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Pema Osel Ling Santa Cruz Mountain Wedding ~ Melanie & Omar!

Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1000A beautiful windy drive amongst Redwoods leads you to Pema Osel Ling, a retreat center in the Santa Cruz mountains where Melanie and Omar got married. The drive was calming and peaceful…well for some of us.  Stay tuned for why a little further down!

On to our fabulous bride and groom, Melanie and Omar! These two are quite the team but what I learned about them is that a large part is that they are also very strong and dynamic individuals.  Their respect and admiration for each other as individuals was inspiring.

The story of their wedding day has a little adventure to it but it’s ok, they love adventures.   You will see that nothing could shake these two on their big day. They had each other, their love and the thrill of getting married to their soul mates- that was all they needed! And truly it was.

Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1001Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1002Like most wedding days it starts off with the guys (with one gal, one of Omar’s dear friends)lounging.  Yep, no hair or make up needed for them just a little ironing later but first, lots of relaxing.Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1003The ladies did a different kind of relaxing- sitting around, chit chatting and doing hair and make up.  Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1004Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1005Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1006Yeah, a little complicated. The suits needed pressing and since it was a holiday weekend all the cleaners were closed. They had to learn the DIY way.Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1007Melanie had her hair and make up done by the talented Kim Guiley!Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1008Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1009Poor Omar!
Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1010Melanie’s Mom, watching so sweetly!!
Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1011The super pretty florals were created by Booney Doon Floral.
Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1012Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1013It was right about now that the news came in… a Redwood tree had fallen down and was blocking the road to the venue. Guests would not be able to get there without having to drive around the other way- adding on an extra hour to their drives.  This would delay the start of the wedding. Oh is that all?  No, power lines would have to be shut down to clear the tree.  Hmmm.

I watched Melanie take this news in. It might as well have been as if someone just told her the sky was blue.  She nodded and kind of shrugged and kept on getting ready.

Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1014Finally it was time to get dressed, such an exciting part of a wedding day!!!  Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1015 Mom did up allllllll the teeny tiny buttons with a crochet hook!Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1020Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1016Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1017Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1018Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1019Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1021Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1022And they are off to see each other,  all dressed up and ready to be married!!!Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1023Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1024Finding the perfect First Look location is so important. You want the scene to be pretty, private and with great lighting. Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1025Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1026I love the anticipation on Omar’s face as he waits for Melanie to tap his shoulder!Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1027Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1028Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1029Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1030Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1031Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1032The check out! Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1033We went for a little stroll and these two couldn’t keep their eyes off each other!!  Love that!Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1034The back of Melanie’s Adriana Alier dress was amazing, so many little buttons and beautiful detailed lace! Omar looked so handsome too!Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1035We headed back up to the venue to see what the status of the tree was…not the best.  Guests were delayed. But what was great was getting time to photograph the wedding party before the ceremony! This bunch was a riot!Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1036Omar and his guys and gal!Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1037Melanie with her ladies!!!  The lavender bouquets were so amazing!Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1038Eventually everyone had arrived and it was time to begin!

Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1039Melanie’s grad school advisor and dear friend Anne Baker officiated the ceremony. Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1040Omar was escorted down the aisle by his Grandmother. Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1041Melanie was escorted down the aisle by her Father. Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1042The ceremony site was in a Redwood Grove, it was like being in a tree fort amongst some of natures most amazing trees!Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1043The ceremony was very personalized,  a combination of different cultures  that reflected the values that Omar and Melanie deeply care about. Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1044Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1045Melanie’s friend from the East coast Eshe Armah recited a poem. Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1046Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1047One of my favorite parts of the ceremony was a Hawaiian tradition.Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1048Melanie and Omar were asked to washed their own hands which symbolized forgiving themselves.Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1049Then each others, to symbolize forgiving each other, knowing that everything in the past has served to lead them to the place they are today. Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1050And then gently and with great, great love they dried each others hands. They are now new and their hands are cleansed, ready to receive the rings.Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1051Omar and Melanie spoke their individual words of love and vows to each other. Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1052Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1053Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1054Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1055Then, they exchanged rings.

Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1056After, included a Native America ritual which acknowledged their ancestors and future generations.
Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1057The unity candle.Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1058That look, I love watching for it- everyone knows what is about to happen and whatever last words are said I doubt the bride and groom even hear them!Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1059Until they are told they are married and they can kiss!!!Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1060Melanie and Omar ran up the aisle and into the woods where a lot of hugging, kissing and squeezing went on and on!Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1061Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1062Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1063While Melanie and Omar had some time together the guests went off to cocktail hour. Table assignments were found on this clever little chart that was also so pretty!  Next to it was a box filled with lavender. Guests filled up their paper cones with lavender to throw on the newly weds when they arrived!Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1064Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1065The tables were set up outside which was so nice on this perfect summer evening.
Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1066Each table and place setting had a different herb.  I thought this was such a great idea as their friends and family can now go home and enjoy them!  Each herb also had a clothes pin with their name on it.  This also could then be doubled as a name tag.  You will later see someone found them to be collectors items 😉Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1067Custom cocktails!!! Yummy and pretty!Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1068Melanie and Omar then ran through their friends and family getting doused in lavender!Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1069Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1070And then it was time for hugs- big, long, warm and amazing hugs!Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1071Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1072Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1073Lawn games!  I think the kiddos were a little less serious about the outcome of the game!Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1074Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1075Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1076Bottom left…my little clothes pin collector friend…he was just getting started at this point!Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1077It was time for toasts and Omar’s brother started it off!Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1078Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1079Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1080Followed by Melanie’s matron of honor and also one of Omar’s groom’s men.Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1081Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1082It was then open mic and various individuals from the couples past stood up and spoke.  First was Heidi, Melanie’s California Mom! Melanie, an adventurous soul, went on a solo trip across the country couch surfing. Heidi’s was one of those many people that hosted Melanie for a few days. But Melanie’s stay with her lasted longer than that.  And then she decided to make Santa Cruz her home and Heidi her official Californian Mom!Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1083Followed by Melanie’s friend and then their current housemate.Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1084Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1085Next up was Melanie’s Mama who knows her the best!Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1086Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1087Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1088And last but certainly not least, Omar’s Mama!Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1089Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1090Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1091I adore this image of Omar’s hand tenderly on Melanie’s back, with the new hardware too!Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1092Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1093Melanie and Omar then shared their first dance as a married couple!Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1094Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1095Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1096And from there on out the dance floor was packed! Trevor from Santa Cruz DJ Company did an amazing job!

Things were looking good, the news was that the tree was still being cleared but the venues generator was kicking in. The caterers were able to cook and Trevor was able to play music….

Notice the( …) in other words, pay attention. Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1097Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1098Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1099There seemed to be an abundance of adorable children at this wedding and one about to be born. In fact I think it was the actual due date for that little bundle in the belly!Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1100Awwww, a moment between the Mamas!Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1101Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1102This picture cracks me up! Clearly Omar was showing off to his new wife his dance moves….and Melanie? Hand to forehead!  Classic!Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1103Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1104That’s one happy man!Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1105Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1106Look at this amazing cake that Heidi made for Melanie and Omar!    Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1107Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1108Love Melanie’s expression in this photograph as they cut the cake!
Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1109Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1110The collector!! Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1111Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1112All sugared up, the dance floor was moving again, generator still going well! The venue lost water but Im not sure anyone even noticed!Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1113Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1114Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1115These guys were so much fun to photograph, two goofballs in love!Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1116The sun had set and the dance floor was only lit by the strands of lights….Pema Osel Ling wedding- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1117Until the place went pitch dark and silent!  The generator had run out of stream…but Melanie and Omar’s guests had not. Iphone’s immediately lit the dance floor until a lantern was found.  Lead by Melanie who has the voice of an angel, everyone sang songs out loud and strong and kept on dancing!!!

Nothing was going to stop this wedding from celebrating!  Not the tree blocking the road, the intermittent power, losing water or in the end,  losing the power completely.  Some random Redwood tree,  in a forest, on a mountain decided to fall and that was ok.

Melanie and Omar, thank you so much for the great honor of documenting your amazing wedding day

***I highly suggest checking out  Melanie’s version of the wedding (and the first few days of their honeymoon!), go to her blog post, Even Natural Disasters Can’t Ruin My Wedding and Honeymoon!

 

 

 
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Sandy Cobb - August 20, 2015 - 12:45 pm

AWESOME job Susannah!!!! You are THE BEST!!! Thank you SO much for doing such a FANTASTIC job capturing such special moments in our daughter Melanie and Omar’s wedding! The captions are SUCH a SPECIAL added bonus! You told the story SO well! I have a feeling THIS wedding will be one that will stand out in your memory for a LONG time! :)

Temple Emanu-El in San Francisco Wedding~Emma & Adam!

He’s a rabbi and she’s a cantor…sounds like the beginning of a fairy tale right?  Perhaps it is.

Emma and Adam first met each other on a trip to Israel and they have not taken their eyes off each other since!

