Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Alex and Rich's Wedding, 8/18/07, the Pavilion at the Villagio, Yountville, Napa Valley, California

I knew that Alex and Rich's wedding was going to be unlike any other, and I'm SO excited to finally post the photos and show you how it was so unique! This is a long one - lots to share!

First of all, the couple was amazing. Alex and I had been talking and emailing very often, so I got to be privy to a lot of the fun details as they evolved. It was great to finally meet Rich when we did their engagement portraits - they are perfect for each other!

Alex used to be in a roller derby league in LA, so her ushers were these lovely, sassy ladies on roller skates! What a great photo op!

May I just say that this was the BEST shoot we had ever done with it?! That's all thanks to goofy Devon - he may make silly faces but he checked the setup while I was taking the formal stuff, and these shots came out looking SO awesome! I mean, look at these guys - they're like a wine country commercial! I love it!

And then we have some more derby ladies... ooh la la! How hot is this?!

The ceremony and reception was all at the Pavilion at the Villagio in Yountville - a gorgeous, classy, and really fun space. I loved talking with Katherine, the event planner there! She was totally open to all the quirky things Alex and Rich brought in, and they were really accommodating with things like dogs, stinky cheese, setting up a bounce house, etc etc etc. I highly recommend the Villagio! Gorgeous hotel and spa, and the Pavilion area itself is just perfect for a wedding. This is like an epically beautiful place to get married, right in the heart of Napa, and (as one guest put it, close to midnight) stumbling distance to other hotels, restaurants, etc, in lovely downtown Yountville.

Very wine country, see?

The Villagio caters and the food was also amazing. I saw that the child's meals had beautiful heirloom tomatoes on their cheeseburgers!

Rich and his brother/ best man had really cool vintage ties from Rich's vintage collection:

You know who else was in suit and tie?

Yup, they had the whole getup!

They got quite a reaction coming down the aisle:

Alex's dress had some beautiful blue custom beading, done by her "maven of honor":

During the ceremony the sun was pouring down which made for some fun sun flare:

But I didn't want to get too carried away. Thank goodness for lens shades (and for parasols - so cute!)

The ceremony was very sweet, with lots of tender moments, funny speeches, poems, and songs. I could tell that they have a wonderfully supportive family and friend group!

Then! After the formal stuff, a cocktail hour, dinner and a few toasts (all of which are on the slideshow, but I want to feature more of the unique details), everyone moved over to the Barrel Room, which was set up with things like:

An old fashioned candy bar with model cars (A&R are big vintage car people. Their seating arrangement was laid out on vintage hubcaps, and each table had a vintage car's hood ornament demarcating it.)

Which resulted in many cute and happy kids:

A cupcake tower:

An "Alex and Rich" piƱata (which they didn't end up breaking, and I'm glad!):

A swanky lounge band called Project Pimento, which played all kinds of groovy stuff like lots of Bond movie themes, the Pink Pather theme, "the Girl from Ipanema", etc etc.

A "cheese cake" made out of rounds of delicious, potent cheeses!

Aaaaand of course... the aforementioned bounce house!

I must confess... I've never seen a bouncy house almost tip over before! This one was definitely rocking with adults and kids alike! Everyone danced, bounced, and partied until almost midnight. The weather was perfect and the party was definitely swinging!

Edited: Slideshow has been removed, 10/16/2008.

Edited: Slideshow has been removed, 10/16/2008.

And the link to their engagement shoot photos.

What a wonderful wedding!

Monday, August 27, 2007

recent nice testimonials

I get to work with the BEST clients, so it always cheers me up when they are thrilled with their photos and choose to gush to me. Partly I guess it's my Leo-Ego, but mostly it's knowing that I have done them justice, and captured their images and their weddings just as they wanted. Hooray!

Here are some choice quotes from this weekend. Thank you, ladies!

"The pictures are AMAZING! I am so happy with all of them. I want to be like you when I grow up! I feel so fortunate to have run into you again when we did. I remember [a friend] telling me after her wedding that she hated her wedding pictures and I just thought that was so sad. I think my brother in law said it best when he bluntly said that "you were great at telling people what to do without being annoying about it!" Devon was very cute too! Hope all is well and thanks for the wonderful memories!"


