I was going to Benita’s wedding in San Diego no matter what. We lived together for close to 5 years in college, and she will forever be one of my favorite people in the world. When she asked me about the possibility of me shooting her wedding, I made it very clear that I only wanted her to hire me if she loved my work. I knew I would work harder than anyone else to give her something she would love for forever, but I wanted to know that she felt that way as well. Sometimes when friends work together with unrealistic expectations, the friendship doesn’t survive, and that would be too much for me to handle. I always need to have a little bit o’ Benita in my life!
We worked all of the details out, I packed up my stuff, left my baby and husband behind, and headed out to California for a weekend with the girls(if you’re wondering, yes, I had several mix CDs in the rental car that included songs like Ocean Avenue). On Thursday night we threw Benita a mini-bachlorette party, which included tasks assigned to the bride-to-be (yelling out into the street “I’M GETTING MARRIED!” and such) as well as some cupcakes from Babycakes.
On Friday Benita went through the LDS Sand Diego temple for the first time.
That night we dined at Pizza Nova and heard some really touching speeches from Scott’s dad and step-dad (I cried, I loved them so much).
That weekend I was checking my phone constantly for weather updates. Before I flew out I had assured Benita that the forecast would improve, and that we wouldn’t have to worry about rain. But things weren’t looking better that morning, and I didn’t have a backup plan. I had gone out scouting on Thursday and Friday, and I knew the perfect spot for their first look and portraits, but it wasn’t going to work if the rain was pouring down. Were we going to have to take all of their pictures under a random awning somewhere? San Diego doesn’t see weather like that very often (multiple residents assured me that the weather that weekend was unique) and so there isn’t a lot of rain cover. The hotel rooms at the La Jolla Residence Inn Suites Hotel by Marriott were really dark and things weren’t looking good.
I told Benita that it was my job to worry about those things though. The night before at the rehearsal dinner I asked her to please let me worry about the rain and the pictures so she could enjoy herself and relax throughout the weekend. The next morning she was surrounded by friends, getting pampered, ready to take on the day!
Beni, you’re gorgeous.
As Scott and Benita finished getting dressed, I looked out and saw that it was still raining. I turned to Scott and said “I think we should try to do the First Look outside. I think that you will never, ever regret going to this location I scouted, even with the hiking and the mud.” He decided to trust me and go for it. I would never, ever make my clients do something they aren’t comfortable with, but so far I’ve found that people are willing to trust my vision, which always results in something powerful.
Thank you Scott for trusting me. I don’t think I’m ever going to be able to top these pictures! All of the portraits you’ll see below were done in the La Jolla Farms area. We did their first look on a path where surfers hike down to the water (I would have loved to go all the way down to the beach, but there was no way that was happening!)
Benita is absolutely crazy. She hiked down a moderately steep freshly muddy incline in her brand new heels (that she had never worn before that day), and then up a very steep portion to get to Scott. We were lucky that her mom came along and had paper towels in the car! I was dashing around taking pictures and of course fell down, covering my left leg in mud.
So worth it though. So, so worth it.
They wanted to have their wedding bands on for the portraits, so we did a quick little ring exchange.
These two photos are courtesy of Coco McKown, who acted as second shooter for the first half of the day. She was indispensable, and I hope to be able to work with her again in the future once we move to San Francisco. And I need to mention my friend Heather as well, who assisted Benita up and down the hills through the mud, wiped off her shoes, helped me scout locations, held reflectors, parked the car when I was dashing around to get more pictures, etc. I couldn’t have done this without you Lova!
These next three are from Coco McKown as well! I love looking through the images my second shooters provide because we end up capturing the exact same moment from an entirely different perspective.
Thanks so much Coco! Hope to see you again soon .
Completely unprompted. This is just how Scott is! He’s a sweetheart, and I’m so happy the two of them ended up together.
After the sealing ceremony in the temple hugs were shared between the parents and the new couple. We all waited outside excitedly, anxious to shout and cheer and clap for the bride and groom!
The San Diego temple is always stunning, but there’s something about the white spires rising up to meet the purity of heaven that makes my heart sing whenever I look at this one.
My favorite of the day!
There was magic happening for me that day. Every single time we were scheduled to take pictures, the skies held the moisture in and we were able to leave the umbrellas behind. The light was diffused and beautiful and I was able to use the puddles outside the temple to create interesting portraits like this one!
After a short break while the two of them spent time with family we met up at the Oceanview Room at the Naval Sub Base at Point Loma for group portraits, a ring ceremony, dinner, cake, and dancing!
For the second half of the day I worked with Laura Laing, a wedding photographer based out of Los Angeles. I absolutely could not have done this without her (she helped me rent some equipment, something that’s always difficult to do when you’re flying in for a wedding!)
There were our last portraits to be done outside, and the rain was starting to come down. Soemone ran over with an umbrella for the bride, we gathered everyone up and I told them to assemble quickly and smile. They did, my camera went click click click and it was done! If you look closely at the dark suits of the men you can see the rain drops falling!
We all dried off and got ready for the ring ceremony, which included beautiful tributes offered by the mother of the bride and the mother of the groom.
In between the ring ceremony and dinner we all had our picture taken with a Polaroid camera and tacked up on a bulletin board, eyed the cake excitedly, and watched a slideshow put together by the bride filled with pictures of bride and groom growing up and falling in love.
While everyone assembled for dinner I went up and asked Benita to take a picture with me. I would have been so sad to walk away from this special weekend without a picture with my friend on her wedding day! Thanks for taking this Laura. And a big thank you to Jessica for letting me borrow her beloved Kate Middleton dress to photograph the wedding in. Now I want one of my own!
The toasts really highlighted how kind and wonderful Scott and Benita are. I especially liked how Benita’s dad took some time to highlight specific people in the room who had impacted Benita’s life in a positive way.
Those who know and love Benita will be laughing along with me when they see this picture. She’s known for popping her knuckles and joints (and we love her for it, among other things).
After the cake was cut and the first dances were done, the dance floor opened up with a bang. My favorite part was all of the little kids, though you’ll see that the big kids did a pretty good job breaking it down as well.
I love dragging the shutter on the dance floor because it can create so many unique and unexpected effects. Shoutout to Megan laughing hysterically in the corner of this one!
By far my favorite dance floor moment was when Benita’s sister requested the song “Dancing Queen”. We all stopped dancing and made Benita go out for a spin all on her own. She wasn’t too thrilled with the idea.
Benita and Scott,
I love you too so much! Your wedding was full of miracles (You got married for eternity! The weather cooperated perfectly! Neither of you slipped and fell on that treacherous hill that I made you climb for the First Look!), and I was honored to be your first choice when it came to documenting the events photographically. I hope we are able to see each other again sooner than later. Enjoy your new life together!