northern california

Bright and Lush Inspiration

Seeing as Tami is a former wedding planner, it’s no surprise that all of the wonderful details of her wedding were absolutely beautiful and perfectly reflected her and Gio. You may recall that they had an intimate wedding at the Outdoor Art Club in Mill Valley on a beautiful April day this spring. Now’s the time to enjoy a bit of inspiration and a few photos from the reception just for fun.


Check out the sweet flowers on her cake.

outdoor-art-club-wedding-mill-valley-ca-inspiration- wedding cake with flowers

An elegant table setting.

outdoor-art-club-wedding-mill-valley-ca-inspiration- pink tulips and orange and green

Introductions and speeches are always fun.

outdoor-art-club-wedding-mill-valley-ca-inspiration- bride and groom

Did I mention Tami’s beautiful red wedding dress?

outdoor-art-club-wedding-mill-valley-ca-inspiration- brides red dress

A kiss while dancing, witnessed by more than one camera.

outdoor-art-club-wedding-mill-valley-ca-inspiration- first dance kiss

And since these two are tango dancers, they treated their guests to a show.

outdoor-art-club-wedding-mill-valley-ca-inspiration- first dance tango for bride and groom

Loving our bride’s hair accessory- feathers and pearls.

outdoor-art-club-wedding-mill-valley-ca-inspiration- feather and pearl hair accessory for bride

Enjoying toasts.

outdoor-art-club-wedding-mill-valley-ca-inspiration- bride and groom toast

This little munchkin was enjoying the gardens, and also happens to be one of our connections to Tami and Gio. Or more accurately her parents are. We photographed their Bernardus Lodge wedding, which Tami planned. So fun to see them and their growing family at Tami’s celebration.

outdoor-art-club-wedding-mill-valley-ca-inspiration- child of past bride and groom

A sweet bit of romance from their invitation for this ring shot.

outdoor-art-club-wedding-mill-valley-ca-inspiration- invite and ring shot

Good music.

outdoor-art-club-wedding-mill-valley-ca-inspiration- dj friend of bride and groom

Means good dancing.

outdoor-art-club-wedding-mill-valley-ca-inspiration- guests dancing in what looks like an old barn- rustic wedding

Congrats again to our fabulous couple! Extra special thanks to the team of professionals who helped make Tami and Gio’s day so special:

Getting ready, ceremony and reception venue: Laureen Novak from the Outdoor Art Club
Tami’s hair: Ashley Smith of Flower and Gold
Bride’s make-up: Alexia Ogle of Flower and Gold
Bride’s gown designer: Amy-Jo Tatum, custom design
Groom’s attire: Black Tie Tuxedo
Caterer: Alicia from La Mediterranee
Cake: Matthew Reilly
Floral Design: Erika Frank
DJ: DJ Olly
Ceremony musician: Leo King
Invitations: Delphine Doreau
Wedding favors: Vosges Haut Chocolat
Dance Instructors: Gustavo & Jessica Hornos

Want more from Tami and Gio’s colorful California wedding? Check out their slideshow and sneak peek. Or check out Tami’s thoughts on her blog.

Colorful Cali Wedding

I’ve known Tami for several years now. It all started when she was a wedding planner and Jo and I had the distinct pleasure of working with her. Since then, our paths have meandered in different directions, but we have been in touch throughout. So when Tami found Gio and they decided to get married, I was thrilled that she asked me to photograph their celebration. She and Gio selected one of my favorite intimate wedding venues in the Bay Area, the Outdoor Art Club, and spring couldn’t have been more perfect on their wedding day.

I started with the two of them as they got ready at the club.


Tami wasn’t particularly worried about western traditions. She chose a chic birdcage veil and a stunning red dance dress for her wedding look.

outdoor-art-club-wedding-mill-valley-ca- bride getting ready bay area ca

Our beautiful bride walking down the aisle.

outdoor-art-club-wedding-mill-valley-ca- bride walking down aisle in red dress

Gio couldn’t be more smitten.

outdoor-art-club-wedding-mill-valley-ca- groom gazing at bride during ceremony in bay area

Or more excited to be officially married to Tami.

outdoor-art-club-wedding-mill-valley-ca- groom celebrating during ceremony in bay area

Sweet smiles leaving the ceremony in the garden.

outdoor-art-club-wedding-mill-valley-ca- big smiles after the ceremony from bride and groom

During cocktail hour, I had the chance to capture a few portraits. Tami definitely planned another beautiful event. I loved her personal touches, like this sign.

outdoor-art-club-wedding-mill-valley-ca- portrait of bride adn groom with their cool diy sign

We were all treated to some great music during the portraits and cocktail reception.

outdoor-art-club-wedding-mill-valley-ca- guitarist during cocktail hour

One of the many sweet little ones at the wedding. She is captivated by the flowers in the garden.

outdoor-art-club-wedding-mill-valley-ca- little girl enjoying the garden after the ceremony

Tami and Gio were able to enjoy a few moments alone.

outdoor-art-club-wedding-mill-valley-ca- intimate portrait of bride and groom in gardens- north bay- sf, ca

More to follow soon from Tami and Gio’s spring wedding in Marin County.

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


Trash the Dress at Rodeo Beach

Marla and Shawn had a stunning destination wedding at Hans Fahden Winery in Napa Valley, California. They had many of the traditional elements and celebrated in good style, but the day after their wedding, they wanted to spice things up a bit. So we did a very special newlywed session in the Marin Headlands and along the California Coast.

First stop, Point Bonita Lighthouse- so fun- everyone was cheering and so gracious, allowing the newlyweds to cross the bridge at the head of the line.


marla_shawn_northern_california_trash_the_dress- bride and groom at point bonita lighthouse in marin, ca

marla_shawn_northern_california_trash_the_dress-bride and groom for newlywed session at point bonita lighthouse in golden gate natnl rec area

marla_shawn_northern_california_trash_the_dress- bride and groom at point bonita lighthouse bridge in marin, ca

When walking back up the hill from the lighthouse, we noticed this little path in the grasses and a fabulous view of the Golden Gate Bridge. We had to stop and enjoy the scenery.

marla_shawn_northern_california_trash_the_dress- bride and groom view the golden gate bridge from marin headlands

We had parked by this old bunker. It was a great place to play around for a bit. All of the old, rusty metal provided great texture and contrast to Marla’s softness.

marla_shawn_northern_california_trash_the_dress-bride and groom by graffiti in bunker in golden gate national recreation area in no cali

marla_shawn_northern_california_trash_the_dress-bride's dress during the newlywed session at bunker in marin headlands, northern california

marla_shawn_northern_california_trash_the_dress-brides rings and veil during rock the dress session

marla_shawn_northern_california_trash_the_dress-bride and groom at a bunker in golden gate national recreation area-marin headlands

We concluded our tour at Rodeo Beach for a little wave action and an opportunity to Trash the Dress.

marla_shawn_northern_california_trash_the_dress-newlyweds at the ocean for portrait session

marla_shawn_northern_california_trash_the_dress-bride and groom kiss at pacific ocean - newlywed rock the dress session

marla_shawn_northern_california_trash_the_dress- bride and groom brave the frigid pacific ocean for trash the dress session in marin ca

Yes, they got wet and yes, it was very, very cold. These two were such troopers though. I was amazed!

marla_shawn_northern_california_trash_the_dress- bride and groom on rodeo beach for trash the dress portraits

We really got so lucky with the weather and the day turned out to be perfect. If you want to see more from their TTD session and their wedding, definitely take a look at their slideshow, their sneak preview, and their scoop.


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