Marquessa and John were married on March 3rd, with a ceremony and reception at the Key Largo Lighthouse on Coral Beach.
These two met through mutual friends on New Year’s Eve and bonded over their love of traveling and adventure. They have seen each other through plenty of life’s twists and turns—from Marquessa’s decision to stay in Ohio to run her mother’s dance studio instead of pursuing an acting career in Los Angeles to John’s decision to return to school to get certified in robotics. And through all of it, they’ve only fallen deeper in love.
Since Chicago is close to Marquessa’s heart as the home of her dancing days with the Chicago Bulls, that’s where John decided to propose. But for their actual wedding, they wanted a destination wedding here in Florida to do something unique in a tropical setting. They are both in their late 30s and getting married for the first time, so they wanted a bigger celebration than just one day could encompass. So, they invited their friends and family to the Keys—which has been Marquessa’s second home since childhood, so it was the perfect vacation spot, too!
On the day of the wedding, my second shooter, Loyda Ikatu, and I arrived to photograph the last of the preparations before we went straight to the ceremony, which was officiated by a friend of theirs named Galen. We were also able to capture some family formals as well as some amazing sunset portraits with the two of them. My favorite images came from that sunset session with the two of them; I loved being able to get those more unconventional portraits for them.
As you might expect from a dance teacher, the first dance as well as the father/daughter dance were both amazing and sweet to witness. At the end of the father/daughter dance, Marquessa’s father jumped for joy—it was a joy to witness that bond.
I was also impressed by all of the loving details that went into this wedding. They had a unique “wavy” table set up, a full roasted pig, a “seafood” boat, and a surfboard guestbook to go with the tropical theme. They also had a kids table with playdough and other fun stuff. And John made the archway that they used in the ceremony, too!
Not all of the details were about the fun, though. Some of them were incredibly touching. For example, Marquessa wore her great-grandmother’s handkerchief during the wedding, a tradition in her family. Her mother wore it for her wedding in 1973, and it’s been a staple in other family weddings for her cousins since 1964. I also liked that even though Marquessa’s cathedral veil and long-sleeved gown were very traditional, she opted for a less traditional morganite ring.
John & Marquessa, thank you for letting me be part of all the fun of celebrating your big day! I was thrilled to be your destination wedding photographer!
Thanks also to all of the vendors involved for making their wedding dreams a reality! Teamwork is dreamwork!