a fashionable havana love affair

From Designs by Hemingway “My love of Cuba began back in the 1980s when I lived in Key West, Florida. On December 17, 2014 when President Obama announced that the US was going to make significant changes in our relations with the Cuban people, my heart skipped a beat! Finally the forbidden country would be accessible to American citizens. I started planning my trip to Cuba but I never dreamed that I would be coordinating a styled photo shoot on my first incredible visit there!

White rose bouquet | Jeannemarie Photography Havana, Cuba | Jeannemarie Photography Havana Cuba door detail | Jeannemarie Photography Sheer vintage gown from Gossamer | Jeannemarie Photography Sheer vintage gown from Gossamer | Jeannemarie Photography

From Designs by Hemingway – “With photographers Matthew Ree from NYC  see his take on Cuba here) & Jeannemarie Photography from Honolulu Hawaii (whose work you see here today), we headed to Cuba for an amazing adventure together. My first impression of Havana was so surreal; it was as if we were in a time warp traveling back to the 1950s & stepping onto a movie set that someone forgot to tear down. Within an hour of arriving, we were wandering & exploring on foot through the streets of Havana. The weathered patina colors, amazing textures, patterned tiles, & narrow streets kept us in a daze of ‘where are we?’ –  the place is beyond words!”

Havana, Cuba | Jeannemarie Photography Home interior in Havana, Cuba | Jeannemarie Photography Vintage brass candlesticks lining a staircase | Jeannemarie Photography Havana, Cuba wedding inspiration | Jeannemarie Photography cuba-destination-wedding cuba-destination-wedding 1 cuba-destination-wedding 2 Destination wedding in Havana, Cuba | Jeannemarie Photography

From Designs by Hemingway – “One of our editorial shoots (the one you see here today) was staged in a classic beaux-arts style 1920’s home in Havana that is still occupied by the original owner, Josie Alonso & family. After the 1959 revolution, the Cuban government seized commercial assets but not residences of the people who elected to stay on the island. A few members of the upper class remained & were able to keep their homes.

We fell in love with the intricate ironwork of the staircase, gorgeous vintage chandeliers in every room and chipping peeling wall paint in the home. Our pretty local model was styled in a beautiful tulle & beaded gown from designer Sarah Janks, a lovely vintage 1930’s sheer dress from Gossamer, and a cocktail number from BCBG Max Azria. The house had a moody feel on this rainy day in Havana and each room cast its own magical spell upon us. I staged the grand staircase with vintage brass candle sticks & a simple bouquet of white roses.”

Vintage car in Havana, Cuba | Jeannemarie Photography Havana, Cuba wedding inspiration | Jeannemarie Photography Wedding ideas in Havana, Cuba | Jeannemarie Photography

“After the rain stopped for a moment, we regrouped for an afternoon of shooting in the streets of Old Havana to our awaiting 1950’s aqua blue convertible Chevrolet. A crowd of endless strolling people watching us shoot & local children playing in the streets, just made the backdrop even more charming. Oh Cuba, you have stolen a piece of my heart! We are so grateful that we got to visit you before all the inevitable changes & commercialism arrives.”


Photography: Jeannemarie Photography // Styling & Coordination: Designs by Hemingway // Gown: Sarah Janks // Vintage 1930s Sheer Dress: Gossamer // Cocktail Dress: BCBG Max Azria // Makeup Consultant: Heather Bell // Vintage Car: Chevrolet de luxe // Travel Service Arrangements: Fundacion Amistad // Venue: Josie Alonso House in Havana, Cuba.

About Sara Burnett

Editor of Burnett's Boards, which she founded to showcase global creativity in the wedding industry. Sara currently lives out of a suitcase while island hopping the Caribbean and beyond. Learn More // Follow on Instagram.


  1. Such a stunning location for a photoshoot. It has a beautiful vintage glam to it that you can’t get in the States the same way. That shot of her walking down the staircase in particular looks like something out of a classic movie.

  2. Thank you Sara for the publish !

  3. Lei Oakes says

    Classy, soft and tender. Such a beautiful refreshing exclusive ambiance, Debbie! I love it!

  4. Heather Saffery says

    An amazing opportunity contributing to the shoot through fashion styling. The underpinning’s were selected to enhance the beauty of the dresses; vintage and designer. Thank you, Debbie!

  5. Stunning pictures! Beautifully done!

  6. Absolutely beautiful! Love the colors, the vintage style and everything about this shoot. Incredible photography, incredible backdrop and style. Way to go Debbie Hemingway and Jeannemarie Photography. Well done! Mahalo, Angela Keen aka Hawaiian Wedding Officiant

  7. Heather Brown says

    What an elegant photo shoot. Mixing the old and the new is simply stunning. My favorite picture is of her sitting on the bed, lost in thought. The color palette of the photos, soft and neutral, with subtle pops of color is quite pleasing. Wonderful work!!!

  8. Anthony Viggisno says

    I think the backdrop of old Havana really highlights the the fashions and especially the stunning photography that captures the ambiance of the setting…

  9. Jeannemarie, your photography is stunning as usual!

  10. Gretchen Naidenoff says

    Thank you for the vicarious look at a country many of us have been curios about.
    It’s incredible how through your eyes and camera can make the “who would want to live here” thought, turn to “oh my goodness how beautiful”.
    You’ve done it again Debbie… Just Amazing!

  11. This is just beautiful! There really is a vintage sort of magic about Havana!

  12. Just in awe of the beauty from the styling of the model to the way the architecture has been captured. Very well done.

  13. Amazing! A wonderful model at nice location…. The colors are great, I love it!

  14. Such beautiful work Jeanne. Love, love, love it! And, it was so nice meeting you in Vegas 🙂

  15. Another home run, Jeanne! You captured the strong, old world charm and history of Havana and at the same there was something very soft and intimate about every shot. Your work unfolds like a romance novel. Congratulations CD.

  16. Thank you so much for publishing Sara!


  1. […] to you – it should be! Last week Jeannemarie’s take on the same shoot was featured (see it here). It never ceases to amaze me how two photographers see something that is essentially the same so […]

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