mccormick home ranch wedding

During Christy and Brady’s wedding reception, I set my camera down and crunched across the gravel of McCormick Home Ranch to grab a glass of water from the bar.  I looked down at my feet while I walked and I remember this wonderful euphoria washing over me.  Not because of my feet, mind you — they were swollen and achy.  My arms were sore and I had a rash from the material on my dress sleeve.  My current camera strap, as much as I love it, had pinched me a few times on my bicep throughout the day.

But I felt this wonderful sense of happiness and peace like a downpour, and it was delightful.  

I returned to the photo booth (where we were also storing our gear) with cups of water for me, Rhianna, Liana, Maddy, and Felicia with a big, goofy smile plastered on my face.  “You guys!” I exclaimed.  “I am so freakin’ happy right now!”

We had just returned from Clayton Austin’s marvelous workshop in Marfa, where Rhianna and I FINALLY met Maddy and Feli in person despite living 40 minutes away from each other here in California.  They had agreed to help with the debut of the Anna Delores photo booth  before we’d even left for the trip.  The four of us instantly connected with each other and now we can’t seem to pry ourselves away from each other’s lives via Snapchat.  Liana is a total doll and will be making many more appearances at Anna Delores weddings this summer.  The photo booth was proving to be a hit and, to my delight, hadn’t encountered any hiccups.

And more than anything, I felt so crazy-lucky to be photographing Christy and Brady’s wedding day.  I’d collaborated a bit with Jenn and Debbie and Candice (though the three of them did ALL the work) to bring some extra sparkle to the celebration, and it truly could not have been bestowed upon a more deserving couple.  Besides being the two most photogenic people EVER, Christy and Brady are kind, joyful, and don’t take themselves too seriously (but their love is the REAL DEAL, let me tell you).

So I feel extra special that my moment of “hey, I am really, really happy!” happened during their wedding, because clients like them are part of what gives my life a robust sense of purpose and satisfaction.

I have a bit more to say about Debbie, Candice, and Jenn and the contributions they made to making Christy and Brady’s wedding an extraordinary one, but since I’ve rambled so much I’ll show you a few photos before I get to the other stuff.

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Before we get into the delicious details of the wedding day, I want to give major props to Pretty Vintage Rentals for doing such a fabulous job of decking out the space!  The welcome table, two lounge areas, sweetheart table, dessert display, all the little decor touches — SO GOOD!  And Jennifer Jeanne Events went above and beyond by collaborating with Candice and Debbie at Pretty Vintage as well as adding a ton of extra florals and greenery to make everything extra special.  Christy and Brady were in awe.  It was a pretty incredible day.

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A little dinner, a little dancing, a little cupcake-grabbing…

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The end.

And WOW that was a lot of photos. #sorrynotsorry

EXTRA thanks to Rhianna and Liana, who helped me SO MUCH.  It was a relief to know all my bases were covered by two stellar, talented photographers who were there to make sure Anna Delores nailed it with this wedding.  You ladies are the BEST.

planning // jennifer jeanne events
rentals // pretty vintage rentals
catering // wood ranch bbq & grill
venue // mccormick home ranch
dj // elegant event entertainment
cupcakes // michelle hatch
second shooters // rhianna + liana
photo booth // little gem photo booth
photo booth attendants // i heart my groom
personal flowers + centerpieces // hillary heuser
additional floral design // jennifer jeanne events
hair + makeup // christine bennett from the hair lounge
bride’s dress // maggie sottero
officiant // kirk dewitt

why have a wedding video

The decision of whether or not to have a wedding video is a tricky one. A lot of the couples I work with prioritize photography as one of the most important components of their wedding day (of course!), but when it comes to having a highlight film, feature film, or even just raw footage of their ceremony, toasts, etc., their vision is sometimes a little muddy. Some married couples note that their biggest regret is not hiring a cinematographer; others say they rarely watch their wedding film so wouldn’t necessarily recommend it as a “must-have” for other brides and grooms.

korakia pensione wedding

The Gathering Season made a rad video of this wedding we photographed in Palm Springs!

First things first: what’s the difference between a highlight film, feature film, and raw footage? And what does it mean to have audio included (or not)? Disclaimer: I’m a photographer so I don’t know all the fancy jargon for video! This is just my layperson’s explanation of what each type of film is like.  :)

A highlight wedding film is usually under 10 minutes (the average is anywhere from three to seven minutes) and is a montage of the highlights of the day’s events. This is what you’ll typically see on wedding videographers’ web portfolios; the shorter length makes it easy to share with family and friends and usually has a song or two (sometimes intermingled with audio clips like vows or toasts). You can see some examples (also some of my personal favorites) here, here, and here.

A feature film is longer, and I’m not sure about averages, but definitely significantly longer than the highlight film. It’s harder to show an example of this, since they are usually private and/or much less likely to be shown on a portfolio website, but Blue Kite Cinema has a link to one on their info page if you want to get an idea (click “feature film” toward the bottom of the page). Essentially, though, the story of your wedding day is a little more robustly told with a feature film, simply because there is more time to do so (and usually more audio coverage, too).

