sydney + mike tie the knot

Well, there’s been another big gap between blog posts; seems to be always at the end of the list. But, this was worth waiting for. I loved these two from the minute we met. They’re fun AND sweet. What a great combo!

Mike and Sydney met in 2013 at a bar in Newport Beach through mutual friends, Jessica¬† and Josh. Neither of them wanted to go out that night, or particularly like partying in Newport! Luckily, they agreed to go. Mike says that Sydney made the first move, which included a conversation about Snapchat and adding each other on the app. They then messaged back and forth for a couple of weeks to follow. Mike eventually asked for Sydney’s number and they dated “long distance” for the first year, while Mike was attending Cal State San Marcos.

Mike proposed to Sydney at the Nadel’s annual 4th of July party in front of their families and friends; it was a magical night indeed! The rest is happy history.

See the end of the post for full vendor credits.

6M6A0712I love the creative, personalized gifts that brides can give to their ‘maids.

IMG_1555What would girls in pink play other than… Prosecco Pong!

IMG_1574They got ready at an Air BNB in Laguna Beach that had the perfectly colored bedroom for photos.

IMG_1540S.T.U.N.N.I.N.G. gown.

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6M6A0899Caught up with the guys, including both dads, at the bar at the venue.

6M6A1023Is Mike happy or what? Before the First Look.

6M6A1104First Look on the sand below the venue. Not a dry eye.

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6M6A1404Such a beautiful bouquet.

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6M6A1451Show off those shoes, girl! And her gown is stunning, isn’t it?

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6M6A1504I’ve shot at this location many, many times. (Did I say many?) I’m loving the burnt out sky and shadows.6M6A1589Cake with a view :-). Sydney’s rose gold details were gorg. Her dad painted each charger to be the perfect shade. What a guy!

IMG_2113Last few steps as a single lady.

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IMG_2146I love it when couples laugh during their ceremony. Note Sydney’s dad in the background.6M6A1716IMG_2200

IMG_2224Sealed with a kiss … and a few bubbles.IMG_22676M6A1938

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6M6A2314Please tell your photographer when you’re doing a dip to end the first dance. That way we can be sure to be on the correct side ūüôā

IMG_2531Father/daughter and mother/son dances just seem to call out for black and white. It shows the story and emotion without distracting color.IMG_2532

Venue: Occasions at Laguna Village
Coordinator: Dayna Lewis, A Very Special Day
Gown: Mia Solano
Brides Shoes: Badgley Mischka
Ladies Hair: Heather Loebner
Ladies Makeup: Eric Blair
Groom’s attire: Hugo Boss
Florals: Fantasy Florals
Cake: Rockwell Bakery
DJ: AAV Entertainment

mike + sydney rock their engagement sesh in laguna

My goodness! These two were so much fun to spend time with. Sydney had done something I always think is a good idea…she had her make-up trial the day of our shoot. They’re not getting married until Aug., but are going to use one of the pix as their save-the-date. No doubt in my mind that she will make a spectacular bride!

We shot at two of my favorite spots: downtown Laguna Beach, and on the sand at The Montage. I literally could NOT decide which images to pull for a preview. What a great “problem” to have, right? These are almost in reverse order from how we shot them.

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Another “Tiny Wedding”

I closed out 2016 with another “Tiny Wedding.” This one was the adorable Sami marrying her soldier just days before he was deployed overseas. Although the skies in Laguna Beach were dreary that day, the smiles couldn’t have been¬†sunnier. What a sweet couple.

The location was the gazebo in Heisler Park (Laguna Beach), which never looked prettier! And I love Sami’s vintage mink stole. It crossed my mind several times that she has an Adele vibe going on, don’t you think?

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Sami’s pretty maids…

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Love these lighthearted moments in an otherwise serious ceremony.

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The look of love.

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Sealed with a kiss.

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Love the colors here. And Sami looks so pretty.

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They love Heisler Park and beach, so I had to get a shot with the sign.

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Tiny Weddings

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I think I might’ve coined a new phrase: Tiny Weddings. You’ve no doubt heard of “tiny houses?” As little as 300 square feet (!), they’ve become quite the rage as people downsize their lives. All I can say is, the smaller my house is, the bigger my storage unit! So, that term can translate to weddings as well. I had the pleasure of photographing two #tinyweddings at the end of 2016. While small in size they were still B-I-G in love and emotion and I was honored to play a role.

First up: Sakeenah and Regis … now Mr. and Mrs. Ndabadugitse. They’re been together nearly a decade and decided it was time to tie the knot. Regis is from one of the smallest countries in Africa — Burundi. Due to its general instability, he and his¬†family came to the US. Their civil ceremony was at Laguna Hills City Hall and attended only by close family members, followed by photos there.

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Stunning family on both sides.

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Love this spot inside City Hall.

