Diana & Vic's Puerto Rico Wedding at the El Conquistador Waldorf Astoria Resort

A quick trip down to Puerto Rico for a pretty little wedding just outside of San Juan?  Uh, yes!  Of course!

[Side note:  As some of you may or may not be aware, I married my hubby in Puerto Rico, so it holds a very special place in my heart and I will go there in a heartbeat any time!]

I've actually heard amazing things about the El Conquistador Resort -- a Waldorf Astoria property -- and having the opportunity to photograph a wedding there was rather incredible.  The entire wedding party and all of the guests were staying at the property for the wedding and celebrating all weekend, and the day prior to the ceremony, Diana & Vic & family spent the day yachting around.  I mean, seriously, how awesome is that?  Enter a tanned, relaxed couple ready to tie the knot:

This First Look was precious!  Diana, in her absolutely ravishing gown (it looks like it was made FOR her), was bubbly, vivacious and excited for Vic to see her; you can see the elated excitement in her face!  And then the utter joy and love in his when they meet in the middle of the courtyard to embrace and tease each other for a bit.

The Puerto Rico vibe was alive and well when the wedding itself began.  The El Conquistador is brilliant in its wedding ceremony placement -- palm trees lending a touch of tropic inspiration, with the Caribbean stretching off into the distance to the left of the guests.  The wedding ceremony was filled with lighthearted sentiments, laughter, inclusion of both Diana's & Vic's children, and a Honey Ceremony.  Yep, that's right!  In place of the typical "beach" sand ceremony or using a unity candle to symbolize the coming together of two people and families, the couple dipped from a jar of Puerto Rican honey and invited each other to taste the honey from their finger.  Definitely a unique twist, and it elicited a great deal of giggling and laughter from the guests as the couple playfully incorporated it into their vows!

As dusk began to set in, everyone meandered their way through the cocktail hour area and up to the veranda, where the reception was set up in a plethora of tropical oranges and aquamarine tones (definitely lending it a Caribbean wedding aesthetic!).  Personalized M&Ms for the couple, bright florals, and a stunning wedding cake!  Toasts and dancing were, like the entire day, rife with funny moments and heartfelt sentiments of love.  Thanks to Paul Pruitt (and Melissa!!!) for the opportunity to help shoot Vic & Diana's awesome wedding day -- definitely an out of this world experience!

Summed up in 3 words/phrases?  A Tropical, Joyful, Love-Infused Wedding!

Fullerton Wedding Photographer - Muckenthaler Mansion - Shira & David

(Don't mind me; I'm trying out a new posting format!)

The Muckenthaler Cultural Center (aka the Muckenthaler Mansion) is a 1920's era mansion in Fullerton, California, later donated to the State and now serving as a museum and venue for performances, special events, and -- of course -- weddings.  Enter Shira and David.  Shira's light-hearted warmth and spunk, along with her love of romance and fairytales, as well as David's grounded yet laid-back and quietly comedic attitude were the perfect match for this historical site -- and the perfect match for each other!

The color palette for this wedding was pretty stunning -- the gals wore verdant green bridesmaids dresses, with bright but deep pink floral bouquets to complement, with Shira in a sublime wedding gown of pure white; the groomsmen were in tans suits with deep green accents, well-matched with the groom's dark navy blue suit.  Oh, and Pipa, looking so suave while resting on a blanketed couch:

The First Look.  As some of you may know, I ADORE first looks (not just because it really opens the day up for more photography with the couple and bridal party as a whole, but also because... well... just look at this one...).  David was standing where you see him below, steps down from the Muckenthaler's entry door; Shira entered from the far left.  She was already teary-eyed as she walked across the mansion's front length, and by the time she reached David, she was gut-wrenchingly emotional.  It was unbelievably powerful, the love bundled up in anticipation and heart-deep feelings.  So, so blessed to have witnessed this.

Plenty of time for the bridal party to look super-amazing (and have some fun!) in front of the mansion -- you can see how those greens and pinks just pop right out here; then more than plenty of time for the couple's photographs around different areas of the venue, allowing them to be lovey-dovey, relax, and smooch for more than a few moments.

