Fairmont San Francisco Wedding: Christina and Hans

Such a classic San Francisco wedding was Christina and Hans'! I hadn't been to St. Dominic's church in San Francisco in a very long time and it was great to be back. It's such a gorgeous church and YOWSA! That veil of Christina's was a stunner for a classic SF cathedral wedding. So lovely!

Christina was not only lovely to look at, but a lovely personality too as was her new hubby Hans. We hit it off from the second we met. I walked home from my meeting with them and told my husband I hoped to shoot the wedding I liked them so much. So sweet and down to earth and I always love shooting classic weddings so it was a big treat when they decided to move forward.

I wasn't disappointed. They stayed true to their lovely spirits on the wedding day and their friends and family were fabulous as well. Christina was absolutely stunning in her Enzoani gown. I couldn't stop taking pictures of her. Hans looked proud and completely in love when he saw is bride walk down the aisle. Such a sweet moment. After the church ceremony we went with the bridal party to the little park on top of Nob Hill and despite the rare 80 degree day, we found a shady spot to do their bridal party photos and then off to the Fairmont Crown Room for the festivities!

The Crown Room looked terrific and all pulled together by the Dreams on a Dime team. I loved the cascading wall of flowers behind the head table too. Laura Auyeung of Poppy Petalworks rocked the florals! Christina's mother made the favors which was such a personal touch.

I just loved this couple and am so happy they are so happy with their photos. We had a blast and well, quite frankly, I couldn't go wrong! Congrats Christina and Hans!

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Beaulieu Garden Wedding | Julie and Russell

Julie and Russell chose the Beaulieu Garden property for their stunning wedding and it's one of my favorite wine country venues so I was thrilled to photograph it. Despite the large property, their wedding was a wedding for immediate family on a Thursday and although fancier than mine, it reminded me of my own wedding which was on a Tuesday in Yosemite Valley so it was especially fun to photograph!

Thank goodness their day was so incredible, because Julie and Russell had one of the craziest wedding week stories I had ever heard! Their rental car was broken into in SF TWO DAYS before the wedding and in the rental car were their wedding rings, their marriage license, their passports, all of the tuxedos, and the groom's suitcase which contained all of his clothes for their month-long honeymoon. Oh my! How do you recover from that one? Well, miraculously, the police found the car near an alley and they searched the people who were in the alley near the car and recovered the wedding rings and passports! Isn't that unbelievable?! Anyway, they were able to secure a last minute wedding license and then did a LOT of shopping to replace clothing in the couple of days after the wedding so with their wedding rings on their fingers they flew off safely. Whew. Now that's a story!

Despite all that happened before their wedding, their wedding day was incredible. Paula Le Duc Fine Catering is the exclusive caterer at Beaulieu and their service and food is always stunningly perfect. Valley Flora's flowers were a great addition to an already gorgeous venue and Aimee Wendel of 2chic Events made sure everything ran smoothly.

As for Julie and Russell, well, Julie was incredible in her Amsale gown and luxuriously flowing hair done by Sheerie Long and Russell smiled and laughed all day long never complaining about the near 100 degree heat. He just couldn't keep his eyes off his bride! His two darling boys too! This was a stunning but also intimate affair and pulled off perfectly. So happy for Julie and Russell!

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The University Club Wedding, San Francisco - Susan and Michael!

Another fabulous (and intimate) San Francisco wedding! Susan is from the midwest (as am I) so I had a blast photographing her and her family and hearing that familiar midwest accent all day!

I had never photographed at the University Club (kept getting it mixed up with the Commonwealth Club!). Loved this club almost at the top of Nob Hill right down the hill from The Fairmont. The ceremony and reception were in the same room and the room was classic San Francisco. The views were so pretty and we were able to do our photo session at the park on top of Nob Hill, so got a little bit of nature and green in with our city venue shots. Also loved the classic old school bar in this venue.

