I first met JD years ago while photographing his brother Greg’s wedding. JD was the best man and he gave a hysterical toast that had everyone laughing. I remember Tammy from that day too- every time I looked at her she was smiling and cracking up over something! So I was more than thrilled when I was hired to photograph Tammy & JD’s wedding! Years later from that wedding, these two are still smiling and making everyone laugh. Their enthusiasm for having a great time is contagious. Their wedding felt like a big fun picnic and I imagined that is exactly what they were hoping for. Family, friends, games and an abundance of fun to celebrate their love!Tammy and JD both got ready at the Saratoga Inn- their rooms just right next door to each other! Tammy’s Mom and sister bring down the dress- it’s time! Tammy is going to be doing a quick step in as later you will see her getting ready again- next time in the forest!Why girlfriends are so awesome and important!
Looking sharp JD!Off to Saratoga Springs! The guys! The beautiful ladies! Tammy dreamed of getting ready in the forest with a mirror. Dreams do come true and it was so cool! Surrounded by trees, a stream and her ladies- Tammy finished getting ready for her First Look with JD.
It was time for the First Look. Tammy’s ladies left the scene while her sister stayed back to help. While Tammy and her sister hid, Greg and I got JD into position on the bridge. Once we were in position we gave the signal. The energy in the air was amazing, First Looks are always so exciting!The tap- the smiles- love it!Such a sweet moment when JD sees Tammy!Perfection!
Tammy and JD had such a fun bridal party!Haha, they know how to make the tough faces too! Well…everyone but someone 😉Tammy’s flower girls arrived and were so excited to see Tammy! This picture just melts my heart!Tammy and JD’s wedding took place at the Longbridge section of Saratoga Springs. Tammy’s Mom did such a great job bringing together all the signage and decorations to make their wedding so personalized and beautiful.Tammy and JD’s friends dress up as the characters from ‘Dumb and Dumber.’JD escorted both the Moms down the aisle! So cute!Next up was the bridal party!Tammy’s brother with JD’s sister!The Best Man, JD’s brother with the Matron of Honor, Tammy’s sister.The flower girls came through spreading so much joy and of course flower petals!The handsome young ring bearer took his job very seriously and the rings arrived safety!Tammy was escorted down the aisle by her Dad. Such a sweet moment!So pretty! The dress color Tammy chose for her bridesmaids was just perfect amongst all the greenery of the venue. One of the reasons why Tammy and JD fell in love with this venue is the old bridge that becomes part of the stunning backdrop. Something funny happened, I’m not sure what but I love the way Tammy laughs, full of happiness and great joy!Vows and rings were exchanged….JD’s ring proved to be a little harder to get on!Kiss the bride!!!!With great enthusiasm these two ran up the aisle and into the sunshine!Love it!!!The bridal party, this time with the little ones too! And then just these precious little ones!It was time for the cocktail party! Drinks were poured and the games began!Meanwhile, the tables were transformed with the wedding decor! The place looked stunning!The sweetheart table was extra special with their personalized champagne flutes, forks and this fun plate!
The view of the reception area from the other side of the bridge. Tammy and JD ran into their reception too… Tammy chose my favorite kind of shoes to wear! Tammy’s Mom started off the toasts. Followed by JD’s Dad.Next up was Tammy’s sister. And last but not least, JD’s brother and best man!Last up was Tammy and JD who thanked everyone for making their day so special!The sun went down and the light faded fast. But that was more than fine as the venue was transformed into a magical place with twinkly lights all around! The fire was also lit making it time for everyone’s favorite- S’mores!Tammy and JD started their first dance off like everyone else- sweet and slow- when suddenly it wasn’t…
The two started swinging each other around as the crowd cheered them on!On top of a tower of cupcakes sat the sweetest little cake. Behind that tower of YUM was an antique desk with its drawers filled with flowers and more treats! Everything was so beautiful AND delicious!Tammy and JD cut the cake! Then Tammy had to make up for wiping JD’s face with frosting with a sweet kiss!Moving on to more traditions, Tammy threw her bouquet and JD went searching for a garter! Tammy’s expression is priceless!Perhaps not a true wedding tradition but I’d vote for it to become one. Good old Flip Cup! If you have played, you know the fun and if you have never played you are greatly missing out!As the evening moved on, the dance floor got moving!
As we left, the night was still going strong. Everyone was having so much fun either dancing, playing games or enjoying endless sweets! Tammy and JD, we wish you a lifetime of happiness, belly laughs and games- especially flip cup!
