If at all possible, I highly suggest putting finishing the finishing touches on your wedding ensemble while bathed in natural light in front of a gorgeous blue wall.
It is such a pleasure to shoot a San Francisco wedding at an utterly San Francisco venue. Marisa & Trevor's celebration at the historic General's Residence in Fort Mason was set against some one of the most scenic backdrops you can find in this corner of California. However, it being May in this fickle, wonderful city, you never know what kind of weather you're going to get. And while the clear blue sky provided stunning panorama views from the East Bay to Marin and everything in between, it also came with the fiercest wind I've ever experienced on a wedding shoot.
While the intensity of the conditions may have rattled some couples (bridal looks and chuppahs are not exactly designed to withstand relentless horizontal gusts!), Marisa and Trevor took it all in stride and were full of smiles throughout the day. And after their touching ceremony (officiated by Trevor's sister!), some guests even lingered outside to take advantage of the cocktail hour lawn games. What a joy to witness and document so many generations of family and close friends come together to celebrate this sweet, loving couple in their city.
Sometimes you just know that a wedding is going to be a lot of fun. With Katie and Tom's, that was made clear early on, when Katie shouted across a Vegas dance floor at 2am that she'd love to have me as her photographer. And after my husband (and second shooter) and I met both Katie and Tom for a drink in New York to hear more about their plans, I knew it was going to be an incredibly special day.
We were not disappointed. There were toasts with mini-champagne bottles and newly-gifted flasks as the bride & groom were getting ready with their best people. There were two excellent bands. There was pizza (East Coast plain cheese pizza, the best of the best) and a DJ booth for the groom at the after party. There were tears of emotion during the private vow reading and then jokes being cracked in response. There was a packed dance floor all night. Most of all, there was the spirit of this sweet, funny, indelible couple. They smiled throughout the day (even through some quite chilly outdoor portraits) and seemed to have absolute comfort with each other. It felt like they were truly themselves, which is no easy feat on this this most heightened and electric of days.
And if that weren't enough, serving as a backdrop to all of this cheer was a truly beautiful event. With free rein over the luxurious estate, guests had the opportunity to move across the grounds over the course of the day, from an intimate white barn for the ceremony to the grand ballroom for the reception. Copper details were sprinkled throughout the event - the decorate piece the couple made themselves that hung above the ceremony, the groom's tie clip, the moscow mule mugs, flasks for the groomsmen, many gorgeous pieces in the dinner tablescapes, and then, against all odds and weather reports, a sliver of it in the sky at the end of the day. (Just a few days before both snow and rain had been predicted!) What an honor to capture such a celebration.
Wedding Venue: The Ashford Estate / Caterer: Merri-Makers Caterers / Officiant: Rob LaCombe / Florist: Dahlia Florals / Rentals: Maggpie Vintage / Chairs: Barnes Farm Tables / Bluegrass Band: Magnolia / Reception Band: Russ Bennett Band w/ Hank Lane Music / Wedding Dress: Schone Bride / Groom's Suit: Suit Supply / Bridesmaid Dresses: Yumi Kim / Videographers: Birdhouse Weddings / Second Photographer: Noah Christman
Weddings are about love, commitment, celebration, friends, family, and taking the time to be grateful and present on a day. But they're also about FASHION! I personally bought 2 pairs of fancy heels for my wedding (and hadn't bought any in the 4 years before or 2 years since).
It's so much fun to see how a bride's personality and taste comes through in her attire choices, and to be reminded how many choices there are! Gone are the days of white satin shoes being the only acceptable option, and thank goodness for it. So here's a little medley of the shoe stunners from my 2017 wedding season.
Cara & Craig's wedding was quintessential New York and a breath of fresh air after all a full season of Bay Area shoots. The absolutely perfect fall day meant that we could shoot a first look on a stunning outdoor balcony, happily linger outside of their Nomad church, and then walk down to Madison Square Park for some more portraits before joining the reception at the gorgeous, historic University Club.
The love that friends and family clearly felt for this couple shone throughout the day- from blessings given by twelve individual guests at the ceremony, to hilarious and heartfelt toasts, to a dance floor that stayed packed the whole night. It was an honor to spend time with such a joyful, kind people and to photograph Cara & Craig's big day!
Ceremony Venue: The Church of the Transfiguration / Reception Venue: University Club / Coordinator: Ryan Hill / Officiant: Rev. Timothy Mulder / Florist: Fleur de Mois / Band: A-List w/ Around Town Entertainment / Wedding Dress: Custom made with mother's and grandmother's dresses / Bride's Jewelry: Monika Knuttson
Photographing weddings is really unlike any other kind of shoot. You meet a couple, hope that your style resonates with them, agree to work together. And then on the wedding day, you're quickly brought into the folds of their lives. You meet their families, capture them reuniting with old friends, and hear the hilarious and heartfelt speeches into which people put so much effort. I felt the honor of this so strongly at Dena & Nathan's beautiful August wedding at Slide Ranch.
