Chelsea + Matt // Carlsbad, CA

Chelsea + Matt are definitely two of my favorite people that I have had the privilege of having now as friends. Who would have thought that between June 14, via an email from seeing my work on Instagram, til now, we would have taken their engagement photos, wedding photos, and now a cute family session in some of their most memorable places: where they had their first date (Village Pub), their first kiss (The Alley), and then their first official donut portrait sesh (The Goods). I am so sad that they are moving to Hawaii, but I am also SO excited for their new adventures there! Can’t wait to visit them and take more cute photos with them!

Maggie + Pat // Indio, CA

When I first spoke to Maggie + Pat it was clear to me how serendipitous me photographing their wedding was going to be. Not only was the wedding cancelled that I originally had scheduled for that day, but Pat’s mom reached out to me after she saw me photographing Elaine + Eddy’s wedding (see their wedding here), on the same day I was made available to photograph Maggie + Pat’s wedding. Also, Maggie + Pat had a carrot cake wedding cake just like my husband and I had at our wedding from Exquisite Desserts. I like to believe that the universe has a special way of making things work out for me, but ultimately I think it is because I also went to high school with Pat’s brother, Franky. But it made for a mini reunion with some old friends and some new, mostly German friends! Their wedding was exactly the kind of chill, backyard wedding that I love to photograph. Pun intended on the “chill”, because it was VERY California cold. Like, 48 degrees. But once we all ate some tacos and danced to some 90’s R&B and belted out some Pearl Jam, it felt like a very brisk 50 degrees. Next time though that we all schedule a wedding together can it be in Germany? In the summer? Asking for a friend.

Chula Eatery // Palm Springs, CA

I recently had the opportunity to photograph a few dishes at Chula Eatery in La Quinta, CA. Not only was the food beautiful to look at, but the tortillas are made with cactus, chef/owner Katherine was so sweet and sent me home with homemade pan dulces, and the entire spread was published in Locale Magazine. It was an unbelievably fun experience!

Ashley + Mario // Palm Springs, CA

If you want an interesting wedding story, get married in Palm Springs. For such a small town, nothing short of exciting happens here.

These two started their day in the very normal wedding day way: invite some friends and family to the Air BnB they rented, have a few drinks, have the ceremony, eat dinner, and spend time with each other.

But just like every wedding in Palm Springs, something crazy has to happen. These two got kicked out of their Air BnB before the ceremony, relocated to a new ceremony site, and found a new venue - all while being given 30 minutes to vacate the Air BnB.

Despite the intimacy of this wedding, the small guest list, and quaintness of Sunrise Park - the new ceremony venue - their wedding felt like a huge, glamorous affair, amidst the cool breeze in the park and shaggy Palm trees.

This wedding, just like every other wedding in Palm Springs, had surprises at every turn. It just goes to show that it truly doesn’t matter how large - or how small - your wedding is; the people, the memories, and the story are what make it special.

Kathy + Manny // Yucaipa, CA

If someone had told me a year ago that I would be a full-time wedding photographer, showing up at people’s homes and venues, and photographing their day for them, I would have told them that they were crazy. I never thought, in a million years, that I would be a wedding photographer, because of how difficult I thought it was to break into.

The truth is, it’s not that hard to become a wedding photographer. Photographing weddings are tricky, but actually becoming one isn’t hard. The trick is to find friends + family who are getting married, scour the Internet for people in your area who want smaller, intimate weddings, or work as a second shooter at weddings to develop the confidence you need to become a full-time wedding photographer.

It’s weddings like Kathy and Manny’s, where it was just their closest friends + family in the backyard at Kathy’s sister’s house, and only about an hour of photography shoot time to fit in first looks, first dances, cake cutting, and everything in between, that remind me of my earliest days as a wedding photographer. I started with backyard weddings, small receptions, and intimate venues. It is a reminder that even though I now regularly photograph weddings with 400+ people, going back to where it all began, and photographing the true heart of a wedding, can make for the most meaningful set of images. Because even if you are only photographing for an hour in someone’s backyard, literally knowing no one, you can still capture authentic moments and tell a story of the day.

It’s not about the amount of time that you spend with someone, it is about the quality of that time.

Emily + Kino // Aguanga, CA // Cottonwood Farms

If my husband Mike and I ever decide to renew our vows, I can think of no better place than Cottonwood Farms. Not only have I already made best friends with the horse there, Spirit, the entire vibe of the venue is exactly what I love. Every piece of Cottonwood Farms is photogenic: cacti, barns, cute dogs, string lights, billowy trees, and beautifully kept cabins.

Emily’s wedding was a dream for me, not only as a photographer, but a lover of small, intimate weddings. She had an Uncle Mike officiate the ceremony, an Aunt from Iowa do all the florals, another Aunt make the cake and cupcakes, and a close-knit group of bridesmaids and herself who coordinated the entire wedding. I know what you’re thinking, and I agree: Emily needs to become a wedding coordinator because she is damn good at it!

