Friday, October 03, 2008

Jamie and Michelle, Boonville Hotel, Boonville, California

(click above for the slideshow)

I have been loving the weddings I've shot this year! A new favorite (and, okay, the most recent one) was Jamie and Michelle's laid-back, lesbian, Jewish wedding. I'm finding that often the lesbian and gay couples whose weddings I photograph have been together for years, and have been through several commitment ceremonies and weddings, and I believe that was the case with these ladies. Not only have they been together for (I think) over a decade, but they have a lovely daughter, Phoenix, together. It seems to me that having gone through all of this before helps the couples to remain calm, stay grounded, and have so much fun on their wedding day!

On to the photos! There were so many lovely details, and I was blown away by the beautiful garden setting tucked behind the Boonville Hotel for the ceremony. I can't wait to have the chance to shoot there again! I had a really hard time narrowing these shots down, so finally I decided to post a few more than usual. I think you'll be glad to see the beautiful details and fun moments.

The flowers were phenomenal, done by a friend of Jamie's sister... I'll try to get her information and post it when I can. I know that the ladies didn't even get a chance to notice the arrangements and decorations in the whirlwind (I don't think they got to eat, either), so they were stoked to see the flowers represented so heavily in the photos.

Love this simple but breathtaking arrangement:

Adorable Phoenix seemed overwhelmed by the party at moments.

The lovely greenery entwined in the chuppah poles:

The daughter of the brides mustn't forget her tiara! (or her tattoos)

We just had a few quick moments for the extended family photos (which Phoenix didn't want to participate in, and who can blame her when there was so much beautiful garden to explore?), but I love how these turned out, thanks to the gorgeous scenery:

The ceremony was long and heartfelt, and incorporated several traditional Jewish traditions as interpreted by Jamie, Michelle, and their stunning cantor, Jewlia. I can't say enough great things about Jewlia! She performed a lovely and personal ceremony (complete with Hebrew, explanations in English, and suggestions for people of all kinds of faiths on how to support the women during the ceremony according to each person's beliefs and comfort.). She also performed with the fantastic band, Kugelplex, later in the afternoon. She totally kicked out the jams!

Jamie with the beautiful sunflower garden behind her:

A little "competition" for me during the ceremony :)

And the sweetness of the marriage ceremony itself:

There were so many great moments during the ceremony, I wish I could post them all here. Afterward, Kugelplex absolutely wailed a joyous klezmer sound, and guests moved to the hotel's big patio for amazing, casual food.

(Fun fact - Devon recognized Eugene, the bass player, from my brother's senior concert a few years ago. We asked him and he was like, "You're Austin Harris's sister?! I hang with Austin all of the time." Gotta love the small world of the Bay Area!)

I love this shot of one of the chuppah holders picking up the pieces from the breaking of the glass. Each bride got to smash her own!

The site of the ceremony:

The reception flowed just perfectly - the band was phenomenal and made everyone want to dance; the guests got up to perform Badchanjesters (a Jewish tradition in which the guests entertain the wedding couple) as they were inspired; there were many beautiful toasts; there was laughter and so much dancing! There was a great spontaneous hora, and everyone was so relaxed and happy.

This guy was beyond dapper, I love it!

The food was also fabulous - individual pizzas made before your eyes in the backyard pizza oven, panzanella, chicken skewers, and more.

There were bees buzzing around the happy garden all day, so of course I had to get a shot of two bees together (and watch the hotel's event manager laugh at me).

The lovely cantor in a raucous hora:

A little wine country moment:

One of the highlights of the day was when a couple close to the brides performed "Sh-Boom (Life Could Be a Dream)" with voice, ukulele, kazoo, and a slide whistle. I haven't thought about that song in a long time, and it was such a sweet moment, and led to this adorable kazoo family portrait:

Everyone was so happy to be there for Jamie and Michelle!

Okay, another shoe shot... but isn't this one worth it?!

More music from Kugelplex:

Jamie and Michelle set up their own guest portrait and book area, complete with wacky wigs, which were making a big hit as we left for the day. Thanks for having me be a part of such a wonderful day, and many continued blessings to you three ladies!

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