Anniversary Trash the Dress – Cenote and Beach

“Love is teamwork, understanding, compromise, partnership, and having help cleaning the cat boxes are the canons of love. Great, lasting loves are nurtured by a commitment to both embracing another’s flaws and celebrating their strengths. It is not about finding “your other half.” We are already whole people looking to create a sum greater than our parts—which can be difficult since we are both terrible at math.”

A “trash the dress” session is often a few days after the wedding. Squeezing the most out of that beautiful dress and adding and out of this world artistic twist to a wedding portfolio. There is something super special about couples who, years after their wedding decide to invest in a trash the dress experience. To celebrate their love of adventure, beautiful photography and of course each other :)

“My love of travel began in infancy. My parents would pack up the family and drive us to Ohio every summer. We visited every landmark, national park, and point of interest along the way, and I was enchanted.”

Her: “I loved the turquoise jewelry and red buttes of New Mexico, the sunflower fields of Kansas, and the rolling hills of Ohio. After graduating from college, I spent a month in Europe—Germany, Switzerland, France, and Italy—and I fell in love with international travel. At 25, I had the opportunity to live and work in Japan, so I took it.”

“We had been dating for a few months when I left, and he visited me—in Japan. He had not been a lover of travel at the time. He was forced to schlep across the United States for work, and he found it a nuisance. But I was deeply impressed by his visit to a country he said he never had any interest in visiting, and I fell in love. That was the beginning of our travels together.”

“Now, almost twenty years and five continents later (I’ve been to North Africa, and I’m working on getting him there someday), we have a wealth of memories and experiences that have made our lives together that much richer.”

“As an adolescent, my cohorts were thumbing through Brides Magazine and dreaming of their perfect weddings while I was swiping international travel brochures from the local travel agency and dreaming of the perfect road trip through the Scottish Highlands, the perfect meal in Florence, the perfect beach day in Rio de Janeiro, the perfect view of the Sydney Opera House.”

“Traveling for Love has made these “perfect” days that much better. He is my partner in crime, in jetlag, in foreign city navigation. I love the home we have made in California, but traveling with my husband—my best friend—means bringing home everywhere I go because he is my home.”

Del Sol: What was the most amazing part of your trash the dress experience?

Him: “Seeing her in a wedding dress again was an unanticipated joy. Our wedding day was one of the best days of my life, and I got to relive that small moment 15 years later. The only difference was this time we were underground, in a cenote, and the middle of the Yucatán jungle rather than a Buddhist temple.”

“The crystal clear water brought out the blue in her eyes, her gaze deeper than the cenote we basked in. She looked more stunning than the day I married her, outshining the sun, painting rays of light throughout the verdant jungle.”

Her: “I have two moments that rank highly—the first is submerging into the cenote. I was covered in sweat, choking on incense, and uncomfortable in my cheap, ill-fitting wedding dress, so to become cool and weightless at last was an exhilarating relief. The second was removing that cheap—now sodden—wedding dress and donning my dry cotton beach dress. Even though the mosquitos were feasting on my legs, just feeling the sticky weight of that thoroughly “trashed” monstrosity fall to the dirt was a triumph.”

“The smooth, arid cotton of my white maxi-dress was light and loose and liberating. And when we finally arrived at the beach, the white sand sieving through my toes was a luxury I had not expected to find. Being dry again, and seeing my husband so enthusiastic about the photo shoot was gratifying. Of course, we ultimately ended up soaking wet again after a punishing wave crashed on us mid pose, but those brief moments of dry heaven were intoxicating.”

Del Sol: How did you decide to treat yourselves to an anniversary trash the dress?

Her: “We hosted a large party for our 10th anniversary, but we had always planned on returning to Mexico to commemorate our wedding. Fifteen years seemed like an appropriate time to spoil ourselves with another all-inclusive resort. The photos were an indulgence, but Sean had recently expanded his photography business to include wedding photos, so this was an educational indulgence.”

“I am still taken aback by Sean’s desire to be the subject of a photo shoot since he had to practice smiling for a year before our wedding. I refused to depict wedded bliss with a thousand watt smile while my groom glares, soberly into the lens.”

“Our timing was a bit off having just returned from a Scottish road trip in the Highlands, so the stress level was a bit high, but the beer was cold, and we swam in a cenote we would never have seen, so in the end, it was a memorable experience.”

Del Sol: What is your advice for newlyweds to make it to a 15th anniversary?

Him: Lives together and lives apart. There is me, there is her, and together we have us together. They are three different entities. We share many of the same interests, but also have things we do as individuals. Maintaining our own sense of identity has really helped us through the years.

Her: “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” Virginia Woolf was right—and not just about writing fiction.”

“To create a sum that is larger than its parts, we need to maintain our own personas as well as a couple persona. Partly due to complacency, partly due to independence, we never changed my surname and that is symbolic of who we are.”

“Marriage isn’t about abandoning a part of yourself; it is about joining a team of individual players who are still stars in their own right.”

Del Sol: As “the groom” and photographer yourself how was your experience in front of the camera?

Him: “Groom is a funny thought since it has been a long time since I was the groom. Honestly, I am a Del Sol fan boy. I’ve loved Sol’s work for over a decade. I remember seeing her contributions to Matt’s old Flash Flavor photography website and being blown away by the juxtaposition of shooting brides in a cenote. I am primarily a graphic designer and motorsports photographer, but I have recently been exploring portraits and weddings. This was a workshop for me as an artist to see how the best wedding photographers in the business operate first hand.”

“It is easy as a photographer to see things from behind the lens. You have a vision of how you want something to look, but it is completely different when you are the subject. I expected to pick up a few tips or tricks that I could incorporate into my own shoots and walk away with amazing photos as a bonus. I did, but I took away different knowledge than I expected. Here’s why—first, I long ago lived the “groom” experience. We are not 29 anymore and this was more stressful to think about than our original wedding photos.”

“As a photographer my mindset was “Sol has got this. Trust the photographer to do what they do best.” As a husband and someone paying for the learning experience my thoughts were more towards “shoot everything how Dina wants it.” There is a balance between two sides of the same photo coin, but it was a valuable lesson of which I needed reminding.”

“Also, modeling is not easy, and I apologize to those past subjects I secretly mocked. The Trash the Dress shoot was a full day adventure, and we were exhausted when we returned to our hotel. It is hot, it is humid, and it is difficult to remember simple things like suck it in and smile.”

“Swimming in a full wedding dress and heals was not a simple task and requires a team to keep the bride afloat. It was hilarious and challenging all at the same time. (Pro tip—Spend the money on Del Sol hair and makeup. The waterproof makeup was a necessity working in the tropical climate as well as underwater.) The real struggle is waiting to see the images.”

Del Sol: What was your favorite part of traveling to Mexico?

Him: “We honeymooned in the Riviera Maya 15 years ago and it was almost a relief to return—as if leaving Mexico then was a “to be continued” chapter in our lives. We rarely revisit a destination because there is so much of the world we haven’t seen, but our honeymoon was perfect, so we wanted to return for this special occasion. Now we are older, wiser—maybe, and 15 years later it was like we never left. Over the years, we’ve changed, and the world has changed, but Mexico will always remind us of when we were young and just starting our lives together.

Her: “The day after the photo shoot, we lounged on the beach at our resort for the entire day.”

“We basked in the Mexican sun, just the two of us, and did nothing. The rest of the world melted away, and we just existed. Plus the photo shoot was completed, so my anxiety had subsided and was replaced with vacation bliss in the warm, clean Mexican light.”

Photographer: Sol

Hair and Makeup: Sara Tamargo


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