Stylish Story Telling with Raw Emotion
From the stark, monochromatic, urban landscape of the nation’s capital, to the expansive hilltop vineyards and red dust floor of Kunde’s Boot Hill, Dan and Liz brought friends and family to a place that is both naturally beautiful and significant to them as Sonoma is where they went on their first vacation together.
Liz is a political appointee in the Obama Administration, serving in the Department of Energy and Dan works for the National Nuclear Security Administration, within the Department of Energy. Despite having very stressful careers, Liz and Dan are self-proclaimed “fun-loving, balls-to-the-wall” kind of people; lovers of life and each other. Their wedding day was going to be all about having THE MOST AMAZING time with their best people.
The day was rich with personal touches and awash with emotion ranging from tears to laughter. Dan struggled with blurry vision as bridesmaids made their way down the aisle, each one giving him a handwritten note from Liz, before he got his first look at the gorgeous bride herself. The ceremony was long and personal, with friends standing up to speak throughout – it was one of their favorite parts of the day. Though, Liz’s single, happiest moment came during their first dance as the couple held each other close while her brother and cousin’s played their song, “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, in the background as golden sunlight filtered through the giant oak trees.
As another beautiful summer day ended, a brand new party was about to begin and it doesn’t get any better than the couple crowd surfing, the groom doing the worm, AND the bride and groom getting on stage with the band to sing to their fans. Liz and Dan stayed true to their balls-to-the-wall approach and made the reception one of the most spirited parties of our season!!!
We always like to ask if the couple has any advice they’d be willing to pass along, so here’s Liz and Dan’s:
We’re nearing the end of a very busy year of photography and traveling, so when Sapna and Alex decided to schedule their engagement session in our neck of the woods, we were elated. Sonoma county has some pretty diverse places to get out and enjoy nature and a spot we particularly love is Crane Creek Regional Park. Crane Creek features stands of Alder, Buckeye, Bay, Black Oak, and Willow trees and even has meandering through it, an 18 hole disc-golf course. Despite the extreme drought conditions, the trees are still delicately clinging on to their leaves and provide a beautiful respite from the late afternoon heat. We had an unusually pleasant afternoon sandwiched between two heat-waves so we were able to have a great tour of the park, climb some Oak trees, dodge a few disc-golfers and make the loop around just in time to say goodbye to the sunshine. Alex and Sapna will be getting married next spring at Kunde Family Estate, one of our favorite local venues and we can’t wait to be there to document their day!
When you think 4th of July, you probably conjure up images of sunshine, barbecues, cheap beer, fireworks, and crowds of people soaking it all in to the sounds of Roy Ayers Jr… This 4th of July would be a bit different, and we were looking forward to spending this truly independent and mellow and monochromatic afternoon with a crew of people more colorful than anything the above description could’ve ever hoped to deliver.
Finding the perfect venue was the single most important consideration in the planning of Sandy and Scott’s intimate wedding. The reason they got in contact with us well over a year ago was through a connection they made with Goldie and Dan’s Big Sur Elopement, and they wanted something that felt similar for their day. The Sea Ranch Lodge provided just what they were looking for, a contrast of drama and lucidity, there, they were able to feel connected to each other, their friends, and the larger natural world around them; far from the commotion of every day life. When I spoke to Scott so many months ago – learning about them both individually and as a couple – we talked about lots of things from music, to movies, to wedding locations we’ve loved, and onto what being an editor entails; our talk was great and always rambled in all the right direction. Convincing friends and family to make the long drive up from Los Angeles wasn’t without it’s difficulties. But, the theme would always return to one constant, and that was making sure that Sandy was happy and had the best day ever; I liked these guys a lot.
The ceremony was short and sweet, and for as silly as these two are…there were all of a sudden some seriously poignant moments amidst the exuberance. Cocktail hour was held cliff side and the guests enjoyed signature cocktails and a selection of local cheeses and other delights while we took some very sweet family photos. The evening finished (for us) with dinner and a boatload of incredibly heartfelt speeches in the Lodge’s Fireside Room. The day seemed to go by too quickly, but that’s always how we feel after a great day, thanks so much Sandy and Scott for giving us a most memorable Independence Day.
