Close-knit family, interracial couple, outdoor ceremony, a TAXI(!!), and paaarttyy on the dance floor were some of my favorite parts about The Bustamonte wedding. Even more so, Ana and Jelani are some serious favorites of mine.
Often times you meet people and you get along just fine, but you don’t really think anything of it. When I met Ana and Jelani, I had no idea we would be as close as we are today. I’m so thankful for the role they play in my life and proud to say they are some of my best friends. Mr. and Mrs. Bustamonte are the real deal. They truly love others and demonstrate it daily in tangible ways. They are inclusive, encouraging, devoted, hilarious, and fun — both individually and as a couple.
Their wedding day was very special to me. I feel like I say that about every wedding I have the privilege of photographing and it’s always true. But knowing Ana and Jelani’s story and lives on a truly personal level made it that much more special.
We started the day with the bridal party getting ready at the Rodrigues residence. At one point, Ana and her mother shared an embrace while Mrs. Rodrigues held back her tears. “I’m going to miss you,” she whispered to Ana. Ana comfortingly responded something along the lines of her always coming back to visit and living nearby. “It’s not the same,” her mom exclaimed while hugging her even tighter.
It really isn’t the same. Sure, on a wedding day you’re marrying the same person you’ve been with for at least a little while, but a lot of things are changing and thank God for that! If we were stagnant, without change, always the same, how terrible would that be?! There would be no room for learning, for growth. Ana’s mom was recognizing and allowing herself to feel the big difference that would begin not only in Ana and Jelani’s life, but also her own.
Ana and Jelani were embarking on a new, different journey together and their wedding day was designed to celebrate and mark this new beginning. It couldn’t be the same anymore. While mama’s tears were realization of the “saudade” that would begin, they were also tears of joy. She was proud of the daughter she raised and if you knew Ana, you would be too.
Ana is a fighter and a lover. She doesn’t give up and stands firm when times are tough. The same can be said for Jelani. Regardless of the difficulties that life brings, Jelani embraces hard times with strength, patience, and often times throws a little humor in there too. They’ve overcome many challenges both separately and together and it has only made their love and bond with one another even stronger. The blending of their lives together has been a blessing in my own life. It was a true honor to celebrate and capture their love.
To my dear friends(family) Ana and Jelani, happy anniversary! MAD love <3
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