When we first met Jen and Paul, we talked about how they wanted to do something unique and artistic. We started by planning a special engagement shoot up at Lick Observatory, including nighttime shots! It was great to do something so different and special to the couple, and we couldn’t wait until their big day at the Triton Museum of Art in Santa Clara, CA. The great exhibits made for colorful and fun backdrops, and Jen and Paul did a wonderful job of making their wedding unique to them. It was quite different than most weddings out there – which we love! We also made sure to bring in more nighttime photography. The couple loves astronomy. As a matter of fact, Jen’s ring even has meteorite in the band!
In addition to the great venue, they made sure to incorporate beautiful details. Their flowers were not only utilized in the bouquets and boutonnières, but each table had its own unique display with miniature pieces of art for the table numbers. The bride blew us all out of the water with her absolutely stunning blue necklace. Talk about serious necklace envy!
Jen & Paul were such a joy to watch. They are a perfect match, and there is so much love and partnership between them. They would do anything for each other – even attend sporting events (Paul isn’t a big fan of sports). They are beautiful inside and out, and it was a pleasure to capture their beautiful day!
This Labor Day weekend was unique not just for the record-breaking heat (it reached 114 degrees in Gilroy), but also for the beautiful wedding of Fatima and Robert! They began the day with a beautiful ceremony and mass at St. Catherine of Alexandria in Morgan Hill, and then the bridal party and their guests continued the celebration at Kirigin Cellars in Gilroy. We always love working at that venue since they really kept photography in mind when designing the building and grounds. There are just so many great backdrops!
We absolutely loved Fatima and Robert’s wine-meets-rustic-glam decor. They perfectly used deep reds, warm browns, and pops of glittery gold throughout the tablescapes and decorations. It went great with the wine theme. The cake even had wine glasses as the topper with little marzipan grapes decorating each tier! To continue with the theme, guests signed corks and even wrote little messages on them to be stored in a custom shadow box for the couple to hang in their home. Fatima and Robert also brought in the comforts of summer to their big day by having lawn games outside, cold alcoholic treats inside, and even free flip flops for the guests to use! We also set up our ShootAnyAngle Photo Booth for them as well, and the guests had a great time.
Fatima and Robert were absolutely on cloud nine and nothing could put a damper on their perfect day – not even the heat! It’s such a treat for us when a couple can make each other laugh and smile with just a glance. These two definitely could! We just sat back and snapped away as they exchanged cute moments as if they were the only ones in the world. As photographers, we love when that happens!
One of the great things about shooting at the same venue is seeing how each couple can make it their own. Jessica & Aidan made the grounds of the Rengstorff House in Mountain View feel like their own backyard! They had lawn games for the kids, a delicious buffet, an ice cream cart, and lots of great music for their guests to enjoy. It was all around relaxing and just plain happy! Of course, everyone could feel the love between these two. They really are each other’s best friends.
The ceremony was very sweet, and the officiant was a friend of the couple who was expecting – and her due date was the day of the wedding! Luckily, the little one chose to wait a little while longer before greeting the world – though that would have made for a great story! Jessica and Aidan also brought in a little nightstand for decoration (and to hold the rings and bouquet), which looked beautiful. It’s definitely an idea we’d love to steal! For music, the groom’s brother played the bagpipe!
Everyone at the wedding felt like family – including us! It was just an absolutely beautiful day with a beautiful couple.
We were immediately excited when we learned about the locations for Stephanie and Jason’s big day: the beautiful Hotel De Anza for getting ready photos, followed by a traditional ceremony at the breathtaking Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph, and finishing with a reception at the San Jose Police Officer’s Association. It was the perfect blend of urban and traditional looks. Plus, when you have such a great couple like Stephanie and Jason, you’re bound to get amazing shots!
Hotel De Anza brings their guests back to the class of the 40s, so it was a great backdrop for Stephanie & Jason and their bridal party. Located in Downtown San Jose, we were able to utilize the the city and even the roof of the building to bring in a classy urban feel. The sweet details of the sunflowers in the bouquet and the stunning cathedral length veil really captured the couple’s traditional and yet fun side.
