Destination wedding in Jamaica. Grand Bahia Principe. Samantha Danis Photography. Ottawa Wedding Photographer

      How lucky am I to get to travel to document Destination weddings? Luckily for me when Kathleen emailed me about shooting her wedding at the Grand Bahia Principe in Jamaica, I had already been so I was pretty excited to explore the grounds once more and create something new! Their engagement shoot was nothing short of a) fun, b) beautiful and c) fabulous so I knew that their wedding would be nothing short of the same, if not more. Kathleen and I kept in touch up until a few days before departure because we were just so excited about it all.

      Of course when the day finally came, I couldn’t wait to get to the airport and meet everyone from her crew. I was so happy to find a very welcoming crew and an awesome t-shirt for myself (which everyone else got of course). It had a little map of Jamaica with a star at the Grand Bahia Principe location, a sunset image with Kathleen + Chris’ picture faded into the sky and of course their wedding date! And on the back it said ”Wedding Crashers” which I thought was hilarious and an awesome keepsake for everyone. The days leading up to the wedding were met with fabulous weather, a little find and of course lots of sun. There was some stress of room switching for our bride and groom but they did get upgraded to the luxury side which was definitely a bonus! After some relax time by the beach and pool though it was time to buckle up and get this wedding day done!

      I met up with Chris early on in the day to get my special bracelet to allow me to get onto the luxury side of the resort where the girls were getting ready. He seemed pretty relaxed and then I asked him how he was doing. He said he was doing good, had a nice morning but he was getting more and more nervous, I reassured him that everything would be fine and went on my merry way to meet Kathleen. As I arrived in the room the girls were in their final stages of getting ready and running around doing their finishing touches. Kathleen looked absolutely stunning and she wasn’t even done, that’s how beautiful this girl is. I quickly grabbed her dress and wandered around the resort in the hopes to get a beautiful shot of her dress out in the greenery but mother nature had another idea. The wind was ferocious and there was absolutely nowhere for me to hang it without it flying away, and I obviously did not want that to happen so back to the room I went. The girls were given gifts by Kathleen’s mother which were custom sunglasses with their names and bridal party roles which were über cool! Kathleen also gifted her girls a few things including bath bombs and a super pretty rose gold compact mirror (I kinda, sorta loved it honestly). The girls all thanked their bestie and took a few more selfies before it was time to get dressed. I had the girls go wait out in the hall (where it was still crazy windy) while Kathleen got dressed with her mom. It was a beautiful private moment and they were strong and kept it together, not a single tear was shed. Kathleen walked out to greet her girls and show them herself as a bride for the first time. The reaction was nothing short of super cute as all of their mouths opened in AW and smiles all around. It was finally time for Kathleen + Chris’s first look!

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      The only area I’d found that was still windy but not as bad as literally everywhere else was this little balcony just off of the first floor hallway that over looked the jungle. Chris waited for his bride, soaking everything in and then he asks me; ”Can I kiss her?” I couldn’t help but smile and giggle a little, of course you can kiss her! After a bit of a pep talk he turned around and Kathleen walked her way over to him. She spoke a few words and before she even touched his shoulder he started crying. She tapped him ever so gently and he turned only to look at her, eyes watering, holding his breath, and biting his lip. I don’t think he could even believe just how beautiful his soon to be wife was. He started to cry even more, which then made Kathleen tear up and she grabbed him and brought him in for a hug as he wiped away his tears. The wind was so strong that the veil just engulfed his face for a moment while they embraced. After some more crying and smiles they snuggled up together for a few photos and of course that oh so special kiss, Kathleen and I went back to her room for the final first look with her poppa before heading off to the ceremony space.