Then to the beach in Laguna, where Sakeenah’s dad talked about the African American tradition of Jumping the Broom, a custom practiced in antebellum slavery when a couple couldn’t wed legally. It’s come to mean sweeping away the old and welcoming new beginnings, joining two families, and a respectful nod to ancestors.¬†img_2260img_2265img_2288Some final shots on the beach and La Casa del Camino, before a rooftop lunch for the family at Mozambique.

What a stunning couple!img_2279img_2300img_2331img_2340img_2362img_2381img_2411

A San Miguel de Allende engagement

I know I’ve been extremely remiss in doing blog posts. I’ll try to catch up… promise! But this engagement shoot in San Miguel de Allende a week ago touched my heart¬†in so many ways. San Miguel is a gorgeous Spanish colonial town in the middle of the central highlands of the country. Add a Gothic church or two, cobblestone streets, incredible restaurants, and you’ve got a dreamy¬†getaway.

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I traveled to San Miguel de Allende over the holidays and wasn’t completely prepared for the amazing colors, culture, and more. A feast for the photographer’s eyes, to be sure. And to have the opportunity to shoot¬†a beautiful couple like this was almost too much! The proposal ¬†was outside a jewelry store. How appropriate, right?

Can hardly wait to return to this beautiful spot on our globe.

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a montage proposal

I’ve said it before … how lucky am I to get to go to actual proposals? Answer: “extremely.” This thoughtful, sweet, adorable groom-to-be, Logan, contacted me from Texas. He’d planned a CA getaway¬†for himself and the lovely Erica, and chose The Montage here in Laguna Beach. ¬†Just the best possible location for a proposal!

As usual, I was waiting incognito with a long lens¬†— near one of the bluff-top¬†benches overlooking the Pacific — and had secured the spot with a lovely bouquet of white roses he’d requested. (Thank you, Bev, at The Flower Stand.)¬†Let’s not even talk about how many couples I had to shoo away.

It went off beautifully. Off course¬†she said “YES!” No surprise. They’ve been together since high school. As the light was waning, I decided I HAD to go back the next day for a few more shots. Their love was infectious. Big sigh.

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“The” bench

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Slipping on the beautiful solitaire engagement ring

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Quick, down to the sand to catch a sunset shot

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Montage beach the next day

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stephanie + tim get married at the balboa yacht club

I knew this couple was going to be¬†relaxed and have some¬†serious fun on their wedding day. We did¬†an engagement shoot (with doggie) and I got to know them and their laid back style. The hours flew by on the BIG day, with the gang getting ready at the Newport Beach Hyatt Hotel, then wedding and reception at the Balboa Yacht Club. I hadn’t shot there before, but I can tell you it’s a beautiful location. Stay tuned for just a second, and you’ll see what I mean. Everything about the day was pretty perfect with an ace team at the helm. (Credits at end.)

Sweet day-of-wedding gift from Tim.

Sweet day-of-wedding gift from Tim.

Let's talk about Stephanie's Badgley Mischka shoes! I've never seen a wedding wedge! She says they were uber comfoy.

Let’s talk about Stephanie’s Badgley Mischka shoes! I’ve never seen a wedding wedge! She says they were uber comfy.

Gorgeous bride.

Gorgeous bride. Check out her perfect brows.

Get that selfie stick going, girls!

Get that selfie stick going, girls!

So pretty. The white iceberg roses are the perfect backdrop for a wedding portrait.

So pretty. The white iceberg roses are the perfect backdrop for a wedding portrait.

Boys chillin' at the Hyatt Newport Beach bar.

Boys chillin’ at the Hyatt Newport Beach bar.

After the very sweet first look.

After the very sweet first look.

On the dock at the Balboa Yacht Club. Girls love to have fun with parasols :-)

On the dock at the Balboa Yacht Club. Girls love to have fun with parasols ūüôā

Beautiful ceremony officiated by the incredible Rev. Don Johnson.

Beautiful ceremony officiated by the incredible Rev. Don Johnson.

Super location right on the bay.

Super location right on the bay.

Nautical here. Nautical there.

Nautical here. Nautical there.

Colorful backdrop for a post wedding shot.

Colorful backdrop for a post wedding shot.

Good dipping!

Good dipping!

A beautiful end to an amazing day. My best to the B&G for a lifetime of happiness.

A beautiful end to an amazing day. My best to the B&G for a lifetime of happiness.

Event Coordinator: Stephanie, Table7Events
Getting ready location: Hyatt Hotel Newport Beach
Ladies hair & makeup: Design Visage
Florals: Lavenders Flowers
Ceremony & reception site: Balboa Yacht Club
Officiant: Don Johnson
DJ: Synergetic Sounds
Photography: Click Chicks Photography
Second Photographer: Carrie Zeller