Stanly Ranch Wedding

At the Southern tip of Napa County, California close to San Pablo Bay lies a rambling dual purpose property – both luxury resort and working ranch. Stanly Ranch, an Auberge Resort, is one of the newest additions to the Napa Valley, and a fabulous place for a wedding. The resort pays homage to the agricultural sensibilities of Wine Country, while maintaining a modern and luxurious demeanor.

On a radiant and windy day in late July Marie & Charlie were married by a close friend at an exquisite altar of native California greenery rising from the ground at once natural and uncannily sculptural in a nod to Ikebana.

The day began with the bride and groom preparing in suites at the Ranch, surrounded by their closest friends and family. Marie’s choice of a modern chic gown by Carolina Herrera from Jin Wang Bridal was a stroke of brilliance – the gown’s architectural beauty played harmoniously with the geometric quality of Stanly Ranch, whether the rows of lavender or the playful shadows from slatted pergolas.

Earlier, as I approached Stanly Ranch I noticed a eucalyptus tunnel at the edge of the property and knew it would be the perfect spot for the first look. We jumped in golf carts and headed into the trees for portraits, a few of which have become anchors of my portfolio. Photos in the Bell Suite and the adjacent shade followed.

The ceremony was framed by the Cutting Garden’s idyllic backdrop of wildflowers and greenery. During the ceremony the wind decided to have it’s way with Marie’s veil, so the two switched positions. Following the touching vows, guests savored signature cocktails on the patio outside the glass-walled banquet hall, while enjoying mesmerizing views of the olive trees and lavender gardens.

Marie and Charlie were an absolute joy to photograph – their calm and positive demeanor made for captivating photographs, alternating between carefree laughter and elegant portraits. I knew this going in, as I had the honor of photographing their engagement session at Sutro Baths earlier that year. As the sun set, I took the couple aside to capture the magic of golden hour up and down stone staircases, through olive orchards, and against outdoor fireplaces. We were gifted a dramatic sunset, and we certainly took advantage of that. The warm hues perfectly complemented the venue’s California native plants and sun-soaked stone palette.

Dinner was served in Glass House Barn, a lofted glass-walled banquet hall. Its California-style glass doors opened to the patio balcony overlooking the property. I was able to capture candid moments as the guests laughed, danced, and celebrated in the radiant ambiance, doors open to the breeze.

The lush grounds, framed by vineyards and mountain views, created a very easeful feeling which married well with a wedding reception. Located just a 50-minute drive from San Francisco, Stanly Ranch offered guests a tranquil escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.

I must also extend a special shout-out to Kelsey with Downey Street Events who understood the demands of the venue, and executed flawlessly.

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Wedding planner: Downey Street Events
Venue : Stanly Ranch an Auberge Resort
Photographer : Hazel Photo
Hair and Makeup : Artists by Sherrie Long
Catering : Stanly Ranch
Ice Cream Truck: Noble Folk Creamery
DJ/Band : Dart Collective
Bride’s attire : Jinwang Bride ; Carolina Herrera
Groom’s attire : Suit Supply
Invitation : Bliss and Bone
Florist: Studio Mondine

Essential tips for having a dog at your wedding in the Bay Area

As a wedding photographer, I’ve seen it all, from furry friends as ring bearers to four-legged performers stealing the show. If you’re thinking of including your beloved pooch in your big day, here are 8 things you should keep in mind to ensure it’s a tail-wagging success – for all involved!

1. Plan, plan, plan: Before you decide to bring your furry friend to your wedding, make sure your venue is pet-friendly and arrange for a designated handler to look after them during the ceremony and reception. Also consider your guests and determine if anyone might be scared or allergic! Consider logistics such as their transportation and access for their handler for their drop off and pick up. 

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2. Be honest with yourself: Not all dogs will do well at large, bustling events like weddings – and that’s ok! If your dog becomes easily agitated or frightened, it may be best to leave them at home. Perhaps they are better suited for an intimate photo shoot with just your photographer!

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3. Dress them to impress: You want your dog to look as good as you do on your wedding day! Make sure their outfit is comfortable and doesn’t impede their movement. A simple bandana or bow tie will do the trick. Avoid accoutrement that might end up falling off and getting gnawed on.

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4. Hydration is key: Weddings can be long, tiring events, and your dog will need plenty of water to stay hydrated. Make sure you have a water bowl readily available for them throughout the day. Additionally you will want to prep their handler with their food, treats, doggie bags, and perhaps even some toys. 

5. Never leave them alone: Your dog should never be left alone during your wedding, even for a few minutes. They may become anxious or disoriented without you there, and could end up running off or causing a disturbance. Again, make sure someone is aware of their responsibilities regarding your beloved dog!

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6. Accidents happen: Accidents can happen, even with the most well-behaved dogs. The last thing you want to deal with is a less than savory stain at a historic venue or on you or your guests’ outfit. Make sure you have cleaning supplies handy in case your dog has an accident during the ceremony or reception.

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7. Capture the moment: Make sure your photographer gets some shots of your furry friend on your big day. After all, you’ve put in all the effort to make sure they are well taken care of and smiling! 

8. Have fun: The most important thing is to make sure everyone, including your furry friend, is having a good time and no one is stressed out or uncomfortable. Have a backup plan with the handler in case something goes awry or the pooch needs a rest from the excitement of the event!

