Dena & Nathan

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: BHLDNDena’s earrings: Sarah Neiman / Nathan's Suit: Anatoly’s DJ: DJ Wayne Noel

Karla & Nico

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! 

Wedding Venue: The General's Residence / Coordinator and Florist: Conscioustyle / Caterer: Small Potatoes Catering and Events / DJ: Richard of All Ears DJ 

Kate & Garrett

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!

Wedding Venue: The Holly FarmCaterer: La Creme / Florist: Big Sur Flowers / Hair and Makeup Artists: Kim Larson / DJ: DJ Antonio of California Soundshine / Wedding Dress: Nicole Miller

Genna & Jesse

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 LodgeCoordinator: All Set Events / Hair and Makeup: Kelly Jo Makeup and Hair / Florist: Brother and Sisters Flower ShopBand: The A-List with Downbeat LA / Photobooth: 143 PhotoboothWedding Dress: Loho Bride / Groom's Suit: Hugo BossSecond Photographer: Noah Christman 

Amanda & Mike

The gorgeous venue of Cavallo Point, located near the base of the Golden Gate Bridge in Sausalito, is pretty much a slam dunk location. It's the perfect combination of Bay Area nature and historic buildings- an intimate getaway with close proximity to the city. But with this year's water-soaked winter, we all held our breath to see how the weather would effect Amanda and Mike's mid-February event. And I'm so happy to say that a marathon rainstorm stopped for ONE DAY to give Amanda and Mike the beautiful wedding they deserved.

After meeting in New York through their shared university, this impressive couple maintained their relationship through new jobs, cross-country relocations, law school, and a clerkship with the judge who graciously served as their officiant! Amongst a celebration flawlessly supported by Lauren of Ryder Sloan Events and a stellar team, the guests honored Amanda and Mike's many years together and the clear, abundant ways in which they complemented, supported, and brightened each others' lives. What an honor to be a part of this wonderful day!

Wedding Venue & Caterer: Cavallo PointCoordinator: Ryder Sloan EventsHair and Makeup: Marisa Perel / Florist: Mandolin Floral / Tabletop & Glassware: Frances Lane / Linens: La TavolaDJ: DJ Cams / Ceremony Music: Garden StringsLighting: Got LightSecond Photographer: Noah Christman / Videographer: Paperweight Films

Eric & Matt

Weddings are delightful but they can also be stressful- so many moving parts, high expectations, months of planning wrapped up into a single day experience. Sometimes this can be seen on the fringes of peoples' expressions and behavior. And sometimes, like at Eric & Matt's wedding, it's absolutely nowhere to be found. From the moment we walked in the door to greet the grooms, their families and wedding party, they were all smiles and cheer. They immediately welcomed us into the fold of their calm but excited pre-wedding bustle and I knew right away that it was going to be a fantastic shoot.

Eric and Matt organized and executed a beautiful day, reflective of their thoughtful natures and great taste. The adjoining spaces of Clos La Chance's property meant that people were treated to one beautiful area after another (vineyard views to an olive grove to the bistro-lit patio...completely lovely). Against these backdrops, guests shed happy tears, shared big group hugs, raised glasses of wine to heartfelt toasts and danced their hearts out. You could tell how excited Eric and Matt's families were to have these new sons and brothers-in-law and how thrilled everyone was to celebrate the union of these two men who they clearly loved so much. 

Wedding Venue: Clos La Chance Winery / Coordinator: Kristin Murphy / Grooms' Suits: Suit Supply / Grooms' Rings: Joe Escobar DiamondsCaterer: Cellar Door Catering / CakeSugar Butter Flour / Florist: Dig Gardens / Bouquets and boutineers: The Flower Cottage of Morgan Hill / DJ: Andy Acker of Sound in Motion / Second Photographer: Noah Christman

Ashley & Julien

I'm not ashamed to admit how completely biased I am in saying how much I loved this wedding. When my friends Ashley and Julien asked if I would photograph their wedding, and then chose one of my all-time favorite venues in the Bay Area, Chileno Valley Ranch, I knew that it would be a gorgeous and unforgettable day. 

