It was that weekend that rained, randomly! I thought April showers were supposed to bring May flowers, but May decided to go ahead and bring a little weeping that weekend. Thankfully the rain stopped a bit for a couple portraits at Stanford Campus, where the couple met, and brought with it a beautiful atmosphere.
(Words from Natalie) What was the most memorable part of the day? There were so many throughout the day that it's hard to pinpoint a particular moment as being the most memorable. There were the classic ones (the vows, the toasts, the post-ceremony hugs) and the innocuous ones (the last minute hairstyle debates, the pre-ceremony pizza, the questionable dance moves), all of them important but also fleeting. That's why we are so grateful to have such wonderful photos -- they make those moments last a little longer.
What unique detail was the most important for you to include and why? Neither of us are big on cake and didn't care about any cake-cutting tradition, so we knew we would serve ice cream and cookies from day one. It was a big hit with everyone -- turns out a gelato cart beats wedding cake, hands down.
What came most as a surprise to you about the day? It's not really a surprise because everyone says it, but the whole day does go by fast. It is so special to have all your friends and family in the same place; one day is not enough.
And one piece of advice to another couple? In case of unseasonable and unexpected rain, clear plastic umbrellas ordered via Amazon Prime are a lifesaver :)
Excited to photograph these silly, fun-loving lovebirds’ wedding this summer. Throughout this session I honestly didn’t have to tell them to do anything, just where to stand or sit. And they did the rest themselves. We started off in the Yerba Buena Gardens, explored the Union Square area a bit, and ended up in Bernal Heights before they had to jet off back home.
I think it was raining the day before this wedding. We’ve been in what seems like the rainiest season in years, but it luckily ended up being a beautiful, sunny day. We hit up a few classic San Francisco locations for a few portraits before the ceremony and reception at the always beautiful Foreign Cinema.
(Words from AJ and Erin)
What was the most memorable part of the day? Most memorable part I think was the moment of quiet time we got to spend alone right after the ceremony. As we were eating the appetizers saved for us and looking at all the different people who came from all the different parts of our lives to celebrate, it really hit us that we had done something that we would remember for the rest of our lives.
What unique detail was the most important for you to include and why? Capturing the wine capsule in a photo-journalistic way was really nice for us. Neither of us is religious, so it was important that we had a unique, but still symbolically ceremonial aspect to the ceremony. We were afraid that the capsule wouldn't make sense, especially in pictures, but it turned out great since we could clearly see the progression from empty box, to placing the wines, and finally to holding up the sealed capsule.
What came most as a surprise to you about the day? How fast the actual wedding flew by! We planned this event for over 8 months, with the last 3 months being really intense on our end. We were making all the DIY items, like the wedding arch, the table decorations, and the place cards, while making final plans with every single vendor. It was exhausting and felt like a second job. However, when the day finally arrived, everything went pretty much perfectly and according to plan. We were glad to have done all the work, but for as much as we had to do, it seemed like the day was over just as quickly as it started. Our friends had warned us that this would be the general feeling and advised us to make sure to soak in the little moments, which definitely helped us in our day!
And if you could give one piece of advice to another couple about the wedding, what would it be? Make sure you get the best vendors that you can find. Everyone who was involved from the venue's events coordinator (with whom we must have exchanged a hundred emails over the course of a year) to the DJ (who pulled double duty as coordinating when she saw things were getting hectic) and especially the photographer (of course!) was extremely professional, talented, and clearly committed to making sure that we had the best and most memorable experience possible.
Ever since getting engaged myself, people have asked, “When’s the wedding?” and my response has always been, “I haven’t even started planning yet.”
With all the hubbub of planning and expectations, sometimes I think I would follow in Taryn and Natalie’s footsteps and just elope somewhere. Maybe in a completely different country! When Taryn and Natalie first contacted me, they told me they were from Ottowa, Canada, and they were coming to San Francisco to get married at City Hall.
”Taryn and I are truly best friends - we have a great time together without having to stage it, so I’d love that to come through in our wedding photos,” Natalie wrote me in her initial email. They treated themselves to the unique Proper Hotel in San Francisco and I joined them as they got ready together. We walked to City Hall, and one of my favorite moments was when the judge officiating their ceremony snuck us to the Mayor’s Balcony because it was so loud and crowded in the usual area. “They usually charge extra for this,” I gushed to Natalie as we hurried over.
It’s hard to express how honored I was to be not only their photographer but also their witness. I was breathtakingly close as the vows were said, the rings exchanged, and I got chills shooting through it.
Documenting Stephanie and Tim’s wedding was such a treat. I began my day with photographing them getting ready together in a tucked away AirBnB surrounded by trees and greenery. They made tea together, wrote out the vows they would say to each other just a few moments later, and then Tim helped Stephanie get into her wedding dress.
Also, holy cow, can we take a moment to appreciate how much work went into the handmade paper bouquet and floral wall pieces?
When Margaret and Dan first reached out to me about shooting their wedding, they told me that it wasn’t going to be your normal wedding. First off, there was no real “ceremony venue” because they would be taking their guests on a tour bus around San Francisco and somewhere along the stops, they would do a super quick, 2 minute ceremony. They also weren’t going to do a typical sit-down dinner, instead they would have a taco bar for everyone!
