The wedding of Taylor & Josh took place at the Red Agave Resort in Sedona Arizona. When I arrived I was taken aback by the beauty of this property. Taylor & Josh are Texas natives but wanted to have their families and friends experience the beauty of Sedona first hand. The best part about the Red Agave Resort is the guests get to stay on property in their very own cottage for the duration of their stay. After meeting up with Josh who was running around making sure every detail was perfect, I officially started my coverage. There certainly was plenty to shoot! Candace the photographer showed up shortly after and unknowingly gave me a lesson on detail posing. Photographers are always so much better at it then I am. It's always a great feeling having an instant creative connection with a photographer and knowing we are both on the same page. I defiantly felt that working with Candace. The grooms cabin offered a moody option for the grooms getting ready (which I love), but we wanted a bit more light for the bride. Lucky for us, just outside the cottage was a perfect shaded area and Taylor embraced the move. During her prep her dad, Pat offered a helping hand. Having the father of the bride help with prep was a new experience for me but definitely something I will be recommending going forward. Josh was placed outside of Taylor's cabin and the two shared their first look. This was a beautiful moment and both seemed lost for words. We quickly moved the two back in doors as their guests began trickling out of their cabin's for the ceremony. Shortly thereafter the procession started and the wait began for Taylor's arrival.... after a few minutes and loops of the procession song, it dawned on us that perhaps Taylor wasn't aware of the start of the ceremony. Candace rushed into action and our suspicion was proven true. Whoops! Luckily the rest of the ceremony went on without a glitch. After the ceremony pictures were taken and the party officially began. DJ Fred kicked the party off strong and everyone danced the night away. The couple bid farewell under the glow of sparklers, shared a dip kiss and the night was over. This was truly a special wedding to capture for me. Enough from me though, Ill let their film below do the talking.
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The wedding of Leslie & Joey will always be special to me. It was the first wedding I ever filmed in Sedona. Growing up in Northern California I was fortunate to have Yosemite just a few hours away and would frequently visit. It was sad to lose such a breathtaking location when I made the move to Arizona. Sedona certainly fills the void left behind. As you drive in you are hit with the iconic red rock views you always hear about but only fully appreciate when you see it with your own eyes. This day was going to be special. When I arrived at the venue, Agave of Sedona, those red rock views were on full display. The cloudy September day offered perfect diffusion to capture the true beauty of the landscape on camera. As I was filming Leslie & Joey's details, I was greeted by the fabulous Melissa and Meagan with Melissa Rae Photography These two were hilarious and so fun to work with all day! After filming & photographing Leslie's dress we learned that she in fact had a custom hanger not included in her box of details. Reshoot time! Luckily we had plenty of time before the getting ready was set to begin. The bar offered a perfect venue for Joey's getting ready since Leslie was currently occupying the hotel room they had booked. This venue is literally next door to the Marriott hotel Sky Rock Sedona which makes it easy for both the wedding party and the guests attending. Once Leslie moved to the venue, we had her step outside the bridal suite for her getting ready. Typically I asked the bride if they would like to either have their mom or maid of honor help with the dress. Leslie unknowingly made this choice easy since her mom was the maid of honor! The bridal party surprised Leslie with hand written notes that we quickly had to put away as the waterworks began. You have to preserve all the hard work Desert Bridal Company put into that makeup! We then went through a series of first looks with Leslie's dad and later brothers before a quick first touch and prayer with Joey. With the couple tucked away, guests began arriving for the ceremony. Agave of Sedona's ceremony site is truly something you need to see to believe. The view is incredible! The procession and ceremony went on without a glitch thanks to Weddings in Sedona's expert coordination. After the ceremony some pictures were taken and the couples private vows were exchanged, it was then time for the reception. DJ Bobby Russel with Sedona Sounds MC'd a thrilling introduction and the couple shared their first dance. After dinner and some speeches, it was time to fulfill the couples sweet tooth with some cake. I had apprehensions about cutting the cake, it was truly a work of art. Abbie Cakes truly crushed it! The party followed and dancing was in full swing. Before we knew it the wedding came to an end. The couple was ushered out by their bubble blowing guest to their awaiting Jeep and drove off into the night. This capped off a truly unforgettable Sedona wedding day for me.
