Sometimes you plan a wedding and the weather does not abide by your hopes and dreams. Sometimes you are unable to hide the cloud of disappointment and other times you just go with whatever the universe has planned for you. On this day, an October day 3 years ago, Inês and Renato said they yes on a slightly different place they had planned but with the same strength they would have done with if the day had gone along their exact plans from the beginning. Because it just feels the most important part is already at work. They were going to party amongst their favorite people and nothing would break the chain of massive fun they wanted to have. The magistral and powerful set of yeses they said during an outpour of rain outside meant the same as if they had been said a the end of a rainbow. And that’s exactly where they found themselves: completely inside a rainbow, treasured immensely by those present and it mattered nothing else other than this - they were together and all was as perfectly as it could ever come to be.
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This is going to be very, very, very long. And I have no shame about that fact.
I remember this day. Crystal clear. Like a party, like the sky falling down in multicolour fairy dust. Like I was born to do this. Like these two clearly were made for each other. Like a reunion of friends that were born to heal each other wounds. Like families bounded to become one. I remember the day fading into night and it felt like never ending. Normally wedding days go in a glimpse. They dissipate like an explosion of happiness. This day felt like it was made of years, and that there were more hours than 24. This is one of those days that embraced my heart and marked it hard. I remember when João played for Rita, their friends and family and it felt magical. It felt like a beautiful get together without better purpose to be than to be a true celebration. Some days are more special than others. I will always feel this to be one of those. It has been 3 years, and this day still beats fast in my heart when I recall it. It truly was something special. In fact I was so in love with all that happened on this day that I got home and wrote a draft of what to share once I was ready to make a post on this. It reads as the following:
"Sometimes you just get lucky.
Once upon a time I photographed one gig of an awesome band called Kikin'Bora with very awesome and rad people. People I count myself very lucky to have met. Flash forward a year and I meet with this couple that said one of his friends recommended me. Hugo you rock.
This is why. Truly. I get to shoot an awesome show, one of the last shows of an amazing band and one that I hope will stay in history with my photos, and next thing I know I am meeting two awesome humans that brought life to my year, sweet people who have put together one of the most amazing days I remember of experiencing. It is kinda odd that I classify one of my "work" days as one of my favourites in 26 years. That I, as an outsider, can feel so much love flowing my way, when I am supposed to, after all, pass on as invisible. Rita and João's day will never be recreated. In this day not only taste spoke louder but the people - damn the people - were beyond surreal. From the location to the venue's team, to the promise of rain that went out unnoticed all day long, to having friends and family treating me as part of the whole thing, to two, yes two, band performances and then a DJ for the rest of the night that went on without promising to end... This was a wedding of rockstars and I wish they were all like this - open, not having a single care in the world but being themselves and showing their love for one another. And did I say have fun? That was their ultimate goal. Nothing else mattered to them. Rita was beyond beautiful - I don't think I have it in me to try to get words that can make justice to her beauty. The little tokens scattered everywhere of what their friends and family meant to them - from a short film put together by their friends and family, to the groom and his band giving an absolutely amazing live show, to their vows, to the band that occupied the stage right after a very awesome cake cutting, and the unpretentious session we had during cocktail hour.. This is them - right here. I am completely unable to express my gratitude, even though I tried so many times already. I had an idea this day would be a dream - but I wasn't waiting for heaven on earth. But it was that and beyond. It happens to show how it all comes down to people and their love for one another."
And without any more words here's what happened.
I can still feel oh so clearly how Lagos has then, that year, became one of my favorite coastal places in Portugal. It feels different than the rest of the Algarve. And I know Sara and Will feel that too. This was 3 years ago and it still feel so in tune with everything that matters to me to be able to document. It’s not only about pretty pictures. It is but about being able to read through a love so pure and being able to color it in a photograph that speaks to those who are imprinted in them forever. I loved these moments then and I still do. Sara and Will, I miss you guys.
I’m still blogging beautiful days from 3 years ago. I just can’t help but visit the client galleries sometimes and gather all the kind of nostalgia I can. It makes me feel so grateful for this journey, and it makes me deliver myself more and more to every new day that I am able to create something new. And it’s impactful the kind of supreme detail we can remember things about, even feelings we used to have, just by looking at a moment in a photograph. Even to myself this is such an intense experience - to relive over and over again the beauty of a day so very special and so very unique. I am always so grateful to be able to do this. To give myself fully to the ability of putting little bits of what I see, the way I see them, and what I believe in on a little composition that can come to mean so much to someone. And it’s the lost details I love most rather than the most expected ones. Sometimes you see something in a way nobody does and it’s there that lies your heart.
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and in their mist, there’s us.
A kind of wilderness that words can not unwire, uncover, explain. I am still trying to comprehend the new things that were born on this day, in my life. Sometimes I can not truly word how much of what I do changes me. This day was 3 years ago, and I recall it all so vividly. I love Serra da Estrela with an unexplainable fire, always did. But to shoot a day like this, a love like this, emotions shining so brightly as they did right in the heart of it; when the day melts and you melt away with it - seemingly blending into one. I felt as if I was watching the most beautiful spectacle in the world. As if it was all meant to be that I was there. So that I could love what I do so much more fiercely. That I could understand that I might be worth a bit more to people than I at first understood. That my art matters, that it is possible to freeze so much more than just a moment in what I end up delivering. And that these people changed my life so much. Enriched it. Made it so much more worthy. And so much more golden. I still have no words to give and to try and explain the kind of honor and gratitude I still feel for all that unfolded on this day, under that big “carvalha”, where they shouted into the skies there was no other way other than this way; together always as one big family that could love no more than how they already did.
And as per usual this is going to be long. It deserves so.
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These images were shot 3 years ago. I still can't believe the amounts of things I still want to share. Here are a selection of this wedding day session that still make me swoon.