We came back from our honeymoon in the woods yesterday which was a bit of a bummer... but then we had your photos to cheer us up!!! that slideshow is AMAZING! i don't know quite how to put this, but you have a really extraordinary talent for capturing the essence of people. I kept looking at pictures and saying "oh my god -- that is SO megan! that is SO laura!!" it's pretty fabulous.

so, not to sound like a broken record here, but we're really thrilled to have found you!"

Another great one I just got:

"Hey Jessamyn,

You are such a rock star, these are all so amazing. Everyone I have showed
them to has commented how well they captured the event and our
personalities. You made everyone feel so comfortable and it was all so

I'm so glad we were able to work with you for our wedding. If there's ever
anything you need, just say the word."

And, okay, a few more... hey, I didn't solicit 'em, they just came to me!

"The photos are awesome, Jessamyn! Best wedding pics I've ever seen."

"You did such a beautiful job of capturing such a fabulous event!"

"Thanks so much, Jessamyn. The pictures are just super! I actually had a day off and was able to see them all and add lots to my “shopping cart.”

You did a fabulous job, mainly because you work so well—and gently—with people.

Wasn’t it a great scene? We are still not back to reality.

Many thank for your making the memories permanent."

This is another one I wanted to keep kind of private, so I took out any identifiers (hence the confusing s/he - I just wanted the person to have anonymity, not to imply transgender):

"I talked to ________ yesterday after s/he had just seen the pics ... not to delve too deep into the gory details, but s/he's had a pretty rough life and for the past four decades or so s/he's really struggled with obesity. s/he had surgery and now is smaller and healthier than s/he's ever been... anyway, when s/he saw the pics of her/himself, s/he pretty much lost it. s/he said it was the first time s/he's been happy to see her/himself since s/he was a teenager. it really meant a lot to me and to her/him."

Okay... does it get any more touching than that?! I started crying a little when I read that. What a blessing for me to hear!

Back to work, but three cheers for my clients!!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Alex and Rich in the NY Times!

I can now officially say I've been published in the NY Times : )

On Saturday I photographed Alex and Rich's lovely wedding at the Villagio in Yountville (more on that soon, hopefully by the end of the week). And on Sunday, their wedding announcement was printed in the NY Times' Style section! - along with a photo I took of them and my photo credit! Woohoo!

Now, they did crop the photo to cut out Alex's tattoo, and we did have to do a very standard shot with no background, eyes at the same level, nothing strange or distracting, etc. Very stringent rules. But I was excited for them that it's published, and for myself as well!

Here's the article!

(side note: I realized by reading that article that a friend of mine from college works for the same co. where Alex's father was president! Another friend from school was taught by Alex's mother! small, small world.)

Now, go look at their real engagement photos... all kinds of distracting and wild backgrounds, and much more interesting than a black white background!

Monday, August 20, 2007

David Lynch: lunatic fringe, sociopath, and/ or true genius?

Devon and I tried to watch Inland Empire on Sunday night, but I could only make it to 2 hours of the 3 hour movie - while Devon finished it but then stayed up late trying to make sense of it in his mind.

I won't say I disliked it, cause I didn't; it was fascinating and enthralling, but it definitely terrified me beyond all reason. It was quite a bit like watching a three hour Aphex Twin video - not so bad for an intense 5 minute song, but for hours upon hours of unrelenting dread, suspense, jump cuts, and chaos?! Yikes!

Now that I've been reading lots of reviews and plot theories online, I really want to watch it again (all the way through this time). David Lynch is just a strange and interesting man - and did I mention CRAZY?! No one else's brain works like his. I loved Mulholland Drive, and this one had a lot in common with it, but it was just too relentlessly messing with my mind. Phew.

Here's the trailer to Inland Empire which I CAN'T EVEN WATCH cause I'm home alone and it's just too creepy for me right now.

Let that be a disclaimer.

PS Foxy Justin Theroux went to my college (not with me, he's older, but in the same drama department I was in for a bit). Just FYI.

Also, did you know David Lynch makes coffee? Apparently the special features on Disc 2 of Inland Empire feature him making a quinoa and broccoli recipe in real time. Also there are "coming soon" ringtones on his website... ringtones?!

