Who ordered the fireworks?
No one knew, even as they watched the explosions of color become a serendipitous backdrop for Sam’s speech. But we do know it certainly wasn’t Sam. “That’s one thing I didn’t pay for,” he said as everyone laughed.
This was the second time fireworks had been mentioned. Sam’s father gave the first speech of the night, and talked about Chandra and how she grounds Sam but also keeps things fun and exciting. “You know there’ll be fireworks,” he said.
Fireworks came in the form of “perfect legs and a flirtatious smile” (Sam’s words) at a party in Montauk, New York, a couple of years ago. He was hooked from that very moment. Sam is from Melbourne, Australia, and had recently moved to New York City for his work as a commodities trader. Chandra grew up in Indiana but has lived in New York for many years. Shortly after they began dating, Sam moved offices to Bogota, Colombia. Since then, Chandra has been dividing her time between New York and Bogota.
Chandra and Sam’s adventurous wedding weekend in Cartagena, Colombia, gave everyone a taste of the kind of life these two live. Sam works hard, but also craves excitement and spontaneity. Chandra, as her cousin Courtney told me, “was the one everyone in the family worried about.” Chandra was always off on some adventure, either traveling overseas or road-tripping around the U.S. in her Jeep. It was hard to keep track of this free spirit.
The wedding weekend started off with Friday night welcome cocktails and a live band at the famous Casa de Indias, former home of the Colombian artist Fernando Botero, now owned by his daughter Lina Botero. Saturday’s candlelight wedding ceremony began after sunset, and afterward guests were carried by horse and carriage to the reception site on the Baluarte. The party started strong and didn’t end until after 4 a.m., with an 80s band and two different D.J.s. And then somehow the next morning, (almost) everyone woke up early to get on a bus at 10 a.m. that took us to a small 30-person boat, which then took us to a private island where we spent the day drinking tropical cocktails, getting massages and relaxing in the pool. And for Ben and me, that meant taking more pictures and doing some extra portraits of Chandra and Sam. But it wasn’t just any boat ride. The driver sped at what felt like 100 miles per hour through huge waves, causing everyone to be thrust out of their seats and slammed back down with violent force, eliciting screams of both horror and delight. It was frightening and exhilarating all at the same time. I even came home with a few bruises to prove it.
So yeah, Sam didn’t order the fireworks, but the fireworks certainly found him. And together, he and Chandra shared the bright lights and thrills with their best friends and family for a weekend. Everyone left Cartagena completely exhausted, but filled with amazing memories of an adventure we’ll all be talking about for years.