Yosemite Park Wedding

Tenaya Lake Wedding | Yosemite, CA | Catherine + Josh

One would think that I would have photographed a ton of weddings in Yosemite National Park already thanks to it’s proximity to Tahoe and my adventurous outdoor spirit.  Unfortunately, I hadn’t yet had the opportunity, which is why I was especially excited to be connected to Catherine and Josh via Thumbtack.  They were planning on holding a Tenaya Lake Wedding in Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park.  Since they were both traveling from afar for their elopement, it was important to Catherine to have someone who not only knew how to photograph outdoors, in harsh sunlight, but also would make the entire day easy and uncomplicated.

I was especially excited about the day because they wanted to have me photograph their small intimate ceremony on the edge of the lake, and then go romp around various places in Tuolumne for portraits.  It was SO MUCH FUN.  I even convinced them to wade through the lake for an epic lake portrait!  Thanks Catherine and Josh for being adventurous!  I think our work paid off!

Venue: Tenaya Lake in Yosemite National Park | Officiant: Rev. John Paris | Florist: Yosemite Weddings | Bakery: Mimi’s Cookie Bar | Reception and Catering: The Westin Monache Resort | Bride’s Attire: Watters | Bridesmaid Attire: Francesca’s | Groom and Groomsmen Attire: J Crew | Make-up: Jenny Sickler

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“Lauren was such a pleasure to work with for our wedding. Our wedding was in Yosemite National Park and because of Lauren’s creativity we have wedding photos that are absolutely incredible. Lauren has ideas for photos that I don’t think many photographers would come up with which produces some unique and beautiful photos – especially if your wedding is in a destination location.”  

-Catherine and Josh

Sutro Baths Engagement

Sutro Baths Engagement Session | San Francisco, CA | Carolyn and Robert

This could also be titled: the Sutro Baths Engagement Session that almost wasn’t.

Carolyn, Robert and I met for some delicious cocktails and apps at Outerlands which serves delicious food sustainably sourced from local resources.  It was a beautiful afternoon, sunny and warm, and we got to know each other, and their adorable pup, Khaleesi.  Things did not go quite as planned, however, when we left, because all the sudden we realized that no one had a car key.  Cue some scrambling on the street corner, some back and forth back to the restaurant, and some uncertainty as to the fate of the afternoon.  Turns out, the key was in the car door and thankfully both it, and the car, were still there!

The Sutro Baths are a really incredible space that I had been wanting to photograph at for quite some time.  Adolph Sutro developed the baths in Baths in 1894 but they were unfortunately never commercially viable.  At one point, his family turned them into an ice skating rink.  Eventually, there were plans to tear them down and build condos, but thankfully those plans never came to fruition.  They were destroyed by a fire in 1966 and in the next decade they were adopted into the recreational area they are now apart of.  In the evening at sunset, the baths are filled with folks watching the sunset, hiking, and tons of photographers and their clients taking advantage of the awesome and unique area.

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Family Portraits at Lake Tahoe

Fallen Leaf Lake Portraits | Shreves Family

Matt and MC are two of my oldest friends.  They met me before I was even legally allowed to drink or dance until the wee hours of the night in clubs with them (but still managed to do so, of course).  We were young and irresponsible and now we’re old and probably still irresponsible.  Matt and MC spend a number of years away from Austin, right about the time that I moved to Tahoe, and started a family.  They are now back in the central Texas and have three hilarious girls who are as goofy, rambunctious and uninhibited as their parents are.  They brought the girls to Tahoe this summer for a family vacation and I was not only excited to meet the spawn of my friends who I had heard so much about, but to also show off my town.  I took them to see my friend Alex Ramon’s magic show (he’s the best!), we had breakfast together and, of course, took family portraits while they were here.

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Lucie Sterns Wedding

Lucie Stern Center Wedding | Palo Alto, CA | Caitlin + Marcus

Caitlin met me when she was a bridesmaid in a Lake Tahoe Golf Course wedding that I photographed for two of my most favorite clients to date!  Caitlin, Marcus, Christina and Jose all share a similar friend group and based on Christina and Jose’s wedding, I knew that their Lucie Stern Center wedding was guaranteed to be a raucous wild dance party.    They did not disappoint!

Their wedding was filled with wonderful surprises: a farm-to-table caterer with fun small plate food stations, a crying flower girl (who doesn’t love that?), and instead of the standard religious or literary reading, a friend read the lyrics of a rap song during the ceremony, a nod to Caitlin and Marcus’ shared love of both rap and their sense of humor.  They had lawn games in the community center plaza, a photo booth (of course!) on the prints of which I managed to spell both a name wrong and get the date wrong (if you don’t know, it’s 2016, not 2017) (they forgave me), and overall, a wild booze-filled party of the best kind.  The dance floor was packed from the moment they kicked it off.

