Modern Industrial Wedding at The 4 Eleven | Fort Worth, Texas Wedding Photographer
This wedding was really a special day for me. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know LeElle and David over the past year. We traveled back to their old stomping grounds in New York City for engagement photos in September. Emily and I always had fun getting together for dinner with them, and all the wedding planing discussions in the months that followed. We bonded over our love for New York, trying new food, and our pets. These two are brilliantly talented, and they are also some of the funniest and most genuine people you are ever going to meet. It’s no surprise that so many friends and family traveled from all over the world to celebrate with them at The 4 Eleven in Fort Worth, Texas. Here is their love story in their own words:
“We met on December 15, 2015, in New York City, after matching on JSwipe (a Jewish dating app) (of course). At David’s suggestion, we went to a bar in the Lower East Side for lychee martinis. LeElle enjoyed the date so much that she had three drinks . . . and she hates lychee martinis.
We dated for over a year before moving to Dallas, where David promptly bought a big red truck. Then, while on a trip to Israel, David proposed at sunset on a rooftop in Jerusalem. LeElle thought she said yes, but she was crying so hard that she really just nodded.”
LeElle and David got ready at the Worthington Renaissance Hotel in Downtown Fort Worth before heading to The 4 Eleven. There they shared their first look and spent time taking photos and visiting with their closest friends and family. The decor was an elegant mix of classic, modern, and urban rustic. Their ceremony included both Ashkenasi and Sephardic Jewish traditions; at the reception there was lots of dancing, while guests dined on Texas braised short ribs and tequila poached salmon. Of course there was lots of laughing and singing throughout the night. LeElle and David are currently honeymooning in South Africa, and I’m extremely jealous.
Callie and Lorne have such an amazing story. Callie, from Southlake, Texas and Lorne, from South Africa, met while attending Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. They both share a love for Africa and when it came time for Lorne to pop the question, he knew it had to be at one of thier favorite places, the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania. The area is a World Heritage Site and is home to a wide variety of wildlife and landscapes. After a morning safari, Lorne, who was sick with Malaria at the time (!), brought Callie to a spot on the wall of the crater overlooking the entire preserve. He propposed against the most amazing backdrop imaginable. Fast forward to May 19th, the happy couple decended on the Joule Hotel in Downtown Dallas to get ready and have a few pre-wedding cocktails in the speakeasy. Their big fluffy white pup even helped out with final touches. Everyone migrated to the Dallas Arboretum. Callie and Lorne exchanged vows in the Lay Family Garden, surrounded by family and friends from around the world. Afterwards, everyone settled in for the most stunning outdoor reception dinner overlooking White Rock Lake. As with any great Dallas Arboretum wedding, everyone danced away the evening under the stars before a sparkler sendoff. I can’t say enough about how great it was to get to know this wonderful couple and all their loved ones.
My Favorite Destinations for a Desert Elopement or Wedding
A desert elopement is one of my favorite ways to get married because it speaks to the adventurous nature of the couple. Anyone can go through a drive-thru chapel in Vegas but I love seeing a couple filled with love who want to go on an adventure in one of the incredible desert locations of the United States, such as Moab, Red Rock Canyon, Joshua Tree, Saguaro, Big Bend, and The Grand Canyon National Parks.
These weddings are small, intimate, and can take place at sunrise, sunset, or even under the stars.
If you’re planning a desert elopement, there are a few considerations for each of these locations.
Moab is found in eastern Utah. There are two of the Mighty 5 National Parks located here, including Canyonlands and Arches National Park. Since there are two parks here, you will have to decide which one you want to provide you with a breathtaking view for your desert elopement.
I love how the sandstone arches of Arches National Park provide borders and framing for the ceremony and images. At the same time, Canyonlands provides endless vistas of canyons, mesas, and buttes, creating the classic American West look.
If you’re getting married here, there are a few options for lodging. This includes camping, resorts, and bed and breakfasts.
Depending on when you’re eloping, you won’t want to miss out on whitewater rafting, zip lining, and horseback riding trails throughout the area.
Red Rock Canyon
The Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is found in the Mojave Desert of Nevada. It’s located just outside of Las Vegas, which is a big draw. As the name suggests, the rock formations have a red coloring that is striking. There’s a 13-mile scenic drive with plenty of spots for amazing photographs and desert elopements.
