Alex & Taylor | A Spanish Themed Villa Montalvo Wedding in Saratoga, CA

(Words from Taylor herself)

What was the most memorable part of the day?
Seeing each other for the first time during our “first look,” and getting a few minutes to be alone together before the crazy rush of the day. We’ve known each other for almost nine years, but it felt like we were seeing each other—really seeing each other—for the very first time. We were both so overcome with emotion.

Those few minutes together were the most intimate and meaningful of our entire lives.

We also decided to write personal vows, and I'm so happy we did. I will treasure the vows Alex made to me for the rest of my life—perhaps more so because they were his words, from his heart.

What unique detail was the most important for you to include and why?
It's impossible to narrow down to just one. We have three! 

- It was very important to us to display the photos of our family and loved ones who could not be there. They were there in spirit with us throughout the day.
- My grandmother found her parents’ wedding invitation and engagement photo from 1916, as well as the wedding topper from their cake, which we had displayed over my great-grandmother's
 gorgeous lace tablecloth. We loved incorporating these small but special pieces of family history. 
- We tried to incorporate small pieces of our personalities into the details of the day. I'm a big book nerd, and we decided to name our tables after favorite authors. Alex is a huge fan of darts (and somehow even got me into the game on our very first date!), and so our party favors were custom dart sets. Finally, we both love Spain and have visited the country several times as a couple, so we served Jamón Ibérico and other Spanish tapas, and even found an incredible flamenco guitar trio to play during the cocktail reception. It was fabulous. 

What came most as a surprise to you about the day?
I was most surprised by how incredibly fast the day went by! After a year of planning, the day was over before we knew it! I wish we could live it all over again, a hundred times over!

Venue: Villa Montalvo
Wedding Planner: Events by Satra
Caterer: La Bocca Fina
Music: Daniel Fries Music
Band: Lucky Devils Band
Florist: Blossoms
Cake: Studio Cake
Hair & Makeup: Bay Area Beautiful

Lisa & Tim | Intimate San Francisco City Hall & Foreign Cinema Wedding

I've always loved San Francisco City Hall as the backdrop for the usual five person or so wedding where you wait in line alongside seven other couples for your turn to get married. 

But Lisa and Tim reserved the beautiful Mayor's Balcony on the 2nd floor, where 40 of their closest friends and family celebrated their union. After portraits, Lisa and Tim took their guests to Fort Point via a classic San Francisco trolley, then to Foreign Cinema (the Modernism West gallery) for a leisurely dinner and dancing.

Venue: Foreign Cinema (Modernism West)
Florals: Farmgirl Flowers
Hair & Makeup: Clifford Style
Trolley: Events West Tours & Travel

Melissa & Will | Harley Farms Wedding in Pescadero, CA

Melissa and Will's wedding - cheese! goats! secret garden! 

I adored the tiny touches of detail that Melissa and Will had at their Harley Farms wedding. Melissa had a goat pin, her flower girl held a screaming goat toy (that screamed all the way down the aisle), Will had his goat socks, and tiny goat figurines held guests' names at their seats. 

Harley Farms was a beautiful backdrop. A walk down their pathway led to a secret garden where Melissa and Will had their ceremony. The large barn and the fire pit outside created an orange glow for warmth and s'mores after the sun set and the evening quickly grew chilly. 

And, of course, Melissa and Will got to pet the goats on the farm!

Venue: Harley Farms
Florals: Alena Jean Design
DJ: Jackie Ciliberti / Heart of Gold DJs

Brittany & Lucas | Los Altos History Museum Wedding

This was definitely one of my favorite weddings of 2017. Not often do I come across a speech from the bride that left everyone, including me and the videographers, in awe at how powerful and passionate her words were. And not often (ever) do I come across a petting zoo for an adults only wedding! 

Not So Common Wedding Prep

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That big day is right around the corner. Months and months of planning have gone into this moment to make sure that everything is perfect. From your dress, to the flowers, to the venue, all the details have been mapped out and thought about over and over. However, there's a list of not so obvious planning tips. Sometimes when you're wrapped up in all that planning, you can forget about yourself. Here are a few ways to prep to make sure you look and feel your best.

Happiness Is A Good Hair Day

They say that 90% of a good selfie is your hair. Your hair is important on your wedding day! On average, your hair grows at ¼ inch per month. This is important to consider when you are getting your trims and cuts leading up to the big day. Talk with your stylist to understand the desired length needed to get the look that you want. However, great hair also starts from the outside in. Hairfinity vitamins are packed with Niacin which promotes healthy blood circulation to the scalp as well as biotin, which supports existing hair growth and increases hair elasticity. Don’t forget about the guys! Men want to feel confident when they are standing at the end of the aisle as well. Hims is a company that offers hair loss options as such as Finasteride. It helps by blocking DHT, which is said to be the hormone derived from testosterone considered to be the main cause of hair loss. You're able to connect with doctors online and they send the prescription to your home without any embarrassing in person conversations.

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That Wedding Glow

Many believe that food is the best medicine. A study in the Journal Evolution and Human Behaviour said that a diet full of vegetables and fruit could give you a glow that is better than the sun! Red and orange vegetables are able to give you the best sun kissed glow without the damaging effects of the sun. Sweet potatoes are an excellent vegetable choice when it comes to clearing up your complexion and radiating your skin. Papaya is fruit that is packed with enzymes that are great for your skin. Chympopapain helps to relieve inflammation in the skin and it can be applied topically to dissolve pore-clogged fats and cleanse the skin. Here are some papaya recipes that you should try when looking for a healthy, sweet treat!

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Give Peace a Chance

With all the chaos that goes into planning a wedding, it's important to take a deep breath and remember that everything is going to be okay. If you are feeling stressed, tired, or overwhelmed, try downloading Insight Timer for your smart phone or tablet, an app that offers guided meditations for any kind of situation you're going through. From improving your mood, to helping you relax, you'll be well on the way to clearing your mind and ready to take on any kind of challenge that may come your way leading up to your wedding!

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Any ways you can be kinder to yourself and future spouse, you should certainly try. There are so many things to keep track of and these are just few ideas that you might have forgotten about. Remember to take care of yourselves!

 

Dia & Isaac | Brazilian Room Wedding in Tilden Park Berkeley, CA

I've photographed at the Brazilian Room several times now and I've loved it each time. Besides being my ideal size venue and lots of gorgeous backdrops everywhere, the people within them are what makes them so great. 

Dia and Isaac are such sweet people and the relationship they had with their family touched me. The bride's father seeing his daughter in a wedding dress for the first time is always a lovely moment, but I particularly liked how Dia's father reacted (just scroll a bit down)!

Isaac writing the last bits of his vow moments before the ceremony is always a favorite, and the late November light was particularly beautiful for their ceremony. 

Venue: Brazilian Room in TIlden Park
Florals: Belle Flower
Dessert: Sweet Adeline
Videography: Slow Fall Cinema - Gusto Lopez