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

Twenty Lakes Basin Trail HikeTwenty Lakes Basin Trail HikeTwenty Lakes Basin Trail HikeTwenty Lakes Basin Trail Twenty Lakes Basin TrailTwenty Lakes Basin TrailTwenty Lakes BasinVictory Lodge WeddingVictory Lodge WeddingVictory Lodge WeddingVictory Lodge WeddingVictory Lodge WeddingVictory Lodge WeddingVictory Lodge WeddingVictory Lodge WeddingVictory Lodge WeddingVictory Lodge WeddingVictory Lodge WeddingVictory Lodge WeddingVictory Lodge Wedding

Willow Ridge Manor Wedding

Willow Ridge Manor Wedding | Denver, CO | Maya + Dylan

Maya and I met on the internet.  In the days before Facebook and Reddit, Friendster was the best thing going for the internet, and so most of us spent our time in forums.  It was past the days of aol chat rooms but before the days of Myspace.  Electronic music internet forums, focused around house music, birthed friendships of mine with a variety of amazing people from all over the country.  When we finally met in person, we cliqued instantaneously over way too much sangria before either of us ate dinner in NYC.   Eventually, Maya would move to Denver, CO and I to California.  Depsite living all over the world, those of us from our secret forum seem to find ourselves regularly hanging out and meeting up in various cities around the world to this day.

 Maya is an incredibly generous person that is quick to giggle and unbelievably full of life and love.  All the speeches at her wedding echoed these things I’ve felt about her for the 12 years I’ve known her.  She is an incredibly easy person to be friends with.  She is the kind of person that I can not see for years and then show up in her city and brunch is on.  Dylan is such an incredible compliment to her personality: they are unbelievably loving and goofy with each other.  He is the perfect match for my friend and I’m positive that everyone around them agrees with me.

Their Willow Ridge Manor wedding was absolutely perfect.  There were cloudy skies that graced us with beautiful light.  Willow Ridge Manor’s proximity to Red Rocks and overlooking Denver allowed for some expansive views.  There were double rainbows, records for table assignments, and bridesmaid attire handmaid by Maya’s bestie and also a friend of mine, Sophie at Sew Smooth.  PS: if you are looking for an incredible costume or cat tie, Sophie is your gal!  Their wedding was a colorful, vibrant celebration filled with some exceptional dance moves and a lot of laughter.

On a related side note, I’d like to say that Maya’s mother is one of my spirit animals.  For as long as I’ve known her, I’ve been absolutely sure that one day I want purple hair just like hers.

Venue: Willow Ridge Manor | Officiant: Dixie Clark | Invitations: Alex Fisher | Florist: Mark Remmers | Caterer: Fresh Tracks Catering | DJ: Nick Wilson and James Montiel | Bride’s Attire: Modcloth | Bridesmaids’ Attire: Sew Smooth | Groom’s Attire: Ralph Lauren | Groomsmen Attire: Generation Tux | Make-Up: Kayla Murray | Hair Stylist: Leslie Wills

Willow Ridge Manor WeddingWillow Ridge Manor WeddingWillow Ridge ManorWillow Ridge Manor WeddingWillow Ridge Manor WeddingWillow Ridge ManorWillow Ridge Manor WeddingWillow Ridge Manor WeddingWillow Ridge Manor WeddingWillow Ridge Manor WeddingWillow Ridge Manor WeddingWillow Ridge Manor WeddingWillow Ridge Manor WeddingWillow Ridge Manor WeddingWillow Ridge Manor Wedding

San Francisco Engagement Photos

San Francisco Engagement Session | Julia + Mark

Julia and Mark have followed each other all over the country.  The recently moved back to the Bay Area, Julia’s favorite place to be and home, and they couldn’t be happier to be back.  As such, Julia really wanted to use her engagement session to celebrate the city that she loves the most, especially since her wedding is going to be a little bit more rustic.  Julia and Mark will be wed at Edgewood in Lake Tahoe in 2017 and I know it’s going to be an incredible party!  I was more than happy to romp around to all their favorite iconic landmarks with them.  In addition to grabbing some shots with the Golden Gate in the background, we hit up Fort Mason and the Palace of Fine Arts, after happy hour, of course!

