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

caroline + chad’s sweet laguna beach wedding

I just love this couple — Caroline and Chad. They are the sweetest. Their wedding was small, with only one attendant on each side… but let me say, Ann, Caroline’s MOH and BFF rocked the socks off her “duties.” When you have multiple bridesmaids, they can divvy up the various things that need to be attended to…. such as: having the details ready for us when we arrive at the hotel (shoes, jewelry, garter, rings, vows, and the like), helping put the gown on, carrying incidentals the bride may need throughout the day, wrangling the family for posed formals, etc. etc.) Ladies, take note: the bride should not have to worry about a THING. She’s got enough on her mind, so you are making a very important contribution to her day.

And if you noticed Caroline has an amazing figure, she does! She works as a middle school PE teacher.

See full credits at the end of the post.

Gorgeous Badgley Mishka sparkly shoes look even more beautiful with an ocean background.IMG_4961

Some images call for black and white. To me, it can take you deeper into the “story.”

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I hadn’t seen the “Kiss the Miss” line before. Caroline’s BFFs  gave this to her pre-wedding. I think its adorable. As is her personalized bride wine glass.

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The aforementioned MOH, Ann 🙂 Caroline’s gown had button loops in addition to a zipper. Takes a little more time to fasten. Note to self: put crochet hook in camera bag.IMG_5071

First look. Very satisfying 🙂 They both got ready at Laguna Riviera. Caroline had plenty of space in the bungalow below the hotel.IMG_9019IMG_9038No, you’re not seeing double. Chad’s got a twin, Brent.IMG_9189Other than the sand, favorite spot near Occasions at Laguna Village. IMG_5211Same place, other direction. Like the perspective.IMG_5251

Brick looks so textural in black & white.IMG_5284Going down the stairs to the ceremony. Last shot as a single guy.

IMG_9246Same for Caroline. One last look before going down the stairs.IMG_9254Love this angle. And the joy radiating from the spectacular Caroline.IMG_9269With her Dad after walking down the aisle.IMG_5390IMG_9327

Best view in town. And the “something blue.”IMG_5413Love the lighthearted, spontaneous moments during the ceremony.IMG_5420IMG_5439IMG_5462The chandelier adds some bling to the ceremony space, and eliminates the need for fancy florals.
IMG_9359IMG_5493As Chad and Caroline said, their wedding was small, but everyone in attendance was very important to them.IMG_9399Just before the sun crossed the horizon, we got this shot by the ceremony space.IMG_5683But then, we went to the sand and captured a few more amazing images. Only possible with off camera flash, as the light was going. Fast.IMG_5697Shot o’the day, IMHO. Some fancy editing on this one to balance the colors and minimize shadows created by using flash. Very happy with the results!IMG_5705

 

A Bluebird Day For an Oak Creek Wedding

Penny and Justin’s love story started when they were both students at Chapman University. We did a fun engagement session there what seems like eons ago, and I was looking forward to their wedding. As it turned out, it was on a beautiful April day. The venue they chose, Oak Creek Golf Club, is so pretty, and — being a golf course — always green. The ceremony pergola has a beautiful backdrop with lots of pepper trees. And, there are also palm trees in abundance, so there are many options at the property.

IMG_1192Okay, so the hashtag for the wedding was #justinsluckypenny. Of course, we had to do this shot.

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The “I’m a bride” moment.

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I absolutely LOVE this bouquet, with gardenias and my personal fave flower — the peony. And the touch of blue is beautiful.

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Dad’s will be Dads. Helping with the tie.

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An interesting angle can turn an otherwise ho hum shot into something terrific.

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This is what you DON’T get with a first look. Love this moment.

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Here she comes!

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Going in for the first kiss.

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Time for a little joyriding in the golf cart to some scenic spots.

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First dance as Mr. and Mrs. The look of love.

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Popping out for the last bit of light.

