Wedding

A Fall Pennsylvania Wedding at the Historic Washington Crossing Inn ~ Jayvee and Jonathan by Sonya Yruel

It was such a gift to travel from California to the east coast to photograph Jayvee and Jonathan’s destination wedding! The two were wed at a Catholic church in their home state of New Jersey. And their reception was at the historic Washington Crossing Inn, right next to the Delaware river in Pennsylvania. This is the famous historical location where Washington crossed the icy river on Christmas night to surprise British troops and help win the Revolutionary War. The charming colonial buildings perched alongside the river were complimented by the rich tones of autumn.
Jayvee and Jonathan made their own personal history about a year ago this October, gathering their friends and family who traveled from as far as the Philippines, France, and Switzerland. I can see why everyone wanted to be there for their wedding; these two are the perfect compliment to each other! As a wedding photographer, one of the joys of my work is to witness a couple that is truly in love and supportive of each other.

 The bride’s custom-made dress on a hanger as she gets ready, and her portrait once she put her dress on.
 The dress: “My cousin Stefanie “ Tipay” is a fashion designer in the Philippines. She sketched and made the wedding dress for me. The custom-designed wedding dress captured the modern yet classic silhouette with lace and beading details that I had envisioned. The look was completed with a Spanish-inspired mantilla veil with scalloped edges, which I really loved.” – Jayvee

The dress: “My cousin Stefanie “ Tipay” is a fashion designer in the Philippines. She sketched and made the wedding dress for me. The custom-designed wedding dress captured the modern yet classic silhouette with lace and beading details that I had envisioned. The look was completed with a Spanish-inspired mantilla veil with scalloped edges, which I really loved.” – Jayvee

 Jonathan’s sister  Cat  custom made this beautiful wedding invitation suite for us with beautiful calligraphy and vine details.

Jonathan’s sister Cat custom made this beautiful wedding invitation suite for us with beautiful calligraphy and vine details.

 The bride with her bridesmaids in fall colors.
 The groom puts on his burgundy tuxedo and boutonniere.
 Some fall rain as the groom gazes out his hotel window.
 Jonathan looked quite dapper in his burgundy tuxedo, and his groomsmen in navy blue.

Jonathan looked quite dapper in his burgundy tuxedo, and his groomsmen in navy blue.

 A smiling flower girl hold the glass ring box, while wearing a flower crown.
 Jayvee looked stunning in Spanish mantilla veil as she walked down the aisle!

Jayvee looked stunning in Spanish mantilla veil as she walked down the aisle!

 The florals: “I wanted the wedding flowers to be modern, organic and moody to fit the beautiful fall foliage.  Flora  has captured it so well and I was in love with the bouquet!” - Jayvee

The florals: “I wanted the wedding flowers to be modern, organic and moody to fit the beautiful fall foliage. Flora has captured it so well and I was in love with the bouquet!” - Jayvee

 The bride and groom hold hands during the Catholic ceremony.
 “For the wedding ceremony, we incorporated the Filipino wedding rites and symbols: rings and arrhae, candles, veil and lazo. The groom gives the arrhae (made up of 13 gold coins) to the bride, which symbolizes prosperity that the new couple will share. The candles placed on each side of the bride and groom are lighted to embody the presence of God in the union. The veil is pinned on the couple to symbolize clothing of the two as one. Lastly, the lasso or "lazo" is a rope placed around the couple’s shoulders in the form of an "8" (the infinity symbol) to symbolize everlasting union.” - Jayvee

“For the wedding ceremony, we incorporated the Filipino wedding rites and symbols: rings and arrhae, candles, veil and lazo. The groom gives the arrhae (made up of 13 gold coins) to the bride, which symbolizes prosperity that the new couple will share. The candles placed on each side of the bride and groom are lighted to embody the presence of God in the union. The veil is pinned on the couple to symbolize clothing of the two as one. Lastly, the lasso or "lazo" is a rope placed around the couple’s shoulders in the form of an "8" (the infinity symbol) to symbolize everlasting union.” - Jayvee

 The bride embraces her mother-in-law during the Catholic ceremony.
 Advice about planning your wedding from Jayvee: “Involve your family in the process. We had family members who were happy to share their talents to help make our wedding special. The wedding dress, makeup, invitations and coordination were all by family. And we couldn’t imagine our wedding without everyone’s contribution.”

