weddings

Brett + Susan | Savannah Documentary Romantic Intimate Wedding Photographer

Springtime Savannah Wedding - Brett + Susan

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“This isn’t sometimes / yeah, its for alwaysif I’m gonna love you with all of my heart / and if there is no more time,this always remains / even as the world spins itself apart…”
— - Alabama Shakes, I Found You (Brett + Susan’s first dance song)
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If you know me at all, you probably know how much I adore Savannah. I’ve been exploring the cobblestone streets + seafood restaurants every summer of my life, which only made shooting Brett + Susan’s dreamy wedding that much sweeter! Brett + Susan gathered with their closest family + friends in Savannah, Georgia on March 2nd, 2019 to promise to spend the rest of their lives together.


documenting the 'getting ready’ portion of the day

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Often, couples think the “getting ready” portion of the day is just “fluff,” but it’s a time of such sweet moments between some of the people that have been through the moments that have made you who you are. Who zips up your dress, who straightens your bowtie - those moments are beautiful, and they deserve to be remembered too! The two exchanged letters before their first look, and I loved the emotional moments we were able to capture.

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first look in downtown savannah - chippewa square

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Brett + Susan met for a first look in Chippewa Square, in the heart of downtown Savannah. I loved capturing the emotion on Susan’s face when she and Brett looked at each other for the first time on their wedding day! We took some fun portraits at Chippewa and the Savannah Theater and I love how much excitement comes through these!

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a sweet + emotional ceremony at Bethesda

after the first look, we got to Bethesda to take family photos + bridal party photos - here are a few of my favorite posed + unposed images!

just before she walked down the aisle with her Papa, Susan had a quiet moment alone outside

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Bethesda is a small chapel that meant so much to the couple because Brett’s parents actually got married here! People gathered on the same wooden pews that were there decades before when his parents said “I do.” A friend officiated for Brett + Susan, which always makes for lots of laughs. The couple then exchanged hand-written vows together that were incredible!

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candid + authentic couples portraits in Savannah

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Afterwards, we hopped on a trolley to take portraits in front of the iconic arch at the Bethesda gate. These feel so romantic and classic. When Brett + Susan first reached out, they emphasized how they loved my documentary style! Capturing moments that feel candid + authentic to each couple is vital to my work. Rather than put each couple in a one-size-fits-all pose, each session/ wedding day is customized to reflect the personalities of the couple I’m shooting! This makes the experience feel so much more natural and organic.

After the church had emptied out, we went back inside to grab a few shots of the two alone. It was a quiet moment inserted into a day that was moving so fast, and the two of them got to connect and just spend time with each other for a few minutes.

a beautiful wedding reception at soho south bistro in savannah

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When I first started talking to Brett + Susan, they told me they wanted their wedding to feel like “one big party, with all of our closest family + friends” and y’all, this reception was nothing less! It was so clear to see how much love they were surrounded by and the dance floor didn’t empty all night! The night ended with one last dance alone on the dancefloor, a super fun sparkler exit, and the two rode off in a pedicab.

What do you think of this gorgeous Savannah day? Tell me in the comments below!

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.

planning a Joshua Tree elopement | Joshua Tree elopement photographer

Joshua Tree is all the rage in recent years. Couples - including us - flock to this unique desert from all over the world to elope! There’s something incredible about the landscape: somehow between breaks in the barren desert beautiful things find their way through. And we’ve always been fans of a good underdog story.

Having eloped ourselves, we figured we might have a unique perspective for those planning an elopement of their own - in Joshua Tree or anywhere else! In this post we’ll incorporate some shots of our own elopement process + some from a recent intimate wedding in Joshua Tree!

@ Vic Bonvicini Photography

@ Vic Bonvicini Photography

at the LAX courthouse, doin the official thang! (phone photo!)

at the LAX courthouse, doin the official thang! (phone photo!)

1. Finding an officiant: this step is one of the less glamorous parts of planning a elopement but technically the most important! If your paperwork doesn’t get filed, you didn’t elope - you just went on vacation and gave each other jewelry. In an officiant, you need someone that is highly organized, personable, available, and able to travel to your elopement spot. because we planned things pretty short notice, we weren’t able to find someone that met all of those requirements within our budget. if you can’t find one that suits your budget, style, or availability you can do what we did: go to the county courthouse! We did this in LA the day before we went to Joshua Tree, because it fit our availability, was super affordable + we were sure the paperwork would get filed correctly.