There is camping on-site, but it can get very hot in the desert for overnight stays. You may want to consider staying in Vegas, at one of the hotels on the Strip, and then driving in for the nuptials. Red Rock Canyon (along with Seguaro NP) is really unique among my other favorites because you can get from airport to destination in under half an hour. It makes things really easy if you have family and friends coming from far away, especially those who are not outdoor types. You could also have your ceremony at one of Las Vegas’ many unique areas and then head out to the canyon for photos. If you really want an adventure, consider camping during the cooler months, such as September or October.
You can have all of the desert adventures you want while here. Consider renting ATVs to use around the sand dunes or backpacking throughout the 13 miles.
Joshua Tree National Park sprawls across a vast area of Southern California. It’s coveniently located a couple of hours east of the Los Angeles metro area and right next to beautiful Palm Springs. There are two desert ecosystems (the Mojave and Colorado) and several mountain ranges, which is part of what makes this place so interesting. The park is massive so you need plan things around travel times. The dark night skies and sunsets here are truely otherworldly and perfect for a gorgeous desert elopement.
The Joshua Tree itself is a very unique fixture of the park. It has become rather iconic because of the U2 album of the same name. However, what really makes this place special for many are the hills of massive boulders scattered across the landscape. They create incredible pockets of light and shadow and places to climb and explore.
When you want to say “I do” in this National Park, you will want to consider where you are going to eat and sleep. There are campgrounds in the park, but no lodging or restaurants. If you were hoping for less of a rustic place to sleep and even have your ceremony, you may want to consider booking a night or two in nearby Palm Springs and driving into the park or the neighboring Coachella Valley for sunset.
The good news is that there are a lot of things to do, with stargazing and nature walks at the top of the list.
There are so many different views and areas to explore that this option can seem overwhelming at first glance. However, it also provides near endless possibilities that can cater to any vision you might have for your desert ceremony and images. Of course, there are the standard canyon views that never disappoint, but there are plennty of hidden gems in and around the park. Cape Royal Point, Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, and the Toroweap Overlook are all high points of the region.
As with any National Park, it’s important to note that there are application fees involved with getting married inside Grand Canyon National Park. This is going to add to the overall cost. The wedding fee is $140. You also have to be cautious as to where you get married as the cost of the permit can change. Shoshone Point locations, for example, cost $420. There are also things that are not permitted, such as flowers, amplified sound, balloons, or tables and chairs.
As for your accommodations, you can have your choice of camping or various hotels nearby.
Depending on the kind of adventure you want to have while getting married, you can look at helicopter tours over the Canyon as well as go biking, hiking, and of course, donkey rides.
Saguaro National Park
Saguaro National Park has many of those classic desert features you’d expect. It’s named after the giant seguaro cactus that thrives in this part of the Sonoran Desert. These cacti are striking and give this area a unique feel for a desert elopement. The park is located in Southeastern Arizona, around the city of Tuscon. This makes things very convenient for a short trip or for family and friends traveling in for nuptials. Tuscon has lots of great things to offer as well (mexican food!), so it’s a wonderful compliment to your experience.
Big Bend National Park
Big Bend National Park is the most remote and least visited of all the destinations I’ve listed, but it’s part of what makes the park so unique. One of the most popular places to stay, outside of camping in the park, is the quirky art centric desert town of Marfa, located almost two hours away from the nearest park entrance. The distance from any major light pollution makes Big Bend one of the best places on earth to star gaze.
The name “Big Bend” refers to the bend in the Rio Grande River that runs through the park. This is the largest region of Chihuahuan desert in the United States. It features dramatic vertical walled limestone canyons, mountains, and even forest and waterfalls. Having your ceremony on one of the rocky river beaches below the canyon walls is a great option.
Because of its remoteness and large size, getting around by car is almost a must in Big Bend National Park. Hiking is also expected to get to many of the best spots. Some of the best and most scenic river rafting in this part of the country occurs in the park.
I hope you’ll look into some of these unbelievable locations for your adventure desert elopement or intimate wedding and consider having me along to tell your story! Get to know more about me and my approach or go ahead and get in touch now.
