When you look back at your wedding day what do you want to see? Are you looking for a dry account of what happened to jog the memory, an epic, heavily lit photograph of you and your husband or a work of art that makes you remember how your day felt?
There is no right answer but choosing a photographer that has a style that you are attracted to is a huge factor in getting wedding pictures that speak to your heart.
In my work I focus on making your wedding images feel right. Not just as it was but as you felt it.
When we book a wedding in the UK we always make an effort to meet with a bride and groom in person, it’s hugely important to feel like you gel with your photographer and we want to make sure we are a good fit before we commit to working your wedding.
In this case Cassidy and Benton lived on the other side of the world but we still feel that the closeness was super important. We made time to meet over skype and we talked about their plans for the wedding. Cassidy and Benton have been together for years and even though they are young they have loved each other solely from the day they met.
Once we agreed to take the wedding we began plans to make the trip to San Francisco then on to their stunning wedding venue in Granite Bay.
Granite Bay Golf Club is like an emerald in the sand. The whole place has a tranquil green feel in a dry and warm part of California; despite the fires that had happened in other parts of the state this gem is a lush green jewel. As we arrived, Cassidy’s amazing florist Mignon Floral Co was setting up the ceremony area and setting the tables ready for the reception later that night.
We always try to arrive early to a location and we spend the hour before the brides arrival to find locations for our portraits later in the day. I was awestruck by the beautiful light and the stunning location. Before long, Jessica - Cassidy & Benton’s Videographer - arrived and soon after it was time to get shooting.
The terrace at granite bay is stunning. It has light that streams in from every angle and a view that most people would kill for. Benton and the groomsmen were the first to arrive and were suited up in no time at all.
The girls arrived from the hair salon soon after and spent a few moments enjoying the sunshine before Cassidy’s Mum helped her to get ready for one of the most important moments in her life.
A father has a special relationship with his daughter. We wanted the first time Cassidy’s father saw his daughter on her wedding day to be special so we took a few moments aside just for them. We had him look out over terrace while Cassidy approached in her wedding dress. It’s always touching to see a proud man so emotional, especially when you feel as proud as he did on that day.
This is a tradition I wish we would adopt in the UK, but for those that don’t know a first look is a chance for the bride and groom to see each other for the first time on their wedding day away from the crowds, to spend their last moments as single people together and to share in the excitement about the commitments they are about to make.
Benton and Cassidy had written each other letters but to preserve that first-sight experience we opted for them to read them back to back. Close, but not face to face.
Putting your feelings into words isn’t easy but it’s so important. It gives you chance to reflect on the depth of your feelings before putting it into words. It also affords a privacy and permanence you don’t usually have with the spoken word.
From here the wonderful events coordinator Kelly at granite bay whisked them off to the place they had chosen and they got to spend a few moments together before their ceremony.
We arrived back at the venue and the guests had started to take their seats. The brother giving their wedding talk asked the crowds to settle and the procession began.
The ceremony talked about the responsibilities of a husband and wife to show love and respect, it showed how God can be a strengthening bond in a marriage and helped show them how to deal with the trials they might have to undergo in their life together.
Despite its practical nature you can see how much this impacted them both. They were being reminded that every hurdle they faced from now on would be faced together.
They exchanged vows and rings today but it’s clear to me they were more excited about the future.
After photographing the bridal party and family we took some time out away from the other guests. Time to spend in each other’s company and to reflect on the importance of what had just taken place. The sun was just over the horizon and they were bathed in golden light from the warm California sun.
Into The Night
As we arrived back at the venue the sun was about to set. The bride and groom rejoined their bridesmaids and groomsmen, and the guests welcomed them as husband and wife. Prayers were said over them, thanking God for everything he had done for them both and to ask Him to help guide them in the future.
Speeches were made and stories shared. As the sun set the party began and everyone danced and ate and celebrated this wonderful occasion.