When I first starting photographing weddings, I had no idea this tradition even existed. At the time, I rarely even attended weddings so my knowledge of their traditions was something new and something I had to learn about-- fast!
The tradition comes from an Old English rhyme that a lot of modern couples are not too fond of keeping (or so I've noticed); however, the tradition still holds value to many. So I thought to break down what these traditions are, why people still love them, and a few ideas on how to achieve them.
There are wedding receptions, and then there are wedding receptions with your best friends who are obsessed with Harry Potter. Seeing as Tawny and Julieanne got engaged while vacationing in Harry Potter World, it was only fitting they have a wedding reception themed by the wizarding world.
It was Friday, June 17th. Their venue of choice was the beautiful Porter Valley Country Club in Porter Ranch, California. We were on a tight schedule as the location is a running golf course, and those golfers meant business!
I first arrived to meet with Whitney as she began getting ready with her three bridesmaids, flower girl and her gorgeous little ring bearer. When I walked in, first thing I noticed was the beautiful backdrop, wide open windows and the stunning chandelier where we hung her wedding dress. Every detail to this wedding was well thought out and the red rose pedal accent colors was a nice touch to a black suit and white dress party.
This is where their wedding day story unfolds...
They met in high school. After what feels like forever (in a good way!) of being the perfect couple, Oliver took Fidelis to the Pantages Theatre to see a Broadway play. They walked along old Hollywood's theatre steps and on bendes knee, he took her hand---and to nobody's surprise, she said yes.
Fast forward a year to a intimate gorgeous June wedding in the historical Santa Barbara Courthouse where they exchanged vows and lit their unity candle in front of their family and friends. If I learned one thing, and one thing only from any of my weddings I've photographed, it is that it is not the size of your guest list or amount of decor that sums up your wedding, but the very value in each guest attending and knowing that the all you need is the one you love standing right next to you with great company to have a beautiful wedding (and a few cocktails doesn't hurt, either).
Fidelis wore a lace open-back dress and Oliver wore a grey suit and navy tie. This was a non-traditional wedding, and it was perfect. A ukulele was played as their wedding song as she walked down the grass aisle of the Sunken Gardens under California palm trees. The weather was about 70 degrees and it couldn't have been better.
This was my first trip to Santa Barbara, Ca. and it only took this two day trip to make me fall head over heels over this city.
Love you two! Heres to Oliver + Fidelis! Cheers!
I've been sitting on this topic for some time now. Going back and forth between emails and text messages with past clients, friends, and family to find out one thing:
What would you have done differently to prepare for your wedding photographer?
The question boggled some, but to the others it was obvious. What I wanted to know was, just that--literally. So many professionals in the wedding industry go through a check list of things they know they need when XYZ happens. But do we all know what they could be doing to prepare for their photographer before the wedding?
After asking recently married friends and clients, most said--"I wish I was more organized with everything." And to be honest, let me start off by telling you that if you try to do everything yourself, chances are you're probably going to look like a chicken without it's head cut off the morning of your wedding. (Sorry, that's gruesome--I never liked that phrase, but you get the picture!)
First and foremost, breathe. I've put together a list of things that could and will get you through preparing for your photographer before the wedding date (and for the morning of).
Every Christmas morning, we have a designated "Santa" who basically reads out the "To's" and "From's" and hands them out to the proper recipients. We hold onto them until everything is gone from under the tree. We choose our favorite wrapped gift based on it's presentation and hold that up for the family's designated photographer for a photo. Once everyone takes me their picture, we do a 3-2-1 countdown, and the unwrapping begins! Am I really talking about Christmas in the middle of May? Yes! Yes, I am. And here's why...
When I first started my photography business I didn't think that I would be packaging in such detail as I do today. Despite my younger "rebellious" self, I come to realize one truth:
Presentation is key.
During those times we would be choosing our favorite wrapped gift to photograph with, was not because the bow was the best looking bow or because we wanted to make the other gifts look any less awesome, it was all because we just loved the way it looked. We didn't have real reasoning for it. We just appreciated the way there was so much detail that was put into making that gift look the way it did: funny, creative, beautiful, and simply perfect.
That being said, I love the feeling of being able to put together a gift for my clients that mean something. The overall look of what I have put so much time, effort, and love into should translate into the overall presentation of the gift or collection from the moment my clients see their gift from afar to when they unravel their burlap ribbons and see their photographs tied together for them to look through.
Each gift looks different, but carry the same theme and feeling--the feeling of a specialized gift made just for that individual client.
Mayra and I go way back! Like, 2nd grade back! She was one out of two friends (maybe three..?) who loved the band Hanson almost as much as I did back in our Mmmbop days. Haha.
On the other hand, this bride and her groom knew each other from high school. To be honest, I never even knew these two spoke to each other in high school. But funny how everything turns out?
Left high school as friends, and just the other week they said their "I Do"s.
The day was April 8, 2016. The venue was at the Verdugo Room at the Castaway Restaurant in Burbank, California. Mayra and Charles wanted their wedding to be traditional in a sense that they didn't want to have any first looks including not knowing what Charles' tux would look like! There was a heavy overcast and light drizzle, but that never dampened this magic couple from pushing through for their special day. Everything from the look on Mayra's father's face as he gave her away at the ceremony, to their father daughter dance at their reception had me crying behind my camera. This was a special day. Not only for them, but for me. Getting to see one of my bestest childhood friend's have her happily ever after was just as special.
A happy congratulations goes to the happy newlyweds! I can't wait to see what memories you create in all your years to come!