I knew this elopement at Cozumel Beach, an Island at Mexican Caribbean sea just 40 minutes away from the world famous wedding destination Riviera Maya would be a special day but I had no idea exactly HOW much it would end up meaning in the long run. Karelly and Jorge booked me as their elopement photographer just a couple months before and we worked together to plan their dream day, they started thinking about an Elopement in cancun, then an elopement in Tulum, but I talked about a complete and adventurous day at cozumel island and they were thrilled by this idea. So, that was what they decided, just the two of them getting married on a lonely beach in Cozumel.

When they arrived to Riviera Maya here in what is usually sunny , they were met with one of the worst hurricane season in many years. This definitely wasn’t ideal, but they had the most positive spirits and we all made the best of the situation. It continued to drizzle, basically the whole day was amazing, from their getting ready in a near close restaurant, through the ceremony to our improvised trash the dress just immediately after ceremony, and although I personally looked like a frizzy little rat, Karelly somehow looked amazing the whole time.

This elopement was one of the first events I got to photograph after quarantine and I’m just extra grateful it was able to happen. They made my job as Wedding photographer in Cozumel and Riviera Maya super easy. Even though things didn’t go completely to plan for Karelly and Jorge, they’re married now and that’s all that matters. This day is even sweeter to them knowing now that the bigger wedding they had planned in their home town last December has to be postponed because of COVID. So this Elopement at the beach in Cozumel Island was unique and will last forever in their memories.

Cozumel Elopement getting ready
Cozumel Elopement getting ready in a restaurant
Cozumel Elopement bride getting ready
Cozumel Elopement bride getting ready
cozumel island birds
Cozumel fishing boat
Cozumel Elopement groom getting ready
Cozumel Elopement groom getting ready
Cozumel Elopement groom getting ready

The second “class” we taught was a live shoot. We took our students on what an actual Cedar & Pines adventure elopement would look like. We went hiking in moderately sketchy terrain to a stunning private spot on the beach. We had an incredible couple model for us who absolutely MADE the shoot. Christine & Fernando…I could say so much about these two—they are the epitome of the kinds of couples we love working with for real elopements. Present, spiritually aware, open, playful…I think the two of them being so open with us left the students with more inspiration than the photos or the shoot itself ever could. It was a fantastic evening going through how we would treat a real elopement from getting ready, to first look, to hiking, to ceremony, to portraits. We talked about centering ourselves with our couples, we did a breathing exercise, and we spent the rest of the evening watching sunset and allowing Christine & Fernando to just be 100% themselves.

And with all of this coronavirus stuff changing our lives as we know it, I keep thinking back to that week on the beach. I’m more grateful now than ever for experiences like that, because this whole quarantine has made me realize how precious things like that really are. We got to share a huge part of what we love with others. We stood in groups doing breathing exercises and ran naked into a moonlit ocean. Photo Rehab was a gift.

This whole pandemic has reinforced something I’ve always valued — and that is to make sure I’m living a life that I love. Experiences in beautiful places like Puerto Rico with some of the most fantastic minds shaping the photography industry…those don’t come often. And when they do, it’s important to take hold and dive fully in. Because we really don’t know that tomorrow is guaranteed.