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

Elise + Craig’s Wedding at Laguna’s La Casa del Camino

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Laguna locals, as well as visitors, often refer to this location as simply “The Rooftop.” But The Rooftop is atop the historic boutique hotel, La Casa del Camino, that oozes charm. (And of course, also offers many little corners for photos.) The Spanish inspired guest rooms are beautiful, or you can choose from a number of “Surf Rooms” designed by So Cal surfwear companies.

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The headboard was the perfect backdrop for the gown. And, Craig gave Elise the single rose earlier in the day.

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Love the personalized shoes. See the soles on a separate photo.

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Girls, especially sisters, just want to have fun!

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The natural light coming from the window, combined with beautiful carved headboard and iron sconces, made this a beautiful setting for some portraits.

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Love the serious look here. The lad is groom Craig’s son, and ring bearer.

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How sweet was this message Craig wrote to his bride?

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Something blue…

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That would be a wrap. Married!

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Down to the beach. Literally just steps away.

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Love this little courtyard. And when a couple can “dip”, I take advantage of it! So romantic.

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Oh yeah!

Joyce + Mike’s First Look at The Center Club, Costa Mesa

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This couple’s love story culminated at their beautiful Center Club wedding. The property has so many fantastic spots for shooting. We staged their first look using these two ah-mazing chairs. They’re like beautifully padded cocoons, so once we got Mike in place with his eyes closed, Joyce tiptoed to the second chair. Little by little they scooted forward until they saw each other. Sigh. This is just one snippet from the day. More to come!

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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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mother daughter sister

I love shooting families! This trio the other afternoon was particularly fun. Teenagers seem to all be able to turn into supermodels in front of the camera. How cool is that? The purpose of the session was pre-Bat Mitzvah for the younger daughter, but they were all so darned photogenic, I couldn’t help myself. One great shot after the next. The backdrop options available here in my own little village of Laguna Beach are endless.

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You Say You Want the Sand Between Your Toes?

This is for those of you who want to plan your own wedding on the sand in Laguna Beach, as opposed to using one of the beachfront properties that offer that option. It is doable, but there are some rules to follow, and reservations to make. Make sure you’re good with an “informal” wedding, because that’s what it’s going to be! In other words, if you’re thinking black tuxedos and a ball gown, this is probably not the right decision for you.

Three Arch Bay, Laguna Beach

Three Arch Bay, Laguna Beach

It’s also extremely important, in my opinion, that you choose a photographer familiar with the characteristics of our beaches. Just one critical factor to consider are the tides, as the sand on some beaches virtually disappears at high tide. Just like the fact that photographing a corporate event is very different from shooting a wedding, a beach ceremony has idiosyncrasies that a ballroom or country club doesn’t.

Here's a chance to use some cute beachy details.

Here’s a chance to use some cute beachy details.

There are many beautiful coves in Laguna! Make a day of it and check them all out. And when you have your short list, visit again at the specific time of day you’re thinking of having your ceremony. Look at the shadows. If the sun is still high you can get harsh shadows and/or squinting if you’re oriented in a particular direction. Neither makes for great photos. And, if you want shots of the sun hitting the horizon, you need to make sure it isn’t setting ‘around the bend’. Pay attention to all the details.

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Such a cute sign…and flower girl!

Most beach locations are restricted from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. If you are determined to have a summer ceremony, you can choose from those directly below Heisler Park. They are: North Main Beach, Rockpile, Picnic Beach, and Diver’s Cove. Be sure to have your guests stay at a hotel within walking distance, because parking will definitely be at a premium. Don’t worry — there are many to choose from.

At other times of year, you can get a permit for any of our Laguna beaches, other than those south of Victoria Beach, which don’t require one.

This NY couple chose to say their "I Do's" at Tablerock Beach, just south of Aliso Creek.

This NY couple chose to say their “I Do’s” at Tablerock Beach, just south of Aliso Creek.

The permit allows a two-hour use and costs $255 as of this writing. The rules may seem restrictive but it’s an ‘informal’ wedding after all! Here they are:

  • Maximum number of people, including the wedding party is 95. However, capacity at the Gazebo and Monument Point in Heisler is 50.
  • No tables, chairs, archways, or structures of any type. “Decorations” are allowed, but fixed with ribbon or string and removed afterward. No tape, nails, staples, etc.
  • No blocking of paths or walkways.
  • No amplified sound.
  • No rice, birdseed, confetti or flower petals may be thrown.
  • No alcohol or champagne toasts.
  • No open flame, including candles.

Contact the city Community Services Department located by City Hall at 515 Forest Avenue, (949) 497-0716. And, the permit application is available for download online at http://www.lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/community/permits/wedding.asp

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A happy, and gorgeous, couple right after their ceremony!

A fun and thoughtful idea to protect your female guests' high heels.

