part 2 | Pensativo House Hotel Wedding in Antigua, Guatemala | Brogen & David
Pensativo House Hotel Wedding in Antigua, Guatemala
Antigua, Guatemala was the perfect destination for this wedding and the Pensativo House Hotel couldn’t have been a more perfect location for everyone to stay and celebrate together. It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen and I don’t know if I’ve ever been so inspired as a photographer!
Being a part of this wedding was really unique. I remember getting to the Pensativo House a few days before the wedding and running into some of the vendors, chit-chatting under hushed and excited voices how nervous/excited/stoked/freakin-out we all were. Brogen hired local vendors (her incredible planning team, DJ, florist) but also brought in women from her community in San Diego (me, a calligrapher/designer, an additional florist, hair + makeup artists - who are close personal friends). You could just feel how hard we were all working, how excited we all were to be there, and how much we cared to do something really incredible together. It was extra rad seeing the local Guatemalan florist and the San Diego florist work together to create such epic floral installations! It truly felt like we were all coming together to create a work of art for Brogen and David and it was creatively sooo fulfilling.
I think with a wedding like this it’s easy to get caught up in the aesthetics (because yes it was the coolest thing I’ve ever been a part of ). But I can’t emphasize enough that that’s not all it was. Fifty people traveled from all over the country to be together for Brogen and David. Even though the details and portraits and epic-ness of it all is impossible to ignore – it was massively important to me and my approach while shooting this wedding to also equally focus on the PEOPLE and joy of this event. It wasn’t just cool. It was one of the happiest times I’ve ever been a part of. People celebrated and laughed and cried and partied so hard for these two. I wanted to make sure my images conveyed that just as much as it conveyed how beautiful it was. A combination of all of that makes this some of the work I’m most proud of.
A bit of my process: the days leading up to the wedding was spent scouting. I already had a pretty good sense of what Brogen loved about the city and what she wanted in her photos, but she gave me a ton of creative control to find the spots that inspired me the most. I took an entire day to explore the city by foot to see how far it was to walk to everything and I was able to find everything we were looking for within a few blocks of the ceremony site (a pink wall, wood door, Mayan monument architecture, a cool cobblestone street with a mountain/volcano view, etc etc). It was really important for me to find places that were EASILY accessible and walkable - I’m not trying to make everyone walk miles or worry about transportation on the wedding day! Once I found those spots, I actually went BACK to those spots at the exact time we’d be shooting on the wedding day and test-shot everyyyything. I needed to know exactly what the light would be doing and exactly how it would turn out so I didn’t even have to worry about that on the wedding day. I recreated their first look on the exact roof we did it on at the exact time we’d be there (shout out to my husband for playing the part of the groom that day hahaha!). I was really glad I did that level of prep so I didn’t even have to wonder how stuff was turning out in the moment! The rest of the day was planned perfectly and I didn’t have to worry about much else, I just wanted to make sure we hit all the spots we wanted to hit during that portrait time. We originally had a ‘day after’ additional portrait session planned so we always had that as a back-up if we didn't get everything we wanted, BUT I never plan on that. I think it’s easy to believe you’ll totally be down for a day-after session, but in case the couple isn’t feeling it I absolutely never want to force it. I always go into the wedding day basically planning on NOT having the additional portrait session so that if it doesn’t happen it’s no big deal because we already got everything we needed and wanted!
Not only was it fun to photograph, but I felt personally included in all the joy and celebration. B+D being vendors themselves treated their vendors like family, with my husband getting to stay with me and places for us at the table with them. It’s the hardest I’ve ever worked but it didn’t feel like work at all.
Photography: Kami Olavarria
Second Shooting: Amanda VanVels
Stylist & Bride: Brogen Jessup
Gladys & Olga- Planner: Gladys & Olga of Saguzo Eventos
Reception Venue: Pensativo House Hotel
Ceremony Monument: Santa Clara Convento
Makeup: Lindsey Jones
Hair: Amber Kelley
Florists: Addy Florales & Natalie Gill
Calligrapher| Signage: Four Things Paper
Linen: Tono & Co
Textile Installation & Rugs: Stela 9
Rentals: Unik Decor & Uniquo
Napkins: Hostess Haven
Candles: Bark & Berry
Lighting: Luces Arquitectónicas Eventos
Neon Sign: Neon Narwall
DJ: Dustin Girard
Dress: Adam Zohar Bridal
Turquoise Jewelry: Paloma Stipp
Earrings: Lili Claspe
Brides Hat: Janessa Leon
Shoes: Steve Madden
Bridesmaid Dresses: Mango