For us, weddings are never about the location or venue, it’s always about the people and the connections we make. But occasionally those connections take us to new and exciting locations. Luck connected us with Aly and Nathan when they were researching destination weddings in Mexico (they first met while traveling with friends in Jamaica, so a wedding down south was the perfect choice for them). They came across our photos from Kelly + Adam’s wedding on Isla Mujeres, sent us an email, and from the moment we first met on Skype, it felt like we’ve been best friends forever. So it was easy to see why 120 of their closest friends and family eagerly made the trek to Tulum, Mexico to celebrate with them … which was made all the more special by having Nathan’s Dad officiate their ceremony.
Now, during a recent interview for an online feature, I was asked about tips I had for photographers wanting to travel for destination weddings. The one answer that immediately came to me was backups – have backups for your camera, flashes, external hard drives to back up your files, extra batteries … pretty much back up everything with the assumption that everything will break, including back ups for your back ups.
So what does this have to do with Aly + Nathan’s wedding? After their stunning oceanside ceremony at Papaya Playa Project in Tulum, their reception started with a sudden tropical storm that blew in from the ocean. Although we were fairly protected under the giant cabana, it still sent us scrambling to find a dry hiding spot for our gear, especially since the dance floor was open and mostly unprotected from the rain.
In the craziness that surrounded the night, the rain eventually partnered with tequila, beer and pool water, and instead of trying to protect our gear, we just kept shooting, getting absolutely drenched in the process.
It started with our flashes. The contacts got wet and they wouldn’t fire. Jenn would run to the bag, grab a dry one, then take the wet ones to the nearby house to dry off. This is a process that we’d repeat many, many more times throughout the night until finally one flash quit completely. Thankfully we had 3 more, but little did we know that this would mark a sign of things to come.
Shortly after, one of the shutters went on a camera.
Down to four.
Then the groom was thrown into the pool … followed by most of the guests. So fearlessly in I went, only to be blindsided by a cannonball that sent a massive tidal wave over my head.
Down to three cameras and one less 35mm lens.
As the night went on, the dance floor turned into a Corona and tequila frenzy, with us happily shooting in the middle of it all.
Down to our last two cameras.
By the end of it all, three of our five cameras were down for the count, but thankfully, we were left with enough backups to get us through the rest of the year (and it didn’t end up costing as much as I had feared, with the exception of one camera that ended up having the warranty voided due to “an unusual substance on and inside the camera.
Thank you Aly and Nathan for bringing us to Tulum for your amazing wedding and welcoming us into your unbelievably fun group of friends!
Written by Jeff.