Anna and Lazaro are truly something special. Living in Portland, ME, they own Danza Latina together, a dance company in which they teach Latin Dance to adults. I have never met such a fiery, passionate couple in my whole life. They met in Saint Petersburg, Russia, where Lazaro was a dance instructor, and Anna was his student. "This is how we started to fall in love," Anna told me, "...under the rhythms of hot Salsa and passionate bachata. 8 months later, I had to move to the USA, and then he decided to move here after me. Now we are working together and trying to bring our love of Latin dance to Mainers."
It takes real guts and some serious undying love to get married outside in Portland, Maine, in the middle of December. Anna approached me in the fall, originally with plans to get married at Portland city hall. But shortly after we began planning for the shoot on her and Lazaro's big day, we ran into a roadblock - the room they had intended to book for the ceremony was already reserved. If there's anything I've learned working in the wedding industry so far, it's that nothing ever goes perfectly according to plan. You have to be able to think on your feet.
So with the room already booked, Anna and Lazaro decided to opt for a quick outdoor ceremony at the Eastern Promenade. It was 20 degrees fahrenheit, with a serious windchill factor. But Anna, Lazaro, their two witnesses, All In 1 Weddings, and I all stood outside and braved the freezing temperatures to celebrate their love. After the ceremony, we stopped by city hall to pick up the marriage certificate, and then I whisked the newly weds away for an extended bridal shoot. By the end of the first leg of the bridal session at Deering Park, my fingers were so numb, I couldn't even feel myself pressing down on the shutter button. Lazaro was equally as freezing. Anna, however, was wearing thermal leggings under her wedding dress, and opted for Uggs instead of heels on her big day - you may spot a glimpse of them peeking out from under the ballgown in a few of the shots. Despite the cold, both of them were in high spirits, and I got a first glimpse of the true chemistry between them as they began to dance in the park. For the final shoot location, we drove down to the Portland Head Light.
With Anna's family in back in Russia, and Lazaro's in Cuba, the couple held a small reception at Casa Fiesta, and invited just a handful of their dance students. It was a lively, wonderful evening, celebrated with Latin dance and food.
The day was, by far, my most challenging shoot to date. Dealing with the cold outside for much of the day took a toll both on me, and my equipment. But it was incredibly rewarding - capturing the kind of passion that Anna and Lazaro have together is a rare privilege, one that I will never take for granted.