San Miguel de Allende is a stunning colonial-era town in the heart of Mexico
It is no surprise that it is becoming a hot spot as a wedding destination for foreigners and Mexico City dwellers alike. It has tons of beautifully kept up private houses (many with courtyards and roof terraces) in which to throw a memorable party. The first wedding I photographed in San Miguel de Allende was also the first wedding I had ever photographed in Mexico was an uber-elegant Cuban American event.
Every part of the wedding weekend was in central San Miguel, mostly on and around the same couple of streets. The preparations (as well as the pre-wedding portraits the day before) were in one of the aforementioned perfectly maintained colonial houses close to El Jardín, San Miguel’s central square. We shot the main formal shots up on roof terrace amongst the bright pink petals of the potted bougainvillea, nothing quirky, just classic timeless bridal portraits. The dinner the night before the wedding was up the hill in Casa de La Cuesta and it was at this party that I first saw the gorgeous papel picado that is a staple at celebrations in Mexico.
It was also at this first wedding that I first saw the idiosyncratic neo-gothic pink ‘Parroquía’ where the ceremony was held. Afterwards, from the church to the superb Casa Hyder, were the reception was held, there was a San Miguel style ‘callejoneada’, in which the wedding party begins with a procession through the cobbled streets, headed by mariachis and mojigangas (huge papier maché and wooden puppets of the bride and groom). These wedding processions are often fuelled by free flowing mescal, helping to get the party under way. The shots I took on this day are still some of my favourite San Miguel wedding photographs, especially one in which the mariachis’ hats, visible from above in their full glory, walk in a row along a passage way alongside and back up onto the street, the bride and groom slightly out of focus ahead of them.
Casa Hyder and the Rosewood San Miguel de Allende
Casa Hyder and the Rosewood are the venues at which I have shot most of the weddings in San Miguel but recently I have started getting more enquiries about weddings at Casa Tortugas, a private house near the centre. In November last year I shot a truly unforgettable wedding there. The bride was a very talented American artist and it was an immaculately planned and designed event, traditional, intimate and full of the loveliest of people.
Even though I do enjoy to photograph big Mexican weddings of five hundred or so guests, perhaps it is these smaller weddings in which people have come from afar and are all close family or friends, that are the ones I feel most akin to.