Ariel & Darrin // A Wedding in the Surfing Capital of the Caribbean

 

I had previously worked with Ariel and Darrin in September when we had fun together with their camping engagement session at Taylor’s Falls. This Puerto Rican wedding was a three-day celebration full of beach adventures and soaking in the turquoise Caribbean waters. Friends and family flew from all over the country to be a part of the intimate festivities. From exploring the aquatic landscape, relaxing in the exquisite villa, a sunset pre-wedding shoot in the ocean, a beach wedding, and new friends, it was a dream and honor to photograph this destination wedding.

A Quick Swim (Day One)

Much of our first day was spent traveling from San Juan across the territory of Puerto Rico to Rincon. Once we arrived in the night, all of the new arrivals were stunned by how decadent and remarkable the villa we were staying at was. Once we unpacked and finished glorifying how beautiful it was, we relaxed in our salt-water pool. We made drinks for each other at the pool-side bar and became fast friends by the end of the evening. We could hear the ocean waves hitting the beachfront behind the villa; all we could think about was how stunning this place must be in the daytime.

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Our villa awaiting us when we arrived.

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We felt as if we were on the set of The Real World, relaxing and making drinks at our poolside bar.

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Swimming in the Caribbean (Day Two)

Many of us woke up at sunrise, excited to explore our private villa and beach during the day. Upon walking down into the warm sand and watching the aquamarine waves, I realized Rincon lived up to its name. Rincon, Puerto Rico is known for its beaches and as the surfing capital of the Caribbean. The winter surf along Rincón’s coast is even some of the best in the region. Generally regarded as one of the best surf spots across the globe, Rincón draws surfers from around the world and is the center of the island’s surf scene, commonly dubbed the “Caribbean’s Hawaii.” Arriving for the Surfing World Championships in 1968, many never went home. Hence Rincón became a haven for draft-dodgers, alternative lifestylers, back-to-the-landers and people more interested in riding the perfect wave than with bagging $100,000 a year, living in a Chicago suburb. I spent the majority of my morning exploring María’s Beach and the aquatic life along the coral reef.

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Our villa in the daytime.

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Four hammocks draped along the side of one of our villas.

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Watch your step; tiny critters brought in by the ocean lurk deep within the sand.

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There was an abundance of coconut trees lining María’s Beach.
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Coconuts covered María’s Beach, like acorns within the woods of Minnesota.

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We made friends with a gecko roaming the coconut trees.
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Many of us grouped together to walk along the shores of María’s beach together, immersing ourselves in our beach paradise.
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We stumbled upon a joyful family camping along María’s Beach.

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After our morning walk along the beach, Darrin opened up a few coconuts from the trees and had us try some fresh coconut milk.

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Ariel found a seashell she wanted to bring back to Minnesota.

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We met a kind woman and Sophie walking along María’s Beach.

Before lunch, I met a beautiful family native to Puerto Rico basking in the sun and playing in the Caribbean Sea.

After some snorkeling and resting our toes in our pool from being bitten by fire ants, went out for lunch at Calypso Cafe. Some of us even tried fresh oysters!

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During this experience, the only item on my wish-list was to do a photo shoot with Ariel and Darrin at sunset. They made it even better by suggesting we go in the water with surfboards. There was nothing better than standing on the edge of a coral reef, balancing myself against the crashing waves (risky shots are the best shots, right?) and capturing these two creating magic in the turquoise waters.

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We all want a kiss in the ocean, admit it.

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Afterward, we spent the rest of the evening watching the sun set along the horizon, creating one of the most vibrant sunsets we have ever seen.

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Rincon is the westernmost point in Puerto Rico; we had the best seats in the house.

A Beach Wedding (Day Three)

Ariel and Darrin wanted a small and intimate wedding The wedding started with a dazzling sun casting golden rays on the villa. Ariel and Darrin’s wedding day was packed with brimming ideas, charm, and romance. The getting ready process was jubilant and fun, the first-look took place behind the coconut trees along the beach. The ceremony happened on the beach in front of the Caribbean Sea, basked in the sun’s golden rays.

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Darrin opened up his gift from Ariel, a set of Calvin Klein underwear.

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Ariel’s bridesmaids are some of the most fun and kind people I have ever met.
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During the getting ready process, there was a quick sun shower. We thought it would be the perfect time for a balcony photo.

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Shelby, Ariel’s spunky younger sister.

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Joanie, Ariel’s very kind mother.
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There is a funny story with this dress. Ariel’s mother couldn’t go dress shopping with her last minute, and her mother was banking on it taking me a few tries (Ariel admits that she went to six different stores while looking for her prom dress). When Ariel found her dress at the first store, both her and her mother were a little bummed her mother missed the experience. When Ariel tried the dress on at home for her mother, they found out the dress is named “Joanne” which is her mother’s (she goes by Joanie) name!

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Ariel truly looked like a princess in her dress.

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Ariel read a love letter from Darrin and received a stunning jewel from Puerto Rico as a present.
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“Dear Yellybean,”

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Darrin definitely had the goofiest group of guys as his groomsmen.

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These two are absolutely lovely.

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The kiss heard around the world.

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Darrin and his adorable little cousin, Max.
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A warm embrace with Darrin’s mother, Angie.

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After the ceremony, Darrin and some of the groomsmen were showing Max how to make a sandcastle.

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Ariel and Darrin wanted a quick, moody session in a dim-lit hallway inside the villa.

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Reception time!

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Darrin’s family from Puerto Rico gave the entire bridal party darling mini gifts.

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After the reception, Ariel and Darrin wanted one last photo opportunity in Rincon. What better way to end a wedding in Rincon with a sunset shoot along the beach?

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It sincerely was a joyous celebration.

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-B

Wedding Colors: Blush, beige, and gold

Dress: The Wedding Shoppe

Venue: Villa Playa Maria

Floral Arrangements: Ariel, the bride

Music: Eleganza Music Services

Bridesmaid’s Skirts: Revelry

Follow Bryden Giving Photographer on Instagram @brydengivingphotographer

Website: www.brydengivingphoto.com

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