Magical Castle Wedding in Southern California- San Diego Wedding Photographer

Who:Daniel and Joy

Where: The Westgate Plaza. St. Michaels Church, Mt. Woodson Castle

When:August 20th 2018

What: getting ready, church wedding, cocktail hour and reception

This gorgeous wedding day was truly magical from start to finish! The day was an absolutely perfect San Diego day! It started out cloudy as I arrived at the ornate Westgate Place hotel in downtown San Diego! What a perfect place to get ready. The atmosphere was so calm and the bride radiant. I enjoyed capturing both Joy and than Daniel as they prepared for their day. We than headed over to St. Michael’s Church, a stunning place for an afternoon wedding! The rest of the party took place at Mt. Woodson Castle in Ramona, California. It was my first time shooing at Mt. Woodson and I was instantly in love. The entire place is a photographers paradise and we had so much fun during couples photos incorporating their venue and capturing their obvious connection. The reception was full of sweet moments and I welcomed every minute of it.

Some definitely highlights: Joy’s dress was handmade by her sister and it was the most exquisite dress. The bride played piano beautifully and serenaded us all in the lobby at the Westgate. The groom was a wonderful singer and sang to his new bride during their reception! The first dance was to “a tale as old as time” which was absolutely perfect for this wedding day.

Thank you Joy and Daniel for choosing me to capture your day, what a privilege!

Thank you to all the fabulous vendors!

Gown: Tanada Couture

Makeup and Hair: Natural Beauty Bar

Church: St Michael’s Church

Venue: Mt. Woodson Castle

Videographer: Current Films

Bakery: Flour Power

Florals: Organic Flora

Catering: Personal Touch Dining

Dreamy Coronado Beach Engagement Session- San Diego Wedding Photographer

What: Sunny Engagement Session on the beach in Southern California

Where: Windandsea Beach in La Jolla, CA

Who: Daniel and Joy

I was connected with Joy and Daniel a few months before their wedding day and I was SO excited when it worked out for me to shoot their wedding. After chatting a bit on the phone I was really looking forward to their engagement session. We chose to go to a grove of eucalyptus trees tucked into La Jolla near the ocean. From the start I was just in heaven capturing their genuine connection. Afterwards we headed down to do the majority of our session at my favorite beach spot, Windandsea. The waves are so smooth their and the rocks add so much texture and beauty to the images.

As we talked and got to know each other even more I was captured by these two and their down to earth personalities that made shooting them so easy. What a prefect beach engagement session!

Congratulations you two!

Should We Do a First Look?

One of the many questions I get asked from brides and grooms is, “should we do a first look?” Some couples already know what a first look is and they just can’t decide if its right for them. Others have heard of it but don’t even know how it would effect their wedding day, pictures and the moments they want captured.

Lets dive in to a first look and answer all the questions you might have so that you can make a decision thats right for you, so first….

  1. What EVEN IS a first look?

Before we start on the benefits and drawbacks of doing one, we need to know what it is! Traditionally, the couple would not see each other before the wedding, the first time would be walking down the aisle and all the formal pictures would be taken afterwards. I am not a historian and I have no idea who came up with the idea of doing it differently but behold we now have a new common trend. The first look is the concept of setting up a private or mostly private time that the couple will see each other BEFORE the ceremony. After getting ready and usually set up by the photographer or coordinator, the bride walks out toward the groom and they share a private moment. After that there is time to do couples portraits, bridal party portraits and sometimes even the family portraits all before the ceremony even takes place.

first look

2. What are the benefits of doing a first look?

Let me just say right off the bat that I am not a proponent one way or the other for first looks at weddings. I can see how they are right for one couple and not for another, but there is no denying some benefits that it can have on your wedding day.

- Removes nerves and gives you a quiet space to see each other without everyone watching.

- Creates an opportunity to recite private vows to one another if doing that in front of a crowd is uncomfortable for you.

- Possibly gives you more time to do portraits if you have a later ceremony or packed after ceremony schedule.

- Gives you time to enjoy your cocktail hour and spend more time with guests.

