Just a week ago, we were enjoying the warm sunshine in Puerto Rico as we were celebrating Nicole & Braylen’s Casa de España wedding in San Juan. We were thrilled to be back in Puerto Rico (my sister got married at Castillo San Cristóbal 10 years ago!) and we loved getting to meet Nicky & Braylen’s friends and family. Their wedding day was filled with so much joy and celebration (the dance floor never emptied) and it was so sweet to witness their vows. We packed our trip with photos (the wedding, obviously, but also an engagement session on Friday and a day after session on Monday; those will be on the blog later this week!), but we also had some time to hike in El Yunque, swim in the ocean, and walk through the Spanish fortresses and Old San Juan. It was a busy trip, but busy with so many good things.
Nicole & Braylen live in North Carolina, but Nicole is from Puerto Rico and many of her family still lives there so it was sort of a hometown wedding and sort of a destination wedding. They had looked at several venues in San Juan, but everything about Casa de España fit their wishes and it was such a beautiful venue to photograph in! Casa de España was built in 1934 as the headquarters of a private social organization made up mostly of Spanish citizens who lived in Puerto Rico at the time. This is clearly reflected in the stunning Spanish Moorish architecture. (Those pillars! Those tiles! That courtyard! Those towers! That ceiling!) Two interesting facts that I found out: 1) the fountain outside is a copy of the “Patio de los Leones” at La Alhambra in Granada, Spain! and 2) the courtyard where the ceremony was held was used to film two coronation scenes for the Disney movie “Princess Protection Program,” which I’ve never seen, but now I sort of want to. So all that to say, this building has history and it was really fun to photograph in such a unique and beautiful place!
We started the day at the Caribe Hilton, where everyone was getting ready. It’s a beautiful resort that was just a short drive from Casa de España and we got to look out over the ocean as everyone got ready.
I was actually on the phone with Nicky when she was booking this room and I told her just to make sure whatever room she books has lots of windows. This room was an ideal space for getting ready because it was actually two rooms; one had a bed and the other had a lounge with windows overlooking the ocean. As a result, we had space for Nicole to get ready without a bed being in the way and a wall of windows to let in gorgeous light.
Because of the overall timeline of the day, including early sunset, we had a very limited amount of time for portraits. We made use of every moment though, including stepping out at the hotel to grab some photos before we headed to Casa de España for the wedding.
One of the best parts of this courtyard was the full horseshoe-coverage we were able to get from two different floors. We were able to move quietly and unobtrusively while also getting angles that are not always possible, especially in traditional churches.
The reception was inside (air conditioned) and one thing I had learned 10 years ago was that you can’t take camera lenses quickly between air conditioning and outdoor high heat/humidity. Thankfully, we knew that going into this weekend so we kept lens caps off, my bags in the trunk of the car, moved lenses to where I’d need them 20 minutes beforehand, etc. I was so glad to have been prepared because on a wedding day, there isn’t time to wait around for lenses to acclimate and defog.
Nicole & Braylen, congratulations! I hope you’ll look back on your wedding day with only the best, happiest memories! It was such a beautiful day filled with so much love. Thank you for letting us be a part of it with you guys and for trusting us to document the moments, big and small.
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Photography: Emily Crall Photography
Wedding Coordinator: Angiemar Events
Videography: DH Foto Video
Cake Artist: Keila Cake Rivera
Catering: Food Paradise
DJ: Jazael Falero
Makeup: Nicole Rodz Makeup Artist
Paper Suite: Minted
Bridal Gown: Morilee
Bridal Shoes: Lulu’s
DJ: Jazael Falero
Band: Son Con Clase
Hotel: Caribe Hilton
Wedding Venue: Casa de España