On my plane ride over to Cuba from Ft. Lauderdale, I sat next to a stranger who described how her parents met. She said they were at a party and her father looked up, saw this woman across the room and and thought 'Oh, there she is.' This is nearly the exact same story for this darling Cuban couple.
Jeli and Erne attended the same high school in Cuba; they walked the same halls but never actually met. Eventually, they both wound up at the same party. "Varadero" is a huge cultural party in Cuba that marks the beginning of summer. As it turned out, both Jeli and Ernesto had gotten out of relationships and were at the same hotel with mutual friends for this giant rave. As Jeli relays the story, "all the partying changed into a small romantic trip." She says their story isn't so much about the details but about the instant connection they had. She says, "it sounds cheesy but we couldn't stop looking at each other and smiling."
According to Jeli, Ernesto is stable, calm patient and realistic where she is the exact opposite. She is playful, spontaneous and easy going. The patient and impatient melded perfectly when the two decided to elope. Since Jeli is European, the only way for these two to stay together was a legal marriage filing to ensure residency. There was not a single photo of their wedding day. When Jeli found out I was traveling to Havana, she jumped at the chance to get the wedding portraits she yearned for.
Here are my 120mm film scans developed by The Find Lab
A special thanks to Cathy Ebrada for her stunning gown.