introducing the culvers!

You know how much I love a good love story… but aren’t they all good? This one begins when Matt and Hadhyja met in the fall of 2014 at a Halloween party. Matt was an outlaw biker, Hadhyja was a member of the SWAT team. Perfect, yes? And proof that opposites truly do attract. They’ve been from LA to Chicago, and now the OC. I have to admit that it took me a while to get the pronunciation of her Brazilian name correct, but I finally got it :-).

The proposal happened last Thanksgiving in the Paso Robles wine country. And just about a year later, their wedding took place at Occasions in Laguna Village. Complete credits are at the end.

Both Hadhyja and Matt got ready at Laguna’s Surf & Sand Hotel, which is a perfect spot. The rooms are… well… roomy, which is nice when you have a few people getting hair and make-up, dressing, and helping the bride.

Here’s Hadhyja’s mom zipping and buttoning. BTW, she’s also named Hadhyja. AJ1A1534Fantasy Florals always does an amazing job. These were simple and elegant.AJ1A1509Hadhyja’s gorgeous gown was custom made in Brazil.

AJ1A1548How much do I love a first look? Plenty!!!AJ1A1570AJ1A1571IMG_7695IMG_7735The arches at the Surf & Sand are the perfect frame for first look photos.IMG_7704IMG_7814Lots more beautiful spots for photography nearby.IMG_7847AJ1A1608IMG_7860IMG_7899IMG_7905Then to Occasions for the ceremony and reception. What a spectacular day overlooking the Pacific. Check out the custom aisle runner, hand painted by Amanda of Fantasy Floral Designs. AJ1A1794This is a bouquet type I don’t often see, but it’s really pretty. Called a presentation, or pageant, bouquet. Hadhyja’s is simple lilies, a little dusty miller, and eucalyptus.IMG_8120Now, THAT’S a veil.AJ1A1888IMG_8158Acknowledging the Moms.IMG_8182My favorite officiant, Don Johnson, always interjects humor with his heartfelt ceremonies.AJ1A1983IMG_8376Just steps from the venue is this incredible spot.AJ1A2123AJ1A2115The babies breath was such a nice touch.AJ1A2271A winter sunset is hard to beat. IMG_8641

Photography | Click Chicks Photography
Getting ready | Surf & Sand Hotel, Laguna Beach
HMUA | Pure Beauty by Danielle
Gown | Custom made in Brazil
Florals | Fantasy Floral Design
Venue | Occasions at Laguna Village
Officiant | Don Johnson
Coordinator | Dayna Lewis, A Very Special Day

christina & jon are SO married

This wedding was so special, down to the last detail. Complete credits at the end of this post.

Let’s start with the gorgeous bride, Christina. She lives and works in L.A. (at Paramount Studios) but has family in coastal OC, so they chose Laguna Beach for their wedding. I hadn’t met her in person before her wedding day, so I had no idea what she would be like. What a happy surprise! She’s so beautiful, sweet, calm, and lots of other great things 🙂 Her gown was designed by Kelly Faetanini and Christina positively rocked it to the max! I wasn’t familiar with the designer so of course I checked out the website. In addition to spectacular gowns, I found some great bridal advice about them. Here’s just one point she made:

Don’t judge a gown by its hanger appeal. Every gown has a unique shape, and although you may not like a certain silhouette based on the way it’s hanging, I always tell my brides to try it anyway, because it might surprise them. Many gowns lack hanger appeal, but look amazing on the body. I have seen brides fall in love and say yes to a gown that they initially did not want to try on!

Then there was her hair. A stunning loose updo, with a beautiful embellishment.

She and her ‘maids and moms got ready at Casa Laguna. I was reminded how many beautiful backdrops there are at this historic b&b. The Spanish architecture, beautiful interiors, and tile work, make it the perfect choice, in my opinion.

IMG_2700I couldn’t resist asking Christina if she would be willing to get in the tub. She was a great sport! And finding the oranges in the kitchen to add a pop of color, was a stroke of luck.

IMG_5224Can’t go wrong with Badgeley Mischka!

IMG_5117Always fun to find a unique way to photograph rings. Typical would be in the bride’s bouquet. But personally I like something a little different. This is part of a light fixture.

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This corner is so special. I edited these two images differently and still can’t decide which one I like better! Left is more natural, right is moody.

Then we move on to the first look. The lighting at the spot I’ve used previously was so harsh at this time of day, it would’ve caused shadows and squinting. So, improvisation was required. We opted for the driveway into a parking structure for an urban vibe. Love the blue railing.

Cathedral length veil… swoon. Belongs to Christina’s maid of honor.

IMG_5457Note how well Jon’s suit fits 🙂 Not a rental; he owns it.

I must say, I am a fan of the “almost all white” bouquet. So elegant. Carly was the best MOH ever!

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I hope naked cakes never go out of style. I don’t know about you, but I think the frosting is unnecessary 🙂

The ceremony site at Occasions at Laguna Village has never looked prettier. We happened to have a breezy day, which brought the draping to a new and wonderful level. The white dance floor was down, the florals were gorgeous, added lanterns and arrangements at the end of the rows added one more pop of color, and the sky and ocean were “something blue.”

I love this angle as Christina goes down the stairs to her waiting groom.IMG_3149

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Down to the sand for a few, then what may have become my “signature shot” … the middle of Coast Highway. It’s not as dangerous as it may appear, for reasons I won’t go into :-). I love it!

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A choreographed dance is a nice surprise for your guests.IMG_6160There’s a reason it’s called “the golden hour.”

 

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A perfect day for a wonderful couple. Thank you, Christina and Jon for sharing it with me.

Photography: Click Chicks Photography
Second photographer: Jan Simonelli
Hair & Makeup: Genna Khein
Gown: Kelly Faetanini, “Inez”
Veil: maid of honor
Shoes: Badgeley Mischka
Bridesmaid dresses: Weddington Way
Groom/Groomsmen attire: Indochino
Wedding bands: Capri Jewelry
Getting ready: Casa Laguna Inn
Wedding/reception venue: Occasions at Laguna Village
Florals: Fantasy Floral Designs
Coordinator: Dayna Lewis, A Very Special Day
DJ: Lucas, AAV Entertainment

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 🙂

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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