Drown the Gown

Drown the Gown | Isla Mujeres

So, there’s a second part to that awesome Isla Mujeres Destination Wedding I posted about.

Brittany and Crystal wanted to do a day after “Trash the Dress” session and get in the ocean wearing their bridal gowns.

“Heck yes!” says the photographer who is writing this with two black eyes from an incident involving a bride and groom on snowboards, a six year old out of control skier, the camera and the photographer.  Of course I want to get in the ocean with my camera.  That sounds awesome.

So we did.  Here’s a few of my favorite images from our Drown the Gown session on Isla Mujeres, along with images of me capturing them thanks to Julie Pizzo.

More on how we did it after the photos.

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When Britt and Crys first approached me about their wedding, the first wish they expressed was that they wanted to go in the ocean and do a drown the dress session.  I knew I would absolutely want to photograph it at least partially underwater, if not all the way underwater so I immediately started researching underwater photography housing for my cameras.  The options are varied and so are their prices. Full functional underwater housing, such as the kind my friend Ralph Pace uses for his amazing photography of underwater sea life, for my cameras is, in general, more expensive than my camera bodies themselves.  We’re talking in the $3500-$4500 range.  To rent it for two weeks while I was in Mexico was almost $1000.  I still considered it.  My original vision was to find a super calm cove and go out early in the morning when the water was like glass and get the girls full submerged.  I am now super thankful I didn’t go that route because it would have been impossible due to the weather we had the week we were in Mexico: it was blustery almost every day, all day long and it was especially windy the morning we had to photograph the session.

The next option was to go with a bag.  After talking to a number of folks, I made the decision that this was the way to go and pulled the trigger on a DiCAPac WP-S10.  I was told by most that it is hard to change the settings when it’s in the bag, that I would be sacrificing sharpness (which I’m fairly obsessed over), and some people said they ran it on autofocus and some said they pre-set settings and ran with it.  I found it easy to change aperture and shutter speed, but impossible to change autofocus and while I had set it up to autofocus, I wish that I had just chosen one of the focus selections in the top, middle of the frame and run with that.  Overall, I’m super stoked on what we captured.  I think it’s dreamy, passionate and makes you feel like you too could get swept away by the heat of the moment.  You can almost hear those waves crashing.

Everything that isn’t partially underwater is shot with the Nikon D750 and either the Sigma Art 50 or the Nikkor 70-200.  Everything that was taken partially underwater is the Nikon D800 and the Nikkor 24-70.

Location: Isla Mujeres | Second Shooter: Julie Pizzo | Camera: Nikon D800 and D750 | Waterproofing: DiCAPac

Isla Mujeres Destination Wedding

Isla Mujeres Destination Wedding | Brittany + Crystal

I should quit my job now because I’m sure I’m never going to be able to top the amount of love I have for these two ladies and their Isla Mujeres destination wedding.  I want to share all their photos but I have rules against that because I’m pretty sure no one really looks after 10 images anyways, so I tried to keep it together and not go overboard.  That being said,  it was a priority for Britt and Crys to really take advantage of their location so after getting ready and their first look at the hotel, we had hours to cruise around the island on our golf cart Joaquin and take loads of amazing portraits inspired by the ridiculously awesome place we were in.  There’s a few other of my favorites that I didn’t double up on over on their sneak peek from last week.

These two gorgeous gals hold a special place in my heart: they are former neighbors of my best mate Haley.  It was an unbelievable honor to be asked to be their photographer and I hope I did them justice and that they love their photos as much as I do.  Half of my job is already done when friends or acquaintances hire me.  So much of what I do involves creating a relationship and a quick connection in order to bring out genuine moments in folks and when I already know you, that hurdle is non-existent.

This was not my first time to Isla Mujeres, and although it’s changed quite a bit since I stopped in here on my way home from Cuba in 2008, it still has the heart and soul of the island I originally fell in love with.  Isla Mujeres is relaxed: the best sort of island time.  There is inexpensive delicious ceviche at every restaurant, cold cheap Mexican beer, smiling faces and warm hearts everywhere you go.  There are no massive hotels, no high rises, and no fancy private beaches for the most part.  You can get $2 fish tacos from a man in a plywood booth that presses his own tortillas.  You can rent a wonderful apartment on Airbnb for very little.  It’s off-the-beaten path travel at it’s best and it made the most wonderful backdrop for a wedding.

