If I had to sum up Jennifer and Cheddy’s wedding in one word, it would be “happy.” Their wedding was happy. But if I could add just one other word to the mix, I would also call it “relaxed.”
Truthfully, I have never seen such a relaxed wedding — such an un-nervous bride nibbling on toast as her friend prepared her wedding day hair and makeup, such a chill groom kicking back to some Bob Marley, in true Jamaican style, on a steamy spring morning. They knew what this day was all about: Glorifying God as they brought their two lives together to start one new life — a life that started with a honeymoon to Puerto Rico, has taken them back to Canada where Cheddy will finish his masters degree this summer, and will find them in Asia, if all goes according to plan, before Christmas.
On the day of their wedding, though, it started at the home of a dear friend. When I saw the room where I would be photographing Jennifer’s dress, I wanted to absolutely squeal. Could a wedding photographer ask for anything better than this?!I truly believe I would have been happy to stay in that beautiful bedroom all day, photographing Jennifer’s dress and details and the beautiful home decor with Danny. But there were lots of other things going on out in the main living area, so I headed out there. Richard prepped some delicious smelling salad dressing for the Caribbean dinner at the reception that afternoon, while Jennifer’s mom ironed and her nephew played picaboo with the camera.And Jennifer? She looked beautiful as she was in the process of becoming even more beautiful.I just love these smiles — and how there is no question that Jennifer is her mother’s daughter! While Jennifer was getting ready, Danny was with Cheddy, who was gearing up for the wedding too, just across the lawn. Actually, he was spending a lot of time with his feet propped up, listening to music and basking in the breeze of a fan. But hey, that’s also important for a groom to do on his wedding day!Cheddy had initially planned to wear a green and brown tie. But then he learned that, some time before, Jennifer had inexplicably won a men’s tie as a prize during a game — and rather than tossing it in a bag for Goodwill, she held onto it for her future husband. Because, she figured, it was a nice tie! So nice that when Cheddy learned the story behind it, he decided that was the tie he had to wear on their wedding day. Next up is another of my favorite pictures from the day. And yes, that child made it into quite a few of my favorites! Then it was time for the first look. We love when a bride and groom opt to see each other before the ceremony — for several reasons. All the pent-up nerves and adrenaline start to ease away once the bride and groom actually see each other, once they hold hands for a few minutes, whisper a few words in each other’s ear. It makes the rest of the day far more relaxed for the couple, and not just because they’ve seen each other, but because they get the majority of their portraits done before the ceremony, before they’re surrounded by friends and family, before the drinks and dance floor beckon them to the reception. It’s also to the bride’s advantage to have her portraits taken shortly after her makeup is applied — and yes, Jennifer looked stunning. But I think my very favorite reason to have a first look is because of pictures like these.Jennifer and Cheddy began praying together, so Danny and I gave them some space, but we still kept clicking away at the shutter. I think they were as happy as a couple can be. And just think. A year ago at this time, their only thoughts about each other were, “Well, we sure don’t have much in common, and we don’t get along too great.” Oh, how things can change! I love this next picture so much. Maybe I even love it 1/100th as much as Cheddy loves Jennifer. Maybe.Oh, Jennifer — you looked incredible. And I’m thinking of the word “relaxed again” as I look at this picture of Jennifer’s bouquet: Three birds of paradise, freshly cut from the front yard. Perfect. And then we were off to the church, for one of the most lovely and heartfelt ceremonies I’ve ever had the pleasure of witnessing.Just the sweetest.And then came the moment where the pastor asked if anyone knew of any reason why there could be an objection to this marriage, and Jennifer had pretty much the best reaction ever!Nope. No objections. Not a single one. On to the kiss!Like I said — they were pretty much the happiest couple ever! Outside, they greeted their guests with lots of hugs and kisses, and then the crowded headed in for the reception and Jennifer and Cheddy had a moment to breathe before kicking off their party as newlyweds. And then the party — and you’d better believe it was a party! Dancing, dancing, and more dancing. A delicious dinner, catered by the couple’s friends and paying homage to their Puerto Rican and Jamaican origins. Some of the most scrumptious cupcakes I’ve ever tasted (and I had to taste several, just to make sure they were all as amazing as, you know, the first one). Then, for good measure, some more dancing!This was one of the better bouquet tosses/reactions I’ve seen — although Jennifer opted to throw hydrangeas instead of the birds of paradise. Whether she wanted to preserve her bouquet or avoid poking one of the single ladies in the eye, I’m not sure. But this was awesome.And then the afternoon wound down and it was time for the new Mr. and Mrs. Campbell to get to their honeymoon. They exited through a tunnel of well wishers, cheering and whistling and clapping and Jennifer and Cheddy headed off to Puerto Rico.Jen and Cheddy, it was more than a pleasure being a part of your wedding, and it was more than an honor. It was something we’re going to remember for the rest of our lives. The way your friends and family came together to put together such a beautiful, love-filled wedding, and the way you all celebrated like you couldn’t imagine being any happier. We wish you the very best as you start your marriage, and your journey around the world! We’ll be praying for you two!
~ Laura + Danny
Venue: First Alliance Church of Orlando
Bridal gown: David’s Bridal
Hairstyling and makeup: Rachel Jordan
Catering: Friends of the couple — Richard, Elba, Tauresa, Tim, and Treesa
Cake and cupcakes: Friends of the couple — Tom and Leah
Emcee/DJ: Friend of the couple — Josh
Videography: Jeff Schapp
Wedding coordination: Friends of the couple — Nneka Wicks, Karen Formica and Morgan Kuehlewind
Officiants: Pastor Orlando Rivera and Pastor Charlie Hughes