Rachel and Ben’s wedding was held at the Allied Arts Guild in Menlo Park. What a perfect little pocket of paradise! EVERYWHERE you look there is something to feast your eyes on! Come take a journey with me through their wedding day, you won’t be disappointed!
First stop, a little bit about the duo! Why try to put into words what someone else has so cleverly done already? The next two paragraphs are taken from Rachel and Ben’s wedding website. I was all smiles reading it so I thought I would share a portion of it!
A 21st century romance, Ben and Rachel met online. Approximately one hour after creating and posting a profile on OKCupid, Jewcy Couture received a message from Kung Fu Jew introducing himself. Rachel and Ben went out the very next day!
Their first date involved dressing up as a warden and prisoner and running all throughout the streets of SF on a giant scavenger hunt. Though they literally came in LAST place in the race out of 503 teams, due to being disqualified for stopping in the middle to eat at Chipotle, it was all worth it as the date ended with a peanut butter sundae at Ghirardelli and first kiss on the beach overlooking Alcatraz.
Adorable right?! I had met Rachel and her lovely mother once before but after reading that I knew I would instantly like Ben too! What a fun and adventurous couple!
Created in 1929, the Allied Arts Guild has been an environment for working artists and support for critically ill children at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital.After following beautiful little paths, we came around the corner and saw the chuppah, surrounded by big beautiful trees, amazing flowers and rows and rows of perfectly set up white chairs- it was a site to see!Rachel’s late grandmother Frances made for each of her grandchildren a wedding quilt to be used on their wedding day as the chuppah.Ahh the dress! I had no idea what the dress was going to be but let me tell you, the second I saw it I knew it would be perfect on Rachel! And it was! This twirly fun thing was created by Mori Lee.And well, when your dress shows off your shoes you better have shoes to show off! Nothing like a little red on your shoes for your wedding day!Ben and Rachel got ready separately but nearby, allowing us to jump back and forth between the two of them.I love getting picture of iPhones. I really think one day when their kids are looking at their wedding pictures this will be of great humor to them! I can only imagine what phones will be like in 30 years or so!First Look time!We set Ben up in the garden, cleared everyone out and let the romance begin! Greg had a great viewpoint from a balcony!Ummm, I thought we cleared everyone outLike a typical wedding day, we were running a little late on time with lots of important things ahead of us. We decided to do little pockets of portraits through the day of the bride and groom. I’m so glad we did as we were able to photograph them in different locations and light and it was never stressful!
The awesome bridal party!!!!! I love the colors of everyone’s outfits!!!!Rachel popped back into the bridal suite to prepare for the Ketubah signing… and of course we just happened to find some gorgeous light for her to stand in! Rachel you look stunning and so so so happy!In a garden away from the ceremony location, a small group of family and friends circled around for the Ketubah signing. The Rabbi was Ben’s uncle, it truly was a family affair!
I can hear Rachel clearly when I look at this image saying, “Does this mean we are married?”The answer was YES!!! Of course they still had the wedding ceremony!Rachel’s maternal grandmother lead off the procession.Ben was escorted by his parents.The bridal party.Then the bride, escorted by her parents, I love the look on Ben’s face!!!Ben and Rachel both took turns circling each other and then… BAM…. Rachel kissed Ben! And this wasn’t the last time, she kissed Ben 3 other times during the ceremony before the actual kiss the bride moment!! Ha, ha, love it!Gorgeous couple, amazing location but there was one request that broke my little photographer’s heart. The Rabi had requested that the ceremony not be photographed, only the major moments such as procession, rings, kiss, resssion. We get it, we really do. I have seen some photographers turn a wedding ceremony into a photography circus. Their images becoming more important than the beauty of the tradition happening. We were asked to stand in the last row or some place we could not be seen and shoot from there. The Rabbi’s last words to us were that he didn’t want to see or hear us! Mission accepted, we always try to respect the officiant’s requests. So the following selection of images were taken with very long lenses from behind trees, in bushes and from the last row of the chairs.Rachel and Ben looked out, soaking in all the love for them on their wedding day!The exchanging of the rings.Ben’s little sister sang in Hebrew, it was so wonderful on this 93 degree day that I had goosebumps!Both families were asked to enter into the Chubbah for the blessing of the marriage.
This 21st century couple, like stated above, broke the glass together!Married!!!!!!!Rachel and Ben paraded the full circle moving through bubbles and giving love and high 5′s to all!!!The newlyweds headed off for some alone time……while everyone else enjoyed cool drinks and delicious food on the lawn!Oh to be a kid!When I first met Rachel I had no idea she was an interpreter for Deaf and Blind people! Talking to Rachel about this brought me right back into my past job as a teacher of the Deaf. I had never seen someone sign with a person who is blind before- watching her sign as her friend holds her hands was fascinating!
The bouquets and boutonnières were made and designed by Rachel and her bridal party. They all worked together to make them!!
The broach was from Rachel’s grandmother Frances’ pin collection.
That’s right, a jade ring for Ben! How clever- we love how Rachel and Ben used oranges to let their guests know where to sit!Rachel and Ben got announced into their reception for the first time as wife and husband! What proceeded next was an incredible Hora followed by other traditional Israeli folk dances! It was amazing!!!I love the look on Ben’s face- Rachel was quick to protect herself during this wild and fun dance up on chairs!While everyone was thoroughly enjoying themselves inside dancing, outside on the patio awaited tables so artistically set up by Ben’s Aunt Cezanne! Rachel, her Mom and Cezanne spent an entire year collecting all the Spanish pottery and vases used in the centerpieces from consignment shops.
With the guests all now seated for lunch, Rachel’s parents welcomed the guests.Followed by Ben’s parents!Grandma then blessed and shared the challah!While everyone was busy settling in, we pulled Rachel and Ben outside for another 5 minutes or so of pictures!Then one by window light….. the dark rooms of the Allied Arts Guild really made for a stunning contrast with the window light. Toast time! Ben’s Best Man lead off!
Followed by Rachel’s Maid of Honor who carried out one of Rachel’s family traditions of making songs and singing them joyfully!
Everyone signed, “I LOVE YOU” in sign language!!!First dance…. which didn’t last long as the new couple waved everyone to join them on the dance floor!
Sibling shenanigans!This wedding and its personal touches didn’t stop… the “guest book” was little tiles that the guests were asked to decorate that Rachel and Ben will one day use to decorate their home.
Rachel is a HUGGER!!!!!!! Like a hold on tight kind of hugger!Wanna see another pocket of portraits? Me too- one of my favorite parts of being a wedding photographer!Ben really wanted a unique cake! So he picked orange, why not!?Bouquet toss, the lucky one who caught the bouquet? The one who was getting married in 2 weeks, I guess she really wanted to make sure!Parent dances!Love these images, Rachel and her Dad dance with Ben and his Mom in a circle!Party time!Notice the sunglasses?Last dance… notice Rachel’s left foot on Ben’s shoe- isn’t that so sweet? Ahhh, what a great ending to an incredible wedding! Rachel and Ben thank you for giving us the great privilege of being your wedding photographers!