M+B Oakland Engagement Session

M+B wanted to capture the various neighborhoods in Oakland where they love spending time together.  We started at Piedmont Park (one of my faves for portraits because I am a tree hugger),  strolled through Temescal which is fabulous and colorful, and then landed at Lake Merritt (looking all classy and pretty I might add) and saw the sunset.   The variety of textures and colors we were working in provided beautiful backdrops which remind me of why I love the Bay Area so much.  These lovebirds are saying "I-Do" in a couple of weeks, and I am so excited to photograph their wedding.   Enjoy a few of my favorites below...

Sutro Heights Park Wedding

I must begin by proclaiming, that there is something wonderfully whimsical about floral bridal crowns.  I wish I could flaunt one on my head everyday!
V+C exhibited their stylish taste in every detail. Each bridesmaid's dress was a different shade of green that looked to be inspired by the colors of the forest near San Francisco's Lands End where the bride and groom were photographed. The floral arch where the vows were exchanged was both regal and mystical against the grand backdrop of the Pacific ocean at Sutro Heights Park. Persimmons, to represent transformation and good fortune, awaited wedding guests as they sat at their reception tables in the SF Film Centre in the Presidio. The whole event was a fairytale with an elegant edge that so flawlessly intermingled with its beautiful surroundings. It could have been a Midsummer's dream.

Ceremony Venue:  Sutro Heights Park, San Franciso, CA

Reception Venue: SF Film Centre

Event Coordination: Bowties & Bubbly Events

Floral Design:  Hannah Rose Muller form Full Belly Farm

Catering:  Full Belly Farm

 

HeartStone Ranch

There's a hand painted sign tucked off the side of a path at the HeartStone Ranch in Santa Barbara that reads "We're so glad you're here." A proclamation that perfectly reflected the familial nature of both bride and groom. Even as the preparations for the wedding progressed at a brisk pace, the atmosphere was relaxed and embracing. Much like Santa Barbara itself, which is why I love to shoot here at every opportunity.

HeartStone Ranch is a private estate designed specifically for weddings, an important note because there's no need to think about shoe-horning a wedding into a pastoral setting. You just come and unfold your matrimonial vision and effortlessly experience the special day. As I watched the wedding party engage in lawn games under the shade of ancient oak trees, with goats and horses looking on, I couldn't help thinking that the ranch is just a little magical. There is a flawless balance between the rustic and the elegant that is surrounded by ocean and mountain views. Together it all culminates in an environment that is remarkably unique.

Mercifully, HeartStone Ranch was spared the recent fire and mudslide calamities. I'm thankful because HeartStone is a wonderful place that always feels exactly as their unassuming sign declares; "We're so glad you're here."

Wedding Coordinator:  Kerry Lee Doehr

Venue: HeartStone Ranch

Catering:  Omni Catering

Hamlin Mansion Wedding

They traveled from their home overseas to start their marriage among family and in the familiar surroundings of the brides youth. The color palette of the floral arrangements, rich oranges, yellows, and pinks, struck a striking contrast against the classic dark wood architecture of the Hamlin Mansion.  As the newly married couple walked down the aisle, ribbons descended upon them from the second floor symbolizing a new chapter of life. A tradition that the bride experienced back when she was girl attending grammar school in the same building.The sweeping view of the Golden Gate Bridge reminded all in attendance that this was a quintessential San Francisco wedding that combined the traditional past with the bright future for both Alexandra and Stuart.  Congratulations!

Wedding Coordinator:  Moira Gubbins Venue:  Hamlin Mansion   Flowers:  Green Bouquet   DJ:  Von Woo  Catering: Elaine Bell Catering

The Meadow Club

Wedding guests beamed at the sweet couple from under the shade of parasols. An outsider might guess that they were looking at a traditional Southern ceremony, because it was an astonishing 105 degrees outside, but this was a classic California wedding at the Meadow Club in Fairfax.

It started just over the bridge, in San Francisco, at the Loews hotel which provided the stunning backdrop of the iconic Transamerica pyramid for the all important first look. Then, to continue with the theme of landmark backdrops, the bridal party piled into a bus for stops at The Palace of Fine Arts, and the Golden Gate Bridge. The bus tour concluded at the Meadow Club, an auspicious venue because the bride’s parents had been married there.

As a magician entertained guests during the cocktail hour, the sun began to drop along with the temperature allowing for breathtaking photos around the grounds where even the deer came out to strike a pose for my camera.  All in all, it was a wedding photographer's dream.  Congratulations, Lindsay and Tim!  

A First Look

The first look is a wonderful opportunity to photograph a sweet and quiet moment between the bride and groom before the celebration with family and friends begins.  Occasionally, the bridal party sneaks a peek, and those moments are equally as fun to capture, although I tend to prefer a more secluded environment for my clients.  Always feel free to personalize the first look too, like these lovebirds below sharing a glass of wine.   Cheers!

Wedding Coordinator:  Andria Leigh Events

Flowers:  Milsom & Bloom

Outdoor Art Club

Many times, over the last few years, I have found myself nodding in agreement with my fellow photographers that it can never be a bad day at work when you have a camera in your hand. It is one of the wonderful benefits of being a wedding photographer. But then there are those days that are even better than the good ones.

