Stylish Story Telling with Raw Emotion
Nearly six years ago to the day, a girl and a boy walked into a bar for happy hour with some friends in New York City. Not looking for anything, they found something nonetheless. She was drawn to his radiant eyes. He couldn’t get her smile out of his head. They liked each others sense of humor. They honestly just liked everything about each other. The two kept in touch on a daily basis over all the little details that made their lives so fulfilling and interesting to each other; things like staying up late, waking up early, their ambitions, music, reading books in the park, and life in general. They eventually saw each other again (and again), and shared heaps of laughter and adventures as they were falling in love. Halcyon days were coming to an end, however, as M was accepted into graduate school on the west coast. S adored New York City and couldn’t imagine her life anywhere else, but then, life without M wasn’t a very good life, so they made the decision and packed up their lives and moved to Los Angeles. Once the amalgamation into their new surroundings was complete, they adopted a sweet little floppy-eared rescue puppy they named Ziggy Stardust. Their shared love for Ziggy (and David Bowie) enhanced their love for each other, and their adventures continued as a family.
The next adventure was going to be a memorable one; a luxurious wedding to inspire at an historical Los Angeles mansion. With such voracious appetites for art and culture, M & S chose a venue that is iconic in both categories. Greystone Mansion is a national historic landmark that was built in 1927 by oil tycoon, Edward Doheny, as a residence for his son and son’s family. Designed by architect, Gordon Kaufmann, Greystone Mansion is a Tudor Revival mansion on a landscaped estate with distinctive formal English gardens. The mansion spans 46,000 square feet, has 55 rooms, and is situated on 16 acres of land. At the time it was built, it cost over $3 million and was the most expensive home in California. As a true crime buff, S appreciates the murder-mystery aspect of the home and being a film buff, M appreciates all of the movies filmed at Greystone, including Ghostbusters II, The Big Lebowski, and There Will Be Blood, which was based on Doheny’s life and features the infamous bowling alley inside the mansion.
Weaving elements of eastern and western tradition amidst the palatial setting, the wedding day was a magnificent feast for the senses. M and S cut no corners ensuring that their wedding day would be fun, extremely memorable, and represent them completely. The wedding’s decor borrowed inspiration from the gardens and the grounds of the venue, with lots of florals and springtime colors. S’s mother made all the elements of the sofreh and M’s mother donated many of the antique pieces used throughout the day. The ceremony was held in the Formal Garden where the couple sat at the sofreh surrounded by blooming roses and loved ones. After they were pronounced husband and wife, guests were then encouraged to explore the grounds, as we took M and S to some of their personal favorite spots (the Cypress Walk and the Reflection Pond) for their portraits. Departing from a common grand entrance into dinner, M and S instead, entered the cocktail hour for their first dance and then mingled with the guests as the sun set over Los Angeles. The extended course menu for the dinner in the Inner Courtyard was perfectly selected and beautifully presented by the team at Wolfgang Puck as speakers shared their fondest memories of the couple.
And with that, they succeeded 200 percent and we’re so happy we were there to documents such a gorgeous wedding for two incredible people (and one very sweet little dog).
If you like Piña Coladas, and getting caught in the rain…then Clearwater, Florida is your place! No, seriously. Although we didn’t get caught in any rain on this trip, we did find it pretty easy to track down a Piña Colada; and when it’s sunny, 95 degrees, and you have a few hours of free time…that’s a no-brainer.
This was our first wedding in Florida and my first time to the Gulf Coast since I was a kid, so we were even more excited than usual to be shooting somewhere completely new to us. Especially so because we were catching back up with two incredible people whom we couldn’t wait to photograph. Our clients are a lot smarter than I am but fortunately, most are quite camera reticent so it helps level the playing field a bit. With an acceptance rate of just 14%, Cornell University is not an easy school to get into; it’s discerning of the intelligence and the character of its student body. Fortunately, Whitney and Terry made the cut, because during their time there, through intersecting paths and mutual friends, the spark had ignited. Although the two weren’t exactly “friends” during their time at Cornell, Whitney left an impression that Terry couldn’t put in the rear-view. So…when Terry caught word from a mutual friend that Whitney was moving to the (New York) city, he asked her out before she even had a chance to unpack her boxes. She delayed for a while – wanting to be a single woman in the city – but a few months later, they had their first date and…well now we’re all in Florida to celebrate their big day!
Whitney describes the time leading up to their wedding day as “such an easy, breezy relationship filled with so much laughter and goofing off. Were really perfect for each other.”
