Can you be officially considered “destination” photographers if you’ve only shot weddings in the 2 states closest to yours? We’ll say yes since it makes us sound so much cooler. So I now declare that we are destination photographers! When Mike and Emily called us to shoot their wedding on the beach in San Diego, I think all it took was a look between Scottie and I to know that we’d be willing to let them name our firstborn for a chance to hang out in California with them.
Good thing they wanted us there too so they just signed our normal contract (which said nothing about our firstborn) and many months later, we found ourselves sitting on the beach, watching the sunset, and talking about the wedding we were excited to shoot the next day!
One of my favorite things about going to as many weddings as we do is how much you can learn about a couple just by observing the details of their wedding. Some people love a big production and are very detail oriented, some just want to spend as much time as possible with their family and friends, while others just want it to be over so they can finally be married! Of course our favorites are the ones who really care about their photos (and Mike and Emily definitely fall into that category)! :-) Emily also had tons and tons of little details that meant a lot to her…everything from sentimental keepsakes to various personalized gifts for the guests. Every little thing had their personal touch on it, and that includes the guests lips since they handed out keepsake lip balm alongside the individual coffee packets, bubbles, and scented soaps that their guests took home. Her family had some amazing little things to give to her that day as well! Her mom saved her baby bonnet so she could turn it into a handkerchief for Emily’s wedding day, so of course she carried it with her! She also carried the same little white Bible that generations of women in her family before carried on their wedding day. It has all their names and wedding dates written in the inside cover. It was so cool to get to hear the story behind these special wedding day details as well as many others that were present that day!
(The Bible and the handkerchief… this might actually be the other handkerchief she had that day. The one her grandmother bought for her years ago in hopes that she would use it on her wedding day. It’s so awesome how much everyone looked forward to and planned for Emily’s big day, even from when she was young. What a loving family!).
Their ceremony was unbelievably beautiful and they picked the perfect wedding colors to set off the colors in the ocean. Our little photographer hearts skipped a beat when we saw the set up! Suzan M. Florals did an INCREDIBLE job on the flowers. She went above and beyond the call of duty! You can tell once you’ve seen her work that she’s one of those people who sees her work as more than just a job… it’s definitely her art and her work has the integrity of a true artist. She sees everything she does as a gift to the couple and she puts her heart into her work accordingly. She was also so cute to see on the wedding day, she was SO excited for Mike and Emily. :-) I talked to Emily about Suzan afterwards and she had the same rave reviews as me!
And of course to make it better the actual ceremony was beautiful as well and full of tears (with a few laughs thrown in for good measure too… some on purpose, some due to the unexpected events that important moments in life always seem to spring on you)!
The reception had an unusual touch to it as well! They opted to only do the major dances (first dance, father daughter, mother son) and then brought in an improv comedy team to provide the entertainment that is usually provided at weddings by drunken guests attempting to do the electric slide! The comedy team was a hit and they had every guest at the wedding laughing uproariously… definitely memories that everyone took home with them!
After their brunch reception ended, all the guests went back to their hotels rooms to change and rest a bit before the big bonfire on the beach that night! That’s the benefit of a destination wedding… all your guests have nothing better to do but stick around and party with you for as long as you want (NOW do I sound like a real destination wedding photographer?)! I actually can say that from experience because our wedding was destination and it was the same thing… we just got to party with our friends and family all weekend! We got married in a small town where everything closed at 8pm so our guests didn’t really have a choice!
It was really fun for us to get spend that much time with Mike and Emily as well as their guests. We got to know everyone really well and we totally love that because it’s a really big deal to spend 8 hours with someone on the most important day of their life, but hanging out with them for a few days in a row is even more amazing! Mike and Emily treated us as guests, not as random, distant photographers. They invited us to the bonfire that night to hang out with everyone (as well as capture a few photo ops!), thanks for inviting us guys, we had a blast and it meant a lot to us to get to hang out with you more!
This was truly an amazing, unique, fun, beautiful, and emotional time all wrapped up into one wedding!
Mike and Emily, you guys did a great job planning your wedding (it was seriously WONDERFUL) and thanks for spending all the time you did with us… especially during that long, exhausting Unique Session we did the day after your wedding. You’re both great sports! :-) Check out the blog about our Unique Session adventure with Mike and Emily… and I do mean ADVENTURE! Here’s a little sneak peak at one of the photos from it just to whet your appetite a little bit!
Click to see all of Mike and Emily’s San Diego wedding photographs!