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Napa California, my old stomping grounds. I love Arizona, but having the ability to sneak away in the brutal summer months to film weddings in Northern California might be the best part about my job. Its even better when you already know the couple, friends, and family you are setting out to film. Rosheen and I first met the year before at her cousin (and bridesmaid) Partow and fiance Kian's wedding the previous year. She told me she loved the film and asked if I was available to film her big day. Lucky for me I still had the date available and it was a very easy yes. You couldn't have asked for a better Napa day. The sun was shinning, the temperatures were cool, and some small clouds added character to the sky. Coverage started with prep at the Chardonnay Golf Club. and I was introduced to my fellow camera wielding friends Giovana and Justin with Giovana Hurst Photography. Justin quickly busted out a super 8 camera which immediately made us friends. The groom was situated in the clubs locker room, well actually at the bar at first, but then was moved to the locker room to start the getting ready coverage. The locker room offered everything the groomsmen needed, mainly couches and tv's, but it was a bit dim for our needs. After some scoping, we landed on a beautifully lit secluded hallway just outside the entrance to the locker room. Groom prep is always a breeze and it was time to move onto our lovely bride Rosheen's big moment. Her space was also a bit dim for our taste but a quick reposition outside fixed the issue. Nothing beats natural sunlight for the getting ready content. Rosheen was hidden, her bridal party was assembled, and the big reveal took place. After emotions settled it was time to move on to the ceremony. Guest began to arrive and take their seats and the ceremony was ready to start. A string quartet ushered Bobby and the bridal party down the Isle. The ceremony was set to be extra special with Bobby's grand parents as the designated officiants. The music dimmed and the readings began but wait, we didn't have a bride! Everybody enjoyed a laugh as the quartet kicked back in without missing a beat. Funny enough I had only seen this blunder once before... ironically that was at Rosheen's cousin Partow's wedding the year before. Too funny! The rest of the ceremony went on without a glitch. The venue rolled out the red carpet for us during the couples portrait session as we were carted around the property to some jaw dropping viewpoints. After the sun set we made our way back to kick off the reception. This was the part I was most excited for as the couple are both DJ's in their professional lives. Plus, I saw this group in actions the year before and they definitely know how to party! After about an hour of filming the dancing it was time to say goodbye to both Rosheen & Bobby and the mild temperatures of the Napa Valley.
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San Diego California. What more can you ask for in August as an Arizona resident? I was honored to make the drive out to the coast for Jesse & Kendall's big day. First stop? Tacos of course! Luckily I always arrive for my destination weddings the day before, leaving plenty of time to make a pit stop. Kendall and Jesse were set to wed at a venue I had filmed at years before. The Thursday Club . This venue sits on a hilltop with sweeping views of the California coast. Before we could get there though we had to make a stop at another iconic San Diego venue, Humphreys Half Moon Inn. This is a hotel that doubles as a concert venue. Ive been fortunate enough to attend a concert or two here in the past. When I arrived for bride prep, I was hit with something I had forgotten living in Phoenix. Humidity! Im sure my friends in San Diego are rolling their eyes at this, but when you leave the desert after a year you become hyper sensitive to any amount of moister in the air. I arrived to a packed house of Kendall's bridal party in various stages of their hair and makeup process. I was guided to the back bedroom where the lighting was perfect for the dress shots and got to work. I was soon joined by the wonderful Paige of Paige Hill Photography. We worked together as she posed the details and I (being 6'4") was in charge of hanging and staging the dress. When it was time to switch, I made my way outside where Paige had set up the details. She too made a comment about the humidity, being that she is a San Diego native, this validated my earlier grievance. We wrapped up details and then grabbed some shots of Kendall who was in the middle of getting her hair done. Off to the venue! After making my way up the hill, I arrived at The Thursday Club. Walking through the door I was greeted by the lovely coordinator, Courtney with Breezy Day Weddings. She was busy setting up tables so I quickly grabbed my camera to catch some of the action. Along with coordination, Breezy Day also does floral. I love these kinds of shots. They show the venue transformation as it shapes into its final form. Jesse arrived shortly after and with him the other photographer Nikki. We worked together to get some "getting ready" content with Jesse. Staging groom prep is pretty typical for me as a solo shooter when the couple is getting ready at different locations. We tucked Jesse away in anticipation for Kendall's arrival. Running slightly behind, we rolled right into her getting ready process. Kendall decided to get the emotions flowing early gifting Jesse a box of items she had been secretly collecting since they started dating. After the couple exchanged their personal vows, I moved downstairs for the ceremony. Thursday Club has a more intimate ceremony site, and Jesse and Kendall's guests maxed out the space. This requires some careful coordination with the photographer to make sure we both get the shots we need and don't affect the ceremony more then we need to. Luckily Paige and Nikki were pros and the ceremony concluded without a glitch. After some photos... ok a lot of photos... it was time for the party to start. Kendall and Jesse decided to have their guests knowledge about their relationship history dictate the order they'd be released to dinner. This made for a fun twist to an otherwise dull moment. After dinner the couple shared their first dance along with a dance with their parents. The cake was cut and the party got started. Bill Calhoun, the DJ, kept the party rocking as the sun set. My time in San Diego with Kendall & Jesse had come to an end.