Hotel: The Inn at Saratoga
Dress: Bolee Bridal
Venue & Caterer: Saratoga Springs
DJ: Alex Wrigley
Cake and cupcakes: Icing on the Cake in Los Gatos
Photography: Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling
You fall in love with someone and decide to get married. You search and find the perfect venue, dress, suit, shoes, florist, photographer, invitations, caterer and on and on and on. Planning a wedding is a ton of work, so you better believe that every couple wants the perfect weather too. “Rain on your wedding day is good luck” … “Rain makes the wedding knot tighter”. Sure.
I think it came as a shock to everyone when the weather for Marisa & Zach’s Northern California wedding didn’t look so… wedding-like. I’m sure like me, everyone was glued to that 10 day forecast, checking it everyday multiple times. The storm system was just not budging.
When the email came in that Plan B, the rain plan, was moving into effect, I think everyone involved with the wedding felt a little saddened. Except I’m thinking the tent rental company, they kind of have to love Plan B!
BUT imagine this, what if Plan B was really Plan A+? Well I am here to show you that Plan B was like unicorns and rainbows- well actually just one rainbow. But an awesome rainbow!
Plan B was simply spectacular and this lovely couple deserved it all, especially that rainbow!
Just down the road from the winery, Marisa got ready surrounded by her leading ladies at a lovely home they rented out from VRBO.
Well there was one little dude, but with a smile like that he was allowed to hang with the ladies!
Marisa and Zach made an ethical choice for their rings from Brilliant Earth, a company that only uses conflict free jewels. Since Marisa and Zach are both nurses, the stethoscope made the perfect little nest for the rings to be photographed!
Marisa’s hair looked so amazing, it was perfectly curled and braided by the talented Diadra of Wash & Brushup Co.
It was time to go and the dress was in good hands with Marisa’s sister-in-law! While all the girl primping was happening, the guys were getting ready at the Hotel Les Mars.The guys do not have to do much except watch sports, have a few drinks and eventually tie a tie and their shoes. But they do clean up nice!When I asked Marisa and Zach why they chose Arista Winery, they told me that when they visited other venues the actual place did not look as good as the pictures. But when they arrived at Arista, the place was even better than the pictures! They loved the charm and beauty of it all and were blown away by the staff, especially wedding planners, Meredith and Taylor. The ladies tucked themselves away in the tasting room. As you can see it’s still not raining but the sky was threatening. Marisa’s dress so masterfully created by Hayley Paige! Sure it was cool to hang it and get this image but this dress cannot be truly appreciated until you see it on Marisa! Take a tip from this bride and stay on your getting ready timeline on your wedding day! She arrived at her venue with some time to hang out and enjoy herself with her ladies! Zach and his guys headed up the hill to the Pavilion to make sure he didn’t see Marisa. One of the incredible aspects of this venue is how the layout can be used for different parts of the wedding day. For this wedding, the ceremony was behind the tasting room but for other weddings the ceremony might be up the hill at the Pavilion. There are so many options to customize your wedding at Arista. Back in the tasting room it was time for Marisa to get dressed!Zach’s Mom and Marisa’s sister-in-law beamed with happiness!
With the guys wayyyyy out of site, the ladies headed to the charming Japanese garden outside the tasting room for the last touches of getting ready. This dress! Marisa in this dress! Awwww, Mom’s little girl all grown up! Such a sweet moment!
Not only did Marisa have some time to hang with her ladies but we also had time to take just some pictures of her! I was in photo heaven and secretly praising Mother Nature for holding on to her raindrops! Can you believe this bouquet? Incredible! All the floral design and work was just stunning. Job well done by The Bloomery Co!The ceremony was held at the Front Lawn. It’s a space that’s perfect for a smaller wedding such as this or even a cocktail hour. Everything looked so sensational and the sky just was making it even more exciting and dramatic!
Beautiful details everywhere you looked!I even got some time to photograph the handsome groom! His sharp suit was created by Christian Roche. How cool is that under the collar detail!? No excuses now for forgetting the anniversary!
It was time for the ceremony to start. The guys headed down and Marisa headed back to the tasting room. Zach escorted his Mother down the aisle. Can you feel the love?! With music playing and excitement in the air, Marisa appeared into sight with her parents. Zach’s face erupted into the biggest smile at the first glimpse of his beautiful bride!So much love at this wedding!
The ceremony began and was wonderfully officiated by their good friend Dean Baxter. Marisa and Zach exchanged vows……then rings.
With a stomp of a foot, Zach shattered the glass!Then he kissed his bride!!!Married!!!!!!!!! Mazel Tov!!Whoot! Whoot!