Their wedding was held at the Sandpearl Resort in Clearwater Beach, not far from where Whitney grew up. The preparations, ceremony, and reception were all held onsite and the beachside ceremony was officiated by Whitney’s brother Scott. We met Scott in 2011 when we photographed his wedding at the Hermitage Inn in Vermont, and got our first taste of the Valins family and their incredible shows of affection for each other. They’re a colorful family and we couldn’t wait to be there for the families final, wedding-day “mazel-tov!” as their youngest was about to marry her perfect partner. Alongside the couple, under the chuppah were their parents and siblings. Terry’s brother was the best man, and Scott’s wife Robyn was Whitney’s maid of honor. The ceremony incorporated both Jewish and Filipino traditions.
I’m certain that every tear duct in the crowd was ready to spill over by the time Terry and Whitney reached the exchange of vows. In front of 250 friends and family members, they spoke to each other from the heart as if they were the last two patrons in the back of an all-night coffee house in Tribeca, promising to look after each other and thanking each other for choosing to be there with them at that moment, and for the rest of their life together. I can’t remember exactly what was said but this will be the pinnacle of emotion in their wedding film for sure, and Jaime was in tears.
We just love these two completely and couldn’t be happier to see them begin their life together. They took a moment as the sun went down to walk the beach together and breathe in the last of the day’s sea breeze before heading into their crazy reception. And by crazy, I mean awesome. Between the speeches, the hora, the dancing, the band, more dancing, and the stolen moments between Whitney and Terry throughout the night, it was everything a wedding should be.
We like to pass on wisdom from a new bride to a future one, so on the topic of advice for couples still at the planning stage, this is what Whitney had to say: “As everyone says – do not sweat the small stuff; it either goes wrong anyway, doesn’t matter, or isn’t noticed. And it’s still perfect!
Well said, Whitney. We love you guys…
They say that a little rain on your wedding day is good luck – that it’s cleansing and bodes well for fertility in the relationship. If that’s the case, than Tim and Alice are on track for a healthy relationship with many children. But more about that later…
Alice and Tim met while working together at a summer camp and when the season drew to a close, Tim realized that he couldn’t be away from Alice. So Tim followed his heart…which led him to Alice’s hometown of Wellington, New Zealand. This is no small feat when you’ve spent the better part of your life in a small, remote mountain town. As time went on, the bond between Alice and Tim grew stronger. They even got complementary tattoos on their wrists, to help them feel connected when they were physically separated. Tim’s family was supportive of his move but Tim knew that when the day came that he would propose, the wedding would be a hometown affair.
The bucolic town of Three Rivers, situated along the banks of the Kaweah rivier is a creative little town surrounded by raw, California wilderness that embodies the frontier spirit of the state. This is where Tim grew up, where his family still lives, and the kind of small town where nearly everyone knew about the wedding that day. Alice brought friends and family from New Zealand to this special place to celebrate with Tim’s clan, and to join their families. The White Horse Inn, perched high atop the riverbank, was a perfectly serene setting amongst the towering landscape in the distance. The ceremony took place in front of a giant granite slab waterfall and the reception was immediately adjacent on their riverview deck. If only the rain would hold out…
Spring is a time of uncertain weather in the Sierra Nevadas, but in the midst of California’s historic drought, rain seemed highly unlikely. Nevertheless, Tim and Alice received something of a miracle on their wedding day (depending on how you frame it, I suppose). The day began sunny and warm, but a late spring storm was spiraling over the state. I know a bit about weather and knew that it was only a matter of time before one of those colorful precipitation bands on the radar was directly overhead.
Tim and Alice read their vows, clenched each others’ hands, kissed, and at once, the skies opened up with thunder, lightning…and then came the rain. And the hail. The weather never got too crazy, but it did give everything a proper soaking and cool things down a bit. Alice and Tim weren’t psyched, but were gracefully accepting of the situation. We just made sure to keep them dry and her bridesmaids made sure to keep her Sauvignon Blanc topped up at all times. Tim got his first chance to be a supportive partner in a challenging situation, and he did so brilliantly!
A close family friend read a Karakia (Maori prayer) before dinner service and it must’ve addressed the weather because it never returned. There was a solid behind the scenes DIY effort, from the decor to the cake topper – designed by Alice – and the White Horse
Despite the multi-seasonal weather on the day, the most vivid memories friends and family will have will be those of the gorgeous couple, their incredible speeches, the delicious food, and the touching first dances. Tim and Alice weren’t about to let a little rain dampen their spirits and It just goes to show that all you really need is a little love, a positive attitude, your favorite people, and some great wine for an incredible day.