 Julia has an incredibly infectious personality: she’s outgoing, effervescent and incredibly resourceful and determined.  Her betrothed is clearly smitten with her and I loved whiling away the evening in the city with this awesome couple.  Here’s a few of my favorites from their San Francisco engagement session.  Julia and Mark, I can’t wait for your Lake Tahoe wedding!

San Francisco Engagement SessionSan Francisco Engagement SessionSan Francisco Engagement SessionSan Francisco Engagement SessionSan Francisco Engagement SessionSan Francisco Engagement SessionSan Francisco Engagement SessionSan Francisco Engagement SessionSan Francisco Engagement SessionSan Francisco Engagement Session

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

Walnut Grove WeddingWalnut Grove WeddingWalnut Grove WeddingWalnut Grove WeddingWalnut Grove WeddingWalnut Grove WeddingWalnut Grove WeddingWalnut Grove WeddingWalnut Grove WeddingWalnut Grove Wedding

Mercury Hall Wedding

Mercury Hall Wedding | Austin, TX | Lisa + Michael

You couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful Texas summer day than the one Lisa and Michael were graced with for their Mercury Hall wedding in Austin, TX.  Perfect bluebird skies brightened up their day and although it was warm, by Texas standards it was downright pleasant, especially in the shade.  Their wedding featured an outdoor afternoon lunch catered by Hoover’s with some of the best brisket I’ve had in quite some time, beers from Real Ale brewing company (Fireman’s 4 is my Texas summer jam), and a traditional Reiki ceremony from her maid of honor Katie.

Lisa was incredibly stunning.  Two wedding dresses were double the fun and I was head over heels for her Watters ceremony dress.  It was flowy and delicate – a great compliment to the Austin afternoon.

I hadn’t been back to Mercury Hall in quite some time.  It’s such an incredible venue right in the heart of Austin, TX!  Despite the fact that a very important basketball game was on simultaneously, the dance floor eventually got going and even grandma couldn’t keep her feet still.   I’m so happy I was connected with this rad couple via Thumbtack – I had such a blast dancing with their friends and family.  We all know that I love Austin and I can’t wait to return for more weddings at Mercury Hall!

Also, super huge thanks to my good friend and fellow wedding photographer Lisa for stepping in and being my second for the day.  This was an adventurous weekend and I actually photographed a wedding the day before in the Bay Area, took a red eye to Texas and slept on the plane and then went straight to Lisa and Michael’s wedding for more wedding fun.  It was an absolute blast of a whirlwind weekend!  I knew when I made arrangements that it was either going to be amazing or terrible and it was amazing.  Working is always more fun with a good friend alongside you!

Venue: Mercury Hall | Officiant: Reverend Jacqueline (Jackie) Hammett | Florist: Petals, Inc | Bakery: Coco Paloma Desserts | Catering: Hoover’s Cooking |  Guitarist: Josè Manuel Tejeda | DJ: Toast Entertainment | Bride’s Attire: Watters and Pronovias  from Serendipity Bridal | Bridal Party Attire: BHLDN | Groom and Groomsmen Attire: JC Penney and Bows-N-Ties | Makeup: Rachel George at W3ll People | Hair: Bethany Lessick | Hairpieces: Aya Jewellery | Second Photographer: Lisa Hause

Mercury Hall WeddingMercury Hall WeddingMercury Hall WeddingMercury Hall WeddingMercury Hall WeddingMercury Hall WeddingMercury Hall WeddingMercury Hall WeddingMercury Hall WeddingMercury Hall Wedding

Plymouth CA Same Sex Wedding

Plymouth Wine Country Wedding | Plymouth, CA | Jack + Kyle

Today is Kyle’s birthday, so it seems fitting that I gift him with a few more sneak peeks of he and Jack’s amazing Plymouth wine country wedding day.  Jack and Kyle not only live in Amador Country wine country, but they are fully immersed in it: their home is atop a 360 degree view of vineyards and Jack works for Scott Harvey Wines.  If you haven’t had a taste of what Scott Harvey has been producing lately, then you are missing out.  I recommend picking up a bottle of 2013 1869 Zinfandel today!

