Rachel & Kevin’s Rustic Orange County Wedding

It was a beautiful spring day at Bommer Canyon in Irvine, California when Rachel and Kevin tied the knot. Their celebration had many elements that I adore as a wedding photographer – their love of nature came through in many rustic aspects of their wedding, from the gorgeous wildflower bridal bouquet and the baby’s breath groomsmen’s boutonnieres to their adorable bear cake toppers. How cute are those bears?! Rachel told me that her ring is one-of-a-kind; handcrafted using sea glass that the couple collected on the beach together.

There was also a handkerchief stitched with the letter M, for their new joint last name Mattson. Kevin wore a bird pin on his lapel that was a gift from Rachel’s grandmother. It was exciting capturing their wonderful day as they were married surrounded by the golden hills, the California oak trees, and all of their friends and family.

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Jenna & Connor’s Orange Grove Wedding

Jenna and Connor’s wedding took place on Easter weekend, with the rose garden at Rancho Camulos Museum in bloom. From the palm trees jutting above the historic buildings to the orange groves to the magnificent oak tree under which the ceremony took place, the entire event was quintessentially Californian with perfect, rustic wedding details. The bride and groom are two of the sweetest, most genuine people and I had so much fun photographing their wedding day. Their love for their friends and family, and for each other, was a joy to witness. Right after the wedding, Jenna moved to Japan to be with Connor on the US naval base and to start their married life full of adventures.

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Springtime Wedding Flowers

It seems that at this time of year, every day I step outside there are new flowers hitting their peak. I’ve been especially aware of flowers lately because I’ve been working non-stop to turn my blank, barren yard into a vibrant garden full of vegetables, plants and flowers. I have dreams of sitting out there in an adirondack chair, sipping coffee and watching the sunlight bathe the lavenders in light. It’s a lot of work, but is super rewarding as well. Weddings are always on my mind too, so I’ve been taking note of which California flowers might work well in your springtime wedding bouquets or table arrangements. From rustic to formal, California springtime gardens have lots of possibility. 

Ranunculus is one of my absolute favorite flowers, so of course I planted a billion in my garden and am eagerly awaiting them. They come in all sorts of colors, from pale pinks to bright reds, yellows and white. They look their best when not entirely unfurled, so that you get that layered petal effect and round shape. They’re kind of like peonies, but usually much more affordable.

Wedding Bouquet Rununculus

Irises are popping up everywhere right now and come in so many varieties. There are these classic purple and yellow ones, all white ones, and many more hybrids. You can also get dwarf sizes, which work well in a wedding table arrangement so your guests can see each other across the table while still enjoying these colorful beauties.

Wedding bouquet Irises

The Los Angeles Flower Market is a great resource for scoping out flower options. It’s a huge warehouse that contains displays of all the freshest blooms for reasonable prices. You could take notes of what you’d like a florist to include in your bouquet or if you’re a DIY type you could go there and put together an amazing bouquet yourself. I have no idea what those yellow puffs are (pictured below) but I photographed a wedding that paired them with eucalyptus leaves and it was perfect.

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Poppies are symbolic of the Golden State and grow pretty much everywhere. These Icelandic poppies are my favorite variety, mostly because of their papery, elegant petals and long stems. I’m not sure how long they last when cut, but if you’re having a rustic wedding they’d look wonderful in decorative pots on the tables, then the guests could take them home at the end of the night to plant in their own gardens.

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Cherry blossoms are really only in bloom in February and March, but when they are, they erupt in so much ethereal bloom. I saw them at the flower market sold as branches with tufts of flowers on them, which would be great as a dramatic wedding display.

Lavender has such a nice smell and its muted purple and green color is quintessentially rustic. Consider having it in pots as an aisle runner.

Wedding flowers

Anemones are new to me. I had never heard of them until this year when I ordered bulbs for the garden. They’re like poppies but have even more dramatic looking centers and a nice leaf pattern. I picked up some at the flower market and paired them with blue thistles for an unexpected bouquet.

Tulips are coming into their own in springtime too. They have an elegant structured look to them and, when you put a collection of matching ones together in a bouquet, they work well to play up a clean, modern wedding.

Wedding bouquet anenomes

Orchids are another extremely elegant flower that come in all sorts of varieties to match your wedding color scheme. I just took a behind-the-scenes tour of the orchid house at Huntington Gardens and saw more orchids than I’ve ever seen in one place. Some of them have very interesting origin stories (tales of new species being discovered in far-flung places) and would look lovely mixed into your wedding flower arrangement.

Wedding flowers orchids

And I’ve saved the simplest one for last. Sweet Peas! If you are having a rustic or garden wedding, one way to make it extra special could be to plant some sweet peas in your yard in the autumn; they’ll trellis up just about anything. Here mine are growing in the garden along a chainlink fence. By spring, you’ll have these beautiful sweet pea blooms, which range from deep jewel colors to soft and white. They’re highly fragrant and work well mixed into a wildflower wedding bouquet or in mason jars on your guest tables.

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With all the choices out there, the hardest decision will be how to narrow it down to only a few!

Winter Engagement Specials

Winter Engagement Season

Whatever the reason, this time of year – from Thanksgiving until  Valentine’s Day – is when the majority of engagements happen. The most popular day to get engaged is Christmas Day! Perhaps it’s the way the snowflakes lightly fall from the sky. Perhaps it’s the twinkly colorful lights that make the world glow with warmth on a cold night. Or maybe it’s because this time of year reminds us to think of those we love. I think it’s all very romantic.

If you get engaged this holiday season and are looking for a wedding photographer, get in touch. I’d love to hear about your winter engagement and I’ve got some great offers for engagement sessions and weddings to kick off 2016 right. Spring is a beautiful time for photo shoots in Southern California.

Photographing Scotland, Part 2

My husband and I recently returned from our annual UK trip to Scotland and England to see his side of the family. I love going there at different times of the year, as each season brings its own distinct magic. Last year, we were there at Christmas. This time, it was autumn, when the days were just starting to get shorter, filling Edinburgh with a golden light. The leaves on the trees and the Virginia Creeper vining its way up the old stone buildings were ablaze with yellows and reds. I had my camera with me most days, to capture the season. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was most inspired by the plants and flowers of autumnal Scotland (and a great day at Kew Gardens in London) because I’m just about to embark on planting my very first garden at home. I came home feeling very inspired, both for gardening and photography.

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