Whitney and Doug had a perfect autumn wedding at Viansa Winery, the quintessential wine country wedding reception venue with acres of vineyards and grapes ready to burst, the golden sun setting behind the hills during the ceremony as the full harvest moon rose in the vineyard at cocktail hour. Highlights in their Love Story: The groom's son wore the wolf costume in the processional as a surprise to the guests that made everyone smile. When we did their formal wedding portraits in the vineyard, the full moon rose up above the hills with the sunset's light still glowing, a photographers dream! At the end of the night, Doug got onstage for an impromptu song for his new wife Whitney covering "Brown Eyed Girl" (I found a great cover to go with their Love Story!) Thanks to Laura Fraize and Brooke Altman, wedding planners at Viansa, Thomas Hughes Films, Wine Country Flowers, Susie Q. Cakes and the band the rocked the house Hip Service.
I flew from San Francisco for Natalie & Daniel's wedding in Naples, Florida. I love shooting in southwest Florida as I get to see my parents in Sarasota as well and soak in the humidity and warmth for a week. Packing a 43 pound photography gear bag to just fit in the overhead has become an art as a destination wedding photographer!
On the wedding day, Natalie and her bridesmaids got gorgeous at The Ritz Carlton Naples Beach Resort. The girls slipped into in their deep violet dresses from Alvina Valenta and Badgley Mischka. The colors of eggplant and orange for the bridesmaid's bouquets were perfectly autumn themed from 50-Fifty Creative Floral. Gift bags with water, maps and goodies were distributed to the guests from the Wedding Paper Divas. Natalie shimmied into her gorgeous wedding dress from Monique Lhullier with a lovely floral detail on the waist sash. Across town Daniel and his men got shined up at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort. About 250 guests gathered poolside at the Kensington Country Club, and Natalie's eye's filled with tears as her father walked her down the aisle, and Daniel shed a tear or two as well. When the ceremony ended, the bride and groom did a 'jumping of the broom', an African wedding tradition that represents the joining of two families and the couples new home together.
The reception tables were filled with flowers with fall colors of eggplant, sage green, chocolate brown and orange from 50-Fifty Creative Floral. Their wedding cake from Dominique's Couture Cakes was magnificent (and delicious with the couple's favorite red velvet on the inside), with a lovely jeweled initial cake topper as a finishing touch to look like a piece of antique jewelry. As a surprise to their guests and a nod to Natalie's heritage (her father is Armenian), belly dancers from Gypsy Sugar gyrated and fan-danced to traditional Middle Eastern music. The videography was provided by Captiva Video of Ft Myers. The couple and guests got low, low, low on the dance floor and shimmied to hip hop and classic r&b until midnight. Wedding planner Milda Vaivada did an excellent job orchestrating their fete. Look for Natalie and Daniel's wedding featured in the spring 2011 issue of Inside Weddings magazine.
Anna and Bruce had their rehearsal dinner wedding at Tra Vigne, one of my favorite Italian restaurants in Wine Country, and the next day their wedding ceremony and reception at the Harvest Inn, a luxurious vineyard resort in the heart of Napa Valley wine country. The couple wanted a documentary approach to their intimate wedding capturing lots of details as well. The Jewish ceremony overlooked the Harvest Inn vineyard under a flowing chuppah as the Garden Strings Quartet played during the procession. The delicious summer fare was provided by Knickerbockers Catering of St. Helena, served on custom purple linens provided by La Tavola linens of Napa. For dessert they served colorful cupcakes and wedding cake by Sweetie Pies of Napa, and the wines stain-inspired wedding invitations and place cards were from Wedding Paper Divas. The wedding moved inside the main room of the Harvest Inn for dancing and getting down all night to the R&B sounds of the All Star Jukebox Band.The end of the evening the couple gave bottles of wine provided by The Harvest Inn as thank-you wedding gifts, and they made them special keepsakes by doing custom labels with their name and date.
Beaulieu Garden and Vineyards winery is a luxurious Napa wedding venue to hold your ceremony and reception. The lush Italian landscaped gardens and classic statues, combined with the quaint countryside of Napa Valley makes you feel as if you're in a small village in the south of France.
Melissa Mermin is a top San Francisco wedding photographer, photographing in a modern and fun documentary style. Her favorite places to photograph are Napa and Sonoma wineries, Cape Cod, Florida and Mexico.