Back in 2005 when I was a struggling and starving college student, I slaved away behind a sputtering and steaming espresso machine at Starbucks. It was a good 6 years and I met lots of great people through that job. One of those was Vernalynne.
As an aspiring photographer I constantly had my camera with me at Starbucks, and at one point I even did a “Faces of Starbucks” type project that brought a bunch of barista’s I worked with in front of my camera. Vernalynne played along and let me photograph her at her university.
Fast forward about 9 years, and Vernalynne asks if Thisisfeeling will photograph her wedding in the Chicago suburbs – her ceremony at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Darien and reception in Countryside.
Heck yeah we will!
But first I wanted to know more about her and the love of her life: David. Turns out he’s from a small but colorful town smack dab in the middle of Mexico named Guanajuato. This is when I find out she’s actually having two weddings – their civil ceremony will be taking place in Guanajuato a few weeks before her American celebrations.
I kindly reminded her that we love destination weddings.
Fast forward a few weeks and Mike and I are both flying to Central America for the first time in our lives. In fact, Mike has never had the pleasure of traveling outside the bounds of the USA. (keep scrolling down to read more!)
I’m quickly reminded of how much Mike loves exploring. If I like cats and espresso and gardening, this guy loves finding his way to where his eyes see – that includes finding the highest points of anything. He loves being on top.
Guanajuato is a colorful, small, friendly Mexican city. If you ever go, don’t bother with the nice looking restaurants. Walk the streets all morning to build your appetite, then pig out on th street all evening. For about $1 each you’ll find the most juicy pastor tacos, layers of fresh pork meat dripping with firey pineapple drippings cut right onto hot corn tortillas, then garnished with fresh white onion and cilantro. You’ll find tender, steamy pollo y salsa verde tamales wrapped in thick corn husks. And don’t even think about passing up the most satisfying treat: styrofoam cups layered thick with fresh steamed corn, mayonnaise, queso and some of the most satisfying red salsa I’ve ever had. Mike doesn’t even like corn and he fell in love all over again.
Anyway, yes, we did work. A lot. I tried my best to run a business from the only hotspot I could find – my poor iPhone had never been more sick of my tapping thumbs. We spent days crawling the streets finding the right backdrop and buildings and light for Vernalynne and David’s pre-wedding session.
We rediscovered what it meant to just go with it the day we finally met up with the two of them. They jumped out of David’s car about 20 minutes late, all of us loosing the evening sunlight quickly. It was a wetter than normal summer in the city, and we didn’t have the sunlight we expected. And on top of that David said parking in downtown would take forever. Scratch all of our plans. David wanted to bring us up into the mountains to a small refurbished mine opening that had been refurbished into a beautiful courtyard venue. It was classic and historical Mexico with the spirit of Guanajuato all wrapped up in one spot. David and Vernalynne wanted to have their reception in this very spot, but it broke their budget. No worries – it was a spot that had meaning to David and Vernalynne – David had received his Master’s degree at a college nearby.
The lesson? Sometimes you just need to go with it – no matter how much you plan on the most amazing photographs, the best moments happen when you have a positive spirit and go along with it. These photographs will be more meaningful to them because it was a special location to them.
And it quickly became a special location for Mike and me, too 😉
Mike photographs their wedding this Saturday. We’ll keep you updated with another post!