Stylish Story Telling with Raw Emotion
Our last wedding of 2014 was held at a favorite venue of ours on La Cienega in Los Angeles, The Smog Shoppe. It seems that with each subsequent visit, the living wall on the building’s west facing side grows more and more dense with sedum pachyclados...but enough about smog and succulents, this December evening, it was all about Alyssa and Abe who, after spending the past 5 years together, were about to get hitched.
Flanked by groomsmen and his best man (his son Drew), Abe stood anxiously awaiting the first glimpse of Alyssa. As she made her way down the stairs to her father’s arms and Abe got the first look at his stunning bride, pulses were almost audibly racing; she was. simply. a vision. Alyssa is much more than just a pretty face however, and I knew this from our initial conversation several months back. Alyssa, who used to be a producer for the highly respected Al-Jazeera network and a writer for Time magazine, told me that they would be forgoing a traditional wedding registry. Instead, friends and family could donate whatever they liked to help relief efforts in Gaza after this year’s humanitarian crisis there. Alyssa had covered Israel/Palestine as a writer working in the middle east and this seemed like an incredible gesture of altruism that I really connected with.
Despite having nearly 200 guests at their wedding, they made the time to visit with everyone and their wishes – of having it feel like an intimate gathering of friends and family – really did come to fruition. The wedding details were all orchestrated by a talented group of friends – Alyssa’s bridesmaid, Arjuna Durrant, hand drew each of the guests faces on magnetic escort cards as a wonderful souvenir, her friend Sarah Reddish from Arrow Art Studios did all of the signage and caligraphy, and friend Ashley Mueller from Ash + OAK did all of the bouquets, and the wonderfully talented team from Next Saturday Affairs did the event decor. Another fun detail was the temporary tattoo station which was saw action all night.
From the moment guests first saw Alyssa, to the tear-laden speeches, and the father/daughter and mother/son dances…you couldn’t have squeezed another drop of emotion out of the evening and that’s why we love clients like Abe and Alyssa so much!
Although Becky and Shawn tied the knot 10 years ago, they still appear to be quite smitten with each other and are a beautiful example of a loving partnership. They had a small backyard wedding and did not have a photographer there, so for them, these photos would be their wedding photos…and what an incredible day for a belated wedding shoot!
We met and began our shoot at the beautiful Casa Del Zorro and from there, we hopped in Shawn’s badass 4-wheel drive Tundra truck for an intense sprint across the powdery fine sands of the arroyo, destination: Font’s Point. We’ve had a particular hard year of photography encompassing the full spectrum of lighting conditions (read: bright sunshine!) but this afternoon we were rewarded big-time. We had so much fun tiki-touring with them around Anza Borrego that we really never wanted the day to end (thanks to Becky and Shawn for being patient as we continuously asked for “just one more photo”).
A sweet couple in a surreal, never-ending desert landscape with some of the most beautiful light imaginable – without a doubt, one of 2014’s most memorable shoots.
On a side-note, Becky and Shawn deserve a bit of added props for (nearly) hitting their 10-year milestone whilst having worked together through their relationship. To see some the incredible work they produce, have a look at Trueline Woodworks’ website.
When we hear that a member of the family is getting married, we get super excited! What is better than getting to photograph the people closest to you? And though this was only our second time meeting Elisa and Joe – they are, bear with me here… my sisters, boyfriends, sister’s daughter. or my sisters boyfriends niece… whatever, they are family and we love them! We couldn’t wait to do their engagement session and invited them up to stay at the farm. After dinner, wine and a lot of good conversation – we woke up the next morning to start our tiki tour around Cotati. We get to see the beauty here every day, but we are yet to photograph anyone here. We thought this was the perfect opportunity! Our casual walk lead us down our street, past a few dilapidated barns and into a Gallo vineyard where the leaves were in their fall glory! When we returned, we hiked up the hill behind our house for a few more photos. We were so happy to share this special place with such a special couple.
Sharon and Jeff are the kind of people that you secretly want to call last minute and ask if it’s okay if they share Thanksgiving with you. From the first time we met them, to our magic engagement session in Tomales, to when we got their gift of fancy soaps in the mail a few weeks later, and every time we spoke together leading up to their wedding day…we just always considered them more friends than clients. Sharon’s an art director and Jeff is “just a boring finance guy” (his words), but they both care about photography immensely as Sharon grew up around a father who was permanently attached to his camera. Above all, Jeff and Sharon love each other wholeheartedly and on their wedding day, they were never very far apart from each other for long.
Their wedding invite was a concise declaration for how the day was to go:
We get married
…and that’s roughly how it went down. Their wedding took place at one of our favorite locations, atop Boot Hill at Kunde Family Estate in Sonoma’s Valley of the Moon, with an afternoon ceremony under the oaks followed by an elegant dinner under the stars adjacent to the hilltop lawn. I think it’s pretty clear from their massive collection of photos that the day was enjoyed by everyone there to celebrate with them but nobody would argue that the most fun was had by Sharon and Jeff who had smiles on their faces for literally 8 hours straight. From the start of the day with Sharon and Jeff preparing with their family and friends, to the last moments before we left and Sharon needing a break from dancing and getting fanned by her guests, it’s clear that we’re not the only ones that think the world of this luminous couple. Although we considered inviting ourselves along, we thought we’d give them a break and wait to hear stories in their words from their upcoming New Zealand honeymoon.
Kate and Raffi met us and introduced us to their new boy Declan… he won us over immediately! Being somewhat seasoned parents at this point, it’s always so exciting reconnecting with clients and meeting their first child and seeing how they’re adjusting to all the changes. Raffi and Kate seem to have eased into parenthood quite nicely, the family unit of 3 is strong! There really is nothing so sweet as being able to remain in touch with good people and document their lives evolving so beautifully. Excellent job with the baby-making guys!