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Photography: Click Chicks Photography
Venue: Oak Greek Golf Club, Irvine, CA
Property Wedding Coordinator: Sarah Gamble
Outside Coordinator: Cindy Brown, Events by Melody Walker
Florals: Beautiful Savage Flowers
Bridal Gown:  Demetrios
Brides Hair:  Shadows Hair Salon (Tina)
Brides Makeup:  Ashley Gannon
Grooms Attire: Vera Wang from Men’sWarehouse
Bridesmaid/Groomsmaid dresses:  J Crew
Cake:  Creative Cakes
Officiant:  Dr. Brian Trott

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

ringing in 2016 at the ranch at laguna beach

My first wedding of the year was at the glorious “The Ranch at Laguna Beach.” You’ve heard the saying everything old is new again? Well, The Ranch is a historic property (formerly Ben Brown’s and Aliso Creek Inn) nestled in a spectacular wooded canyon just down from The Montage. Anyone who’s seen it knows it’s a very special place. With new owners for the first time in decades, they’re in the final phases of a remodel that is sure to make it one of California’s premiere hotel/golf course/spa properties and, of course, wedding venue. The brand-new Sage Ballroom is slated to open in just a few months.

What better way to kick off the New Year by photographing Lauren and Chris’ wedding? Can’t imagine anything better. What a day. What a team. What a couple! Complete credits at the end.

P.S., Yes I know this is a long blog entry. But… what can I say? I’m in love with these photos!

What a setting!6M6A0751

Love the bridal roomIMG_1603

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Lauren’s adorable — and VERY happy — daughter.6M6A0091
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Our groom, Chris6M6A0329

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The team ::

Photographer: Click Chicks Photography
Co-Photographer: Maryanne McGuire
Venue: The Ranch at Laguna Beach
Venue Coordinator: Lindsey Kenworthy
Event design/Planning/Florals: Studio AD Events
Gown: Maggie Sottero
Bridal Makeup: Tamara Taylor Artistry
Bridal Hair: Summer Reed
Bridesmaids’ Gowns: Donna Morgan “Laura”

Awesome advice for an unplugged wedding

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This photo is what was actually happening behind me when one of my couples was having their “private” first look at The Ritz Carlton in Dana Point. What can you do?

I’ve got to say, competing with family members and guests for a memorable shot is an ongoing issue for me as a professional wedding photographer in Orange County. For example: I work to get a couple looking beautifully romantic for an image I know is killer. Next to me are 10 people who also want the shot. Typically family or members of the bridal party. Meanwhile, the couple is terribly distracted by all the other lenses staring at them and don’t know where to look. The results are less an ideal for all of us.

If the couple doesn’t speak up, I politely ask the others to let me get the shot, then they can have their chance. What they probably don’t think about is the fact that we’re on a schedule. We are being paid to deliver. And that’s our priority. So, I apologize in advance if you think I’m being selfish, bratty, or {insert adjective here}. I just want to do my job the very best I can.

That being said, the amazingly talented wedding/event planner, consultant extraordinaire Natalie Vishny (http://natalievishny.com) just did a blog post on this very same issue. I couldn’t have said it better myself! Thank you Natalie.

Here are Natalie’s thoughts:

Wedding ceremonies are more fun when your guests turn off their cell phones.  You get to live in the moment and actually “look around” and enjoy.

Twice, in the last week, I’ve been asked from couples about etiquette for unplugged weddings. 

Here are my simple three pieces of advice for wedding couples:

1)  If you have a cool invitation that allows for an extra verbiage line, you actually can say, “At our ceremony, we ask you enjoy and be “unplugged”.  

2)  Have “PARTY signage.”.  This could be a LARGE framed sign at the sign-in book table, or a sign at your greeting beverage station reminding your family and friends to turn off their cells. An example of signage includes, “There’s a person here taking pictures, we’d like to only have one. Please set down your cameras until our ceremony is done.”

3) Make sure that your wedding planning team knows that you would like an unplugged ceremony, so that they can go and provide a note or a hug to the “lady” who is taking photos.

Having an unplugged wedding definitely makes the moment seem more intimate.