I feel like I almost have to prepare myself for this blog post. Because, while every couple is unique and special to me, Sabrina and Justin’s story was one created from the heavens. And I can’t start this story, without mentioning the incredible loss we all experienced just a few months ago, when Sabrina’s older sister Samantha passed away. You can’t ever really prepare for the loss of a friend – but especially someone as young, vibrant and spiritual as Sam.
When Sabrina told me about her elopement in San Diego, I was thrilled that she asked me to be part of it! I first met Sabrina when I photographed Samantha’s wedding, so I absolutely had to be part of hers, too! The weekend was perfect, with the most beautiful tributes to Samantha – who, I’m sure, was with us the entire time. Some parts of the day were harder than others (I SOBBED at her tribute to her during the reception), but it was also such a beautiful day celebrating Sabrina, Justin and this wonderful love they share for each other!
Sabrina wore Sam’s bracelet over her tattoo for her, and even donned her lucky lashes from Samantha’s pageant days – labeled with ‘SamStrong’. Justin wore a stunning blue suit with Sabrina’s famous “pop of hot pink”. They gifted each other personal items – books, hand-written notes and an engraved watch that read “Countdown complete. I’m Mrs. Carter until the end of time.”
Guests were treated to an incredible rooftop ceremony, while friends and family watched via Zoom. The overcast day brought a beautiful sunset just in time for our formal photos of them. Then, we joined together over a gourmet meal (honestly, best meal I’ve ever had!!) and wine to celebrate their union. Sabrina surprised Justin by performing a song for him, the lyrics placed at each table setting for guests to read.
We also celebrated the life of Samantha with a beautiful tribute video of Lauren Alaina’s song, ‘The Other Side’. Afterwards, we all toasted with Rosè Champagne, a gift to Sabrina from Sam’s friends (called Sam’s Tribe).
Sabrina and Justin’s journey is just beginning, as they prepare to move to their new home in Belize!