In a small town of just 1/6th of a mile square feet decked in antique alleys harkening back to the 1800s, Lindsey and Justin created a night of magic worlds away from the bustle of San Francisco. For these two who found a home in each other, their wedding was full of heartfelt vows, stolen dances, and teary eyes all around. Their amazing vision of transforming this historic schoolhouse into their own unconventional space was simply a stunning work of art. Throw in colorful smoke bombs and a balloon party, and you've got a night to remember! Congratulations J + L!
3 months ago, Brandon contacted me with plans to propose to his girlfriend of 7 years. These two high school sweethearts met in chemistry class and fell in love their senior year of high school (doesn't this sound familiar? My husband and I met in environmental studies and photography class 7 years ago in our senior year of high school as well). Through long distance in college and graduate school (we are seriously living parallel lives here), they only fell more and more in love and Brandon was beyond excited to take the next step. Months of planning later, we arrived at a pullout at the cliffs of Big Sur. Brandon had told her that he had brought a friend to photograph them on their anniversary trip, but little did she know that it was more than just a photo session. She specifically said she did not want the photos to look like engagement photos as we trekked up the hill and to the spot we had envisioned for this big moment. As we walked up to the top of the hill, her unsuspecting, Brandon nervously hiding the ring box, and I subtly positioning myself, Brandon dropped down on one knee and the rest is history.
How many people can say that they were middle school sweethearts?! Almost two decades together later, these two tied the knot at the beautiful Hyatt Carmel Highlands overlooking the rugged California coast. With such a stunning view, we just had to sneak out after the ceremony for a quick adventure through the Big Sur bluffs for their bride and groom portraits. Congratulations Cynthia and Hai!
With their upcoming wedding in the beautiful redwoods, Ray and Carmen wanted to document their engagement somewhere different - so we adventured out to a beautiful park in San Jose (one of the rare hidden treasures I stumbled upon!) and chased the magical sunlight until sundown.
When you drive up the windy roads of Mt. Tam at 5 in the morning only to find that it is closed just that weekend, you make the most of what you got. But these two seriously rocked their motorcycle smoke bomb engagement, so I can't say I'm disappointed after all (more just a tiny bit jealous of how cool they are). With that, I must introduce this post by singing "These two are on fireeeee..."
So sometimes worlds collide and you find your awesome couple twin - these two, like us, met our senior years of high school, lived just down the street from each other, did the college long distance thing from Davis (Allison and I graduated just a year apart!) to the Bay Area (Chris and my husband Keith both studied business), and proposed in the city of San Francisco...plus we shared a mutual love for the outdoors and leaned a bit on the competitive side when our nerdy sides came out. So we were so excited to capture Allison and Chris's wedding as they celebrated a decade together by getting married at the dream venue Nestldown. It was truly a fairytale come to life, from the staircase leading down through the redwoods, to the elegant mirror welcome sign hand calligraphed by Allison herself, to the vintage Lincoln Town car that chauffeured them around. Congratulations A + C!!
If these photos don't scream romance, you've got no soul. This beautiful cliffside spot in Big Sur has been Brian and Candice's secret hideaway for the last 7 years. Each year, they return to where they fell in love to picnic atop the coastal bluffs. This year, he had an extra special surprise for her.
Behind the scenes, their very excited photographer arrived to the unmarked turnout (only recognizable because of the GPS coordinates he had sent her) and wondered if the only other car (with an adorable dog in it, waiting patiently for its owner) that was parked could be theirs. They had agreed to meet at 4 PM, but the photographer wondered if the couple had headed out first. That seemed like the likely situation, right? There was no cell service of course, so she walked out to the path to find two diverging paths - one was blocked by some tangled brush but seemed to be the main path. Upon closer look, the photographer noticed an arrow drawn in the dirt pointing right. So she ventured onward, following the arrow, until she stumbled upon a very, very narrow, downhill path, and just beyond it - silhouettes of two lovers picnicking at the end of the path.
(After the session, Brian told me that he had pretended to go back for the dog, put the tangled brush there, drawn the arrow in the dirt, and even wrote a note for me, which flew away, hoping that I would be able to find my way there. He was just a bit worried. But the proposal - and the sunset - was certainly one of the most beautiful ones I had witnessed yet - so worth the trek.)
When most people come to visit the city of San Francisco, they love taking photos in front of the Golden Gate Bridge - it is iconic after all. But for the few that venture out of the city, just across the bridge is a rugged coastal landscape reminiscent of Big Sur - rocky cliffsides, black sand beaches, and views for miles. That was just the kind of the landscape that Arielle and John came to see, having travelled all the way from New York to celebrate their one year anniversary.
5 AM wake-up call...totally worth it. These two rose early for a sunrise session in Santa Cruz, and we could not have witnessed a more beautiful sunrise. As we were driving up the mountain roads, I stumbled upon an overlook where the clouds were resting just above the mountains. Though Louisa and Dylan came to the Santa Cruz mountains for the redwoods forest, I quickly dragged them to the overlook for a quick stop as a the sun peeked over the horizon. We then ventured into the forest, leaving with a few new koi fish friends, dirty feet, and lost car keys (don't worry, they were found). Not a bad start to the morning!
Be careful what you wish for...is the moral of this story. Amber and Clark came back to where they tied the knot just a week earlier for an adventure trash the dress session. Clark almost had wanted to change the session location because he had seen photos of the crashing waves (which he loved) in San Francisco, but I assured him that this beach did indeed had strong waves. As we climbed down to the beach, Amber mentioned possibly keeping the dress while Clark was all for selling it. Though I also was a supporter of Clark's side...it was a different story at the end of the session when they were dripping head-to-toe from a rogue wave. But I mean, how cute are these two?! We soaked in the last light running into the ocean, watching the sunset over the ocean and even caught a glimpse of the moon rising as the last hurray to their wedding celebration.