About once or twice a year we get the opportunity to photograph a destination wedding and I know I won't get any sympathy but it is actually work... with a whole lot of fun mixed in. We first talked to Holly about photographing the after party they are having at the Salisbury University Commons later this month and found out the wedding was in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Once we explained to Holly how destination weddings work she was so excited. If you are going to go to all the trouble of having a destination wedding it really is a bonus to have the whole event documented. I will warn you this is going to be a long post and you might want to get some tissues ready because it is even going to be a struggle for me to write this one. We hit it off with Holly, her sister and her mom right away but we had not met Johnny at that point. All the details and reservations are set and 3 weeks before the wedding we see the horrible facebook post. Holly's father passed away of heart attack. This is the most devastating thing that can happen to a family right before one of the most important days of their lives. There is nothing you can say or do to make things any easier for a bride that loses her father except to say you're sorry. We didn't talk about the wedding because I knew at that point she needed to come to terms with what had happened and the wedding was just added stress. The week before the wedding we had to finally sit down and work out the details and whether or not they were still going to have the wedding. That was when we met Johnny. What an amazing guy! He was so kind and concerned for Holly and him and Andrew had so much in common that between the tears being shed we actually laughed and could see glimpses of excitement about the wedding. We all came to the conclusion that there was no way her daddy would not want her to go through with the wedding she had dreamed about for years. We knew it would be hard but wonderful at the same time. There would be tears of joy and sadness and for sure her daddy would be looking down on them and smiling. Holly and Johnny both knew her daddy would want them to have this wedding. The first day we arrived at the resort I was taken back by how beautiful the Beaches Turks and Caicos was. We have been to so many different islands and this by far was the most gorgeous. We met the family to do some family portraits on the grounds and on the beach and knew we were in for a great time. Everyone welcomed us with open arms and from that point on we were part of their family. The whole next day was just had fun hanging with the family shooting some candid pictures and pictures of the resort. We did a lot of swimming, drinking, eating and laughing. Holly's Aunt (aka Do Do) had us entertained all day. Since Holly did a trial run with her hair we took her and Johnny around the resort and did something similar to engagement pictures. Then they had their little rehearsal and a "trash the dress" session. Holly had 2 wedding dresses so we could trash one. The best part is I got to work in my bathing suit since I had to get in the water with them. This was so much fun but the hardest part was Holly's dress had connecting layers underneath and when she got in the water it blew up like a balloon so we had to let the air out several times and I was soaked. The images we got were beautiful. We ended up with quite an audience and we had to pass by one of the restaurants to get back to her room so since there was a pool right there we thought it would be cool to give them a little show. Holly and Johnny leaped into the pool and the whole restaurant applauded. So we have 30 minutes to get to get to dinner and it is a 10 minute walk back to our room. Just as we approach Andrew reaches in his pocket and says, "Oh crap!" His room key was in his pocket and he got in the water. As the lady put it, his key was playing in the ocean. In the end we had 10 minutes to shower and get to dinner and somehow we did it. We had a great rehearsal dinner and thank goodness Holly's sister Jenny waited until after dinner to give Holly and her sister Courtney necklaces. Inside were some of her dad's ashes. Even though there were plenty of tears, there was also a comfort that Holly had her daddy with her. The wedding day was a whirlwind of hair appointments and make-up. Jenny's little girl Alyssa had been up all night with a stomach bug and was still sick the day of the wedding. I don't even know how this little girl did it, but between episodes of getting sick she smiled and had pictures taken and did everything that was asked of her. Amazing! It was warm doing pictures but we tried to move around as much as possible and find shady spots to shoot. Holly was beautiful! Now it is Johnny's turn for pictures. Who knew Johnny had a little stud muffin inside of him. He was just Mr. Photogenic but in the middle of him and his best man getting their pictures done I kind of out loud inquired as to when gay marriage became legal in the Turks and Caicos and from that point on they got many congratulations from the people passing by. The ceremony was perfect and a special seat was provided for Holly's dad where his shirt and picture were placed. The only downside is editing a destination wedding ceremony. There is always some dummy sitting in the water watching the ceremony I have to edit out. Of course the best part is when we get time with the bride and groom alone to do pictures and this was their time to breath. The reception was set on the Jacuzzi deck overlooking the ocean and we dined on filet mignon. There were some special dances we had to take care of, Holly and Johnny, Johnny and his mom and then Holly and her mom. As Holly starts to dance with her mom her sisters join in with daddy's picture and his shirt. We start to feel sporadic rain drops and they last through their song and then stop. Had to be Daddy's tears, tears of joy! All I can say is this was an incredible experience and we can't thank you enough for letting us be a part of it. We can't wait to see everyone for the after party.
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