Mendocino Coast Wedding Photographer: Alexis & Manny at the Sea Ranch Lodge & Gualala

Alexis and Manny’s wedding was one of those days that just makes life worth living.  From the joy and excitement so thick in the air you could almost taste it, to the stunning location on the wild northern  Mendocino coast, it was impossible not to be swept up in the moment.   Late in the afternoon as the sun sunk close to the horizon, filling the air with a soft golden light that set the tall grasses aglow, we walked through the fields taking a few photos of Alexis and Manny together.  As we walked, the smell of fresh mint being crushed underneath our feet filled the air, and I had to stop to remind myself that yes, this was real, and yes, this was what I do for a living, and that even with long months of editing for 16 hours a day and all the anxiety dreams about opening my camera bag at a wedding to find nothing but a Canon Rebel and a wide angle lens, I really am just impossibly lucky to be able to do what I do.

With perfectly matched sharp, witty, and often sarcastic senses of humor, it’s easy to see why they fell in love.  There’s something wonderful about the way they each carry themselves with a certain independence, but are just so happy and excited to be around each other.  No one who has ever spent more than about five minutes in a room with either of them would accuse them of being sappy, and so seeing both of them wiping away tears at their wedding made me fight the urge to tear up a little myself. You can tell that their life together will be not just happy but interesting - and full of adventure.

They got married on a bright, if chilly, October day at the Sea Ranch Lodge (where Manny proposed) on the northern California coast.  If you follow historic Highway 1 for an hour or so north past Bodega Bay, around harrowing hairpin turns and stunning ocean views, you stumble upon it just before reaching Gualala.   Perched on a dramatic cliff overlooking the ocean, with weathered old barns and fields of wildflowers and tall grass, Alexis chose it in part because she wanted a venue where the natural beauty spoke for itself and didn’t need a lot of decoration.  Her dress that was the opposite of everything she had originally thought she wanted – and she had initially tried it on as a joke – but, with its textured lace and tiers of gauzy ruffles, it was perfect for the setting.  Her mother made her wreath of tea roses and lace, which, combined with her long curling hair had the perfect bohemian feel.  Manny wore an impeccably custom tailored grey three piece suit, and their adorable puppy who acted as ring-bearer even had a matching bow-tie.  Manny’s great uncle Hank, in an equally well-tailored tuxedo print t-shirt and blazer kept everyone in stitches (and all the ladies on their toes) all night.  It couldn’t have been more perfect.

Congratulations, you two!  I can wait to hear what life brings you next.

California Wine Country Wedding Photographer: Jen & Will at Clos La Chance Winery

In the rush of busy-season, I’ve fallen a little behind on blogging, but am so excited to start out 2014 with one of my favorite weddings of 2013 – Jennifer and Will’s gorgeous DIY wedding at Clos La Chance Winery, a beautiful property with rows of vines, rolling hills, and old oak trees nestled midway between San Jose and the Carmel Valley.  I’d been counting down the days to their wedding since I did their engagement session the summer before, and it was even sweeter than I could have imagined.

Lively and bubbly, Jenn is the perfect outgoing counterpart to Will, who is a little steadier and more reserved – but they both share the same sense of humor.   The two of them met while they were students at UC Berkeley and have been together ever since.   It was clear that all of their friends and family were as excited about the two of them tying the knot as they were themselves, and there were tears and laughter on all sides (and possibly even a few behind the camera as well).  With gorgeous flowers by Petals by Sophie, hair and makeup by the talented Chau Nguyen, and an adorable cake handmade by Jenn’s sister, Crystal, they day was as pretty as it was sweet.   Daniel from Big Fun kept the dancefloor packed until the bitter end, and it got so warm that Jenn changed back into her cheongsam from the tea ceremony earlier in the morning.   It couldn’t have been a more perfect day.

Many congratulations, you two!  I hope your new year is off to as wonderful a start as your marriage!



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