After we spent the whole day jaunting around the isle, Britt and Crys were wed in front of friends and family at the Zama Beach Club, which is officially in my top five favorite venues of all time now.  Instead of cake, they had a churro cart.  Instead of a special cocktail, they had fresh coconuts handed out to drink from as guests walked in.  Shoes were expected to be removed.  Toasts were made.  Sunsets were watched.  Crowd-surfing happened.

Britt and Crys, I can’t wait to come visit you and all of your amazing friends in Philly.  I know that your life is going to be filled with dancing, laughter and unicycles, and I wouldn’t wish anything less for the two of you.

Venue: Zama Beach Club | Wedding Planning and Day Of Coordination: Sunhorse Weddings | Invitation Design: Karith Gingrow | Bridal Gowns: BHLDN, Lace and Liberty, and The Wedding Dress Shoppe | Second Shooter: Julie Pizzo

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Isla Mujeres Destination Wedding

Isla Mujeres Destination Wedding | Brittany + Crystal | Sneak Peek

The island of Isla Mujeres is a magical place where you ride golf carts from place to place, eat fish tacos from a man in a plywood stand who presses his own homemade tortillas to order, swing through the rafters of the bar on the main street after one too many tequila shots, and, apparently, have one of the most amazing weddings I’ve ever had the opportunity to photograph.  Big thanks to Brittany and Crystal, who not only entrusted me to capture their Isla Mujeres destination wedding at the Zama Beach Club, but also gave me an entire afternoon to tromp around the island taking portraits before the ceremony.  It was basically my dream come true: beach, fish tacos, plenty of hilarious women, and a wedding.  Here’s a few images from their incredible day.  I can’t wait to share more, including the ones from a day after trash the dress session in the ocean!

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Bluxome Street Winery Wedding

Bluxome Street Winery Wedding | Liz + Engin

All weddings should have farm tables.

All weddings should have relaxed planners and coordinators as amazing as the gals at Posh & Folk.

All weddings should have catering as delicious as the family style meal provided by Melons.

All weddings should have succulents in their bouquets.

All weddings should be at wineries.

This Bluxome Street Winery wedding was nothing short of understated elegance and refined comfort.  It was absolutely perfect for Liz and Engin, who met over wine and envisioned a simple yet stylish evening surrounded by loved ones.  Basically, they nailed it.

I regret not eating pie.

Venue: Bluxome Street Winery | Planning and Coordination: Posh & Folk | Minister: Rev. Maggie Beretz | Florist: The Floral Loft | Caterer: Melons Catering | Bakery: Three Babes Bakeshop | DJ: Heart of Gold DJs | Gown: Allure Bridals | Bridesmaids’ Attire: Rent the Runway | Hair and Makeup: Sacha Badame | Rentals: Bright Rentals

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White Sparrow Barn Wedding

White Sparrow Barn Wedding | Teddy + Janet

Teddy and Janet are awesome.  I’m 110% certain that you can’t mention Teddy in my family without someone exclaiming, “I LOVE JANET!”  Teddy, this is your future: being overshadowed by love for your wife.  To be honest, I’m also 110% certain that Teddy is absolutely overjoyed for this to happen.  He will be the first to tell you that Janet is not only the most important person in his life, but the best thing that’s ever happened to him.  I know he’s secure in himself enough to be okay with the situation because frankly, there’s no lack of love for Teddy in my family, or any of the families that surround him.  And now, this love extends and envelopes Janet as well.

Teddy grew up with my “little” brother and they have a very tight knit group of friends to this day.  Despite Teddy’s distance and independence from the rest of the group, most of whom still live in Dallas, everyone adores him.  Woe be upon the friend who moves away from the group!  They now all also adore Janet.  I can’t imagine what it was like for Janet to meet Teddy’s boisterous friends for the first time, but I can say with confidence that I’m glad I grew up with them, instead of having to be introduced to them.  As my brother would say, “Dukes for life.”

It was hard to pick just a few frames to share from Teddy and Janet’s wedding.  Teddy’s family hails from Liberia, Africa and with almost 200 people in attendance, half of which were in traditional African wedding attire, it made for an incredibly colorful wedding.  My mother makes an appearance below, learning how to twerk.  The infamous plastic vuvuzela made an appearance not only to introduce the ceremony, but through out it.  Teddy’s mother and her church members catered the entire dinner, offering some traditional African dishes that were amazing!  She made the best cabbage I’ve ever had!

