Beltane Ranch Wedding Sonoma, California

Beltane Ranch Wedding Sonoma, California – Cat & Ross

Cat & Ross were married at Beltane Ranch in Glen Ellen, California on a gobsmackingly beautiful April day. They opted for an elopement with only family in attendance. Over the weekend I was able to get to know them and their families a bit, especially so as I also photographed their rehearsal dinner at Round Pond Estate the night before. Both nights were celebrations of love, of course, but also of food, as Cat and Ross have a bit of a flare for the gastronomic. But, I’m getting ahead of myself here.

The truly remarkable thing that happened on that Saturday in April in Glen Ellen California under a live oak tree overlooking a vineyard, is that time came to a standstill. The wedding ceremony was proceeding as planned. Ross’s mother led him to the altar. Cat’s father led her to Ross. Ross’s brother, the officiant, spoke eloquently. Cat’s mother shared a reading. The wind rustled the ribbons tied to the chairs, and the leaves of the oak overhead, and all of the rows of grapevines beyond out into the horizon. And then Cat produced a small notebook and began to read her vows. Like that. Time stopped. It was everything I could do to continue making photographs. Cat’s words demanded the attention of all present, Ross, her family, the old ranch house, the chef, the farm kitten, but also, the clouds, and all of creation. I had never experienced anything quite like that before.

It feels strange to go on, but one must. We all found our legs again, and the two recessed down the aisle, husband and wife. Champagne was poured, toasts were made, hugs were dispensed with abandon. The sun began to reach for the horizon. Cat and Ross shared a first dance under the oak tree to the dulcet tones of a string trio.

Dinner was served at a long table flanked by heat lamps overlooking the vineyards. This wedding may only have had 10 guests in total, but there were seven courses on the menu. Wines from Sonoma Valley were poured to pair with each course. When golden hour struck, Cat, Ross and I hopped in an ATV with Lauren from Beltane, and headed off to the rolling hills of vineyards to make a few portraits. When we returned we were graced with an absolutely spectacular sunset to close out the night

Venue : Beltane Ranch
Photographer : Hazel Photo
Hair and Makeup : Ashley Jensen
Wedding attire : Grooms Suit: Jojayden, Bride’s gown: Jenny Yoo
Cake : Bouchon
Catering : Beltane Ranch
DJ/Band : BellaRosa String Quartet
Wine : Schramsberg , Davies Vineyard


San Francisco meets New Orleans 2nd Line Wedding

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

To begin at the beginning click here.

San Francisco meets New Orleans 2nd Line Wedding – Sasha & Andrew

So… when Sasha and Andrew threw open the front doors of San Francisco City Hall to the sunlight, there was a full on New Orleans style 2nd line with a 7 piece brass band awaiting them (the fantastic MJs Brass Boppers.) A friend reached into her coat and magically revealed a pair of decorated Mardi Gras umbrellas. One of my favorite photos from the day happened when Sasha’s veil blew over Andrew’s face during those first moments of extreme joy as they held each other very tight and attempted to somehow parade down the street at the same time. Somebody distributed these sweet white handkerchiefs printed with a private joke of a dapper frog for the waving. Eventually the party wove its way past the War Memorial Court, through Hayes Valley, to a side street, where we danced for a few more minutes before boarding a pair of Hornblower trolley cars. So, even though they didn’t get to have their wedding in New Orleans, Sasha and Andrew still had a big brass band, they still had Mardi Gras umbrellas, and they still got to 2nd line through the streets of Hayes Valley.

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


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)


Brazilian Room Wedding – Brunch Style

Brazilian Room Brunch Wedding – Emily & Ben

On their wedding day Emily & Ben met me early in the morning at Berkeley’s Brazilian Room for a few couples portraits before their guests arrived. A low hanging dense fog made Tilden Park feel like a cloud forest. The Brazilian Room seemed like a mountain inn looking out over the foggy valley below. Fog makes for some of the dreamiest most flattering light. Lucky for me, we get lots of dreamy fog light here in the bay area.

Speaking of Tilden park, Emily & Ben love the place so much, they named their dog Tilden.

This was definitely a feminist wedding through and through, which always makes my heart sing. For the ceremony they opted to have no center aisle, and walked in from either side flanked by both of their parents. A friend officiated, and they signed a mutual contract before smooching.  

Though this was a brunch wedding, there was definitely a cocktail hour. The sun emerged from the clouds making it warm enough for guests to enjoy all the lawn games that been laid out: frisbee, and cornhole, and horseshoes etc. At one point some of the wedding party tapped me on the shoulder to invite me to photograph their human pyramid. This was a playful bunch.

After cocktail hour, guests gathered in the Brazilian Room for brunch: waffles, berries, quiche, omelettes, and bacon included. Toasts and dancing followed with a fire in the fireplace, and large french windows letting lots of light in.

One of my favorite moments of the day was when danced with grandma who is blind. The pleasure in both their faces as they did this improbable beautiful thing.

Ceremony Venue : Tilden Park
Reception Venue : Brazilian Room
Photographer : Hazel Photo
Florist : Ashby Flowers, Berkeley California
Cake : James and the Giant Cupcake
Catering : The Arlington


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



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