Venue: Lucie Stern Community Center | Invitations: Wood & Water Paper | Florist: White Oak Flower Shoppe | Catering: The Green Grocer | DJ: Terry Cole of The Spinheads | Bride’s Attire: Trudy’s Bridal | Hair and Makeup: The Blushing Bombshell | Bridesmaid Attire: Weddington Way | Groom’s Attire: Nordstrom | Rentals: The Green Grocer

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June Lake Wedding

Victory Lodge Wedding | June Lake, CA | Julie + Taylor

Julie had me from the get-go.  She was actually the first wedding I booked for the 2016 season and one of the ones I was most looking forward to all year.  Her inquiry email said things like, “come party with us in June Lake” and that they were hoping to find a photographer that would be willing to photograph a group hike instead of an engagement session.  They booked a beautiful lodge at June Lake and had an intimate affair with 50 of their closest friends and family in attendance, most of whom stayed on site or at the adjacent condos, over 4th of July weekend.  They served tacos at dinner (be still my taco loving heart) and margaritas and hired my best buddy and personal DJ, Dave Berkman, to spin the dancing tunes.  They invited Dave and I to wine, dine and hike with them all weekend and we had absolutely the best time swapping stories and having drinks late until the evening with this adventurous crew.  I can’t wait until my paths cross again with Julie and Taylor, and I’m sure they will.  This couple is full of just the kind of spirit I like to surround myself with.

Venue: Victory Lodge | Florist: Red Lily Design | Bakery: Mountain Cakery | Caterer: Convict Lake Catering | DJ: Ascent DJ Productions | Bride’s Attire: Grace Loves Lace | Groom’s Attire: Men’s Warehouse

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Private Estate Wedding

Private Estate Wedding | Byron, CA | Megan + Tuck

Oh man.  These two are like smiles and jumping for joy and adventure-time and sunshine and laughter and good vibes and dance moves and ski fast and live loud and excitement all wrapped up into one package.  They are fun loving, laid back souls with a clear thirst for life.  They laughed non-stop their entire wedding day and in fact, I’m not sure I could find a photo where Megan isn’t laughing if I tried!

Megan and Tuck were wed under a beautiful weeping willow that had THE COOLEST TREEHOUSE IN IT I’VE EVER SEEN on family property.  There were sweeping views of walnut groves, abundant sunshine, and lush greenery everywhere.  The wedding was DIY, with heavy help from all hands on deck.  Megan is an interior designer and her style was ever present.

I feel really lucky that I was connected with these two super rad people through a mutual friend.  Tuck grew up skiing at Squaw Valley and I was lucky enough to get to ski with Megan, Tuck and his family this past spring there.  It was an absolute blast.  They are fast, fun, playful skiers that clearly enjoy spending time together on the slopes and furthermore, time over wine afterwards.  You know these are all clear paths to my heart.  Also, I am jealous because they have corgis and deep down inside, I’ve always wanted one.  There, I admit it.

Megan and Tuck are going to have many grand adventures together in their future.  I only hope that at least one of them involves coming to visit me in Tahoe again in the near future!

Venue: Private Estate Wedding | Coordinating: Patty Bristow | Catering: Brentwood Fine Meats | Ceremony Music: Steve Luntz | DJ: Eastwood Entertainment | Bride’s Attire: Nicole Miller | Groom’s Attire: Men’s Warehouse | Rentals: C&M Party Rentals | Videographer: 7th Stone Media

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Rancho Cicada Retreat Wedding

Rancho Cicada Retreat Wedding | Plymouth, CA | Kerri + David

I have this small disclaimer on my wedding services page that states, “I will always work with budgets if I feel you and your wedding are a right fit.”  People either get it or they so clearly don’t.  The ones that get it send me amazing emails filled with personal details about why they are a good fit.  Kerri and David were some of those people.  She wrote in her email, “I’m trying to surround myself with people on my wedding day that have good/fun energy.”  Kerri talked about how important it was to her to include vendors who fit the bohemian intimate vibe they really wanted to recreate at their Rancho Cicada Retreat wedding.  They couldn’t have picked a better venue for what they were going for either: Rancho Cicada Retreat is a special place.  It’s a no-frills setting that you can rent for the entire week.  It’s lush, overgrown, and green with a brambling brook, hammocks and lawn games.  It’s a place where you can stay up late drinking whiskey by the campfire and no one comes to hush you.  It’s the kind of place where you can dance the night away and there is nary a neighbor to hear you.  It’s the kind of place where you can get married in an idyllic wonderland of green and golden hues, surrounded by as many of your friends and family as you want.  Although it is smack in the middle of one of California’s best wine regions, it feels like you are the only people in the world while you are there.

