MerMarried: Destination Wedding in Mexico

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I have not yet met a bride (or any young lady) who is such an aficionado of Disney princesses, the Little Mermaid in particular. And what good is a mermaid if she doesn’t go underwater? A destination wedding in Mexico is in order!

Not surprisingly, Milena was referred to me by another Mexican destination bride, not as hooked on the mermaids but also having had her underwater trash-the-dress session with Zorz Studios, alas more fortunate (more on that later). Since one of my specialties is underwater photography backed by heavy-duty professional underwater equipment, it became a custom for me to offer a complimentary trash-the-dress session with my destination wedding packages. As soon as I learned from Milena about her passion for mermaids, the bride-photographer match was made in the sea, reportedly by Poseidon. They booked me the morning following our meeting.

Interestingly enough, Milena and her fiance Dmitriy were brand new clients to the studio but we managed to work together before the wedding day, and it was not an engagement session! Milena graced my studio’s annual Boudoir Marathon along with five other clients, and Dmitriy commissioned a headshot session for his professional needs.

The wedding took place earlier this month in Cancun and I spent all four days there working. One of those days was a break between the wedding and trash-the-dress shoot. I hoped to finally fulfill my long-time dream of photographing the whale sharks but I learned that it was a little too early in the year for their annual migration to the warm waters off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. A bummer, again: last year, when shooting in Riviera Maya, I was all ready and set to board a boat when the weather report came predicting a very low chance of encountering the sharks. Back then I took a solo road trip in my rental car to the Chichen Itza pyramids as a moral compensation for the fiasco. I did not have as much time now so I just looked around the resort for a photo opp. I found not one but two of them underwater, one as a photo session for the wedding singer Irina Gleyzer and the other—as a fun shoot for the couple and their friends whom I stumbled upon afterwards.

Let me rewind. The first day saw some craziness, and the aforementioned singer/MC is partially to blame (remember her name and face, if you need to have your party knock the socks and pants off). The other part of the blame goes to the crazy young guests… and maybe some tequila. Things went wild during the welcome dinner… Quite, quite different from the civil NYC dinners I’ve seen. Here are some of the lesser R-rated shots.

(Click images for full size)

Then came the wedding day, all well-mannered and stylish, for a Mexican resort, that is. Despite being behind the morning preparation schedule, we still had some time left for some fashionable shots, including at the stable. If only our gorgeous bride was not afraid of horses. Such are them mermaids…

Day three was about these:

And then came the fourth and final day at the end of which I flew back to NYC. This was supposed to be an underwater trash-the-dress session in one of the cenotes, natural sinkholes resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath. They are scattered around the Cancun/Riviera Maya shore and I worked in one of them already. It was in Riviera Maya, further down south from Cancun so we thought of finding something closer to us since we did not have full day. We found a place Ciete Bocas which looked great on photos. Whether some of them were fake or the place looks differently from underneath, once the couple approached each of the dark holes, the mounting affirmative “oh, no” left no doubts regarding staying there. The worst was yet to come… There are two policies that will rob you if you do not like the place. First, you cannot walk to check out the cenotes until you pay. You pay a lot. Second, if you did not like the place, you lost your money! The entrance fee is non-refundable. I have to agree with the couple: the place is not only far from picturesque, but also looks like something Ursula would enjoy more than the Little Mermaid… Trying to stay positive and forget the money they lost (I did my best offering a complimentary maternity or newborn session to sweeten the pill), we went back to the resort and worked in the sea and the pool. Aside from that incident, the celebration and the trip were thrilling and produced some memorable imagery which only a destination wedding can bring!

Lots of credits for the beauty and success of this destination wedding are due to the cooperating vendors:

Hair and makeup: Styling Trio
Wedding dress: Margit David
Accessories: Bridal Styles Boutique
Wedding shoes: Christian Louboutin
Tuxedo: Hugo Boss
Venue: Moon Palace
Flowers: Maya Floral
Decor: Zuniga Productions/Deco Cancun
Officiant: rabbi Steven Spiegel
Entertainment: DJ Alex Edge and Irina Gleyzer
Photography: Zorz Studios, assistant photographer: Carlos Lopez

Ed Hafizov
Ed Hafizov
Ed Hafizov is a creative director and lead photographer of Zorz Studios, Manhattan-based boutique photography studio, offering arousing and daring fashion, commercial, beauty, and wedding photography. Multiple Fearless Photographer™ award winner, named among the top 50 US wedding photographers, top 10 NY wedding photographers, winner of Adobe contests, featured by Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Elle et al, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week photographer, and a distinguished member of Grace Ormonde Wedding Style‘s Platinum List, he is eager to step out of his and willing clients' comfort zone to pursue original artwork with a lasting impression.

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