As you can see there are many benefits for some couples to doing a first look! However, just like each individual wedding is unique so is each individual couple and some may feel like the negatives outweigh the positives…

3. So… what are the drawbacks of a first look?

I am the first to admit that I am a huge sucker for seeing the faces of the bride and groom as they see each other as she walks down the aisle. I won’t lie and say I haven’t shed my share of awkward wedding photographer tears as I see the look of wonder on the grooms face for the first time. On top of that I am a bit of a traditional gal and I just love the emotion of not doing a first look. I will say that the reasons for doing a first look are more practical and the reasons for not are more emotional, but on a wedding day emotion reigns supreme so either is a valid choice! So what are some benefits of keeping it old school and not doing one?

- Can add emotion that wouldn’t be quite as strong to walking down the aisle for some couples.

- Can give you a more intimate portrait time with all the stress from the ceremony being over.

- Keeps with tradition which may be important to some couples.


4. Is there such thing as a partial first look?

A good alternative if you don’t know what to choose is to do a partial first look. This can be done in many ways! For some that means a first look with dad, for others that means praying or talking beforehand while being next to each other but not actually seeing each other, or it could be as simple as chatting on the phone beforehand. If time is your concern than choosing to do all family formals beforehand besides the ones that include both the bride and the groom can be helpful as well!


5. What shouldn’t influence our decision?

I love the idea of thinking of others, in fact I think that should be a hallmark of the life we live BUT I don’t think choosing a first look should be based on how it effects friends and family. I often hear from the couple that they don’t like their guests to have to wait but I would argue that nobody minds. Your wedding day should be about you, that may sound selfish but it isn’t. Marriage is a big deal and your wedding day is the beginning of that. Whatever you decide about a first look should be primarily about what is most beneficial to you as a couple. I have had many couples that had beautiful first looks and would have been stressed out to do it any other way, but I have had others that wanted to keep seeing each other as a surprise and a first look would have ruined that.

6. Who can help us make the decision?

Your wedding coordinator and wedding photographer should both be able to help you think about pros and cons and help you decide what you would like to do. Neither decision is wrong and talking through it with someone who has experience can help take the stress out of the choice! Either way your wedding will be a day to celebrate the start of the two of you so make that the focus!

Gorgeous Laguna Mountains Engagement Session- San Diego Wedding Photographer

What: Engagement session at Mt. Laguna

Who:Katherine and Jesse

When: Sunday, September 30th

Ive known Katherine for many years. I think the first time I met her it was about 6 years ago. She was barely a teenager and from the minute I met her I loved her.

I’m a mom of four kids and for those of you that have kids you know that there us a special joy in knowing someone that loves your kids and treats them like humans. Katherine is such a person. For a time she would come to my house while I homeschooled my older kids and she would watch my littles. She has always shown such love for my oldest daughter and even as she grew older when most teenagers would have thought it wasn’t cool to hang with little kids, she continued to be the same. Fast forward to now. Katherine is a gorgeous, kind, fun, and fabulous young woman. I knew the guy who would snag her would have to be pretty great,

The day of this gorgeous engagement session was cloudy and I was a tad disappointed to have no sun at all, normally I love a cloudy session but Jesse was really hoping for the sun and I do like me some sunlight filtering through pine trees!

From the start I knew Jesse was a winner. Funny and gentle and extremely mature, I was impressed from the get go. We talked about how we wished the sun would come out and as we traipsed through the mountains we started to see evidence of the clouds pouring down rays of light. By the time we were finished we had gorgeous sunlight and this couple was so easy to capture. You can’t fake that stuff guys! It was really me just sitting back and documenting what came so easily to them.

Congratulations sweet Katherine and Jesse. May your marriage be filled with the same joy and laughter that you brought to our session and may you cherish each other in the same way even after one hundred years.


Cloudy Summer Wedding- San Diego Wedding Photographer

Who: Jim and Dana

Where: Tom Ham’s Lighthouse

What: Getting ready, First Look, Portraits, Cermemony, and a reception all at a gorgeous downtown venue facing the beautiful San Diego skyline and bay.