1. Your wedding was definitely unique! Could you tell us how you came up with the Big Bus Tour idea and having the wedding ceremony as part of the quick stop? Many of our guests were traveling from out of state to be at our wedding, so we wanted to offer them something more than just a party, which they could get anywhere. Taking them to a couple of tourist attractions and seeing more of the city was our way to thank them for traveling so far.
As for the wedding ceremony, we knew that the reception was the most important part of the wedding for us, so we wanted the ceremony to be quick and inexpensive. We didn’t really know if it would work or not, but we figured we could make it work with sheer numbers. It was so fun bringing 70 guests to a tourist spot and making our own space for the quick ceremony.
2. What was the most memorable part of the day? The ceremony was definitely the most memorable part of the day. Even though it was cold, it felt magical getting married with the Golden Gate Bridge right beside us.
3. What unique detail was the most important for you to include and why? We both really enjoyed dressing up our maid of honor and best man! We bought each of them a bright sequins jacket to wear at the wedding. They are both important people in our lives, so we wanted them to show off and be seen, and we knew they would be game for looking a little silly. It turns out they can really pull off the look!
4. What came most as a surprise to you about the day? We knew the live band was risky, but they ended up being fantastic. Their energy was contagious, and even though they were a little corny, it was hard not to like them. They set the tone for the rest of the night.
5. If you could give one piece of advice for a couple who also wants a nontraditional wedding, what would it be? Don’t be afraid to cut or rearrange parts of a traditional wedding. By eliminating some things (like a separate ceremony or a sit-down dinner), we were able to save a lot of money. You also realize how much a wedding still feels like a wedding even without the typical fixtures. Your guests will appreciate you being yourselves!
A night time wedding in Buffalo, New York, my oh my! Ashley and Taylor were engaged at the Buffalo Botanical Garden. Ten short months later, they returned to become MARRIED AF!!
”What was the most memorable part of the day?” Taylor: The most memorable part of the day for me was walking into the dome where the ceremony was going on and seeing Ashley for the first time that day. It was exciting and overwhelming and everything we had been preparing for was finally worth it. She looked amazing in that suit, didn’t she? I couldn’t help but tear up.
“What unique detail was the most important for you to include and why?” It’s so hard to answer this question because so many things were important to me. I was pretty crazy about the music being right and on time since we didn’t hire a DJ. I wanted to prove that you didn’t need to hire a bunch of people to work your wedding. It worked out pretty seamlessly and I’m happy about that.
I also wanted to remember the rings, of course. I’m very forgetful and had full faith that someone else was taking care of that, haha.
“What came most as a surprise to you about the day?” I was surprised with how much pressure was relieved after we said “I do.” The months of preparation, being scatterbrained, and last minute tasks finally paid off. Even though there were some hiccups, I was relaxed and had helpful people around me to make sure it was the best day of my life. I thought I’d be a lot more stressed out during the whole thing.
“If you could give one piece of advice to another couple about the wedding day, what would it be?” Don’t rush through it. Don’t worry about having the biggest, most flashy wedding. It’s over in an instant and it’s a special moment for you and your new husband/wife, so don’t hurry through it or make it about what people will think. Just have fun and embrace the moment.
About a month before a wedding, I send out a questionnaire to my couple asking them for details about logistics and pertinent information. For my own curiosity, I also have a question that asks “What part of the day is most important to you photographically?” Most couples say portraits or ceremony. Grace and Gabe’s answer? “Reception Dancing” Heck yeah! I knew this was going to be fun.
Grace had made us sous vide salmon and rice as we chatted in her home about the wedding, which was coming up in just a few short weeks. Besides the usual advice I gave about timing and reception events, Grace and Gabe asked me how I could make the dance party even better. Most people choose glow sticks, I told them, but photographically speaking they don’t always make as big of an impact. So I told her about these light up foam sticks I saw once at a Las Vegas night club. Get a bunch of those, I told her, and they will definitely help make more of an impact.
Needless to say, their dance party was one of the craziest, most memorable wedding dancing I’ve experienced. (Also big shout out to my one of my favorite DJ companies Big Fun DJ with their amazing lights!)
Wow, Natalie and Nick’s wedding. I’m always a fan of everything-in-one-location wedding days, and at this beautiful yet unassuming venue, having that little extra peace of mind and extra time was welcomed. Natalie was able to have a small “first look” with her grandmother (whose expression I’ll never forget!) before sharing a first look with Nick.
A few of my favorite moments:
After the ceremony, the wedding party snuck back upstairs to sign the marriage license and have a little joyous “Now it’s REALLY official and we’re the only ones to see!” celebration.
Looking back at Natalie and Nick’s wedding guests in their own romantic cuddle watching their first dance.
Witnessing and capturing the tiny moments of love between family - such as Natalie’s mom wrapping the grandparents together with a blanket.
Though their guest count was around 150, somehow it still felt so intimate!
I’m finally getting around to posting this gorgeous wedding from a while ago! I actually went to the same University with Nadia and Joe, and seeing so many familiar faces among the guests made the event even more welcoming - people who have seen me from the very beginning of my photography journey, starting with being the set photographer / camera assistant on film and music video productions to finding my way to being a full time photographer.
I’ve photographed at the Outdoor Art Club several times now, and it’s quickly becoming one of my favorite venues!