If you’re planning with a bit more time, here are some local to Joshua Tree that have a great way with words and wonderful reviews:

Let’s Get Married by Marie : I love that she proudly claims her title as an #antiboringweddings officiant! LA based, Marie offers elopement packages specifically for Joshua Tree and the Pacific Northwest. From her reviews + blogs, it’s clear that she does her due diligence when it comes to preparing for her couples!

LA Wedding Woman : LA Wedding Woman offers a variety of packages to suit couples’ needs, perfect for an elopement!

Wedding in the Desert  : As a Joshua Tree local, Celine offers a unique perspective. She also is a certified American Sign Language interpreter, which she says has given her insight on how to “speak for” people without injecting a personal agenda.

captured by @Vic Bonvicini

captured by @Vic Bonvicini

2. Simple but significant. Eloping in a beautiful place (hi, JT) means you can really minimize costs that would have been spent on a venue (besides a park permit), decor, etc.

We stayed at AirBnb’s instead of renting a hotel + wouldn’t have it any other way. cactus mountain & joshua tree house.

Joshua Tree House - source: Airbnb

Joshua Tree House - source: Airbnb

Megan + Jade, shot by Morgan with Eden Strader

Megan + Jade, shot by Morgan with Eden Strader

Cactus Mountain - source: Airbnb

Cactus Mountain - source: Airbnb

Megan + Jade, shot by Morgan with Eden Strader

Megan + Jade, shot by Morgan with Eden Strader

Megan + Jade, shot by Morgan with Eden Strader

Megan + Jade, shot by Morgan with Eden Strader

3. Injecting your personality. Eloping is a fun way to magnify elements of your relationship that are unlike any other! We for instance are total coffee nerds. Moments after saying “I do”, we were saying “I brew” with a French press. We picked up local coffee from Joshua Tree Coffee Company the day before for our sunrise vow exchange + joked it would be our form of a unity candle. We packed a blanket we picked up during our cross-country move the day we went to the Grand Canyon and packed it all into our little Mini Cooper (RIP) to sit on as we sipped. Another thing we like nerding out on is gardening! Hopefully we’ll have a little farm of sorts down the road, but in the meantime we love visiting plant nurseries + watching gardening shows (yes, if you’re wondering, we are actually 60 years old inside). That’s why we decided to make the bouquet an adventure too - we went to the iconic flower market downtown early Saturday morning and picked our very favorite flowers. That night, we carefully crafted a gorgeous and MASSIVE bouquet and tied it up with bakers’ twine.

If you’re not down to make your own bouquet, there are several super talented florists in Joshua Tree! We loooove the bouquets from The Blooming Gypsy. Check out the hanging flower wall in this post and the wildflower-vibes here.

Vic Bonvicini Photography

Vic Bonvicini Photography

Vic Bonvicini Photography

Vic Bonvicini Photography

One of our favorite photos of the whole day. This is a truly candid moment, fixing each other up one last time before heading on a short hike to the spot where we exchanged vows. We love that it incorporates some of the most memorable parts of the day - our Mini Cooper, the homemade bouquet, and the camping pack where we’d tucked away all our coffee goods.

One of our favorite photos of the whole day. This is a truly candid moment, fixing each other up one last time before heading on a short hike to the spot where we exchanged vows. We love that it incorporates some of the most memorable parts of the day - our Mini Cooper, the homemade bouquet, and the camping pack where we’d tucked away all our coffee goods.

Phone photo - In-N-Out after our courthouse ceremony!

Phone photo - In-N-Out after our courthouse ceremony!

Phone photo - In-N-Out after our courthouse ceremony!

Phone photo - In-N-Out after our courthouse ceremony!

4. Good food = good times. After leaving the courthouse from our short little ceremony, we stopped at In-N-Out, of course! And then Donut Friend in Highland Park because what wedding is complete without a little dessert? We brought fresh food & champagne down to JT and cooked in our AirBnb the night before because we love to do that together - homemade shrimp tacos + fresh guac! The next day after our ceremony, we grabbed lunch at Crossroads cafe - we had the most amazing portobello mushroom burger + we attempt to recreate it at least once every other week! Getting some of your favorite food - whether that’s Chick-Fil-A or a fancy steak dinner - will make the day feel so personalized. Maybe this is where you want to splurge, and that’s totally ok! But don’t feel pressured to. Our advice is to make sure it’s something you FEEL is worth a billion bucks, even if it doesn’t cost much.

Phone photo - realizing we’re stuck in a ditch.

Phone photo - realizing we’re stuck in a ditch.

Phone photo - realizing we can’t get out.

Phone photo - realizing we can’t get out.

