April 9, 2012 / Wedding
Jessica & John's Destination Wedding | Playa del Carmen, Mexico | Riviera Maya Quintana Roo Destination Wedding Photographer
Happy Easter! Hope everyone had a relaxing weekend, I know we did around here. As temperatures in Atlanta drop this week, it’s only appropriate that today’s blog post comes from a wedding in a much warmer climate. In February we had the honor of capturing Jessica & John’s intimate destination wedding in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. We started the weekend flying into Cancun and then driving about an hour South to Playa del Carmen, another beautiful part of the Mexican Riviera or Riviera Maya and a bit less “touristy” than Cancun. Given that it was February we weren’t competing with Spring Break, and the weather was an amazing 70-80 degrees the entire time we were there in February. A stark contrast to Atlanta which at the time was fuh-fuh-freezing in February! We arrived on Thursday for a welcome dinner and night out on the town in Playa del Carmen at the Porto Playa condominiums.
The boys and I grilled some chicken and headed out for cigars while the girls went out for a dinner and wine tasting.
John’s step father also decided it would be nice for some mariachi entertainers to serenade the groom.
On the wedding day, Friday, we started things off with Jessica and the girls getting hair and nails done at the Maya Spa just a few doors down from our condo.
…while John and the boys spent some time at the beach.
After the hair was done, the girls held a small pre-wedding party for Jessica showing some old photos and even Skyped in an out of town guest that couldn’t make it down to Mexico with her newborn baby.
After some time with the girls I headed over to where the guys had transferred to, El Fogon restaurant, for some authentic Mexican tacos. This place was probably everyone’s favorite eatery of the trip, so good!!
As the afternoon wore on, it was really time to start this whole wedding business that we had gathered for.
Since Jessica and John were walking themselves down the “aisle,” aka the balcony of their suite, I convinced them to at least do a first look =). With such an intimate wedding of only 20 people everyone was family even if not by blood, and I think this little gesture was still nice. I had Jessica hide in the bathroom of their master bedroom and then John wait for her to appear behind him in the bedroom with me.
Then the wedding officially got underway!
Mother of the Bride giving her prayer and speech.
A fun little tradition, Jessica and John had everyone write them 5 year notes to open on their fifth anniversary to reflect on the wedding day. Besides the pressure to write something meaningful it also helped me think about the future and what to say to their future selves, a fun little opportunity and tradition.
Immediately following the ceremony I stole away the newlyweds for a quick portrait session on the streets of Playa del Carmen as the sun went down and the streets came alive. I said 30 minutes but I think we might have been gone 40 minutes door to door leaving the condo complex and getting outside before getting them back to the party and dinner!
That was a lot of different locations but we actually just went in a huge 4 or 5 block circle that I had mapped out in my mind earlier in the day so we literally could spend 5 minutes or less at each spot before moving on and taking more photos elsewhere. It’s hard to pass up an opportunity to take fun photos with such a lovely bride and groom in an exotic location =). Now a few highlights from the reception on the rooftop!
Dinner was catered by one of the condo’s chefs and cooked for us right upstairs in the unit.
I even tried a little light painting in Mexico but upstairs at the bride and groom’s table =)
Jessica’s sorority sisters Erin and JJ did their Alpha Gamma Delta dance for all newly married sisters.
Wedding bundt cake
The following morning we somehow heard our iPhone alarms going off and groggily got out of bed at 5:00 AM to catch the sunrise on the Mexican coast and dragged the newlyweds out of bed as well. I think the effort and lack of sleep was worth it, plus we treated ourselves to some delicious coffee at Ah Cacao afterwards =)
Taken a few minutes later as the sun kept rising…
Looking the other way towards the town of Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Some casual photos at the coffee shop, which we arrived at a few minutes before they even opened.
And that wraps up the official wedding coverage! Later that Saturday we headed over to the Mayan ruins at Tulum and then met up with everyone for a final group dinner at Yaxche on 5th Avenue. Then on Sunday morning we had to say goodbye to Mexico and return to the just-barely-above-freezing 36 degree weather in Atlanta =). We were happy to be home to see Miles though, their is no place like home!
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Zachary Long and Betty Feng are wedding photographers based in Downtown Atlanta but also available for destination weddings worldwide including Mexico and beyond! View our main portfolio website at http://www.FengLongPhoto.com/ and use the contact page to inquire about 2012 and 2013 availability!