpredictable weather. Constant wind gusts, intermittent sun and rolling clouds which seem to change intensity from one minute to the next. However unlike anywhere else, it feels perfect.
While shooting by rocks we stumbled across Minke Whales swimming just a few yards away. Normally one has to spend a good chunk of change to purchase excursions to see these amazing animals but we were blessed by their presence for a few brief minutes.
Authentic Icelandic sweaters made by H’s mother are perfect for the cool wind gusts coming from the ocean.
It was a blast to hang out with this beautiful couple for a few hours. We sincerely want to thank Kaelene for providing suggestions on where to go, what to eat and what to see. A great portion of our stay in Iceland was practically mapped out on her recommendations. Be sure to check out Kaelene’s blog Unlocking Kiki for further details on how to get the most of your time in Iceland.
This was undoubtedly a memorable trip. We enjoyed it so much that we’re already planning our next trip back so we can check out the west side of this magnificent island. If you’re interested in planning a destination wedding in Iceland or simply looking to elope; we’d love to speak with you about your photography needs. With special elopement packages and wedding collections, we can provide comprehensive coverage anywhere your love takes you.
It was a cool but sunny Saturday afternoon in Durham, North Carolina for this lovely wedding. Chad + Jaime were simply a blast to photograph with their carefree, easy-going personalities. They truly were able to enjoy the company of their family and friends without worrying about every little detail of the wedding. They transitioned seamlessly from the ceremony at the church to the reception at Bay 7; formerly a tobacco warehouse from the historic district dating back to the 1800s. Now a days this is one of the coolest venues in the entire city. Thanks Chad + Jaime for bringing us along for the ride!
The third and final portion of our special destination series takes us through the wedding and the reception. Click to seePart 1and Part 2. A warm sunny morning greets the bride and groom as they start their getting ready process. For Reet that meant getting his Batna ceremony out on the porch before dressing up in an elegant brocaded sherwani with a traditional turban wrap. As with any bride, Julie had extensive hair and makeup before changing into her beautiful, bright red lehenga. Lots of jewelry is part of the mix, including a nath or nose ring. A common tradition for brides. Once ready, the groom is given a sehra headdress, a sword and a horse to ride into the ceremony. All along the streets, music is played and everyone dances as the groom is escorted to the temple. The wedding is a very detailed affair. Ceremonies within ceremonies take place as friends and family surround the couple. In India it is customary to sit on the floor during the entire event. Finally once the actual wedding concludes, everyone enjoys a special lunch before heading back to prepare for the evening’s big event. With the Himalayan Mountains as a backdrop, the gorgeous Pinjore Gardens served as the setting for a lavish reception. Tall columns and colorful silk fabrics in multiple colors surrounded a huge stage. Exotic flowers were strung together behind the couples chase and back-lit to glow in a tasteful pattern. As Reet and Julie arrive in a horse and carriage, they are showered with magenta-red flower petals that fall as profusely as confetti at a Super Bowl. After the toast, fireworks begin to shoot up in the night’s sky as the couple cuts the cake. From here on, it’s just one big party!
Once again, congratulations to Reet + Julie on a fantastic wedding and thanks for taking us along for the ride!