"My fiance doesn't like his picture taken, so we don't want too many posed photos." Annie told me in the email just prior to arriving for their wedding.
"Not too surprising, most men don't like have their pictures taken." I thought to myself.
We met the night before the ceremony and I could see how shy he was and how outgoing she was.
"No problem." I told them, "I hardly ever even look at the groom, it's all about the bride."
And it IS all about the bride.
The day of the ceremony, we met at 3 p.m., the ceremony was to be at 5 p.m., a bit late for Caye Caulker.
"Want a beer?" the groom asked me as I arrived to start the beach portraits.
His nervousness made me nervous so I accepted.
Annie was doing her hair and putting on her makeup, I got busy photographing the dress. Setting up that shot takes time and is harder than it looks, being an interior shot with low light and I hate to use a flash, so I just shoot and shoot and shoot and sooner or later something is bound to turn out right.
I tried to not use runon sentences, I didn't want to spook the groom, so Annie and I just went about our business of the taking-of-the-photos for Mom and Grandma and Auntie and Friends.
She and I went out to the beach to give him space to get ready and relax and calm himself. I don't believe he was nervous about getting married, no not at all. He was nervous about me. I assured him I only take thinner, younger pictures and we headed down the beach to my favorite coconut trees and Tia Ilna's rickity bench. I consciously have to slow myself down, it helps in the end result. I have to remind myself it is not a race. More is not better, it is just more, as I mentally worked through my shot list.
After an hour we swang back by the hotel and picked up the groom and slowly made our way down the beach. Before leaving the pool area, several onlookers offered shote of tequilla, and being the very observant photographer that I am, I was able to photograph what I call "Tequilla Face," the UGH!
"Plenty of time, plenty of time, no rush, go slow." I kept telling myself as I suggested that we stop at Popeyes on the beach for another beer. A couple of Cuban guys have taken over the bar and restaurant, and were excited when Mr. Ku, the minister also stopped in to chat with us and drink a juice. The Cuban guys mistakenly thought that we were going to have the ceremony there.
"Sorry, sorry, next time, next time" I said as we ambled down.
"We cook a pig for you next time and make big party."
"O.K., no problem" I said over my shoulder as we continued ambling down the beach.
I hadn'tnoticed it until then.... the groom had relaxed into the momenet.
The ceremony was at the end of Tropical Paradise's dock. I have timed the wonderful Mr. Ku, our marriage minister for Caye Caulker. It is typically a 6 minute ceremony, but 30 minutes later, we were still listening. The wedding party was the bride, groom, minister, photographer, and Sally the Wedding Planner and Scott, her boyfriend as wittnesses.
The bride and groom had a lot to say to each other. They told what they liked and loved about each other. They had a lot of promises to each other. But they were good promises about how they were going to treat each other and what they expected from the realtionship. I learned a lot about them and their relationship during the ceremony.
In this job you meet people and spend a couple of hours with them and it is all surface stuff, and make nicey nicey. But this shy man revealed whole other levels, and I was honored to have been a wittness to it.