“Josh and I decided to throw together a wedding in a little less than two weeks. Kind of nuts, but kind of awesome. 15ish people, ceremony down by the river in Carmichael area, then dinner somewhere TBD. It’s going to be a beautiful hot mess, and I certainly couldn’t think of anyone else who could capture that like you.”
That was the email I got from Claire at the beginning of July. With an email like that, how can you say no? I certainly can’t.
I love small, intimate weddings, spontaneity, and these two humans. I photographed them about a year ago (see that session here) in what is, to-date, one of my craziest, funnest, dirtiest sessions EVER. If there was ever a family that embodied my mantra of “Live the moment. The dishes can wait.” it’s these folks.
We began the afternoon and Claire and Josh’s beautiful, new Carmichael home, where Claire and her family were getting ready. Meanwhile, Josh and his best friend were already down at the river fishing. The river is special to Josh, especially around the Carmichael area where he grew up and his family still lives. It was a bachelor party of sorts, ending at his truck in the Effie Yeaw Nature Center parking lot where he used his wing mirrors to tie his tie and brush his hair.
We walked down a dusty trail to an opening in the brush where the river flowed before us, just beyond a beach of river rock. And that’s where we waited for Claire and the rest of the wedding guests, who carefully tip-toed over the rocks to the arbor at the river’s edge. That’s where, in the blazing full sun, under an incredibly blue sky, and watched by a gaggle of Canadian Geese, Josh and Claire said their I dos.
It wasn’t anything like a hot mess, as it turns out. It was spontaneous and beautiful and simple and… just perfect.
We closed the evening at Fair Oaks Brew Pub in the village of Fair Oaks, where everyone sat on wooden picnic tables and listened to a local band play while they ate pretzels and burgers and drank beer, this time overlooked by the resident Fair Oaks chickens.
I loved every minute of this evening. Congratulations Claire and Josh. I am so incredibly thankful you chose me to capture the beginning of the rest of your life together.
If you know someone who is planning an intimate wedding, a second-time-around marriage, or even an elopement, please have them get in touch with me. I love photographing these events and, unlike wedding photographers focused on booking full-day wedding packages, I offer a la carte pricing starting with just 2 hours of photography coverage. Forward this post to them or connect them to my wedding portfolio, here.
If it’s your special day you’re planning, click here to let me know what you’re thinking about.
(Part One: the Mehendi Celebration is here if you missed it.)
On a cool and blustery beach, just north of Fort Bragg, two families, two cultures, and two people in love came together; imperfectly, joyfully, and beautifully. With bare feet and hair flying in their face, a 30-foot rock for an altar, and the sound of crashing waves for music; with their children as best man and maid-of-honor, and with more love than fanfare, my friend, Mala, and her Shane, made their happily-ever-after.
Here is the story of that day…
After everyone changed back into their comfy clothes, Mala’s daughter, Evani, presented her mom and Shane with a framed copy of the speech she had read aloud during their ceremony. Of all the emotional and touching moments of the weekend – and there were plenty – this was probably my favorite. The emotion on both Shane and Mala’s face (that’s Shane being choked-up in the first photo) and the tears of joy my friend shed as her daughter and new husband embraced… it was the perfect ending to the perfect weekend.
CONGRATULATIONS MALA AND SHANE!
I wish you a lifetime of moments just like this.
Know someone getting married in Northern California?
I’d love to tell the story of their day too. Please contact me to learn more about my wedding packages.
(See Part 2: The Wedding here)
Some people in life you share the good times with. Some people you share the bad. Others you’re lucky enough to be there for both the sunshine and the rain, your relationship bonded by the shared laughter and strengthened by the shared tears. My friend, Mala, comfortably falls into the latter category. She is one of the most courageous, creative, passionate, and joyful people I know. We share our immigrant status, her from India and me from England, our artistic nature, and our love of travel. Our friendship spans fourteen years with babies born and marriages made and then failed. As she said herself while we were photographing her getting ready for this, the next, beautiful chapter of her life with her now-husband, Shane: “you have been around for almost all the best moments in my life since I moved to the U.S.” It’s true and it’s humbling. This woman is my family.
