San Francisco City Hall

Maryellen and Diana
July 16, 2008

Maryellen and Diana are New Yorkers who have been together for 15 years. They had planned to be married in Big Sur, California on their 15th anniversary, but due to the CA wildfires they found themselves having to move their plans to San Francisco City Hall at the last minute. Irene Kane, a wonderful officiant who I had met at Stella and Phu's wedding last year, presided over their ceremony and was also the one who referred me to the couple in the first place (thanks Irene!). We both started and ended shooting in the couple's hotel room at the Four Seasons, which gave Maryellen and Diana a chance to have pictures taken in both their formal wedding attire and in comfortable regular clothes.

City Hall has 4 seperate areas where weddings are normally held on weekdays, the most popular of which is the Rotunda. I shot Neeraja and Mads wedding there last year. Maryellen and Diana however wanted something a bit more private, yet no less majestic, so Irene suggested the 2nd floor balcony facing the grand staircase. This area has some of the best light and views of the whole building, yet a cozier, more intimate feel than the Rotunda.

Maryellen and Diana wrote their own vows, of course, and they were beautiful. They took their time in saying them, and then re-exchanged the rings they had worn since their private ring exchange ceremony years ago.

After the ceremony we took pictures all over city hall, as well as in the plaza area out front, and then went to Golden Gate Park for more. I rarely get this much time alone with a couple on their wedding day, so the shoot had a relaxed, comfortable feel to it. We ended up back at the hotel where I had some lunch while the couple changed back into street clothes, and then did a few more images of them snuggling in the room with the city view out the window behind them. There is something about a couple that has been together that long...they just fit together, like they were made for each other.

Normally I might wish Maryellen and Diana all the happiness in the world; but they've already had that, and for more than 15 years. So instead I think I'll just wish that their next 50 years together is even more wonderful than the last 15 have been.

It was very sweet the way Diana was always looking after Maryellen.
I got to sign as witness on the marriage certificate!
Slideshow here.
Full set of images will be here.

Wedding Wednesdays, Day 2

Bryan and Robby : Ted and Brian : Molly and April

Images have now been added to the Wedding Wednesdays slideshow from Day 2: see the post below to check it out. It was awesome! A little smoother since we had already done Day 1...but no less meaningful. I was particularly happy to hear Brian's toast, which invoked all the guests to get out and vote against Measure 8, which if it passes would reinstate the ban on same sex marriage ((shudder)).

(by Jessamyn)




Also please note the new, extended deadline on my Fabulous Gay Wedding Giveaway! I realized that because the court ruling didn't go into effect until the middle of June, many couples are still getting their plans together for a fall wedding. Therefore to give everyone enough time to have their plans solidified before they enter, I have extended the contest deadline to October 31st. Entry information and full contest rules can be found here.

Wedding Wednesdays, Day 1

Scott and Victor : Bruce and Mallory : Tanika and Patrice
June 25, 2008


The first day of the Express' Wedding Wednesdays event at Periscope Cellars was so much more incredible than I could have ever imagined. Some of it was a little bit crazy, with three separate wedding ceremonies to shoot within one hour and three separate sets of couples to coordinate with, photograph, and care for. But all three couples were a dream to work with: they were funny, friendly, creative, extremely appreciative, and very much willing to go with the flow.

The way it all came together surpassed my expectations; all the vendors obviously put a great deal of effort into making everything about the wedding worthy of its significance. With Terry Furry from the Express officiating, each couple took turns walking down the aisle; exchanging moving, personal vows and rings; having their kiss; and then moving aside to make room for the next couple. The vows were incredibly moving and had most of the guests in tears...but for some reason it was the first dances that hit me hardest, and I found myself happy to have a large camera to hide behind.

As if that weren't enough--we made the TV news! A camera from KRON Channel 4 was there for the ceremony, so we knew there was a chance it would be covered, but I don't think any of us were expecting it to be the Top Story. I missed getting home in time to see it by about 5 mins, but apparently you could see me shooting away in the background almost the whole time. I am still trying to get a recording of it and will post it when I do.

In terms of lighting Periscope Cellars can be a real challenge--thankfully I'm good with challenges. I have so many incredible images from the day, and I feel like posting only a handful of them would be impossible to narrow it down, so I'll just embed the slideshow here for everyone to see:

I want to give a special shout out to my friend and fellow photographer Jessamyn Harris, who second shot this entire event with me, generously donated her services in the midst of an extremely busy summer workload. It was great having her there to share the event with as well.

Here is a list of all the other vendors who helped knock it outta the park:

event planning and officiant: Jody Colley and Terry Furry (resp.) East Bay Express
venue and wine: Periscope Cellars
bridal gowns: Bridal Image
prep location: Bancroft Hotel
honeymoon: Stevenswood Resort & Spa
decor: Discount Fabrics
cakes: Chef Ani's Catering
catering: Cafe de la Paz
transportation: Angelica Limousines
band: Alex Mack and her Ensemble
afterparty venue: the White Horse Inn
painted portraits of couples: Johanna Uribes

Day 2, with 3 more couples, took place this week, and will be posted in another week or two. For now, here are the links to the event sites where you can sign up to see all the pictures when they are ready for viewing:

Day 1: June 25

Day 2: July 02