Their wedding day started off with the typical northern California gray sky and it was even a little rainy but then it turned into a beautiful sunny day for Emma & Adam and the rest of San Francisco!  It was pride weekend across the US and there was even more celebrate with the Supremes Court’s ruling of marriage equality- something Emma and Adam feel very passionately about! In fact, later on you will see that even at the tisch, traditionally just for men, was opened up to men and woman.  Emma and Adam even put a little twist on the bridal party- all guys for Adam?  All ladies for Emma?  Not at their wedding! Although the traditions of the Jewish faith are deeply meaningful to them, I admired how Emma & Adam are molding these traditions into what feels right for their beliefs.  And perhaps in doing so, creating new traditions!Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2158Temple Emau-el, what a sight to see!  Such a gorgeous structure on both the outside and inside.  The rainbow running in the middle of the large stain glass window was a great nod to Pride weekend!Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2159Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2160Tucked away on one side of the temple, Adam and his friends got ready, sharing laughs and some toasts too!Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2161Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2162Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2163Adam carried with him an embroidered handkerchief from his grandmother. Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2164Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2165Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2166Meanwhile wayyyy on the other side of the temple Emma shows up beaming and so excited to get married!!!Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2167Emma’s Badgley Mischka gown  was stunning and honestly this picture can not do it justice- wait til you see her in it!Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2168Emma’s male bridesmaids, what I like to call “brideguys” getting ready too!  So much fun to have the guys with the girls!Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2169Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2170Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2171The veil for the final touch, which Adam will then lift when he see’s Emma during the Badeken.Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2172Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2173A bride and a groom seeing each other for the first time is always so exciting, so much energy in the air! Here Emma passes her Dad on the way to see her soon to be husband. Oh I love the emotion on Dad’s face!
Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2174Adam was waiting patiently…Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2175Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2176The whole day was like out of a movie!
Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2177Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2178Adam is a Rabbi, as was his grandfather and his father. What a lineage they are creating!  It was very special to have Adam’s father be the rabbi for their wedding.
Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2179Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2180Adam then lifts the veil which has many meanings in the Jewish religion.Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2181So beautiful, so much love and emotion!Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2182With emotions running high and some time before the wedding ceremony, we ran outside to what was now a sunny day and took some photographs! Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2183Ha!!!!!!  LOVE it!!! Someone was excited to marry her handsome man!!! Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2184Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2185The old glass doors to the temple made for an interesting reflection of these love bugs!Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2186Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2187Gah, loved the details of Emma’s Badgley Mischka gown, which of course also fit her perfectly!!!Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2188Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2189There they are!  How cool is it that they both have men and ladies on their side?! Cheers to mixing it up!!!Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2190Beautiful lavender touches throughout the florals. Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2191Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2192While everyone was getting seated for the Ketubah signing, I stole Emma and Adam away to this cool little window that I had found.  I knew they would make the perfect shiloutte. Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2193It was now time for the Ketubah, the signing of the Jewish marriage contract.
Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2194

Isaac Brynjegard-Bialik designed the Ketubah with a nod to Emma & Adam’s love for comic books and all the places they have traveled to. It is an incredible work of art!Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2195Once it is signed on the wedding day it will be framed and then hung in their home. What a incredible reminder of the vows they made and their wedding day!Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2196Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2197A very special part of the Ketubah ceremony was when all four parents read together. Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2198Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2199The witnesses signed, as well as Adam’s father, Emma and Adam. Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2200Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2201Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2202And now by Jewish law, they are officially husband and wife!  Or wife and husband 😉Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2203With wet eyes and lumps in everyones throat from the Ketubah ceremony, it was now time to change gears!  Emma and Adam lead together a tische for everyone- woman and men! In  a traditional tische there would only be men in the room.  But this was Emma and Adam’s day and they were making some new traditions! Shots were poured out and the singing and banging on the table began!!!
Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2204Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2205Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2206As the custom says, the crowd was to interrupt Emma and Adam as they spoke and sang! Everyone was breaking out in songs and singing their hearts out!
Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2207Cheers!!!Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2208Guests had arrived and everything was ready for the wedding ceremony. The huppah was created from their ______ prayer shawls. Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2209Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2210Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2211Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2212Adam was escorted down the aisle by his parents. Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2213Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2214Everyone then waited for Emma to appear….Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2215Look at that stunning train!Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2216Emma is escorted by her parents. Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2217Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2218This might be one of my favorite moments in my 10 years of photographing weddings. When Emma met Adam at the bottom of the aisle Adam held her hand and they just stared at each other. For awhile. It was amazing. Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2219They then each circled each other, which of course was harder for Emma and she needed a little help from her maid of honor!! Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2220Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2221Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2222Adam’s father then began to lead a beautiful, heart felt wedding ceremony!Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2223Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2224Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2225Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2226I love when the person conducting the ceremony asks for the couple to look out and see all those that came to celebrate them!Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2227Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2228Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2229Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2230Emma and Adam then exchange rings. Jewish custom is to place the ring on the index finger,the finger believed to have a direct connection to the heart.Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2231Emma and Adam said their personalized vows to each other and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house!Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2232Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2233Lots laughter too!Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2234Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2235Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2236Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2237Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2238Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2239Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2240

Cantor Vladimir Lapin performed magnificently, he is their classmate and friend.

Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2241Emma’s father recited a reading, I love that glance to his baby girl!Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2242And then both sets of parents wrapped Emma and Adam in the prayer shawls for a final blessing. Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_22432nd to last thing to do but also one of the most anticipated… Adam smashed the glass…..Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2244Then kissed his bride!!!!Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2245MARRIED!!!!!!!! Mazel Tov!!!!Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2246Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2247The family gathered and it was a full on hug fest!Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2248Emma and Adam’s beautiful rings. Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2249Downstairs the tables were set to welcome the guests for a grand celebration!Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2250Each guest received a sweet treat, yummy caramel!Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2251It was time, Emma and Adam tore into the reception to kick off a magical evening!Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2252Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2253First dance….for a moment til….Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2254Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2255…the couple was lifted up into the air surrounded by everyone in attendance!
Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2256Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2257Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2258Then on to the Hora!Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2259Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2260The bread was broken by Adam’s uncle Dr. Robert Cohen.Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2261Adam’s brother kicked off the toasts!Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2262Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2264Followed by Emma’s cousin. Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2263Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2272Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2265Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2266Next up to bring on even more laughter and stories from the past, Adam’s  little sister. Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2267Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2269
Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2268And to bring it all home, Emma’s brother gave a toast that he somehow did a spin on the Star Wars saga!  It was clever and every Star Wars fan in attendance was like…O.M.G how did he come up with that?  In the end he was Hans Solo, every male Star War fan’s goal. Genius.
Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2274Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2271Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2273Cheers!!!!Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2275Next up Emma & Adam thanked everyone for coming from near and far!!!!Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2276Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2278Parent dances!Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2279Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2280And then the dance floors erupted, everyone was shaking their thing- even this little one!Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2281Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2282Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2283Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2284Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2285Adam shows off his new hardware!Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2286Photobooth shenanigans!Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2287Half time break for cake and cupcakes? Yes please!
Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2288Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2289Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2290Yep, they went there! Ha ha!
Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2291Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2292Emma then tossed her bouquet into a crowd of single ladies and men!!! Beyonce hasn’t created the perfect song for this as she did with “single ladies” but perhaps next year? Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2293See the woman on the lower right in the floral patterned dress, the one not trying? It’s called strategy…she knew it was coming for her! She cooly snagged it.
Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2295Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2296Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2298So much fun dancing…
Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2299…and lifting!!!Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2300Adam too!!!Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2301It was sad for the dancing to come to an end, everyone was having such an incredible time!  At the end everyone circled around Emma and Adam and as they danced their last dance for the night. (Well maybe, who knows what fun was to be had at the after party!)Temple Emanu-El San Francisco wedding- Susannah Gill_2302Congratulations Emma and Adam! Thank you for the amazing honor to document your wedding day filled with new and old traditions, tons of laughter and an abundance of LOVE!!!!!!!!!

Big THANK YOU to all the amazing vendors that worked together on this wedding!

CatererMichael Goldstein

Day Coordinator-Patty Steinberg

Flowers-Victoria Marshall

DJ & uplighting-Ben Brussell

Photo booth-Zephyr Productions

Dress-La Soie Bridal

Ketubah Art-Isaac Brynjegard-Bialik

Hair-Wendy Blanton

Makeup-Ryan Meador

 
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Jenny - August 19, 2015 - 7:38 pm

Good lord do I miss you and your gorgeous photography here in NYC. Shot after shot after shot….GORGEOUS!!!!

Susannah Gill - August 19, 2015 - 7:46 pm

JENNY!!! You are the sweetest! xoxox

Ralston White Retreat Wedding ~ Beylah & Chris!

DYI letterpress wedding Beylah and Chris, lovers of the great outdoors, family and friends and anything that calls for creativity!  When their family and friends from near and far gathered at the Ralston White Retreat for their wedding weekend, I think it’s easy to say how blown away everyone was.  Not only by the location but all that they did to personalize it for their wedding as well.  From the letterpress invitation that Beylah &  Chris designed and printed themselves to the woodwork- signage, games and a chuppah! This crafty couple took  the term DIY wedding to a whole new level and they did it with such skill and creativity, everything looked so beautiful. We all know DIY does not always end in something pretty!