I loved Susan's hair done by Julianne Chai of Prettyologie. As she said, she wanted is "shellacked" to her head which I thought was hilarious. Indeed it was a gorgeous slick low bun which was stunning with her classic lace Allure gown. She looked great and Michael couldn't stop beaming the whole day when he looked at her!

Elizabeth Bainbridge of 2the9s Events did a fabby job doing the day of coordinating and The University Club food was terrific! Just look at that sushi! The florals by Red Sparrow Floral Design were simple and elegant and fit right in with the sophisticated urban style of this wedding.

Stunning and simple intimate wedding. So much fun to photograph. Congrats to Susan and Michael!

 

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Marin Art and Garden Center Wedding - Elysha and Dennis

Lovely, lovely late spring garden wedding! I love shooting at Marin Art and Garden Center because it's usually all one location. Why wouldn't it be when it has the most lovely grounds? Perfect for a wedding! Especially in mid-May when their rose garden is in full bloom. Wowsa. Gorgeous!

Meredith Law did such a gorgeous job with the florals. Dennis (the groom!) made the huppah and I loved the fern bases to the posts and wispy corners with ribbons up top. Dreamy. The incredible centerpieces looked like they had all been flowers plucked at this gorgeous garden itself and accompanied by lanterns, potted plants and baskets it made for the perfect fit. The food was also incredible and catered by mediterranean restaurant Insalata's for some more local flair.

The fabulous staff at Marin Art and Garden did some light coordinating, but this wedding was all about family and friends and enjoying a lovely wedding and meal in the garden. Elysha and Dennis couldn't wipe the smiles off of their faces. Especially when along together for our photo sessions, during their ceremony and during their first dance. It was just pure joy and loveliness all around. Congrats to Elysha and Dennis!

Hotel del Coronado Wedding - Mary and Daniel

I loved going down to San Diego to photograph this destination wedding at the Hotel del Coronado. Especially because I had photographed the bride's sister's wedding five years before! I always love seeing families again and watching them grow (her sister's now three year old little girl was the flower girl!).

Within minutes of arriving on the wedding day, I was told by the wedding planner, Christine Ong Forsythe with Lavish Weddings. that the bride and one of her bridesmaids had food poisoning and a doctor was summoned to the hotel to try to get everyone in shape to actually go to the wedding. Oh my! In walked Mary looking a little weak about an hour later, but ready to enjoy her day the best she could despite being told she couldn't eat or drink ANYTHING but poweraid for at least 24 hours. I felt terrible for her, but she persevered and after hair and makeup was done, you would never know how sick she had been just a couple of hours before. This left her to enjoy a perfect "Wizard of Oz" themed day and evening at this classic Deco-era hotel.

The Del's Coronet and Crown rooms both sparkled in anticipation of the formal black tie wedding and Christine of Lavish Weddings and her crew of top-notch vendors did a fabulous job carrying off the Wizard of Oz theme at this formal event. I loved the poppies Sharon Mintz of Organic Elements incorporated into the flowers and the place card table. The rest of the flowers and colors for the wedding were based on the table indicators which were all scans of the original illustrations from L. Frank Baum's Wizard of Oz books. 

Beautiful personal touches were added as well including the music for the ceremony which was written by Daniel, the groom! I'm not sure if there was a dry eye in the house when everyone attending sang a hymn together. Most of Mary and Daniel's friends are professional musicians so they really could belt it out. It was a gorgeous and memorable moment for all in the room. The first dance song was also written by this talented composer and was about April Fools (they got married on April 1st!).

Love, Love, Love all around for this couple and this wedding. So classic, deco and stylish AND such genuine love and talent. April Fools and food poisoning? Didn't ruin this wedding day! Mary even "bedazzled" her wedding shoes to sparkle like Dorothy's. Good thing she did. They definitely produced magic for her on this fabulous wedding day. Congrats to Mary and Daniel!

