An Intimate Wedding in Sayulita, Mexico

A wedding that almost wasn't.

Joyce & Serkan 

One Sentence Sum-Up of the Wedding Vibe: Incredibly emotional and full of love.

From Jonas, the photographer:

What happens when you show up to shoot a wedding and no one is there?

When we arrived in Sayulita, Mexico to shoot Joyce and Serkan’s wedding, the venue was empty. No hustle and bustle of bridesmaids, groomsmen, and family getting ready. Just a locked door. Our hearts sank. We knew something was wrong. It was eventually explained to us that there had been an accident involving a family member. The wedding had been canceled. We asked Joyce if we could help in any way. She explained there was nothing that could be done. She said to enjoy the town. We were welcome to join her and her family for a quiet dinner that evening, but there would be no need for photography.

We wandered around Sayulita completely stunned. It was a gorgeous day. Surfers made their way to the beach while we remained in a cloud of sadness. We gave up on the town, headed back to the place we rented to rest and clean up for dinner. I happened to glance at my email to see a message with the subject line, “Urgent.” It read, “Hi. This is Maya, Joyce’s maid of honor. We are doing a last minute ceremony. If you get this it would be great if you could come shoot the event. What a crazy day!”

We grabbed our gear and ran as fast as we could through the town and over to the venue. We passed employees hurrying to string lanterns on the beach. The sun was very close to setting.

They say life is what happens when you’ve made other plans. All of the DIY elements and decorations Joyce and Serkan brought never got put to use. There was no DJ or all-night dance party. In the end, it didn’t really matter. What did matter was that they did it. They were able to commit their lives to each other before the sun went down, surrounded by their closest family and friends.

Soundtrack for reading: “Shelter” by Ray LaMontagne

Other Cool Stuff We Should Know About

My gorgeous bouquet was thanks to Saffron & Grey in Duluth, MN—one the owners, Abby, was one of my bridesmaids and has been one of my best friends since childhood.

We met in 2007 and got engaged in Paris in December 2011. We have been through A LOT together in that time—happy, sad, hard and amazing things—including a cross-country move, exploring a new city together, dealing with cancer, taking many awesome trips together, “parenting” three adorable monster cats, and just generally living life as fully as possible. We have incredible families and our friends are the best on earth.

Favorite Thing About the Wedding

The love that surrounded us.


Featured Sponsored Content

  • Laura C

    This is so beautiful. You’d look at the pictures and never know anything was missing.

    • KM


  • vegankitchendiaries

    Jonas Seaman. Of COURSE, Jonas Seaman. I know I say that every time, but god damn if this isn’t just something crazy amazing. The emotion and the triumph of love just spills out of every photo.

    • Daniella

      I knoooooow! Every. time.

      • Jonas Seaman

        Thanks, Daniella! : )

    • Jonas Seaman

      Thanks so much!!! : )

  • Bsquillo

    These pictures literally gave me chills. Amazing.

  • MMJ

    I need to stop reading APW at work, this one definitely brought tears to my eyes. Simply stunning.

  • Lawyerette510

    Crying at my desk. I clicked on the link because of the gorgeous dress, I was not prepared for the story and the emotions captured in the photos.

    • vegankitchendiaries

      I know, I came into this one ready to be all, ‘OMG SLEEVES’ but it’s hard to find the right words after reading/seeing this beautiful, bittersweet (emphasis on the sweet!) wedding…

  • macaroni

    Absolutely gorgeous. And your DRESS. Just beautiful.

  • JDrives

    Chills and tears. Thank you for sharing this beautiful celebration with us.

  • Stacey H.

    I am so happy for the two of you that you were able to find joy through your pain. It’s a wonderful thing that we as people can find happiness even while grieving. Congratulations on beginning your life together!

  • Karen

    Now I’m just worried about what happened with the family member and if they are okay… also, love the serious photo of the bride.

  • Mr. Harris

    This really very unique and full of emotions wedding photos.
    This photos are tells us about the unity of persons in a joyful moments even
    after many worry and troubles. I hope that couples are enjoying their life and
    have happiness always. Thanks to photographer who was shared this type photos
    which have fillings. On my marriage day I have my family and friends also good
    wedding photographers like RJ Harris Photography whom I get through its
    site as who was captured all the moments of my
    marriage occasions as photos. Thank you for shared this photos.

  • Fiona

    This is so, so beautiful. I’m glad they decided to go through with it!

  • This really moved me. And it reminded me again of how many emotions the human soul is capable of holding at once…joy, grief, sadness and overwhelming love can all co-exist at once.