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Andrea + Seth | Graycliff Wedding | Bahamas 2013

Bahamas Wedding Photographer: Heather Carey Photography
Bahamas Wedding Venue: Graycliff Restaurant & Hotel, The Bahamas
Bahamas Wedding Decor: Wildflower Design

I’m not even sure where to begin in writing this post about the beautiful, kind, gracious, warm hearted Andrea and her family (and of course Seth!). Andrea and I (and her wild and crazy mother Phyllis) have been chatting for many, many months about her Bahamas wedding at the beautiful, historical Graycliff Hotel & Restaurant. She came across it while on vacation here and knew this was the place to celebrate this momentous occasion. When we first met Andrea estimated that out of all of her invited guests maybe 70 – 80 would rsvp with a yes. Ha! These are mostly New Yorkers and the wedding would be in November. I told her everyone would come. And it seems as though they all did. 130+ guests – what a party that made. This was my first Jewish wedding and after all of the research I did to prepare, I then found out that they are reformed Jews – so a little bit more flexible and liberal with the events. Phew! Everything was happening at Graycliff – the ceremony was held in the gardens of the Humidor, the first dance around the stunning mosaic-tiled pool, dinner inside the historical home, and then the party back outside around the pool.

This wedding for me was quite emotional as I had only found out the day before of the passing of one of my brother’s closest friends – a man who had just celebrated his 45th birthday and who had been in my life for 30+ years. To be honest, I wasn’t sure how well I would hold up for the 8 hours of photography and I had to let Andrea know that I may shed a lot of my own tears. She just held me and said she would have tears for her father who had also passed and we would celebrate their lives together with laughter and tears.

And boy did we ever!!! I was truly embraced by Andrea and Seth’s family and friends and laughed more than I have in years, and cried gently for friends and family who were missed, and with the strong belief that Andrea and Seth had found their soul mates.

Andrea and Seth shied away from the more formal, traditional photos – these two are continuously making faces, laughing, etc and wanted to show their “unorthodox” personalities. Of course, as a wedding photographer I had to capture a few of those beautiful bride images, but was more than happy to entertain their “scorpion” (still don’t know what that’s all about!) and their other wacky poses. Fun!!!

For those of you who are not familiar with a Jewish ceremony, there is the signing of the Ketubah, which is essentially the Jewish wedding contract (vs the legal wedding contract). The Ketubahs are designed by artists and are stunning works of art which usually become displayed in a couple’s home together. The Ketubah is signed prior to the ceremony with the bride and groom, the rabbi, two witnesses and select friends and family. A beautiful element incorporated into this particular ketubah signing was a ritual whereby each guest present at the signing would approach the couple and whisper a private blessing into their ears. This guest would then pour some wine from a bottle into a carafe and as each person present did this, the carafe would fill with the blessings of family/friends closest to the new couple. At the ceremony the couple would then drink several times each from the carafe. This was such a beautiful element to witness – but bear in mind that with this couple and a rabbi who all love to laugh, it wasn’t all serious!

This blog is just a sneak peak of Andrea and Seth’s celebration of life and togetherness. I hope that it expressed how much laughter and love and tears were shed by all. Andrea’s dad was so pivotal in the life of Phyllis, Andrea and her brother and their friends that his presence was felt the entire evening through speeches, laughter, tears, dances and his bow tie that was attached to Andrea’s dress at the beginning of the wedding runner so that her father could walk with her down the aisle to meet her mother and Seth.

Things got crazy as the skies opened up with torrential rain at the same moment as the breaking of the wine glass and a “Mazel Tov”! It rained throughout dinner and was then off and on during the junkanoo parade and the dancing. But the rain did not stop a single person in this wedding group and everyone danced for hours around the pool, under the moon, the stars and the raindrops. What wedding with a pool would be complete without a trash the dress by just about everybody present.

It was wild, crazy, emotional and sometimes I was out of breath trying to keep up but oh, it was so worth it to be a part of this couple’s wedding celebration.

Love you guys and can’t wait to see you both again! Thank you for the gift that was your wedding at a time when I needed the solace. Mazel Tov!

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