When I met Lisa at Bridal Fantasy this January and she told me she was planning a destination wedding in Cuba, I was pretty excited. When she called me and we talked later and it looked like everything was a go, I was even MORE excited. When my husband and I realized it was pretty much the only week of the year that he could come with me and make a vacation out of it, HE was really excited. And when Lisa and Matt generously offered to pay for a full week for me when they could have technically only paid for a 5-day stay, they made me feel very happy inside. All in all, the amount of excitement we had about Cuba was pretty major – and this wedding did not disappoint. It was only my second time off the continent (first was Israel in 2008) and my first proper beach vacation ever, even if it was a work-cation – and it was my first ever destination wedding. After shooting for quite a few years, I’d decided it was something I wanted to try, so I offered a free All-Day package to anyone who wanted to pay my way to a destination. This Destination Wedding Offer is still standing for ONE MORE wedding by the way, so contact me right away if you want be that lucky person!
We had a bit of a scare with Hurricane Isaac so close, but all we got was a small tropical storm, which rained on our parade for three days. The wedding, originally intended for Monday, was moved up to Tuesday and could potentially have been later if the weather didn’t smile on us. As it was, it started raining just after the first set of photos – thankfully we were close to the building where Matt and Lisa were staying, so we all had a bit of a rest before heading off to Veradero, which was a big decision with the weather zig-zagging like it was – in the end, I’m so glad we went, it ended up being beautiful and I loved working at the Santa Elvira church. This church was built in 1938, but it looks a whole lot older, and people still worship there. The beautiful stone architecture had me in raptures, as anyone who likes to take photos might be able to imagine.
After this, we checked out Al Capone’s beach house (there’s some debate about this, but he was there at one point), which was a pretty amazing place inside and out – I had them sit on the porch and look a little “gangsta” with their sunglasses! When our time at Le Casa de Al drew to a close, our cab driver suggested the Xanadu Mansion on the golf course as another wonderful place to take some photos – their back porch went right onto the beach as well, with an amazing water-and-sky view.
We then took a couple of hours of a break before their reception, during which, as my husband can testify, I pretty much just lay on the (reasonably comfy) bed and did nothing. Which was glorious. If only more weddings had a big break for everyone to rest, weddings are exhausting even though they are totally amazing.
The reception was pretty awesome! Held at the resort in one of their sheltered snack bar areas, there was a great deal of fun to be had dancing and enjoying each other’s company – and since several of Matt and Lisa’s relatives rate on the crazy scale, there were a lot of hilarious moments. The band that played was seriously world-class – they did an incredible rendition of Stairway to Heaven and let some folks sing it with them, which was entertaining for everyone, especially because it was like a cross between bad kareoke and an amazing Cuban bad, which made for some very funny moments. Their family also seems to have a habit of dragging people out onto the dance floor – including the staff, some of which I caught on camera. Matt and Lisa’s family and close friends were a ton of fun, and they gave Paul and I a lot of love while we were vacationing together, we even made friends with Lisa’s Mom in an evening of conversation in the lobby one night. They were a great group to travel with, and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience of travelling with a bunch of strangers!
The Iberostar Laguna Azul resort is the first 5-star resort I’ve ever been to, though I was at what I think was a 4-star once in Israel, I didn’t spend much time there except to sleep. Overall, the resort had a lot of amazing stuff to offer – in our free days, Paul and I took a salsa lesson, watched a magic show, enjoyed the a la carte restaurants, and spent time in the pools and at the beach. I got a massage on the beach, which I’ve been wanting to do ever since I knew it was possible. Pretty much the only downside to the resort was the food. I’ll be writing a detailed review on TripAdvisor in a few days, which I will also link to here, if you want more info.
After having thought about the whole experience for a couple of days I’ve decided unequivocally, I would do it again. Go ahead, take me on vacation! Wooooo! And with that, enjoy the photos. Cheers! And don’t forget to check out their Day After and Trash the Dress Beach session featuring The Bat Cave as well!
Don’t forget to check out their Day After/Trash the Dress session!
Are you considering bringing a photographer along on your destination wedding?
Talk to Twyla about Admire Studios Destination Weddings!