Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Vanessa and Andrew, the Sainte Claire Hotel, San Jose, California

(Click on the image above to view the slideshow)

Vanessa and Andrew came all the way from Ottawa for their wedding at the Sainte Claire in San Jose, so that they could include Vanessa's 98 year old (!!) Grandmother, who lives nearby and can't travel. Even though they and guests came from far away, there was a good turnout, which is partly how I knew these two are adored by their friends and family. There were also some great toasting stories, which put a big grin on my face!

Here's Andrew looking handsome, friendly and calm - even as he's about to get married.

It was great to meet Vanessa in person after several easy phone conversations and lots of emails over the past months. She made a beautiful bride, and never seemed overwhelmed or impatient (even though there was an NA/ AA convention at the convention center right across the street, which led to some interesting hotel guests hanging out in the lobby). And look at her lovely skin!

One of my favorite ceremony shots - I was thrilled that it's one of Vanessa's, too, and that it isn't too "arty".

The atrium where they were married was lovely, with beautifully diffused lighting pouring through the glass ceiling.

I was curious to see what the 98 year old grandmother looked like - Wow! I hope I'm looking that great when I'm in my 70s, much less almost 100!

Vanessa was amazing - after the wedding ceremony, she ran upstairs to put on this lovely red cheomsong dress, came down for the Chinese Tea Ceremony, and then ran back up to change into her white dress again for portraits! I must admit I was worried when she proposed this, but she was the speediest changer I've ever met, and everything was in place both times. Phew!

The Sainte Claire was new to me, but was a really lovely, unique hotel. In the relatively modern downtown of San Jose, it stands out with many vintage and antique pieces, and was surprisingly beautiful to photograph (not all hotels are!). I loved this small but elegant lobby:

While Vanessa changed for the second time, their guests enjoyed champagne and appetizers in the "library" lounge area.

Her western dress (which was actually bought in China) had this beautiful "something old" symbol in the underskirts:

Another beautiful part of the hotel was the mirrored hallway, with ornate antique lighting. As I set up the portraits, one of the guests said, "that'll never work, it's all mirrors back there!". But I knew what to do, and I love these shots.

Vanessa's gorgeous shoes - I think that they were Manolos?

Sometimes candid portraits are the best. Here the couple are chatting with a few friends before we headed outside for more portraits, but I love the creamy, dreamy light, so these are some of my favorite shots of the day.

Outside, we wandered along the little center park with the perfect evening light - not too hot and high (as it had been all day) with just enough light filtering through the trees. Vanessa and Andrew wanted to be sure to get a sense of place (since they did come all the way to California for their wedding day), so we found some palm trees and lots of beautiful old oaks.

Back inside, where the guests eagerly awaited the reception!

They both had some great, very personalized toasts. Andrew's story of calling Vanessa up for the first time had everyone cracking up, and Vanessa had some really lovely and hilarious things to say about her parents.

The hotel has an Il Fornaio restaurant, which caters and organizes all of the events held there. Yum!

This shot of the first dance is not my normal style, but there's something I really like about it:

The beautiful old hotel from the outside at night.

Thanks, Vanessa and Andrew (and your families) for everything! You were so sweet and friendly to work with... I love my Canadian clients ! :)

Here's a sweet response from Vanessa and Andrew: ""We love your quirky, original shots that seem so light and airy, never stilted, with views that seem to occur completely by accident but that are actually perfectly balanced out - we have no idea how you can "see" on the fly like that but it's brilliant. Our guests have also told us that they are impressed by how personable you were during the wedding and by the artistry of the results. Thank you Jessamyn - not only were you wonderful to work with, and were great at making us feel very comfortable during the photos - but you've also given us a beautiful, lasting record of our day."


WordyDoodles said...

I love the description of "creamy, dreamy" light. And love that you were a consummate professional about shooting those mirrors!

I *have* to set up something with you soon.

another mother said...

Oh! The bouquet! The chandelier! The grandmother!

You are a true artist.