Wildcats Engaged

I’ve enjoyed getting to know Emily and James over facebook, but feel like their engagement session sealed the deal. They are both such lovely people, clearly enamored with each other and their families. But seeing them interact in person was a true joy. They have been together since their college days at The University of Arizona, and their comfort with each other definitely shows. They made my job a piece of cake.

The theme for their wedding is La Vie en Rose, so Emily wanted to incorporate flowers into their engagement session. The Elizabeth Gamble Garden has a lovely rose garden, plus lots of other great options as well. One of my favorite spots in Palo Alto.

emily-james-palo-alto-engagement-session- gamble garden with roses- south bay, ca

emily-james-palo-alto-engagement-session- bride and groom to be among the trees- gamble garden silicon valley, california

emily-james-palo-alto-engagement-session- brick wall bride and groom to be- garden in south bay cali

emily-james-palo-alto-engagement-session- bride and groom to be by the fountain- south of san francisco, ca


They also wanted to hit the Cantor Arts Center on Stanford’s campus. This gave them a more cosmopolitan feel. Emily changed into a special outfit for the occasion. She is wearing the dress she wore when James proposed.

emily-james-palo-alto-engagement-session- art museum on stanford campus- south of sf, ca

emily-james-palo-alto-engagement-session- cantor arts center, stanford university- silicon valley california

emily-james-palo-alto-engagement-session- stanford art museum south bay, cali

So love this photo. They are dancing and I caught this mid-twirl. Sweet!

emily-james-palo-alto-engagement-session- yoga instructor and her fiance dance at the cantor art center, san fran south bay cali

Such a fun couple! You should definitely check out their slideshow for more from Emily and James engagement session.

Their Bar Scene

One summer a few years ago, fate took hold of Suzanne and Andy’s lives and brought them together in a way neither would have expected. As Suzanne said, "Who meets in a bar?" Well actually, she and Andy did. And it was perfect.

Suzanne had been visiting her family at the time, but was living in Southern California. A friend took her to this neighborhood bar for a drink. A friend of Andy’s happened to bring him to the same bar. It’s the kind of bar that really is meant for the locals and probably sees a lot of the same faces. Not the kind of place you would expect to meet your future spouse, or even someone new. Neither Suzanne nor Andy went to the bar to fall in love, but love is what they found.

Fast forward to this summer. Suzanne and Andy are busily preparing for their wedding at Stone Tree Golf Club. We took a few hours to enjoy the city they have spent so much time in and create engagement photos for them. San Francisco gave us all its blustering cold dripping wet fog (yes it was gruesome) and Suzanne and Andy gave us smiles and warmth. It was a perfect night.

We started off in North Beach (for those touristy types, that’s the Italian district in SF) and wandered along the streets. Both Suzanne and Andy had lived in the neighborhood at various points in their lives so had strong ties to the area.

suzanne-andy-san-francisco-north-beach-russian-hill-engagement-photos- session with bride and groom to be in SF Italian neighborhood

suzanne-andy-san-francisco-north-beach-russian-hill-engagement-photos- kissing in the street with Sausalito couple

Meandered over to Washington Square Park for a little greenery.

suzanne-andy-san-francisco-north-beach-russian-hill-engagement-photos- checking out the scenery by Columbus Park in SF CA

suzanne-andy-san-francisco-north-beach-russian-hill-engagement-photos- distant views and snuggling close during foggy night in sf

Loving this shot. So San Francisco- you’ve got the MUNI lines criss-crossing over the street and the TransAmerica building in the background.

suzanne-andy-san-francisco-north-beach-russian-hill-engagement-photos- transamerica building in background as couple wanders through italian neighborhood in sf

Enjoying the architecture.


A little Monet-esque as they are walking. Take a moment and enjoy the yellow sweater Suzanne is wearing. Love bright colors on a gray day.

suzanne-andy-san-francisco-north-beach-russian-hill-engagement-photos- motion blur of walking fiances during portrait session

Of course, we had to head over to the scene of the crime. So we hopped in their car and drove to Russian Hill where that neighborhood bar, The Buccaneer, is located. Could this be how it all started?

suzanne-andy-san-francisco-north-beach-russian-hill-engagement-photos- at the bar where they met in sf

They hadn’t been back since their first anniversary, which made it even more fun to relive their story. As it turns out, the same bartender was serving up drinks the night they met and the night of our shoot. I think all the memories brought out even a bit more romance.

suzanne-andy-san-francisco-north-beach-russian-hill-engagement-photos- at the bar where they met in sf- sausalito couple kisses

We had so much fun and now we can’t wait for their wedding in just a few short weeks. This was just a smattering of all the amazing photos we were able to get of this awesome couple. I would definitely recommend checking out their slideshow for more from Suzanne and Andy’s SF e-session.