Right at the start of the blog I’d like to give a big acknowledgment to Lindsay and her crew from 2 Friends Events.  They did a wonderful job of making this wedding stay on track and they were so friendly as they did it! Organized and kind- love that!

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Besides all of the DIY touches, one of the cool things about the wedding was that it was actually one big slumber party too! The 2nd and the 3rd floors of the house have many rooms for guests to stay in.  Communal bathrooms and showers brought back memories of summer camp and dorm life!

With so many DIY touches I asked Beylah to help me out for the blog with describing them.

Welcome Easel: The easel welcoming our guests to our wedding was the very first woodworking project Chris took on! Inspired by his late father’s love of woodworking (and a desire to save money by taking on some DIY projects) Chris dove in and hand built this beautiful two-sided easel. I then decorated it with chalk to welcome our guests! Like many of our projects, it was a true team effort!

Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_1960Beylah’s dress by Allure was stunning and this image of it in no way shows the beauty of it’s delicate lace and buttons! Only seeing it on Beylah really shows that. But I do like the sweetness of it here waiting for Beylah.Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_1962The creative talent was not just limited to Beylah and Chris but family members as well.  Chris’ Mom is a national needlepoint champion! She created this delicate ring pillow holding the wedding bands for the ceremony. Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_1963

Beylah got dressed with the help of her mother and her sister.Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_1964

Mom did every button up with love, that’s a lot of love!!Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_1965Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_1966

Supported by her sister, buttoned up by her mother- so much love in this image!

Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_1970Chris’ Mom arrived and was all smiles at the sight of her beautiful soon-to-be daughter-in-law!Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_1967Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_1969As were her childhood best friends!Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_1971Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_1972Everyone then joined in to help with the finishing touches before the first look.Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_1973Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_1974Beylah presented the Moms with a beautiful custom handkerchief- almost too pretty to use!

Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2126Sisters!!

Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_1975While the ladies were busy with hair, makeup and doing up a long row of tiny buttons, the guys were doing what guys do best: using power tools, drinking beer, hanging out and eventually getting dressed!Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_1976Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_1978Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_1977The unfair thing about guys is that within seconds they can get ready and look oh so handsome!Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_1979I  love the look of anticipation on Chris’ face!Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_1981Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_1980So much happiness!Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_1983Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_1982Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_1984

Big smiles, crying eyes- I love the emotions of a first look!

Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2105Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_1985Just out back of the retreat center are trails leading you into an amazing world of a redwood forest!Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_1986Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2106Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_1992There is nothing like walking amongst redwoods to remind you of the amazing grandness of nature.Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_1991Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_1987Beylah’s bouquet held a picture of her late grandmother, such a special way to have her near on the wedding day. All the beautiful florals were created by Nancy Ann Flowers.Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_1988Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2108How awesome are these wedding shoes?  Beylah was the smartest bride ever wearing sparkly flats!
Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_1990Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_1993When I get to a venue I try to scout locations to do pictures of the bride and groom.  But sometimes I wander too far or climb over things without fully thinking how a bride might get there in a wedding dress…. and still keep that dress clean! And sometimes I just hope that the bride might not care and wants that picture as much as I do!  That is what happened here.

We were a little short on time but I knew from my walk that morning that there was a pond on the property that was surrounded by beautiful trees and what seemed to be the leftovers of some manmade structures. The space was enchanting and I wanted so badly for Beylah and Chris to be photographed amongst it. When I suggested it, Chris eyes lit up and Beylah said, “of course” with a shrug of her shoulders! I love adventurous brides and grooms!  Ahhh, this image above makes my photographer heart happy!  I love when an idea comes to fruition, thank you Beylah and Chris for being up for it!  (Oh and Beylah’s delicate dress stayed perfectly clean and intact!)
Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_1994Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2109Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_1995Heading on back to get married!Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_1996Everything was all set for the ceremony, blue skies and all!Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2111

Chuppah: The chuppah was truly a labor of love to put together! Chris spent hours upon hours building, sanding (and then more sanding!), and staining the chuppah. On the day of the wedding he assembled it with the help from some handy friends, and as in Jewish tradition, we adorned it with a lace tablecloth that we will use in our future home!

Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_1997Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_1998A portrait of Chris’ late father was placed in the front row. Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_1999Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2000Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2001

“Yay” Flags: In lieu of throwing rice, Chris and I thought it would be a fun idea to see all of our loved ones waving little celebratory flags when we walked back down the aisle after the ceremony. I wanted them to represent us, so we added in “Opa!” to represent Chris’s Greek roots, and “Mazel Tov” to represent my Jewish roots. It was a fun project to take on– I taught myself to screen print designs onto fabric, and then cut and sewed each flag onto wooden dowels. It was wonderful to learn a new skill and make something that truly represented both of us for the wedding!

Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2002Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2003With flags at the ready, it was time to start the wedding ceremony!Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2005Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2004Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2006

Beylah was walked down the aisle by her mother, as her father had been dealing with some serious health issues and was unable to attend. However, friends and family members really pitched in and used technology to allow her father to watch the wedding live.

Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2008Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2007Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2016Beylah and Chris’ close friend, Jake officiated the wedding ceremony. He did such an amazing job and really made the ceremony so special for everyone. Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2100Beylah’s sister did the first reading.Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2012Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2011Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2101Beylah’s aunt did the 2nd reading. Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2009Loved how the Ralston Retreat Center has a hill that goes up beyond the ceremony site allowing for views down onto the ceremony.Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2102Beylah and Chris created their own vows to each other. It was beautiful, funny and had everyone laughing with welled up eyes! Nothing like a good belly laugh!Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2013Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2015Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2014The balcony from the house also made for a cool vantage point!Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2103Rings were exchanged…
Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2017Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2018And with a kiss it was official!  Married!!!Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2019Mr & Mrs!Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2020Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2093Beylah and Chris’ wedding bands. Chris’ band was passed down to him from his late father.
Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2021Beylah and Chris thought of everything to give their guests an amazing experience! Extra blankets, lovely drinks (Does Beylah not have the prettiest handwriting!?) and even games!!!

Lawn Games: Having fun lawn games during our cocktail hour was something we were really excited to do, and Chris took on the major projects of building some of them himself! He built a giant Jenga, as well as the ladder golf. It was a lot of work with tons of sanding all of those pieces (as well as some fun test runs playing in my parents backyard), but it was so worth it to see our guests having fun on our wedding day!

Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2022Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2127Lifelong buddies and their partners- quite a crew of amazing people!Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2099Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2098Everyone was having so much fun playing!!  Best cocktail party ever!Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2118Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2023The life-sized Jenga was a huge hit!Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2024Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2025Ummm, sorry Chris!Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2094Sandwich hug!Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2027The Ralston Retreat Center also has a resident doggy who roamed around giving love and helping with clean up 😉Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2028Greg, a die-hard Yankee fan had to really check his sports ego at the door to capture Chris wearing Boston Red Sox socks on his wedding day!!Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2026Inside the house, the dining room was beautifully decorated. Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2029

Wooden Escort Card Holders: For these, Chris and I scavenged for long fallen branches in Marin, and then took them home where Chris hand cut them into individual escort card holders! I designed the actual cards to fit in, another great team effort.

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Table Numbers: Chris had lots of fun with these! Since we are lovers of the outdoors and nature, Chris designed each table “number” to be a native California tree (ones we had seen together during our first ten years of adventuring), and found fun tree facts to put on each card. Super dorky, but super us!

Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2034Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2035While everyone else was getting their seats for dinner, the now married Beylah and Chris got to relax on the steps for a moment and enjoy the scenery. Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2036Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2037Beylah and Chris welcomed their guests and poked fun at themselves for how long they waited to get married! I’m sure they were constantly asked (I know Greg and I were!) so why not have a little fun with it!Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2038Beylah’s Mom did a big HOORAY that Chris was now finally her son-in-law!  Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2039Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2040Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2121Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2043Chris’ mom carried the running joke off without a hitch saying that she told Chris when he was younger that he wasn’t allow to get married til he was 30!

Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2042Next up was Chris’ best man who shared hysterical stories of their past together… basically involving video games!
Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2044Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2045Beylah’s sister her Matron of Honor then gave a toast recalling childhood stories and how much she admires Beylah!Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2046Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2120Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2047Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2048Next up was one of Beylah’s dearest friends who recalled the first movie they saw together at 10 and how she even still had the tickets from it!Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2049Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2050Last but not least, Beylah’s grandfather stood up and gave a grand welcome to Chris into their family!Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2051After toasts everyone enjoyed a delicious meal created by the talented A Fork Full of Earth!Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2052Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2053At the Ralston Retreat Center- the dancing happens in the adjacent room to the dining area.  Everyone headed over for the first dance.Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2054Beylah and Chris, both a little shy of the limelight, did a short first dance before they asked their friends and family to join them on the dance floor!Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2055Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2057Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2056Top right and bottom right of this image- two of my past brides and grooms!  Love seeing familiar faces at weddings!!!Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2123The Hora! Hands down, chairs up- one of my favorite parts of a Jewish wedding!
Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2059Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2062Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2063Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2064Beylah in this picture is trying to get Chris to grab the napkin! This nods to an old Jewish custom back from the days when the men and woman could not touch when dancing.  The napkin allowed them to touch… without touching. Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2065They have strong friends- they were up there for a long time! No complaints from me! Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2066Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2067The guys got a little crazy! So much fun!Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2068Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2069With the first dance and the Hora done it was now time to dance the night away! Shaun of Toasts & Bells (a dynamic team) did a wonderful job of keeping the dance floor going!  Rachelle also sang during the ceremony and the cocktail hour and had everyone in awe. Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2070Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2082Parents out dancing!  With their little guy sleeping nearby in the other room they were able to take a few spins on the dance floor while also keeping any eye on the monitor!
Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2084Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2085Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2071Dancing at a wedding should only be interrupted by one thing…. sugar! Look at this display of yumminess!Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2072How adorable is this cake with the bears on top?!  Delicious sweet treats created by Teeny Cakes.
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Favors: Chris’s mom made dozens of delicious baklava (a Greek tradition of course!) using an old family recipe that we used as our favors.

Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2075Photo booth fun!

Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2078All sugared up, the dance floor was in full swing again! Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2079Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2080Can you name the song they are dancing to?!?!Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2081Awww, Chris and his Mom!
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Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2087Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2088Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2089Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2090Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2091Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2095Such a great team! Appropriate that they love to high 5 each other!Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2096Last dance! So much fun to be surrounded and celebrated by your friends and family….Ralston White retreat wedding Susannah Gill_2097…then smooshed!

Beylah & Chris, thank you so much for inviting us up to photograph your wedding! We were so inspired by your love for each other, your impressive craftiness and the beauty of Mill Valley!

 
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Holman Ranch Wedding~ Carly & Kevin

Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1804On a beautiful sunny day, Carly & Kevin celebrated their love with family and friends at the amazing Holman Ranch in Carmel Valley. Carly and Kevin are as fun and sweet as they are one darn good looking couple!!! I knew their wedding would be a blast just from the fun we had on their engagement session! Carly & Kevin are up for anything and love adventures….in fact later in this post you will even see them sitting in a tree- yes you read that right!Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1805Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1891Oh Holman Ranch, how pretty you are! Holman Ranch is such an incredible place to get married. It’s full of rustic charm and everywhere you look there is something for your eyes to marvel at. There are also places to stay there so you and your family and friends can enjoy the property to its fullest.Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1806Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1812Carly’s beautiful dress which she also wore with a lace top, adding a romantic touch.

Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1813Jeanne Eckard did a wonderful job with the floral decorations, I love the mix of textures and colors she used.

Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1807The girls got dressed in the bridal room and honestly, they could have just played “getting ready” all day. These girls were having so much fun listening to music, taking pictures and getting all glammed up!Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1916

Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1809Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1810Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1917Carly’s cousin Cammy on the far right is co-owner and designer of Show Me Your Mumu clothing line. The rompers were amazing and also a perfect gift for your ladies andddd great for getting ready as you can get out of them and into your dress without messing up your hair and makeup! Their latest line included bridesmaids dresses!Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1814

Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1815Carly was dressed by her sisters and her mother and they were on a rollercoaster of emotions- they went from crying to laughing over and over! And that is exactly what I love about a wedding day!Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1816Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1817Dad showed up looking so handsome with a big smile at seeing Carly in her dress!Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1818The ladies! So pretty!Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1819Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1820Stunning!Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1821Guys getting ready was a much simpler and quicker task which they did in the last few minutes before they left for the church. Men have it so easy- get dressed, brush teeth and maybe some gel in the hair?Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1822Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1823Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1824Going to the chapel and I’m going to get maRRRRRRRRied! Going to the chapel……Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1825Carly and Kevin chose to get married at the Carmel Mission, a lovely church filled with history and quaint charm.Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1826Carly’s brother Jackson sneaks in to give his sister a big hug before the ceremony!Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1827The little flower girl with her rosey cheeks and an angelic smile melted the hearts of everyone in attendance!Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1828Look at Kevin and his big smile at seeing his gorgeous bride!Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1829Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1830Carmel Mission- Susannah Gill_1831Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1832Carly & Kevin were all smiles during their ceremony!Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1838Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1833Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1834Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1835The priest, Father Bob Fambrini, that married Carly and Kevin is a dear friend of Carly’s family. In fact he married Carly’s parents and also baptized Carly and her siblings!Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1836Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1837Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1839This church, so pretty!