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Rancho La Puerta Wedding at La Cocina Que Canta and Tres Estrellas Organic Farm - Maya and Jerome

After many years photographing for Rancho La Puerta's marketing materials, I was thrilled to be asked to photograph long-time RLP fitness instructor Maya's wedding this past March. Rancho La Puerta, in case you didn't know, is consistently rated one of the best destination wellness and fitness spas in the world. Founded in the mid 1940s it was also one of the first.

Over the years, they have added into the 4.000 acre property a huge organic garden (Estrellas Organic Farm) and fabulous cooking school (La Cocina Que Canta) and are now offering that gorgeous piece of the property for weddings, special events and vow renewals. A destination wedding in Tecate Mexico? Why not!? Tecate is a safe and festive town and RIGHT over the border at a super easy border crossing. When I go down to "The Ranch", I fly into San Diego and it's really just a little over an hour to the border!

The staff at La Cocina Que Canta is incredibly talented and provides everything you need. From event design and planning to florals, cake and an incredible organic meal most of which comes right from the garden. Your guests can wander through the organic garden without even being a Rancho La Puerta guest (although that would certainly be fun for them to have a few days or week at the spa added on to their experience). Guests CAN stay in the town instead but still get to experience a little taste of this world renown spa property plus experience the wedding of someone they love on top of it all.

I LOVED photographing this wedding. The staff at "The Ranch" really consider themselves la familia (family!). Most of the staff at RLP stay for years (and why wouldn't you - it's an incredible property) and Maya has been a fitness instructor there for as long as I've been shooting there. All day I was calling her the pixie fairy bride because she's so lovely and petite. When I was at The Ranch last December I had lunch with Maya to discuss wedding details and asked her about how she and her groom, Jerome met. Out came the pixie fairy and she told me she was just really finally ready to find her partner and started "putting it out to the universe" as often as she could. Not long after she started this practice she met Jerome thought the RLP founder! Jerome is the founder's personal pilates instructor. How perfect is THAT? I think the universe was listening and knew Maya deserved her perfect partner.

And that they ARE. Watching them on their wedding day and then seeing their pure joy throughout the time it took me to edit the wedding, I kept thinking "this couple is truly meant to be together". They are true soulmates. The Ranch means a lot to Maya since she lives part time on the property and I loved that she got to get married on such sacred ground in a place she loves. The day was sunny and the evening was warm for that time of the year. The branches on the trees and bushes were just starting to bud and the garden was producing luscious looking produce. Standing in front of the statue of St. Francis at the top of stone steps with little bursts of flowers, Maya and Jerome said their vows and read a poem they created together. Surrounded by family and friends everything was just bursting with love and hope. They were great sports for me as I traipsed them through the garden for photos and then they ate and danced the night away under the starry sky. Totally perfect.

If you are considering a destination wedding, this is a pretty darned special place. Congratulations to Maya and Jerome and THANK you for letting me share in an incredible day!

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Dogpatch Wine Works - Katy and Alex

Loved this very urban wedding at Dogpatch Wine Works! Katy and Alex love their city and have spent a lot of time in this neighborhood, so they wanted an urban wedding to celebrate who they are as a couple.

I have not photographed at this location before and thought the staff was top notch and on top of everything! What fun to include a local wine maker's wine at your reception when you love your city and you love wine! Plus the setting is just so great with the intimate barrel room for dining and an after dark intimately lit ceremony area which then converts to a great big cocktail area for kicking off the party.

We had a great time taking photos around The Fairmont where they got ready and then on to the People's Pier for more photos with the bridal party. Then on to some street shots in Dogpatch before the light got too low in the November sky. Then all was magic as the gorgeous lighting by Dogpatch Wine Works came up and the outside light went down. On to the lovely urban evening ceremony and reception.

Katy and Alex are such a great couple and I'm so happy they had their perfect wedding. It was an honor to photograph them!