Union / Pine: A Stunning Modern Industrial Wedding Venue
Are you looking for a wedding venue with style, character, and a history of bringing people together? A wedding venue whose origin story itself revolves around the romance of its two designers? If you are looking for a unique setting with a modern aesthetic in Portland, Oregon, the Union Pine might just be the perfect venue for you.
About Union / Pine
Originally created by industrial designer Patrick Triato and set decorator Summer Killingsworth Triato, Union Pine is a space specially designed to cultivate community and culture. This 10,000 square foot former warehouse was built in 1960 by designer Margaret Fritsch, the first female architect in Oregon. After serving as a storage facility for the Volunteer of Americas, serving as a sign shop, and more, the Union Pine was discovered by Patrick Triato, who remodeled the building with Summer Killingsworth’s assistance, and the two decided to name it “Union Pine” to emphasize their business’s core value of bringing people together. A few years after collaborating on the project to bring Union Pine back to life, Patrick Triato and Summer Killingsworth were married.
With five years of experience hosting special events like weddings, art shows, dinners, fundraisers, and more, Union Pine is a premier event space with unique features that will stun guests and help couples create a wedding to remember.
This one building features two venues within one centrally-located building.
Union/Pine: This unique main event space consists of three main areas, a sunken living room with wood floors, middle bar area, and an open back room, which can easily be closed off with large rolling doors to create a more intimate space for guest lists ranging from less than 20 to as many as 50-75 guests. With the doors open, the room capacity can accommodate 292 for empty-room standing events and 130 guests for a seated reception. The South facing windows let in incredible natural light, creating a cozy vibe ideal for weddings.
Backroom Area: This expansive backroom area is ideal for seated dinners and ceremonies. This mostly-open space features polished concrete floors, striking black beams, and poplar wood walls. The large roll-out cedar doors can section this backroom space off as needed, creating two separate sections.
The Green Room: This private getaway is a versatile room perfect for resting and preparing before or during the wedding event. The Green Room comes with a sofa set, full length mirror, and other decorative additions.
The Loft: Located above Union/Pine on the second floor of the building, this fully-furnished 3500 square foot loft is available for intimate events. With a 12-foot reclaimed beam table seating twelve, a modern kitchen, two bathrooms, and unique vintage and designer decor, this space can accommodate up to 40 guests.
The Wishing Well Bar: The Wishing Well Bar is an exclusive Union/Pine bar with affordable rates, buy backs for unopened alcohol, and the flexibility to allow couples to provide their own bar stock. This reclaimed hand-crafted wood bar was Patrick and Summer’s first construction project together, repurposing discarded neighborhood pallets to build the bar.
Amenities and other information
Union Pine features Sonos surround-sound system, 10-ton central A/C and heat, pre-strung cafe bulbs, and an exterior deck and bench. The venue also features high speed wireless internet, a wheelchair accessible entrance, and an open catering policy. Union Pine features a kitchen with a simple set up and ample room for caterers to spread out and prepare for the special day. Although cooking is not allowed in the kitchen, it features a sink, refrigerator, counter space, and warming units and burners, to prepare food for the big event.
Union Pine is full of character and personality inside and out. Envisioned and created by a pair of designers whose vision for the venue not only led inspired them to share their creativity with the community, but also fall in love with each other, Union Pine is full of simple, striking backdrops for taking pictures that will capture these once-in-a-lifetime moments.
As a photographer who looks for beauty in the little moments, my familiarity with this hidden gem of a venue will guide me as I work with you to capture and portray your unique relationship and your special day with genuine emotions and creativity, creating photographs that you and your loved ones will treasure forever.
No matter what your vision is for your wedding, Union Pine is a venue that can make your dreams become a reality. With its romantic history and vibrant, modern vibe, Union Pine is a beautiful, one-of-a-kind venue with versatility and potential to create and unforgettable beginning to your lives together.
Yosemite National Park: A Magical Wilderness in Northeast California
Yosemite Elopements: Best Spots & Tips to Know Before You Say “I Do”
Yosemite is without a doubt one of the most uniquely stunning places on earth. Its outstanding natural beauty draws in people from all over the world, which makes it the perfect destination for an elopement. There are hundreds of incredible spots to perform the ceremony, plus exploring with your photographer to get those incredible moments is a blast! If you’re contemplating eloping in Yosemite National Park, there are a few things you’ll need to know. I’ll provide you with some of the best spots and tips for your special day in Yosemite.