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Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1842I love the excitement as Carly listens to the Father announcing them as husband and wife!Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1915Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1843Married!!!!Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1844Kevin can’t contain his enthusiasm and breaks out into a celebration dance!!!!  Showboating how lucky he is to marry Carly!Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1845Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1846Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1847For a moment I got them to stand still…..Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1848…then they all started celebrating again!!!Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1849With all the festivities planned for the day, we had a whole 15 minutes to take portraits. It’s in a situation like this that I’m grateful I have done an engagement session with the couple! So between the practice we have already had, the killer light and this happily married couple- we got the job done!!Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1851Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1850Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1852Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1918Thinking the answer might be “no” I  asked Carly and Kevin if they wanted to climb into the tree, they looked at me, shrugged and their answer was “yes” of course! I should’ve known!!!Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1854Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1855Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1856Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1857Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1858Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1859And just like that we were done and they were swept away to their cocktail party on their ranch chariot!Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1860Back at the ranch, the guest were enjoying cocktail hour and the glory of Holman Ranch and Carmel Valley.Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1861I love this creative way to showcase the table place cards. The boxes were filled with lavender!Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1863Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1864Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1865Holman Ranch has a few hearts made out of metal that made perfect props!Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1866Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1867What a setting for a wedding celebration! Wooden boxes filled with gorgeous flowers was the perfect compliment to the property.Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1868Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1869Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1870Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1871Mr. & Mrs. Riley!!!Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1872Carly’s Dad welcomed everyone from near and far…even friends from Australia were there!Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1873Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1874Father Bob said a blessing.Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1875It was then time for toasts! I love the toasts! Carly’s older sister started off followed by her “wombmate” her twin sister!  They had everyone laughing and crying, they were amazing!Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1876Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1877Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1878Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1879Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1880Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1881Although Kevin’s best man had a tough act to follow, he did such a great job of giving us some scoop on Kevin from when they were kids!!Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1882Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1883Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1884Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1885Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1886It was now time for the feast and what a feast it was!                Catering always does such an amazing job!Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1887Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1888A sweet little treat for their friends!Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1889I really liked how simplistic this cake was, perfectly decorated with the succulents.Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1890How could they not have games at their wedding?!?!Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1892It was now time for Carly & Kevin’s first dance as husband and wife.Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1893Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1894Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1895Carly’s turn with Dad….Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1896Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1897Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1898…and then with her brother Jackson!Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1899Last it was Kevin’s turn to have a dance and a spin with his Mom!  As a Mama to a little boy, this always melts my heart to watch!Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1900Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1901Then it was that time!!!  Everyone had so much fun dancing!!!!Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1902Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1904Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1905Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1906The sun had set but the candles on the cake table made for a beautiful glow as these two cut their cake!Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1907Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1908Back to the party!!Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1909Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1910Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1911Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1912We left Carly & Kevin dancing the night away and celebrating with all their wonderful family and friends!  Carly & Kevin, thank you so much for the great honor of witnessing and photographing your wedding day! It was as fun as it was beautiful, a perfect reflection of you two!!!Holman Ranch Wedding- Susannah Gill_1913Here a list of the amazing vendor team!!

Wedding Coordinator: Engaged and Inspired

Hair and Make Up: The Hair & Makeup Co.

Caterer:  Paradise Catering

Videographer: Frame 44 Weddings

Florist: Jeanne Eckard Flowers & Design

Music: Belmont Entertainment

Cake: Layers

 

 

 

 
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Carly & Kevin’s Presido Engagement Photowalk!

When I met up with Carly & Kevin in the Presidio in San Francisco I knew we were going for a photo walk.  What happened instead was much more like a photo adventure! From the woods to the beach we laughed hysterically, got a few bug bites, scaled a log pile and I was even assisted down from a rocky ledge from a man not wearing any pants. And NO it was not Kevin.  And YES we were at the notorious Bakers Beach!  After all the fun we climbed up a huge set of stairs (I’m talking like West Coast Rocky style) to get back to the main road. When we looked back we saw the most glorious sunset. What an incredible way to end the adventure!

These two lovies are getting married next week at the historic Carmel Mission and then celebrating at Holman Ranch in Carmel Valley, one of the most beautiful wedding venues I have ever seen. Looking forward to capturing some wedding magic with Carly and Kevin and working with the great team of vendors including: wedding planner Allison from Engaged and Inspired,  Frame 44 Weddings on video, Paradise Catering providing the scrumptious food, Layers Sensational Cakes creating the cake, Jean Eckard Flowers & Design on the blooms and Belmont Entertainment providing the music!

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