By the time I photographed Keeshia and Joe’s wedding, I felt like I had known them for a long time. And it wasn’t just because I photographed their engagement back in 2019; it’s because Keeshia and Joe have a way of making everyone feel like they have known everyone for a long time.
I wish I could explain the graciousness and love that I saw between them in words. That’s probably why I prefer showing it in photos; I don’t know the right words to say other than they are some of the kindest, genuine, and thoughtful people I have had the pleasure of working with. The entire wedding day was just a joy, from start to finish, and much of it had to do with how Keeshia and Joe approached their wedding day.
This sounds like a big bummer of a statement from a wedding photographer, but I’m a guy who keeps it real. Sometimes it’s something like the weather; sometimes a tux arrives in the wrong size; believe me, I’ve seen it all. The difference is how you handle the curveballs and that you don’t keep your eye off the goal, which is marrying the person you love.
Keeshia and Joe took everything in stride, but most importantly, they also spent time with everyone who came to celebrate them, including close family and friends. That is what makes a big difference in the photos!
Keeshia and Joe chose the Basilica for their wedding ceremony, merging their heritages and incorporating a Filipino tradition of the placement of a yogal during the ceremony, which is a cord placed around the couple in figure 8, a sign of fidelity.
The Basilica in Key West is one of the most beautiful Catholic churches in the Florida Keys. One of the first Catholic churches in the keys, the church that stands today, has been built many times since the original structure was erected in 1891.
The church is built in the Gothic Revival style modeled after a cathedral plan with wood trusses and vaulted ceilings. The wood for the roof was brought over from Georgia, while the stained glass windows were imported from England. When it was built, it could hold up to 1,000 attendees.
Several notable people have worshipped at the Basilica over the years, including Franklin D. Roosevelt, Al Capone, Robert Frost, Jimmy Buffett, Truman Capote, William Burroughs, and Tennessee Williams.
The Hemingway House, named for novelist Ernest Hemingway, is the former home of the author and a popular location for weddings in Key West. The house was built in 1851, and it’s one of Key West’s oldest homes. The interior contains many of Hemingway’s personal possessions, including his B&W TV and twin beds.
One of my favorite parts about photographing at the Hemingway House was getting to know more about its history. Ernest Hemingway spent a few years of his life in Key West, and he taught himself how to write fiction during those years. He wrote some of his later novels, including The Old Man and the Sea, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and A Farewell to Arms while living in Key West.
The architecture of the Hemingway House is unique and really perfect for photos, and guests often love the “Hemingway cats” with their polydactyl toes that roam the property. It’s really a special place that I feel privileged to have been able to photograph at.
I mentioned that sometimes the weather decides to make up its mind about the day, but when the rain started to fall during Keeshia and Joe’s wedding reception, the most amazing thing happened…people went NUTS and had even more fun!
They grabbed umbrellas, they put on raincoats, and the dancing went on. It didn’t even dampen the traditional Filipino Money Dance. Instead of pinning the money to the newlyweds, people just stuck the damp bills to them, which was hilarious.
When life throws you curveballs, get married and laugh in the rain anyway!
Ceremony: St Marys, Key West, Florida
Photography: Michael Freas Photography
Video: Mark J Pierson Wedding Films
Planning: Simply You Weddings
Florals: Duarte Floral Design
Hair/Makeup: Bella Luxe Hair and Makeup
Catering: Great Events
Signage: Blue Thistle Studio
Cake: Key West Cakes
Transport: Old Town Trolley
Band: Bay Kings Band
Rentals: Prestige Key West
See the questions I get asked the most about wedding photography.
Keeshia and Joe, thank you for including me in your wedding day family. The amount of fun, laughter, and love I got to document made yours a wedding to remember.
Your wedding photos shouldn’t look like everyone else’s. A documentary approach means photos that are real and true to you and the day that unfolds. If this sounds like something you want for your wedding day, we should talk!