St Ignatius Wedding San Francisco

St. Ignatius Cathedral wedding San Francisco – Steff & Quito

This is part 1 of 2 (for part 2 at the Julia Morgan Ballroom click here)

St. Ignatius Cathedral is a stunning building. It’s perched atop one of San Francisco’s numerous hills, so tall you can see it from much of the city. Grandeur is really the right word for St. Ignatius. (Exhibit A: see the photograph of Steff & Quito with St. Ignatius and its towers in the background).

This was a themed wedding: there were details woven throughout the day that referenced the short film “Paperman.” It was no surprise that the wedding was themed, because Steff is a multi-talented costume-designer who has a strong presence on the cosplay scene. She was behind much of the design: her bouquet of roses with a paper airplane marked by a lipstick kiss, the newspaper-themed wedding program, and the color scheme — a sea of black and white, from black tuxes to black oxfords to Steff’s white wedding gown, and then the pop of bright red lipstick on her lips.

Steff & Quito met at University of San Francisco (USF), so this was a return to roots. Quito actually attended St. Ignatius when they were undergrads. We made portraits on the USF campus, where they first fell in love, and up on Lone Mountain with sweeping views of the city. Then we headed across town to the Julia Morgan Ballroom.

I love the photograph of the two of them in the back of the car swallowed in the volume of her dress.

(for part 2 at the Julia Morgan Ballroom click here)

For Part 2 at the Julia Morgan Ballroom, 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



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



How much does wedding photography cost in the San Francisco Bay Area?

Here are some of the things that helped me to think through hiring my own wedding photographer…

Wedding photography is a luxury, but so is almost everything about a wedding. The weird thing about the photography is that it lasts longer than the dress, steak, wine, cake, music, etc. etc. Eventually, what the photographer saw can overtake other memories. So weird! Anyway. It is important! 

One way to think about it is that you are commissioning an artist to make a body of work about you, your love, your family, and your friends. For many people this is one of the only times in their lives they will commission an artist to make work for them.

Wedding photography cost varies by market. I might have expensive taste, but one woman I talked to quoted me 10k for her bare bones package. WTF?! That is over the top. Up to 6k seems within reason in more expensive cities. Anything under 3k, you are working with someone who is either, in a market with very very cheap living expenses, is an unrealistic business person, is a bad photographer, is just starting out, or some combination of these things. 

Important questions to consider when hiring a photographer:

Do we trust this person? Is this person actually the photographer who will come on our wedding day? Are they easy to be around? Will they take their commitment to the work seriously? Will they understand what is important to us about our wedding, or do they have their own ideas that they will try to impose? Will this person get along with our guests? What final product are we getting? Do we get all of the high resolution files or do we have to pay for each and every print? Do we want to order prints ourselves? Do we want a professionally produced album? Would we ever get around to making an album ourselves?  

What sort of style does this photographer have? Will they capture us in natural joyful expressions? Are they too focused on making an interesting picture? Are they creative enough with their compositions? Do they take too many pictures of the cake, dress, jewelry, centerpieces? (There is a whole genre that is beholden to blogs like Style Me Pretty. This genre includes a strange amount of product photography along with the traditional coverage.)

So, there’s my two cents.

Also, my cheeky article on why you don’t need a wedding photographer: https://hazelphoto.com/why-you-dont-need-wedding-photographer/


Berkeley Hills Engagement Photos

E and B were willing to meet me early in the morning at Wildcat Canyon for a hike and engagement photo session. I think of this as the Berkeley Hills, even though it’s a teensy bit North of Berkeley. This set is a sunrise engagement session! My absolute favorite. We met early in the morning, and used the delicious soft light coming through the grass, rolling over the hills, emanating from the city below, for our glory. While sunset engagement sessions are also lovely and ubiquitous, they generally involve lots of other people in the scene to avoid. We had a particularly quiet morning, and for much of our hike, there was nobody else in eyesight. The part of the hike up on the ridge line next to the forest was special, lush and new. It was January here in the Bay Area, the rainy season, but we got lucky and had a clear, sunny morning. The rain brought out the green grass and the mushrooms. 


San Francisco Marriage Proposal Photographer

San Francisco Marriage Proposal Photographer – SF MOMA

Kevin found me on yelp, figure that. He told me that he lived with his girlfriend, Maggie, down in San Diego and that they were planning a trip up to San Francisco, and it was going to be quite a trip, because he was hoping they would be engaged on the return flight. We made a master marriage proposal plan to be carried out at the spectacular Battery Godfrey. I sent him a video of exactly where he would stand in front of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge… point there, tap here, kneel there… every detail of the marriage proposal was planned out except for the rain (I hear it doesn’t do that in San Diego.) So it definitely rained. We made a backup master marriage proposal plan at San Francisco City Hall, and Kevin executed it perfectly. I have to say it’s thrilling every time I get to photograph a marriage proposal, and these two were about the nicest giddiest folks you could hope to spend a rainy afternoon photographing. After the proposal at San Francisco City Hall we headed over to SF MOMA for a few more deliriously happy photographs.

marriage proposal photographer san francisco bay area


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