Amazing locations in Yosemite
There are tons of incredible spots for your ceremony or romantic photos to be taken in Yosemite National Park. Here are just a few of my favorites.
This is hands down one of the most breathtaking spots in all of Yosemite National Park. After the hour drive up hill, you’ll find incredible views of the valley and Half Dome! There are also tons of gorgeous pine trees and other scenery nearby that will add to the already amazing vibes. Also, the sunsets at Glacier simply do not compare to anything you’ve ever seen. Simply magical.
On the way back from Glacier Point, you’ll find Tunnel View. It’s a famous landmark with iconic views including The Three Brothers, El Capitan, Bridal Veil Fall, and the Half Dome. Imagine exchanging vows with your love with a view this epic! It’s a once in a lifetime moment you’ll never forget.
Surrounded by beautiful trees and mountains, this “beach” location is pretty unbeatable. El Capitan is in the background too and you might even get some reflections of it in the water if conditions are right. It’s a great river spot with awesome backdrops and perfect for a small wedding ceremony.
This whole area has wonderful views, especially of the lower Yosemite Falls and nearby Sentinel Meadow. There are many meadows, trees, and other hidden gems around the bridge as well. It’s a good starting point for hiking to nearby destinations.
It’s a tiny spot on the south side that offers iconic views and plenty of parking if you have some friends and family tagging along!
The Merced River
Running through Yosemite’s valley, this river offers a ton of amazing shooting spots.
Lower Yosemite Falls
With Yosemite Valley Lodge directly across the street, there’s a lot of parking, it’s flat and easily walkable. It’s very beautiful!
Along with all of these locations, there are plenty of “off the beaten path” areas we may find along the way. I may yell “freeze!” at a random location if I envision something absolutely beautiful through my lens. With so many other nooks and crannies in Yosemite, it’s truly an incredible location.
Get a Permit
Even if your elopement will only consist of you two, the photographer, and officiant, you still need a permit. U.S. National Parks allow ceremonies to take place on their grounds through a “special use’ permit which requires an upfront fee of $150 at Yosemite. If you risk it and don’t get a permit, think of how awful it would be to have to pause your big day if a ranger stops by to see your (nonexistent) permit? It’s not worth it. Plus the money goes towards the national parks!
Tip: Plan to submit your permit application a few months in advance just to be safe.
Beware of Altitude Sickness
At 4,000 ft in Yosemite, most people will be fine, but it’s when you start to climb other spots such as Glacier Point where it gets iffy, especially if it’s hot! If you feel dizzy, sit down, take deep breaths and sip water. It’ll only last a few minutes, but it’s smart to take precautions and know beforehand it could happen to you!
What to Bring Along?
Change of clothes
Hiking shoes/comfortable shoes
Jacket/hoodie (mountains or higher points can get cold!)
Toilet paper/wet wipes (bathrooms are scarce)
Props for pictures (rugs, flower petals, cute blanket, etc.)
Flashlight (if you’re out near sunset)
Umbrella/rain jacket if there’s a chance of rain
One of the most popular reasons to elope is that couples don’t want to deal with the stress of wedding planning. Who can blame them? There’s no guest list, no reception planning, and a whole lot less money spent. Elopements are very special because it’s entirely about celebrating the love and commitment being shared together. It’s for you two, no one else!
Say goodbye to stress, and say hello to unbelievable photos and a fun-filled day of memories. Yosemite will not disappoint!
I can help make your day exactly the way you envision and leave you with beautiful photographs that will last a lifetime. Learn more about me and what makes me different than other wedding photographers and get in touch.
Prospect House: A Stunning Modern Wedding Destination in the Texas Hill Country
If you are envisioning an extraordinary and stylish wedding hosted in a simple yet dramatic venue, one with both stunning modern architecture indoors and beautifully expansive natural outdoor backdrops, Prospect House is the perfect wedding venue for you.