A Blackhawk Bash

When last I shared about Judy and Burgess’ Blackhawk Country Club wedding, we left off with the elation that followed the ceremony. Next up, portraits (which Dave knew would be great after their awesome engagement session), cocktail hour and then one heck of a party.

This might just be my favorite image from the day. It is very simple and direct, and I love the reflection of the sky behind them.

judy_burgess_blackhawk_wedding_ bride and groom portraits at golf club in danville ca

Judy and Burgess had lots of guests coming up and congratulating them. Judy looks so happy to receive the warm wishes.

judy_burgess_blackhawk_wedding_1 bride talks to ring bearer after the ceremony in east bay northern cali

judy_burgess_blackhawk_wedding_ bride and groom visit with friends during cocktail hour at wedding reception in the sf bay area

Judy’s maid of honor shared a first look at Judy’s new name.

judy_burgess_blackhawk_wedding bride sees her married name for first time on name card with bridesmaid- northern cali

The speeches were hilarious. Perhaps Burgess doesn’t think so at this moment.

judy_burgess_blackhawk_wedding groom embarrassed during best man's speech at east bay wedding reception

judy_burgess_blackhawk_wedding tears of laughter from bride and maid of honor during the speeches- sf bay area

Everyone wanted to get involved.

judy_burgess_blackhawk_wedding guests get involved at san francisco bay area reception

Burgess and his groomsmen serenaded Judy.

judy_burgess_blackhawk_wedding groom sings to bride during reception with backup by groomsmen- sf bay area

Enjoying their first dance as husband and wife.

judy_burgess_blackhawk_wedding- bride and groom's first dance at the country club in danville ca

Later, Judy changed into her qipao. The games played during the reception are some of the most fun moments at a Chinese wedding. Judy and Burgess actually got their guests involved in the fun. What the guests did, Judy and Burgess did.

judy_burgess_blackhawk_wedding bride in chinese outfit kisses her groom during games at reception- san fran bay area- ca

I had to share just one more image from the night. Clearly everyone was having an amazing time. But no one would have expected this fantastic hug attack. Too funny!


If you would like to see more from Judy and Burgess’ wedding, definitely check out their PicFlick.

Sweetness at Blackhawk

After seeing Judy and Burgess’ engagement session, you can see why Dave was so excited to photograph their wedding. They are super fun, love playing with the camera, and totally sweet on each other. So without further ado, a few faves from the first part of the day….

Judy got ready at Blackhawk Country Club, where they would also be celebrating their wedding ceremony and reception.

judy_burgess_blackhawk_cc_wedding- friend puts on bride's veill before ceremony in east bay

The boys arrived early enough to take a few portraits. Looks like they had a good time! Love that each one has a different expression- totally get a sense of their personalities.

judy_burgess_blackhawk_cc_wedding- groom with groomsmen- danville ca

The clouds were playing with the light, letting bits in here and there. The hills look luminous in this photo. Can you believe this amazing view from the ceremony site?

judy_burgess_blackhawk_cc_wedding- cloudy day but beautiful view of golf course fountain and hills at blackhawk cc- danville ca

While waiting for the ceremony to begin, we always enjoy taking photos of the guests.

judy_burgess_blackhawk_cc_wedding- guest awaits ceremony outside overlooking the golf course- northern cali wedding

Then the fun began. Everyone was pretty excited to see Judy as she walked down the aisle.

judy_burgess_blackhawk_cc_wedding- bride walks down the aisle with her dad to marry her groom in northern california

Watching during the ceremony.

judy_burgess_blackhawk_cc_wedding- parents watch wedding ceremony in danville ca

Judy listening to Burgess’ vows.

judy_burgess_blackhawk_cc_wedding- bride listens to groom's vows during their ceremony at danville's blackhawk cc- east bay

Putting the ring on. Sometimes this can present challenges.

judy_burgess_blackhawk_cc_wedding-bride puts on groom's ring during wedding ceremony at the country club in danville california

No problems with the kiss, however.

judy_burgess_blackhawk_cc_wedding-bride and groom kiss at end of ceremony in the east bay of northern california


judy_burgess_blackhawk_cc_wedding- bride and groom celebrating their marriage to cheers at blackhawk country club wedding in danville ca

The ring in question….

jb_california_wedding-blackhawk country club, chinese wedding, danville, ca

I just have to close with a couple of their portraits. So sweet together!

judy_burgess_blackhawk_cc_wedding- bride and groom see each other for first time on wedding day golf club in danville cali



Lots more from the day and their details still to come, but if you need more right now, check out their engagement session story and PicFlick.