I’m so happy for Teddy and Janet.  Much like the rest of my family, I absolutely adore both of them.  They are an incredible powerhouse dynamic duo: bright, smart, adventurous go-getters that remind me of myself.  I know that they will achieve each and every one of their lofty dreams in life, together.

Venue: White Sparrow Barn | Invitations: Papersource | Florist: Whole Foods | Bakery: Sugar and Ice Custom Cakes | Bride’s Attire: Bridal Warehouse | Veil: Alain Patterson Couture | Bolero Designer: Alter My Heart | Groom’s Attire: Jos A. Bank

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Bluxome Street Winery Wedding

Bluxome Street Winery Wedding | Engin + Liz | Sneak Peek

Liz and Engin came to me by way of a close friend from high school and I’m so thrilled they did.  Liz is unbelievably kind.  She pays attention to every word you say in a wonderfully earnest way that makes you feel like the most important person in the room.  She’s funny and gracious and Engin is a most wonderful complement to her.  Their ceremony and reception were simple, yet elegant and in a dream venue for me: a winery tasting room!  The Bluxome Street Winery was the perfect location for this dynamic duo because they met over a glass of wine.  Thanks to some help from the fabulous ladies at Posh & Folk, who were the best and most relaxed and organized wedding planners I’ve ever worked with, the event space was styled out in and flipped in mere minutes for a gorgeous family style dinner that I can’t wait to share photos of.  In the meantime, here’s a few frames from Liz and Engin’s wedding day.

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Arden Hills Wedding

Arden Hills Wedding | Josh + Malia | Sneak Peek

Josh and Malia are amazing.  Although they’ve known each other since high school, they didn’t begin dating until much later.  Today, they are the best of friends and at such ease with each other that their engagement session is still what I consider my best work ever.  That being said, we did take photos for an entire eight hour day while exploring San Francisco together!  They are so close, such good friends and know each other so well that they essentially bought each other the SAME wedding day gift.  I can’t wait to share their photos from their first look during which they opened their presents back to back while laughing because they were essentially the same.

Both of them hail from fairly large, extremely loving families.  Not only are the loving, but they are open, gracious and extremely close.  I was overwhelmed by how much fun these families had together at their wedding and the amount of love shared during the toasts.  I’ll share more from this gorgeous winter Arden Hills wedding, but until then, here’s a few frames to hold you over.

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Trois Estate Wedding

An Enchanted Rock Trois Estate Wedding | Aaron + Ellen

Nestled in the shrubs and mesquite trees of central Texas, just past the vast pink granite domes that make up Enchanted Rock State Park is a bed and breakfast that is EVERYTHING a traveler looking for a quite respite wants in their bed and breakfast.  The Trois Estate is quiet and picturesque; it’s an eclectic mix of quaint Southwest, comfort, and the downright bizarre, all the while surrounded by the expansive beauty that this part of the Texas hill country has to offer.  The estate’s cathedral is a sight to be seen, with an antique fireplace and wooden pews underground, but what’s really interesting is the attached hidden heated grotto, perfect for a midnight skinny-dip.  You didn’t get that idea from me!

The resort offers an intimate, relaxing experience in one of the most beautiful parts of Texas and I can’t imagine a more perfect place for Aaron and Ellen to wed at.  Aaron has been a prolific climber for as long as I’ve known him (which is a long time) and Ellen is a climbing convert and an avid trail runner.  They were seeking an cozy private venue for a small wedding and the Trois Estate was the perfect location.  Most of the guests were able to stay on-site (we had the run of the place).  The ceremony was held in an enclosed tree-filled outdoor patio, a cocktail hour on an upper outdoor deck overlooking the landscape as the sun set and the dinner in a private interior dining room filled with large overbearing furniture filled with Texas charm.  It was a dream venue to photograph at as well and my only regret is that I had such a busy weekend (three weddings in Texas in three days!) that I wasn’t able to sincerely enjoy the awesome that this quiet location and landscape had to provide.

The wedding was simple and absolutely reflective of Aaron and Ellen and their personalities.  It was attended by immediate family and the closest of friends only and followed up with an amazing multi-course BBQ meal from Chef Jay and his incredible staff at Chef Jay Events.   I can imagine a more beautiful, touching and poignant way to celebrate the love of two people I hold dear and I’m honored to have been able to photograph their day.

Here’s a few of my favorite frames from their Trois Estate wedding.

