There's a handful of moments in my business that can be defined as a breakthrough. That first wedding, the first time I traveled for a job, the 100th wedding, the 200th wedding, the first time I captured a friend's wedding, the time I photographed my grandmother's wedding, and so on. Mariana and Chris did not have a numerical significance but definitely has become one of those breakthrough moments.
I'll never forget my meeting with Mariana or her wedding. In 10 years of my career, she was the first bride to surprise me with a 2-inch wedding binder, something I've only seen before in movies. Inside, there were the numerous details, wishes, and dreams she had for her wedding day. I could see from this, she was very meticulous and liked to plan everything to perfection. I admire this quality a lot because even though I'm not naturally a planner, I try.
The Wedding Will Happen ... Just in Another State!
So, picture this: you turn on the TV, and all you hear is devastation, uncertainty, loss. AND, your perfectly-planned wedding is in three weeks. That's what happened to Mariana & Chris.
Mariana was the first phone call that came through a couple of days after Hurricane Maria. I had so many mixed emotions; I remember storming out of the house when I saw the caller ID, sat down on a completely dark sidewalk, and just listened to her. Initially, she called to tell me she was canceling, her voice breaking. She couldn't get ahold of the wedding vendors; we didn't know the situation at the venue, their guests wouldn't be able to find flights or accommodations. I was heartbroken. She explained they decided on doing a smaller event back in Florida, at a beautiful venue that surprisingly, was still available.
At one moment we were lamenting the cancellation until she said: "I really wanted your photos, if only you could come over..." That was all I needed. I told her: "I will do my best. Just give me until Friday." I didn't know if I would be able to get on a plane to Tampa, but we took a leap of faith. Because at that moment, faith was all that was left.
So, after many days of being in a neverending haze, of being numb, I had a purpose and a sense of direction. Keep in mind there was still a gas shortage, so I was not able to drive anywhere to get cellphone reception. Every day I climbed up to the roof of my house in an attempt to get online to send e-mails and browse flights. I needed to get a plane ticket for my assistant and me. I needed to. And I got the only two tickets left on the only flight to Tampa that was available before the wedding. And unlike most other plane tickets those days, ours didn't get canceled. We arrived early to the airport (still with no power), and after a full day of waiting in the hottest environment I've ever been in, sitting on the floor along hundreds of other persons, we got on the plane. And I took the first breath in weeks.
A Beautiful Wedding at the Avila Golf & Country Club
Finally! I was so happy and excited to be able to work that I arrived super early to the Avila Golf & Country Club. There was a baby shower happening, so we scouted the parts of the venue that weren't being used, and got acquainted with the planner and other vendors.
Someone told me the bride was here, and I rushed outside to greet her. We held each other in an embrace that was so meaningful and special to me because at that moment I knew that everything was fine and that it would be a perfect day. I heard her mom saying, "You are the best wedding gift I could ever ask for my daughter." I was too emotional at that moment even to reply, but I would like to say now, that being there that day was also the best thing that I could ever ask for.
Capturing Mariana & Chris was terrific. First, because of all the emotional situation, I just told you, second, because they're gorgeous, and last because they're crazy about each other. And I was crazy about them, their venue, their families, and all the happiness that was in the air. Everything was perfect, and I was the happiest photographer ever. I won't even go into the details of the day like I usually do, I think the photos will speak for themselves.
I love my job, I love my clients, and I'm so thankful I get to do this time after time. Even if nature wants to have fun with our plans. Because on that day, we definitely learned a lesson: perfection is sometimes what happens when all your plans go wrong.
Tampa Florida Wedding Vendors for This Event
Wedding Photography: Weddings by Camille Fontanez
Wedding Venue: Avila Golf & Country Club, Tampa FL
Wedding Planner: Genevieve Navarro, Petals, and Promises Events
Wedding Video: 5 Stars Production
Florals: Juliet Extravaganza Production
Wedding Cake: Cake Plus Tampa
DJ & Entertainment: Tony Lange
Makeup & Style: Donna Camposecco, Camposecco Artistry
Bridal Dress: CC' Bridal St. Petersburg
Groom Attire: Men's Wearhouse