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Riviera Maya Wedding at Azul Sensatori

For those of you currently spending your cold winter days dreaming of a sun-filled Mexican vaca (read: all of you), this darling day captured by M&J Photography is for you.  An oceanside affair with those stunning crystal blue waters as an amazing backdrop, it’s a beautiful BHLDN gown meets bundles of vibrant colors meets all kinds of happy.  See every last moment right here in the full gallery.

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Summer
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BeachHotel

From the Bride… From the first moment Martin walked into the room, time stood still. My cousin introduced us, and from there our conversation began immediately as if we were old friends catching up. When we met, Martin was living in California and we began our long distance friendship through snail mail. Our love continued to grow deeper for one another through the years.

While Martin was living in California, I made a weekend trip to visit him in Laguna Beach. He surprised me by renting a Duffy boat in Newport harbor.When we got into the boat, he told me to go to the front where I found a small mailbox (we had written letters to each other, every day, for the past year!). By the time I finished reading the letter that was inside, he was down on his knee asking me to marry him. After I said yes, he asked me to look at the pier where a photographer was documenting the moment. Unforgettable!

Martin and I fell in love with the natural beauty of Mexico. The Riviera Maya worked for ease of travel for our family and guests. The fact that we were able to say our vows on the beach, in front of one of the largest coral reefs in the world, is something that has a spirit of grace and unity.

Planning the details of our wedding was a way to express who Martin and I are as a couple. I started with designing the save the date magnets, which led to envisioning and creating our wedding invitations.Throughout our journey we have used the scallop shell as our “wedding symbol”. Being a sign of a pilgrim and pilgrimage, it has many meanings within Christianity as well as in daily life. Martin had a scallop shell on his boutonniere that his grandfather had given to Martin’s grandmother on their wedding day.

The magazine, with digital and printed versions, was a way to let everyone know the events of the wedding week and to introduce all of the guests (and the photographers).

We placed custom mailboxes on all of the dinner tables, since we have a strong tradition of writing letters while apart. Each guest’s place card had space for them to give us advice and then place the card into the mailbox. We plan to open a mailbox each year and read the cards for the next several years on our anniversary.

I made my bouquet with silk flowers, then took the first gift Martin gave to me and a cross he always wears and hid them inthe bouquet. The lace wrapped around the flowers came from my mother’s wedding veil. The brooch holding the lace together was a gift from my grandma. The bridesmaids flowers were made by the resort, but I gave them color swatches of the dresses so the flowers would match the pastel tones they would be wearing.

My dress was by Catherine Deane for BHLDN, with some custom touches. The buttons on the back came from my mother’s and my grandmother’s wedding dresses. The sandals were Klub Nico, also from BHLDN. OPI’s “Teal the cows come home” not only acted as my “something blue on my toes” but it honored the “Schreiber” family name, since they are cattle farmers. The fingertip veil was custom designed by Carol Tuazon in Chicago, to create a “waterfall”. We used magnetic weights by Jill Watson of Save the Veil, so it wouldn’t blow away in the Riviera Maya breeze.

Martin’s suit came from Zara on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, IL, and his ocean-blue bow tie was from “1910″. His shoes were from Nordstrom, and his ‘something blue’ socks were by Paul Stuart. I sewed his initials along with our wedding day into the lining. Both of our rings also have the wedding day and the saying “All is Well” engraved into them– a saying that we have used throughout our wedding planning!

Photography: M&J Photography | Dress: BHLDN | Invitations: Moo | Hair & Makeup: The Bride | Floral Design, Catering & DJ: Azul Sensatori, Riviera Maya, Mexico | Veil: Save The Veil | Venue: Azul Sensatori, Riviera Maya, Mexico | Video: Cancun Wedding Video

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Photojournalistic Wedding Photography

We’ve had a long time love affair with the work of Twin Lens. They are the masters of wedding photography from a photojournalistic approach, and today they’re here to share just what makes them tick. Read on for our special Q&A with Kitty and Craig, and you can find more of their fabulous work in the full gallery right here. Just make sure to really take the time to devour each image on it’s own as they just might take your breath away. 

SMP: Tell us a bit about yourselves and how you got your start in wedding photography.

TL: Craig and I both come to wedding photography via newspaper photojournalism. We met while working in the newsroom at the Santa Fe New Mexican. Our resulting wedding photography has everything to do with telling the story of the wedding day through photographs.

We’ve been married for 13 years now and have an amazing little girl named Maya. We created Twin Lens 8 years ago, knowing that the newspaper Craig was working for would be closing. We decided that instead of chasing the next journalism job, we’d take a leap of faith and try to do what we love while working for ourselves.

