September 20, 2017 / Weddings
Colorful Long Beach Wedding at Hotel Maya | Ian & Gazelle
September 20, 2017
Gazelle and Ian found me through my Wedding Wire site like many couples do. Though theirs isn’t the only Long Beach wedding I’ve photographed I knew from the moment I met them that these two were unique. Their eclectic and colorful Long Beach wedding at the Hotel Maya incorporated the elements of their love story in a personal and meaningful way that I was so excited to capture on film!
Lucky in Love
Gazelle and Ian met through mutual friends three years ago on St. Patrick’s Day. It turned out to be a lucky day for both of them! They were all hanging out after the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Baton Rouge, Louisiana when Gazelle and Ian’s passion for music came up. Ian plays the bandola, a Columbian instrument, and his first real conversation with Gazelle was about his instrument and musical tastes. Their personalities harmonized, and they’ve been together since!
When discussing how they fell in love, Gazelle focused on Ian’s talent and creativity. She loves the way in which he is open about experiencing the world without limitation. In each picture below, you can see through Ian’s giant smile every time that Gazelle is in the room how much he values her zest for life, vibrant laugh, and the sense of fun and supportiveness she brings to their relationship. In every photo, the couple’s ease and joy in one another and their guests made this wedding one to remember.
The Hotel Maya prides itself on being a fusion of “Mayan mystique and urban chic.” As a venue, it really followed through with a strong mix of indoor and outdoor areas. We took some great getting-ready photos in the bridal hotel room. Then the outdoor ceremony right by the water with ships docked nearby added a beachy flair. Inner space decoration was thoughtful and not overly ornamental, which helped this colorful Long Beach wedding shine all on its own without being overshadowed.
The ceremony itself was very personal and specific to the couple and their relationship. Their female officiant and the couples’ friends surprised them by adding a segment to the handfasting. Each person had a different colored ribbon that they offered to Gazelle and Ian’s clasped hands. Next, the individual would share a memory about the couple, a quote about love or relationships, or a piece of wisdom about marriage in their native language. Because Gazelle and Ian’s friends and family are diverse, this combination of traditions all focused on their relationship was very moving. It made the colorful Long Beach wedding feel like a confirmation of love in the eyes of family and friends, not just a performance that guests were attending.
Another unique element of the wedding ceremony was the Persian honey ceremony. The couple takes turns feeding honey to one another with their fingers. It’s a sensual and tender moment with deeper meaning. The honey represents the sweetness and sustenance that the couple will provide for one another in their marriage. After the ceremony, the guests, Gazelle and Ian got down on the dance floor! There was live music that Ian himself participated in, picking up a saxophone. With music starting out their relationship, having live music present was extra special.
It was great to see how Ian and Gazelle took what they loved from tradition and spun it into something fun, fresh and new. Whether it was the Persian honey ceremony or the funny Mortal Kombat wedding cake toppers, their taste and sense of humor were evident throughout the wedding.
Tips & Tricks for Your Wedding Day
- Getting ready pictures are really popular now, especially for brides. If this is something that you want, be sure to consider that when it comes to wedding planning. Hotel rooms can be poorly lit or a tight squeeze for lots of people and photography equipment. The Hotel Maya offered enough light and space to capture these great shots of the bridal party preparing.
- Gazelle suggests considering carefully what time of day/night you’d like your wedding to be. She loved how beautiful her daytime wedding was, but pointed out that some people might not be as comfortable dancing as they would be at night time. Think about what works best for you and your partner and the loved ones who will be sharing your day with you!
Venue: Hotel Maya
Wedding Planner: Alijah Gunsaulus with The Bold Event