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      This gorgeous wedding was at the Gazebo at the very end of a beach surrounded by sand and the ocean. All the guests were waiting while the boys stood at the front waiting for the ladies arrival. When they did arrive, the wind picked up even more than it had earlier in the day which made for an interesting grand entrance. A few of the girls dresses were wrap dresses and when the wind would catch them they would fly open! Thank fully the ladies had cat like reflexes and were able to catch the dresses before critical malfunction happened. As Kathleen walked down the aisle arm in arm with her parents, smiles all around, Chris waited for her in such anticipation. He told me that he was crying but any time his eyes teared up, the wind literally dried his eyes up! I think that ended up being the case for everyone. He greeted his bride down the stairs and led her up to where they would be saying their vows. The officiant had a great anecdote about how ”Just like Kathleen’s bouquet of flowers, life and love is beautiful but will eventually come to an end” and I couldn’t help but let out a small cackle at the very back because Kathleen’s bouquet was actually beautiful fake flowers! Kathleen later told me she also laughed because she thought, Jokes on you! Anywho, the ceremony was short and sweet. I think my favourite part was when the officiant asked the two of them to exchange rings and to show everyone each others hands with the rings on them to show that the deed has been done. A quick signing of the registry, a first kiss and a large cheers from their family and friends and these two were making their way down the aisle as husband and wife. The joy in their faces was absolutely contagious and I couldn’t help but smile from behind my camera as I watched them toast their first drink together.

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      After the ceremony we had anticipated doing family photos on the Rock peninsula right beside the Gazebo but unfortunately the wind was seriously just too strong. To the point where it was blowing my very large camera and lens almost out of my hand! So we rounded up the family and wedding party and made our way to a grassy area between trees where thankfully the wind was much more tamed. After a quick family shoot the wedding party and myself made our way to our next area. This crew was definitely a hilarious bunch and I had such a great time with them. The girls were so beautiful and full of love for each other and it totally shined through all the photos. They even whipped out their custom sun glasses for a few gangster shots that totally made my day. Some classy ladies doing the best rap album cover ever in blush dresses haha! I sent the ladies off to some shade while the boys came over and although they were tame at first, they got crazy pretty quick! The faces came out, the silly poses had a mind of their own and it was seriously just a good time to be had by all. At this point in time one of the guys (I believe it was Matt) asked me if I needed help carrying my gear. I never want to impose myself on people because my bag is fairly heavy so I told him no, I was okay. That’s when he told me my back was pealing pretty heavily and I had a horrible red mark on my left shoulder. Turns out my burn from Thursday was actually worse then I thought so I caved and let him carry the bag around. Actually, many of the guys and even the maid of honour took turns carrying it around, and for that I say THANK YOU! You guys are seriously the best xoxox.

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      Moving on! After a sending the wedding party away, taking 15mins with the bride and groom for some portraits, we decided it was time to take a break and to meet up at 5pm to continue our portrait session before the reception start time at 6pm. During that 1.5hrs I uploaded photos, edited a few sneak peeks, showered and edited some more. Our wedding party on the other hand chowed down on some pizza after changing out of their outfits to let them breathe a little. I mean this is Jamaica in May, it’s pretty darn humid even with the wind. After a delay (thanks pizza for being late), our wedding party finally met back up with me at the reception restaurant for some more photos. We wandered around the beach taking photos of the crew having a good time but I think my favourite had to be when we wandered over to the kids water park. The boys took their shoes and socks off and rolled up their pants while the girls lifted their dresses and went to have fun in the water. Kicking it around while the bride and groom smooched right in the middle. Best moment though had to be when I was just taking a picture of them and I asked someone to go throw some water around behind them and Matt just took charge and went for it! The squat was deep and the arm movement was powerful. Matt, you did good, I’m proud of you and I also have the pictures that show how hard you worked.

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      We finished portraits with just Kathleen + Chris on the pier and then on a little walk out right into the ocean. It was far too beautiful not to make them walk on the slimy concrete walk out haha!

