There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved.
– George Sand
I asked Tobie why she and Ben had decided to marry in Marrakesh of all places. She told me that she was no stranger to travel, in fact they had been to over 8 countries together in 1 year alone, and Marrakesh was the city that she couldn’t quite forget long after returning to New York City. She told me that she wanted to share this feeling with her family and friends, that they could experience what she had experienced, this would make her day perfect. Tobie wanted that lingering memory of her past to be very present on the one important day that would begin her future. That day was her wedding day. And that place was Marrakesh.
Tobie and I had Marrakesh in common. I had visited once before in 2014, and my one most vivid memory I had of this city was the first. As the airplane approached landing, I had immediately noticed the stark contrast where the blue of the sea meets the yellow of the sand. These were no ordinary colors. This was Marrakesh.
The little I knew about Tobie and Ben was that theirs was a classic “urban fairy-tale”, the kind every modern-day couple imagines from a NYC love story. Boy meets girl, girl and boy become friends and then boy courts girl until they fall hopelessly in love with each other, remaining inseparable ever since.
“Our story is all about love. We love each other deeply.”
Capturing Tobie and Ben’s love for each other was no challenge. You could see it when their eyes met, feel it in the warmth of their family.
This was, and is my challenge. How do you tell the story of love through a photo? How do you capture the moment that a couple, and in this case Tobie and Ben, will look back in decades to come when their nostalgia is in search of confirmation?
The day of the rehearsal dinner, Tobie and Ben took their family to the La Pause desert to dine in nature. We followed them and their guests around the sand dunes, and the day simply lent itself to the camera. Guests were all well-dressed and brimming with smiles as they mounted camels, some of them for the first time. Their joy was undeniable. Tobie had managed to have her closest friends and family experience exactly what had brought her so much joy as well. The day went seamlessly and it was clear to us that the bride was a natural at planning.
But, some things cannot be anticipated. And this is when we truly got to know the bride that Ben fell in love with. As the guests gathered around the makeshift desert “restaurant”, something unusual happened. The starry desert sky threatened to rain on this very day of all days. The lightening and the wind storm was a photographer’s dream, but to a bride who had dedicated over a year of effort into making this one day perfect, nature was tempting character…
When I first met Tobie in person just 2 days before her wedding, before saying anything she had greeted me with an incredible hug. The night of her rehearsal dinner, the night before she was to be married, the desert wind made its presence quite known, and all the while Tobie remained as composed as any bride-to-be I have ever seen. She had embraced the unexpectedness of a nature she didn’t know. And welcomed it with the warmth and humility that she had welcomed me with just 2 days earlier. It was clear, Tobie & Ben’s love story had stood the test of temperament – their love had weathered far more unpredictable storms. And the festive disposition of the evening, was strong enough to welcome any unexpected turn. Tobie played with the nature of this unexpectedness, even thanking her guests for braving “Ben & Tobie’s Desert Storm”.
“Being with you is like being in a dream.
It was as if my life, no matter how fabulous it was, was in black and white and now everything is in technicolor.”
One of the first things you notice when arriving in Marrakesh is how architecture harmoniously finds a way to be playful with surrounding light, creating shade and shadows which are found in the most unexpected of places – peeking out through cracks, openings and carefully positioned windows. Every single ray seems to come to life through new textures and shapes and this uniqueness is fleeting, changing dimension with each passing hour of the sun’s dial. The light in Morocco seems to have a mystic sort of filter which infuses life into the objects it touches.
Their wedding day had arrived. Tobie spent the morning getting ready. She wore a timeless Oscar de la Renta, a simple elegance which matched her persona quite well. After getting ready himself, Ben spent some time with the boys in the Beldi Country Club greenhouse. Guests were chatting with each other while drinking mint tea. The morning was quiet, and calm. And the wedding began.
“Loving you and being loved by you is by far the greatest joy of my life. I’ve waited my entire life for you.”
“Tobie, I love you. Actually, I don’t just love you, I adore you… Our family and friends get to see us when we’re together and they often comment at how happy we are. However, they really don’t get to see how happy we are when it’s just the two of us alone.”