Thy and Brandon travelled from Seattle with a few family members and a couple good friends for their intimate destination wedding at San Francisco City Hall. Now you’re probably thinking what Brandon’s friends thought when he told them about their destination wedding venue…city hall? San Francisco’s city hall is one of the most incredible buildings in the city, a breathtaking Beaux-Arts monument that was recognized in the late 70’s by the American Institue of Architects as one of the finest examples of French Renaissance architecture in the country. Stretching over 2 city blocks and featuring an enormous dome that’s higher than that of the nation’s capitol and the fifth largest in the world. Point is, San Francisco City Hall is a pretty incredible place to be married.
In Thy’s words:
We wanted something intimate that was more about us and those close to us. We didn’t want a giant wedding where we would not even really be able to spend time with the people who mattered most. We’re a relatively shy and practical couple that just wanted the memory to be relatively stress-free.
A simple city hall wedding doesn’t mean that you need to forego a gorgeous Vera Wang wedding dress, however, and Thy looked incredible as she made her way up the grand staircase to meet Brandon. The ceremony itself was quite short – only a few minutes – yet despite the short duration, it was still quite emotional. Brandon’s mother was in tears and Thy described the feeling as “surreal when the commissioner had us promise to take care of each other for the rest of our lives.”
Every day, countless couples shuffle into the security gate of San Francisco’s City Hall and emerge as husband and wife, off to begin the next phase of their lives together. I was glad to be able to tag along a bit longer with Brandon and Thy after we took some family portraits around the upper mezzanine as we tiki-toured around the city. It doesn’t get any more intimate than signing as witness to a couple’s marriage before packing them into your car for a tour around San Francisco.
The couple met years before in the city where Brandon was living through a mutual friend and Thy described it as proper love at first sight. It wasn’t intentional but we based our walking photo tour around the Nob Hill area which coincidentally was not far from where Brandon’s apartment was during his time in the city which brought back some great memories for them. Big credit to the couple for dealing with my non-linear creative direction and their keen enthusiasm for traversing some of the city’s steepest neighborhood streets. They more than earned the wedding dinner they would have later that afternoon before heading off to a few days down in Big Sur to celebrate together. How perfect is that!
While out with his friends at brunch, Nick saw Molly across the room and felt compelled to talk to her. Feeling compelled, and actually doing something about it are two different things with very different outcomes. We’re pleased to announce that Nick did do something about it when he approached Molly. Her response what not the one you prepare yourself for, but rather the one you’re hoping for; they arranged a date right then and there…and the rest is history!
The stormy winter of 2014/15 was historic in all the worst ways for many parts of this country. New York City had a particularly rough time of it, with one of the worst snowstorms in history, the coldest February for nearly 80 years, and a spring that was more gloomy than bloomy. Needless to say, Molly and Nick were long overdue for a bit of sunshine and some natural climate control in their lives. Breaking from their respective careers in fashion and finance, Molly and Nick headed to Napa Valley to meet up with friends and family for their spring wedding in wine country.
In planning the big day, Molly found inspiration in Tuscany, which to them “epitomizes spending time with those you love while enjoying great food and wine amidst a beautiful background”. The Pavillion at the Vintage Estate was a great fit for Nick and Molly’s vision. With it’s elegant landscaping, proximity to town, Mediterranean feel, and incredible food and wines, Vintage Inn provides an elegant Napa Valley experience at every level.
A marked contrast to the cold, gray palette of NYC in the winter, Molly put the winter solidly behind her and welcomed spring in her gorgeous, shimmering Zuhair Murad wedding gown.
It literally took one’s breathe away and in it, Molly radiated light.
Nick didn’t look to shabby either and, after a quick YouTube refresher tying a bowtie by a french man with an intimate understanding of haberdashery, he was ready to meet his Molly.
From the moment Molly began walking down the aisle to the culmination of the ceremony, she described it all as “a bit of a whirlwind” and it’s understandable when two people who don’t particularly like to be the centers of attention become exactly that. In her bouquet, she carried a necklace that belonged to her late mother and Nick could hardly hold back his tears when she turned the corner and made her way down the aisle. The ceremony was perfect, the two exchanged vows and were married – making that decision to approach Molly at brunch the single best decision of his life.
Guests mingled on the lawn as cocktails were served up and Molly and Nick took photos with their family and friends. During the dinner service, toasts were made and the cutest was by Molly’s nephew Jack who welcomed Nick (or St. Nick as he calls him) to the family, comparing him to santa because he’s so jolly. Molly and Nick walked around visiting with all their guests and even got a bit spirited, acting out Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline with their college friends. A chill descended upon the valley at which point guests made their way to the cozy barrel room. Once there, they were treated to the music of the All-Star Juke Box band as the first dances took place. Hats of to Molly’s father for an incredible performance with his daughter, setting the bar pretty high for the rest of our season. After a bit of dancing and some cake, our day came to an end. Molly and Nick just love the heck out of each other and it was so nice to be there with them on that special day in beautiful Yountville.