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. 

Bridge and groom in tuxedo posing with small black and white dog, documentary style photo, botanical garden wedding

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!

wedding guest couple posing with wedding dogs, cocker spaniel, black and white dogs, formal wedding, sonoma county wedding

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.

documentary photo of wedding couple dressed in all white posing with small terrier dog, country wedding, outdoor wedding, documentary photo style, sonoma county wedding

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!

bay area Indian wedding, cultural wedding, dog at wedding, dress up dog at wedding, bay area documentary photographer, bride and groom with dog candid photo

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.

dog at wedding, dog walking down aisle, ring bearer dog, formal wedding attire, documentary style wedding photographer, bay are wedding, san francisco wedding photographer, large dog at wedding

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.

Lesbian wedding couple with two dogs at wedding, dogs in rainbow bandanas, Olema house wedding, Bay area Olema House wedding photographer, documentary wedding photographer.

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
Pizzaiolo
Wayfare Tavern
Terra Gallery

Planners:
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.

-XO

Paul


Documentary Style Wedding Photography San Francisco City Hall – Kathryn & Brian

Kathryn & Brian were complete infectious delight from beginning to end. They made each other laugh in every room and hallway and trolley car, and tree shadow, and ocean breeze throughout their wedding day, from San Francisco City Hall, out to Land’s End for portraits, and back to Nopalito for the reception. I had known this was a possibility. We had met up beforehand to think through the wedding timeline over cocktails at the Garden Court in the Palace Hotel, and that had been all laughter from the get go.

Ahhh… San Francisco City Hall, after ten visits to photograph weddings back in those halcyon days of 2019, you strike me an old friend. We hear you are open for weddings again all the way out here in 2021! A sure sign the pandemic is slowing down here in San Francisco.

San Francisco City Hall is a functional space from where the city is governed, but it also tends to feel a bit of a ruin in its age and grandness. Every San Francisco City Hall Wedding is also an exploration of generous halls, and gorgeous light, the sound of oxfords echoing against the marble floors, the coolness of the stone as one leans, shoulder meets tulle meets stone wall. In every corner a brass bust of a mayor of yore . But it is far from ruin alone. As I remember, there was a Zumba class dancing their way to fitness when I arrived for Kathryn & Brian’s wedding.

After the nuptials in the rotunda, we stepped outside into the sun, where more of Kathryn and Brian’s beloveds had gathered for a Hornblower trolley tour of the city. We passed another wedding at the Haas-Lilienthal House which sparked cheering and shouts from trolley to house, and house to trolley. Out at Land’s End we were greeted with lovely light for wedding portraits. As the day unfolded, more and more of Kathryn & Brian’s closest people arrived, first for the trolley tour, and then at Nopalito later in the evening. It total it was a glorious day from start to finish with very little fuss.


Sarah & Chris – COVID Wedding San Francisco

Sarah & Chris were married in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and a historic uprising for racial equality. 

Sarah & Chris were married on a gorgeous, sunny day at their apartment in the Mission District with bright blue skies overhead and wisps of fog off in the distance. 

Sarah & Chris were married on a moody day, dense with fog and magic in a redwood grove in Golden Gate Park. 

All  of these sentences are true. It’s the concept of “Yes/And:” 

Yes, Sarah & Chris, had their plans for a larger wedding upended by the COVID pandemic… and they planned a gorgeous, multi-climate micro COVID wedding anyway. 

It takes a special sort of person, and a special sort of mind to live out the “Yes/And.” Sarah & Chris are both that kind of special person with that special kind of mind. For some, being forced to cancel or reimagine wedding plans due to COVID-19 is primarily felt as a loss. But Sarah & Chris found about a million ways to make their COVID wedding day one of the most meaningful, gorgeous, unforgettable days the two shall ever live. 

The City of San Francisco offered them a virtual wedding ceremony with a virtual officiant on June 19th… so, they said “Yes/And.” Yes to the virtual wedding ceremony (which they were able to share with their families through a Zoom screenshare) and yes to the fact that the day on offer was Juneteenth, a day of protest and celebration for equality and liberation of black people. They would find ways to honor Juneteenth as part of their wedding celebration. 