The majestic cathedral was absolutely breathtaking, and we were so honored to be able to photograph there! Add in the gorgeous bride and groom with her beautiful Trudy’s gown, and we were definitely having all the feels! Of course, the best part was simply seeing Stephanie and Jason together. These two are clearly crazy for each other, and it shows! We were so delighted to be a part of their beautiful day.
Jessica and David’s beautiful day was at the historic Rengstorff House in Mountain View, California. They chose a romantic nature feel for their wedding, and it was perfect. We loved it all – from the floral crown to the lego tie clips to the moss and wooded centerpieces. There were so many beautiful little details that we were just head over heels for! Plus, it made the wedding so much more personal to the couple. Jessica even had a handmade gown designed and made by one of her bridesmaids, Janelle Yee. We absolutely adored it! Not only did Janelle make the wedding dress, but she made her own dark green, stripped bridesmaid dress!
Instead of choosing just one color for the bridesmaids, Jessica chose two – mint and dark green. The combination was simply beautiful for photographs, and they blended great with the guys’ floral ties and grey suits.
The centerpieces brought in a fantastical woodland element complete with little butterflies and birds as chandeliers and bistro lights hung from wires above. To add in an even more personal touch, the bride and groom used a family heirloom cake topper on their own cake!
The best part of the wedding was the bride and groom themselves. Jessica and David are so fun to be around, and every moment with them is a blast. They and the father of the bride even requested that they get a photo with us! It was so sweet. They are the perfect match, and it’s such a treat to watch the two of them together. There is never a shortage of love or laughter, and everyone can feel it. We love these two!
After a sweet ceremony at San Francisco City Hall, Jenna and Jack created a beautiful wedding in the scenic Los Gatos hills to share with their friends and family. Every moment of the wedding was simply stunning – straight out of a magazine! The wedding had a very intimate feel both in setting and in feeling. As a photographer, we absolutely love when couples have sweet private moments in which they can only see each other despite being surrounded by others. Jenna and Jack had so many of these moments. You can tell just by looking at the photos that they truly are each other’s best friend and the love of their lives.
As Jenna and Jack got ready for their big day, there were no nerves or fears, just tranquility and pure joy knowing what was coming. You could feel the support and love from all the couple’s friends and family as they prepped for the big day and entered the ceremony site. The ceremony was officiated by the couple’s good friend, Sean, and included little anecdotes about the couple – such as their love of Netflix and Facebook!
After the ceremony, the guests delighted in taking a big group shot with the couple and mingling with a glass of Regale Wine in their hands as dinner was set up. The long rows of tables had a gorgeous view looking out over the mountains (and bocce court!) under beautiful bistro lights. As wedding photographers, we’ve heard lots and lots of toasts. These were some of our favorites. To start, the groom’s siblings gave them funny gifts for their lives together – including a flag that had been created especially to combine their two home countries, Canada and the United States. The maid of honor and parents of the bride had truly touching toasts about their beautiful daughter / sister and how clear it was that the couple constantly made each other better and happier than they had ever been before.
Once the dance floor opened up, the guests really started to show off their skills! The floor was constantly occupied, as was the nearby photo booth! We managed to sneak the bride and groom away for a special photoshoot though. In the Bay Area, it’s rare to find someplace where you can see the Milky Way, and it’s quite hard to photograph surrounded by so many lights of the city. We knew the couple loved the idea of night photography, but we didn’t tell them until that night what we hoped to get. At this mountain venue, we had limited lights around us, and the venue kindly turned off their outdoor lights as well. As the saying goes, “the starts aligned perfectly” to get the shots we had hoped for – the beautiful bride and groom under the Milky Way.
As we watched everyone leave at the end of the night, every single person had a huge smile on their face. Jenna and Jack wanted to make sure they had a wedding everyone could enjoy and cherish, and they certainly did just that. These two light up when they are together, and their life together is sure to be a beautiful one.