Down the road from my home, is the Outdoor Art Club. Unique, exquisite, and fun. One of my favorite venues to shoot. When it's filled with a wedding party that is flat out fabulous, the atmosphere becomes inspiring.  I could feel it in my eye as I looked through the viewfinder, down to my feet that scurried to keep up with the action. The candids, the portraits, and everything in between felt just right. When it was all over, I had a set of pictures that truly exhibited my style of wedding photography. What a beautiful day with lovely people!
 

Pizza Love

Take the pizza parlor, Forge, in Oakland's Jack London Square. Sprinkle it with beaming family and friends formally dressed. Top it off with a beautiful couple to exchanging vows on the opposite coast from where they grew up, and you end up with a perfect ceremony of complimentary contrasts.This wasn't a wedding as much as it was journey to a place where the past and future came together for a celebration amid the comforting smells of baking pizza dough.  

Congratulations, Andy and Anna!!!  Smile on forever!!!!

Happy Home

Many clients frequently ask me where they should take their engagement photos.  The bay area is filled with so many beautiful locations that it can be an overwhelming decision.  To narrow down options, I tell my clients to choose a place where the two of them are relaxed, happy, and have fun.  If that place is home to them, then let's shoot there!  (I'm outdoorsy but I'm a homebody at heart, so I have a particular affinity for this engagement shoot.) 

Elegance At Hamlin Mansion

Elegance accented by love filled Hamlin Mansion. Draped white lights cast a soft glow on the woodwork of the classical architecture, and orange accents of the floral arrangements. In the background a pianist played to the delight of all in attendance. The stage was set for the marriage of Rob and Darin. The toasts were so thoughtful and heartfelt that even one blossomed unexpectedly into a beautiful rendition of a Whitney Houston song. After dinner, each of the grooms danced with their mothers until the guests took to the floor to create a major dance party.  What a wonderful celebration to document and remember.  

Venue:  Hamlin Mansion   Event Coordinator:  Moira Gubbins   Floral Design: Green Bouquet Floral Design

A Beautiful Wedding At The Ritz Carlton

Betty and David took courage and happiness from the rain that fell on their wedding day because we all know that rain brings a dose of luck and prosperity.  Giddy bridesmaids stood by while Betty presented her gorgeous Carolina Herrera dress.  Every detail down to the floral crowns worn by the flower girls was attended to with meticulousness and grace.  After the pronouncement that Betty and David were joined together, the sound of enthusiastic applause could be heard all throughout the Ritz Carlton.  Dinner was intimate, and the dance floor provided a stage for guests to show off their extraordinary dance moves.  It was the perfect night for a beautiful wedding.  Congratulations, Betty and David.  

Floral Design by PoppyPetalWorks

A Stroll Through Lafayette Park

I can always rely on San Francisco to provide a charming neighborhood park and gorgeous city views. Lafayette park is one of my absolute favorites to photograph engagement sessions. It's full of lush trees, comfy benches, and stairs.  I have to give these sweet love birds some props for suggesting we take photos on the rooftop of their apartment building.  That was a fabulous and fun way to end this photo shoot.  Enjoy the photos!

Marin Headlands Engagement Shoot

Engagement shoots are my jam.  It's a great way to get fun and pretty photos in a casual setting with the love of your life.  Everything leading up to your wedding should be romantic and fun, right???!!!  

These two love birds are getting married this year, and I am soooo excited for them.  Here are a few favorites from their engagement shoot that was taken in the Marin Headlands.  A beautiful backdrop for a sweet couple.  Cheers!

A Happy Anniversary In San Francisco

 I had the pleasure of photographing Anthony and Wayne's beautiful wedding last year at the Clift Hotel in San Francisco.  It was one of the most intimate and loving celebrations I had ever witnessed. In celebration of their anniversary, we all reunited again and took photos at the Sutro Bath Ruins and Sutro Park.  It's a lovely reminder to keep honoring the bond you have with the people you love.

Love At Falkirk Cultural Center

I love weddings that blend both traditional and contemporary style.   It was the subtle contrasts that made this wedding so stunning. Both bride and groom cleverly displayed a little reverence for then, and a little pageantry for now. Combined it was a beautiful homage to forever together. The storied ceremony was set against the historic backdrop of the Falkirk Cultural Center in San Rafael. An intimate venue with enough space to wander through the breathtaking gardens with friends and family.  Such a lovely day with beautiful people.  Enjoy the photos. 

Simple And Sweet At San Francisco City Hall

I love city hall weddings in San Francisco.  A small parade of beaming brides and grooms look at each other lovingly and say "I do," while the rest of the city buzzes about its day-to-day business.  It is a singular experience.

Kristina and Tyler exchanged their vows on a busier than average day.  After the ceremony, we sought some quiet areas to shoot portraits.  With my trusty Hasseblad and a couple rolls of black and white film, the couple and I produced a few of my favorites portraits this season.  Congratulations Kristina and Tyler!