About Prospect House
Located on a private 20-acre Hill Country site in Dripping Springs, Texas, Prospect House is only a twenty-five minute drive from downtown Austin. Designed by award-winning Texas architect Max Levy, Prospect House is a modern event space specifically intended to host weddings, receptions, and other special events. Its striking architecture set amongst the hill country landscape includes several indoor and outdoor spaces for maximum flexibility. The area surrounding Prospect House was designed by Ten Eyck Landscape Architects and features native prairie grasses and trees, integrating the clean-lined architecture and hardscapes. This gallery-like event space provides abundant natural lighting, a simple material palette, and multiple outdoor sites designed to take advantage of the Texas Country views.
Unlike many other wedding venues, Prospect House was specifically designed with special events in mind, so that the configuration of various interior and exterior spaces flow smoothly together and provide maximum flexibility for guests to truly create the wedding of their dreams.
Main Hall: Prospect House’s Main Hall is a 3,000 square foot air conditioned space flooded with natural lighting, 15 foot tall ceilings, built-in banquet seating, direct access to the Biergarten outside, and capacity for up to 220 seated guests. The Main Hall also features enough room for a band and DJ or dance party after the ceremony.
Breezeway: This 2,000 square foot covered, screened-in entry hall features exposed framing and breathtaking views of the main outdoor ceremony space. The Breezeway provides shaded space for guests to mingle before and after the wedding ceremony, and can also easily be reconfigured into a covered ceremony site in case of inclement weather.
Ceremony Lawn: This large lawn covered with native grasses and surrounded by rows of Texas Red Oaks features a simple altar area with room for creative couples to adapt for their personal tastes and style. Behind the altar, wedding guests have the perfect long-distance views of the rolling hills and Texas Hill Country vistas.
Little Tree: Little Tree is an alternate intimate outdoor ceremony space under a group of mature live oaks next to an old dry-stacked stone wall.
Biergarten: This 1500 square foot outdoor space includes a tree canopy and built-in bench seating. It also has a concrete and steel outdoor bar, cafe tables, and is linked to the Main Hall. The Biergarten is another perfect space for guests to mingle before and after the ceremony, as well as during the reception.
Amenities and other information
Couples who choose to host their wedding at Prospect House have full use of all on-site facilities and grounds during the day of their event, including use of all lighting, furniture, and integrated audio systems. Couples are invited to bring their own wedding coordinator, caterer, florist, musicians, and other preferred vendors according to their style and vision.
Prospect House also offers two private dressing rooms for pre-wedding preparation, and a fully equipped caterer’s kitchen is located right next to the Main Hall. Prospect House also offers guests a landscaped parking lot shielded by native Big Muhly grasses, landscaped berms, and Eve’s Necklace trees.
Prospect House provides couples, their photographer, and videographer a wealth of options when it comes to creating memorable, artistic images. From the striking modern architecture, to the various expansive outdoor settings, natural foliage, and trees, Prospect House offers many palettes to create on.
Couples with a taste for modern art and architecture, as well as natural Texas landscapes, will be blown away by what Prospect House offers. I especially enjoy utilizing the natural beauty of these settings and incorporating it into photographs that bring out your style and personality. I love sharing in the creative process to make the meaningful visual mementos of your most important day.
Weddings are life changing events, and deserve to be hosted in a similarly magnificent setting. Prospect House is just such a setting. The designers’ and builders’ vision for creating the most versatile modern space is encapsulated in every detail of this stunning wedding venue. Couples who host their special day here are sure to have a wedding to remember and I would love to be a part of it. Find out more about me and what makes me different from other wedding photographers.
Mid-Century Joshua Tree At Home Session | Palm Springs Wedding Photographer
Joshua Tree National Park is well known for its picturesque desert vistas and otherworldly landscapes. That and U2 of course. This gigantic area in Southern California, east of Los Angeles, has a vibe all its own. Nearby, Palm Springs is the Mid-Century Modern capital of the world and such an amazing place to escape to with the one you love. Bianca and Andy escaped the craziness of Hollywood and headed out for a weekend that combined the best of Palm Springs style and Joshua Tree wilderness. She’s an actress/writer from Texas with an adorable chihuahua, and he’s a comedy writer/producer From New York with wonderful knowledge of film. We met up at this amazing home high in the Yucca Valley area right outside the National Park. It was tough, but I managed to get up in time to catch the amazing desert sunrise and the light coming through the large windows was perfect. We spent the day exploring the area, which besides the stunning decor, includes an amazing swimming pool and greenhouse. The “backyard” was basically our own little piece of Joshua Tree, with boulders, road runners, and cactus. I’m so excited to go back to this magical area an explore more of it with other adventurous couples!
