Azul Beach Hotel- Riviera Maya, Mexico {Destination Wedding Photographer}

When Amanda and Doug hired me to photograph their destination wedding in Mexico, I was honored and thrilled! It always has been a goal of mine to shoot destination weddings a few times a year, and I couldn’t believe that it was starting to happen so early in my career. Soon after they hired me, I found out we were expecting our third child and she would be only 3 months old when the time came for the wedding. Yikes! I couldn’t imagine leaving her when she was that little, but I decided to suck it up and go on with the job. I knew this was an opportunity so many photographers would love to have, and I didn’t want to take that for granted or regret not going due to mommy separation anxiety. I started mentally preparing myself before Claire was even born, but after she arrived and the days and weeks passed I became increasingly nervous. Would I stop producing milk? Had I pumped enough to get her through the 5 days we’d be gone? And on top of that, this was my first time leaving the country. Add to that my anxiety about getting all of my equipment there, and well, as you can imagine I was a nervous wreck!

The morning we left I was surprisingly calm, although I kept thinking we had to have forgotten something (luckily, we didn’t). Unfortunately, due to fog our first flight was delayed. We had hope, though, that we would make it to our next flight on time. And we almost did- in fact we got to see it take off. This was quite upsetting, especially for Ben, who might have a few “anger issues”. So at noon we were stuck sitting in a crummy airport instead of sipping margaritas on the beach. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention- our first flight was on a teensy tiny commuter plane which I swore was falling apart. Thank goodness our remaining flights were on nice large jets!

We finally arrived in Cancun around 8pm. I was so exhausted I hadn’t even had time to miss the kids! It was about a 20 minute drive from the airport to the resort, and let’s just say that they don’t have the same safety standards as we do in the USA. When we arrived at the resort, all I could think was “wow”. ┬áIt was even more amazing than I was expecting. As we entered the foyer to check in, I couldn’t stop smiling. It was a surreal moment- I couldn’t believe we were actually there! Not only that we were there, but we were there so I could photograph a wedding. After all of the endless hours of work and uphill battles I’ve faced, I realized I was living my dream. And it felt pretty darn good. That evening we ┬árelaxed and hung out with the rest of the wedding crew in the Tequila Lounge and by the poolside.

When we woke up the next morning, the resort looked even more spectacular in the daylight. I could not wait to start taking pictures! Everywhere I looked there was a beautiful photo waiting to happen. We had our breakfast delivered to us on the beach in one of the cabanas. I ordered an omelet, coffee, and fresh squeezed orange juice- everything was delicious and it felt so luxurious and relaxing eating in a cabana with my husband looking out at the ocean. After breakfast, we stumbled upon the wedding guests playing a game of volleyball on the beach, so I quickly went and grabbed my camera to get a few images. I wanted to capture everything I could for Amanda and Doug so they could relive every moment of their destination wedding.

When the time came for my official “work” to begin, I headed over to Amanda’s room to begin photographing her as she and her bridesmaids were getting ready. Everyone was so relaxed! There was no strict schedule to adhere to; the only timeline was making it to the beach at 4:30 for the ceremony. I was able to go back and forth between Amanda’s room and the pool area where the groom and the rest of the wedding party were hanging out.

The ceremony was beautiful and simple. The officiant did a wonderful job and made the ceremony so personal for Amanda and Doug. They even had a friend skype the ceremony for their family that couldn’t be there. The ceremony ended with a champagne toast with Bob Marley playing in the background. Next came my favorite part of the day- the portraits! The day ended with a delicious gourmet dinner and cake, then a few more portraits on the beach with the moon shining high in the sky overhead.

I’m splitting the images into two posts. Here is part one:

I can’t even begin to describe how I felt being a part of it all. Doing what I love, at an amazing location, with amazing people. It truly was a dream come true for me, and I can’t wait for my next adventure to come my way!

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