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Looking Back On 2018 | Los Angeles Wedding + Elopement Photographer

2018 has been SUCH an amazing year. It’s taken me from Los Angeles to San Diego, to Atlanta and San Francisco and New York City. I’m so grateful to have gotten to experience and document some really special moments and I’m so excited to share a few of them with you today!

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Michelle + Kyle’s San Diego wedding was so special! They’ve been together for years and have two wonderful kids, and finally got to celebrate their love for each other by tying the knot. When the father-daughter dance began, with “My Little Girl” playing over the speakers, Michelle and her dad both began to cry. I loved documenting that fleeting moment. Their daughter, Brooklyn, was on the dance floor for HOURS. This was one of the calmer dances, but I loved this shot because it’s the three of them dancing together, taken by shooting between the bride and groom.

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Shooting with Alex + Madison at Bronson Canyon! Working with these two felt so natural and effortless. We met up at Bronson Canyon and hiked a short way to a spot where the sun was just peeking over the trees. We laughed SO much and I loved hearing their story — they started dating as a result of a group project! Have you EVER heard of a group project ending that well?

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D’Ana Joi + Darius! This was our first shoot together (we’ve done more since!) but it’s one of my favorites. These two are so unapologetically silly, so open and wild and free. We went to a local park and danced, laughed, and ran around. D’Ana Joi has since become one of my business besties + I LOVE seeing her brand grow. We nerd out over strategy together during our shoots together and every time we hang out I leave feeling so inspired! If you haven’t already, check out her blog here.

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Alex + Davis’ Santa Barbara Courthouse Ceremony (shot with M. Hart Photography). First off: the Santa Barbara Courthouse is GORGEOUS. Holy moly, y’all - it was stunning. I love historic architecture, so getting to help shoot a wedding there was really inspiring and fun. After their ceremony, we found a beach to enjoy sunset. Of course we got the epic sunset beach photos, but I loved this unique shot of them hosing off because I think it’s very different and candid.

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Dianna + Micah’s urban adventure in San Francisco’s Chinatown - this shoot was a whirlwind! We picked a meeting spot, then decided to adventure with no distinct plan throughout Chinatown. These two were so natural and comfortable with each other, and were totally happy to flirt through the streets and kiss in alleyways!

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Kimber’s first look: with her dad (shot with M. Hart Photography). This moment happened so quickly and I was so happy to catch her expression. Both her and her dad’s eyes overflowed with love and excitement and pride.

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Megan + Chris’ Hermosa Beach Engagement. On a warm summer day, we met up with Megan + Chris to capture some beautiful moments to celebrate their engagement! The four of us ran along the beach where Megan + Chris come every week, dancing along the water and walking along the pier.

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Megan + Jade’s Joshua Tree Intimate Wedding (shot w/ Eden Strader). If you know me for longer than three seconds, you’ll probably hear how I eloped in Joshua Tree in January 2018. Joshua Tree holds such a special place in my heart and I loved getting to help tell Megan + Jade’s story there too! Working with Eden was a dream, and Megan + Jade were the sweetest, most humble people. Fifty of their closest friends and family traveled from Australia to celebrate their ceremony in Yucca Valley, just a little while outside of Joshua Tree. After the ceremony, we snuck the couple away for some beautiful portraits inside the National Park.

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Amy + Chris’s San Francisco Wedding (shot with M. Hart Photography). It’s no secret, I love shooting the getting-ready portion of the day! So many intricate relationships can be captured in those first moments of the day - usually best friends helping their soon-to-be-married friends put final touches on their wedding day getups. After the couples’ first look, we headed off to a nearby resevoir to do portraits and bridal party photos. On the way back to the party bus, Chris helped Amy carry her gorgeous gown across an ordinary parking lot and I loved the dynamic!

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Andy + Shayne at Ponce City Market! It was so fun to do a just-because session with one of my favorite couples in my hometown of Atlanta! Even if it was a sweltering 95 degrees (with so much humidity) we had the best time.

