I first met Holly almost 5 years ago, while photographing her brother’s gorgeous farm wedding outside of Toronto.
With great joy and enthusiasm, I learned that she was planning a destination wedding in Jamaica and she chose to have me capture her preparations, culminating with the big day.
As far as I am concerned, this was a double bill: I was going to see some of my most favorite clients and their families again and, I was going to revisit an island so very dear to me. One combination that filled my heart with joy.
The week we have spent at the Riu Ocho Rios, Jamaica was filled with capricious weather: we had seen a lot of rain during the first few days to the point where the wedding planning team came up with a ‘Plan B’ for a ceremony in a covered area. Quite different from the original beach arrangements.
Of course one needs to adjust and accept what is in the moment…but I have to say, I would have been disappointed, and I am sure I would have not been alone.
But…there was no need for such feelings to be experienced, as the skies magically opened on the 4th day and the sun shone beautifully. My heart skipped a few beats that morning and I am certain, everybody else in the party must have been thrilled!
Holly and Robby received the most magical gift: the opportunity to live their dream of a wedding day spent entirely on the beach. They danced the night away on the sand and their joy was truly contagious!
I hope the images below were able to capture some of the fantastic energy surrounding an amazing group of people.
H+R: may your new life together be all about sunshine, joy and much love! Yours, Manuela
Destination weddings are a lot of fun to begin with but the experience feels even more rewarding whenever it is followed by a shoot that is more relaxed, laid back, casual: the so called ‘trash the dress’ photo session that usually does not have much to do with spoiling the dress. Even though many times brides choose to go into the ocean with their gown, nothing really happens to it. It can still be kept in its original shape.
Shivani opted to wear a light summer dress, very appropriate for the beach. That was a great idea considering the elaborate outfits she wore the day of. It was perfect for the purpose of our little creative adventure and she did not have to worry about anything.
By the time we made it to the beach the sun was already going down but we still had a little time to play. The beautiful cove had so much to offer: plenty of colourful backdrops, boats, a wonderful beach with super warm water. I think we were quite able to take advantage of all this while fully enjoying ourselves in the process.
The result: another lovely series to be used as a forever reminder of a good time shared with some fantastic people. Enjoy!
The very first person who knew about the potential chosen spot for Mona and Emon’s post wedding photo adventure was my dad. This past December I was back home in Romania. One relaxed evening we were sitting beside each other, him doing his Sudoku and myself researching cool spots in the Punta Cana area. This is how I discovered Altos de Chavon. I showed my dad photos of it and he said to me: I really hope you make it there, it looks breathtaking! I brought the idea up with Mona and Emon while being a bit nervous about it. Because I knew it would take time and effort to get there especially the day after their wedding. I can’t say how excited I was when they decided to go for it! I knew this was going to be a memorable journey. Altos de Chavon is a replica of a Mediterranean village, built on a cliff and looking down to the Chavon river. To those interested, this is a private property and one has to pay quite a lot to get to take photos. We did not know how much until we got to the gate! The journey to this dreamy place was also rich in surprises as we got to stop in a sugar cane field, by typical Dominican homes and last but not least, we caught an unbelievable sunset which Mona and Emon got to enjoy while stepping into the ocean.
The images below are a colourful record of our adventures that day. One thing I love about editing the photos I take is that, while looking at each one of them, I get transported back and relive each single second.
Mona and Emon, I know how tired you were that morning when we started our journey, therefore thank you for being willing to go for it!
I trust you will look at these images and smile to yourselves while recalling many of those great moments we had together. Hugs, Manuela
Mona and Emon decided to get married at the beautiful Dreams Palm Beach Punta Cana resort, surrounded by loving family members and great friends. Needless to say I was ecstatic to fly down and join them for the week. There is no better time to do this than January and take a nice break in a sunny destination by crystal clear waters.
Infused with both traditional and modern flavors, their celebration was a blend of colourful and visually appealing symbols. Creatively put together under the gazebo, the Sofreh (traditional Persian table covered by items rich in meaning) was beautiful and a perfect match to the beach atmosphere.
Below are just a few photographic details of the many symbolic elements, like: wallnuts = fertility, honey = sweet life, apples = divine creation of mankind, coins = wealth and prosperity.
The reception was held at the fantastic Jellyfish restaurant half an hour away from the resort. This place is a must see! It is spectacular, located right by the ocean and offers an unexpected experience on all levels: visual, culinary, service excellence. Needless to say the fun group hit the dance floor (setup right on the sand) and barely stopped for breaks throughout the night.
The party continued on the bus back to the resort and would have probably gone on til sunrise if we did not have to extend our adventure together with a ‘trash the dress’ photo shoot the next day. But about this a bit later.
I would like to particularly mention lovely Rebecca Elias from Luxe Destination Weddings for her great help throughout the day. She is simply a pleasure to work with and has a very special way of subtly making sure everything goes on smoothly. Plus, her suggestion for the reception to be held at the Jellyfish restaurant was fantastic! Rebecca, thank you for everything and particularly for pulling Mona, Emon and I out of the imminent storm!!
Mona and Emon, thank you for having made me a part of your wonderful celebrations, I trust your life together will always taste like the honey you fed each other during your wedding ceremony! Hugs, Manuela