Polina & Lidat's Los Angeles Arboretum Wedding

It's always so interesting to me how couples find me. I very briefly met Polina's sister Ava at a photography conference in early 2012, so when I got an email from Polina saying that Ava had referred me, I thought that was the coolest thing! Polina and Lidat hired me to photograph their wedding which began in the morning with two separate tea ceremonies followed by a ceremony at the LA Arboretum. Their wedding was a great mix of cultures - Polina being Bulgarian and Lidat being Vietnamese. One of my favorite stories from the day was how Polina's grandfather made a bottle of Grappa, a strong type of liquor, when Polina was born. The bottle was saved and to be opened and served on her wedding day. The first taste was when Polina's dad brought it upstairs while Polina was getting ready and it was then served by Polina and Lidat throughout the reception. Another fun tradition were the games that were played by the bridesmaids and groomsman. I'm sure I'm not explaining it correctly, but first the groom and groomsman had to bring their offerings and gifts in order to be allowed inside the home. Lidat dug through his pockets and offered up some cash and the keys to his car ;) Then, Lidat had to volunteer one of his groomsman to be "beautified" by the other gents. All of us were laughing so hard that our sides hurt! Lastly, Lidat had to volunteer two other guys to act out a love story, which they did beautifully and with conviction (to more laughs of course!)

When my travels take me to new places and new venues, this case to the gorgeous Arboretum in Los Angeles (well, technically Arcadia), I always feel so grateful to my couples. Thank you for flying this Seattle photographer down to beautiful Southern California for such a fun wedding day!

Cara & Jason's Brookside Equestrian Center Wedding

As with most of my couples, I consider Cara and Jason to be friends of mine. Cara is vibrant, funny, and everyone loves her (it's true, my dear). Jason is soft spoken, kind, and is a perfect match for Cara. Their wedding was one of the most laid back, relaxed events that I have ever attended. This is due in large part to their amazing wedding planner, Rose. Also, it just suits Cara and Jason's personality - of course their wedding would be fun and genuine because that's who they are as people. The highlight of the day for me was the reception. Yes, all of it. From the funny speeches to the silly dancing, to the surprise post-dancing taco truck and the grand exit, it was something that every guest enjoyed. The Brookside Equestrian Center is a wonderful venue to enjoy the amazing Southern California weather in the fall, under the stars and on the soft grass.

Cara and Jason, I could not be happier for you!

I just have to include this photo - Cara and Jason's wedding marked the 3rd wedding this year that I have photographed where my friend Amanda has been a bridesmaid. PS, are those not the best looking photo-bombers you've ever seen?!

Can you guess the song?

Uh oh...here comes Cara's dad and big brother!

Jamie & Todd's Meanda Grove Wedding | Riverside Wedding Photography

I met Jamie and Todd through Todd's sister, Carrie. Carrie is one of my very good friends and also a wonderful photographer. So, when she recommended me to her brother and future sister in law, I was flattered and knew that I had a lot to live up to. Any nerves that I might have otherwise felt were diminished because I was excited to spend a day with their family. Jamie and Todd are extremely laid back and go-with-the-flow which is exactly how I am. That's not to say that a lot of thought and care didn't go into their wedding. Jamie had a vision for how she wanted her wedding and I think everyone agreed that it was executed perfectly, from the flea market chandeliers that were painstakingly refinished and hung to the gorgeously decorated long tables. As I walked around the interior of the Meanda Grove barn during the reception even the smell fit her style - it smelled of fall, spices, and baked goods. I don't think I've ever had a bride who laughed as much as Jamie. She is beautiful all the time, but when she laughs? She's stunning. In fact, her expressions were the theme of her maid of honors speech. The girls walked around the room showing funny/cute photos of Jamie making interesting faces and as expected, Jamie's expressions showed what she thought of the speech/photos :) I actually had a hard time using a few non-laughing photos of Jamie in this blog post because I loved each and every one of them.

One final thing that I must include in this blog post is our adventure with fire ants. After the ceremony, I was walking around the property with Jamie and Todd. At one point, I set down her bouquet...after we were done, I picked it up and handed it back to her. Within a couple of seconds I felt pain on my hands and looked down to see tiny red ants! My brain tried to register where they came from, and when I realized that they must have been on her bouquet I shouted to Jamie to put it down. Well, it was a bit late and she had ants on her hands and the front of her dress. Todd and I scrambled to brush the ants off of her. I honestly don't think I've ever felt worse in my life. Jamie was amazing (as usual) and laughed it off. Eeeek. Note to self: carefully check the ground before setting down a bouquet - you never know when you might put it in a fire ant nest!

Congratulations on your beautiful wedding. Jamie and Todd - you make one darn good looking couple!