4th Floor North Gallery San Francisco City Hall Wedding

This is a first for me, but Sasha & Andrew’s wedding was so ridiculously epic that I am breaking it up into 4, yes 4, posts.

We begin at the 4th Floor North Gallery of San Francisco’s City Hall

We continue with a Mardi Gras style 2nd line parade from City Hall accompanied by San Francisco’s New Orleans style brass band MJ’s Brass-Boppers

We continue further with a Hornblower trolley tour of Alamo Square, Crissy Field, and The Palace of Fine Arts.

And we conclude with an incredible feast from Fog Cutter Catering and a raucous dance party with Golden Bell Music at Big Daddy’s Antiques.

Part 1 of 4

4th Floor North Gallery San Francisco City Hall Wedding – Sasha & Andrew

Sasha found me on the internet when she was looking for a wedding photographer. I remember our first conversation clearly. She was driving home from work, and for some reason we had a long exchange about her first week in San Francisco, the nadir/highlight of which was when another driver caught that road rage and threw a strawberry smoothie at her car. Don’t ask why she knew it was strawberry. I couldn’t keep from cackling and I knew instantly that I wanted to work with Sasha and her fiancé, Andrew. Sasha may be a biochemist working in drug development for the time-being, but there is definitely an alternate world where she is killing it on the standup scene. 

One thing that made the planning of this wedding a tiny bit different was that Sasha was hiding a major surprise from Andrew. Okay, jump ahead. It’s a sunny Friday in August, the day of Sasha and Andrew’s wedding. We meet at San Francisco City Hall. Andrew enters from Carlton B Goode Plaza, Sasha from Van Ness. I leave my 2nd photographer with Andrew up on the 4th flour waiting with his back against a column. I hop in the elevator to go meet Sasha to bring her up. The elevator opens, and there she is in this fabulous pink satin dress with a shock of gold sequins from the hip down. And, yes, the dress did have pockets. I had never seem anything like it, and it sparked immediate and lasting joy. Of course Andrew was delighted by Sasha’s dress as well. Just take a look at his face in the first look photos. But, that wasn’t the major surprise.

Skip ahead again. The wedding ceremony was held on the 4th floor of San Francisco City Hall in the North Gallery. An old friend officiated. Sasha and Andrew exchanged vows that made each of them in turn laugh uproariously. At one point Sasha said something along the lines of, “Andrew and I talked about having the wedding in New Orleans, a city we both adore, but here we are in San Francisco. Regardless, Andrew absolutely deserves the biggest brass band in the world” I don’t know what to say about the way the ceremony ended other than, “Some people just know how to smooch in a government building.”

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


OVY Camp Wedding – San Gregorio, California

OVY Camp Wedding – Katelyn & Michael

Early November served up a gorgeous, sunny day for Katelyn & Michael’s OVY Camp wedding in San Gregorio, California. As you wind down the dusty road approaching OVY, you can’t help but get that magical feeling of returning to summer camp. We began with a few getting ready photos at a cabin looking out over the dining hall and ball fields. Katelyn switched out her vintage t-shirt for a two-piece wedding top and skirt with motorcycle boots on bottom. Wedding guests had pitched a tent on the deck which gave the space a communal, sleep-over kind of feeling. Cousins and aunts shared mirrors to put finishing touches on their hair. Michael helped his nephews prepare for their roles in the processional and the ceremony.

The ceremony was held in a hidden redwood grove on a whimsical treehouse-cum-altar, built into the trunks of a cluster of redwoods. As the ceremony began, the sun was high in the sky, but the redwoods filtered the light, and made their special type of magic as they are wont to do. Katelyn & Michael were serenaded by a family band with an acapella rendition of a pop song. Michael and Katelyn read personal vows to each other, and as Katelyn was tearing up, somebody passed a tissue on to the altar to Michael, and rather than pass it along to Katelyn, he dried his own tears, and they both broke into laughter.

Directly after the ceremony, a family friend made a panoramic photograph of all the assembled wedding guests. At the cocktail hour Katelyn and Michael passed out challenge coins with symbols of each of their qualities on opposite sides of a coin. The challenge coins were particularly apt as Michael had served in the Marines, and a few of his fellows were in attendance at the wedding

When the sun got a bit lower in the sky and the light got good and juicy, we returned to the redwood grove for couples portraits. And that, I must say, was some of the most delicious light I have ever encountered. For a moment I worried the drama of the light might overpower Katelyn & Michael, but they held their own without a doubt.

Nieces and nephews blew bubbles, chased each other through the ball field, played soccer and basketball. At dawn dinner was distributed from Lamas, a Peruvian food truck; ceviche, lomo saltado, platanos, all scrumptious. Guests gathered around tables in OVY‘s mess hall

Katelyn comes from a family of old-time musicians with West Virginia roots. A friend called a contra dance while Katelyn & Michael danced with their guests. Then the family band convened: Michael on spoons, Katelyn on Banjo, and her dad on stand up bass. Katelyn’s brother called a square dance. Eventually old- time tunes gave way to pop hits, with an emphasis on 80s and 90s throwbacks. Michael’s father danced with his grown daughters.

Wedding Venue : OVY Camp, San Gregorio
Photographer : Hazel Photo
Florist : Wish Social Events
Catering : Lamas Peruvian
Band : Undone in Sorrow (Katelyn)


“Documentary wedding photography” 7 reasons why this is what you really want.

An emotional first look at a wedding. The groom wipes a tear away. Documentary wedding photography.
  1. You care deeply what it actually felt like to be at your wedding, and so you want wedding photos that convey that feeling. The goal in “documentary wedding photography” is to make images that make you feel what it was like to be at your wedding years after the fact.
Boy in suit and suspenders hugging his daddy's leg at a wedding. Documentary Wedding Photography

2. You want a photo of your best friend doing the worm, of your mom teasing her sister, of your dad hugging you with tears in his eyes, of your niece with that look like she’s plotting world takeover. These are the moments a documentary wedding photographer sees, and immortalizes.

A groom held aloft his cousins' shoulders during a baraat. Documentary Wedding Photography Hazel Photo

3. You want a photographer who has a keen eye for the meaningful gestures, expressions, and details that tell the larger story. A documentary wedding photographer spends years honing the ability to see the unexpected, to frame things just right, so the viewer is compelled by the photograph, and understands the scene.

a little girl in a white dress with a white basket and a bright pink troll, sticking her tongue out and observing it all on a wedding day. Documentary wedding photography.

4. You don’t want your photographer to tell you to have a second first look. One is overwhelmingly wonderful. Also, hold on a sec, how in the world can you have a second first look? This speaks to the authentic manner in which documentary wedding photographers work.

a groom and his father share a hug at the hotel before heading over to the church for the wedding. Documentary wedding photography

5. You want pictures that make you feel seen. A documentary wedding photographer can make photographs that compliment the principles that guided you when you were planning your wedding. (whether you sat down and wrote out official guidelines with your fiancé, or you just have a general sense of what you were about during the planning.) Unfortunately some wedding photography doesn’t see you for who you are, and ends up being more a photographer’s idea of what a “romantic wedding” should look like.

a Bride reading a letter from her groom before the wedding surrounded by bridesmaids and mom. Documentary wedding photography

6. You don’t want a photography company that takes over with multiple cameras, and blocks your guests’ view, and makes it feel like a photoshoot, not like an authentic event. In “documentary wedding photography” the goal is to let the wedding be what it is, rather than to step in and change it.

7. You like the color of your dress and the florals you chose, and you want them to be true to life in the pictures. The style of a documentary wedding photographer can be carried into processing images after the wedding day with the goal of reproducing beautiful faithful color. Some wedding photography is significantly altered in processing, whether that be desaturation, color grading, or excessive retouching. 


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