Allie & Jon's Wedding

Allie & Jon first contacted me almost a year ago. Allie was an old classmate of Britt, whose wedding I had covered during the fires last October, she had seen the photos on Instagram and wondered about my availability. I was very upfront about the fact that I am currently building my wedding portfolio and that they would have to look at my other work to decide whether I was the choice for them. This didn't faze them in the least and so we schedule a time to meet the next time they were in the area.

Usually I suggest that a couple do a test run with me: hire me to do engagement photos and see what they think before they decide whether they want me to be their wedding photographer. This is because I think that a good working relationship is important. If we don't jive well, you certainly don't want to see my face all day at your wedding- because you will be seeing a lot of me if I'm your gal on that day! Allie and Jon had already taken engagement photos at Disney Land where Jon proposed to her. The difficulty was that while they live in Southern Cali, they wanted to have their wedding in Northern Cali where her parents live and so needed a photographer from that neck of the woods. That's where I came in. 

Ultimately Allie and Jon ended up having a second engagement session, this time with me! I encouraged them to do it, despite the redundancy, because it was about whether they felt comfortable with me and liked the images I produced. Evidently, it all worked out great because we immediately started planning for the wedding.

The day of the wedding was gorgeous. The property in Angwin where everything was to take place had a sweet little cottage with all the amenities, including some much needed air conditioning! The ceremony was to take place outdoors overlooking vineyards, beside a beautiful barn that would house the delicious wood fired pizza as it came out to order (SO good!).

Allie and Jon had planned their day so well there was never any doubt as to what was coming next. As is always the case, there were a few folks who didn't follow the finely crafted outline (lol!), but Allie and Jon were always right on the mark, and when it came to the end, I had also done my part to get all the shots in the right amount of time. We had a good high-five and pat-on-the-back session when all was said and done!

Allie had considered all aspects of the day, and there were really sweet touches, like the letters they wrote to each other to read as they got ready and before the sneak peek. 

Allie's dress was beyond stunning. If my little girl had been there, she would have called her a princess, a real, living princess. I myself was very taken with it: she looked so amazing I couldn't stop taking pictures of her! I can't imagine what went through Jon's head the first time he saw her! (Or maybe I can!)

The ceremony was simple and beautiful, from the florals to the amazing wood fired pizza, the lawn games, the sweetheart table and the tree as a symbol of their commitment, the day was gorgeous and a smashing success.

I wish Allie and Jon all the best as they move forward as husband and wife! Thank you for having me as your photographer, it was a joy!

Cudos to all the vendors: Florals: Lindsey Herdell, Pizza: Napa Valley Crust, Cake: Nothing Bundt Cake, DJ: Alex Storm, Hair & Make-up: Whirlwind Blow Dry Lounge, Dress: Bellasposa Bridal, Coordinators: Tracy and Alexa Blunt

 

 

Sharolyn

PS. Thank you to Melanie Cahill for once again being me assistant and back-up shooter!

Sadie & Chris's Wedding

Oh my, oh my was this a special day! Of course for Sadie and Chris and little miss Ellie, but for me as well! I've been a photographer for many years, but weddings are relatively new for me. The fact that Sadie and Chris entrusted me with the responsibility of documenting this incredible day was a gift.

I first met Sadie and Chris when I took their engagement photos over a year ago. Right from the start I was enamored with them; best friends who decided to locate here in beautiful Sonoma county close to Chris' family. Sadie and her daughter Ellie were choosing to leave their family behind in Oregon. I identified immediately with Sadie, my story being similar: convinced by my California man to leave my home in Canada to relocate and get married. Sadie's daughter Ellie is about the exact same age as my eldest daughter. It's not an easy transition, but with the love of your partner and a solid, loving extended family to support, it's possible, and Sadie has this.

We had fun during the engagement session using Chris's Mustang as a key element, and of course, that tied right back in on the wedding day (How could it not!). You can see pics from their engagement session here.

Chris and Sadie's day was held together by love and family. Their venue, food, decor, was a home-grown, family affair. St Vincent de Paul in Petaluma, the site of their ceremony, is their family church, the reception was held at Chris' parents beautiful, spacious property. It was absolutely perfect.

I know how stressful this day can be, but despite that Chris and Sadie never lost sight of the reason why they were doing this. It all started, actually, the day before when we all showed up for the rehearsal...but there was no one there! Everyone took it in stride and decided that this was a bummer but not the end of the world, they would have to wing it on the day. And they did, and it was fantastic. Sadie was as cool and calm as could be...even when Chris almost saw her in her wedding dress as we uncovered the Mustang in the garage and he and his best man, Jose, unexpectedly showed up to drop off one of the family dogs! A funny moment I managed to capture on camera.

I hope I did their day justice. It was a beautiful day full of love and a whole lot of fun.

I wish Sadie, Chris and Ellie all the happiness in the world as they move forward as a family of three.

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Enjoy the photos!

 

Sharolyn

PS Much thanks to my second shooter Melanie Cahill who aced covering the stuff I couldn't and  hefting the gear for me!

 

Alexandria & Jonathan

This past Sunday I had the pleasure of meeting up with Allie and Jonathan for the second time. The first time was several months back  to discuss wedding packages and let them suss me out and see if they wanted me as their photographer for their wedding in July.

Happily, they did choose me and I am so very excited for their special day!

As part of their wedding package, they had an engagement session. Allie and Jonathan already had a beautiful engagement session at Disneyland where Jonathan proposed, but I thought it would be a great opportunity for them to get in front of my camera and do a "practice" so to speak, before their wedding day.

Allie and Jonathan are such sweet and down to earth people. They let me know that they felt awkward having photos taken and that they would prefer doing it somewhere not too public ( I completely empathized, I as the photographer don't like being the center of attention!). 

I did a few scouting missions leading up to the day. Allie had mentioned a few wineries, but when I directly inquired with one of them they shot me down immediately. I knew that rules and regulations for weddings in the Napa Valley are strict, but was shocked to learn that it even extended to professional photography related to weddings. Very disappointing.

Luckily, in a previous scouting mission for mustard fields, I'd found a great public access space in St. Helena. No fear of being shut down and a relatively quiet place with the occasional dog owner taking their pooch for a walk. It ended up being perfect because Allie wanted their dog Zoe in a few shots and it was a great environment for her.

The day started off overcast and rainy. In fact, both Allie and I had been monitoring the weather all week and the forecast stubbornly insisted it would be nothing but gray. I arrived at the site a half hour early to scout and figure out how to light for a dreary day. I even had a prop umbrella and plans to do some rainy day shots. But literally, just before Jonathan and Allie pulled up, the sun burst out from behind the clouds. Gorgeous. However, I now had another set of challenges with light. Because of the sun's intensity, I decided to find shaded locations while we waited for the golden hour glow. We started under some redwood trees and then did a small walk-about, stopping at various locations that suited the ever changing light. By the end, Jonathan and Allie seemed totally in their element. When Allie's mom arrived mid session with their dog Zoe, everyone was instantly even more relaxed (should have started with her!), I caught some of my favorite images of the day right around then, at the end of the shoot.

Being very aware of how Jonathan had expressed his discomfort with being photographed, I tried to be better about explaining how it would go, give some tips on posing etc, and remind them both to just have fun and enjoy being with each other. This was good practice for me as I can sometimes be so excited to get shooting that I don't give enough of a preamble. Always learning!

Well, I think Allie and Jonathan nailed it. Going over the photos to edit I was laughing at their interactions and feeling all warm and fuzzy looking at how much they love each other, so visible in the images. What a gorgeous couple, I can't wait for their nuptials in July!