I swear I am getting back to work now. Just wanted to share.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

busy bee - slight diversion

phew! I can't believe it's been two weeks since I last posted. In that time, I've turned 29 and celebrated a bit, been shooting and editing a ton of photos, booked several more weddings, gone camping, etc etc etc. I am digging my way out from under the pile of work and catching up - and hope to have a few new blog entries very soon.

In the meantime, here's something stupid and funny - a few of my favorite repurposed, remixed, reedited parody G.I. Joe Public Service Announcements. Very immature, random, strange and ridiculous. Parental discretion advised for some cursing and oddball-ness...

So funny and weird.

Then again, this is an original G.I. Joe version:

Was this a big problem in the 80s? I remember Punky Brewster having an episode about not hiding in an abandoned refrigerator too...

Is this too much? Too weird? I'll be back to normal and my more professional self very soon.

Suzie and Corey's Wedding, Gypsy Acres, Petaluma, CA

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of photographing Suzie and Corey's wedding on a beautiful estate in West Petaluma. Suzie and I went to high school together (was it really over 10 years ago now?! Impossible!), so it was wonderful to get to know her as a real adult, and to see what she had planned for their wedding.

Suzie made the most beautiful bride. Her dress was stunning (she said, "I went in saying, the only thing I know is that I don't want anything beaded or elaborate or sparkly, and I walked out with this!")

She was just amazingly gorgeous, tall, confident, and SO happy! I know that she did most of the planning, since Corey was finishing up school, and that is a BIG job. She pulled it off wonderfully and, once the day got started, couldn't stop smiling.

I also got to see a few people from high school that I probably haven't seen since 1996. It's so cool to see how everyone turned up - we all look about the same but just happier, more real, and more confident in ourselves. That's the impression I got anyway.

I don't know if Gypsy Acres, where the wedding was held, has a website, but it is a BEAUTIFUL location! Out near Helen Putnam regional park, where we did Suzie and Corey's engagement photo session back in April, the estate has a small lake, lawn area for the ceremony, some shady redwood patio areas, and then a big pool next to another lawn area for the reception. It was very picturesque, and perfect for the bright, sunny afternoon wedding. The weather was about 75 degrees and slightly breezy - perfect!

Catering was once again provided by the excellent Park Avenue Caterers (delicious as always!), and I was thrilled to meet Kimberly Thompson of A Beautiful Ceremony, the officiant who performed the ceremony. She was fantastic! Friendly, organized, and professional, her ceremony was great, and she was a joy to work with. She kept us on schedule and helped run the day. She's based out of Napa but travels all over Wine Country... the woman has done over 3500 weddings in the last 15 years! Is that crazy?! She was awesome, and we're trying to set up a lunch or coffee meeting sometime... after wedding season calms down.

These sweet little birds (starlings? sparrows?) hung out while we did Corey and Suzie's portraits. Lovebirds!

What else can I tell you besides the fact that Suzie and Corey are obviously so, so, SO in love with each other. When we did their engagement photos, we had a lot of fun but I could tell that Corey wasn't thrilled with the idea of having his photo taken. By the end of the session, I could see he was relieved and happy with how it went, so I knew the wedding day would also be fun. But what I didn't expect is how overjoyed they would both obviously be! Corey was PSYCHED to have his photo taken! He and Suzie could not stop dancing together, smooching, and just gazing adoringly at each other. And smiling! It was wonderful to see the two of them and their connection. That is such a neat perk of this job.

They danced a first dance to "Cowboy Take Me Away" by the Dixie Chicks... now, I'm not a big fan of country music, but I do like the Dixie Chicks, and watching them together made me get all kinds of choked up.

This little girl (the daughter of a woman I knew in elementary and junior high school) was adorable, and busted just a CRAZY move during the open dancing. She seriously had amazing style and moves - it made me wish I was a videographer! You can see more of her in the slideshow.

She also wanted my job, I think, going around with the disposable cameras. There were a bunch of really cute kids in attendance... And what is a better recipe for great pictures than cute kids and bubbles?

Check out many, many more photos on their slideshow here:

edited 1.2.08 - the slideshow has been taken down for server tidiness. Please let me know if you're interested in seeing it.