Rockstars in Golden Gate

We’ve been holding out on you. I apologize. It’s true. We have a few weddings, engagement sessions, and portrait sessions from 2009 that we haven’t shared yet, not to mention tons of inspiring details from our fabulous couples. It wasn’t from lack of desire, trust me, because what I have to show you is amazing. We just ran out of time this fall with so many great events going on. But don’t worry, we will hold out no longer.


I am going to start with one truly awesome engagement session to kick off the season of sharing. Judy and Burgess are a ton of fun. Dave met up with them just a bit before their wedding to make sure they had a chance to do their engagement session and get a little practice in front of the camera. As it turns out, they needed no practice whatsoever. These two were totally at ease and looked great from every possible angle.

San Francisco‘s Golden Gate Park offers a plethora of backdrops and opportunities. One of our faves is the tower in the de Young Museum- a super cool space with great views of the city and the bay.

judy_burgess_sf_engagement- de young museum session- san francisco ca

judy_burgess_sf_engagement- photos taken at de young museum in northern california

Of course the landscape surrounding the museum isn’t bad either.

judy_burgess_sf_engagement- san fran couple to be married at blackhawk country club in danville ca

judy_burgess_sf_engagement- blackhawk country club wedding followed this couples engagement session in san francisco ca

judy_burgess_sf_engagement- bay area couple photo session in golden gate park- northern cali

judy_burgess_sf_engagement- couple portrait in golden gate park- sf bay area

Playful rockstar look. They totally have this down.

judy_burgess_sf_engagement- hollywood rockstar look for portrait session in northern california

judy_burgess_sf_engagement- couple on steps outside de young museum in golden gate park

judy_burgess_sf_engagement- paparazzi shot of couple walking through golden gate park with sunglasses

And a few more romantic images.

judy_burgess_sf_engagement- couple so cute together in golden gate park, san francisco ca

I love how playful they are together.

judy_burgess_sf_engagement- couple plays in golden gate park for romantic and playful photo session- northern cali

If you want to see more of Judy and Burgess, check out their engagement PicFlick and stay tuned for photos from their wedding at Blackhawk Country Club.

Bands and the Band

The sparkles and sounds of Amber and Tyler’s wedding fit together perfectly with the taste and scents from the food and floral. From top to bottom and with all five senses, Amber created a feeling of city elegance.

Tyler chose Amber’s engagement ring with help from Amber’s mom, who also happens to be a jeweler. When they were ready to select their wedding bands, her mom was happy to help the couple find a perfect match.

at_westin_st_francis_hotel_wedding- rings from family jewelry store- los altos hills ca

Amber’s complete look- from head to toe- in style. Earrings, veil, hair, wedding dress, bouquet and rings… Beautiful.

at_westin_st_francis_hotel_wedding-sf-wedding- brides complete look- wedding dress- jewelry- flowers- veil- prior to ceremony in san fran, ca

A closer look at her birdcage veil, styled with jewels and feathers, and her teardrop diamond earrings.

at_westin_st_francis_hotel_wedding-sf-wedding- close up of brides look- birdcage veil with feathers- tear drop earrings

After the ceremony, the veil was removed, but the feathered and jeweled comb for her hair stayed to add a sense of whimsy. Also check out Tyler’s distinguised black-tie tux with the singular white rose boutonniere.

at_westin_st_francis_hotel_wedding-sf-wedding- grooms look- distinguished black tie with white rose boutonniere- bride's hair without veil

The sounds that filled the air that evening can only be attributed to Keith Johnson and the AM Radio. They kept the dancing going and the guests entertained.


at_westin_st_francis_hotel_wedding sf-wedding-jazz band- alexandra's room- wedding music- san francisco ca

at_westin_st_francis_hotel_wedding-guitarist for band at san francisco reception- northern california

Actually Tyler also helped with the entertainment. He sang one special song just for Amber.

at_westin_st_francis_hotel_wedding-sf-wedding- groom joins band in song to honor his wife- gives her red rose- san francisco ca

Though he knew the song, he wasn’t taking any chances.

at_westin_st_francis_hotel_wedding- groom gets help with words - just in case- when serenades his bride during reception in Alexandra's- san fran, ca

I can’t think of anything more romantic. He even had a single red rose for his new wife. She rewarded him with a sweet kiss.

at_westin_st_francis_hotel_wedding- sf-wedding-delighted, bride thanks groom with kiss- bay area ca

With the nerves set aside, it was time to party. Dancing to the great band was no problem for our groom!

at_westin_st_francis_hotel_wedding- sf-wedding- groom dancing to great band at union square hotel wedding- fall in sf ca

And that completes the details from Amber and Tyler’s stunning wedding. If you would like to see the more from their wedding, I would recommend checking out their slideshow.

