Morris Chapel and Commercial Exchange Club, Stockton CA

You may remember Shauneen and Mike from the post I did about engagement sessions, below. Well, the time we spent getting to know each other at that session REALLY paid off at their wedding--right from the start of the wedding I felt like I was photographing old friends, and the wall that nervous couples sometimes put up for the first 30 minutes or so of shooting just wasn't there. I started out with the guys on the UOP grounds, just trying to get some semi-casual shots of them hanging out. Shauneen was running late, which left me plenty of time for shots of the beautiful Morris Chapel, complete with rose garden in full bloom.

I had more time than usual to shoot the families' arrival, and get to know everyone, although I was beginning to worry that Shauneen had changed her mind and decided to dress at home. But with 20 minutes left until the ceremony, Shauneen and her girls pulled up in her limo, and as promised although everyone else was fully dressed the bride was in full makeup and sweats only.

The ceremony was a full mass, which left me lots of time to move around the church and gets lots of different angles on the action. Shauneen and Mike gave each other communion, which was a new tradition to me and one I thought very romantic.

We spent some time doing formals on the lawn and then it was off to the Community Exchange Club for the reception, which despite it's industrial neighborhood is BEAUTIFUL inside, with these interesting chandeliers that made for great repeating elements in my wide shots. Outside the club is a circular lawn area that I thought a little sparse at first, but the twisty branches surrounding it and palm tree to the side ended up being very interesting features that I used in the romantic shots to draw attention to the bride and groom.

The first dance was so romantic! Mike and Shauneen sang the lyrics to each other as they danced...I'm used to seeing the bride sing sometimes to the groom while dancing, but never both to each other. Also, having a videographer there gave me the opportunity to have yet another source of creative light to play around with--in this case I placed myself so that his light would act as a backlight, giving their hair a glowing effect, while I tried at the same time to stay hidden behind the couple so as not to get into his shots.

Mike and Shauneen had decided to use their engagement shots for both the traditional signing board AND as small framed favors for the guests. There were a total of 7 different pictures the guests got to see, which was really cool and great for me as well--more than one person came up to me and told me how much they liked them.

I ended up staying about an hour later than I planned, getting great shots of the crowd doing a Conga line and partying on into the night, fortifying myself with cake and caffeine. My last shot as I walked to my car was of the front of the club, all lit up against a night blue sky.

Congratulations Michael and Shauneen on your wedding...I wish you a happy honeymoon and the best for your future.

To see a slideshow of the best pictures from this wedding, click here.

To register to see all the wedding pictures when they are released on Pictage (about 4 weeks), click here and follow the instructions for registration on the "Sign the Guestbook" page.

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