Summer is in full swing, and it is HOT out there! To celebrate the summer months (and outdoor weddings), we did a styled shoot a little while back that was featured on Wedding Chicks in correlation with Coca-Cola! Here is a sneak peek at the photos, but see the full feature at Wedding Chicks! Keep cool out there!
Mostly, we hear about how our marriage has changed our lives, and it absolutely does. I was with James eight years before we got married, so he was changing my life long before we actually tied the knot. He has made me a better person, he brings such pure and complete joy to my life every moment, and he is my absolute best friend. I’m the luckiest woman in the world to be his wife, and I love him more and more everyday. So, my spouse has absolutely changed my life, but the wedding day itself changed my life in very surprising ways.
The bride is usually the one planning the wedding, so we’re forced to learn the ropes very quickly. We’re all the sudden the CEO in company that we’ve never worked for. Brides have to not only learn what it takes to put together the massive production of a wedding, but we also need to understand each aspect well enough to make the best decisions. That’s a lot of pressure on us, and it’s extremely stressful. Some brides crack under the pressure. Some brides plan out of necessity and are quick to forget it. But, some brides bloom and become more confident and better decision makers. That’s what happened to me. I guess it’s that whole “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” thing (something I previously didn’t subscribe to). There were days I thought my head would burst from the stress, I thought I wouldn’t be able to continue with all the tasks on my list with a smile on my face, I felt I didn’t have enough time, and I believed I didn’t have what it took to be the CEO of my own wedding. But I did. It all taught me a very important lesson: there was a power inside of me that I didn’t know I had, and when utilized, I could move mountains.
On the big day, I also felt the most beautiful I’ve ever felt. I could finally see what James and my family had been saying all those years, except now, I felt it from within. For months later, I would feel blue that I’d never be that beautiful again, despite my husband constantly telling me how beautiful I am (even with crazy bed hair and toothpaste drool down my shirt). It may seem like a vain thought, but our self-image is a critical part of our mental health. That’s why we often feel upset when we don’t think we look nice, or when we feel under or over dressed at an event. It’s because we care about how we are perceived by others. For awhile, I let myself wallow in self pity. Then, something flipped in my brain. I started trying to recapture the beauty I had on my wedding day. I started trying to learn new hairstyles, I was more careful when applying makeup, and I started paying more attention to my everyday clothes. I always liked fashion, but I put more effort into it post-wedding. I was slowly reflecting on the outside what I had felt on the inside, and that in turn enhanced the confidence I had earned from the wedding.
With this newfound self-image, I started becoming a different person. Or, at least, a more improved version of myself. I started pushing myself harder and taking more risks with my work. They started paying off left and right. With each success, I found my creativity opening up. I trusted my instincts. I found that things that normally would make me anxious or scared no longer had that affect on my nerves. I was calmer, collected. Instead of wondering if things would work out (as I had always done), I just understood that they would.
I always knew my marriage would change my life for the better, but no one ever told me about the wedding gift that first day would bestow upon me. It was the best wedding gift I could have received.
Changing your name after marriage is a bit of a complicated process. The main thing is knowing what to expect and, specifically, knowing what order to change it in. It took me quite awhile to change everything over (actually, I’m still finding areas that I haven’t changed yet), but as long as you have the time (no big international trips coming up), it’ll be fine and relatively stress-free. Get the major ones done first, and then the rest can be changed as needed.
Also, make sure to change your name after the honeymoon. Otherwise, you probably won’t have everything ready in time!
(Note: the below prices are based on what I encountered while changing my name in the state of California late 2014 to early 2015. Also, note that I’m not an expert on the topic, just a fellow bride who has gone through the process.)
Step One: Get your Marriage Certificate
In the California county I was married in, it cost me $15 per certificate. I bought three just in case. It’s usually ready about a week or so after the wedding. Call in first if you want to make sure. You don’t need an appointment.
What You’ll Need:
Cost: $15 each
Step Two: Change Name with the Social Security Agency
You’ll need to go into your local SS branch with your old card and the marriage certificate. They’ll have you fill out some paperwork. You don’t need an appointment.