D&N clearly put a lot of thought and love into their wedding plans, including their choice to support a working farm in a stunning coastal Marin location. They walked down the (exceptionally wide) aisle with their siblings and parents and incorporated ceremony readings of song lyrics picked for them by good friends. The welcome table displayed photos from family members' weddings and glasses for the evening contained individual notes for each recipient.
And as the light fell, toasters reflected on how strong D&N were as individuals and how much they'd brought to each other's lives. Their bond was celebrated by their greatly-valued community, with tears shed during the ceremony, hearty laughs at the toasts, and an ever-full yurt dance floor. As we departed, we watched guests donning headlamps and carrying leftover liquor bottles working their way back over the hillside path to the campsite, surely to spend many more hours of celebrating this lovely couple in this exceptional spot.
Wedding Venue: Slide Ranch / Coordinator: Casen Splain / Caterer: The Lunch Box Catering / Florist: Bellevue Floral Co. / Dena's Dress: BHLDN / Dena’s earrings: Sarah Neiman / Nathan's Suit: Anatoly’s / DJ: DJ Wayne Noel
Just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, tucked into the hills of Sausalito, is a gem of a space- the Headlands Center for the Arts. The center provides artist residencies and public programming in addition to being a beautiful, historic, and utterly unique place to host a wedding in the Bay Area. It feels both modern and timeless, well-decorated and raw. So I understand why it immediately called out to Steph & Jeff as the perfect place to host their July wedding.
They really let the venue and location sing while adding stylish touches throughout the day, including Steph's gorgeous, free-flowing dress and starburst earrings and Jeff's perfectly tailored suit and deep red pocket square, which the complemented colors of the many brilliant floral arrangements. Combined with lovely personal touches like of Steph's aunt officiating the ceremony and Jeff's father singing and playing guitar during their first dance, I had the best time photographing this wonderful couple and the folks who joined them to celebrate their marriage in this beautiful place.
I had the pleasure of photographing Karla and Nico's wedding at the end of June and am so excited to share some shots from their beautiful day! They were able to celebrate their marriage with family and friends in France (where Nico is from) and in California. And for their stateside ceremony, they picked a venue with one of the most San Franciscan locations (and climates) in the city: The General's Residence.
The good old summer fog rolled in and out of this Presidio spot over the course of the day, making for some dramatic conditions and beautifully diffused natural light (yay!). Guests traveled from near and far and there were lovely little touches referencing their French connection- like their champagne gift, bunches of lavender along the ceremony aisle and on the tables, and toasts translated into French and English by a talented best man. It was clear how much this couple meant to each other and how much it meant to them to be around so many of their favorite people. Such a joy to be part of their wedding and to record all of the love!
Photographing a wedding is part whirlwind and part meditation- for 8 hours, I'm thinking about nothing else besides the place I'm in, the people in front of me, and shooting them as well as possible. But Kate and Garrett's recent celebration went so far beyond that- it felt like being in another world. Just 15 minutes from the coast, their venue, with its verdant groves, winding paths and abundance of twinkle lights, was a magical hideaway and a perfect place to gather all of their people for a wedding weekend.
As I looked through their photos, I realized how the vibrant color palette of the day- these deep greens, reds, and blues- totally reflected the spirit of the couple. Kate and Garrett are sweet, bright, energetic- I feel like they're full of smiles every time I see them. Their adventurous nature was reflected in many of their details- from the table signage highlighting the many trips they've taken together to the notecards asking guests to share their favorite destinations. And shooting them in California with their family and friends was given extra significance by the fact that they're moving to Germany together this summer! They are clearly so loved by the people in their lives and so in love with each other and it was such a joy to be part of the day!
Welcome dinner for a wedding in Boonville, CA
It's not every wedding that you get a day-of call from the coordinator warning you that the gorgeous coastal location may experience gale force winds. And more importantly, it's not every event that you meet a couple whose perspective is so right on that it doesn't phase them in the least. Genna and Jesse are two intelligent, kind, loving, and much-loved individuals and it was clear from our first shot that they would enjoy and soak in the day, however it unfolded.
And unfold it did, with the support of their community clearly visible. From fellow musicians who played during the ceremony and first dance (including a circle of fiddlers!), to numerous pieces handwritten by friends, and an officiant who was also the bride's mentor- the love and respect for this couple abounded. Toasts spoke to their character, the good they brought out in people, and the many ways that they care for others and each other.
Amazingly, after some top-notch planning by Heather and her team at All Set, the weather ended up working in our favor. Portraits were taken with just the right amount of wind to lightly lift some chiffon. The sun broke out right before the ceremony. Guests enjoyed cocktail hour without having to huddle under heat lamps. We were even able to take sunset photos! All in all, a beautiful day resulting in some lovely images, a few of which are below.
Wedding Venue & Caterer: Costanoa Lodge / Coordinator: All Set Events / Hair and Makeup: Kelly Jo Makeup and Hair / Florist: Brother and Sisters Flower Shop / Band: The A-List with Downbeat LA / Photobooth: 143 Photobooth / Wedding Dress: Loho Bride / Groom's Suit: Hugo Boss / Second Photographer: Noah Christman