Advice about planning your wedding from Jayvee: “Involve your family in the process. We had family members who were happy to share their talents to help make our wedding special. The wedding dress, makeup, invitations and coordination were all by family. And we couldn’t imagine our wedding without everyone’s contribution.”

 The wedding party takes a stroll in front of the historic stone buildings that sit along the Delaware river at Washington Crossing Park.
 The bridesmaids and bride show off their fall bouquets at Washington Crossing Park.
 The groom and his groomsmen at Washington Crossing Park.
 The bride and groom stroll through the fall leaves by the Delaware river at Washington Crossing Park.
 Jonathan planned to propose to Jayvee on a trip to Spain. He was a bit nervous about her engagement ring setting off the metal detector when going through airport security. Luckily it went through and he proposed to her on a balcony in Mallorca.

Jonathan planned to propose to Jayvee on a trip to Spain. He was a bit nervous about her engagement ring setting off the metal detector when going through airport security. Luckily it went through and he proposed to her on a balcony in Mallorca.

 The bride and groom on the bridge at Washington Crossing Park.
 The bride and groom walk across the bridge over the Delaware river at Washington Crossing Park.
 The groom and bride cross the street through the historic buildings at Washington Crossing Park.
 The bride and groom stop for a portrait and a kiss amongst the fall foliage at Washington Crossing Park.
 The bride and groom in front of their wedding venue the Washington Crossing Inn.
 A portrait of General Washington inside the historic Washington Crossing Inn.
 All the bridal bouquets on the mantle during the wedding reception at Washington Crossing Inn.
 The bride and groom’s wedding reception welcome table with family photos at Washington Crossing Inn.
 The favors: We are such foodies and we wanted our favors to reflect that. So we had  homemade jams  as our favors and we picked Banana Nut Bread and Blackberry Bourbon Vanilla for the adventurous.”

The favors: We are such foodies and we wanted our favors to reflect that. So we had homemade jams as our favors and we picked Banana Nut Bread and Blackberry Bourbon Vanilla for the adventurous.”

 Wedding cocktail hour on the patio in October at Washington Crossing Inn.
 The bride and groom’s entrance to their wedding reception at Washington Crossing Inn.
 The bride and groom’s wedding dinner at the Washington Crossing Inn.
 The bride takes to the dance floor with guests during the wedding reception at Washington Crossing Inn.
 The wedding cake and cake cutlery at the wedding reception at Washington Crossing Inn.
 “I surprised Jonathan with a sushi groom’s cake since we both love Japanese food.  The Gingered Peach Bakery  did such an amazing job with the details, they even had ginger and wasabi on the side!” - Jayvee

“I surprised Jonathan with a sushi groom’s cake since we both love Japanese food. The Gingered Peach Bakery did such an amazing job with the details, they even had ginger and wasabi on the side!” - Jayvee

 Bride and groom cut the cake at their wedding at the Washington Crossing Inn.
 “Our hearts were full and it was one of the happiest and emotional weekends ever! We truly felt the love and warmth of our closest family and friends who traveled from many corners of the world to celebrate with us. It was a time for reconnecting and making memories with our new extended family.” - Jayvee

“Our hearts were full and it was one of the happiest and emotional weekends ever! We truly felt the love and warmth of our closest family and friends who traveled from many corners of the world to celebrate with us. It was a time for reconnecting and making memories with our new extended family.” - Jayvee

Happy Anniversary Jayvee and Jonathan!!

Vendor Love

Planning by the extraordinary Diane of Bustled Events
Venue and catering, Washington Crossing Inn
Wedding invitations designed by the groom’s sister, who is a professional photographer in Raleigh, but also has a background in design: Catherine Nguyen and you can see her madly chic Russian River wedding here.
Florals by Flora
Bride’s custom designed dress, TIPAY
Bride’s shoes, Betsey Johnson
Make-up, Zsa Zsa St. James
Bridesmaid Dresses, RenzBridal
Wedding Cake, Cramer’s Bakery
Groom’s Cake, Gingered Peach Bakery
DJ, DJ Sanchez of M3 Crew
Videography, Solo Koo

Sonya Yruel is a professional wedding photographer, photographing couples in love and families for over 14 years. She’s based in the San Francisco Bay Area, and also travels to destination weddings. Contact Sonya here.

5 Ways to Truly Enjoy Your Wedding Day! by Sonya Yruel

 Bride punches her fist in the air in celebration while groom holds her dress at Auberge du Soleil.