The pros involved in this wedding were amazing. Another round of thanks to:
Ceremony Venue: Borgia Room at The Westin St. Francis
Reception Venue: Alexandra’s at The Westin St. Francis
Hair: Antonio Cabral
Make-up: Aida Morano from Aida’s Custom Cosmetics
Gown Designer: Romona Keveza
Bridesmaid dresses: Siri
Groom’s tux: Canali
Groomsmen’s tuxes: Selix Rentals
Cake: Shinmin from I Dream of Cake
Floral Design: Jeffrey from J Floral Art
Band: Keith Johnson and AM Radio
Ceremony Musician: Amber’s stepfather, Carl Weimer
Invitations: William Arthur

Fashionable Floral

You’ve probably already noted that Amber and Tyler‘s wedding at the historic Westin St. Francis Hotel above Union Square was all about city sophistication and classic style. She continued the look and theme with her floral design; limiting the type and color of flowers highlighted the texture and gave the whole look a cohesive feel.


For her own bouquet, held here by her bridesmaid during the ceremony, she chose white orchids with yellow centers.

at-westin-st-francis-wedding-floral- brides bouquets of white orchids held during ceremony by bridesmaid

Her bridesmaids’ bouquets were also a single flower type and color- all merlot calla lillies. They just feel like an flower for an evening event.

at-westin-st-francis-wedding-floral- bridesmaid's red calla lillies bouquet held during wedding ceremony in san fancisco

Together the ladies looked great- white on white for the bride and deep red with chocolate brown for the bridesmaids.

at-westin-st-francis-wedding-floral- bride and bridesmaids with their flowers- her's white orchids, theirs burgundy or purple calla lillies

Corsages for the moms continued the look- deep red orchids.

at-westin-st-francis-wedding-floral- mom of the groom's corsage with red orchids match personal flowers for this fall san fran wedding

To add to the elegance of the ceremony in the Borgia Room, white candles of varying heights and types were places on the mantle over the fireplace. They were surrounded by garnet roses and greenery.

at-westin-st-francis-wedding-floral- candlelit mantle- with votives red roses and greenery- floating candles- san fran hotel wedding;

For the reception table decor in Alexandra’s, multiple containers were used on each table. Each had a different single flower type in complimentary colors; all the containers were varing sizes. The monochromatic look came together in a sophisticated way.

Up close…

at-westin-st-francis-wedding-floral- sf wedding centerpieces- multiple arrangements of red flowers- different types in different containers- orchids, calla lillies

From a distance…

at-westin-st-francis-wedding-floral- tall red orchid floral arrangements during reception in sf, cali

One of my favorite touches was this monogram. The bride and groom’s formal initials laid on a bed of flowers- roses, dahlias, lilies, orchids- with lights around the edges.

at-westin-st-francis-wedding-floral- bride and groom's monogram on a bed of red flowers- gerbera daisies and roses- at reception by union square, california

Congrats to Jeffrey from J Floral Art for creating such a stunning look for Amber and Tyler.

Setting the Scene- Westin St. Francis Wedding

Sophistication. Elegance. Cosmopolitan. All words that describe Amber and Tyler’s chic San Francisco wedding at the Westin St. Francis in Union Square. Selecting the location was key to creating the feel they were looking for. The hotel’s history, decor and architecture all added to the beauty of their day.

The ceremony took place in this fabulous space, the Borgia Room. I am enchanted by the wood panelling and the gorgeous ceiling. The chandeliers are not too shabby either.

at-westin-st-francis-wedding- san francisco ceremony hall - ceiling- borgia room

at-westin-st-francis-wedding- ornate ceremony site in san francsico, ca- borgia room

I love the fireplace as the central focus point for the space and the wedding.

at-westin-st-francis-wedding- fireplace backdrop in sf california ceremony space- borgia room

Even the hallways are magnificent at the St. Francis Hotel. They made for an excellent portrait location on a day when going outdoors just wasn’t possible.

at-westin-st-francis-wedding- hotel wedding in sf, cali- chandeliers and mirrors

As the guests made their way to the reception in Alexandra’s, they were treated to more elegant touches. The seat assignments were listed on this scroll.

at-westin-st-francis-wedding- seating assignments scroll for san fran wedding

Each place setting had a special gift awaiting the guest.