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Pageo Lavender Farms. This venue will always be special to me. When I was first starting out as a wedding videographer in 2012 I shot a wedding at this venue and met a photographer who has since become a great friend in the industry. She got her wedding featured on a site called Style Me Pretty. and the wedding got a lot of publicity. The video I shot was also featured on the blog. It was my first sense of accomplishment in this industry. Fast forward several years later, the groom Thomas, reaches out to see if I am available to cover he and his fiance Estephanie's big day at Pageo. I jumped on the opportunity. It was as if I was visiting a lost friend, the property had changed in some ways but maintained the same charm I remembered from years past. I entered the bridal suite and noticed the room was empty. The bride was running a few minutes late. I took the opportunity to roam the venue and get some establishing shots. The bridal party arrived first and showed me to the details I needed to start my coverage. This detail box had some unique Items including the glass monogramed ring box I used to stage my ring shots. Its always fun to be surprised with unique details like this. While filming Estephanie had arrived and begun her makeup process. I grabbed some shots of her as well as her bridesmaids preparing for the day ahead. Estephanie was planning on using her mothers cathedral length vail, and her motherMaria, was busy steaming away making sure it would be perfect for her daughters big day. The photographer, Sierra, arrived and we began the process of capturing the brides getting ready. After a grand reveal to her bridesmaids, it was time to head to the church for the ceremony. Catholic ceremonies offer unique challenges as a videographer. Especially for a videographer who solo shoots all of his weddings. Catholic church's typically have built in audio systems, rules about how and where we can film, and often times uncooperative priests. Luckily for me the priest Luis, was excellent and super helpful. Estephanie made her way down the isle escorted by two honorary bridesmaids (her nieces) with her vial in tow. Her groom awaited at the top of the isle in awe. The ceremony was underway. For all the challenges a catholic mass may bring, one helpful quality it does offer is time. Ceremonies seem to be getting shorter and shorter, and with it comes the challenge of getting all the necessary shots in a short period of time. However there is no shortage of time with a catholic mass. As a videographer I am able to not only get the typical shots I need, but experiment with all kinds of different shot options. Having filmed many catholic weddings, I know what moments where I need to capture the action at the alter, and other moments when I can focus on guests or creative shots. Before too long the guests lined up to take communion letting me know the ceremony was coming to an end. The couple shared their first kiss and made there way to the back of the church while they waited for their guests to exit. When everyone was ready outside, the couple exited to a full mariachi band and their awaiting cheering guest. Estephanie and Thomas were officially married. I made the short drive back to Pageo and found the venue completely transformed by their coordinator Lexi and her team. I got to work capturing the reception while the guest began to trickle in. The reception was kicked off by the DJ Moses Martinez (the best last name if you ask me) and the couple shared their first dance. The first dance was followed by a special choreographed dance by the couple before the rest of the guest joined in. Pageo offers spaces for both the dancing types, as well as the more mingling types. Outside the couple was gifted a live painting by the wonderful artist Gwyneth Boon. This is a newer trend which I absolutely love. The chosen moment for this live painting was the couples first kiss and Gwyneth crushed it. Following the gifting it was time for the couple to head back inside and cut their cake. This was the last event on the timeline for me, but I hung around a bit longer in hopes of capturing the couple on the dance floor. Thomas and Estephanie gave me the content I needed and my night was done. Until next time Pageo!