Weddings should be a day to celebrate, a day that highlights who you are as a couple and all the things you love most. If you two are the type to hike into the mountains, spend whole afternoons in a garden, or can never get enough nature, chances are an outdoor wedding has crossed your mind. If you’re hoping to tie the knot under towering trees or an open sky, consider Hoyt Arboretum in Portland, Oregon for your wedding venue. It’s ideal for a nature-lover who wants to host a no-frills or DIY Portland, Oregon wedding.
Hoyt Arboretum was established in 1922 and bills itself as a living museum. All its exhibits are flourishing plant life, with highlights including magnolia trees, Japanese maples, honey locust trees, and colorful sourwoods. The full collection spans 6,000 trees and 2,300 different species, some of which are vulnerable or endangered. The arboretum is dedicated to conservation and eco-friendly practices.
Stevens Pavilion Picnic Shelter
The striking shape of the picnic shelter, bordered by Douglas firs, makes for a prime wedding or elopement ceremony space. It also provides shelter from the elements without needing to rent a tent. The shelter is open and accessible, with space for caterers to set up a feast or delivery trucks to drop off decor. There’s room for up to 100 guests here, with 10 picnic tables inside the shelter and 4 in the area just outside it. This venue offers up to 110V electricity and is a short walk away from water and restroom facilities at the Visitor Center.
The aptly-named wedding meadow, tucked away from the arboretum’s main roads and buildings, offers a more secluded space to say “I do.” You’ll feel as if you’re in the middle of the wilderness in this wooded glen. Like the picnic shelter, this space can accommodate up to 100 guests. There is no electricity or running water here, but the arboretum does allow portable toilet rentals from an outside vendor to make sure your guests are provided for.
Just a third of a mile down the Wildwood Trail from the Visitor Center, this deck is surrounded by majestic views of towering redwood trees. This natural-wood structure is suitable for intimate gatherings of 50 standing or 25 seated guests, perfect for a larger elopement or small wedding ceremony. Again, electricity, water, and bathrooms are not available here. The Redwood Deck might be just the spot to exchange vows, then scatter to a second site with more room for a reception.
Bill DeWeese Classroom
If your headcount is small, consider moving indoors to the Bill DeWeese classroom for your reception. Outside catering is permitted, although there is no cooking or kitchen equipment available onsite. There’s room here for 40 guests, and the large windows offer unobstructed views of the landscape outside of the Visitor Center.
Rules and Regulations
As an eco-conscious outdoor space, Hoyt Arboretum weddings are subject to certain regulations. You’ll need a permit to serve alcohol here, and only containers of beer and wine are allowed: no kegs and no hard liquor. The venue also forbids the use of amplified music, so any processionals or dance parties will need to be unplugged. Keep cleanup in mind, too: you’ll be responsible for leaving your event space clean and free of any trash after your big day.
Reserving Your Space
Apply through the Portland Parks & Recreation Customer Service Center to host your wedding at the Hoyt Arboretum. You’ll pay a small wedding application fee, a refundable security deposit, and a rental fee that covers the full day of your wedding, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., when the arboretum closes. The fees are low, making the arboretum an extremely affordable site for your wedding. All rental proceeds go towards the Hoyt’s conservation efforts and to the Department of Parks & Recreation.
Photographing Your Hoyt Arboretum Wedding
This venue space is low-cost and no-frills, but offers many opportunities for DIY decor and outside rentals to spruce up the spaces. And no matter what, you’re guaranteed the best kind of decor that only nature can provide. The Hoyt Arboretum offers your choice of natural landscapes and backdrops for your wedding photos, from the soaring heights of redwood trees to the year-round greenery of the firs at the Stevens Pavilion.