A fun and thoughtful idea to protect your female guests’ high heels.

Click Chicks featured on Borrowed & Blue

Always fun to be acknowledged and have your photos on a cool wedding website. We love Borrowed & Blue! And of course, Jen & Rich. http://www.borrowedandblue.com/orange-county/weddings/jen-rich

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The gorgeousity that is Jen

I had to invent a new word for Jen. Gorgeousity with a capital G. This late summer wedding was at one of my favorite Laguna Beach venues … Occasions at Laguna Village. Thank you, Dayna for making it such a pleasure to work at the property. The site is just unparalleled for ocean proximity and it’s ‘goes forever’ coastline view. Jen got ready at the nearby Pacific Edge Hotel, which I also love.

So… you’ll see why I enjoyed shooting this wedding so much!!! Rich and Jen are so much fun. And the groomsmen were a kick! The couple met in L.A. where she lived and had a long distance relationship for two years as Rich lived in New York. She’s now happily relocated there as they start their new life together. And… she’s a block from my favorite NY deli — Katz’s!!!

Congratulations to Jen and Rich!!!

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The shot with the shoes, purse and garter was actually the headboard of the bed! Perfect little cubbies to make this super cute!

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LOVE the color of the chair at the hotel.

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Seashells, pink, pearls and lovebirds. That pretty much says says it all!!!

Nicholetta + Edward at Aliso Creek Inn

These guys met in second period English in 1998! Isn’t that great? But, alas, their first date wasn’t until 2011. Nikki calculated they’ve been dating 529,920 minutes!! She must be a math whiz ! -)

Their wedding last weekend was at Ben Brown’s/Aliso Creek Inn. I’m always happy to return to this gorgeous, pristine, canyon setting. Krystal is a pleasure to work with! The deer apparently have developed a genetically improved skull, as they continually frolic on the greens without giving the flying golf balls a second thought.

Ed brought his great-looking matte black pick-up and that’s where the cake(s) … yes, that’s plural … were set up. And we couldn’t resist taking a photo with all the groomsmen in the truck bed.

As you’ll see, Nikki looked spectacular. But I knew she would from our engagement session.

Enjoy!!

Contender for best shot o'the day.

Contender for best shot o’the day.

When you're at a golf course venue, you .....

When you’re at a golf course venue, you …..

Gorgeous with a capital G!!

Gorgeous with a capital G!!

Beautiful Nikki.

Beautiful Nikki.

Oh yea! Guys love their trucks!

Oh yeah! Guys love their trucks!

Light-hearted moment  during the ceremony. Lots of laughs (and tears) throughout.

Light-hearted moment during the ceremony. Lots of laughs (and tears) throughout.

The recessional. Such an amazing view.

The recessional. Such an amazing view.

There are a number of bridges on the course. This one is the prettiest!!!

There are a number of bridges on the course. This one is the prettiest!!!

Such a cute idea to have the cakes in the truck bed. All different, too. Nikki's favorite is blue velvet. That's a new one on me.

Such a cute idea to have the cakes in the truck bed. All different, too. Nikki’s favorite is blue velvet. That’s a new one on me.

Cute detail.

Cute detail.

This is such a romantic shot. Love it!

This is such a romantic shot. Love it!

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John + Megan get married at hotel laguna

This couple lives in the SF Bay area, but did a destination wedding to Laguna Beach and it was a perfect summer day. Megan looked spectacularly beautiful and we had such a fun time with her and John. They did one of the cutest ‘first looks’ I’ve ever seen. Megan had mentioned balloons to me, but I couldn’t quite picture (ha!) it. And even the number of balloons they each held had significance to them.

My co-pho, the ever-talented Jan, took one of the coolest ring shots ever. It’s always fun to do something spontaneous that we’ve never seen. There are so many cliche shots. Beautiful … but chiche. Anyhow, she dropped them in a champagne glass and bubbles ensued 🙂

Enjoy the photos!!!

A special thank you to the following for your huge contribution to this beautiful day: Reverend Michael Ahern, The English Garden Florals.

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Gorgeous Megan, cool as a cucumber.

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And the dapper John.

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Rings in champagne!! Bubble-licious.

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Megan got teary a couple of times. (Thank goodness for waterproof eye makeup!). I think this was when she saw her beautiful bouquets, created by The English Garden Fine Florals in Laguna Beach.

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Megan making her way to the rose garden, where she and John did their first look.

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Here’s John waiting!

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When they were in position we gave the cue and they let the balloons go. Super cute idea.

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The tide was a little dicey … meaning high. But all survived.

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Love this staircase for a backdrop at the Hotel Laguna.

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And how could I resist a piano … in the hotel’s lobby.

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Anita, owner of the English Garden, decorated the cake. Gorgeous!

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