Disclaimer: you better have 20 minutes blocked out of your schedule before you start scrolling, if you don’t… bookmark this and come back when you can because it’s a doooozy! I haven’t written this much on a blog post in yeeeeears! So put on your reading glasses and buckle up!
I’ve been insanely excited to share this epic* California wedding with you all. I hope you love this blog post as much as I do. I’ll be honest, I’m quite sure you will. 😉
*For those who’ve been reading this blog a while know I don’t use the word “epic” lightly!
Here’s Natalie with her talented, beautiful and fashionable makeup artist Jenni Huse. On that note, mayyyybe it’s time I step my pant-suit and Clark’s game up?!? Nahhhh… I wouldn’t be me without it.
PS. when I offered Megan a job I bought her a suitcase and a black pant suit; it was my way of passive aggressively letting her know that 1) she would be traveling a LOT and 2) I’d love for her to show up to weddings like a boss! She now sees the difference wearing a pant suit makes in how people treat her (when she ran her own photography business, she’d usually wear a black summer dress).
This is Patty, Natalie’s mom, and she’s a truly incredible person. Patty has this gift of building up and encouraging the the people around her to be their very best versions of themselves. She kept referring to all of the women in bridal party as “POWER HOUSE WOMEN!” and she meant it! She’s also 100% right; these ladies are incredibly successful, highly educated, bread-winning women.
Later when I posed Natalie with her high school friends for a group photo, Patty was standing to my left and said… and I quote, “YESSSS! VALEDICTORIANS! IVY LEAGUE HIGH SCHOOL! TOP OF THEIR CLASS! POWER HOUSE!” and I loved it! She was like the team cheerleader anytime she was around. It’s no wonder that all of her kids are such bada** humans who are confident, happy, proudly themselves, and who unequivocally know they’re loved unconditionally no matter what. Patty, you inspired me that day, thank you for being exactly who you are.
Ever since that day, I keep calling my stepdaughter Claire a POWER HOUSE WOMAN! Patty, I wish we were neighbors so I could come over every Sunday and drink red wine. Too much, too soon? I am genuinely incapable of being a casual friend, I’m just an all in kind of person!
Weren’t her shoes incredible?! I’m not really a shoe person but daaaamn those were pretty! She mentioned, while putting them on something along the lines of, “These shoes were a bit out of the budget but every time I’d go to try on other shoes I couldn’t get these out of my mind; so I did it, I splurged!” It’s not often that you see such delicate and bridal-worthy wedges.
Speeeeeeaking of wedges, here’s a PSA for the future brides and bridesmaids of the world: if you’re insisting on a heel (which I wholeheartedly support) I highly encourage you to consider wedges! Brides often think that they can endure the pain of the cute wedding spiked heels thinking that the pain will only be temporary and that they can power their way through it (I don’t mean to be dismissive, some can definitely hang!). I honestly don’t know howww many times I’ve seen brides recess back down the aisle with a winced expression and instead of being on cloud nine about what just took place, she’s instead bending down while nearly in tears as she yanks off her shoes, “UGGHHHH!!! I CAN’T MOVE! MY FEET ARE KILLING ME!” It saddens me to think that so many brides / bridesmaids aren’t able to fully focus on the amazingness that is the ceremony because they’re distracted by the pain. Jusssst my 2¢.
Oh, did I mention that their wedding took place in a VINEYARD?! Yeahhhh… abouttttt thaaaaat… 😀 WHOA!
I’m 99.9% sure this was the first wedding I’d ever shot where there the bridesmaids wore white dresses. When I first saw the dresses hanging in the bridal suite I was a bit apprehensive about the concept; I’m admittedly too old school sometimes. That was until I set up this shot. I surprisingly loved all the white dresses! Note to self: don’t ever doubt Natalie, she’s a genius.
Megan and I took these photos at nearly the same time. She gets all of the walk-down-the-aisle photos while I always stay back with the bride and her parents.
You two are such an incredible duo who truly bring out the best in each other.
Recognize the beautiful woman who is officiating the ceremony? Well, you should because we shot her California wedding last year (almost a year to the day!).
The ceremony setup was an interesting and challenging shooting scenario for the two of us (albeit incredibly gorgeous!). It was really difficult for us to get an angle other than the one from the center aisle. The chairs rows were flushed both left and right so we couldn’t get down the side aisles for an alternative angle. I, as you may have noticed in the past, often like to shoot from behind the wedding party. I’m quite short and can easily camouflage myself behind a tall bridesmaid or groomsman so I’m able to be as little of a distraction as possible.
Side note: my personal rule for weddings where we’ve been given no limitations is to not be a distraction to the bride & groom, the wedding party, or the wedding guests. If I feel that I’ve become a distraction, I quietly and expeditiously adjust fire.