5. Understand that things may go wrong. Elopements aren’t immune to unpredictable moments any more than traditional weddings! We grabbed some phone photos to document this moment because we knew as ridiculous as it felt, we’d be laughing about it soon. We had wrapped up our portraits + headed back to our airbnb, and we got STUCK in the desert. Literally stuck. In the sand. Like, had to be towed out by AAA kind of stuck. The joke that day was “well it can only go up from here!” Sometimes as a photographer you walk into an intimate wedding and ten minutes later you’re sewing a grooms’ pants seam, or helping dig your couples’ car out of the sand (thanks, Vic!).

We hope you enjoyed these tips for planning an intimate ceremony! Tell us in the comments if you’d like more posts like these + what tips you found useful!


Getting Started

“It’s not what you know, it’s WHO you know”

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This cliche is true is some industries more than others, but it definitely rings true for the wedding photography industry. Getting to know other photographers, both established and up-and-coming, is pivotal to working in wedding photography.

Several years ago when Instagram was still new, I started following anything and everything that I found to be inspirational and fun. As an avid photography + art enthusiast, I found this applied to A LOT. I followed magazines, illustrators, art directors, street photographers, dog accounts, cat accounts, product designers, tech companies, nonprofits, poets, painters, animators, foodies, night photographers,  friends from high school, models, wildlife photographers, clothing brands, coffee companies, and wedding photographers. Gradually, my taste became more curated and my eye settled into this new social media landscape. My "following" number whittled down as one by one I unfollowed account that no longer spoke to me but one trend remained: wedding photography. But these weren’t the posed, awkward stances of yesteryear. No, these photos were flawed and fearless: they were intimate and close, raw and unposed, and they translated as a documentary-style art form rather than an interfering, uncomfortable bystander’s work.

A girl in my design school program but a year ahead of me at Georgia State University was taking photos that I found myself absolutely in love with. She captured romance and weddings in a dark, moody way that I found mesmerizing. One day on her account I saw a photo of her and her boyfriend in front of the camera rather than behind it. The photo was taken by Vic Bonvicini Bedingfield - I looked at this account and was blown away. The level of vulnerability her photos portray and the intimate connection you can see between couples is inspiring.

So I did what any normal person would do. I emailed her out of the blue.


From: Morgan Pirkle

To: Vic Bonvicini Bedingfield  

Subj: Aspiring Atlanta photographer!

 

Hi there!

I came across your Instagram and was really blown away by your beautiful photos. I'm a senior at Georgia State studying design & trying to enhance my photography skills outside of school. I'm trying to reach out to photographers I admire in hopes of learning more. I was wondering, are you local to Atlanta? If so, I would absolutely love to grab coffee sometime. If not, would you mind if I sent you some questions I have about photography (wedding + travel particularly).

Have a great weekend!

Morgan Pirkle



To my great surprise, this sweet sweet angel replied back. She wasn’t able to meet up for coffee, but she encouraged me to send her any questions I might have.

She signed off:

Looking forward to helping you!

Vic

 

Over the course of almost a year, our email thread grew. Whenever I had a question about posing, gear, talking to clients- I’d try to find information online, and whatever I was still curious about I’d send in a short + sweet email. Within a few days she always responded. She was so generous and open with her advice and her guidance helped me so much more than she could possibly know!

During that time, I worked with other photographers assisting and shadowing weddings. No two were the same, yet I got goosebumps at each ceremony (and I might have cried at one). I began photographing my own clients. I photographed couples, portraits, events, products, festivals, maternity, and families; basically, anything I could get my hands on to gain experience.

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Over the summer of 2017 I was offered a job in LA and was beyond excited to move out there. My only stipulation was that it HAD to be after Vic’s workshop in Atlanta, Reset to Rise. On August 3rd, I attended her workshop and at 10:30 p.m. that evening my fiance and I hit the road on our five day cross-country adventure to the west coast.

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Her workshop was amazing. Vic brings such a unique perspective to photography and her energy is absolutely contagious. She shared her personal journey with photography and the role it has played in her life since. She brought in models and gave attendees the behind-the-scenes version of her photo shoots. She explained how she talks to models, how she makes them feel comfortable - she was so helpful and full of advice.

Since moving out to California I've shot mostly portraits and couples. Before that workshop I knew I had a passion and admiration for couples photography, but that day I realized that's where my passion lies; in creating this everlasting time capsule for couples to look back on. Photographs are a method of documenting our lives. To be able to capture a place and time for a couple, to document this season of life for them is the work I love to do.