So you’ve been planning your wedding for months, maybe more than a year, and the big day has arrived. All that excitement, anticipation, and let’s be honest, stress, has culminated in this particular calendar day or weekend.

As a photographer, it’s my job to be observational. And I see that jittery excitement when I arrive for the getting ready photos, and I love that energy! And all the while your tables are being set, the alter is being flowered, and the DJ is doing their sound check. However, on a wedding day, some things might not go as planned, sometimes small things, sometimes bigger things. You’ve spent all that time planning and you want it to go perfect! Well as the main observer and documenter of your wedding day (and having been a bride myself), I will say that the most important thing a couple can do on their wedding day, is ENJOY it! Sometimes easier said than done when the worries get in the way, yes? So here are some tips:

1. Eat, drink, and then be married.

Given the morning jitters, some couples forget to eat breakfast or drink water when they are getting ready. You will need that energy to sustain you for a full day, so eat something nutritious and drink plenty of water (ok, now I sound like your mom). Sure, have a toast of champagne, or whiskey, with your bridal party, but some food and hydration go a long way!
Also, I want you to enjoy all the delicious food your caterer is making. After the ceremony we will most likely be taking family photos. So have your caterer put together a sampler plate of the cocktail hour appetizers to bring over to you for some quick bites. This is the time of day when I sometimes see my couples’ energy start to wane, so grab a bruschetta and then let’s go take the couple portraits (the most important photos of the day!).

 Wedding cocktail hour appetizers and signature drinks.

2. Comfortable shoes.

You are wearing your finest on your wedding day. But don’t buy new shoes to go with your stunning dress or suit and never wear them around a bit. Standing in them at a fitting doesn’t count! I love photographing an awesome pair of Louboutins anytime. But if your dogs are barking, chances are, you won’t be having the best time at your wedding! So bring a secondary pair of shoes that are stylish but also comfy, and switch into them after the ceremony. And ladies, I’ll be honest most wedding dresses don’t show your shoes anyways! Also, if your shoes restrict your ability to move and walk, it will limit those amazing photos I am excited to take!

 The bride gets dressed and puts on her shoes while her dog visits. Bride and groom on beach in Cabo at sunset.

3. Rely on your wedding party.

I hope they are not just there to look good! These are some of your best friends, cousins, siblings, etc. These are your people, your entourage. And while they may also look good, don’t hesitate to ask them for help, both before your wedding day and during! The best bridal parties are the ones making sure you have had something to eat and drink, will hold your bouquet, dress train, lip gloss, etc. for you. They will run back to the room to get the forgotten hanky that was your grandma’s, be the first on the dance floor to rally the party, they'll make you laugh when you’re feeling nervous, and grab you a tissue when you need it. Dress needs bustling? They are on it—and don’t forget to practice this with your bridesmaid before the wedding day!

 Bridesmaids apply finishing touches of lipstick to the bride in Cabo San Lucas.
 Bride and groom walk with their wedding party in Walnut Creek, California.

4. Trust your vendors.

You have spent months researching vendors, requesting references, reviewing samples of their work, and meeting with them. And you chose vendors whose work you like, communicate well with you, and who also have personalities that jive with yours. Congratulations, you have now put together your own super wedding team! And the coordinator will be there to oversee them all, so relax and know you’re in good hands with seasoned professionals.

 Wedding vendors and florists prepare the ceremony and reception of the wedding.

5. In the words of Frozen, “let it go!”

This might be the hardest, but most important one of all. There are a lot of moving parts to a wedding, and some things may happen that are unpredictable. But if you roll with it and remember why you are there, who you are getting married to, and that all your favorite people in the world are there to celebrate with you, then this will be one of the BEST days of your life. And as a photographer, I really love capturing my couples when they are having a phenomenal time. Your happiness shines through in the photos, and that is when those magical moments happen!

 Bride and groom run through a sparkler exit at Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach resort.

Sonya Yruel has been documenting weddings for over a decade and she loves seeing her couples having the best day of their lives!
To find out more information about wedding photography services, please contact her here.

Catherine & Jeremy's Russian River Wedding by Sonya Yruel

In honor of their five year anniversary that's just a few days away, I wanted to share a special wedding, with words from the beautiful bride!

 Bride and groom on bridge in Monte Rio, over the Russian River.

How did you pick your venue?