While the newlyweds shared a few minutes together in their newlywed bliss, I got to spend some blissful minutes with this incredible bouquet!The guests were taken up the hill to enjoy cocktail hour and we were busy having some fun photographing Marisa and Zach around the property and taking advantage of the dry weather.So much happiness!Everywhere you turn at Arista there is a place to take pictures! This venue is a DREAM for weddings!And yes, this couple considered the pen that held the goats to be one of those places for pictures! They risked being bitten, stepping on poop and anything else that can happen with animals because they just love them so. And the animals loved them too and played nice!Marisa wore her Mother’s veil! And with a little wind and some magic it performed so beautifully for some photographs!We hopped on the Hummer driven by Meredith and headed up the hill. We were only halfway up when we were surrounded by the vineyards. The view seemed endless and was awe-inspiring. Of course we headed into them for some photographs, I mean this place is all about the wine!Marisa’s Dad who was enjoying the said wine came by to say hello!Besides the fact that these two were radiating such joy, do you notice anything?!?! The light changed. And just like that it became a sunny day! Mother nature decided to take her full gray clouds to the next town and let her rain drop! The sun delivered it’s wedding gift, some powerful and amazing rays of sunshine!Sun + lavender + love!!! Yes!!
Having resigned to the fact that it was probably going to rain, I had personally just been happy that it was dry during Marisa and Zach’s ceremony. I kept saying in my head, “Just let them get married outside in dry weather. Just let them get married outside in dry weather. Just let them get married outside in dry weather. ” You get the drill. It was a total unexpected bonus that the sun was out and lighting up Marisa’s glorious dress and shining down upon everyone!Marisa and Zach strolled up the road soaking up the glory!
At the Pavilion, cocktail hour was underway. The views were amazing, the wine was delicious and everyone was celebrating the newlyweds and the good old California weather!Marisa & Zach played their personalized Cornhole game!Ha! I bet those men had no idea that a photographer was creeping up behind them for the sake of taking a cool picture!Plan B involved a tent. Was it needed? Not for rain because it never did rain! But I found that it provided a sense of intimate space that held everyone together and kept everyone cozy. Like one big group hug! The tables were set so spectacularly! Nothing at this wedding was overlooked, everything was perfect! The food was out of this world! Incredible job done by Ramekins Catering.Happiness everywhere you looked!
Admiring the new jewelry!I had to see about the incredible Oak tree outside the Pavilion being so nicely lit up by the sun. Now I’m going to tell you a secret. Wedding days inspire me to no end. If I have a couple in love I could photograph them all day long even in a dark alley! This inspiration can be a blessing and a curse, I mean, my couples need to eat and they want to be with their friends and family. Even though I want to photograph them the whole time I know I cannot. BUT this tree- this magnificent tree so perfectly illuminated by the late setting sun was begging for photographs. Envisioning Marisa and Zach walking through that light felt like it would be out of a fairytale and well, Marisa likes fairytales…As luck would have it, it just so happened that these two were moving towards the other side of the Pavilion anyway! I simply kindly asked them to walk this way rather than that way… and well, I may have done a little happy dance right there on the spot!It was time for toasts. Marisa’s Dad then Mom spoke about their love for Marisa and Zach. Don’t you just love wedding toasts? Hearing the stories choke me up every time and I especially love a tiny bit of roasting… just a little though!Cheers!Next up was Zach’s Mom. Just like Marisa’s parents’ toasts, it had everyone laughing and crying! What a lovely tribute to the newlyweds!And then there is was… the RAINBOW!!! Mother Nature’s gift and one of the many reasons why I think Plan B was really Plan A+! This rainbow might have been missed from down below. But here was a group of people loved by Marisa and Zach, perched up at the Pavilion on this gorgeous sunny early evening, basking in the glory of a rainbow!!! The incredible way Plan B turned was unexpected, magical and perfect!Move over wedding cake, it’s time for some pies!When I inquired why they chose pies over a wedding cake they said wedding cakes never seemed to impress them. So they decided to shoot for amazing flavor over tradition! I like that thinking!It was time for the first dance! A sweet moment surrounded by their loved ones!A kiss and a cheer from the crowd and then we rushed off to grab sunset while everyone else got the dance floor warmed up!Zach by this time was a photo pro! He knew just what to do for some fun pictures!!
The sunset was ready and showing off its cotton candy colors! The old Oak tree allowed for a wonderful silhouetted frame of the newlyweds!Back at the Pavilion, the wedding favors were out and the parent dances were ready to pull on some heart strings!Notice Marisa’s Mom and aunt in the background?! So sweet!