Incorporating your dog into your wedding can be a wonderful way to add a special touch to your big day, but it’s essential to be prepared and ensure that both you and your furry friend are having fun. By keeping these eight things in mind, you’ll be well on your way to creating a memorable and stress-free wedding experience for everyone involved.

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2022 Hazel Photo Weddings Year in Review

I’m going to “kick” this off by saying that 2022 kicked my butt. There was a metric ton of pent-up demand for live events this past year.

In 2022 I photographed:

37 weddings,

3 elopements,

A baby naming,

3 multi-day corporate conferences,

5 corporate parties,

3 family sessions,

6 engagement sessions,

and 150 headshots.

I’m incredibly grateful to every last client I worked with, and every person who referred me to clients. To be busy again after the pandemic, has made me feel alive and useful. This was the best year my business has seen to date. It was also the queerest year of weddings I have photographed!

Most of my photo work transpired in the greater San Francisco Bay Area… from Oakland to Orinda to Walnut Creek, from Napa to Calistoga to Mendocino from Sonoma to Healdsburg, from Gilroy to Santa Cruz to Half Moon Bay, from The Financial District to Civic Center to the Presidio, from San Rafael to Mill Valley to Bodega Bay.

I did have the chance to travel to Lake Tahoe, Mendocino, San Diego, Las Vegas, and Jamaica to make photographs for clients as well.

I haven’t had time to share very much of the work I made this year, because I was so busy making it. In this coming January and February I am looking forward to reliving 2022 and updating my portfolio with some of the beauty I witnessed this past year.

A few wedding clients this year told me, “We don’t want any posed portraits. Just ‘documentary style’ photos of our wedding day.” I loved those opportunities to turn my entire focus to storytelling images. I felt seen, like my clients understood what I was up to, and wanted me to lean into that strength on their wedding day.

On the home front, our 2-year-old started preschool and brought us on vacation to Japan and Mexico. We bought an old house in Berkeley and have begun to fill it with art, and surround it with gardens.

Venues :
Carneros Resort
Stanly Ranch
San Francisco City Hall
University Club of San Francisco
Triple S Ranch
Ralston White Retreat
Sausalito Women’s Club
Jamaica Inn
City Club of San Francisco
Shakespeare Garden @ Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Club @ The Presidio
Log Cabin @ The Presidio
Beltane Ranch
Hacienda de las Flores
Cornerstone Sonoma
Oceano Resort
The Brazilian Room
The Legion of Honor
Leo’s Oysters
Zaytuna College
Rockefeller Lodge
Grace Cathedral
Ruth Bancroft Garden
The Gardens at Heather Farm
The Secret Gardens, Bodega Bay
Seven Branches Sonoma
Bell Valley Retreat
Eagle Ridge
Gar Woods
Thomas Fogarty Winery
Muir Beach Overlook
Wayfare Tavern
Terra Gallery

Boheme Events
Taylor Rae Weddings
Downey Street Weddings
Sachi & Maja
Emily Coyne Events
Limelight Productions
Showrunner Events
Riley Loves Lulu
Sabrina & Co.
Small Shindigs
Dreams on a Dime
MK Event Planning
2 Friends Events

2021 Year-in-Review Bay Area Wedding Photography

In 2021 I photographed 24 weddings in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. All but a couple happened in the 2nd half of the year. I feel overwhelmed with gratefulness as I look back on all of the beauty and connection I was invited to witness and document. There’s nothing like a pandemic to remind a person how incredibly good it feels to gather friends, chosen family, and family to celebrate love.

2022 is looking to be a fuller year for weddings… My year is 70% booked, and will bring me up to Mendocino Sonoma and Napa, out to Walnut Creek and Lake Tahoe, and down to Half Moon Bay and the Santa Cruz Mountains.

I can’t wait for all these adventures to come.



Palace of Fine Arts Wedding – Jessica & David

Jessica & David Part 2 Palace of Fine Arts Wedding.

This was one of the most intimate weddings I photographed during the pandemic. There were five guests in total. We assembled under a glorious willow tree at the Palace of Fine Arts, and one of Jessica’s friends officiated. Just as the two had hoped the sun weaved in and out from behind the clouds. After a few wedding portraits at the Palace of Fine Arts, we headed over to Golden Gate Park for a few more couples portraits and a bit of revelry. We ended in the Shakespeare Garden where Jessica and David read love letters they had written to each other. I certainly not what they had set out planning all the way back in 2019, but they excelled in finding a way to make their wedding day magical, romantic, and full of good humor throughout.

Click here for part 1 getting ready and portraits at Cavallo Point.

Cavallo Point Wedding – Jessica & David

Jessica & David’s intimate wedding unfolded in three parts – Getting ready at Cavallo Point, vows and a big smooch at the Palace of Fine Arts, and portraits in the Music Councourse at Golden Gate Park.

We started the day at Cavallo Point in a lovely old building where Jessica’s sister helped her into her dress and shoes, while her brother helped David with his boutonniere. They had their first look on the sun porch. We walked out to the pier for a few photos with the Golden Gate Bridge, and were lucky enough to be visited by a seagull at just the right moment.

For the wedding at the Palace of Fine Arts click here.

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