What do you do when your good friend, favorite photographer, and mentor of all things music photography asks you to shoot his wedding in Puerto Rico? You go!
My dear friend Brian gave me a call one day to ask me to join him, about 40 of his friends, and his fiancée, Kaela, on the small island of Vieques Puerto Rico. So, I took six days off of my life plans, and before I knew it, it was the middle of June and I was on a tiny prop plane on the way to an island known for having some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Needless to say, I was excited!
I landed on a Thursday—and the wedding was Saturday—so that I could get to know the land and start planning and also so I could attend the rehearsal dinner and get acquainted with Brian and Kaela’s friends. Imagine going on vacation with 40 strangers and then getting along with all of them—that’s what those first days were like
Then, the day of the wedding itself was magnificent. I started in the morning by going to Brian and Kaela’s villa, nestled on a mountain, for some getting-ready shots and then first look pictures. I couldn’t stop staring at Kaela’s unbelievable pink lace, custom-made wedding dress that she had designed and shipped over from Dubai. Brian, of course, was also rocking the super cool blue suit, and Kennedy, their dog, was with us every step of the way.
Kaela and Brian had picked out three locations where they wanted to take formal pictures. The first one was a place I like to call the Magic Tree. I don’t actually know its name, but it’s hundreds and hundreds of years old, with massive roots and intricate places for photographs. From there, we headed to a church that was a couple hundred years old—basically a shell, but absolutely beautiful and perfect for pictures.
While we were getting pictures at the church, I looked to my left and saw a huge, open field with probably a hundred wild horses in it. I turned to Brian and Kaela and said, “Que the wild horses—start walking!” and we headed over to the field. It was magnificent! The sun was setting, the weather was perfect, and we couldn’t have asked for a more unbelievable fairy tale location for a wedding.
When we were done with formals, we headed back to the villa, where their wedding planner, Chezelle, had already arranged everything by the time we got there. The table was set up perfectly by the pool, the DJ was there, and the 20-piece salsa band was just waiting to get started!
Everyone cried during the ceremony, including me. At one point, I couldn’t even see through my camera! One of my favorite parts of the ceremony was when Kennedy, their dog, walked down the beach with the rings tied to her collar (which is what my husband and I did with our dog for our wedding)!
Then, it was off to the party! Puerto Rican cuisine was represented everywhere, including a full roasted pig. Kaela told me that it’s good luck for the bride to kiss the pig, so of course, I had to capture that.
But one of the most memorable moments was when Kaela grabbed me and said, “Brian’s playing drums with the band!” Now, I knew he played, but I didn’t know how well, so when I arrived to check it out, I was totally amazed to see him rocking the timbales and flipping drumsticks, having the time of his life! I paid him back the favor at the end of the night with some full-on dance moves. His mouth dropped to the floor! (Good thing I don’t have that on film!)
After the wedding, we spent a few days with Brian, Kaela, and their friends and family. On the last day there, a bunch of us gathered at the W Hotel to relax, have drinks, and reminisce.
Brian & Kaela, you are the best of the best, and I cannot tell you how honored and blessed I am to have both of you in my lives. I was truly humbled that you wanted me, of all the photographers you know, to capture such an important moment in your lives. Thank you, and I adore you both so much!
Venue – Martineau Belle Playa
Wedding Coordination – Chezelle Rodríguez (CD Weddings)
Floral Design – Chezelle Rodríguez (CD Florals)
Baker – Sabe a Gloria
Caterer – Bliss Catering
Band – Orquesta El Cimarron