The pops of color that punctuated the day - from the pinks and reds in Ashley's floral crown, to the hand-painted blue and yellow photobooth backdrop, to the green of the custom-designed camping mug favors - were indicative of what a bright presence these two are in peoples' lives. Friendly, smart, energetic, hilarious, kind- they are a couple who you always want more time with and it was a clear how much they meant to their friends and family, who gathered from across the country to celebrate with them.

The wedding was the perfect combination of heartfelt reflection and blissful revelry and was executed flawlessly by the stellar team of vendors they brought together. What a joy to shoot, and to be present for. 

Wedding Venue: Chileno Valley Ranch / Wedding Coordinator: Lea Stafford Events / Hair and Makeup: Flower and Gold / Bride's Dress: Jenny Packham / Bride's Shoes: Miu Miu / Groom's Suit Tailoring: Spoon Tailor / Florals: Susie Nadler of Flora GrubbCatering: Firefly Catering / DJ: Meghan of Heart of Gold DJs / Second Photographer: Jessica Monroy

Allegra & Jonathan

Have you ever been invited to a family's home for a wedding? It's incredibly special. You can see the family's history all over- in the childhood bedroom where the bride gets ready, the back porch where they waited to walk down the aisle, the hillside where guests camped that night. You realize that they've interacted with this property in so many ways, and this day will join a surely long list of lovely memories in that place.

Allegra and Jonathan are an infectiously sweet couple who live in San Francisco and decided to be married across the country in Vermont. As I make this trip often to visit my own family, I was delighted to be able to shoot a "local" wedding in the Northeast. Their joy and comfort in each other was apparent throughout the day- they were all smiles and laughter- and it made my work a true delight. You could tell that they're the kind of people who always better the lives of those around them.

And as friends and family cheered their run down the aisle after being married, toasted to their future and danced beside them into the late hours, I kept thinking what an amazing thing it is to be able to bring all of the people you love most into your life and your home. And how lucky I am to get to document such an occasion.

Day-of Coordinator: Catherine Saunders / Venue: Private residence in Norwich, VT / Hair and Makeup: The Woodstock Inn / Flowers and Brownies: Ardelia Farm / DJ: Scott SicaRentals: Celebrate in Vermont / Catering: Carolyn & Chris Sailer of The Moonshine Inn / Second Photographer: Noah Christman

Michelle & Eric

East Coast celebrations at the start of summer- there are few things better. So I'm grateful to have had the chance to shoot Michelle and Eric's gorgeous wedding a few weeks ago back in my home state of New Jersey!

It was held at the calm, beautiful Waterloo Village, with historical touches that punctuated every aspect of the day. M&E clearly put love and thought into many details, including handwritten notes transferred onto the bottom of her shoes, his NJ Devils socks, and the floral arrangements made by her kindergarten students! It was an honor to shoot such a sweet, happy day!

Crystal & Katie

These brides. These brides are the kind of people, with the kind of huge smiles and magnetic chemistry, who you want to be around on an average Saturday. So you can imagine just how much fun and love-filled their wedding day was.

There may have been some rain, and it may have affected the layout and flow of their event, but honestly I think that little detail will fade into the background with time (and that's largely due to the kick-ass planners and staff who turned the room like pros). What will surely last is the thought and effort put into their handmade details, the big laughter and happy tears from friends and family and the pure joy that ran through the day. It was an honor to witness and record it.

Below is a little preview from the many shots taken from the day. I was lucky to have my right-hand man (and soon-to-be husband!) shooting with and supporting me, so there are a few thousand to edit through. Whew!

Wedding Planners: Ah Ha Events / Wedding Venue: Benicia Historical Museum / Getting Ready Location: Shorelight Inn / DJ: Matt Haze / Second Photographer: Noah Christman
 

All photographs © Kara Brodgesell