The day started in Sarah & Chris’ apartment, where they live surrounded by objects imbued with their love and their story: including carefully tended house plants, a web of photographs from their shared adventures, elaborate paper masks, homemade sourdough bread, and a glossy magazine that Sarah made as part of their mutual marriage proposal. After the official ceremony with the City of San Francisco, sealed with a ring exchange and a kiss, they shared personal vows in front of their family on Zoom. They placed leis over each other’s heads and toasted with champagne.

We made  a few portraits in their apartment and on the roof deck, then headed downstairs, where a bike trailer packed with wedding reception fixings lay in wait. On the bike ride to Golden Gate Park, they wore placards that read (small print) “Just Married” and (large print) “Black Lives Matter.” We biked the Wiggle with sweet passersby cheering and honking in support and celebration.

When we arrived in Golden Gate Park we made some portraits at the Music Concourse, the Rose Garden, and the Redwood Grove, where we met up with a few of the couple’s closest friends. There, they hosted a socially-distant wedding reception with well-spaced group portraits, more celebratory signs, and a socially distant dance party.

If you’ve made it this far reading this post, you too can say Yes/And: Yes, we can enjoy witnessing Sarah & Chris’ expression of love — And we can honor them by joining the struggle for racial justice and equality. Breonna Taylor’s killers walk free. You can find resources for action here, here and here.


Trolley Tour Wedding San Francisco: Alamo Square, Crissy Field, Palace of Fine Arts

Part 3 of 4 the Trolley Tour SF City Hall/2nd Line Parade/Trolley Tour/Big Daddy’s Antiques

To begin at the beginning click here.

Trolley Tour Wedding San Francisco: Alamo Square, Crissy Field, Palace of Fine Arts – Sasha & Andrew

With a smaller wedding, renting a pair of Hornblower trolley cars to tour San Francisco with your out-of-town guests is a fantastic way to elapse the time between a San Francisco City Hall Wedding and a nighttime reception at an Antiques store that needs to be flipped after business hours. Sasha and Andrew’s trolley cars had names. Clearly, “Nacho Cheese” trolley was equipped with only the classic, Nacho Cheese flavored Doritos. While, “Cool Ranch” Trolley stuck to its namesake as well. Both cars had coolers full of champagne and hard grape Faygo.

Our first stop was Alamo Square Park with its spectacular view of the painted ladies, and the San Francisco cityscape beyond. We greeted local puppies, gazed at Victorian architecture, sunned our faces. Portraits were made with San Francisco framed by bursts of cypress trees. Sasha’s gold sequined wedding gown threw reflections everywhere. Before we hopped back on the trolley, I grabbed Sasha for a portrait in front of this fantastic basketball mosaic.

Next we drove Westward through the Presidio towards the Pacific Ocean and the Golden Gate Bridge. Trolley stop number two was at Crissy Field where we made a few romantic portraits, and a few goofy ones all with the glory of the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance.

The final stop was at San Francisco’s iconic Palace of Fine Arts. Where we strolled the grounds and admired the flora and fauna… Stick around for the reception at an Antiques shop. You won’t be disappointed.

Ceremony Venue : San Francisco City Hall 4th Floor North Gallery
Reception Venue : Big Daddy’s Antiques
Photographer : Hazel Photo
Florist : Max Gill Design
Wedding planner : Jenni Grubba
Makeup : Kelly Jo Makeup & Hair
Makeup : Kelly Jo Makeup & Hair
Wedding attire : Grooms Suit: Custom, Bride’s gown: Sachin & Babi
Cake : Butter &
Catering : Fogcutter
2nd line Band : MJs Brass Boppers
DJ/Band : Golden Bells Music
Wedding Transport : Hornblower Cable Cars
Photobooth : Pika Pika

 

Part 3 of 4 the Trolley Tour SF City Hall/2nd Line Parade/Trolley Tour/Big Daddy’s Antiques

 


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