At the very beginning of the ceremony, I hiked around to the back and did what I do best. However, it felt different this time and I couldn’t figure out why I felt so out of place and on display. Thennnn I realized, there’s no wedding party standing up here (they sat for the entirety of the ceremony in the second, third, and fourth rows; which was truly wonderful because the guests were able to focus on just the two of them) therefore I have no one to hide behind!
As an example, the photo two up along with the image above on the left are some of the resulting images from when I was standing behind them. I went ahead and took the photos I intended to take and skedaddled (I don’t think I’ve ever said that word out loud, let alone on my blog!).
Allll of that to say, I was proud of the below photo that Megan took. I was standing in the middle aisle (that’s usually her spot to shoot the ceremony) so varying angles were obviously not easy to find. But of course, she nailed this! Beautiful composition Megan!
MARRIED!!!! The recessional and the first dance, are usually my favorite parts of a wedding day.
Dannnng California, you sure are pretty!
I mean, of course I shot my signature wedding party photo. 😉 I’ve lately been noticing a lot of emulators and let me just say… YOU DON’T SCARE ME! 😀
Natalie had been casually mentioning how excited she was about “golden hour” photos all day and needless to say we were too. So while the National Weather Service says that the sunset time is 9:04, I always expect that sunset is likely going to be about 30 minutes sooner than listed because of the environment (buildings, hills, etc) but what we didn’t factor into the timeline was that WE WERE IN A VALLEY… duhhhh…. it’s a vineyard!
When we notice that the sun is setting much sooner than anticipated we immediately head over to the head table. I see that they haven’t even eaten half of their dinner. I, knowing full well that if they don’t eat during the allotted dinner time, they won’t eat at all; proceed to explain the situation. Natalie looks at Avi and says, “Let’s go! I’m really excited about golden hour photos!” Avi, without skipping a beat stands up and begins to put on his suit jacket, but I can tell that deep down he really wanted to eat his dinner (as well he should!) so I then insist that I set a ten minute timer and we’ll come back and get them when it buzzes. I look over at Megan and she’s sneakily looking at me wide-eyed thinking that I’m crazy and am making bad choices.
Without saying a word to my trusty teammate, I panic a bit and hurriedly go scout a perfect spot (Megan followed). My timer goes off so we go get them and we head to the location that I had JUST scouted. Welllll…. by the time we got back to there (it wasn’t even FIVE minutes later) the sun was GONE!
I quickly scan the area and see a patch of sun in the distance and casually say, “that’s our spot, are you down to walk a bit? I begin to run… and by run I mean 100% effort RUNNING! Ummm… I’m certainly not in the best shape of my life but my adrenaline kicked into high gear because, after all, I wasn’t going to be the one who ruined Natalie’s golden hour photos! So while running I yell back that they don’t need to run I just wanted to get set ahead of time but really I was internally FREAKING out while expeditiously scanning the scene. That’s when it happened! MAGIC! I get to the top of a hill and I see this epic tree and with a HUGE grin I confidently say, “this is the spot, let’s do this.” BADABOOM BADABING, amazingness ensued!
I’m going to go ahead and assume that there aren’t many photographers who’ve photographed this incredible venue and knew this scene was back there. Probably because they know about the vineyard-in-the-vally factor.
The photo above on the right was also taken during this 6 minute session. Natalie and Avi, thank you for rolling with the punches, even though you didn’t even know you were! 😉
PS. I jusssst looked at the time stamps and we shot all of the golden hour photos (we’re delivering forty!) in SIX minutes. I tell you, I often do my best work while under pressure!
Excuse the order of the images, they just showed better this way. 😉
Also, you guys know I rarely post photos of details (I do on occasion because it’s nice to remind you all that we do indeed take these). I’ve had many ask me why I don’t blog them. Well you’re about to find out!
Towards the beginning of my blogging life I would post details in nearly every entry… and after a while I was noticing that when I’d show up to some weddings the bride would immediately apologize, “I’m so sorry that our wedding isn’t as beautiful as all of the others on your blog! We tried to make it look nice for you but we just couldn’t afford it!” WHAAAAT?!! Shut your mouth! The truth is, unlike most photographers, we shoot weddings from a very wide range of budgets (sometimes we’re the majority of the wedding budget and sometimes we’re a drop in the bucket) and I never intended a bride to feel like her wedding meant less to us, or wasn’t as extravagant, etc. So there you have it… that’s why I rarely post photos of details.
For brides out there who are hesitant to hire us because we don’t show many detail shots in our portfolio, know that we definitely shoot them, and know that they will be great!
I love me an open air outdoor reception!
THE HORA!!!! I genuinely live for this kind of stuff. After all, that’s why I’m a wedding photographer!
A most perfect ending to a most perfect day!
Behind the scenes
See what I mean about feeling like a distraction back there? Hence why I didn’t stay long!
Quickly testing that light before they made their way to us!
Much love friends!