Rock N' Roll inspired wedding at the Ace Hotel Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles
I'm not that kind of person that has ah-ha moments. All my life, my decisions have come gradually, as if the idea or decision slowly diffuses out from my inner-most self, into my thoughts and deeds until I can't remember ever deciding, but know exactly what it is I'm going to do. This happened with my decision to marry Ivan. There was never a big moment, there was just one point after several years that I knew spending the rest of my life with him was exactly what I was going to do. The same thing happened with our move to Los Angeles. There was no defining moment, no list of pros and cons--it was just the diffusion of a feeling until there was no other option.
But Australia was different.
We returned home changed after spending 2 weeks with Michelle and Dylan. Our hearts were opened and our perspectives shifted by this incredible couple. The time we shared with them is a moment in my life that I can point to and say, "Here is where I changed and this is who changed me."
I have tried over and over to write this post, to explain how powerful spending time with Michelle and Dylan was to us, how sacred the space around their wedding felt and how loved they make everyone feel, but words fail when your heart has been touched, forever changed for the better. Knowing and sharing two weeks with this wonderful couple and their incredible group of friends and family is something Ivan and I will never forget.
Michelle and Dylan swept us up, welcoming Ivan and me into their home, family and friendships, giving us a front-row look into their relationships and daily life. We witnessed how Dylan and Michelle put their values of connection, creativity, joy and generosity into all they do. It was inspiring to watch how each of these was folded into different aspects of their lives, from daily swims in the sea to how sweetly they care for Grandpa Norm, Michelle's 98 year old grandfather. Michelle and Dylan have a way of making each person feel valued and celebrated; they actively make their friends and family the priority in their lives. They take the time to foster their relationships and celebrate them along the way.
Dylan and Michelle's wedding was a reflection of these values. They poured intention into every detail of the day, from the tables guests dined at that Dylan built by hand (14 in all!), to the watercolor birds Michelle specifically chose and painted by hand for each guest. There was meaning in every aspect of the wedding. Feathers were carefully collected by Michelle and her mother for months and handmade into boutonnieres, while food was lovingly made and packaged into baskets by close friends for a picnic. The theme of birds was woven throughout the day and was made even more special when two wedged tailed eagles flew over the ceremony as Michelle walked down the aisle. The strength of Dylan and Michelle's relationships with their guests shone throughout the weekend, from excited reunions with guests attending from overseas, to inside jokes, to meaningful hugs, the love was everywhere.
We are so profoundly grateful to have been a part of it all and to now have the honor of calling these two fantastic humans friends. Thank you Dylan and Michelle for being you, for changing our hearts forever and helping us to redefine our priorities by showing us the way you lead your life together.
Michelle hand painted their invitations with scenes from the orchard where their wedding took place
Michelle and her mom, Margret, collect each of the feathers for the boutonnieres from the forrest, bush and beaches around their home. Michelle chose the colors and feathers specifically for each one of their friends to wear.
Dylan made every one of the tables guest had dinner at by hand, out of repurposed screen printing frames. Guest received a hand watercolored and specially chosen bird painting. Each had a quote on the back and were used as unique and personalized table cards.
The bridal party surprised the bride and groom with a rousing and hilarious performance of "The Goatherd Song" from the sound of music. It was complete with choreography, costumes and lyrics customized for the occasion!
It seems that the universe was conspiring from the start to bring Ruthie and Para together. Despite living on different continents, they have had a whirlwind romance. Ruthie is currently living in California and Para in Poland, together they have made it work, overcoming differences in time zones and culture. As they told me their story it was clear that there were outside factors pulling them together, as if everything aligned to give them more time with one another to fall in love. From their chance meeting, to canceled flights, no vacancies and flooded roads, the beginning of their story could be right out of a movie!
I met Ruthie and Para a few days before their elopement. As we sat outside a coffee shop on Sunset Boulevard, I could see instantly how in love they were. The way the glanced at each other, laughed unabashedly and snuggled up close as they told me about themselves. I loved being near them and the energy they exuded: so hopeful, excited and loving!
Their wedding day was intimate; accompanied by 4 friends, surrounded by a grove of trees in Griffith Park, they pledged their love to one another. The ceremony was filled with sentimental details. Guests shared a drink of Polish vodka and apple cider to honor Para's Polish heritage, and Ruthie shared pecans grown on her grandfather's tree to celebrate her Texas roots. Her grandfather has passed away and the tree is no longer standing, so Ruthie was saving the nuts for a vert special occasion. Sharing in this food and drink was such a beautiful and unique way to honor their heritage and loved ones. It was incredibly moving to be included in such an intimate, thoughtful ceremony and an honor to document the beginning of their journey together.