"Nestled in the Russian River Valley’s tiny town of Monte Rio is the Highland Dell Lodge. As most of our friends and family were going to have to travel to the wedding from either the East Coast or elsewhere, we decided to make our wedding a bit of a destination. It’s quiet in Monte Rio. There’s spotty cell service and everyone seems to know everyone else. It’s exactly the sort of place we felt comfortable hosting an intimate wedding (around 90 people). Of course, Herb Loose’s food at the tasting blew us away, so there was that. We were able to rent the entire lodge for the entire weekend for the event. Herb and Ingrid were even kind enough to let us have an Easter egg hunt for the kids the morning after the wedding. It felt like having a wedding at your family’s house."

 Welcome to Monte Rio sign and the Highland Dell Lodge, wedding venue on the Russian River.

How would you describe the style of your wedding?

"Our wedding was truly a unique mix of vintage and modern:  my dress was from a Rivini trunk show and never actually manufactured. My husband's suit was from Decades, the vintage store in the Haight in San Francisco. It's this beautiful sharkskin material from the 1960's, trimmed in black. It caught my eye on a mannequin and by some strange miracle fit him like a glove. He wore it with this tiny ladybug pin his grandmother gave him, and vintage cufflinks from the 1960's"

 Bride’s wedding dress hanging on the historic Rio theater in Monte Rio. Flower girl holding lily bouquet.
 Vintage cufflinks and a vintage sharkskin tuxedo for the groom. At the Highland Dell Lodge in Monte Rio.
 Groom tying bow tie in mirror and wearing vintage sharkskin tuxedo at the Highland Dell Lodge in Monte Rio.

"Jeremy and I are huge fans of costuming from the early years of Mad Men, and thought it would be fun to have a Mad Men inspired wedding."

 Custom screen-printed wedding invitations and the bride’s shoes at the Highland Dell Lodge in Monte Rio.

"Tiny photos of my family and ancestors were printed out and put into little frames that adorned my bouquet. I felt like everyone walked me down the aisle that day."

 The bride carried photos of her family in little picture frames tied to her bouquet. Bride adjusts her veil in the mirror at the Highland Dell Lodge in Monte Rio.
 The bride’s scalloped silk hat and vintage Dior pearl earrings. At the Highland Dell Lodge in Monte Rio, California.

"My mother gave me a beautiful set of double pearls that have been hers for some time. It's a tradition in the family to give pearls to the bride when she gets married. My sister lent me her vintage Dior earrings (she wore them to her wedding over 20 years ago.)"

 Pearls given to the bride by her mother, and a portrait of the bride at the Highland Dell Lodge in Monte Rio.
 The bride and groom’s First Look while the bridal party watches at the Highland Dell Lodge in Monte Rio.

"We couldn't find a wedding band (for me) that fit the idea I had in my head. On a trip to North Carolina we visited Ron at Stonehaven Jewelers and described what I wanted. He created my ring from a sketch at his gallery. I didn't see it until the wedding day. It was perfect!"

 Wedding ceremony programs and wedding rings at the Highland Dell Lodge in Monte Rio.

"We had set up a small table with photos of my ancestors and family where we lit some candles in their honor. Our ceremony was neither strictly Western nor strictly Vietnamese. We took a bit from each and blended them together to make our own unique ceremony."

 During the ceremony the bride and groom visited a table with photos from their family, past and present. At the Highland Dell Lodge in Monte Rio, California.
 You may now kiss the bride. Wedding ceremony at the Highland Dell Lodge in Monte Rio.
 The bride’s lily bouquet with framed family photos tied to it. The bride with the flower girl and ring bearer.

"The bridesmaid dresses were from designer Alfred Sung and all different, but in silhouettes that were true to the era while flattering each woman. I spent months prior to the wedding finding 1960's jewelry for the bridesmaids."

 The bride with her bridesmaids in Monte Rio, California.

"The groomsmen wore Vera Wang black label tuxedos with Goorin Brother hats gifted from the groom."

 The groom and groomsmen take a stroll in front of the Village Inn in Monte Rio.
 The wedding party strikes a pose in front of the historic Rio theater. Portrait of the bride in Monte Rio, California. Shot on film with a Hasselblad 503cw.
 The bride and groom in front of the historic Rio theater and the Highland Dell Lodge in Monte Rio, California.
 The wedding party on the bridge in Monte Rio, over the Russian River. The bride and groom at the Highland Dell Lodge.
 The reception at the Highland Dell Lodge in Monte Rio.
 The appetizers from the Highland Dell Lodge, including beef wellington and asparagus wrapped in prosciutto.

