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playa del Carmen Cancun wedding photographer

Timeless, elegant, and effortless are just a few words I’d use to describe Nam and Tu’s Mexican destination wedding at Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Perla. Nam’s lace-embroidered mermaid gown and a blush and gold color palette only enhanced the natural beauty of the bayside venue and lush greenery everywhere. As beautiful as the wedding celebration was aesthetically, what I can’t take my eyes off of are the genuine smiles and spirit shared between Nam and Tu on their big day, or the joy and love emanating from all their wedding guests. And with over 130 friends and family present, it’s safe to say this ranks amongst the largest of destination weddings – and that this couple is well-loved. Even the thoughtful detail they brought with them to Mexico – a pair of giant heads on sticks to represent Tu’s younger brother/Best Man and sister-in-law who gave birth two days prior and thus could not attend the wedding – was a testament to the closeness you can feel amongst this family.

My most favorite moment from Nam and Tu’s big day was the First Look – I always feel an incredible rush of emotions for the bride and groom, thinking of this moment as just the beginning of the rest of their lives together. I also loved their mother/son and father/daughter dances. I cried three times that day!

Nam is a little firecracker, so very fitting in festive Mexico – you’d never guess by looking at these photos that she partied so hard the night of her bachelorette party at the resort and broke her toe. She has zero recollection of how it got broken… but no shame in the game… when it’s all part of a dream wedding experience… 🙂 Dream away with me and take a peek at the beachside tropical paradise where Nam and Tu tied the knot and all the pretty details!

xo, Melissa

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Nam and Tu’s Wedding Guide ::

Venue, Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Perla // Bride’s Gown, Marisa Bridals // Bride’s Hair, Jessica Phan Luong // Makeup, Christine Le // Groom’s Attire, Express // Bridesmaids’ Dresses, Vera Wang // Event Designer, Planner 1 Events // Wedding Consultant, Jaime Alarcon Villalpa // Florist, Planner 1 Events // Cake, Planner 1 Events // Caterer, Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Perla // Music, JSAV Audio // Videographer, Deepend Imagery // Wedding Officiant, John Herlihy

Chicago Destination Wedding Photographer

Melissa Diep Photography is a highly sought after wedding, engagement, family, maternity, newborn, baby, and children portrait photographer based in Chicago. Melissa strives to capture organic moments as works of art. She loves to incorporate natural environments and soft light to create beautiful imagery.

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When I was in New York City for my 40th birthday trip, I had the pleasure of shooting two of my favorite families I know from Chicago. (Check out Cecilia’s family session.) The other family session was for my best friend, Jamie, and her husband Shawn, both of whom I’ve known for almost 6 years, since our firstborns were babies and playing in the park together in Chicago! In fact, I’ve had the honor of shooting all her other sessions as their family grew, one by one – see here and here.

Jamie’s family now lives in Princeton, New Jersey, and came to Central Park for a little playdate. Big Max is almost 6 and he’s definitely the boss of this family. Rowan is the middle child and sweet baby Atticus with the big blue-grey eyes is 7 months old. I’m all heart eyes over this baby. The boys came prepared to tackle Central Park and the streets of New York with their scooters!

I love that this family session turned into kind of a mini lifestyle session – something I don’t get to do enough of for families! We spent a full day together ambling through the park, then around the Upper West Side candidly shooting on The Met Steps, other grand steps of public buildings (got kicked off of one by building security lol), and then finally, at Motorino Pizza where we chowed down and refueled. How adorable are these kids? The scenes at the pizza shop are my absolute favorite – completely candid, so enjoyable and living in the moment. A photographer’s dream. There’s a moment when her middle child, Rowan, exclaimed, “We’re having a dinner party!” And that we were.

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New York family photographer

If you follow me on social media you probably know that I treated myself to a solo trip last month to New York City for my 40th birthday. You can read all about it here, but basically, I enjoyed “me time” in the big city, ate at all the amazing restaurants, and caught up with old friends. I stayed with my girlfriend Cecilia in her Upper West Side apartment, and also had the pleasure of shooting a family session for her.

Cecilia, Ryan, and their adorable children–bubbly Mateo and sweet Alessia–are the most well-travelled family I know. They have also lived in all the enviable big cities in the world, including Johannesburg, London, Chicago (that’s where we met!) and Hong Kong. They recently moved from Hong Kong to New York, and I tried to convince her to put on a dress for the shoot, but she insisted on being relaxed and comfortable. Already acting just like a true New Yorker–and well, I suppose there’s no need to get gussied up when you’re as naturally gorgeous just as she is!

The best part about shooting friends is that it’s really just us hanging out. We strolled around Central Park and the Upper West Side like it was any old day. Authentic, natural, candid and oh so full of love. The best kind of family shoot there is. Enjoy!

xo, Melissa

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