Saturday, December 01, 2007

So there you have it...

View from the airport shuttle window.

Ben and I are officially "Experienced destination-wedding photographers". Future wedding dates are filling fast, so book early, book often.

My original write-up started getting a bit long(er)-winded, and the more I wrote, the less interested I became in my own yammerings. And if I was boring myself, I can only imagine the family-vacation-slideshow-like boredom I'd be inflicting upon my readers. So here's a slightly less wordy summary:

Our whirlwind adventure began early one Friday morning a couple of weeks back. We flew out of DC around 7am and touched down for a four-hour stay in Houston. After getting our grub on (if you will) and browsing the airport shop wares, we departed for sunny Cancun Mexico and hit the ground around 4pm local time.

View from the hotel room balcony.

We dropped our bags in the room and dashed out the door destined for the rehearsal and dinner, which began just after we arrived. That wrapped sometime around...uh...8? 9? (It's all kinda a blur at this point).

Saturday morning we were up and out bright and early. We were scheduled to start shooting the bride and bridesmaids getting ready at the on-site spa at 8am. Around 11 we broke away and took the wedding dress and shoes out to the beach for a photo shoot of their own. Shortly after, I split off to shoot the guys while Ben stuck with the girls.

Somewhere around noon:30 the groom, groomsmen, bridesmaids, Ben and I convened at the chapel-by-the-sea (or ocean, or gulf, or whatever the hell that body of water is down there). Before too long, the bride arrived by white horse-drawn carriage and the ceremony got underway. We did our thing and shot the event. I managed to scratch the hell outta my (best quality, longest, most expensive) lens. Being a true professional, I only mourn for a second before getting back to the task at hand.

Immediately following the ceremony, Ben directed the principal players in some formal poses. Somewhere around 4pm we were granted an all too brief break. We headed back to the hotel room where I promptly fell dead asleep. After my 20 minute power nap, we were back on duty. We wandered over to the ballroom, arriving shortly before the start of the 5pm reception.

The reception rocked all-out. Like a party put on by 75 just-out-of-college kids run amok at an open bar (which, now that I think about it, is exactly what it was). It was an absolute blast. Many drinks were drunk, dances were danced and "I love you man"'s were distributed (all by the wedding party and guests). Ben and I just took pictures. Things finally wound down somewhere near...10? 11? Honestly I don't remember exactly.

Sunday morning we had to sort out bit of a room snafu. A situation made more difficult by us staying in a room under the groom's name, but paid for by the groom's father's credit card. Both of whom were staying on the far side of the resort, a half-mile up the road. Trying to organize all parties to get things straight was a challenge. Thankfully, Ben did the hard work. I held up in the room and fended off the encroaching housekeeping staff with a plunger and an arsenal of tiny vodka bottle from the minibar. They had orders to evict us, but we were having none of that.*

Once the room situation was straightened out, we had about a half of a day to ourselves. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough time for me to take a trip out to any of the semi-nearby Mayan ruins, so I ended up sitting on the beach, reading my book ("Elephants on Acid", a fascinating read, if you're interested), and having drinks brought to me by a resort employee.

The view from my lounge chair. Not bad for a mid-November afternoon.

The beer selection at the resort left a lot to be desired. It's hard to utter a discouraging word about a place where you can walk up to any bar anywhere on site and walk away with alcohol free of charge. However, when I asked a bartender what kind of beers they had, I swear I heard him say "We have both kinds, senior, Dos Equis and Tecate". Aiiiieee! So...I was forced to drink margaritas. I know. I'm a trooper. Mmmm, salty good.

All weekend, members of the wedding party took to calling me "Big Ben". It started out as just "Ben", but as Ben was the One True Ben, having both of us being Ben quickly got confusing. Hence the "Big" was added especially for me. Apparently, I resemble their hometown hero, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger:

Hrm. There may be a slight resemblance there. On the plus side, I know what I'm going to be for Halloween next year. Now I just have to find some parties in Pittsburgh where I can drink free all night.

I did notice an odd rule at the resort. Apparently, they're not too keen on you riding your bike in the pool:

(Click the image for the full sized version).

Can't imagine why. I guess they don't want you to run over the volleyball players. I only wish I'd visited in the era that predated the sign. That must have been a sight. A bunch of pasty white tourists biking around the 5' deep waters.

Anyway. The weekend wrapped up with Ben and I catching a cab to the airport at 5am Monday morning. After a few more hours lost to a Texas layover we were back in our own timezone and officially done with our first destination wedding. Er. I guess I should say "done shooting our first destination wedding". Now I've got to find time to process the 1,400 photos I took.

*(Not really, but that sounds much more interesting than "I held up in the room and read my book, just in case housekeeping came to try and throw us out on our ear").

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