It had been almost 4 years since my last time in Puerto Rico, so when Natalia and Juan Carlos reached out to shoot their wedding on Vieques Island, I was ectstatic. When I arrived in San Juan for my transfer to Vieques, I was at a loss as to where to go. I ended up standing by a gate where a bunch of other clueless, confused and weary travelers were in hopes that it would lead us out to the tarmac and take us to our small, rickity sea plane to the smaller island.
In the end, we were right and were led out, single file, to our plane. The pilot and whoever was helping with the bags spent a decent 20 minutes maneuvering our things, whispering, pointing and slowly getting each of us on board as they quietly determined our weight and whether or not we would fluctuate the mass capacity of the plane. It was between me and a few others and they whispered, pointed and led me to the front pilot seat. Now, I'm not one to get nervous on planes but this tiny vessel was enough to throw me through a nice 30 minute spell of clammy hands before we landed on the tiny strip on Vieques. I was relieved and excited.
I finally met Natalia and Juan Carlos at the W Hotel and knew that the following day was going to be something else. With her Christian Louboutin's, her custom Ecliptica gown and cathedral length veil, the day was beautiful. Sun poured over everyone at the ceremony as they got hitched in between palm trees.
I photographed the event with such gratitude that I would even get to board such a tiny plane in order to get to a beautiful island. I packed up my things as a few couples were still closely dancing on the dance floor and convinced the hotel to please give me a ride to my bed and breakfast, as there was no more transportation on the island and who would want to walk 2 miles in the pitch black with all my gear? They obliged (thank you!) and as I was dropped off at the gates, was met with an eruption of hello's and waves from the other guests staying at the bed and breakfast, the musicians from the wedding. We stayed up late drinking wine, practicing my spanish and getting to know each other in drunken humidity. It was incredible. The following day, the bed and breakfast keepers tossed us in the back of their rusted van (with a hole in the floor!) sitting in beach chairs and drove us to the other side of the island that lines the Caribbean. We spent the day on the beach, enjoying the wine they brought in from Spain, running for shelter from flash rain and sharing stories of the musicians' time in New York and how they met.
Heading back to the inn, the keepers' puppy greeted us and we laid in the hammock while vegetables roasted in the outdoor stove and one of the musician's played his harp.
I wasn't as anxious getting back on that sea plane home.
Best weekend ever.
Thank you, Natalia and Juan Carlos.
Vieques, Puerto Rico