Venue: Trois Estate at Enchanted Rock | Officiant: Rob Lohmeyer | Catering: Chef Jay Events | Bride’s Dress: Badgley Mischka | Groom’s Attire: Joseph Abboud | Hair and Make-Up: Brandy Pate of Jay and Co | Rentals: Whim Rentals

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San Francisco Engagement Session | Kelley + Neal

Oh man.

THIS.

I’ve wanted to share this forever!

What’s better than a romp around one of our favorite cities, while eating oysters, drinking wine, and dancing in the streets?

Kelley is best friends with one of my closest friends and I’ve known her for quite some time.  I must say, it was an absolutely HUGE honor to be asked to be their wedding photographer.  I am so excited to travel to Wimberly, TX this spring to photographer her marraige to Neal, who is one cool cat.  When they first approached me about it, I suggested a rendezvous in a city that we all love for a destination engagement session, which they were on board with.  San Francisco was eventually chosen and we all met up for one awesome weekend of fun!

We hit all the best spots for this session: Brenda’s Soul Kitchen, the super rad Phoenix Hotel,  the top of California St for some views of the city, China Town and Little Italy, Coit Tower, the Ferry Building, and ultimately, The Page, the bar at which they first exchanged vows of love with each other.

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Empire Mines Wedding

Destination Wedding Photographer | Recent Published Work

Holy wedding season Batman!

The fall is wrapping up and I have to admit: I’ve been swamped.  September and October were my busiest months.  Thank you SO MUCH to my amazing patient clients who have all been waiting on their images.  What an incredible year I’ve had so far!  I’ve photographed 36 weddings so far this year and 14 of those were in the last two months.  In the meatime, somethings have fallen to the wayside, like my normally proflific daily blogging and sharing of published work.  Here’s a few things I’ve missed in the last two months while I’ve been so slammed!

EVER OURS

Mo and Adam and their kick ass Celio Ranch wedding in South Lake Tahoe was snapped up by the amazing Lydia over at Ever Ours.  I’m so sad that the end of the year will also mark the end of Ever Ours, a wonderful wedding blog that celebrates photography and moments over details.  If you know about another wedding blog as awesome as hers that can fill those (very large) shoes, please let me know!

Tahoe Ranch Wedding published at Ever Ours

Borrowed & Blue San Antonio

Borrowed & Blue has been one of my favorite wedding blogs for quite some time.  They never complain that there’s not enough details for one, but they also seperate their blog into US cities.  When they opened up a San Antonio version of their well known site, I was quick to send over Jimmy and Karlie’s 2014 destination wedding to them.  It went up a few weeks back and it’s so fun to relive their awesome day.  Jimmy and Karlie just welcomed all 8lbs 2oz of Natalie, the newest addition to their family last week.

San Antonio Wedding published at Borrowed & Blue

The Daily Dog Tag

The Daily Dog Tag is an awesome little blog that I recently discovered that focuses on professional photography that involves dogs, adoptable pets around the country, and artful and unique products.  They published the first in a series of sessions with Schnoll Family and are excited to post follow-ups with the newest member of their family, Jack.  I just recently photographed Jack’s 6 month session, so you can imagine how long ago this one was!  Regardless, big thanks to the Daily Dog Tag for the family photography internet love.

Published work from Lauren Lindley at the Daily Dog Tag

Love and Lavender

I’ve wanted to get a feature on Love and Lavender for ages, but I’ve never had anything quite romantic or whimsical enough for this wonderful wedding blog that focuses on inspiring, magical and rustic outdoor weddings.  I knew that David and Emily’s Empire Mine State Park wedding was the perfect fit for them and it was published last week on their site.

Lauren Lindley Photography published at Love and Lavender

Thumbtack

I’ve had so many wonderful experiences with clients I’ve discovered on Thumbtack.  Not only did Thumbtack take me to visit the White House in Washington DC last January (something I’ve yet to blog about also), but I managed to grow my business and turn it into a full time position for me in very few years thanks to them.  I used to mentor photographers new to the Thumbtack platform, but gave it up when they changed the program and I was no longer helping just other photogs.  Helping other photographers is incredibly rewarding: frankly I wouldn’t be where I am today without a lot of help from a lot of other people.  Thumbtack asked to interview me a few weeks ago after catching site of a blog I wrote about how to be successful on Thumbtack for photographers and I readily agreed.  You can see the full post via this link.

Lauren Lindley Thumbtack tips for pros