"We had two Mad Men inspired drinks concocted for cocktail hour -- the "Cat-a-tonic" which is a drink with St. Germain that I love. The second was the "Madison Ave:" A Manhattan with gin instead of bourbon, Jeremy's pick."

 Signature cocktail signs and the wedding table settings at the Highland Dell Lodge in Monte Rio.

"The gifts were petit fours from Swiss Colony, the traditional Christmas cakes that Jeremy's family orders yearly."

 Calla Lilly center pieces on vintage plates and petit fours for the wedding guests at the Highland Dell Lodge.

"We brought the cake we had at our City Hall civil wedding, from Tartine Bakery in San Francisco (passion fruit lime Bavarian covered in coconut). It was topped with our custom wedding cake topper made by my Maid of Honor."

 Wedding cake from Tartine Bakery. Wedding reception toasts at the Highland Dell Lodge in Monte Rio.

"I was really nervous before surprising Jeremy with my own rendition of “The Way I Am” by Ingrid Michaelson at the reception. But all went well and I only missed one musical cue when guests were clapping."

 The bride and groom give toast at their wedding at the Highland Dell Lodge in Monte Rio.
 A vintage photo lounge for a wedding at the Highland Dell Lodge in Monte Rio.
 The bride and groom cut their wedding cake and cupcakes for the guests at the Highland Dell Lodge in Monte Rio.

"My maid of honor is devilishly good at baking and decorating chocolate cupcakes. She relented and made beautiful rose cupcakes for our dessert table, which was filled with nostalgic sweets:  carrot cake as the groom's cake (Jeremy's favorite), a jar full of Ghiradelli chocolates from San Francisco where we met, and another jar full of my mother's favorite chocolates, Ferrero Rocher."

 Sweet treats for the guests. A wedding dessert table at the Highland Dell Lodge in Monte Rio.
 The bride and groom’s first dance in the smoke of a fog machine at the Highland Dell Lodge in Monte Rio.
 The groom twirls the bride in Monte Rio, underneath the famous, “Monte Rio Awaits Your Return” sign.

How would you describe your wedding?

"People must say this all the time, but it was the happiest day of my life. It felt amazing to know that I was going to be surrounded by (most of) the people I love. It was an intimate and elegant, but cozy affair, filled with old and new traditions."

Vendor Love (not yet mentioned):

Coordinator:   Diane Wolk of Bustled Events
Hair & Make-Up Stylist:  Melisa Hall
Second Photographer:  Elizabeth Tichenor
Stationary:  Custom designed and silk screened by the bride and groom
Flowers:  From Pro Flower's Bridal division, assembled by bridal party
Officiant:  Bridesmaid Bich-Nga Nguyen
DJ & Lighting:  DJ Quantum of blueEDGE Productions
The Bride's engagement ring:  Cresalia Jewelers
Film Processing:  Photoworks San Francisco

The sketch of the bride's custom ring, by Ron from Stonehaven Jewelery:

IMG_5406.JPG

Lauren & Nate's Elopement at San Francisco City Hall and the Proper Hotel by Sonya Yruel

Having flown in from Denver, I asked Lauren and Nate why they picked San Francisco to get married. Aside from Lauren having once lived here, they picked San Francisco because it was one of their first trips together as a couple. And let's face it, the magnificent architecture of City Hall makes for a pretty amazing wedding backdrop!

I asked them about hitting it off, and they said "it was their strange sense of humor and ability to make each other laugh at absurd things." Truly as we went all over City Hall taking photos, these two were equally romantic as they were silly. The synchronized jump-and-heel-click, that you see below, was all them! They are both easygoing, love hiking, biking, skiing, and good food, so their love connection in the Mile High city with quick access to the Rocky Mountains is a perfect place for them to call home.

And can I please mention how amazing these two looked? I love when couples bring their personal style to shine on their wedding day. Lauren in her colorful floral print dress, red lips, classy updo, and yellow (ahem, Prada) shoes was a knockout. And Nate looked quite dapper in his suit. Both were complimented by bright pops of yellow florals from one of my favorites, Ampersand.

After their ceremony, we walked back to their hotel, the new Proper, which has quite an eclectic and bohemian style, for drinks at their rooftop bar. Later, dinner with some local friends and a luscious tres leches cake from Tartine was the perfect last touch to their amazing day.