SMP: Can you tell us a bit about your process with each couple before the big day? Specifically this lovely couple!

TL: We have been INCREDIBLY fortunate that our approach and imagery have attracted a particular type of couple. People who book our services are folks who are very comfortable and confident in who they are and who want an honest, beautiful and truly unique record of their wedding day. Lopa and Vijay definitely fell into this category. They wanted us to tell the story of their wedding weekend not only by documenting the very involved traditions of their Hindu ceremonies, but also by capturing the moments between them, their families and friends without posing or orchestrating.

Lopa and Vijay had chosen to bring their favorite people in the world to the Rosewood Mayakoba for their wedding weekend. Mayakoba is a phenomenal tropical venue in the Riviera Maya. They told us they wanted their wedding images to remind them of the people and the place, and how it all felt. They wanted to be able to relive the weekend through the images. Here are Lopa’s words upon seeing her wedding photographs:

… I want to let you know I’ve been going through the pictures you sent us… often. They are so beautiful, and I cannot begin to describe how absolutely amazing they are, but I will try… you not only met my hopes and dreams, you far exceeded anything I could imagine. You have not only given us stunning images and beautiful memories, but an honest and at the same time fairytale story that I can relive and share with my family (perhaps children one day!). This is a priceless gift, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

SMP: Your photos tell beautiful stories and evoke such emotion. What is your approach to achieving this while standing out from other photographers?

TL: This is where our journalism backgrounds come into play. We never know exactly what the picture is going to be until it unfolds in front of us, so we’ve learned to anticipate the moment and to compose on the fly. We try very hard to be unobtrusive and to wait for the decisive moment, light or composition to come together. We love that our couples accept us as part of the event, that we are able to be in the midst of everything, documenting without interfering with the flow of what’s happening.

Our hope is that our images show what is truly real and unique about a couple and their wedding day. We don’t try to fit each wedding into a “formula”. We like to roll along with the day and see what’s visual and storytelling. We look for the big moments and small details and weave them together into a one-of-a-kind photo essay which narrates the day.

SMP: What type of equipment do you use that give your photos such a distinct look?

TL: We fell in love with photography during the days of film and darkrooms, and so that’s become a huge part of our approach at Twin Lens. We combine the latest digital technology with the old school principles and look of film. The combination of these two sensibilities is what creates our look. We find that the digital cameras are best for capturing fleeting moments, while the twin lens reflex cameras allow us to slow down and be more artistic in certain situations.

We also bring along a couple of Holga cameras to each wedding. The Holga is a specialty film camera which creates images with an ethereal, old-time feel. The Holga has a plastic lens which creates a beautiful vignette around the edge of the image… very nostalgic feeling. The Holga “look” is the visual predecessor to what is now Instagram… think square and artsy. (except we can make giant, gorgeous prints for the wall from our negatives!) These are often our favorite images from a wedding day and seem to reinforce that sense of memory that you want wedding images to embody.

SMP: What is your favorite shot from this wedding and why?

TL: There are so many shots that I love from this wedding, and each one plays its own role in telling the story. The photo that makes me laugh every time I look at it is the black-and-white frame of Vijay while he’s getting ready for the wedding ceremony. He had a room full of relatives attempting to help him get dressed, each one offering a different opinion as to how he should wear each item of clothing. He had no experience with any of this, and was baffled himself. At one point, he just became overwhelmed by all the input, and this photo is a window into that fun, crazy pre-ceremony hour.

I also really love the image of Lopa & Vijay on the beach. They had just changed out of their traditional outfits, into their swanky reception clothes. The sun was going down and they were taking a moment together before heading to the reception to see their friends. Just a sweet, quiet portrait of the two of them being young and beautiful and in love.

From Kitty and Craig of Twin Lens… We want to take a moment to give credit to the ridiculously talented wedding planner for this event, Kimberly Richmond, of Runaway Bride Destination Weddings. While the venue and colorful Hindu rituals were visual in and of themselves, Kimberly built on all of it, and designed one of the most flawless and visual events we’ve ever had the pleasure of photographing.

Photography: Twin Lens | Videography: Cinematic Wedding | Wedding Planner: Runaway Bride Destinations | Hair & Makeup: Melissa V. Parry | DJ: Marky Enriquez | Chocolate Truffle Cake Creation: Rosewood Mayakoba Chefs | Decor/Florals: Perla Cervantes Moreno | Guitarists: Rumba Soul | Henna Artist: Arpita Patel | Invitation Suite: Mr. Boddington's Studio | Live Musical Trio: Arpason | Lopa's Reception Dress: Stella McCartney | Venue: Rosewood Mayakoba | Wedding: Rosewood Mayakoba

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