If ever there was a write up I beg you to read, this is it. It’s straight out of a movie, a thrilling, romantic adventure where jetsetting backpackers meet halfway around the world, fall in love and when they’re about to say “I do”… their wedding photographer doesn’t show. But don’t worry dear readers, because Alisa Ferris was there within an hour to capture this magical elopement before vows were exchanged and the results are downright stunning. Believe in the power of fate in our Vault right this way…
From Alisa Ferris…. Sarah and Matt met and fell in love while traveling in Southeast Asia, and then eloped at Vizcaya Museum & Gardens in Miami. In an interesting turn of events on the big day, when their wedding photographer failed to show up, they had a mere hour to source a new photographer! Here’s the scoop!
From the Bride… In January 2013, production had just wrapped on my first big film job. I found myself romanticizing the idea of being in Southeast Asia, so impulsively, I booked my ticket and had two weeks to condense my life into a backpack. Unknowingly, across the Atlantic in London, my future husband was also packing his bag to indefinitely escape winter. A journey that would change both of our lives.
We crossed paths at a beach bar in Railay, Thailand (a rock climbing haven). I was about to watch an infamous Thai fire show, when I overheard a striking and soft spoken British accent.
Matt and I had an immediate connection (and a love for Simon & Garfunkel), we shared life stories, future travel plans, and danced the night away.
After Railay, we met up as our routes crossed throughout the southern Thai islands. Our first “official” date was a snorkeling trip off the shores of Maya Bay (the location made famous by “The Beach” starring Leo DiCaprio).
Despite only knowing each other for a mere seven weeks, Matt and I shared so many beautiful memories – we were unsure if we’d ever see each other again. For the following six months, Matt and I Skyped every Sunday night.
Fast forward to the fall, Matt and I met up in Bangkok, and then flew to Sydney where we spent the next 11 months together followed by extensive travel throughout India, Nepal, Christmas in London, NYE in New York, and the Northern Lights in Iceland. A truly vintage year!
After a long nine-months apart, this past December Matt’s U.S. Visa was finally approved. Due to his initial Visa stipulations – 90-days to get married and no travel outside of the U.S. – it made it near-impossible for us to plan a traditional wedding. Our decision to elope, wasn’t really a decision at all. Our relationship has always been about just being able to simply be together, and we wanted this sentiment to represent our marriage.
I woke up to perfect Miami weather – clear blue skies with an ocean view. The day was going exactly as planned.
Matt arrived at Vizcaya an hour early to meet the photographer and setup for the first look. My finishing touches were near-complete when my mother received a panicked call from Matt – our photographer was nowhere in sight! I was in disbelief, with time ticking away and no Miami contacts, I felt helpless. Meanwhile at Vizcaya, Matt scrambled to search for potential photographers. My mother frantically did the same, before eventually calling my makeup artist. Carolyn said she knew the perfect fit and immediately put us in touch with Miami-based wedding photographer, Alisa Ferris. She received the call at 2:15PM and was at the venue by 3:00PM! I truly believe that our meeting was kismet.
What could’ve been a disastrous turn of events, instead, made for absolute serendipity. As with so many things that Matt and I have shared, this day was spontaneous, reflected our easy-going spirits, and in the end, was truly enchanting. Alisa’s photographs are imbued with both the beauty of our moment and the timeless charm of Vizcaya.
“An invisible thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, and circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle. But it will never break.” – Old Chinese Proverb (and one of my favorite quotes)
I’d like to go to Moorea in French Polynesia for our honeymoon, but we’re also considering Cuba or Tulum. In addition, next February we’re planning to go to Vietnam and revisit Thailand.
From Alisa Ferris… When I received the call from Carolyn, the makeup artist, I immediately felt crushed for the bride. To be stuck in such an unfortunate situation on your wedding day is just horrible! My biggest concern was making sure Sarah was well taken care of and felt confident in our newfound, eleventh hour relationship.
My first step was to reach out to her to waylay her well-justified insecurities, and let her know that it would be smooth sailing from here on out. Then, I literally dropped my half eaten sandwich, threw on a black dress and flats and breezed out the door (with my photo bag, of course!).
Upon arriving at the venue, my thoughts remained with my clients’ well-being. I listened to their stressful morning, cracked a few not-so-great jokes to ease the pain, and learned as much about them as I could in 10 minutes. As Sarah wrote, it was kismet. On our 7th date, my husband and I traveled throughout Southeast Asia for 30 days. Fellow adventurers and romantics unite! We immediately found common ground, and believe our paths were meant to cross. I’m grateful to have encountered such lovely humans.
So, many of you are probably thinking, “What would I do in such a situation?” Before your wedding day, it’s important to discuss Plan B with your photographer. Any reputable photographer will have a backup already in mind. To further relieve stress, ensure that there is ample communication with your photographer in the lead up to the big day: discussions regarding agenda and shot lists are key. Finally, call or text your photographer the day before the wedding to confirm everything is on track.