What You’ll Need:
Original SSN card
Step Three: Change Name at the DMV
I made an appointment, but it’s really hit and miss as to if that helps or not. They’ll take a new picture of you, so look your best! They require you to fill out a form that must be done on-site.
What You’ll Need:
New SSN card
Step Four: Change Name at the Bank
I was told I could have done this prior to the DMV, but then when vendors ask to see your ID to verify you are the cardholder, it wouldn’t match. So, I did it after I received the new license.
What You’ll Need:
New SSN card
New Driver’s License or Interim license (may be optional for some banks)
Note: this is an area I am STILL struggling with. For some reason, my bank can’t figure out how to send me the new cards and checks in my new name. Also, my bank only allows 21 characters on the cards/checks. My legal name is over that, so if that’s the case, the bank will work with you to find a way to represent your name.
I don’t know about you, but I’m personally utterly confused about the rules of wedding guest attire. Some rules are easy to understand (i.e. don’t wear white), but it’s the gray area that always confuses me. What about a print that includes white? And do all these rules really matter anymore? Personally, at our wedding, all I noticed was that everyone looked so nice! I didn’t have a single negative thought about anyone’s attire. Likewise, all the images you see here are examples of very classy and appropriate wedding guest attire that we love! Still, we wondered what rules are still in effect, so we talked to brides of all ages (past and present) to learn their thoughts. We found out this list is actually more of “guidelines than actual rules” (to quote Pirates of the Caribbean). Here’s what they told us!
Rule 1: Don’t Wear White
A full white dress is inappropriate to wear to a wedding (that color is reserved for the bride) as are outfits that are mainly a cream/beige/ivory color (and I’d go a step further and say avoid very, very light colors that could be misinterpreted as white). It seems everyone we talked to was in agreement on this point, but they also said that dresses that included white were okay as long as it wasn’t the main color. A print on a white background? White and blue stripes? All the past brides we talked to were fine with it! And men can certainly wear white dress shirts.
Rule 2: Don’t wear black unless it is an evening wedding
Most of the brides we talked to said black was just fine, though a few agreed that it should be more for an evening wedding. Of course, what exactly is considered an “evening wedding” is a whole other issue entirely! It was very hard to find a set answer on this point, but the majority of my findings point to a start time of 6pm (though some say that’s for the ceremony start time and some say that’s for the reception start time). I’ve also heard as early as 4pm if the reception goes through to the night. A couple also pointed out that whether or not a particular dress would be acceptable depended on its style. If it was a fun type of dress (such as a floral print on a black background), that would be acceptable. I personally love black dresses (it looks good on just about everyone), and I’d be fine with guests wearing that color to my own wedding. Those who agreed with the rule felt it was an important rule to follow, though, so it’s possible that other guests won’t agree with the color choice. I will note that wedding photographers typically wear all black when photographing a wedding.
Rule 3: Don’t wear red
57% Disagree, but it was a close call.
This was a close one, but the majority disagreed with this point. However, we did have a few who pointed out that they personally wouldn’t feel comfortable in the color as a guest just because it draws too much attention to themselves, and they have a point there. Red does draw the eye, so it suggests that the wearer wanted the attention. So, it may be best to stay away from it if it’s “fire engine red.” Maroon and other shades are great to wear though!
Rule 4: Don’t wear the same color as the bridesmaids
…but they would avoid it if they had been informed of the color ahead of time. Still, they agreed that wearing the same color was fine as long as the dress wasn’t a perfect match. Plus, it’s likely to happen on accident.
Rule 5: Don’t wear something skimpy
The issue becomes what is considered skimpy and what is not. When I asked this question, the answer I got the most was that it was skimpy if too much of the lady’s breasts were showing, but that’s certainly not the only way a dress could be considered skimpy. I think one bride described it best, “Rule of thumb… if you go tight, don’t go short. Show off legs or cleavage, not both. Backless can be elegant if done tastefully…. Lastly, if it’s going to ride up or fall out while dancing, just don’t wear it!”