 The bride and groom’s first look at the Proper Hotel and walking to the County Clerk’s office in San Francisco’s City Hall.
 The bride and groom on the 4th floor of San Francisco City Hall.

Kathryn & Kyle's San Francisco City Hall Wedding and Intimate Dinner Reception at Trou Normand by Sonya Yruel

The sun was shining in San Francisco for Kathryn & Kyle civil wedding at San Francisco's City Hall this past fall. Their closest friends and family gathered under the rotunda to witness their nuptials. And then later they celebrated at Trou Normand's private patio, an intimate European-style oasis in the midst of the tall buildings of the financial district. The evening sparkled and was a lovely intimate affair. And a big congratulations to Kyle and Kathryn, who recently welcomed their new baby into the world!

City Hall florals by Rae and Rose Floral Co
Reception Venue:  Trou Normand

 The bride and groom arrive at San Francisco City Hall and check into the County Clerk’s Office.
 The bride and groom greet their arriving family and then begin the ceremony at San Francisco City Hall.
 The wedding rings and the civil ceremony at San Francisco City Hall.
 The bride and groom share a kiss and take a group family photo at San Francisco City Hall.
 The groom twirls the bride underneath the rotunda. Bride and groom on the grand staircase.
 The bride’s classic white flower bouquet and a kiss on the 3rd floor balcony of San Francisco City Hall.
 Separate portraits of the groom and the bride at San Francisco City Hall.
 The bride and groom exit San Francisco City Hall.
 The bride and groom walk across the street from San Francisco City Hall and share a kiss.
 The custom menu, napkins, and intimate french-style table settings for the bride and groom’s dinner reception at Trou Normand.
 A wedding cake with a golden gate bridge design. Caligraphy place cards. Candle-lit intimate wedding reception at Trou Normand.
 White and green floral center pieces. The kitchen at Trou Normand. The bride and groom before their wedding dinner reception begins.
 The expecting bride and groom share a moment under a eucalyptus tree at Trou Normand.
 A cozy and elegant intimate wedding reception at Trou Normand.
 Hors d’oeuvres and cocktails as guests arrive at Trou Normand.
 The guests dine at long tables and enjoy charcuterie at Trou Normand.
 The bride toasts her guests at Trou Normand in San Francisco.

Laura and Nick's Elopement at the Marin Civic Center by Sonya Yruel

Laura told me that her love story with Nick crossed an ocean. The spark between them began with a mutual love of music and grew when the two met for the first time in London. Laura had flown there to attend the Tattoo Convention. Over time the two have become each others best friends. She says that their love is that kind of fulfilling love that makes each other the best version of themselves.

It was such a joy to spend the afternoon with these two for their elopement! We headed off to the Marin County Civic Center in San Rafael, for their civil ceremony on the terrace. The building is a stunning work of mid-century architecture by Frank Lloyd Wright. As you glide up the escalator, the building seemingly expands before you. The scalloped repeating balconies were beautiful lines to frame the happy couple!

After their wedding, we headed off the beautiful Marin Headlands, for amazing views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate. Then we headed into San Francisco to Fort Point, for views under the bridge. Then the classic Palace of Fine Arts, and last but certainly not least, a favorite neighborhood, North Beach!

 The escalator ride up to the Marin County Clerk’s office, and filling out the marriage license!
 The engaged couple walks the hallways, meets with the Marin county clerk, and a twirl in front of the circular pool.
 The civil ceremony on the lawn at the Marin County Courthouse.
 Just married! Enjoying the fun Frank Lloyd Wright architecture of the Marin Civic Center.
 The super 60’s style of the Marin Civic Center looks like something from the Jetsons!
 We fell into an episode of Mad Men!

We fell into an episode of Mad Men!

 The skylights and greenery around the Marin Civic Center are such a beautiful backdrop for the newly married couple!
 Absolutely stunning Frank Lloyd Wright architecture! Laura and Nick enjoy a kiss on the balcony.
 The rounded arch was the perfect frame for Laura and Nick as they were exiting the Marin Civic Center.
 The bride’s tattoo from an artist in London, where she met Nick.

The bride’s tattoo from an artist in London, where she met Nick.

 A quick stop in the Marin Headlands for jaw-dropping views of the Bay, the Golden Gate, and San Francisco’s skyline!

A quick stop in the Marin Headlands for jaw-dropping views of the Bay, the Golden Gate, and San Francisco’s skyline!