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I've often been asked what my favorite venue is of all time. Well here it is. Palm Event Center. It's not because its in my hometown of Livermore California (well technically Pleasanton), It's not because of its beauty (though it is), Its because it has hands down the best staff of any venue I've ever been to. That's not a knock on anybody else, they are just wonderful to work with as a vendor. They have a welcome cart with water, snacks, and copies of the timeline when we arrive, special spaces for us to stash our gear, and they feed us when the couple eats so we don't ever miss a moment. They are just professionals and I'm always excited for the opportunity to work there. When I arrived at the AC Hotel for the getting ready portion of my coverage, I was met by the brides lovely mother Lisa, who showed me the dress, details, and to the room where her daughter Sonia was getting ready. Our correspondence up to this point had been virtual, so an introduction was in order. After formalities, I began covering the details. When shooting details I often look for a cool streak of light to lay out the invitations. Typically my coverage starts during the high noon sun making lighting a bit flat. In this case, I was able to find a unique piece of light streaking across the air conditioning facade (I know weird place, but it worked) and got to work with my automated slider. After shooting the rings and invitations I moved onto the dress. This room was going to be tricky with the bridal party having makeup setups in both the main space and bedroom of the suite. The room had a two way door to the bathroom that caught my eye. The door to the bedroom had lots of natural light pouring in so I opted to hang the dress on that door while shooting through the other door toward the dress. This technique worked well and I was able to get a totally unique dress shot. The photographer Marissa soon arrived with her partner Lizzie and the collaboration began. We grabbed some shots of Sonia wrapping up her makeup process before piling the bridal party onto the bed for some bridal party content. Moving over to a suite down the hall I was introduced to Mike, our groom today. Mikes room had great lighting but was a bit smaller then Sonia's. We kindly asked his groomsmen to hang in the hall for a few minutes while we grabbed the necessary shots. We made a pit stop on our way out of the hotel to film Sonia's getting ready moment with her mom. This is always a beautiful moment. It was then time to head to the venue. Upon arrival, I was greeted by Erin, the coordinator for this wedding, who was busy making sure every detail and floral arrangement was perfect for the couple. Palm had undergone some renovations since I last filmed there so I took a second to take them all in. After some bridal party photos guests began to trickle in. I made my way over to the DJ to work out audio. Kevin was great and got my audio in order for the ceremony. Though I always bring my own lavaliere microphones, its always nice to have a solid backup in the DJ. The ceremony was officiated by the couples friend Josh who walked guests through the traditions of a Jewish ceremony. After some readings, vows, and a exchanging of rings it was time for my favorite part, the breaking of the glass. Though it took a few stomps, Mike managed to get the job done and the two shared a laugh and their first kiss before making their way back inside. Cocktail hour is probably my favorite time of the day. The lighting is good, the interactions are pure, and its really easy to get those beautiful candid moments my business is all about capturing. After some drinks it was time for the couple to be introduced to their awaiting guests. They made their entrance through the iconic Barrel Room double doors and made their way to the dance floor to share their first dance and parent dances. The real party then began. A tradition that most other religions are seriously lacking is the hora dance. Sonia and Mike made their way to the dance floor to two awaiting chairs and were then picked up by their bridal party. Surrounded by all of their guests the simple lyrics were repeated as their chairs bobbed up and down. This is always such a fun moment to capture. After some additional dances were shared, it was time to cut the cake and close out the evening. I said my goodbyes and made my way to the exit. My time with Sonia and Mike had come to an end.