When: July 27th, 2018

I was contacted by Dana and Jim months before their wedding and I was SO excited when they chose me to capture their wedding day. The first time I met them was the day of their wedding, a gorgeous, partly cloudy day. Dana was the picture of peace and calm when I first walked into the getting ready room. I knew at that moment the day was going to be wonderful! The first look was sweet and simple and the following ceremony was filled with sweet words and some tears.

During our portrait time it was clear to me that their was a sweet connection and affection between these two! It was so easy for me to capture this in each of their images.

Once the reception began their was so much fun to be had. One thing that stood out to me from the moment the reception began was that Dana and Jim were together the entire night, they spent time dancing, greeting guests and just enjoying their moment. Dana surprised her guests by putting on a tradition Korean wedding dress complete with head dressing!

Dana and Jim, I pray you have a beautiful marriage full or laughter, forgiveness, and joy! A huge congratulations to you both and THANK YOU for allowing me to be apart of your most special day!

Carlsbad Crossings Wedding- San Diego Wedding Photographer

Who: Natalie and Bryce

What: Getting Ready, First Look, Formal Portraits, Ceremony, Cocktail Hour, Golden Hour Portraits, Reception

Where: The Crossings at Carlsbad

When: July 7th, 2018

I first met Bryce and Natalie at their engagement session at Wind and Sea Beach in La Jolla, Ca. When they showed up Bryce was pretty sick but they had driven down from another state and decided to go along with the session. This is when I knew that this couple was fabulous. despite being sick Bryce was a blast. The laughter and silliness at this session was such a treat.

Fast forward to their wedding day, and I was SO excited. The day began with a relaxing getting ready session filled with sweet moments from the bridesmaids and my second shooter hung with the guys! The first look was definitely one for the ages! Bryce and Natalie opted to do traditional vows during their ceremony and chose to do private, personal vows during the first look. Its moments like these when I just can’t believe I get to be a witness to these kinds of amazing moments. After some portraits the ceremony began which was filled with laughter and stories about this sweet couple. Its such a joy to get a peek into peoples love stories and hear from loved ones how they first connected.

Its a wedding photographers dream when you get to do not one but two portrait sessions! The Crossings at Carlsbad does not disappoint when it comes to beautiful sunset locations. I love this time after the wedding when all the stress is gone and we can all just relax into what just happened. So much joy!

To end the night I got to capture such a fun reception! I don’t think I have ever seen such a lively group of dancing, laughing and fun!

Bryce and Natalie, what a true joy that I got to capture your day! THANK YOU for allowing me to be there and for letting me step into your story for this fabulous day. I wish you the most beautiful marriage filled with joy and silliness. Congratulations!

Thank you to all the wonderful vendors!

Venue: The Crossings at Carlsbad

Makeup: Jessie Lauren

Florals: Urban Garden

DJ: Dancing DJ Productions

Videographer: Black Canyon Cineworks

Dress: Uptown Bridal

Suit: Nick’s Menswear

Rachel Dale
Sunny Coronado Beach Wedding- San Diego Wedding Photographer

Who: Laura and Matt

When: June 8th, 2018

Where: The Island Club

What: Getting ready, Ceremony, Formal Portraits, Cocktail Hour, and Recption

I can’t do my job without the help of so many fabulous vendors! Thank you all for making this day even better!

Venue: Island Club

Florals: Thistle Dew Florals

Hair and Makeup: A Toast to Beauty

Videographer: Lloyd Films

DJ: Matt Commerce

Desserts: Twin Treats

Coordinator: Bliss Events

La Jolla Engagement Session- WIndandsea Beach

I met Laura and Matt several months ago, we sat down for coffee and we chatted about their upcoming wedding. When they chose me to shoot their wedding next year in June I was overjoyed. The love these two have for each other flows forth in their images and I am so excited to continue on this journey with them.

Our engagement session was the perfect blend of clouds and wind and is definitely one of my favorites to date! I hope you enjoy looking at it as much as I enjoyed shooting it!