Styling and Florals by Holiday Celebrate (http://www.holiday-celebrate.com/)
When I met Danielle for the first time we instantly connected; after just one hour on facetime, we knew we were friends. I loved that I got to see some of her walk home as we video chatted through her phone and that I got to see her in her own space! What was so memorable about our conversation is that we talked about really real things. Danielle shared with me that in the past years she and Chris had experienced several big losses that made both of them focus on what was most important in life. She said they realized they wanted to get married soon and wanted it to be a celebration of life and their friends and family. I felt so honored that Danielle was willing to share with me. Their urgency to gather their loved ones and celebrate life really resonated with me. Having been touched by sudden losses in the last year I felt that I was able to share that with her. We sat together miles apart but it felt like we were side by side.
The picture above is my favorite image from Danielle and Chris's wedding. To me it speaks volumes about them as a couple and the intent behind their wedding. There is so much darkness in the world it can sometimes feel that we are surrounded and alone, but in the face of hardship these two came closer together and stood in the light. The connection between them is a quiet, strong love. One that is steady and deep. When confronted with darkness, they choose to see the light, to embrace it and share it. Their willingness to give of themselves and connect with others was evident in their friends and family. The way Danielle's mom hugged Chris and called him her baby, the way Chris's groomsmen spoke about Danielle, and how the bridal party felt like a big family of fun kids who had grown up together showed me just how precious these two are to the ones they love.
Their New City York wedding at The Metropolitan Building was stunning! Danielle looked like a 50's goddess with her beehive hair and perfect red lips! She enlisted the help of her friend Stephen J Remington who turned The Metropolitan Building into a forest-like fairy land with his floral designs! It was such an incredible beautiful day that ended with Danielle and Chris encircled by the people they love most on the dance floor. Thank you both for welcoming me in to be part of your wedding and lives! I am truly honored.
Sabrina and Moira are a real-life queer Chilean-American couple living in Los Angeles, CA. They met through mutual friends in Portland, OR in 2005. Moira attempted to get Sabrina’s attention several times, but it wasn’t until 5 years later, when the 2010 earthquake hit central Chile did they make a real connection, bonding over their concern for family in the region during the natural disaster. In Moira’s words, “It took an 8.8 earthquake in Chile to get her to notice me!” They fell in love and have been together ever since. This past New Years Eve, they spontaneously eloped in Hawaii.
We utilized the serendipitous timing of their elopement and the Out of The Box Challenge to create some images of their imagined wedding celebration. Shooting took place in Echo Park, Los Angeles, one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the US, a haven for creatives with an incredibly rich and vibrant Latino history. Details of traditional Chilean textile patterns were used to create the paper design, which was given a fresh twist with unique typography and split fountain letterpress printing. A California nouveau take on traditional Chilean cuisine was employed when assembling the menu. Moira’s own motorcycle was used for the brides' getaway ride.
Our expression of the theme “moving forward” chronicles the celebration of a lesbian Latina couple in LA. Taking cues from their Chilean heritage as a guide, this reinterpretation of tradition has Hawaii. created a truly modern celebration of their love.
Written by - Marisa Suárez-Orozco
EVENT PLANNING & PAPER DESIGN: Holiday Celebrate - www.holiday-celebrate.com
FILM: Lovelit Films - firstname.lastname@example.org
FLORALS: Anne Cousineau - @annefcouisineau
BAKED GOODS AND FOOD STYLING: Leaven Bakery - @leavenbakery
MAKEUP: Valerie Ramirez - valerieramirezmakeup.com
LETTER PRESS: Bullhorn Editions - www.bullhorneditions.com
CEREMONY DRESS: Maggie Sottero - www.maggiesottero.com
DRESS PROVIDED BY: Urban Set Bride - www.urbansetbride.com
RECEPTION OUTFITS: Model’s own elopement outfits
VEIL: Kerry Ann Stokes - www.kerryannstokes.com
The first time I met Liv there was an instant connection. By the end of our Skype session we were giggling together and did an air hug, both clutching our computer screens. I'd made a new friend and I was going to get to photograph her wedding! I had a hunch from the start that Liv would be amazing since she is the best friend of one of my former brides Lauren! Both these ladies are sweet, sincere, and so much fun!
