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

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

 

monique + steven get married at occasions at laguna village

I’ll admit … I went a little crazy with this post. I just couldn’t narrow the field to fewer than these 25 images. What can I say? Monique was a stunning bride. I loved the piece she added to her gown around her shoulders, to make it extra special, rather than “just another beautiful strapless gown.” I think it absolutely made the dress.

And, as you know, I love shooting at Occasions at Laguna Village. The setting just can’t get any better. Their wedding was in the middle of a sunny day, so lighting was tricky, but we made it work. There’s no other option, right!

Kudos, as always to Dayna and her daughter, who coordinate Occasions weddings flawlessly; Annie of La Tulipe Florals who always wows; and Rev. Michael Ahern, who performed a heartfelt and touching ceremony.

Starting the processional. The moment when reality hits and the groom and guests see her for the first time.

Starting the processional. The moment when reality hits and the groom and guests see her for the first time.

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A gorgeous puffy cloud day.

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I think they’re married!

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Brown’s Park, the little walkway just north of the property.

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Even a parking lot can provide an interesting backdrop!

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Just a white wall in the corner of the property. Gorgeous!!!

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First dance.

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Groom and Mom is always a shot that has so much emotion.

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Giving myself props for capturing the bouquet before it was caught 🙂

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Priceless view from Occasions.

LOVE this.

I love this shot AND the little pocket park where this metal fence resides. Isn’t it beautiful?

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One of those serendipitous moments that turns into a beautiful capture.

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Christine + Kevin, Part II ~ More Ritz Carlton & Occasions at Laguna Village

Here’s a few more from the hotel before the limo whisked our couple North to Occasions at Laguna Village.

Is there any better location than at the ocean's edge? I don't think so! Their officiant was Bruce Danzara.