Meritage Resort and Spa - Conor and Nick

Conor and Nick wanted their dream wedding to be in wine country and dreamy is what they got! Supported by family and friends, they took time out of their incredibly busy medical careers to fly out for the weekend to tie the knot in CA. A destination wedding for them (they are from Chicago), they spent the weekend enjoying gorgeous weather, wine and food with friends and family.

Such a relaxed and informal pair, they managed to pull off a gorgeous wedding with the help of coordinator Kate Whelan and florist Flourish. The Meritage's relatively new ceremony area on a hilltop with an old gazebo was the perfect setting for this intimate ceremony with Greek traditional touches honoring Nick's heritage.

Then to a fabby party with loads of gorgeous food by the chefs at Meritage and then a really fun dance party to follow. It looked like Nick and Conor had the time of their lives surrounded by family and friends. I'm not sure the smiles ever left their faces! Congrats to Nick and Conor!

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Coordinator: Kate Whelan

Florist: Flourish

Suit's: Bzach Chicago

DJ: Boutique Dj's

The Fairmont Gold Room - Angela and Casey

Oh how I love The Fairmont in San Francisco and I was more than thrilled to finally photograph a wedding reception in the Gold Room. I love that classic gorgeous ballroom and had only photographed a corporate event in the room in the past. 

Angela and Casey had a jam-packed wedding day starting at the Fairmont getting ready and then we all got on the road to the east bay for the ceremony. On the way we got trapped by a China town parade until father-of-the-bride convinced the SF police to hold up the parade so we could get to the church in time! So funny in retrospect, but a little nerve wracking day of!

I love the big Greek Orthodox cathedrals and weddings. So gorgeous and full of tradition. Angela and Casey tied the knot in a classic Greek Orthodox Ceremony at the Ascension Cathedral in Oakland and then we all got back into the city for the cocktail hour in the Fountain Room at The Fairmont and then dinner in the gold room.

Angela stunned all in her Monique Lhuillier gown. I kept thinking while I photographed her that she looked like Audrey Hepburn. Lucky me as a photographer! The florals by Katherine Bergman were classic and beautiful and I loved how they added to the gorgeousness of the Gold Room. Jessica Goldblatt with Dreams on a Dime did a great job coordinating the day, even racing from The Fairmont to Oakland to bring the bride's veil which had been forgotten at the hotel. Now THAT is above and beyond and it was just in time!

The party was raging when I left and given the Fairmont's generous rental hours, I believe the party went until midnight with some great Greek dancing traditions and fun music by a DJ for some more contemporary dancing. What a fun day for all! Congrats to Angela and Casey!

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Healdsburg Country Gardens - Cara and Matt

Admittedly I was a little nervous about going to Healdsburg Country Gardens to shoot because it's under new ownership, but I was pleasantly surprised at the changes. Although I miss the gorgeous rose garden the previous owners had put in, I do love the new cocktail area the open space now provides. Still one of my favorite properties in wine country!

Cara and Matt were a lovely couple to work with. So in love and they had such a fun party! All about family and friends, wine and food. A perfect setting for a great couple! Flutter Events did such a nice job for them preparing and Alisha O'Connor was there the day of making sure everything ran perfectly.

The flowers by Daisy Rose were truly as if they were picked right out of the garden per Cara's wishes and the food by the always fabulous Girl and the Fig was amazing. Cara and Matt love hanging out in wine country and listening to country music so the bluegrass band One Button Suit was great fun both during the ceremony and during cocktails and dinner.

Just such a perfect and pretty wedding. Congratulations, Cara and Matt!