The boys wanted a completely relaxed backyard affair on their private estate, surrounded by friends and family.  Food, wine, family, and friends are important to this couple and the day completely focused on all of these things.  Scott Harvey wines were poured liberally and the team from Sacramento favorites Mother and Empress pulled out all the stops with a farro burrata salad, grilled oysters, roasted potatoes with beer soaked melted cheese, unbelievably tender meat and sturgeon.

In order to really focus on their relationships with loved ones, the day was completely and incredibly unstructured.  The plan was two-fold, completely unconventional and I, of course, loved it: folks would show up in the late afternoon for appetizers, wines and cocktails and lawn games and then, at my word (yes, mine!), we moved everyone under an incredibly ancient and gorgeous oak tree, overlooking the sunset and vineyards for the ceremony.  Post ceremony, we moved back to the lawn for an al fresco evening dining experience under the stars.  Their ceremony was officiated by two of their best friends and both myself and, I think it’s safe to say, almost all of their guests cried almost the entire time.  In between tears of poignant joy and love for these two boys, we were all laughing hysterically thanks to gems like a “name-that-romantic-comedy” game that was played in the middle.  It was an incredibly tender and moving ceremony that left me feeling in awe of the sheer amount of love that can be given, shared, and accepted in the world.

The events of the last few days have left me heartbroken and distraught.  You know it’s bad when I can’t listen to NPR.  These two incredible men and the beautiful people that surrounded them on their wedding day are remarkable examples of the possibility and far reaching effects of love: it envelopes you in warmth and joy, shares and forgives, laughs and cries, and is an enduring example of the goodness of humanity.  I have to believe that love, and in turn, empathy and kindness, will always prevail in our world.

Venue: Private Estate, Plymouth, CA | Catering: Mother/Empress | Grooms’ Attire: Kait MCKee | Day-Of Coordinator: Allison Caruso of Turley Wines

Amador County WeddingAmador County WeddingAmador County WeddingAmador County WeddingAmador County WeddingAmador County WeddingAmador County WeddingAmador County WeddingWine Country LGBT WeddingLBGT Wine Country Wedding

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

Rancho Cicada Retreat WeddingRancho Cicada Retreat WeddingRancho Cicada Retreat WeddingRancho Cicada Retreat WeddingRancho Cicada Retreat WeddingRancho Cicada Retreat WeddingRancho Cicada Retreat WeddingRancho Cicada Retreat WeddingRancho Cicada Retreat WeddingRancho Cicada Retreat Wedding

Papago Park Engagement Session

Downtown Phoenix Engagement Session | Jerri + Nick

Jerri and Nick are set to get married at a brand new venue in their city this fall and for their downtown Phoenix engagement session they really wanted something that felt a little bit more like a lifestyle or editorial shoot.  Drawing inspiration from a similar shoot I did for Kelley and Neal in San Francisco, we made a plan to romp around Phoenix, bar hopping and drinking our way around the city before ending at Papago Park for sunset.  It was so wonderful to see Jerri again; she is a former co-worker of mine from our former days at Pearl Izumi.  We were all so sad to see her leave our company because she has always been bright, vibrant and fun to be around.  I was ecstatic to be hired as her wedding photographer and even more so to meet her other half, Nick, who compliments her so well.  We started out our day at the The Clarendon Hotel.  This boutique hotel (which I actually ended up staying at thanks to a sweet deal on Hotel Tonight) features an awesome rooftop bar and bright vibrant colors in all the rooms.  From there we moved onto downtown murals, Arizona Center‘s lush garden grotto, the Rose and Crown Pub for a beer break and ultimately Papago Park.  I hadn’t ever spent time in downtown Phoenix myself so it was super fun to have a local tour guide to the city.

