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The Wedding I wouldn't Miss

November 2018, I get a call from oldest friend, asking me to take her wedding photos -- in Cancun. This was the wedding I didn't want to miss; my first best friend and one who's been my friend ever since we met as young Navy brats (military friendships are a little extra special). And now I got to be the person to capture her special day. I got emotional every time I thought about -- I'm a crier, but I think that just shows that I care deeply, so I'm actually a carer. Anyway, my second, Ricky, and I made it to Cancun, stood in the immigration line for 3 hours, helped a woman who almost fainted and fell to the ground, and then arrived at a beautiful resort. We got dressed, and went to meet up with Katie and Mario and their bridal party. Katie and I saw each other and ran to give each other a hug and all of a sudden "POP!" my hug was so strong it broke the strap on her dress. Laughing, we went to find a safety pin, and luckily one of her amazing bridesmaids sewed her back up. So there you go, that's the start to what was the most amazing wedding weekend.

Alright, so about the actual wedding. I spent the morning with Katie and her bridesmaids getting all gorgeous for the celebration. One of her friends did her hair, another did her makeup -- true friends. It was pretty special to see her and her mom as she was getting her dress -- those mother daughter moments are just too sweet. Among the sweet moments was capturing the look on her bridesmaids faces as they saw their gorgeous friend for the first time all dressed up and ready for that walk down the sandy aisle.

Seeing all these ladies loving on their friend/future sister/daughter is just heartwarming. There's a whole lot of love to be experience on a wedding day, and it's not just between the bride and groom.

While I was in the land of flower crowns and light pink gowns, Ricky was spending time with Mario and the guys. And let me tell you this, based on the images from Ricky's camera, it is much more relaxing to get ready as a guy on a wedding day. They were all chilling on the bed, goofing around, drinking juice boxes, just having fun -- they were also ironing their clothes so it wasn't all fun and games. *Disclaimer, it is fun to get ready on the bride side as well, and I know the men were working hard to make sure everything was set up for the ceremony. During wedding preparation, everyone is doing their part to make sure the bride and groom have the day of their dreams -- and that's hard work, but it's fun.* All in all, there were some great moments from the guy side of the getting ready.

They even had time to get in some great photos on the beach before the ceremony.

Some of my favorite moments from the whole day happened in the course of 10 minutes before the bride walked down the aisle. I'm just going to show them to you because that's my best way to describe them (and because the more I try to write, the more I cry).

Father daughter moments, Katie and her dad making their way to spot where they would wait before heading down to the beach was something so lovely to capture.

First Look. The Maid of Honor and Best Man looking at the bride as she made her way to line up.

As you can see, these moments are raw and priceless. I love posed photographs, but I'd choose a perfectly captured candid over them any day. For me, it's about being ready and making sure I don't miss these moments -- if you're too focused on getting the perfect picture, you could miss out on so many perfect moments. I want Katie and Maddy to remember this feeling, that probably brings tears to their eyes when they remember the way it felt to see each other at this moment. And the smiles, the raw, natural smiles -- those are priceless. Like this next one, I didn't actually tell her to do this, the was already doing it -- I told her to keep doing it, but it was all her natural, graceful self.

Their ceremony was short and sweet, and full of laughs, tears, and love. At one point, the Officiant, his name is Dave, had everyone close their eyes and send all their love to Katie and Mario and it was amazing, you could honestly feel the love. Also, Mario and Katie spoke directly from the heart, no notes, and their vows were so perfect and beautiful.

And there it is, that tropical, true love, everlasting, first kiss as Husband and Wife.

The night was followed with good food, great music, and fantastic dancing -- it also ended with the whole bridal party running into the ocean. We maybe totaled 6 hours of sleep over 3 nights that weekend, but the time was much better spent meeting new friends, cherishing old friendships, and celebrating beautiful love.

Who doesn't cry during Father Daughter dances? I completely lost it once the song started playing. Tim McGraw's, "My Little Girl" is one of my personal favorites, and seeing my favorite friend dancing with her dad to it just brought so much emotion. Thankfully, my main man - Ricky, noticed my tears and made sure he got all the perfect moments from this dance. And boy, he sure did a great job. I think I'll keep him.

The Mother Son dance was just as beautiful. Both of them smiling and enjoying their special moment together. Nothing is sweeter than watching a man show his mama some love.

And the first dance. Wow. Traditional and unique. I asked if they had taken lessons for it, but no, they did not. I guess when you've found the right person, your souls just know the steps to any dance together.

The wonders of a second photographer (or just a really awesome Ricky). You can see that these two images are from the same moment in time (look at her dress). Notice the difference in backgrounds, the light, the color. Both are beautiful, but equally unique. I love having the ability to look through Ricky's memory cards and see the wedding from his perspective, and be able to share those images with our clients.

When your bride tells you she can get her dress wet, that's a pretty special moment. I completely loved the mermaid vibes from these moments.

And then they ran into the ocean. Capturing images from this moment was a challenge, I wasn't sure how far the flash would work, and they were running, but if you don't try something new you'll never know what could have happened.

This wedding was one I'll never forget, and I'm so thankful I didn't miss it. Genuine friendship is something I know well, and that is thanks to this friend who has been there from the beginning, and though we may go years without seeing each other, we always pick up right where we left off. And of course, I had to snag my chance at a photo with this gorgeous bride.

Cheers to you, Katie and Mario Organista. Your wedding was a beautiful glimpse into the love you share, and I'm so excited to see where life takes you. If there's one thing this world needs more of, it is love, and this world is a better place because of the love you two share not only with each other but with everyone else.

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