What do you get when you take a naturally beautiful woman with an almost otherworldly calming presence about her… add an energetic, silly, romantic, salsa-dancing Ecuadorian-American… throw in about sixty of their friends and family members, and put them on the beach at the Kitty Hawk Pier?
You get something AMAZING, that’s what. Yeah, so I’m short on adjectives lately, sorry. Besides, I don’t know really how better to describe the day that Rita married Leo. It was amazing. We had perfect weather – AMAZING, because it had been raining almost nonstop, and even rained the very next day for Sam and Chris’ wedding in Kure Beach… but Rita and Leo, they got perfect weather. The setting was amazing. The people… amazing. Rita’s dress, originally her mother’s wedding dress, redesigned to fit Rita’s frame and personality… FREAKING AMAZING. Leo’s dance moves, Rita’s sensual self, the simplicity of their day mixed together with the complexity of these absolutely fascinating personalities and the way they interacted and related to one another. Just…. just amazing.
It’s this kind of wedding that makes me stop and take it all in. I usually witness it all through the viewfinder, through one of my favorite lenses, compressed field of view, targeting my subject, finding the light, composing and re-composing, translating the feelings I’m seeing into a frame in such a way so the eventual viewer will feel what was there at that moment. At this wedding, I wanted to experience the personalities without any of my senses impaired by focus or art. For a couple minutes, I pretended to be a guest and just watched them dance. I watched while Mike shot, and I took it all in.
Rita and Leo met salsa dancing in Baltimore. That’s the beginning of their relationship, and has been a core of it since they first met. Salsa was at the center of this reception, and it’s the first time I’ve really been in the middle of a salsa dance party. It’s sexy as hell. It’s beautiful. There’s so much communication happening between the bodies. There’s so much to capture, so much to witness. When I resumed photographer mode, I must have shot two hundred frames of one dance, because there were at least that many messages being conveyed between the two of them.
Mike and I found a late night salsa club in Wilmington. It’s a $5 cover, ladies get in free. We’re SO going there in a few weeks when we have a child-free weekend. I absolutely can’t wait.
Thank you, Rita and Leo, for so much. For letting us into your world. For being vulnerable and honest and welcoming. For being appreciative and warm and so very kind. For giving us complete freedom at your wedding to do what we do best. For trusting us completely, and for being such a gracious and wonderful hostess. Yours is a wedding we will never, ever forget. Congratulations… and thank you <3