Weddings are full of memorable moments.
As a wedding photographer, I have the amazing job of watching those moments unfold and photographing them to be treasured for a lifetime.
Here are a few of my favorites from 2016.
Before I begin my list of Favorite Wedding Photography Moments of 2016, I want to thank the wonderful couples who asked me to photograph their weddings this year. Each one of you trusted me with your wedding day and most importantly, with photographing your genuine emotions. It’s not easy showing your true self in front of a camera and you all willingly let your guards down as I asked you questions, guided you into poses and reminded you to breathe. I loved joining your families for the day and will continue to cherish our friendships as your journey into married life continues.
I’m a total sucker for Father of the Bride toasts. They almost always choke me up a bit and since many of my brides are daddy’s girls like I am, there are a lot of teary-eyed father of the bride moments. However, this year’s favorite toast was Jeremy’s Thank You Toast. He thanked his parents for supporting him as he grew up, “A queer kid in Virginia.” He talked about his childhood and his parents’ unconditional love. Then he thanked everyone in the room for their love and support of his and Jason’s relationship. He ended his toast with, “Jason and I thank you and that queer kid in Virginia thanks you.” Not a dry eye in the room.
Favorite First Look
A first look is when the couple chooses to see each other before the wedding ceremony. It’s great for couples who are shy or nervous about having an intense emotional moment in front of all their guests. When Moof waited to see Ali for the first time in her wedding dress, Moof closed their eyes and calmly took deep breaths. When Moof turned around and saw Ali, they put their hands to their face and just cried. It was such an outpouring of love not just from Moof’s reaction, but Ali’s caring touch as she comforted Moof.
Favorite First Dance
David and Althea took dance lessons to prepare for their first dance to, “Pistol” by Dustin Kensrue. They knew their dance so well that they were able to stare into each other’s eyes and get lost in the moment while their family cheered around them. Their dance ended with David carrying Althea into the crowd.
Favorite Ceremony Vows
Every now and then couples add a sense of humor to their vows that has everyone laughing out loud. This year two couples surprised me with their vows and had me quietly laughing while photographing the moment. David and Jenny added comic book/super hero references to their vows. Christina made Sam vow never to root for Ohio State (she went to Michigan).
Favorite Surprise from a Groom
While Kristi and Ory’s guests were all mingling, Ory asked for everyone’s attention. The crowd quieted down and all eyes were on him. He stood tall, smiled and announced, “I would like to ask my wife to dance.” Best intro to a first dance, ever!
Favorite OMG Moments
I love being a wedding photographer. Like, really love it. There are moments during a wedding (usually during portraits of the bride or the couple by themselves) that I get so excited about what we’re photographing that I say, “OMG!” while doing a little dance. Then the couple laughs because they know I’m truly that happy about what we’re doing and they get just as excited as I am.
There were several OMG moments in 2016. David and Althea’s portraits during sunset in a park was definitely one of them (the dress, the light, that beard!) Jenny and David’s wedding portraits along a tree lined pathway at the Santa Barbara Zoo was another. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, Monty the Penguin joined us! Yes, a real, live penguin. It was his first wedding and he was adorable.
Another OMG moment at Jenny and David’s wedding was when they were both lifted onto chairs on the dance floor for The Hora. My second photographer, Jessica and I were running around laughing trying to photograph the moment without getting knocked over.
Then there was Ashley. She was so stunning on her wedding day that every moment photographing her at Loft 84 was an OMG moment. There were big theatre curtains and floor to ceiling windows that I couldn’t get enough of.
I could literally chat about OMG moments all day, but for the sake of this post I’ll just mention one more. Kylie’s bridal portraits at the Arabella Cottage in Laguna Beach was a moment I’ll never forget. She took every little bit of modeling advice I gave her and ran with it. I had so many people mention the picture of her standing on the steps of the cottage I posted on Instagram to me. She was simply breathtaking!
Favorite, “This is a First” Moments
This year had quite a few moments that were firsts for me. I was flown to New York to photograph a wedding (thank you, Jason and Jeremy!), I photographed not one, but a few weddings in Santa Barbara (thank you, Jenny & David and Lover of Weddings), I photographed giraffes and a penguin (Jenny & David’s wedding), a drag queen performance during a reception (Jason & Jeremy’s wedding) turned a playground into a wedding portrait location (Diana & Jeff’s wedding) and ran in and out of the rain any chance we had to take pictures (Shannon & D’s wedding).
The number one moment that stands out to me was during Timothy and Laura’s wedding ceremony on the sand in Huntington Beach. I knelt down to get a different angle and an adorable little boy walked over to me, sat in my lap and went to sleep. Right in the middle of the ceremony. I kept photographing, then gently woke him up and continued on with the ceremony. It was such a precious moment and if I wasn’t concerned about missing an important part of the short ceremony, I would have taken a selfie with him.
Thank you to all the amazing wedding vendors, families and friends that helped make these weddings possible. If it wasn’t for your dedication, I wouldn’t be able to have this incredible job that I love so much. This year has been absolutely wonderful and I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store!