As mentioned above, the Muckenthaler Cultural Center also serves a museum, displaying various exhibitions.  The ketubah was signed inside of the art exhibition space, along with an abbreivated b'deken, and then it was off to the wedding ceremony, which was held in one of the lovely outdoor garden areas.  Musicians played dulcet tones as first the groom, with his parents, then the bridal party (along with Pipa!) emerged.  Finally the bride, with both of her parents supporting her on either side, walked down the aisle.  And that, my friends, set the stage for the rest of the wedding ceremony, which was filled with equal parts of levity and laughter (I love love love the image of Shira looking down as she laughs quietly, with David standing next to her and gazing at her with undeniably clear adoration)!

Picture-frame table cards, delicious appetizers (the ones pictured are Tartlet Bites w/ carmelized onion, leeks, & chevre - YUM!), vibrant floral centerpieces and arrangements, and See's Candy Lollipop-topped party favors for the guests delivered touches of whimsy and "delish" to the ambiance.  The cake, a simple yet elegant piece, was accented by a vintage-themed bride and groom cake topper.  And the rest of the night went swimmingly, with plentiful heart-felt toasts, cake-cutting, and dancing well into the night.  An amazingly great experience shooting this; thankful to be second shooting for the amazing Shelly of Shelly Anderson Photography!

Summed up in 3 words/phrases?  Romantic, Fun-Loving, Old-Fashioned Fairytale!

Temecula Wedding Photographer - Lorimar Winery - Jill & Darren

Pretty pinks, mellow yellows, garden greens, fragrant rose bouquets and boutonnieres; the lovely Lorimar Winery with its sprawling Temecula vineyards, orange groves, and fruit-forward wines; a spectacularly sunny, gorgeous day; and (duh) LOVE!: these were the makings of Jill & Darren's wedding day.  When you wander your way through these images, it's apparent from the start: family and friends -- and having a fantastic, fun time -- is part and parcel with this couple.  They joked around, took a round of shots (girls and guys!), and made merry, for this was a love long in the making.  Having known each other since high school, friendship bloomed into love, and the rest is now, pretty clearly, history.

Most emotional part of the day: the absolutely stunning Jill walking down the aisle in that princess wedding gown, Darren unable to hold his emotions back, and his trusty groomsmen alternatively smiling, laughing, and also getting emotional.  Funniest part of the day (for me): the girls striking silly poses while getting ready and then deciding that they wanted to do an "intense" image with Jill in the center (can you find that one?!) -- I suppose without the background it wouldn't make quite as much sense, but it was an absolutely hilarious and delightful moment.  Most romantic part of the day: Jill and Darren dancing, looking like they belong in fairyland with the softly happy expressions and Jill's veil occasionally floating on the wind.

Oh, and those piña colada balls on the dessert bar?!  Seriously.  You guys.  Pineapple is the best, and piña coladas are amazing... so turn that into a piece of candy?  I can't even.  Not that they were any comparison to the yumminess of the love of Jill and Darren, but I couldn't not say something about them!  Special thank you to the talented Halleigh for not only allowing me to be part of the day as one of her Associate Weddings photographers for Halleigh Hill Photography but also teaching me how to get those streaky lights in dance floor photographs AND introducing me to MagMod (a life-saver with outdoor night weddings!)!

Las Vegas Wedding Photographer - Henderson Convention Center - Monica & Rob

Cloudy, overcast day?  No problem.  Why?  Because love was in the air... and love defeats things like clouds and grey skies -- it makes the world full of a glowing golden halo called happiness and anticipation.  At least, that's how it seemed like Monica approached the altar, gazing up at Rob (he's a fairly tall guy!) as he fought to keep his composure.  Monica & Rob had the largest bridal party I've photographed to date!  But they were SO much fun and had so much love for the bride and groom -- just like the several hundred guests that largely came from out of town in order to share in this day and support their next step forward.

Short story:  Rob proposed to Monica by gathering a group of their friends and family, then singing -- the last few lines of which were his proposal, when he got down on a knee and offered a ring to her -- and then a singularly sweet gesture of also including Monica's daughter in the proposal, since they are a package deal.  Obviously, she said YES!

Back to the day-of:  tears were shed, laughter sprang up a-plenty, brilliant friends and loved ones helped to raise the celebratory mood, and Monica and Rob tied the knot, jumped the broom, and then tore it up on the dance floor!