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Margaret and Dan | A Nontraditional Golden Gate Bridge View and Thee Parkside Wedding

When Margaret and Dan first reached out to me about shooting their wedding, they told me that it wasn’t going to be your normal wedding. First off, there was no real “ceremony venue” because they would be taking their guests on a tour bus around San Francisco and somewhere along the stops, they would do a super quick, 2 minute ceremony. They also weren’t going to do a typical sit-down dinner, instead they would have a taco bar for everyone!

How am I so lucky?

Tour Bus: San Francisco Bus Tours
Wedding Ceremony: Golden Gate Bridge View
Reception Venue / Catering: Thee Parkside
Band: Uke-Hunt
DJ: Jackie Sugarlumps

Words from Margaret:

1. Your wedding was definitely unique! Could you tell us how you came up with the Big Bus Tour idea and having the wedding ceremony as part of the quick stop?
Many of our guests were traveling from out of state to be at our wedding, so we wanted to offer them something more than just a party, which they could get anywhere. Taking them to a couple of tourist attractions and seeing more of the city was our way to thank them for traveling so far. 

As for the wedding ceremony, we knew that the reception was the most important part of the wedding for us, so we wanted the ceremony to be quick and inexpensive. We didn’t really know if it would work or not, but we figured we could make it work with sheer numbers. It was so fun bringing 70 guests to a tourist spot and making our own space for the quick ceremony.

2. What was the most memorable part of the day?
The ceremony was definitely the most memorable part of the day. Even though it was cold, it felt magical getting married with the Golden Gate Bridge right beside us.

3. What unique detail was the most important for you to include and why?
We both really enjoyed dressing up our maid of honor and best man! We bought each of them a bright sequins jacket to wear at the wedding. They are both important people in our lives, so we wanted them to show off and be seen, and we knew they would be game for looking a little silly. It turns out they can really pull off the look! 

4. What came most as a surprise to you about the day?
We knew the live band was risky, but they ended up being fantastic. Their energy was contagious, and even though they were a little corny, it was hard not to like them. They set the tone for the rest of the night.

5. If you could give one piece of advice for a couple who also wants a nontraditional wedding, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to cut or rearrange parts of a traditional wedding. By eliminating some things (like a separate ceremony or a sit-down dinner), we were able to save a lot of money. You also realize how much a wedding still feels like a wedding even without the typical fixtures. Your guests will appreciate you being yourselves!

Oceano Hotel & Spa Half Moon Bay Wedding | Grace & Gabe

About a month before a wedding, I send out a questionnaire to my couple asking them for details about logistics and pertinent information. For my own curiosity, I also have a question that asks “What part of the day is most important to you photographically?” Most couples say portraits or ceremony. Grace and Gabe’s answer? “Reception Dancing” Heck yeah! I knew this was going to be fun.

Grace had made us sous vide salmon and rice as we chatted in her home about the wedding, which was coming up in just a few short weeks. Besides the usual advice I gave about timing and reception events, Grace and Gabe asked me how I could make the dance party even better. Most people choose glow sticks, I told them, but photographically speaking they don’t always make as big of an impact. So I told her about these light up foam sticks I saw once at a Las Vegas night club. Get a bunch of those, I told her, and they will definitely help make more of an impact.

Needless to say, their dance party was one of the craziest, most memorable wedding dancing I’ve experienced. (Also big shout out to my one of my favorite DJ companies Big Fun DJ with their amazing lights!)

Venue: Oceano Hotel & Spa Half Moon Bay
Florist: Alena Jean
DJ: Big Fun DJ
Cake: Dianda’s Bakery
Hair & Makeup: The Traveling Stylist

Natalie & Nick | White Arbor Wedding in Elk Grove

Wow, Natalie and Nick’s wedding. I’m always a fan of everything-in-one-location wedding days, and at this beautiful yet unassuming venue, having that little extra peace of mind and extra time was welcomed. Natalie was able to have a small “first look” with her grandmother (whose expression I’ll never forget!) before sharing a first look with Nick.

A few of my favorite moments:

  • After the ceremony, the wedding party snuck back upstairs to sign the marriage license and have a little joyous “Now it’s REALLY official and we’re the only ones to see!” celebration.

  • Looking back at Natalie and Nick’s wedding guests in their own romantic cuddle watching their first dance.

  • Witnessing and capturing the tiny moments of love between family - such as Natalie’s mom wrapping the grandparents together with a blanket.

Though their guest count was around 150, somehow it still felt so intimate!

Venue: White Arbor Weddings
DJ: DJ Eli Freshmode
Caterer: American River College
Flowers: American River College
Bridal Gown: BHLDN

Nadia & Joe | Outdoor Art Club in Mill Valley

I’m finally getting around to posting this gorgeous wedding from a while ago! I actually went to the same University with Nadia and Joe, and seeing so many familiar faces among the guests made the event even more welcoming - people who have seen me from the very beginning of my photography journey, starting with being the set photographer / camera assistant on film and music video productions to finding my way to being a full time photographer.

I’ve photographed at the Outdoor Art Club several times now, and it’s quickly becoming one of my favorite venues!

Venue: Outdoor Art Club
DJ: Ryan Ealum
Florist: Mill Valley Flowers
Caterer: Il Davide Restaurant
Cake: The Cakemaker

Sara & Brian | Shelldance Orchid Gardens Wedding

I can’t believe I’m finally getting around to blogging this wedding. Sara and Brian celebrated their wedding with about 50 of their closest friends and family in the tiny, cozy venue of Shelldance Orchid Gardens.

There are some weddings where I skip past the already beautiful venue and go gaga over the small moments I witness during the day, such as Sara’s mom massaging her hands as she’s getting ready and their Shiba Inu Miru who got to trot down the aisle alongside Brian.

One of the best things a couple can give me is a wide range of emotions that they’re not afraid of displaying, and Sara and Brian did just that. I truly enjoyed seeing and photographing the relationships between their friends and family. <3

Venue: Shelldance Orchid Gardens
Catering: Jersey Tomatoes
Dress: Lovely Bride
Cake: Noe Valley Bakery
Hair/Makeup: Sasha Salon

Marie & Brett | San Francisco City Hall Wedding

Kindest words from Marie - “I had known I would want Annie to photograph my wedding before an engagement was even in the horizon - and somehow, she managed to exceed all expectations. We had a 20 person wedding in San Francisco City Hall and the pictures capture so beautiful the day and the emotions we all shared. Her quiet attitude makes her unobtrusive to the process, and she was thoughtful when giving guidance to help us be in the best light. The pictures feel honest, elegant and flattering and now the biggest question is picking out which to frame out of many. Our guests were equally pleased, and we received so many private messages of how well the pictures turned out. If you are looking for a photographer who clearly respects the meaning of this important bond and will create images true to you and your relationship - Annie is an all-star.”

Flowers by Ampersand