Riviera Maya Wedding Photographers | Betsy & Samir’s Romance By Valentin
You can’t escape love, even if you try, even if you want to. It just gets to you! Sometimes it can take a few months… others, as much as two decades. It might sound like a lot, but that’s what happened to Betsy & Samir. When they decided to celebrate their amazing love story with a sun-kissed Riviera Maya wedding at the Valentin Imperial Maya, they chose us to be their Riviera Maya wedding photographers and we were lucky enough to capture their long-overdue Caribbean romance.
Love is a decision
Samir grew up in Vitoria, Brazil, and Betsy in Boston, Massachussets. Both grew up in Latin households, and their families instilled strong values such as taking care of their family and friends and making a real effort to get what you want. They also made sure that they grew up knowing that love is a decision one has to make, every day.
Two decades, almost
“It’s difficult to say where our story begins, because we’ve been orbiting each other for almost two decades. The first known occurrence of this was in the summers around 1997-1998 when Betsy would visit her stepdad’s family camp in Maine. Turns out… Samir’s church camp was located on that exact same tiny lake, and he was also there those summers. Small world, right? But it doesn’t actually end there. Years later, family members would date and Samir would meet Betsy’s relative well before he met her. Betsy and Samir share many odd similarities. Both got their pets in fall 2008 when in need of comforting. Both have Ecuadorian family. Both have parents living in other countries! And both moved back to Boston in 2011 in time to meet one another. But the quick story is.. Betsy and Samir met October 6, 2011 in Boston Common. Both had to leave the next day for friends’ weddings on the west coast, but Samir was waiting to pick up Betsy at Logan airport as soon as she got back.”
She said “of course”!
Samir had the good sense to know that he had to talk to Betsy’s father, Carlos, first. And, since he lives in Panama, thousands of miles away from Boston… the proposal had to happen there. Samir spoke to him on the day they arrived in Panama. A couple of days later (July 1, 2014), during a stay at an all-inclusive beach resort, Samir felt inspired. He rummaged through his backpack and produced a small, hidden item. After a silent moment from a man who is rarely quiet, he proposed to Betsy. She said yes and followed it up with: “I’d be stupid not to.”
When a destination wedding is the easiest thing
“We have a non-traditional family background. With parents across three countries, choosing something more “mainstream” posed its own challenges. Given how our multicultural background is one of the things that makes us the couple that we are, we decided to investigate the possibility of a destination wedding. Our favorite part was dancing during the reception with many of our guests!Samir’s father and stepmother, Marcus & Carla Goncalves, attended. Betsy’s mother, Diane Walins, and stepfather, Robert Moment, attended. Her father, Carlos Juarez, also attended from Panama. We had great friends in attendance too from our early years, our college years, and our adult years. The bridal party represented all walks of life.”
Despite the fact that Betsy’s mother, Diane, is currently battling ovarian cancer, she took a break from her chemotherapy routine in order to attend. She and her husband danced up a storm at the reception! There were four toasts, and they were all beautiful. Two groomsmen, Hugo Lallo and Ricky Rubio, spoke – as did Betsy’s mother and one bridesmaid, Eileen Rafferty.
The good, the bad, the advice
“We were worried how our friends and family would perceive our choice. It is not an easy choice when you know that not everyone can afford to travel for a wedding. It’s also not an easy choice when your family is spread out like ours. In the end, those who could come came. We had 35 guests plus the 2 of us. And every single person who came LOVED the destination wedding. We’ve received so much positive feedback about the resort and the experience. Our guests loved getting to know each other over their stay at the resort, and they all gushed about how beautiful the day was. Take it one piece at a time! Our wedding coordinator was great about breaking the decisions into smaller parts. Consider the flowers one day, consider the music over another week, … etc. It made it much more manageable, and it was easier to keep stress-free. It’s also even more fun on the big day to see it come all together!”
Details, are what us Riviera Maya Wedding Photographers live for!
Betsy’s mother is very crafty. She made oversized paper roses for the bridesmaids to carry. She and Betsy also made paper “fortune cookies” filled with love-related fortunes or love-related movie quotes – for the Valentine’s Day wedding. Each guest was able to open one and get their own love “fortune!” Betsy made the table numbers by finding baby photos of both Betsy and Samir. She paired them by age so that each table had photos of the bride and groom at the table number age! Betsy also put together the escort cards, which were luggage tags in little bags for guests to take home. She also bought flip flops and wrapped them up with tulle and tags – with the help of a friend, Beth Leach We also brought red rose wreaths from Pier 1 to put on the sweetheart table chairs. And for a traditional bride: Betsy’s mother, Diane, shared an old ring that belonged to HER grandmother. Betsy wore it on her right thumb (because her great-grandma’s fingers were apparently bigger!). Diane also lent Betsy a blue dragonfly pin from another friend battling cancer. Betsy pinned the borrowed, blue pin into the layers of her gown during the wedding. And of course, the gown was new! Dress – Carolina Herrera; veil was custom made at L’Elite Bridal on Newbury St, Boston, MA; Groom’s Suit – SnapSuits.com; Bridesmaid dresses were all ordered from WeddingtonWay.com
Music makes the world go round…or was it love?
Betsy and Samir chose a version of their song, In My Life, that was performed by Joshua Davis on The Voice – as their first dance song. It’s a song that has a lot of meaning to the couple, and they have a copy of the lyrics hanging in their home. They entered the reception to The Power of Love by Huey Lewis. One of their favorite moments was dancing to Watch Me by Silento after the cake-cutting (whip whip nae nae). The last song of the night was (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life. It was an appropriate choice, and everyone got into it!
“DJ Party Rod did a great job working with the music timeline that we provided. They played the songs we wanted but also made the party even better than expected!”
Choosing the right vendors
“Ana Munoz, the wedding coordinator at Valentin Imperial Maya, was a huge contributor in making the dream a reality. She took care of most of the underlying pieces, and I’m fairly certain they all came through Valentin Imperial Maya.”
Riviera Maya wedding photographers
“We really enjoyed the WeddingDayStory photographers Riviera Maya wedding photographers and staff. They were such a pleasure to work with, and we’d be happy to hang out with them on any day! So it was nice to have them on such an important day. Having a private gallery link sent to us SO quickly after the wedding was a fantastic surprise! There’s a photo of us during the reception, seated (and kissing!) at our sweetheart table. The sun is setting, and the sky is beautiful. We love the way you can see the decorations around us, like the Christmas lights in the sky.”
Their wedding in three words: “SPECTACULAR, MEMORABLE, ROMANTIC“
We are so glad you had such a wonderful wedding day story. It was our pleasure to be the Riviera Maya wedding photographers sharing the day with you and to create images that are as beautiful as your love!
If you are getting married at the Valentin, click here for more amazing #WeddingsInTheSun.