Rule 6: Don’t wear casual clothes
Across the board, brides (and their guests) agreed with this one – especially the “no jeans” rule. Brides work very hard on their invitations to give the guest a general feeling for what their wedding will be like. Use that as a guide, but casual, everyday clothes aren’t appropriate.
Rule 7: Don’t overdress
Again, brides seemed to be very adamant that guests should stick to the style detailed or dictated by their invitation. You should always look nice, of course, but leave that tailed tuxedo or full ball gown at home unless the wedding calls for it.
Rule 8: Don’t wear an old bridesmaid dress
Overall, the brides disagreed with this one on the condition that the dress wasn’t obviously a bridesmaid dress. In talking with them though, it sounds like they were more concerned that the guest would be uncomfortable and feel out of place rather than a bride having an issue with it. Plus, if you re-make the bridesmaid dress to disguise its original purpose, a wedding would be a fine place to show it off.
Rule 9: Don’t wear too much bling
60% Disagreed, if done well.
Brides are okay with you wearing your finest jewels, but several did tell me they’d prefer to see a fancy statement necklace only, or fancy earrings only. So, it’s okay to go big in one area, but not in all. And they did say “no tiaras” across the board, unless the bride asks you to wear one, of course!
Rule 10: Don’t wear office wear
90% Disagreed (if it was done right).
There are lots of ways to dress up your office wear with a statement necklace or little strap heels. There is something so completely classy about a nice pantsuit. Overall, brides were fine with that idea. As someone pointed out, “If a man wears a suit, that’s considered office wear and wedding attire!”
Rule 11: Don’t wear a loud tie
You can probably tell the bride and groom’s opinion on this one based on their personality and the feel of the wedding. If it’s a classy black tie event, a loud tie may not be the best. If it’s more casual and the bride and groom are laid back and fun-loving people, it’s probably fine if you are comfortable wearing it. Personally, one of my favorite attires at our wedding was my cousin’s outfit. He wore a bright yellow button up shirt, a bright purple tie, and matching purple sneakers with his black dress pants. I absolutely LOVED it, and so did my other guests!
Rule 12: Don’t wear sequins
100% Disagree (if done tastefully).
Brides all said that wearing some sequins were fine. Again, it should fit the style of the wedding. A full sequin dress to a casual wedding wouldn’t be appropriate. So, use your best judgment as to how much is too much based on the invitation and what you know about the couple and the wedding.
Rule 13: Use a clutch purse, not your everyday purse
This seemed to be more of a personal preference rather than a rule that a bride would feel the need for. A bigger bag can be a nuisance to carry around all night, and it would probably be left unattended at some point. Thus, those we spoke with felt it was easier on guests to have smaller clutches or cross-sling purses for convenience.
Rule 14: Don’t wear inappropriate shoes
100% Agreed (80% say “no flip flops”).
Stilettos aren’t appropriate if the guest will be walking on sand or grass, and flip-flops aren’t appropriate for a fancy wedding. Guests should always pick their shoes based on the venue and their outfit, but avoiding flip-flops is a good idea.
Rule 15: Don’t wear tulle
Tulle is really back in nowadays, and it can be done quite tastefully. That being said, they felt a tulle dress should look classy and not like you’re an adult flower girl. So, it’s a judgment call based on the dress itself.
Overall, these rules (whether relevant or not) were created in order to keep guests from upstaging the bride. As long as you look nice but don’t take any attention away from her, then you’re all set. If in doubt, it’s best to ask a friend or one of the bridesmaids. The bride has enough to worry about as her big day approaches, so it’s best to leave your outfit off of her list. Funny enough, it seems these brides didn’t care so much about what people wore to their own weddings but more about what they would deem appropriate or not appropriate to wear as a wedding guest themselves. Hopefully, these notes will help you pick great attire for the next wedding – or will provide a quick link to send to guests when asked what to wear to your own upcoming wedding!