Check out this other Palm Event Center Wedding
This was a wedding circled on my calendar all year. When I was initially pitched the idea of Susan and Conor's multi day wedding celebration by the couples fantastic coordinators, Everything and Pink Champagne I knew this day would be special. The couple's guests would be flying in from all parts of the country and they wanted a videographer that could capture not only their wedding day, but the entire weekend. I was sold! I arrived to the beautiful Napa Valley Friday around noon to meet up with the couple before their wedding rehearsal got underway. The two hadn't quite checked into their hotel yet so I took the opportunity to get some drone shots and establish the location. Since the Bride and Groom would be getting ready in two different locations on the wedding day, I had planned to film Conor's "getting ready" the day before. Staging groom prep is something I do at most of my weddings as a solo shooter, but having the luxury to film it the day before was special. Conor met up with me on the lawn outside the cottage the two had rented for the weekend. After formal introductions and some pleasantries were shared, he invited me into the room to start shooting details. Conor had mentioned he would be wearing cufflinks that were sentimental to him, so I knew I wanted to get some staged closeups. After details came the getting ready content, and Conor was faced with the challenge of tying a real bowtie. The getting ready shots were completed. I headed over to the venue hoping to beat the guests arriving. As a videographer you are always looking at natural ways to visually transition to new locations, and I've found guests arriving footage is the easiest way to get that done. The couple were set to wed at the oldest winery in the Napa valley, Charles Krug. I caught up with Nina and Jennifer, the coordinators for the wedding, and the rehearsal got underway. Filming the rehearsal is not only great for content, but it helps me understand where the best angles for filming will be. To make things even better, the couples photographer Bob McClenahan was also attending the rehearsal. Bob is somewhat of a famous photographer in the Napa Valley, so I was very excited to work along side of him during this wedding. Once the rehearsal concluded we headed across the street to the Culinary Institute of America where the rehearsal dinner would be taking place. This location is stunning, and would have served as a fantastic venue for the wedding. We had some time with the couple before the party officially got started so Bob and I took the them around the property for some portraits. This property was not short in shootable locations. Guests began to arrive and the first course was served. It was then time for what is the most important part of the day for me, the speeches. In our pre wedding meeting, the couple mentioned there would be a lot of speeches at the rehearsal, and they were not kidding. There were 15 total. For some this may be a lot to capture, but for me, this offers so much flexibility in the edit. Dinner wrapped up with some cocktails and it was time for me to return home and charge up all my gear for the wedding day tomorrow. Bright and early I made my way back into the Napa valley. This time my destination would be a Cottage on Charles Krug's property just a short walk from the ceremony and reception space. The cottage was beautiful. Susan was in the middle of her hair and makeup process but showed me where I could find her dress and detail box. I found a back bedroom with some natural light and got to filming. Laura, Bob's associate photographer, soon arrived and joined in on the details. Rather then film flat lays inside with the dress, we moved outside for some better lighting. Susan's hair and makeup process was coming to an end so I hurried inside to grab shots of the last of it. We then gathered the bridal party outside for some fun champagne photos before every one got dressed. Susan opted to have her sisters and mom help her into her dress in a back bedroom of the cottage while the bridal party waited outside for the big reveal. Some tears were shed and some hugs were shared with the bridal party before Susan was ushered back inside. We had to make sure she was hidden so that we could place her father, John for his first look with his daughter. This is always one of my favorite wedding moments. After the two collected themselves, we snapped some photos of the family before moving Susan back inside for one final time. Conor was placed and the stage was set for their first look. Susan made the long walk from the back door of the cottage to her awaiting groom on the front lawn, and the two shared a heartfelt moment with one another. We shot some portraits before I parted ways to head to the ceremony site. Once I had got my audio configured I began shooting the ceremony space. There were plenty of details to keep me busy. Guests began to take their seats and the ceremony got underway. The walk was long from the reception hall across the lawn to the ceremony, which gave me lots of time to get creative with my shots. The ceremony was officiated by the couples family friend and pastor, Robin. After some vows were shared, a reading was read, and a song was sang by the brides sister, the couple shared their first kiss. Following the ceremony, I made my way upstairs to the reception space and was struck by its beauty. The floral, details, and design was just beautiful. With so much to shoot, I got to work filming. The couple opted for a live band over a DJ, so I checked in with them to pull a feed for the speeches. It was time for the party to start. The couple was introduced and joined their hype crew (the bridal party) on the dance floor. After some celebrating, the dance floor cleared and the floor was set to share their first dance. This dance was something the two had been practicing for months, and their execution showed it. Perfection. After dinner, some speeches took place and the two shared a dance with their parents. It was then time to cut the cake. This wouldn't be a normal cake cutting, however. Susan's family had a tradition where wedding cakes were cut using an heirloom saber that had been passed down through several generations. Too cool! The party officially began as the band laid down some popular tunes. There is a certain unmatched energy a live band brings to a wedding. The night came to an end and the couple made their way downstairs for one final formality. Awaiting outside was a beautiful Vintage 1941 Packard Convertible. to take the two away. Through the cheers of their family and friends, Susan & Conor shared a glass of champagne as the Packard rolled into the night. The perfect end to this fairy tail weekend.