 The historic Fort Point has beautiful old brick and a fun view of the underbelly of the Golden Gate Bridge. I love how Nick makes Laura laugh!

The historic Fort Point has beautiful old brick and a fun view of the underbelly of the Golden Gate Bridge. I love how Nick makes Laura laugh!

 A stop at one of San Francisco’s historic architectural gems, the Palace of Fine Arts!

A stop at one of San Francisco’s historic architectural gems, the Palace of Fine Arts!

 North Beach has a special place in my heart and in Laura’s too, so this was our last, but not least, scenic stop!

North Beach has a special place in my heart and in Laura’s too, so this was our last, but not least, scenic stop!

Contact Sonya for your elopement in the San Francisco Bay Area!

Lauren & Will's Wedding at the Marin Art & Garden Center by Sonya Yruel

Lauren and Will started out as friends, and despite a first hangout that ended with a piggy back ride gone wrong (hello gash to the forehead and emergency room!), their friendship grew as they worked through three challenging years in their pediatric residencies in Philadelphia. It was Philly where Will proposed to Lauren, on a blustery snowy January day. Both are now pediatricians in San Francisco and are happy to be in the Bay Area where they have a lot of friends and family. But they did bring a little bit of Philly to their wedding; check out the LOVE sign at their reception!

This past spring they were married at St. Anselm Catholic Church in Marin County, California, and celebrated their marriage at the lush greenery and rose garden of the Marin Art and Garden Center. They also incorporated some of Will's family's Jewish faith with the breaking of the glass at the end of their ceremony, and then later dancing a lively hora. These two had so much joy and laughter at their wedding, which I loved photographing!

Marci & Kyle's Radonich Ranch Wedding, Los Gatos, California by Sonya Yruel

Nestled below the Santa Cruz mountains, sits Radonich Ranch, a 100 year old fruit-packing ranch. It's rustic and romantic vibe was the perfect choice for Marci & Kyle's wedding. Kyle had grown up in the mountains of Los Gatos, and had also proposed to Marci there, outside on the deck of their new home. Her engagement ring is a beautiful black diamond, something I rarely see!

Textures of lace, rough ranch wood, with a pop of peachy florals were in perfect harmony on their wedding day. Married under an archway, depicted in a drawing by Marci's grandpa, the Catholic priest agreed to marry them outside, saying that "nature is God's chapel." The couple and their guests dined under eucalyptus trees that swayed in the breeze, while the flower girls loved watching the mallard ducks swim by in the pond.

The Ranch feels like a place with a lot of history, and Marci remembered and carried her own history by wearing her maternal grandmother's necklace, and carrying her paternal great grandmother's beautiful handkerchief.

Later after, working the dance floor inside the barn, guests headed to the after party, complete with an Airstream and teepee for late night hanging out and celebrating.

Venue, Catering, & Rentals:  Radonich Ranch
Planner:  Vignette Events
Bride's Dress:  Wtoo by Watters
Hair Stylists:  Friends Faten & Erica from Mona Lisa Salon
Make-up Artist:  Friend Alexis from A Smooth Start
Classic Cars:  From Groom's family business, Springer Auto Restoration
Stationary:  Designed by bride's sister Nicole Pittman & drawing from Grandpa Vascone
Florist:  Wild Child Flower
Cake:  Gayles in Soquel, on the bride's great grandma's cake plate

An Indie Golden Gate Park Wedding in San Francisco by Sonya Yruel

Adrienne and Shannon wanted to have an intimate wedding with their closest family and friends, without all the fuss. Being nature lovers, Golden Gate Park felt like the right place within their city of San Francisco. Summer in San Francisco is not always so warm, but the sun was shining warmly that day! They asked their guests to wear bright colors, and the bride did as well! She created her own wedding dress by upcycling two other dresses into one! She included pockets and a ribbon inside to tie her husband-to-be's wedding band. The result was a beautiful pink ombré design like none other!

Their officiant, Cynthia Gregory, was non-denominational, but they included some older wedding rituals with nod to Paganism, such as a handfasting. The ceremony was held in the Aids Memorial Grove within the park, and was followed by a picnic lunch.

Not only did Adrienne make her dress, but she also made their wedding cake! To date it is one of the best I have tasted! This chocolate stout cake had fresh strawberry buttercream filling and a chocolate buttercream frosting. The couple had collected an assortment of vintage plates to serve up their scrumptious cake.

Thanks to Rock N Roll Bride and Huffington Post Weddings for the features!