at-westin-st-francis-wedding- gifts for guests at table assignments in northern cali

A Surf and Turf dinner soon arrived- quality to match any restaurant in San Francisco. And if you have tasted the food in San Francisco, you know that is truly high praise.

at-westin-st-francis-wedding- surf and turf reception- no california

Champagne toasts followed the meal.

at-westin-st-francis-wedding- bride and groom champagne toast- sf reception

The reception space was gorgeous. I especially loved this mural behind the band, so beautifully lit.

at-westin-st-francis-wedding- band shell and speeches with mural backdrop- art decor elegance- alexandra's

And for a greater sense of the room, from our bride and groom’s perspective.

at-westin-st-francis-wedding- full space at top of hotel in sf union square- alexandra's

Through a doorway.

at-westin-st-francis-wedding- union square ballroom- alexandra's

From the band’s perspective.

at-westin-st-francis-wedding- union square hotel- dinner reception- alexandra's

And the wedding dinner wouldn’t have been complete without a few tasty treats to cap off the day.

First a platter of desserts.


And then this stunning cake- wrapped in white chocolate sheets and decorated with dark chocolate swirls and roses. Amazingly elegant.

at-westin-st-francis-wedding- white chocolate with dark chocolate swirls on elegant wedding cake- i dream of cake- north beach

To add a sense of whimsy to the day, an adorable super hero cat groom’s cake.

at-westin-st-francis-wedding- sf couple groom's cake- union square hotel- i dream of cake - north beach

More details and inspiration from Amber and Tyler’s wedding to follow soon. If you would like to see more from their day now, check out their story and their slideshow.

The pros:
Ceremony Venue: Borgia Room at The Westin St. Francis
Reception Venue: Alexandra’s at The Westin St. Francis
Hair: Antonio Cabral
Make-up: Aida Morano from Aida’s Custom Cosmetics
Gown Designer: Romona Keveza
Bridesmaid dresses: Siri
Groom’s tux: Canali
Groomsmen’s tuxes: Selix Rentals
Cake: Shinmin from I Dream of Cake
Floral Design: Jeffrey from J Floral Art
Band: Keith Johnson and AM Radio
Ceremony Musician: Amber’s stepfather, Carl Weimer
Invitations: William Arthur


From My Soap box: Being Green on the Way In


Last May, we had the good fortune to photograph Sara and Mike’s gorgeous wedding at Kennolyn in the Santa Cruz Mountains. We adore Mike and Sara for lots of reasons, but one of the things I liked best about their wedding choices was their commitment to being super environmentally friendly. Sara worked really hard to select a florist who could enact her green vision, with local and seasonal floral arrangements. She chose Amanda from Laughin’ Gal Floral and then gave her free reign with choice of flowers and color, and the end result was amazing.

First up, take a look at Sara’s colorful and textured bouquet.

sara_mike_california_wedding_flowers-bride's bouquet- kennolyn, ca

sara_mike_california_wedding_flowers- bride's bouquet by laughin' gal flowers

Next, you have got to love the variety and detail in the boutonnieres. Each was color coordinated to match a bridesmaid and her bouquet.

sara_mike_mens_personal_flowers_ca- boutonneire's for groom and groomsmen by laughin gal floral 

And the ladies’ bouquets, also coordinated with the ribbons they wore at their waists.

sara_mike_california_wedding_flowers- bridesmaids bouquets in santa cruz ca

The flower girl carried an assortment of all of these flowers in her basket…

sara_mike_california_wedding_flowers-flower girl basket with wildflowers at kennolyn

She then sprinkled them down the aisle.

sara_mike_california_wedding_flowers- flowers from flower girls basket along the aisle 

Amanda continued her theme of vibrant colors and textures in the room decor. My personal favorite, sunflowers, decked the walls.

sara_mike_california_wedding_flowers- bannister floral arrangement at kennolyn in santa cruz

One of the table centerpieces…

sara_mike_california_wedding_flowers- table centerpiece with seasonal flowers by laughin gal

A cocktail hour arrangment…

sara_mike_california_wedding_flowers- cocktail hour arrangement at kennolyn in northern cali

And finally the cake- I love when real flowers are used to decorate the cake. These are such a nice way to tie in the whole look.

sara_mike_california_wedding_flowers- wedding cake with real flowers at kennolyn in soquel ca

These flowers totally blew me away. If you would like to see more photos from Sara and Mike’s special day, definitely check out their sneak peek, the scoop and their slideshow. And if you are interested in more Green Wedding Ideas, check out Being Green on the Way Out.

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