Bridal gown and boutique: La Soie Bridal in Sacramento, Dress by Enzoani
Shoes: Ceremony shoes: Stuart Weitzman. Reception Boots: Lucchese
Bridesmaid dresses: Donna Morgan
Formalwear: Combatant Gentleman
Hair piece: Bel Aire Bridal
Jewelry: Rings from Mark Allen Jewelers, Santa Rosa.
Day of Wedding Coordinator: Alisha O'Connor
Event Designer: Flutter Events
Florist: Daisy Rose, Sonona
Caterer: Girl and the Fig, Sonoma
Baker: Mustache Bakery, Healdsburg
Stationer: Susan Gildea Personalized Printing, Berkeley
Hair and Makeup: Powder Room, Santa Rosa
Music: Ceremony/Cocktail: One Button Suit. Dinner/Dancing: DJ Bart
Guest favors: Homemade Jalapeno Jelly by Joy Patterson (MOB)
Chalkboards: Nicki Wolfe. Calligraphy: The Calligraphy Girl
Rentals: Encore Events Rentals, Healdsburg

 

Olympia's Valley Estate Wedding - Roxy and Chris

Trees and Birds! When we planned Roxy and Chris' engagement session, they said they loved trees and the forest, so I was inspired to take them out to Stinson beach and the foot of Mount Tam where we were able to find lots of nature. I should not have been surprised when I arrived on their wedding day to find a bird and trees themed wedding. How lovely!

Lisa Bravo of Bravo Weddings and Events and the lovely ladies at Olympia's Valley Estate had their hands full, keeping track of all the lovely details and where they were to be placed. I'd never photographed at Olympia's Valley Estate and thought it was gorgeous. It's a big property so there was a lot involved in coordinating! Meredith Law did a spectacular job with all the floral details which included birds, nests, branches and birdcages! I always especially love when the wedding rings are nestled into a nest. The bride's mother also contributed by hand-making each guest "escort card" which were wooden rounds branded with each guest's name and Roxy and Chris' tree logo. They hung from big bunches of tree branches at the entrance to the barn.

But more than anything, this wedding was all about family, friends, love and fun! Lawn games were enjoyed during the cocktail hour and everyone had (an exhausting) blast during the Hora. I always love photographing Jewish weddings for all of the meaningful traditions. The signing of the traditional Jewish wedding contract called the Ketubah is always emotional, and the Ketubahs are always gorgeously designed and usually done by hand. I also love the circling of the bride and groom right before they start the traditional wedding ceremony in front of all the guests. 

Roxy and Chris had gigantic smiles on their faces most of the day and as they danced their last dance in homage to Prince ("Let's go Crazy") and throughout their send-off they were positively on fire! Congrats to Roxy and Chris! It looked like they had the time of their lives on their wedding day!

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Event Coordinator: Lisa Bravo

Venue: Olympia's Valley Estate

Caterer: Park Avenue

Floral Designer: Meredith Law

Dress: Le Caprice

Shoes: Badgley Mischka

Cake: Forget Me Not Cakes

Musicians: AMS Entertainment

Hair and Make-up Artist: Triple Twist

 

Tilden Botanic Gardens and BROC Cellars - Kirsten and Tim!

OK, not only is Kirsten my dear friend, she is also my former studio-mate and an incredibly talented photographer. Photographing her wedding was an honor and a great gift I could give to my dear friend and her new husband.

I loved their intimate day. Berkeley is their home and they decided to treat their friends and family to a wedding Berkeley-style with a very sophisticated and austere twist. Honoring Kirsten's Los Angeles style and Tim's love of the outdoors became a great theme for this simple and lovely wedding focused on family, friends and their love of food and wine! Surrounded by family and friends in the sequoia grove at the Tilden Botanic Gardens, their ceremony was quiet, intimate and special. Kirsten and Tim seemed to be glowing both inside and out as I photographed them saying their vows.

