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.
Let’s face it. Though a wedding is a very important day, it is just one day. Sadly, some couples spend so much on their wedding, that their savings are hit hard. There are ways to make the day great without breaking the bank though. After all, being able to afford a home someday would be nice!
As I’ve mentioned before, it’s important to know what aspects of the wedding are the most important to you. Those are the aspects where you should spend the money. For me, it was photography, details, and the venue that were the biggies. Photography was the number one because, besides the marriage, that’s what will last, so it better be good!
Catering is really expensive – I mean REALLY expensive. When we were planning our wedding, I talked to several caterers and provided them with our catering budget and our overall budget for the whole wedding so that they knew what we were working with. Every single caterer came back to me with a quote that was more than our ENTIRE wedding budget! How is that right? The second they heard the food was for a wedding, their quote skyrocketed.
So, we decided to have a restaurant cater. A restaurant doesn’t care if it’s a wedding or a birthday party or a small dinner with friends – their prices remain the same. They are also a lot easier to deal with, in my opinion, because they aren’t trying to sneak in extra costs like the caterers were doing to me. You also can spend a little more to give your guests more options and yet it still comes way under the price of a wedding caterer. We used the Old Spaghetti Factory, and everyone loved the food at our wedding, and it worked out perfectly!
By going this route for our 150-person wedding, we saved around $4,300 when compared to the 2013 average for a wedding caterer.
Wedding Dress and Bridesmaid Dresses
I was quite lucky when it came to my wedding dress. I love fashion, and I do feel the dress is one of those places where it’s okay to spend a little more. I’ve seen women who bought a cheap dress just because it was cheap, and they were not happy with it. That shows on their face, and this should be the happiest day of your life – so feel your best! Luckily, I found THE dress straight off the rack. It was a sample dress. The price was so low that it cost the same as my mother’s dress cost 30 years ago! So, don’t forget to check that rack – you may just find the one! As for the veil, I knew purchasing one was out of the question for me. As a seamstress myself, I’m just amazed how much money a bit of tulle can go for once it’s labeled as a “veil.” So, I made mine. Grand total cost to make it? $3. Yup, $3. That’s much nicer than the 2013 average of $128 (and they can go for a lot more than that!)
For bridesmaid dresses, I was determined to find something that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. It’s important to realize that though the wedding may be the center of your life, it is NOT the center of theirs. When I was a bridesmaid, the bride did not take into account how much each girl was spending on her. It ended up totally over $1,000 each, and that was money we didn’t really have to spend on someone else. I was determined not to do the same to my girls. Instead, I went to Amazon.com to get ideas. I ended up finding a pretty mint/turquoise dress by Ever-Pretty. The cost? $43 plus another $5 for the add-on lace.
By buying a sample dress and making my veil, I saved around $805 when compared to the average. By buying a dress online instead of an official bridesmaid dress, each girl saved around $75-$250.
I was very blessed to have a bridesmaid who is an absolute natural when it comes to all things “wedding” – including flowers. That being said, we still needed to buy them! She came up with an alternative to a florist: buying them from Costco and Whole Foods! We went with Baby’s Breath, Chamomile, Hypericum Berries, and Spray Roses. Then, she assembled them herself. They were stunning! I also added fabric flowers that I had made. Each had a memento from a family member.
By going this route, we saved $1,500 off the average cost of flowers.
Like catering, cake can also be very pricey – especially if you have a multi-tiered masterpiece. We liked the idea of cupcakes better (and it’s becoming more and more popular), so we used a local bakery that is actually quite famous for the heaven that is their confectionary goodness. This way, you also don’t have to worry about cake cutting fees (which are just silly!). We also made the cake stand ourselves – or rather, my father did. He’s an expert wood-worker, so he created the perfect stand for our cupcakes.
So, by buying cupcakes and a small cutting cake instead of going the traditional route, we saved around $290 off the average cost.
I love crafts, and luckily, so did my bridesmaid! Between her, my mom, and I, we made most of the decorations at the wedding. The signs were all handmade by my bridesmaids using frames I had bought for cheap at garage sales. I made the props for the photo booth, my mom made the table numbers by hand, and I made the guest book online using a freebie coupon. Though not handmade, the old books and cameras that served as our centerpieces were from our own collection, so we’ll continue to display those for years to come.
By making most of the decorations, we saved around $850.