Melisa & Laif's Winter Wedding at Old St Hilary's in Tiburon! by Sonya Yruel

When you meet Melisa and Laif, you know that these two have a passion for life that just radiates all around them! They were wed in Old St Hilary's, a little white chapel that sits on a grassy windswept hill overlooking the waters of the Bay and the cityscape of San Francisco. And in that chapel, everyone felt their excitement and love radiating as the two read their vows to each other, and sealed the deal!

The two had met thanks to a vintage cherry red Honda motorcycle named Betty. At the time, Laif was working on bikes at Piston and Chain, a community motorcycle club in San Francisco. A friend who knew Melisa, mentioned her to Laif. The very next day, Laif was helping a friend fix his bike on Divisadero street. He heard the sound of a motorcycle, looked up and saw Melisa riding by on Betty! He found her on Facebook and sent her a message. Not knowing who he was, Melisa almost deleted it....but took another look at his blue eyes in his photo, and decided to respond. They set up a date to go ride their motorcycles together, and soon became inseparable. So of course, some bike riding was necessary activity for their engagement session! And 2 years later after Melisa rode past Laif, the two wed in front of their closest family, friends, and of course Bella, their doggie ring bearer.

Their wedding was filled with all kinds of beautiful moments and super stars that made the day an amazing success! Some say rain on your wedding day is lucky, but truly it is the positive attitudes of the bride, groom, and everyone involved that makes it an amazing:

Despite the rain causing some changes in the plans, Mandy Scott pulled the details of the day together flawlessly. Before the ceremony started, Josh Gronner riffed jolly tunes on the piano, bringing smiles to the guests' faces as they patiently waited. Then Laif broke into an impromptu dance with his mom. One of the bridesmaids, the talented Lena Hall, sang beautifully as Melisa walked down the aisle with her dad. Bella, Melisa and Laif's pooch, obediently padded down the aisle carrying their wedding rings tied to her back. At the reception, Melisa's Uncle Rouben performed a surprise Armenian traditional dance that got everyone on their feet cheering! And later in the evening when the dancing was in full swing, the bride's sister, Cristina Hall, treated everyone to some of her incredible dance moves as a professional flamenco dancer. Guests told Melisa later that it was the most beautiful wedding they'd attended.

Vendor credits:
Coordination:  Mandy Scott Events
Florist:  Green Petal Designs
Getting Ready Hotels:  The Waters Edge & The Lodge at Tiburon
Ceremony:  Old St. Hilary's Chapel
Reception:  Corinthian Yacht Club
Rentals:  La Tavola
Bride's Dress:  Martina Liana
Bride's Necklace:  The famous Jewelia!
Bride's Shoes:  The Seller
Make-up Artist:  Melisa Hall
Hair Stylist:  Kelly Dale as directed by Melisa Hall
Bridesmaid Robes:  Sandy Waters
Groom's Suit:  Jos A Banks
Groom's Shoes:  Allen Edmonds
Groom's Pocket Watch:  An antique Waltham, a gift from the bride.
Stationary & Table Cards:  Designed and printed by the bride
Cake:  Branching Out Cakes
Custom Cake Topper:  Toppers Delight
Officiant:  Bride's Godfather, Tim Hornbecker
Ceremony Piano & Reception DJ & MC:  Josh Gronner
Reception Band:  Jaz Sawyer Group
Ceremony Singer:  Lena Hall
Maid of Honor, Bride's Sister, & Flamenco Dancer Extraordinaire:  Cristina Hall

I asked the bride if she had any advice for couples planning a wedding:

Follow your intuition. Listen to the inner voice that tells you what your truly wanting to do. Also be prepared to see who your true support and friends are. When you least expect it people will show up to love you through the important moments. Those that don't will gradually fade away. Stay close with your partner and listen to each other. Plan slowly and deliberately. Choose Sonya and Mandy as your wedding ninjas! Haha.
It's so important to hire the right people to take care of you on your wedding day. I always strive to do this for my brides. It's not just about the job... it's about loving them through what we do. Mandy did that for me every step of the way. I got to relax and let go because of her. She was truly the biggest gift!
 

It was SUCH an honor to photograph their wedding! These two are creative spirits. Melisa is one of the best hair and make-up artists, in the Bay Area, and also a photographer! Laif is a talented actor (check out his reel), and if your motorcycle breaks down, Laif is your man.

A big thank you to Melissa Campos for your photography assistance and umbrella holding that day!