So here’s my idea: I will hire Emily to coordinate and plan my entire vow renewal at Cottonwood Farms, Spirit can be the ring bearer (or flower boy, if he prefers), and (hopefully) it will be slightly as cute as Emily + Kino’s wedding there.

But in the meantime, you can see Emily + Kino’s adorable wedding at Cottonwood Farms, complete with lots of photobombs from Spirit, an adorable group of people, and some amazing scenery.

Vanessa + Bryan // La Quinta, CA

I first met Vanessa and Bryan when my husband and I were photographing Liz + Anthony’s wedding at the Corona Yacht Club exactly one year ago yesterday (awwww!). Their wedding was super cute, and Vanessa + Bryan’s wedding was super cute, but you know what made it the cutest? The fact that I recognized so many of the same faces that were at both weddings, Vanessa’s “something borrowed” was Liz’s veil from her wedding, and the palpable excitement coming from these two lovebirds just made me so happy throughout the day.

Vanessa told me early on in the wedding planning process that one of the reasons that she chose me as a photographer was because the photos I took of her and Bryan at Liz + Anthony’s wedding were some of her favorite photos of the two of them. That very reason is why I love being a photographer: bringing joy to people, expressing joy through the photographs that I take, and displaying real, authentic moments that truly tell a story of the wedding day as it is.

Danielle + Alex // Yucaipa, CA

Danielle + Alex had the most low-key wedding I have ever photographed. It was some family, close friends, and a wedding amongst the trees, which is exactly what their vision was for their special day.

Their wedding reminded me so much of my own: a small, intimate ceremony, a reception where everyone gathers and just talks, and special, unique details that perfectly describe the occasion.

For them, it was axes. The agreement was to find each other a unique axe to trade during the ceremony, because, as Danielle said, “We aren’t Vikings, we just think it’s cool”. But what they didn’t realize is that throughout all the handmade and unique axes that exist in the world, they would find each other the exact same axe from the exact same village in the exact same country.

If that’s not fate, I don’t know what is.

Welcome Party // Ashley + Jerren

If you happened to pass by Casa Cody in Palm Springs last Friday night, you probably heard a really epic concert happening and were also secretly jealous of the wafting aroma of In-N-Out sprawling through downtown Palm Springs.

There’s never been an In-N-Out in Palm Springs. The nearest one is off the 10 freeway in Morongo. But that’s not why people were freaking out. That’s not what you would have been freaking out about last Friday night at Casa Cody.

This party was supposed to be the welcome dinner for Ashley + Jerren’s weekend-long wedding bash at Casa Cody, but instead basically became the night that the greatest cover band to exist in Austin, TX, 12 years ago, had a reunion concert in Palm Springs. Ashley made the leather jackets, Jerren played the drums, and his former college bandmates played the piano, guitar, bass, harmonica, and tambourine, respectively.

If you happened to overhear the reunion bash at Casa Cody last Friday night, you would have heard some epic covers of Johnny Cash, Oasis, Billy Joel, and much more. You would have heard Ashley, Jerren, and their friends, singing along to Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues”, and seen Jerren’s Aunt Ethel, basically the Aunt Betty of his family, standing proudly in the center spotlight while listening to a soulful rendition of “Georgia”.

Something magical happens in Palm Springs during evening events like this. The low light gives way to moonlight-covered palm trees, a soft breeze cuts through the humidity, and if you listen very closely, you can hear the soft sound of Billy Joel playing his harmonica distantly across the valley.

Source: http://www.thepalmspringsphotographer.com

Hilda + Jon // San Diego, CA

Hilda + Jon’s wedding in San Diego was, by far, the largest wedding I have ever photographed. Despite the large guest list, 18-person wedding party, and the craziest dance party I have ever witnessed at a wedding, there was an intimate feel that still made this wedding feel very close + familial.

Between myself + my second shooter, we took approximately 1382746345 throughout the course of this wedding. That’s a (slight) exaggeration but trying to decide which photos to edit + send was challenging due to how many I absolutely loved. Trying to determine an even smaller selection to create a blog post around that still tells a story of the entire event was even more challenging. In the end, I believe that everything about this wedding embodies love, authentic moments, and truly captures Hilda + Jon’s personalities and style accurately.

There were chocolate fountains, moms handing out beautiful handmade shoes from Mexico, friends from high school + college meeting up for the first time in forever, and some of the nicest wedding guests that I have ever met. When all the wedding guests remember your name, and thank you personally, you know you are doing something right.

Want to check another large wedding I photographed? Click here to see Liz + Anthony’s perfect Palm Springs wedding at the Corona Yacht Club.