Liv and Nate are both teachers. They live in beautiful southern Delaware where their wedding took place. Liv is a stunning, little, happy red head and Nate is a quite, tall bearded athlete. They compliment one another in so many ways, like the way Liv fits snuggled up under Nate's arm and how Liv's out going personality perfectly balances Nate's quiet, calm demeanor. Their wedding ceremony was held at Prince George's Chapel in Dagsboro, Delaware, one of the oldest churches in Delaware. It's small and intimate with a stunning vaulted ceiling. Built in the 1700's the aisles are tiny! It made for an adorable walk down the aisle for Liv and her Dad. Seeing them walking down, shoulder to shoulder holding hand was one of my favorite parts of the day! Another highlight was Nate's surprise dance with his mom and groomsmen. Nate and his mom started to slow dance together and then suddenly the music changed and all of Nate's groomsmen jumped on the floor with them. The guys broke it down with a choreographed dance and then each groomsmen grabbed his mom! It was one of the sweetest and fun surprises I have ever seen at a wedding!
Liv and Nate picked one of their favorite restaurants Catch54 for their reception. It has stunning views of the bay and the most delicious food! I love that their wedding embraced the locality of Fenwick, with fresh seafood, views of the bay and local flowers. I like to think Fenwick was congratulating Liv and Nat with a stunning sunset that kicked of their reception!
I've tried multiple times in vain to express how special Jon and Angela's wedding was. So instead of trying to craft an illustrative write-up of the day I'm going to give snapshots that will help express what made this day so precious and unique. When I think of Jon and Angela's wedding day, I first think of the way my heart felt looking out over the crowd as Angela and her Dad made the journey up the aisle. My heart was bursting with love, so saturated in the delicate beauty of the moment before me. As a looked at their family and friends, the swelling in my chest was familiar: it was the same emotion I felt on my own wedding day when I looked out over my own guests. I paused in the moment as tears filled my eyes, feeling so grateful to all who were present to celebrate this amazing couple. Since Angela and her family are from Australia many of the guests had literally traveled from the other side of the world to support Jon and Angela's marriage!
In thinking about Jon and Angela's wedding I think about the months of thoughtful preparation put into this day, the hours poured into raising the chicken to be served at their reception--YES! They hand raised the chicken they served! I think of the care taken to hand preserve, pickle and jar their favors. The love and skill Angela's sister put into embroidering the jar toppers for each guest to take home. I think about the nurturing Jon and Angela placed into raising some of the vegetables incorporated into the bridal party's bouquets and boutonnieres.
Something that struck me throughout the months before their wedding was how intentional Jon and Angela were about every aspect of their wedding, from having Jon's grandfather read a poem Angela's grandfather had written, to how their love of gardening was highlighted throughout the entire day. Jon and Angela chose to remove their shoes during their ceremony in order to be more grounded as they became husband and wife. They took each detail to heart and made it their own.
I can't replay this day without thinking of Angela's sister, Michelle's, speech. Michelle and I had an instant connection from the start of the day and throughout the reception she kept mentioning to me how nervous she was about her speech. I kept reassuring her she would do great, but when the time came she didn't do great, no, she gave the best wedding speech I have ever seen. Instead of a traditional talk she performed a customized rendition of "Ice, Ice, Baby" complete with dance moves. The entire reception was rolling with laughter. Jon and Angela were doubled over in laughter and disbelief! If you ask me, spending your first hours of marriage sharing side-splitting laughter with your partner and everyone you love is an incredible gift.
Jon and Ange, thank you for sharing the gift of your friendship with me and for allowing me to capture this precious day.
Second Shooter: Becka Pillmore
Dress: Rachel Gilbert
Suit: Vintage Finds
Wedding Venue: Bryn Athyn Cathedral
Reception Venue: Applewood Events
Catering: Always Cafe
Music: Grits and Grouper Soup
Chalk Art: Cailin Elphick
Florals: Bri Kern
Hair: Hair by Natalie Thomas
Make-up: Eryn Simons
It's always a special honor when a fellow creatives ask me to take their photos! Anna is talented blogger, a beautiful writer with an eye for photography. When she reached out to me this spring to do an anniversary session with her and Kyle I did a happy dance.
Kyle and Anna moved to Fishtown from Colorado and have shared their first year of marriage there. We wanted to capture the spirit of their neighborhood so we spent a beautiful crisp fall evening wandering through Fishtown. We stopped by La Colombe for Coffee, their favorite restaurant, Kensington Quarters and finished the evening under the bistro lights of their apartment building! I love that we got to tell more of Anna and Kyle's love story by capturing the places their marriage has grown in.
Here's to 1 year of marriage may their be 1,000 more!