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We were sailing back at the end of that gorgeous night, after all the vows and speeches and dances had been said and done, when I decided this wedding was one of the most special I’d ever shot.

It’s not to say my other weddings aren’t special – of course they are. But this one, well, let me tell you:

Maggie and Mikel have this kind of soul and spirit about them that makes you instantly connect with them. Her smile is never-ending. And her laughter – holy shit – it’s a beautifully roaring one that can shake a room in the most perfect of ways. He’s a bit more reserved, but in a good, sarcastic, funny kinda manner. The ying to her yang.

Though, surely, these two must have so many people who love them, they opted for the smallest wedding I’ve ever shot – with 30 of the most special people in their lives. Their grandparents pulled up beach chairs – yes, beach chairs haha –  at the park Maggie and Mikel chose to wed at. It was the park where Maggie’s dad spent much of his childhood.

Maggie walked down the aisle of grass toward Mikel, holding her dad with one arm. On her other hand, she wore the emerald engagement ring Mikel’s mom once wore. Mikel’s dad and grandfather owned part of an emerald mine in Colombia once upon a time. But maybe even more special than that emerald ring was the patch Maggie wore on the side of her dress. It was from Mikel’s dad’s captain jacket, and it represented all the years he’d spent with his family on boats before he passed away. He wasn’t there physically, but Mikel’s dad was there in so many other ways. I could see and feel it.

Under the biggest banyan tree , Maggie and Mikel promised to love each other forever. They boarded the Schooner lily afterward – my first time shooting a wedding on a sailboat. As the sun set, Maggie danced with her dad to the tune of “Wild Horses” by The Rolling Stones. Her hair blew in the wind.

“Ever since I could remember, I would wake up on weekends and my dad would have Rolling Stones playing from our record player,” she wrote to me. “I never knew what my first dance with my future husband would be, but I always knew that I would dance to the Rolling Stones with my dad.”

 

There was more dancing. And singing. And laughing. And drinking.

It was beautiful. It was special. It was so, so genuine.

Venue: Shepard Park, The Schooner Lily
Flowers: Bouqs
Gown: BHLDN

 

 

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