Mala and Shane met online in the only way that two single parents really can these hectic days: swiping right. I knew it was serious when Mala disappeared from my social calendar and started popping up all over California with her daughter, Evani, Shane and his son, Aiden. The sparkle in her eyes when she talked about him told me everything I needed to know and so I wasn’t surprised when she returned from a Tahoe break, engaged. From the outside looking in, it looked like a whirlwind romance. But spend an hour or two with these guys and their kids, together, you realize one simple and very powerful fact: this isn’t just a coming together of two people that love one another, but the coming together of families. When people in love say they “found” one another, I think Mala and Shane’s new, blended family is exactly what they mean: together, they have been found. As I share their photos from their weekend, over and over again you’ll see that, yes, these are two people that love one another, but that this celebration is a family one, shared by both of their children.
The thriving Indian community Mala belongs to would never settle for a small wedding by the beach and so Mala and Shane planned a wedding weekend. A traditional Mehendi celebration on Friday night in El Dorado Hills and then a wedding weekend in Fort Bragg for a smaller group of friends and family.
If you’ve never been to an Indian party, you’ve never been to a party. They love to socialize and dance… and DANCE! Everyone can not only dance beautifully, it seems, but loves to perform on stage with abandon to happy, boppy, Bollywood tunes. Mala even got her non-Indian friends in on the act, choreographing a routine for some mutual friends who did an awesome job up on stage. Way to represent, girls.
Me, I hid behind my camera and tried to capture as much of all the joy and genuine love as I could, while also dancing and having a good time.
The evening began, uncharacteristically, with the bride-to-be, dressing her mother-in-law-to-be, Deb, in a Sari for the occasion. Their relationship is close and touching. Like I said… Mala found a family, not just a husband.
Part Two in Fort Bragg is coming soon. Stay tuned…
Excited to welcome back another family I photographed last year, the Birdsells. When I met Ana and Brandon last year, Ana was pregnant with their second child, Maren. Well, Maren is here and 5 months old and I got to meet her little, chubby thighs recently in Rocklin. Ana’s family were having a party on the premises and I borrowed them for a couple of hours to walk the trails of Quarry Park. Lincoln is now 2 and all the amounts of inquisitive, climbing and hiding beneath rocks, and doing what all good 2 year olds with a mind of their own do: running away allll the time. It’s all good, we just followed him, and plied him with chocolate ice cream bars, and many mommy kisses.
Love these people and this family. So much genuine happiness. So much genuine. I’m so lucky to find such wonderful people as clients.
I heart clients who come back year after year, watching their family grow through photos.
Ask me about my absolutely fantastically awesome repeat client discounts.
(Seriously, they’re that good that they warrant that many adjectives.)
Contact me here. I don’t bite. (Usually.)
Last year I got to meet the adorable Wyatt at home (see the session here) and this year, to celebrate his 4th birthday, mom, dad, and I decided to go play in their favorite local park instead.
I thought I had seen almost every park in the Sacramento region through my family sessions over the years, or at least all the big and popular ones, but somehow I had managed to completely miss this gem in Rocklin. Johnson-Springview Park is pretty dang awesome. There’s a huge kids’ play area with swings and slides and a sandpit, lots of rolling lawns to lay your picnic blanket out on, and then a whole host of trails beyond the landscaped areas to get lost in. In just a few minutes of walking you can go from the sound of children squealing to the sound of birds chirping. There’s even a little brook with a stone bridge, and a disc golf course that winds through the trees. Cool, right?
Wyatt is the perfect 4-year old mix of cheeky and sweet, picking and giving his mom flowers one minute and then beelining for the muddy puddles the next. I loved playing hide-and-seek in the tall grass with him and watching him swing super high,
Where are your favorite places to play as a family? Let’s go there together, I’ll bring my camera and capture the whole family (not just the ones not behind the camera.)
Click here to get in touch.