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      The reception was beautiful. White and cream linens everywhere with pops of green leafs along the centre of the tables and on their stationary. They had a beautiful black and gold guest book that was to be filled with messages and polaroid photos from their guests and finally a super fun kissing game. Roll the huge inflatable dice to get them to kiss, or potentially have to kiss someone yourself! Their MC, Steve did a really great job announcing everything all evening, keeping everyone laughing and stalling when he had too. There was a speech by Chris’s dad which spoke highly of his son, and new daughter in law, so beautiful in fact that if made Chris cry (I need more grooms that cry). They hugged it out for what seemed like a long period of time and it was very sweet to watch. Then came the speech from Kathleen’s father, short and sweet. Joking around a little, praising his little girl and thanking everyone for being there. The Maid of Honour and Best man speech was also short and sweet BUT what made this one funny was not the short little stories they each had to say about our bride and groom, but the fact that they wrote their speech on the paper drawer liner from inside their hotel room! I couldn’t stop laughing when I saw them pull out this large piece of basically tissue paper with some scribbles on it, it was perfect. Kathleen’s parents surprised the couple by bringing Kathleen’s dad and Chris’s parents to the front and gifting them a bottle of wine that our newly married couple had purchased and brought back from Italy a few years prior. Nicole (Kathleen’s mom) said that they knew when they gifted her with the wine that that she would keep it until their wedding day where they could all drink it together as big family. It was a very lovely gift and moment to be had by everyone. After a quick thank you from the bride and groom and some cake cutting, it was off to the dance floor!
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      Our happy couple chose a traditional slow dance as their first dance and it was so sweet for an entirely different reason than most of my weddings. Kathleen basically sang the entire song to Chris as they spun around the dance floor completely entangled in each other! I could see Her smile peak through certain lyrics and Chris did the same, it was honestly just so so sweet to watch.  A bunch of guests were crying at this point too which gave me the giggles because I thought it was so cute. After a quick father daughter then son and mother dance the guests were invited to join in. Chris danced with his sister which quickly turned into their two parents joining in for a big family dance. There were many tears in this moment with Chris hugging his dad again and then a large family hug. Again, why is everything they do so darn sweet? The part then really got going thanks to some EDM turned into old school jams. The dance floor was seriously on fire. You had Kathleen dancing it out like it ain’t nobodies business, her wedding party joining in, even babies dancing the night away in their parents arms! But I think my favourite part of the dancing had to be one of the guests moves… Aniko, the lovely lady in the green dress below, TORE UP the dance floor! I was seriously amazed by her moves and you could see just so much joy coming through her as she danced around with everyone!

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      I had such an AMAZING week with everyone! I’ve said thank you to them already, but I’ll say it again here (and more than likely again later on) but THANK YOU! Kathleen, Chris + CO. thank you so so so much from the bottom of my heart for making my week so fun and including me and everything but also for being such a wonderful group of people overall. You were all so kind to me and just such a joy to photograph. The wedding day may have been hot and windy but you guys rocked it out and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Kathleen + Chris, I hope you guys are enjoying your additional Honeymoon week in Jamaica and that these photos bring a smile on your face on this First Week-aversary (right, exactly a day today since your wedding)! Hopefully you guys come back nice and tan and not red and scaly like I did >.< Love you guys xox.

      PS: I have to thank Mélyse for the help! Not only did she carry my bag and take care of everything Kathleen needed day of BUT, that very last sunset image (silhouette) of Kat + Chris on the peninsula with the dress flying in the air. That’s all Mélyse my friends, she is just a magical super mom with dress and veil throwing skills ;).

      PPS: I’m already feeling so much love from this one! If Kathleen & Chris get 10 comments on this post I’ll be gifting them with a little surprise ♥

      Vendors:
      Venue: Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica
      Wedding Dress: Kimberley Wilson Bridal– Justin Alexander
      Bridesmaids Dresses: David’s Bridal
      Floral Arrangements: Melissa Lafrance Events + Florals
      Groom and Groomsmen: Pants – Moores, Shirts- Jimmy the Suit guy
      Wedding Planner: Julie Thivierge- Wedding in The Tropics
      Wedding Cake topper: Thistle and Lace
      Photography: Samantha Danis Photography

      COMMENTS

      Still can’t get over these! I can’t stop looking at them! 😍

      These pictures are amazing Sam. You did a fantastic job capturing their perfect wedding day. ❤️

      Melissa LaFrance

      Absolutely stunning! Breathtaking super excited to share and show some love!

      Beautiful pictures Sam!! You did such an amazing job capturing their perfect day❤️

      Amazing photos Sam, all of them! I’ll throw dresses and veils all day for you! ❤️ What a beautiful day all around :)

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