leyah + pako ~ destination wedding photography (part 1)

I should probably re-qualify the title of this post, because for Leyah and Pako, this wasn’t really a destination wedding. Because, you see – these two *lucky* folks live in Zihuatanejo. Yeah. I know. (Jealous.) For about 40 of the guests, including myself – it was a ‘destination’ wedding – but for Pako’s family (and now for Leyah) – this place is home
So you can probably figure out that means that this wasn’t your typical destination wedding… Instead, it was a blending of two cultures. It was two families from very different places (Minnesota & Zihuatanejo), celebrating the love their children have for each other. 
Leyah and Pako’s story is a rare and beautiful one. They met 9 years ago while Leyah’s family was vacationing in Zihuatanejo. They were both just teenagers… and as the story goes – Leyah noticed Pako sitting on a bench at their hotel. She smiled at him, and he smiled back. Being a much braver teenager than I ever was – Leyah approached Pako and invited him to spend New Year’s Eve out with her, but he declined – saying he already had plans with his family. (Leyah of course thought he was just making up and excuse not to hang out with her… when in reality – as she’d later find out – Pako really does spend New Year’s Eve with his family every year.) Not to worry though – he made up for declining her invitation the next day when he invited her to play checkers with him (where he apparently won over and over again, much to Leyah’s frustration). 🙂 
Over the many years following their initial meeting Leyah saw Pako every now and again when she and her family would travel to Zihua, and stayed in touch with him through emails. After years of remaining friends and dating other people… they finally acknowledged that what they had was something special and started to date long distance (which is no easy feat… especially in two different countries). On one of Leyah’s trip to Zihua to visit Pako – he proposed and Leyah picked up her life and moved to Mexico to be with Pako, where they now still live. 
I know I’ve talked enough in this post already … and I’m sure you all want to get to the pictures – but I just want to say one thing about Leyah and Pako’s families first. I have never felt so welcomed by a family before in my life. Leyah so kindly met me at the airport upon my arrival, along with her mom, since I was traveling alone. And the entire rest of the trip they made sure I was taken care of and went out to their way to talk to me and make me feel welcome. Each and every person I met was even nicer than the last… it was unbelievable. 
So, before I get to the pictures – I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU to both Leyah and Pako’s families for making me feel so welcome and included in all the events of the weekend… And most importantly thank you for inviting me to come to Zihua and be a part in this beautiful time in Leyah and Pako’s lives! It means the world to me! 
And now … to the pictures!
**I had to break this into two posts… it was just getting too long! Stay tuned tomorrow for the ceremony and reception! 🙂

check out OUR VERY



chicago & worldwide

Christy & James are Chicago based but happily travel anywhere in the world that beautiful love stories take them!