I’ve always had my own approach to wedding photography: I look for the little moments, the ones you might otherwise take for granted, and preserve them in a way that tells your story. I love working in natural settings that offer room for adventure and spontaneity. The rustic authenticity of Hoyt Arboretum offers a setting to capture the simple truths of your love and your wedding day. Find out more about me and what makes me different from other wedding photographers.
Destination Lake Como Wedding | Italy Photographer
Lauren and Stefano’s Lake Como wedding was an all time favorite. They met in Dallas but their relationship progressed from Texas to Los Angeles and from California to Italy. While in Venice, Stefano proposed in San Marco Square. Therefore, it made perfect sense that before the couple moved to New York City, they would get married on the shore of beautiful Lake Como. Keeping with the international theme, family from the US, Great Britain, and Italy joined them for a weekend full of amazing food, wine, and laughter. The weekend began with a rehearsal dinner and welcome party at La Laconda del Cantiere, where Stefano’s two brothers surprised him with their arrival while the sun set over the lake. After a beautiful four course dinner, the party continued at Relais Villa Vittoria. This stunning little Villa is located on the western side of the lake in the town of Laglio, famous as George Clooney’s home away from home, and full of old world charm. The wedding day forecast had predicted rain, but when Lauren woke up the weather was perfect. Following the lakeside ceremony held in English and Italian, the bride and groom enjoyed an amazing dinner right on the lake. The wine was flowing and we all were treated like family. Stories and toasts were exchanged between each course and was followed by dancing late into the night in the underground wine cellar. I can’t wait to get back to this incredible place and share it with another adventurous couple.
We had a great time exploring the northern part of Italy beforeending up at the Lake Como wedding. Venice was just as dreamy as you’d imagine. It was certainly crowded during this time of the year but we still found lots of deserted alleyways and quiet sqaures, especially in the evening time. We spent a day on Lido beach swimming in the Adriatic Sea and headed back to Venice just in time to see the daytime tourist heading off the island. The next day we took a water bus up to Burano. It was a hot July day but as the sun got lower, tourists left and the locals came out to enjoy the cooling temperatures. The setting sun made the colorful buildings glow. It was pretty magical to say the least. We traveled by train to Lake Como and were able to meet up with Lauren and Stefano the day before their wedding. We explored Villa Carlotta after mistakenly thinking it was Villa Sola Cabiati (a private residence). Oops. Anyway, here are a few more images from Venice, Burano, and gorgeous Lake Como, Italy.
Spending time with these amazing humans in a special place like Lake Como Italy, was truly an honor. If you are thinking about an Italian elopement or destination Lake Como wedding, I would love the opportunity to connect and tell..
An intimate wedding is a great way to feel more connected and present on one of the most important days of your life. Many people think an “intimate wedding” is the same as a “small wedding.” However, you can still have an intimate feel, even with a larger guest list. There is a big movement toward more intimate feeling weddings and elopements within an industry that has become more and more about lavish, expensive, showy celebrations the past few decades. As someone who truly values the authentic connection and moments that occur during weddings, I welcome this change. Of course, the most obvious way to make a wedding more intimate is to have a smaller guest list, but not everyone has that luxury. I’m going to highlight some other options you may want to look into as well.
Get Ready Together
Getting ready for your wedding takes up a good portion of the day. Many times, I have experienced brides and grooms prepping with friends and immediate family, getting stressed, and trying to take care of everyone but themselves. There is certainly something to be said for spending that time together. Don’t think this means you can’t also have a first look either. I’ve seen couple get ready up to the point of putting the dress on and still having an emotional first look together.
Have a Private First Look
First looks can be a great way to experience a very emotional moment, without all eyes being on you. I don’t think first looks are for everyone though. I like the idea of having a last moment together before two becomes one, and you can do that without seeing each other. Try getting together for a prayer or just to talk about whats happening. You can be in two adjoining rooms, around a corner, or get back to back (my personal favorite). This is also really great for couples who tend to get nervous and can have a calming effect when needed.
Schedule Alone Time
This is a big one for me. I encourage all my couples to schedule time before (if a first look is involved) or after the ceremony where they can get away from everyone else, slow things down, and take in the moment together. This usually also doubles as a great time for candid portraits because they can explore an area around the location while I capture what happens.
Shrink the Bridal Party
Consider having less, if any, bridesmaids and groomsmen. Many times your friends will enjoy the day more as guests anyway. The smaller the bridal party is, the less crowded and time consuming your prep, ceremony, and photo experiences with be. If you’re finding it to hard to narrow it down, try having your party seated during the ceremony. That way it’s just the two of you at the altar.
Create a Personalized Ceremony Layout
Think outside the box when it comes to your ceremony. For example, try having your ceremony in the round with you as the center or have your guest sit on casual furniture. This will set the tone for the event and let everyone know that it’s ok to relax and have fun.
Use a Close Friend as Your Officiant
Find a close friend or family member to officiate your ceremony. The best ceremonies I’ve experienced almost always have this element in common. It’s so much more personal and entertaining when someone you are comfortable with is performing this task. One of my favorites is when a parent or sibling does the honors.
Involve Your Guests in the Ceremony
Another way to get things feeling more intimate is to involve your guests in the ceremony. You can have them recite a poem or scripture together, pray over you, take turns telling stories, thank people by name, etc. Just make sure it fits with the vibe you want the ceremony to have. Personally, I love it when the guests participate in a ceremony recessional or exit. It’s usually a lot more fun and successful than exits at the end of the night and makes for better pictures as well!
Exchange Private Vows
There is no law that says you have to exchange vows in front of anyone else or even at your own ceremony. You may want to exchange vows privately after the ceremony in a place of your choosing. This usually makes for a more emotional and direct exchange. It’s also a great opportunity to create really impactful photographs. Another option is to simply have your ceremony without guests and meet them afterwards at the reception.
Make Time to Eat Together
Schedule time to eat dinner together. This is another big one for me. So often I see the bride and groom’s cold plates sitting untouched at the end of the night. Be sure to sit down together and eat uninterrupted. Plan about the same amount of time it takes you to eat out somewhere on a date night where you can savor the food and have good conversation. Resist the old school of thought that you are obligated to go around the room and thank everyone personally. This is what “Thank You” cards and guest favors are for (not to mention that you invited them). Slow down and enjoy the evening together.
Plan a More Casual Reception
Plan a more casual reception with things like open seating, lounge areas, and more of a cocktail, horderve style approach to dinner. For my own wedding, we had a buffet style smorgasbord of awesome food and open seating inside and outside our small french hotel venue. Everyone gets to mingle and interact this way. Again, it creates a mood of informality, as well as speeding up the timeline and allowing more time for dancing and fun.
Create Personalized Guest Favors
Taking the time to create something personal to each of your guests can go a long way. It can be something as simple as a thank you card or something as elaborate as their favorite homemade desert. A little goes a long way and people are very appreciative of any kind of acknowledgement.
Have a Surprise Wedding
This is something that is becoming more popular. Invite your closest friends and family to some sort of get together and surprise them with nuptials. This option is not for the faint of heart, but it can make for some very memorable moments!
Consider a Destination Wedding
I can’t recommend destination weddings enough if you are looking for an intimate event. There is something about getting everybody in an exotic setting that loosens everyone up and puts them in a great mood. After all, you’re basically on vacation! The travel and time commitment also assures that your guest list will contain only the people who really want to be there. You can easily choose to make the whole event a little longer and more inclusive because people are usually staying in the same area. For example, you can invite everyone to an informal rehearsal dinner the night before or out to a nearby afterparty the night of.
Consider Eloping Somewhere Special
This is my personal favorite option. If you really want to experience your big day in the most intimate, personal, and memorable way, travel to someplace magical and go on an adventure. Try exchanging vows on the beach in Iceland or in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. How about just the two of you at San Francisco’s City Hall or on top of a mountain in Switzerland? There are so many amazing options and I love to help plan unforgettable experiences with my couples! Check out some tips on how to plan an elopement here.
The whole appeal of an intimate wedding is really the personal moments and connections that are possible with them. Big weddings just don’t have as many of those opportunities but there are things you can do to tighten the experience, no matter what size the guest list. If you are considering having an intimate wedding or elopement somewhere amazing, I’d love to tell your story and capture every special moment. Get in touch and let’s get to know each other!