Just in time for the weekend!  Here is a little destination wedding inspiration for you.  At the very least, it will get you into full blown summer/beach mode.

In 2010, while we were in Riviera Maya, shooting Cat & Eddie’s wedding, we met Mandi & Chris.  We found out that they had been together for only a little while before the wedding and that they met on match.com.  Some people think online dating websites are somewhat of a joke and I’m sure some of the people on them can be.   If you can find that one person that you enjoy spending all aspects of life with, it doesn’t matter where you found them, it just matters that you found that person.   When they told us how they met and we got to know them a little better over the 5 days in Mexico, we quickly realized they shared the same adventurous outlook on life.  If it wasn’t for that online dating site, they may have never found each other.

But they did find each other!  And last weekend we shot their destination wedding.  They chose to have their wedding at the Sandals Grande in St. Lucia.

The exquisite views of the island started during our drive from the Hewanorra airport.  The drive from the airport to Castries was about 1.5 hours long.  The drive took you through the mountains of St. Lucia, a really incredible site.  However,  we drove at exessive speeds for the majority of the drive (not many speed limit signs).  The lack of guard rails and the large amount of high drop offs had me freaked out at times.

St. Lucia is a perfect backdrop for adventure.  It’s in the Caribbean, it has an amazing underwater world, forests, mountains, waterfalls, the pitons, and even a drive-in volcano.  There is more to do than just sitting on the pretty blue beach, sipping a colada.  Although, that sounds pretty perfect too!  Perhaps we found our retirement destination, ha!

We are grateful that they chose us to document their wedding.  Destination weddings are so much fun for a photographer to be apart of.  Besides the obvious perks, it allows us to be apart of one big family for a few days.   We get the chance to meet people we wouldn’t have a chance to meet otherwise.  Most destination weddings are pretty intimate with the guests being close family and friends.  We get to know the family and friends much more at a destination wedding than we do at weddings of a larger scale.  By the last day, it’s sad to say our goodbyes.

I’ve been dying to use this one song for a slideshow, but for most weddings, it doesn’t work.  However, with this wedding being in the Caribbean, it works perfectly.  Ken & Claudia (Chris’s parents), I stuck with the theme and I think you’ll appreciate the song choice :0)

To see more of Chris and Mandi’s wedding, check out their slideshow!

Below are some images from their wedding.

Ps. It’s okay if you mentally picture yourself there.  I still do!


I guess with every tourist destination outside of the US, you have people that try to sell you things.  On the very first day there, we were approached by a guy that referred to himself as Magic Man.  You can imagine what he was trying to sell us, haha.  I’m not sure which of those guys on the beach made this for Mandi and Chris, but I think it’s pretty stinkin cute!  The thing on the right is Chris in his scuba gear (notice the fins, gear,…and fish).  The guy on the beach made this for them as a wedding gift.

I believe he is ordering a quick colada just before the wedding.

The Pitons.  Taken from the airplane.

Once the sun started to set, the light became incredible.

I’m sending this one to covergirl, lol.  I loved these ladies.

This shot cracks me up!  Don’t worry Chris, we have a normal shot without the bunny ears, but this is more fun 🙂

A little splish splashy fun!

Like I said, the light was amazing.

Yes, that is a horse in water.

We happened to sit next to this lovely couple on our flight from Miami to UVF.  Little did we know,  we were going to St. Lucia for the same reason :0)

We frequently saw sand crabs on the beach.  We thought they were really cute.  Now I kinda wish we would have smuggled one home.  The girls would have loved if we brought them home a sand crab, haha.

As Sue said (the one in pink below).  “The girl’s got crabs”, haha.

St. Lucians have a “secret” shot that is made of local grown herbs that are distilled in a rum.  The drink is also known to be an aphrodisiac.   Michael and I had a splash of this and although I do not remember the name of the shot, I do remember it being the nastiest thing I’ve ever tasted.

You can also see in the pictures below, the girls were very much excited about taking the shot, but afterward…..(notice the worker laughing in the back).

They did come back for another…and joined by everyone else.

And this is what you can expect after a couple of those shots…

We adored the workers.  They were so much fun.  They danced, we danced, everyone danced.