Raw footage is something I would usually discourage a couple from pursuing unless they ONLY want the unedited clips of the ceremony and toasts made by loved ones (which would include audio). This is something a bride and groom might want just so they can remember their vows or the details of loved ones’ speeches during the reception. Raw footage is typically less expensive than a highlight or feature film because there is no editing (or very little editing) involved for the cinematographer you hire, but that also means your product on the backend will be much less impressive. It won’t necessarily something you’ll want to share with friends and family; it better serves as documentation for posterity. I would hazard the guess that you won’t be able to find examples of raw footage on portfolio pages for wedding videographers. This is for the same reason I don’t show unedited images on my website portfolio (or anywhere in public, really!) — wedding filmmakers would much rather get creative by curating your wedding day and telling your story with a highlight or feature film, and it’s a much more polished product for the bride and groom to share with loved ones (and enjoy themselves, of course!).

If raw footage is what you’re after, I don’t think it’s the end of the world to have a friend or family member do the filming (though I VERY rarely recommend this option for ANY of your wedding vendors!). But again, if you’re just looking for a super-basic record of your ceremony, it’s no big deal. But if you think you might want editing done later on, do it right the first time — very few talented wedding cinematographers (if any) are going to be willing to edit someone else’s raw footage of your wedding day. They won’t know your story, the filming won’t be done in a way that’s conducive to curated content, and it’ll cost just as much as (if not more than) hiring a professional from the beginning.

When brides and grooms ask me about wedding films, I tell them they should expect to spend just as much on a videographer as they are on their photographer; there seems to be a misconception that video is somehow less expensive than photography, but there is just as much work and time involved in creating the finished product.

As with any other wedding vendor you hire, do your homework. Look at their previous work online — I think that’s the BEST way to see if you are interested in the cinematographer’s style and artistic vision. It also doesn’t hurt to have an idea of what inclusions you want or to ask questions about what to expect: the duration of the film, how many shooters/cameras there will be (and their shooting style, i.e. how intrusive they are and how much equipment they bring), how the music is selected (sometimes there is additional cost for this because music licensing is required), and how much editing will be done.

So what’s my personal opinion on wedding films? Your wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I’m a photographer, so of course I’m a big believer in preserving your wedding day memories and finding a talented professional to help you do so. I vote YES on having a wedding film, and my suggestion is to go for the investment of a highlight or feature film (versus raw footage). Moving pictures are an added dimension for remembering the momentous occasion of your wedding day, and this is enhanced even further if your vows are incorporated into the audio component of your film. My planner friend Vanessa recently commented that she and her husband said beautiful words to each other during their ceremony, but she can’t remember them because she opted out of hiring a videographer (which she now regrets, if you hadn’t already guessed). And she’s only been married for two and a half years, so imagine how you’ll feel in five, ten, or twenty years after your wedding.

Here are a few of my favorite videos with some great audio incorporated (again, apologies for my ignorance of the technical terminology!):

Both photography and videography, depending on your priorities for your wedding day, have a useful and legitimate place in your budget. Do some research, look at some highlight films, and if you’re convinced it’s something you want for the long run, you won’t regret the investment. And what a cool thing to be able to show your children and grandchildren! If my parents had a wedding video, I’d be watching it over and over.

And I’m sure you saw this coming, but whatever. My personal favorite choices for wedding cinematographers:

What do you guys think? Will you be hiring a wedding videographer? Or, if you’re already married, did you decide to go for it with a wedding film? Are you happy with your decision?

xoxo

raspberry rosemary smash cocktail

Melissa from SOIREE | CENTER came up with this delicious concoction that just happens to combine a few of my favorite things. Raspberry? Check. Rosemary? Check.

Enjoy this refreshing cocktail just in time for late spring/early summer entertaining (or any time around the house, am I right?). Thank you, Melissa, for sharing this yummy Soiree Sipper recipe with us!

raspberry rosemary cocktail recipe

Ingredients //

  • Vodka
  • Rosemary-infused simple syrup (directions below)
  • Fresh raspberries
  • Soda
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Lime

Directions //

  • Muddle 4-6 fresh raspberries in cocktail shaker
  • Add a tiny splash of rosemary infused simple syrup
  • Squeeze lime wedge and add vodka
  • Shake over ice and add a heavy splash of soda
  • Serve on the rocks with a rosemary sprig

rosemary cocktail recipe

How to make the rosemary-infused simple syrup:

  • Bring 1 cup of water to a boil and take off heat
  • Add 1 cup of granulated sugar and stir until dissolved
  • Add 1-2 fresh rosemary sprigs [stems and all] into simple syrup and let sit for a least an hour
  • Strain and serve

Keep up with Melissa on the SOIREE | CENTER blog for more cocktail recipes!