Cartagena, Colombia, is one of the most picturesque, charming and humid cities I’ve ever been to. This ancient walled seaside city is filled with color, friendly people, cafes, street vendors and beautiful churches, and it was my absolute pleasure to fly there to shoot the wedding of Lizzette and Shad. One of the interesting things about Colombian weddings is that they all seem to start quite late in the evening. The lovely Lizzette’s makeup artist didn’t even arrive until 5 p.m., so it was a totally different shooting experience than a wedding here in California. Luckily, we had a day-after session planned for the next day. Otherwise, all of Lizzette and Shad’s portraits would have been taken sometime around 10 p.m. (in the pitch black darkness), and my head would have exploded. 😉
Lizzette and Shad chose to get married in the Church of Santo Domingo, which was built in 1539 and is just breathtaking to behold. I shot the wedding of Andrea and Andres at this church a few years ago, and despite the addition of some random palm trees in its interior, it still ranks as one of the most awesome churches I’ve ever seen. My good friend Jennifer Dery was a wonderful second shooter, and since she’d also photographed a wedding there a few years back, she was completely familiar with the city. (She’s a fabulous photographer, so if you’re having a wedding in San Diego, be sure to check out her great work.) In fact, she actually showed me many parts of the city that I hadn’t seen on my first visit (mostly because I was too hot to move). When hair and makeup ran nearly an hour late, Jen ended up getting all the guests out the door and over to the church, where the priest made a few jokes, then threatened to leave. An hour late and with only one minute to spare before the priest went home, an antique Mercury brought Lizzette, her father and I to the front door of the church. I had to sprint to the front of the church, because the processional began the minute Lizzette stepped out of the car. But it’s all in a day’s work at a Cartagena wedding. 🙂
For their reception, Lizzette and Shad had an open-air dinner on the lower level of the Casa del Arzobispado Hotel, then moved their guests upstairs for drinks and dancing. At 1 a.m., Devil’s Hour began, and a ton of costumed, partying racket-makers stormed onto the dance floor to twirl and have fun with the guests. I’d never seen anything like it, and really had a lot of fun watching all the craziness. Despite the fact that Lizzette and Shad (I think) partied until 4 or 5 a.m., they both rallied for a day-after session, which started at the Hotel Santa Clara (such a pretty hotel), and then continued throughout the winding streets of Cartagena. By the end of the shoot, we were all covered in sweat and humidity-caked dirt, so I suggested a dip in the pool, and Lizzette and Shad agreed. Be sure to scroll to the end of this post to see how much fun they had climbing into the pool in full tuxedo and white dress. Thanks, Lizzette and Shad, for including me and Jen in such a wonderful time in your lives. We loved working with you, and the post-shoot mojitos will be a fond memory for years to come.