One trait in people that I dig is people who are true to who they are and want their wedding to be the same. I like having those kinds of people in my life, and I like photographing their weddings because I feel like life is already just too damn short. A wedding is not just for show; it’s to join souls. I know that for some photographers that’s not a big deal, they can shoot a wedding with really no connection to the bride and groom. I hear all the time from other photographers that they are totally cool with just being a vendor; the guy who comes in shoots the wedding does a great job and collects a paycheck. Years down the line, the couple may look at the photos and not even remember the photographer’s name.
Nah.Not for me. I’m positive that I’ll be friends with Ashli and Dan for years down the line, and that’s how I like it. That’s what feeds my soul, knowing that these images will mean even more to them because I really care about them as people, beyond being just their wedding photographer. I work really hard to make those connections with all my clients, even if we don’t get to meet face to face until the day because it makes a difference in the photos.
Ashli and Dan are big lovers of Key West, having traveled here from DC many times. Every time they came, we got together for some laughs and some donuts, and by the time the wedding rolled around, it was like seeing old friends again. They had told me that their wish was to show their friends and family the magic of Cayo Hueso, this little 4 mile stretch of island. We started the day off at these fantastic luxury condos called The Steamplant, which had some killer light and windows which made for the coolest hanging dress photos and getting ready photos. AND, since my birthday had been a few days before, they warmed this southern boy’s heart by presenting me with a Red Velvet Cupcake, and I relished every bite of it.
Being around Ashli as much as I had been meant that we had built up a lot of trust. This meant she gave me permission to make some extraordinary and intimate photos of her getting ready, as well as a moment with her mom, where she presented her with a ring that had been her grandmas. And because sometimes those “moments” don’t always go as planned, there was a funny pause where mom didn’t recognize the ring (it had been reset and redesigned) and Ashli gave her one of those “WTF MOM” looks that only a daughter can.
We did some photos around Steamplant with the guys, who were ready to have a good time, grabbing bikes and showing their “moves” a bit, while Ashli and Dan did their first look at The Reach. I just love that Gazebo on the water. Not only do you have the blue of the water and the sky, which just looked fantastic with Dan’s suit, just a killer cut and style on him The light there is always great, and there’s usually a bit of a breeze which we desperately needed on that hot day
The ceremony was held on the beach under a brilliant Key West sun and was presided by Steve from Key West Officiant and man; I just love his style. He’s funny and heartfelt and every single time I’ve seen him do a wedding I’ve been impressed and so have the guests. Highly recommended. Check out that kiss though…will you look at that confetti?? Now, let me get up on my conservationist soapbox here. Before the wedding, Ashli had told me she wanted confetti, and I told her that she needed to let me source it for her. Being a lover of the ocean, I knew that anything that goes into the sea, the creatures who live in it think it’s food. The confetti they used was 100% environmentally safe, water-soluble, and biodegradable. If you want to know more about where I found it, send me a message!
As usual, the ballroom at Casa Marina was on point. One of the things I talk to my couples about is that the ambiance of the room makes a huge difference in the photos. Don’t skimp on the uplighting services that are offered; you can see for yourself what a difference it makes in the photos. Paired with the Chivari chairs and the low and lush blush palette floral provided by Milan Events just made the whole place pop but also looked super classy.
And speaking of poppin’, let’s talk about that dance party!! They. Threw. Down. I am not kidding you, that dance floor was rammed from start to finish. This was all about the party, and they were going to show us how it was done. DJ Buggy had everyone moving. They fired off some C02 which made for the coolest haze and light to shoot through. I don’t think that I saw more than five people sitting down at one time, and the people who were, were either catching their breath or enjoying watching cigars being hand rolled. What a party!
Ashli and Dan, I loved every minute of your day. I’m honored to be called a friend and to be your family photographer for life. Congratulations!
Ceremony Location: West Beach – Casa Marina Resort
Reception Location: Flagler’s Patio & Ballroom – Casa Marina Resort
Wedding Planning: Simply You Weddings
Photography: Michael Freas Photography
2nd Photographer: Filda Konec Photography
Officiant: Steve Torrence Key West Officiant
Ceremony & Reception Music: DJ Buggy
Hair & Makeup Services: Key West Hair & Make Up