Brenda and Phoenix were married three years ago and, in keeping with their anniversary tradition, decided once again to head down to wine country for an epicurean adventure. This year was a bit different in that they decided to put the past behind them and redo their wedding day photos once and for all. It was Phoenix’s idea to surprise Brenda as their actual wedding day photos were so disappointing that she never wanted to look at them. It’s always a bummer for us to hear stories like this but we’re happy to be able to help, and in the process we meet some really great people.
Phoenix and Brenda are very compassionate, both working in healthcare making sure sick folks recover in time to make it to their own weddings. They work hours apart from each other though so when they do find time together, they make the most of it; enjoying each other’s company, eating well, and collecting fine wines. Working hard and playing hard is a solid recipe for a good life!
We met them at the incredible Chateau Montelena where we started things off and later headed back into the main center of Calistoga to a place we’ve driven by a hundred times but never actually gone inside, Tank Garage Winery. Although it was a super hot afternoon and somewhat smoky from wildfires burning to our north, we found some great spots to make good on the images they’d been missing all this time and enjoyed every minute shooting and talking their ears off.
It was a great bonus to do a tasting with them at the end of the day at Tank Garage winery and we were blown away at the level of their “one-off” wines. They make very interesting blends of varieties and ratios that are outside the norm, especially for Napa and we ended up taking home a bottle of their Tempranillo and a massive blend called The Heavy. Next time you’re in Napa, you have to pop in for a tasting.
Such a fun afternoon!
I considered Kyle’s father Keith a friend about midway through our very first conversation. He spoke with such affection about his son and future daughter-in-law and wanted to make sure he did everything he could to give them a perfect wedding. Busy finishing up their medical degrees on the east coast, Jenna and Kyle had to rely upon family and their planning team (the always awesome, Quintana Events) to keep things on track for their summertime wine-country wedding. We typically enjoy speaking with a couple first so we can get a feel for each other and make sure it’s the right for everyone, but after several calls with Keith, I knew the “kids” were gonna’ be alright.
Tucked up against the hills of Alexander Valley, the Robert Young Estate Winery stretches over a picturesque 500 acres, with 317 of those acres planted in wine grapes. Greeting us as we entered the property were their two, free-ranging Llamas (who’s names I can’t recall) which was different and cool, and made us feel right at home! While the estate hosts private events throughout the year, up to this point there had never been a wedding up on the hill, so we were over the moon being able to experience this “first” with such a lovely couple. When Jenna and Kyle arrived, we knew straight-away that these were two genuine people and we were going to really enjoy our day. In our initial questionnaire we send out when someone inquires with us, we ask for three words that best describe them as a couple, to which they replied: Interdependent.
Disregarding the fact that that’s only one word and five syllables, the response was classic and perfectly summed up their connectedness. They were always by each other’s side, always smiling, and more often than not, borderline giddy. I can’t recall even a moment of stress from either of them; they just seemed to be completely awash in the love surrounding them and with each other.
The afternoon kicked off very summery indeed, with an azure blue sky and intense heat, so we gravitated towards the tranquil shade of a stand of Sequoia trees for the first look and family photos. It was later brought to our attention that these trees had been planted several generations back on the day of a family wedding that took place in that exact same spot. The property has a gorgeous hilltop clearing with unobstructed south and west facing views across Alexander Valley and over to the Mayacamas Mountains which form the border with Napa County; this served as both the ceremony and reception site. As the wedding ceremony led into speeches, and speeches segued into dinner and dancing, the ever warming light on the hills provided a nice counterpoint to the developing chill in the air. We stole them away for what had to have been the most sun-drenched evening light imaginable and had them back just in time to cut their cake and feed it to each other’s noses.
Such a cute couple – it’s days like this that we live for.