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Lucy + Joe’s Los Angeles Elopement: celebrated with just a handful of close friends, Lucy + Joe eloped from London to Los Angeles to tie the knot. Their sweet + simple elopement was so fitting for their personality as a couple. Their ceremony began with Prince playing over the loudspeaker, he wore a shirt she’d given him after returning from a trip to India, and they finished the night with a beautiful dinner underneath twinkle lights with friends.

These were just some of my favorite moments from 2018 and I’m stoked out of my mind for what 2019 holds! I’m hoping it brings more couples who enjoy adventure and candid moments, who believe in celebrating differences and creating an inclusive community, and who love exploring national parks and urban escapes! Bring it on, new year - I’m ready.

Our Joshua Tree Elopement

Whenever I talk about having eloped, I'm usually met with the same response: their eyes get big and wide, a smile leaps onto their face, and they ask lots of questions. We're celebrating six months of marriage this Saturday, so I thought it'd be the perfect time to post a few answers!

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Deciding to elope was a big + hard decision for sure. I've been to my share of gorgeous, traditional weddings - I mean, how else could I have gotten so interested in the world of WEDDING photography?! I was covered with goosebumps when my friends Tiffany and Matt exchanged vows during a Catholic ceremony, and equally so when Madison and Walt said "I do" at a 100-year-old southern home. There's absolutely nothing wrong with doing something more traditional.

I believe a wedding should aim to be a reflection of your relationship. This is the very beginning of the new start in both your lives. It's a manifestation of the bonds you've built together and all you've been through. It's a bridge from where you've been to where you're going. Your wedding - and your marriage - don't have to look like any one else's.

It just has to work for you two.

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We decided to elope for a few reasons: 

1. Even though we're social, we're both introverts at heart. The thought of a huge wedding seemed so out of character for us. We'll take a vegan pizza loaded with veggies + a documentary on Netflix over going out to a club any day; something that felt super high-energy would have been really straining and felt unnatural.

2. We *try* to keep things pretty minimal. We're both passionate about sustainability and try to be mindful of that whenever we can. Traditional weddings can produce a lot of waste - from the bridesmaids gowns that will never be worn again, to an exorbitant amount of leftover buffet food no one will eat. A lot of more modern approaches have made great progress in reducing this waste, but again - it just felt like it would be forced and not in line with our values.

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3. As big fans of travel, nature, and national parks, we wanted to choose a location that really reflected those interests. Neither of us was excited at the thought of having a church wedding, and by eloping we avoided that entirely! We researched a lot of different parks and places. We decided to stay in California because we had just made the big adventure out west and everything was still (and is still) so exciting to explore! Joshua Tree is incredibly picturesque and not as highly trafficked in January as many other California parks, so we knew we would have a little more intimacy in that space.

4. Financially! I recently read the average U.S. wedding costs $35,000. With us both having graduated college only last year, $35k wasn't something we were itching to add to the piles of student debt laying around. When it was all said + done, our wedding cost us about $1500. He wore his best suit but bought a new tie + pocket square, I bought a dress online + had it fitted. We bought locally-roasted coffee in Joshua Tree to drink after exchanging vows and picked up way too many flowers from the Downtown Los Angeles Flower Market (did you see that bouquet? so much for minimal!). We stayed at a super cute AirBnb in the desert + spent time enjoying nature.

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5. We wanted to be married already, damnit! After dating for nearly 5 years and living together for almost as long, we both knew we were in it for the long haul. We had celebrated victories and mourned losses. We worked countless busy weekend brunches at one of Atlanta's top restaurants (shout out to The General Muir), which bonds even strangers in unimaginable ways. We traveled together, helped each other make big decisions, and supported each other through it all. More than anything, we were extremely happy and ridiculously in love. 

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The first month we were dating, I told him I'd marry him whenever he was ready. It took a little longer than I would have liked, but in the end I wouldn't change a thing.

 

**Photo credit to the amazing Victoria Bonvicini. So grateful for these beautiful images that captured the day, and for the inspiration she has always served for my own journey in couples photography!