Big hugs!Then Marisa’s Dad got a big hug from his brother! Being present to capturing moments like this are what makes being a wedding photographer such an honor. It was then Zach’s turn with his Mom!Their dance was faster and feistier!Super fun!
Oh man, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one with a lump in my throat from those parent dances! But nothing like a Hora to get the energy buzzing again!I think Zach knew what was coming…..
Yep! The chairs approached from the sides and the couple was lifted into the air!
Laughter filled the room as both Marisa and Zach held on for the ride!
Once back on the ground, Zach grabbed Marisa for dear life!No time for resting though, the Hora must go on!When the Hora was done and the music came on- Zach passed his bride to her Mother and the ladies danced it out!
Everyone had so much fun dancing the night away!For those who might not have been the biggest dancers or just needed a little break, there was the candlelit tent or the amazing fire pit for relaxing!But as you can see, Alex the DJ from AMS Entertainment was doing an amazing job!The evening was coming to an end and the last song was upon us.Ending with some sweetness by the fire pit, could you imagine something better than Plan B?
The wedding day was incredible from start to finish and we couldn’t be happier for Marisa and Zach. Such a nice couple with such lovely family and friends! Marisa and Zach, thank you so much for allowing us the honor to document your wonderful wedding!
Thank you to all vendors who collaborated to make this wedidng such a dream!
Venue: Arista Winery
Caterer: Remekins Catering
Hair and Make Up: Wash & Brushup Co.
Florist: The Bloomery Co.
Rental Company: Encore Events Rentals
Transportation: Royal Coach
Photography: Susannah Gill
On a beautiful Spring day in Connecticut- Marianne and Matt got married surrounded by their family, friends and lots and lots of adorable children! While it is an honor to be chosen to photograph any wedding, this wedding was a record breaker for us! Greg and I have had the honor of photographing 3 of Marianne’s siblings’ weddings!! Marianne and Matt’s marking the 4th! That is the most we have ever photographed from one family. When I received an email from Marianne asking us if we still traveled back to the East coast for weddings we were more than happy to hop on an airplane! We adore this family and we knew that Matt’s family would be just as lovely. The day was magical and it was an added bonus catching up with everyone!
Marianne got her stunning dress at the one and only Kleinfelds in New York!The Lodge at Maneeley’s is perfect for those looking to have a more rustic feel to their wedding. I love the warmth created by the wooden walls and the playfulness of the hanging paper lanterns hung by MJ Decorations. Lanterns sitting on top of wooden rings adorned each table and of course the candle inside was LED. Matt being a Fire Department Chief certainly would not have a wedding that might be a fire hazard! The children’s place setting was perfection! Each child had a coloring book, a toy and the most adorable cup to drink out of with a pinwheel straw!
Gotta sweet tooth? No problem! Not only did this wedding have 2 cakes but a table in the back hosting so much candy that it looked like a candy store!What a fun idea for showing your guests their tables!! Each person came and found a picture of themselves and on the back it displayed what table they were sitting at!
Tucked away, the guys were getting ready. We all know it doesn’t take long for guys and quickly they moved on to something more fun, like their cool groomsmen gift! A Bottle Breacher! A Bottle Breacher is a handcrafted 50 caliber bottle opener made by Military Veterans. This company is really amazing- you can read about them here! With personalized engraving it’s such a great gift and also a wonderful way to support our veterans. Before we head on to Marianne getting ready- feast your eyes on some CAKEEEEEE! No, I mean CAKESSSSS! Why have just one? These cakes made me smile- even the main cake that was so elegant created by the Modern Pastry Shop had some fun at the top with the hysterical cake topper!
And well, Marianne loves fun details as we have seen from the rest of the wedding decor, so an amazing grooms cake for Matt had to be created! I love the back of the truck with the cans and the Just Married sign!Matt and his Mom admire the cake so skillfully created from Cakes By Lilly.
Tucked away in the bridal room, Marianne was getting into her dress with her Mom and her sister Kathryn. These moments right before the ceremony are filled with so much emotion! Lots of fun but some nervous energy as well. It’s an exciting time and Marianne looked so beautiful! Her hair and make up were done by KShea & Company.Of course the little kiddos were not feeling any nerves- they were having the time of their lives all dressed up with their cousins!These little sweeties are not cousins but became fast friends on the wedding day. The little one in white is Matt’s niece and the little one in navy is Marianne’s niece! The stage was beautifully set and excitement filled the air!
