Julia Morgan Ballroom Wedding

Julia Morgan Ballroom wedding – Steff & Quito

(This is part 2 of 2. To begin at the beginning head here for the wedding ceremony at St. Ignatius cathedral.)

Steff & Quito’s wedding reception was held at the Julia Morgan Ballroom. The dinner & toasts portion of the evening was upstairs, in the ballroom itself. Dancing followed downstairs in the Merchants Exchange Club (a kind of basement speakeasy).

We began the reception with portraits of Steff & Quito and their wedding party in the grand lobby of the Merchants Exchange Building and the balcony that looks out over the lobby. The lobby is a lofted winter garden of sorts, with gorgeous arched skylights and illuminated busts of early San Francisco luminaries looming down from the walls. Steff & Quito were a combination of complete class and utter goofball. I see both qualities in most of the photos.

The cocktail hour was hosted in the elegant bar adjacent to the Julia Morgan Ballroom. Steff & Quito’s epic engagement photos were on display. Obviously, they were also themed: Dragon Ball Z (see the “Paperman” theme described in Part One). The two made self-portraits with Dragon Balls in The Philippines, Korea, Japan, Hawaii, Death Valley, and in the very elevator on the USF Campus where they first met.

The Paperman theme also continued at the Julia Morgan Ballroom. There were paper airplanes tucked everywhere, including in the florals on the mantles and on each dinner plate.

That night, the moon was so bright that its light joined the lights of the city through the windows of the Julia Morgan Ballroom. There’s a portrait of Steff and Quito with the moon above, making a cameo.

The father of the bride and the father of the groom worked the ballroom together, distributing cigars to wedding guests. Meanwhile, downstairs at the Merchants’ Exchange Club, “Paperman” was playing on a big screen, cocktails were being shaken, carnival masks imported from Manila were being distributed, and the DJ was beginning to lay down tracks. Of course Steff, the costume designer, was going to have an outfit change before it was time to dance. Instead of a traditional bouquet toss, Steff launched a paper airplane with a bright red kiss mark, as in the short film.

Then there was a money dance with currencies from around the world, and an impromptu conga line formed.

To see photos from the wedding ceremony at St. Ignatius click here.

Ceremony Venue : St. Ignatius Parish, San Francisco
Reception Venue : Julia Morgan Ballroom
Photographer : Hazel Photo
Florist : Wish Social Events
Bride’s dress : Steff Von Schweetz
DJ : Quan Zou Blue Edge Pro
Cake : Cafe Madeleine
Catering : Julia Morgan Ballroom
Band : Joyous Lee


University Club San Francisco Wedding

Here are a few moments from Elise and Lionel’s University Club of San Francisco wedding that have stuck with me months after their wedding day:

Elise sitting on the bed reading one last love note before her betrothal. It was clear this was neither the first nor the last love note Lionel would write to her.

Elise’s mother weaving the long white veil into her daughter’s hair in that sweet window light.

The luminous red satin map of the world sewn into the interior of Lionel’s custom tux, hinting at the further travels they would make around the world.

The glorious train of Elise’s dress everywhere: as she walked upstairs to meet Lionel at the landing for their first look, then as we walked down the streets of Nob Hill to make portraits, and trailing behind her as she was escorted to the altar by her father.

Their nerves before the ceremony, the particulars of his comforting way, a window into their complimentary natures, the peace and the strength of their life together.

His epic vows full of poetry, as if he had dreamed of reading vows to his beloved all his life, and here he had arrived, there she was, and his words flowed forth.

His niece, the flower girl, her sweetness, her skepticism about this new temporary world the adults have made i.e. the wedding.

The sweet moment they shared in the last light in the University Club’s library after they had been wed.

Her father toasting them, the immediacy of his charisma, and the mirth that flowed into the room.

The University Club’s stunning picture windows revealing the San Francisco skyline, the triangle of the Transamerica building piercing through the fog.

San Francisco’s characteristic purple sunset in the moment when the fog retreated.

Venue : University Club San Francisco
Photographer : Hazel Photo
Florist : Beth Covey-Snedegar Sassy Diva Designs
Wedding planner : Beth Covey-Snedegar Sassy Diva Design
Hair : Stylebee
Makeup : Ashley Lentz Ash’s Lashes
Cake : Two Chicks in the Mix
Catering : University Club San Francisco
Band : Musicians League



A Stern Grove Wedding at the Trocadero Clubhouse in San Francisco

Laura & Matt – A Stern Grove Wedding at the Trocadero Clubhouse in San Francisco

Laura & Matt were married on a dynamic San Francisco day at Sigmund Stern Grove in the Sunset District. The wedding venue is nestled in a forested valley. The Trocadero Clubhouse, A Victorian Inn built in 1892, a small lake, and a redwood grove are surrounded by hills of swaying eucalyptus. The valley has a magical feeling as if at any moment a benevolent elf might just wander out of the woods.

I often meet clients about a month before their wedding day to talk through timeline details, game plan, and get excited together. I remember Laura & Matt came to talk to me at my spot in the Inner Sunset. When I asked them how planning was going, they tag-teamed the answer to my question. It was striking how well they seemed to be communicating and working as a team.

Their wedding was a DIY affair, of which, I have seen my fair share. And, I have to say that it was the tightest DIY wedding I think I’ve ever attended. There was a bit of time pressure to flip the dinner tables in the Trocadero Clubhouse and decorate them with florals between family pictures and the ceremony, but a team comprised of family made fast work of it. Laura & Matt had delegated well, and they both seemed relaxed, and confident that their families would pull it off.  

Our couples portraits were particularly memorable. We walked over to the amphitheater where the Stern Grove music festival takes place, and found some lovely light on an elevated walkway. Matt let his hair down, and magic was made instantly.

During the ceremony the redwood grove made for a serene hidden-away feeling. Laura & Matt entered together hand-in-hand with the long train of Laura’s dress sliding over the redwood duff. I loved the shock of color in the pastor’s robes, and the sweet, diffuse angular light falling over the whole scene.

As the night grew long, Korean Tacos from Koja were savored, a series of riotous toasts were made, and a few old college traditions were revisited. The crowd was certainly “good craic” as the Irish say.

Many thanks to Small Shindigs for keeping everything running smoothly.

Venue : Sigmund Stern Grove & Trocadero Clubhouse
Photographer : Hazel Photo
Florist : Petals
Wedding planner : Brenda – Small Shindigs
Hair : Zip Zap Hair
Makeup : Jelise Baires
Cake : Whole Foods and Mariposa Bakery
Catering : Koja Kitchen food truck, appetizers from Cafe La Mediterranee
Officiant : Reverend Eric Metoyer


Burning Man Meets Jewish Summer Camp Wedding – Johanna & Phil

Part 2:
(to start with part 1 click here.)

Yes, “Burning man meets Jewish summer camp” was how Phil succinctly described his and Johanna’s wedding in their introductory podcast! (See Part 1).

After the kiss, wedding guests were lead from the chuppah to the camp mess hall by a pair of musicians. On arrival at cocktail hour, they were greeted by groomsmen in Chippendales vests serving cocktails. Glittery face paint was generously distributed (see? Burning Man!).

A candlelit dinner at long banquet tables and a host of memorable toasts were followed by a surprise birthday celebration for Johanna’s dad’s 70th.

Photographing a hora under the stars comes with its challenges, but I had a bevy of off-camera-flashes set up, and I’m thrilled with the result (see?  Jewish Summer Camp!)

The action was nonstop. A choreographed flash mob was led by the groom’s niece, and the groomsmen led a second choreographed dance. A spontaneous limbo formed on the dance floor.

As the night drew long, Phil was treated to an epic chair dance.

Johanna forced a unicorn piñata into submission, showering the dance floor with candy.

Unbelievably, there were another two DJ sets still to come after I finished up my coverage!

Venue : Camp Navarro
Photographer : Paul Gargagliano – Hazelphoto
Wedding dress : Leanne Marshall
Suit : Knot Standard
Florist : Morgan Johnson
Wedding planner : Sonya Houston – Mendocino Wedding
Hair and makeup : Jordyn Condit- Mendo Bridal Beauty
DJ and/or band : Ashleyanne
Cake : Shani’s Sweet Creations
Catering : Camp Navarro
Invitations: Minted
Officiant : Ilyse Magy


San Francisco City Hall Wedding Photographer

San Francisco City Hall Wedding Photography Packages:

III $2200

4 hours of coverage from Paul, San Francisco City Hall, and up to two other locations in the city. This can be good for a small reception at a nearby restaurant.

II $1700

3 hour hours of coverage from Paul, San Francisco City Hall and one other location: Golden Gate Bridge Overlook / Land’s End / Crissy Field / Golden Gate Park / Tank Hill / Grandview

I $900

1.5 hours of coverage from Paul, San Francisco City Hall only.

All Packages include:

{ Wedding planning phone consult

{ Proofing gallery

{ High-resolution downloads of files.


St. Helena Wedding – Napa Valley

Intimate wedding in St. Helena, Napa Valley, California

B & K were married on a storybook sunny April day in St. Helena in California’s Napa Valley. The poppies were out. The wisteria was out. The rows upon rows of grapevines looked lively and healthy. 


This was an intimate wedding, just immediate family and a pair of friends in a glorious backyard with vineyards and mountains as a backdrop. 


After the ceremony, we headed over a few blocks to Downtown St. Helena for the wedding reception at the incredible Charter Oak Restaurant. After the meal, we headed out to play with sparklers in the balmy night. 


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