The crew!  We do have a shot that includes Michael and myself along with the workers.  However, it’s bad composition kept it from making the wedding blog.  We’ll be doing 2 blog posts of the trip…it will make the second one :0)

Oh yes they did!

Michael and I were planning to do a day after session with Chris and  Mandi, but they thought having us join them  on an excursion would be more their style.  So that we did.  The original plan was to zip line which, was later changed to a sunset cruise.  Good choice.  It was peaceful and really pretty!   Below are shots from the sunset cruise as well as others from the day after the wedding.

This was the prettiest sunset I’ve ever seen.  There also happened to be a random sailboat perfectly in the frame, which allowed me to get this shot.

The scene at night.

and again at sunrise.

Chris and Mandi are big scuba fans.  They went diving every day, sometimes twice a day.  Chris even went diving on the morning of the wedding.  I’m pretty sure Mandi wished she could have gone.

It wasn’t hard to convince them to come snorkeling with us and to take some shots underwater.   These are shots that I knew they would appreciate and love because of their love for diving.

Michael and I went snorkeling the day after we got there to try out the housing, and for the most part, I thought easy peasy.  On the day that we went with Mandi & Chris, we found that the seas were a bit rougher than they were a couple days before.  The only difficult thing I noticed when we tried it out was keeping it underwater.  It took a little effort to keep that baby down.  I supposed it’s a better problem to have than seeing it sink to the bottom of the ocean.

We had a few difficulties to overcome when taking the shots of them.  On top of having to hold my breath underwater and manage to keep it underwater, I also had to be on perfect timing with Chris and Mandi.  It all sounds easy in theory, but much more difficult than I imagined it would be.  When we were above the water, we were constantly getting battered with waves.  I swallowed so much salt water that at one point, the thought of drowning quickly entered my mind.  It left my mind just as quickly, because we didn’t get the shot I had hoped for yet.  It’s all about dedication, haha!

The waves, the tired legs, and the gallons of salt water we all drank, was in the end worth it for us.

This is one of our favorite shots.  It was an accidental shot.   At this moment, a wave was crashing into my face.  It somehow still locked focus on them and took the shot.  I like that you can tell I’m being clobbered by a wave, but you can still see their bodies under the wave and their body language.  Sometimes the best shots are those accidental shots.

Chris & Mandi, I know this is your last full day on the island.  Combine that with the amazing wi-fi service they offer, chances are, you will not see this until you are back in the states, lol.  Safe travels and thank you for allowing us to be apart of your wedding and such an amazing experience.

It was great to meet everyone! If any of you non-PA’ers happen to find themselves in the Philadelphia area, reach out to us.  We can show you around, I can (NOT) promise you the scenery to be as amazing, haha!

We are planning to blog another post of the trip (week of the 14th), with more personal images taken while there.  Look out for it 🙂

Happy Friday everyone!




Wedding Details

Venue: Sandals Grande, St. Lucia

Hair: Red Lane Spa

Photographers: M2 

6 responses to “Chris & Mandi’s paradise wedding”

  1. Catherine Vantine Gonzalez says:

    Obviously I was waiting excitedly for this to be published – WOW is about all I can think of to say! These shots are absolutely stunning! There are some unbelievable beautiful shots of Mandi that seem to be paying *just* when she wasn’t paying attention…breathtaking. Amazing job, Michael and Melissa!

    PS – my favorite photo has to be the conga line…particularly Sue’s expression and her boogy-down pose. Awesome.


    • Melissa says:

      I LOVE the congo line shot! haha! Oh and Fat Carl is making his appearance in the next blog post of the trip. I figured I’d remain classy and keep him out of the wedding post, ahaha.

  2. Jen Baumann says:

    INCREDIBLE!!! You guys captured their day to perfection. Looks like it was tons of fun… wish you had squeezed me in your suitcase! 🙂 The shots of them on the beach with the sunset are magical. Also love your fav underwater shot – really neat.

  3. maura says:

    Amazing! Every single shot!

  4. Kathleen Besade says:

    It was an amazing wedding and the pictures are incredible!! It was great to meet you 2 🙂 Beautiful work.

  5. What great pictures! You captured so many of the beautiful moments just perfectly! The vibrancy of the last shot with Fort Rodney in the background is amazing! Both of you were a blast!

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