Phoenix Engagement SessionPhoenix Engagement SessionPhoenix Engagement SessionPhoenix Engagement SessionPhoenix Engagement SessionPhoenix Engagement SessionPhoenix Engagement SessionPhoenix Engagement SessionPapago Park Engagement SessionPapago Park Engagement SessionPapago Park Engagement SessionPapago Park Engagement SessionPapago Park Engagement Session

Alfama Buildings

Three Days in Lisbon

It wouldn’t be a trip to Portugal without a stop in this large, sophisticated city with pockets of old world European charm. Spend three days in Lisbon and you’ll have plenty of time to discover all the pockets of wonderful things this area has to offer.

Lisbon PortugalLisbon PortugalLisbon PortugalLisbon PortugalLisbon PortugalLisbon PortugalLisbon PortugalLisbon PortugalLisbon PortugalLisbon PortugalLisbon PortugalLisbon PortugalLisbon PortugalLisbon PortugalLisbon PortugalLisbon PortugalLisbon PortugalLisbon PortugalLisbon PortugalLisbon PortugalLisbon PortugalLisbon PortugalLisbon Portugal

Lisbon, while charming and mysterious, wasn’t quite as thrilling for me after spending so many days in Porto. It’s a much larger city and it feels that way.  That being said, it’s a worthwhile stop for two to three days while you are exploring the country.  Although I won’t return for a second visit, I am overwhelmingly happy that I visited and it wouldn’t be a trip to Portugal without a visit to Lisbon.

STAY: You want to stay in the Alfama district: it’s tight magical winding streets are even smaller than those that have a similar feel in Porto.  There are tiny restaurants and cafes tucked into every corner with traditional food and Fado music, the melancholy but traditional music of the country.  There are charming and vintage private rooms to be had on Airbnb in the area for $20-40 a night in the area and entire flats for $35-$70.

EAT:  I had a harder time finding cuisine that I was over the moon for in Lisbon, simply due to the grander larger nature of the city.  Small intimate recommendations were harder to come by here: Lisbons’ seem to pride themselves on being a cosmopolitan city and most of the places that were suggested were fancier and more American than we were looking for.  That being said, I had some solid meals in the city, the most memorable of which came on my last night in a small restaraunt with three tables run by one older woman who spoke no english.  She fed me the traditional dish of Portugal: salted cod with shredded fried potatoes and it was clearly the nation’s comfort food.

  • Queijaria for afternoon snacks or lunch: this place was quaint, unassuming and filled with amazing cheese.  It’s a great place to stop and refill mid day while you are out exploring – you can quench your thirst with a glass of wine and eat cheese and antipasto to your heart’s content.
  • Garrafeira Alfaia is dark, unassuming and comfortable.  Dine on traditional black pudding rice with cumin, sausage with scrambled eggs or the secret black pork Lagareiro.  If you aren’t that hungry, order more wine and cheese.  I may have consisted on pure wine and cheese this entire trip.
  • Frangasqueira Nacional for lunch.  This small grilled meat shop offers nowhere to sit, but quite possibly the best blood sausage and roasted chicken in the city.  Order up a mixed meat platter and head down the road to the Principe Real Garden to enjoy it.  After that, head down the road to the Botanical Garden to walk off your massive food coma.

DRINK:

  • Solar do Vinho do Porto is a warm cozy place to curl up on the couch with a book on an overcast day.  It’s dark and wonderful in there and the selection of ports will astound you.
  • Listen to Fado at anywhere that draws you in at night in Alfama.  You can wander the streets until you hear something that intrigues you or make dinner reservations

EXPLORE:

  • Get lost in the streets of Almalfa.   The view is particularly gorgeous from Miradouro de Santa Luzia.  Wander all the way up to the mediaeval Castle of São Jorge, the royal residence until the early 16th century.
  • The Museu Colecção Berardo has an impressive collection of modern art and no entrance fee.  It had more Warhols than I’ve ever seen in one collection!
  • Still not museumed out?  Head up to the Museu da Fundacao Calouste Gulbenkian which has an incredibly impressive collection of ancient world, religious and Impressionist and European art.
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!

San Francisco Engagement SessionFort Mason PortraitsFort Mason Portraits