Photographing a Pensacola Beach wedding was probably one of the last things I’d have thought I would ever do when I was a teenager growing up nearby in Pensacola. Let alone photographing the wedding of a close friend’s little sister whom I’ve known since before either of us could legally drive a car. While it goes without saying that I love and appreciate what I get to do for a living, it makes it that much more rewarding and special when I get to spend a weekend with some people I’ve known for more than half my life!
Even though I had only just met Z [Irving], I felt immediately drawn to greet him with a hug. That is more a mark of his character than mine–he just received me in a way that felt so open and welcoming that I instantly felt like I had known him for years as well. Both Lindsey and Z were from Florida, though their careers and lives have brought them all over the map as they go around the world helping people as medical doctors. When planning their wedding they decided to keep the celebrations close to home and chose to have their wedding on the beautiful white sands of Pensacola Beach just outside of Hemingway’s Island Grill.
Suffice it to say when Lindsey wrote me to let me know that they settled on a date and location and they wanted to book me for their wedding, I was honored and thrilled to come back home for the event.
The week leading up to the wedding, the forecast threatened rainy weather for nearly the entire week I’d be in town, including the wedding day itself. However the days before the wedding, the rain seemed to hold off. And continue to hold off even for the rehearsal beach day… Then came the day of the wedding a 100% chance of thunderstorms in the area. The morning and early afternoon looked fairly dreary and threatening. It only got worse as we got into the afternoon hours until torrential rain and strong winds blew through the area. But as luck would have it, it truly just blew through and after about 45 minutes and literally moments before the ceremony was about to begin, the sun began breaking through the clouds and the winds calmed. Event staff and even several guests clamored to set up the chairs for the ceremony. The beach looked beautiful and you could feel the excitement in the air for both the forgiving weather and the wedding itself; the strums and hums of guitar and voice from Kyle, Lindsey’s brother, floated by as Lindsey walked down the aisle with her parents. Nicole, another close family friend from Pensacola performed a beautiful ceremony. Later, as I was working with them on their portraits, the storm-clouds that gave way turned into one of the most beautiful sunset skies that I’ve seen in a very, very long time–the kind that I never see in California, but that I know existed what feels like a lifetime ago back in my old home town.
Afterwards, the reception kicked off with a wonderfully choreographed first dance which foreshadowed the electrifying dancing that was to come. A piñata replaced the tradition of the bouquet toss as gold coin (candies) and a few mini liquor bottles erupted from the dangling papier-mâché cake. The evening was chock full of dancing and closed out with a sparkler exit and a surprise getaway on a boat. If you need photographic corroboration of anything I’ve just described, by all means, please scroll through the following favorites of the day: