Category archives: Wedding

I’ve been shooting wedding photography for about 7 years now.

Rachel met me in my second year of photographing weddings full time when I photographed her brother’s wedding. At that time I got to get close with the family, fell in love with all of them. In instantly felt a connection with Rachel. We both had the same silly personalities. Creative minds. Always laughing. Let’s just say I had my fingers crossed that our paths would meet again.

The day came that Rachel got engaged to James, and soon after I got the e-mail asking me about photographing her wedding. I was damn ecstatic at the possibility of hanging out with this girl again and getting to photograph her wedding. Of course, I got further excited when she showed up to her engagement session with James with her fluffy dog friend in Scott’s Valley. So not only did we have everything else in common, but she was also a dog lover. Can we say Bride/photographer soul sisters? I think so.

Let me tell you about how much I love photographing James and Rachel. They are a breath of fresh air. I swear the whole time I am photographing these two half the time my side is hurting from laughing so much. It’s not often I find people that make my laugh more than my own terrible jokes.  There were definitely times that we had to take deep breaths to get that romance flowing for some of the portraits. It was a challenge, but a good challenge to have. We kept laughing together as the sun fell down over at Rios-Lovell Estate Winery, and had to remember that time was running out for portraits. We quickly got it together and made some magic happen.

 

Magic had to happen.

Not only were these two darlings, but just look at Rachel’s fashion! Hot damn. Or should I say… Haute Damn! Rachel was completely dressed in pretty things from Haute Bride Couture. Anyone that knows me knows that I might be slightly obsessed with everything at their boutique! Add in touches from The Little Flower shop and Rachel and her mother’s store The Owl box, and there was a whole lot of WOW going on.










I have to admit – I love a good party. Good whiskey, great music, and some people that just want to let loose and get a little crazy.  That is just what Kayley and Stephen delivered for me to document on their outdoor Lafayette wedding day.

There was already a special bond in my heart for Kayley. I remember meeting her in my old stomping grounds of Hayward to chat about her wedding day. Both her and her mother were sweet and warm to me and were swapping stories from growing up in the Hayward / Castro Valley area. I knew that this wedding would be filled with my kind of people. You can imagine how stoked I was when Kayley called me and said that they wanted to book me.

From High school sweethearts to man and wife. Two kids and years of memories and there they stood under that beautiful forest canopy, and sealed the deal on their love story. There is something really special about watching a couple be able to have their kids as part of their wedding day celebrations.  After the emotional ceremony, speeches and dances, it was now time for a kick ass dance party that went all night.  And damn do us Hayward kids know how to party.

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I have a confession. I am a total nerd.

Star Wars. Harry Potter. Game of Thrones. X-men. You name it, and I nerd snort over it. In fact I have spent a lot of my day today watercoloring a portrait of Harley Quinn from Batman fame. While listening to video game soundtracks. Yeah, I am pretty far down the nerdy rabbit hole.

Which is probably why I got along so well with Tyler and Queena. I am sure you remember them from their epic sunset engagement in Livermore, right?

Their love story is one of the most memorable I had ever heard in my 7 years of photographing weddings. Apparently, Queena first spotted Tyler while he was wearing a bright neon green Teenage Ninja turtles hoodie. It was clearly love at first sight and she had no choice but to make that handsome fella her husband.  Ninja Turtles are clearly more awesome than for enlightening my childhood with great memories (GO MICHELANGELO!)

There was no discussion of a theme before the big day, but I wasn’t surprised at all when I showed up and it was a Harry Potter themed magical wedding. All the small details they put into making it a classy, elegant fairytale wedding under the trees of Saratoga Springs showed how much excitement they had to incorporate the beloved books into their day. And the moment that really hit me that they were my kindred nerd folk? When I was enjoying the delicious food during dinner and suddenly heard “The Rains of Castamere” playing. Are these two seriously that awesome that they would 1) play THAT song during a wedding reception and 2) be that big of Game of Thrones fans that they would have any songs from the soundtrack on? 

The answer to both of those questions is YES and YES. They did have the sense of humor to play that song. And if you don’t watch Game of Thrones, trust me on this one – it’s a pretty hilarious song choice.

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We sat there at that little cafe.  I hadn’t seen Nicole’s face in years due to adulthood pulling us in different directions. But upon greeting her with a hug, it was like no time had passed.

 

I’ve known Nicole since we were both in the 5th grade. The 5th grade. Can you believe it? And now here we were hitting our 30’s sitting at a cafe catching up. Delicious food, great company. Nights like this need to happen more often. Too often in life do we let the beautiful chaos of the world accidentally pull us apart. Luckily all of the stars aligned for us to be sitting there at that table together.

I remember it like it was yesterday. We were all on a trip with our 5th grade class to Sacramento. Nicole, our friend Stefanie and myself were in a group and Nicole’s father was our chaperone. We were all so excited when he treated us all to an Old Western photo session. You know those little boutique photo studios that let kids pose with 6-shooter pistols? Well there we were. All dressed up and mean mugging for the camera together. Nicole’s father ended up spending a small fortune on prints for all of us.

One day you are on a field trip to Sacramento together, the next your friend is sitting across the table from you happy and engaged. I still have that old Western photo of our little 5th grade faces and pistols on the wall. The world had brought us all on such different paths. Through everything, we always remained connected. In my heart I know Nicole and I will always have that connection. No matter where our adult, crazy lives take us. When we sit at a table to catch up – nothing changes. Just new exciting stories come spilling out of our mouths to each other in excitement.

When Nicole asked me to be her wedding photographer, my heart dropped a little. This was my friend since the 5th grade. I felt this immense pressure to create some of my best work for her. This is a person that through the years while others came and went, I knew I could always find her. One of the best humans I had ever met in my life was asking me to document her marriage to the love of her life.  How do you create images good enough?

John Wayne said “Courage is being scared the death – but saddling up anyway”. So That’s what I did.

With excitement I told her that I would do it. But she had to tip me with some of her amazing custom Mickey Mouse Ears. Preferably, featuring BB-8.  Also that we both better be wearing matching Ariat boots. She obliged. Helps she was already planning on making me ears as well as wearing her own Ariat boots!

There was already excitement for the photographs I could take when Nicole told me that Mark and her would be getting married at the incredible Barn SZ Ranch. I am a fan of dirt roads, animals, and real barns. So the ranch was one of my dream locations.  After a relaxing drive I remember driving down that main dirt road and being amazed at the views. This was the perfect place for my friend to get married. The scene was set, my inspiration booming. And my heart felt like exploding I was so excited for this day to happen to her.

I got to watch the man Nicole loves cry happy tears when he opened up her boudoir photographs and say “I just love her so much”.  I got to see my beautiful friend in her wedding gown on her big day. Memory lane was my destination as I got to see Nicole’s mother and father for the first time in I don’t even know how many years. It felt like everything had just come full circle.

Aside from the incredible wedding day where I got to see Mark and Nicole come together as man and wife, I got to see Nicole do something so wonderful. Mark’s son, Xander stood up with them during the ceremony to really solidify that this marriage not only brought this couple together, but Xander in as well. This marriage made them a family. While they had already been a family for a long time, it was that final topping on the cake of a wonderful story.

Who wants to hear how their wedding also had the best wedding favors?


Yes, that is a kitten. Yes she followed me around the whole venue. Her and her little sisters were a big part of the wedding celebration. Little barn babies won over everyone’s hearts! Nicole brought one home herself! And me? Well… I might have left with a box of kittens. Four kittens to be exact. While two of those babes were fixed, made nice and healthy and adopted out, this little girl and one sister can’t seem to leave.

All of Nicole’s wedding details were handmade. She runs her own incredible online store with crafts and wedding decor. Flower crowns, bouquets, EVERYTHING was hand made. Is this woman not superwoman?

So I hope you enjoy Nicole and Mark’s Bar SZ wedding photos as much as I loved photographing them. And I hope you enjoy kittens. Because you are about to see a lot of them.

 

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Raichelle and Ben are total Love bugs. You probably remember their epic Big Sur engagement session where we went on a little adventure.  After photographing them on that windy day on the coast, I was so ridiculously excited for their wedding.

I am happy to say, it didn’t disappoint!

If there is one thing I took from their wedding, it is that Raichelle and Ben are so freaking loved. Loved ones from near and far came to the lovely Perry House in Carmel excited to see these two make the huge commitment to each other. Since I utterly adore these two so much, I had something in common with all of the guest; teary eyes as these two said their vows to each other.

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You ever just have that feeling that you found your people?  Well the day that I got to photograph Kelsey and Matt’s wedding at The Mountain Terrace in Woodside, I instantly had that feeling.

Watching all of these long time friends together at this celebration really gave me that sense that this whole group was one big happy family. Everyone joking with one another. Teasing followed with a hug. This was what a wedding was really about. People who were all there for this couple and completely stoked to see them tie the knot. Not only was it ridiculously fun documenting this, but I felt so damn close to being part of the group. I went from documenting to watching everyone take a shot for me.

A whiskey shot, of course. 😉

I pretty much adore everyone that I met this bright day in Woodside.

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The Bucket List

I freaking love my job. Photography has given me such amazing opportunities in life. Photographing weddings have given me the ability to see things that I never dreamt I would see as a small town girl from Castro Valley, California. However, I have been blessed enough to photograph weddings at some of the places on my travel bucket list including New York, Baltimore, Puerto Rico, Santa Barbara, St.Louis, and Washington D.C. just to name a few.

As much as I love shooting weddings in the amazing San Francisco Bay Area, traveling to new locations is refreshing for the creative spirit. We all have a bucket list for life right? Well I started a special bucket list of Unique Wedding locations that I would love to photograph weddings and elopements at! And don’t worry – this doesn’t mean that California is out of the Bucket List. I am so grateful to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. There are several Unique California wedding locations that are on my bucket list.

If you know me, you know that I love living like a vagabond. My job gives me the ability to never really settle down in one place. Some might see that there is a lack of security in that, but I thrive on it. So here I am putting my bucket list out into the Universe!

 If you are doing a Destination wedding or are getting married locally to you in any of these locations, you can benefit from $500 in print product credits! 

The Bucket List


Northern California Wedding Locations

Sierra Meadows Ranch
Loma Vista Gardens
Wind and Sea Estate
Carneros Inn
Wuksachi Lodge at Sequoia
Green Oaks Creek Farm
Cypress Grove Research Center
Nestledown

Southern California Wedding Locations

The Ruin Venue
Hammersky Vineyards
SmogShoppe
Millwick
The Riverbend Farm
La Cuesta Ranch
440 Seaton

Outside of California, there are several states and countries that I am dying to photograph! Many of them for personal reasons, and wanting to visit and photograph places that held a special place in my family’s history. Others just look absolutely inspiring to my creative mind.

Wedding locations on the United States

ALASKA

If you are planning on getting married in Alaska, or know someone that is getting married in Alaska, let me know! This beautiful land held a special place in my grandfather’s heart. He would come home to visit after living up there in his travel trailer (he lived tiny to travel before it was cool!) and tell us such amazing stories. What really is stuck in my mind is the hundreds of photographs he came home with to show us.  To be able to travel there and photograph the amazing wilderness of Alaska would be a blessing. No matter the venue, if you are getting married in Alaska, let’s chat.

LOUISIANA 

Oh the beautiful state of Louisiana. Once again this place holds a special place in my heart. Specifically, The Big Easy, New Orleans.
You see, my late Uncle Ed was from this city. Of course years ago after he met my Aunt he ended up here in Sunny California, but always had his Louisiana Charm and recipes for some damn good cooking. He talked about always wanting to move back and showed us photos of him growing up there. Unfortunately I lost my Uncle in 2010 to cancer, so he was unable to go back.  However it’s always been my dream since I saw his photographs and heard the stories to visit the city he loved so much. So if you are planning a New Orleans, Louisiana wedding, or know someone that is…. you know the drill.

COLORADO

I come from farmers in Colorado. My Grandfather was raised on an old farm in Durango, Colorado. I remember as a child staying for weeks at a time at my Great Grandmother’s cabin. It had a glowing star above the front door that is etched permanently into my mind forever. My family still lives up in Colorado and have family reunions there where they trade old stories of my Grandfather and others in my family tree. Colorado is where I come from, so to be able to immortalize it in some incredible photographic art would be a dream come true.  Are you planning a wedding in Colorado or know someone that is? Tell me your wedding or elopement dreams! 

There’s truly no rules in weddings. Sure the wedding blogs and magazines tell you there are certain fashions, rituals, and songs that need to take place on your big day. You can choose to go with it, or choose what feels good to you. What really represents the two of you as a couple?

Chelsea and Evan really thought about this concept when they started planning their wedding. The lovers met and fell in love swiftly.  When it came to planning their bohemian wedding day with a reggae twist at the Plainfield Station in Woodland, they decided that the best course of action was to throw the rules up in the air and plan the party that they wanted. There were chickens. There were cats. There were moody neon lights that lit up the small little gas station in the backroads of Woodland.

Thank you so much to Matthew for coming out and being my side kick on this one. You rock at chicken feeding photos.

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