When T first reached out, we started laughing about how similar our stories were. T + J both grew up in the Bay Area like my husband and I did, started dating just before leaving for college in the same year that we did, and spent our first few years doing long distance. He even went to SJSU and studied business like my husband, coincidentally also where I had studied for graduate school as well. Having run in many of the same social circles, we even realized we shared mutual friends!
The moment B saw his bride walk down the aisle for the first time, it was pure magic. These two had their wedding plans in the Santa Cruz redwoods cancelled due to COVID-19, and knew that getting married was more important than waiting another year. So instead of postponing, they downsized their wedding, let go of their plans, and moved their date up. In 3 months, they pulled off the most incredible DIY wedding in the mountains. Though it meant having masks in many of their photos - even as their wedding party walked down the aisle - it was so clear how excited everyone was to see these two get married and how emotional of a day it was - from the J.R.R. Tolkien reading during the ceremony that harkened back to their story, to the surprise song the bride’s father wrote and played for them, to the groom inviting both his mother and mother-in-law for a dance to celebrate the amazing new families they joined. Congratulations T + B, it's been such an honor to capture your love story!
H + K met in a whirlwind romance with their shared love of stargazing and kayaking on the ocean waves, so it was only fitting that they chose to elope on the coast of Big Sur. Though the day started off with a near-disaster - somehow K's pants got lost in the packing - he pulled off a last-minute outfit change and couldn't have been more excited to marry his bride. We started off at Glen Oaks Big Sur, where they said their vows by the Big Sur River in a sweet ceremony in the redwoods. They shared a first dance on the beach and ended the night on the coast with all the laughter and smiles of newlyweds. Check out the rest of H + K's Glen Oaks Big Sur elopement!
For T + B, the mountains have always been where they called home. They spent their weekends training for triathlons and backpacking in Yosemite - T even backpacked the John Muir Trail a month before the wedding! What better way to spend their first day as newlyweds than at Mt. Rainier, where they had their first date snowshoeing there. We spent the day after their wedding adventuring up the trail and had the best time battling in an intense snowball fight, watching marmots sploot and nom on all the wildflowers, and watching the sun set over the mountains. Check out the rest of their adventure session below!
Need Napa proposal ideas? You can't go wrong with a 13th century Tuscan castle winery tucked in Napa Valley. When someone accidentally said “Congratulations” too early - before the proposal had even happened - A thought it was a little odd but continued on their tour. After their tour was over, they walked back over to the drawbridge for some quick photos where T surprised her with a proposal. Even the 105 degree heat wave couldn’t stop them from rocking their engagement photos. Check out the rest of T + A's Castello di Amorosa proposal below!
What's more romantic than saying your vows under the giant redwoods of Big Sur? J + J decided to elope in the midst of COVID-19. It was such an emotional day - they teared up at their first look and shared the sweetest private moment as they said their vows together. We then adventured to the iconic Bixby Bridge and Big Sur coast for a surprise - J surprised her groom with serenading him. They ended their day with a first dance overlooking the cliffside as the sun set in a fiery glow. Check out the rest of their incredible Glen Oaks Big Sur Elopement!
When R told me that he was surprising his girlfriend with a trip to California, I was so excited to show them around some of my favorite hidden gems in Big Sur! He had proposed to her privately the day before with no one else around, and followed that surprise with an engagement session to celebrate. We had perfect weather - far better than the humid weather they were used to - and climbed up all the epicsides for the most epic views. Check out the rest of their engagement session below!
J + L were planning for a city hall wedding in 2020, but COVID-19 changed their plans. So instead of saying their vows on the grand staircase, they decided to have the sweetest redwood ceremony. As a toast to their original plans of having food trucks, they roasted s'mores over a mini bonfire and then returned home for an awesome wedding meal of mac + cheese and snuggling with their fur baby. Check out the rest of their short and sweet California redwood elopement below!
Their Hawaii wedding got postponed, so instead of letting another year go by, A + B decided to elope while still having their big celebration to look forward to on their 1 year anniversary. We started the morning at sunrise and headed out to the coast, where the trail became their wedding aisle and the coast became their ceremony site. And how do you adventure to the steep cliffside in a wedding dress, you might ask? By throwing on sweatpants over the dress and changing into hiking boots. We then headed out to the beach, where their friends set up the sweetest picnic, complete with milk tea and all the desserts - what better way to celebrate their wedding day?!
For the past 3 years, I’ve photographed weddings at Slowcoast, a beautiful cabin venue in the redwoods near the Santa Cruz coast almost exactly a year apart. Coincidentally when K + C’s larger celebration had to be changed due to the pandemic, they decided to get married in an intimate setting at no other than Slowcoast on September 14, 2020. But then their plans were changed again - my heart was broken when I heard that Slowcoast was one of the casualties in the CZU Lightning Complex just a few weeks before their wedding. It was a place where so many of my couples had gathered with their family and friends, said their vows under the giant redwoods, sat around bonfires cooking s’mores and sharing stories, and danced under the moonlight and stars. It was a place that held so many memories, stories, and magic.
But that didn’t stop K + C from getting married in 2020. Somehow the world had brought them back to their original vision - getting married where they grew up, having their first look at the fallen tree where they used to hang out, chasing the sunset where they used to sneak out to before it became an official landmark. It was a day of absolute magic and joy, as they reminisced over the places that had held so many memories and created new ones together as husband + wife.