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Camarillo California. A place I had not heard of until Siobhan reached out to me in early 2022. A stunning coastal California city right off the pacific ocean. The perfect backdrop for a Southern California wedding. I arrived early to the beach house Siobhan had rented and was greeted by.... the groom? Kelly, what are you doing here? Kelly had just stopped by to pick up some of the decorations to drop off at the venue. Some couples are okay with breaking the "Don't see each other on the wedding day" rule. After chatting for a moment, I made my way upstairs to meet up with the bride, Siobhan. She was in the middle of her makeup process. The first thing I noticed was just how beautiful this space was for filming. Windows surrounded the room and offered the natural light us camera folks are constantly chasing. I got to work grabbing some candids before making my way upstairs to shoot details. The top floor was just as perfect as the second, and I got to work filming the dress and rings. Before too long the photographer Alex arrived and joined in the detail shooting. Its rare I work with someone as tall as me on a wedding day, so Alex's height was a nice surprise. We connected on the fact that we both prefer candid moments to posed, and both do a fair amount of traveling during the wedding season. With makeup complete, Siobhan made her way upstairs to get ready with her mom and sister. We had the rest of the bridal party staged below on the second floor for the grand reveal. Their reaction was a mix of smiles and tears capped off by a big group hug. It was time to head to the venue. Siobhan had described her vision to me as an east coast garden wedding in the conversations we had prior to the big day. When I arrived at McCormick Home Ranch I was in awe. The tall white colonial home was surrounded by perfectly manicured foliage with a grand lawn where our reception would take place. Jen with White Sage Weddings was busy setting up the details for the day so I went over to introduce myself. The couple had opted for a classic white reception look which I personally love. After grabbing some of the setup shots I made my way over to the ceremony site to meet up with Alex. The site was beautiful, placed perfectly into the property's garden. The only tricky part was going to be the lack of side isles. Side Isles are a photographer and videographers highway during a ceremony. It allows us to get close to the couple without standing out. We talked strategy for a bit before accepting the fact we would have to be up front for the important moments of the ceremony. It goes against my typical fly on the wall approach, but would be necessary for this one. The ceremony procession went on without a glitch and Kelly laid down some the best vows I've ever heard. Before I knew it the couple had kissed. We rushed into family and bridal portraits as the sun started to set, then hid the couple away for their grand entrance. I love a good outdoor reception and this venue may be my favorite of all time, after sharing their first dance and some toasts, we brought the couple to the front of the property to capture the last of the setting sun. With no clouds in the sky, and positioned right on the coast, this sunset was EPIC. Back on the dance floor the party started. Glow sticks were passed out which added a pop of color to dance floor. Before too long the bride and groom were airborne having been lifted by their bridal party in a modified hora style dance. As the night winded down sparklers were passed around and the couple made their way through the glow of the sparks to their awaiting party bus. While the after party was just getting started, my time in Southern California came to an end.
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The wedding of Lina & Zach took place at both the Lodge at Ventana Canyon in Tucson Arizona. Relive their wedding day through their wedding films below.
The wedding of Milena & Aarron took place at both the historic Saint Francis Church and The Willow Ballroom in Sacramento CA. Relive their wedding day through their wedding films below.
Steven Martinez // Cinematographer