It’s the kind of venue that breeds a DIY affair and Kerri and David’s was certainly that.  Friends baked all the pies, officiated, and MC’d the night.  The party went on all weekend and their friends and family were so lovely and including that once again at this venue, I stayed and partied the night away in their company.  It seems to happen at this venue.  It’s clearly where the cool couples wed and I certainly can’t wait to return!  I’m feeling pretty grateful that Kerri found me and wrote to me so honestly and candidly and with such emotion.  It was clear from the get-go that these two are full of love and care and it was even more apparent on their wedding day.  Thanks Kerri and David for sharing your wedding retreat with me.  It was an honor!

Venue: Rancho Cicada Retreat | Florist: Matthew Armbruster | Catering: Chuck Collison | Bride’s Attire: Holly Stalder | Groom’s Attire: Thailand | Groomsmen Suspenders: Suspender Superstore | Make-Up: Hawley Lopes | Hair: Amanda Lyn Jones | Rentals: Partysmart Rentals | Videographer: DGL Studio | Succulents : The Succulent Source | Decor: BHLDN | Bridal Bouquet: Eucca Floral Studio | Signage: Marrygrams | Cornhole Boards: Back 40 Life | Cornhole Bags: Sky Pixie Cornhole | Koozies: The Drinking Buddy

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Fort Mason Engagement Session

San Francisco Engagement Session | Mark + Julia | Sneak Peek

Mark and Julia are getting married in Lake Tahoe in 2017.  Tahoe wasn’t Julia’s original plan.  She grew up in the bay area and really wanted something elegant and indoors.  Mark is an outdoors kind of guy: he grew up in Wisconsin and loves mountains and lakes.  When Julia stepped into Edgewood for the first time, she knew they had found the perfect compromise.

The one thing Julia desperately wanted was a few romantic golden lit images.  Golden light comes easy in Tahoe: because of the way the sun sets over our mountains and the tall trees, we have a few hours of it every morning and afternoon in certain locations.  In Texas, golden hour is more like golden-ten-minutes, so I know how lucky I am in Tahoe.  Julia also really wanted a little bit of a tour of San Francisco in her images and thankfully, we timed that tour just perfectly to snag some of that golden backlight in Fort Mason last week.

There’s more to come from this adorable duo!

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Arden Hills Wedding

Arden Hills Wedding | Sacramento, CA | Malia + Josh

These two.

They are so amazing.

They are so loved.

They are filled with laughter, and light, and positive people all around them.

They come from big families that are incredibly close and it was inspiring to watch them interact together on Josh and Malia’s day.

Josh and Malia actually went to high school together, but didn’t start dating until much later.  I was very lucky to spend a bunch of time with them for their San Francisco engagement session the spring before their wedding.  They had warned me that their families were very big and loud and that it was going to be a raucous party.  What it turned out to be was close: big, and loud and extremely loving.  Their entire Arden Hills wedding reception felt like one big group hug.

These self professed nerds didn’t skimp on the details either: their first dance was flanked by light sabers, they had a Star Wars wedding cake topper, and all the tables were named after their favorite books (quite a few of my own favorite titles graced a few of them).  The best part though was their first look: they both purchased a wedding day gift for each other and at the end of the day, in a total coincidence (or not, depending on how you look at it) they each bought each other signed copies of their favorite book.  It is clear that these two know each other so well and they have obviously found their perfect match.

Venue: Arden Hills Resort and Spa | Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas | Bakery: Above and Beyond Cakes | DJ: Dru Benzon | Bride’s Attire: Glamour Closet | Groom’s Attire: Indochino | Hair: Maria Montilla | Videographer: Elegant Events Media

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Arden Hills Wedding

Arden Hills Wedding | Josh + Malia | Sneak Peek

Josh and Malia are amazing.  Although they’ve known each other since high school, they didn’t begin dating until much later.  Today, they are the best of friends and at such ease with each other that their engagement session is still what I consider my best work ever.  That being said, we did take photos for an entire eight hour day while exploring San Francisco together!  They are so close, such good friends and know each other so well that they essentially bought each other the SAME wedding day gift.  I can’t wait to share their photos from their first look during which they opened their presents back to back while laughing because they were essentially the same.

Both of them hail from fairly large, extremely loving families.  Not only are the loving, but they are open, gracious and extremely close.  I was overwhelmed by how much fun these families had together at their wedding and the amount of love shared during the toasts.  I’ll share more from this gorgeous winter Arden Hills wedding, but until then, here’s a few frames to hold you over.

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