Kirsten hired an all-star Berkeley cast of vendors too! I was more than thrilled when Kirsten told me she was going to work with Svenja of Chestnut and Vine on the flowers. I love Svenja's sophisticated, artistic and quirky style and it fit right in with Kirsten and Tim's day. Standard Fare Berkeley catered the yummy food and of course the wine was all BROC Cellars - Kirsten and Tim's favorite local winery and the location of the fun and simple celebration reception. With wine and food in the tasting room and games galore outside, adults and kids alike had a great time celebrating Kirsten and Tim. So did I and couldn't be more thrilled for this couple whom I grown to love to so much. They are so perfect for each other in so many ways. Plus they look pretty darned great in front of the lens too!

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Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch Wedding - Megan and Oli!

It's rare that one of my favorite parts of the day is taking the getting ready photos. I like it, but I'm always thrilled to get to the venue to start photographing the big event! BUT, Megan and Oli got ready on a very special family property about thirty minutes from the Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch which is where the wedding and reception were to take place. When I drove onto this remote property up near Geyserville, I instantly fell and love and knew why it was such a special place! A family property shared by both architects AND stylists, it was simple and lovely and decked out for the wedding festivities! I especially loved the wedding night tent set up for the newlyweds on a remote part of the property.

Megan wore a BHLDN ready-to-wear dress for all the pre-shooting on this rural property and I loved being shown around to the couple's favorite spots for our photo session with California Oaks, vineyards and gorgeous views of both the Napa and Sonoma Valleys as backdrops! How lucky am I that I get glimpses into these special places!

Then off we went to the Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch and I was excited to start photographing the loveliness of THAT property and the combined creativity of our bride and her stylist Stepmom, Margaret Turnbull. All was seamlessly woven together by our fabulous wedding planners from ROQUE Events. Megan stunned all when she walked out in her Delphine Manivet Hyppolite gown and the flowers by Mae Flowers were especially fitting creating a feel of freshly picked wildflowers. I absolutely loved the guest favors of loose leaf organic tea in glass tubes. Megan and Oli had fun incorporating their combined heritages too. I loved all the Austrian touches representing our couple's home country and Oli's birth country.

Friends and family and a big party were the goal and they succeeded! The evening was warm and clear and the couple's bluegrass band was even made up of friends and all gathered when Megan and Oli shared their first s'more at the "campfire". What a stunning wedding and a stunning couple. I was honored to photograph this incredible day!

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The Flood Mansion - Emily and Collin!

It's been a while since I photographed a wedding at The Flood Mansion in San Francisco. Yowsa - it's still one of my favorite locations in the entire bay area and it was the perfect sophisticated and elegant venue for a sophisticated and elegant couple.

After a fairy tale first look at the Lyon Steps, a trolley dropped off the bridal party and immediate family for a super fun photo session. Nobody seemed to mind too much that I made everyone traipse up and down the many flights of stairs because the trolley couldn't drop us off JUST where I wanted to photograph everyone. Many thanks to everyone for doing that for the picky photographer! It DID provide some really fun shots of our bride getting her workout in for the day!

Emily and Collin said their vows in the courtyard at Flood mansion flanked by a couple of gorgeous floral arrangements by Lynda Quiros of Elle Que Designs . Oh it was so elegant and glamorous and Emily looked like Grace Kelly come back to life in her incredible gown by Jinza Bridal. The hair and makeup team of Amy Hsueh and Laura Yamasaki, couldn't have done a better job with Emily's elegant look and I had a glorious time photographing this stunning bride. Collin was incredibly dapper too in his Hugo Boss tux and Tom Ford Bow Tie. I loved some of the pre-ceremony shots I got while he and his groomsmen waited for the ceremony to start.

As if all of that wasn't enough gorgeousness, the party started and the dining room looked so stunning! Caroline Bottoms made sure everything looked perfect. Global Gourmet provided not only that gorgeous bridal party tablecloth but also this gorgeous and delicious food. All set within the elegant rooms of the Flood Mansion with views of the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge, how could this NOT be one of my favorite locations in the bay area! I always feel honored when I photograph a wedding in this gorgeous space.

Thank you, Emily and Collin and congratulations!

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