Matt’s brother walked their Grandma down the aisle, followed by Matt’s mother and her husband and then Marianne’s Mom escorted by Marianne’s brother. The handsome groom!Followed by his groomsmen.Ready for some sweetness? The parade of children had everyone smiling and hearts swelling with emotions!
Kathryn, Marianne’s Matron of Honor.And before the bride- the sound of bagpipes filled the air!Marianne was escorted down the aisle by her father. The handoff! Such an amazing moment! That’s one happy groom!Marianne’s Aunt read a poem. Oh those adorable children! They were so good sitting there being so quiet! Even this one whose little brother kept pulling on her hair! She didn’t say a peep and was trying so hard not to take her eyes off the wedding!!!All tuckered out after his big job was completed!In the back tending the babies were Eileen and Matt, Marianne’s brother and sister in law. Eileen had the lollipops ready for the kids!The vows were spoken and rings were exchanged….…and the newlyweds beamed as they walked up the aisle!Look at this group!!!!! How do you get 12 kids and 5 adults to all look at the camera- well I had Greg do silly things with my hair to make the kids all laugh! My hair was a mess afterwards but totally worth it!The grown ups- they were a little easier to get to smile at the camera!The children were rewarded for all their hard work and cooperation with yummy lollipops!
We didn’t have long for portraits but with smiles this bright and pretty backdrops close by, we were able to get lots of pretty pictures!Across the street from the Lodge is an old barn that perfectly added to the rustic feel of the wedding. On that barn just happened to be a blue heart which added a little sweetness to some pictures and no I did not put it there!Back at the Lodge I was photographing the stunning bouquet created by Sharon Elizabeth’s when I noticed I could not focus on it as it was moving…. one of the little ones was sweetly swinging it! Too cute to ask him to stop!So sweet!!!There was time between dinner and dancing so I dragged each of my past brides and grooms outside to take some pictures!!! The first McCabe wedding was Eileen and Kevin- they now have 3 little ones!The 2nd McCabe wedding was Kathryn and Matt and they also have 3 little ones. At this time their baby was with Matt’s Mom back at the hotel.The 3rd McCabe wedding was Jackie and Tim and they have one little guy!The eldest McCabe brother got married before I started photographing weddings…. but his adorable children have been at each of the weddings and it has been fun watching them grow up!
It was time to celebrate!
Marianne and Matt shared a first dance and then were joined by family and friends on the dance floor!This wedding had pretty details everywhere!
Matt’s best man gave a wonderful and heartfelt toast.Marianne then joined her father on the dance floor. Followed by Matt dancing with his mother!Can you believe that cake got cut?! Haha, sometimes I think they are too beautiful to be eaten but who wants to waste good cake?!The children eagerly looked on with a mixture of curiosity and excitement. The dancing broke out and did not stop for the rest of the evening!Matt’s grandmother!Awww, big hugs!One of my favorite parts of photographing weddings is observing all the interactions between family members. Weddings are such an incredible time, not only for the bride and groom but for the family too as they often double as reunions!Busy coloring her wedding coloring book!Look at those cheeks!!!The anniversary dance was won by Marianne’s aunt and uncle!Matt’s Mom dancing with her granddaughter!I love this picture- so much happiness!!The DJ from After Hours DJ Entertainment did a wonderful job of getting everyone out onto the dance floor!
Marianne’s mom dancing away with Matt’s grandmother!It was that time, the night came to an end and Marianne and Matt left the Lodge with a colorful send off!
Thank you Marianne and Matt for allowing us the honor to document your wedding day!!!
Can you find Smitha & Miraj?!
San Francisco pulsed with life on a gorgeous sunny California day for Smitha & Miraj’s engagement photowalk. It was perfect! I first met these two via Skype. What a fun way to get a glimpse of people and their living rooms! I was thrilled when they hired me to photograph their wedding. I might have been just as thrilled when their engagement shoot involved getting cupcakes at Susie Cakes! CUPCAKES! I love cupcakes!!!!!!!! And well, Susie was my nickname growing up so it was all meant to be! Smitha, Miraj, me and some amazing Red Velvet. We were off to a great start!
All sugared up we only walked about 12 blocks but it was so cool all the different nooks we were discovered on our photowalk! City streets, an alley right out of Mexico, the awe inspiring Palace of Fine Arts and a view of the Pacific Ocean that revives your soul.
Greatly looking forward to Smitha & Miraj’s upcoming wedding and two beautiful venues! The festivities will start off at the stunning Mt Winery and then the evening celebration will be at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose!