Grace & Ben | Laguna Beach Wedding

Grace's sister Christine is a longtime client of ours, so I was really happy to hear about Grace's own wedding plans, which included an intimate rooftop dinner overlooking a California sunset. Not to mention a traditional Korean tea ceremony, featuring dates being thrown at the couple in hopes of many children!Venue: La Casa Del Camino, Laguna Beach CAwedding in laguna beach californiacasa del camino wedding dressbride and funny babymodern couple newlywedchurch weddingchurch wedding kisskorean wedding ceremonykorean dates weddinglaguna beach wedding bride groom beachsouthern california beach weddinglaguna beach weddingtoast newlywedscasa del camino wedding viewGrandma taking tequila shots             Ben's grandma putting all grandmas everywhere to shame as she leads the reception in a round of shots.

Tuesday w/ the Pros: Rachel Coffin

Tuesday with the Pros is an ongoing blog series featuring experts in the wedding and event industry. Today’s authority is Rachel Coffin, catering sales manager at Laguna Cliffs Resort & Spa in Dana Point, CA.Rachel LI: What is your job like?Rachel: I do corporate and social events and handle many wedding occasions here at Laguna Cliffs.LI: What is it that makes this resort unique among other event venues in Southern California?Rachel: Aside from our fantastic view?  Well, we're a Marriott, for starters....so for clientele who want to use their Marriott points, or want the level of comfort that they're accustomed to at a Marriott, they can be assured that they'll receive that here.  At the same time, we are also a franchise and therefore given the authority by Marriott to stretch our legs a little, which allows us to have this beautiful resort atmosphere but still furnish Marriott rewards points and service at a familiar Marriott standard.

Laguna Cliffs resort

LI: How did you become involved with the event team here at the resort?Rachel: I used to work at a trade show technology company and while I loved doing events and tradeshows, I really hated technology.  So it was time for a change...I started revisiting the hotels that I'd worked with as a trade show event specialist and talking with the staff and was eventually fortunate enough to be hired on as an event specialist here!LI: What are some of your favorite things about being a catering manager here?Rachel: Working with people, not being stuck in a cubicle all day...and I get to meet all different types of people and hear all these interesting stories!LI: Do you work exclusively with brides?Rachel: No, we have a pretty fair mixture here.  I work with wedding clientes as well as associations and businesses who host awards, parties, and fundraisers here.LI: What do you think would be a dream event to host here?Rachel: A themed, outdoor dinner party would be fun. Something where we get to exercise our creative idea muscles and stray from traditional concepts about what a party should be like and focus on how different and interesting it could be.LI: What do you recommend to the wedding couples or corporate clientele out there who are looking to save some money on their event?Rachel: Use sites like eBay, Craigslist, and Etsy to your FULL advantage.  You'll want to be careful because some things like photography and wedding attire are probably best left up to thoroughly-researched professionals and NOT uber-cheap Craigslisters, but many details like invitations, jewelry, hairpieces, etc you can buy unique, and high quality items online without totally breaking your bank.  You also don't have to do favors at all...party favors are old-fashioned, unappreciated by most guests, and the money could be put towards so many other things for the event instead.LI: Are there any exciting events coming up here at Laguna Cliffs?Rachel: We're hosting a joint Chamber of Commerce event here soon, and in June we're doing an event for the Ocean Institute of Dana Point.Laguna Cliffs ballroomsLI: What would your professional advice be a festive, stress-free event?Rachel: Just let go and enjoy your day.  You don't have to be SO involved that you're detached from the moments you should really be savoring or enjoying---hire true professionals and let them handle it!  Let go of the reins on the day of the event, and understand that not everything is going to be EXACTLY as planned, either. Just remember that the calmer you are the more smoothly everything will run regardless of what snags we might hit.  It's all about focusing on the importance of the fact that this is the day that you're finally getting married, not how late your ceremony is starting or whether the ring bearer pillow was forgotten at home!  Because that is all trivial in comparison to the big, lifelong step you are about to take with your fiancée!For more on Rachel and the Laguna Cliffs Resort, visit:The Laguna Cliffs Resort & Spa official website.Laguna Cliffs' official Facebook pageLaguna Cliffs on Twitter

[38] Wedding images: Rachel & Joel

Last Saturday Matt and I joined Rachel and Joel at Tivoli Too in Laguna Beach. Rachel is the daughter of my parents' neighbors, I've known her for a long time!Rachel, Joel, and their bridal party were nice enough to meet us a couple hours before the ceremony to get in some quality photo time. It really is awesome what we can turn out with just some extra time devoted to photography.

Rachel with the gals; one is her sister, the other two, her sisters-in-law. How's that for family bonds!Rachel & Sarah, sisters. Stay tuned for Sarah's awesome Napa wedding next May!ZOMG IT'S ME!!The gangDowntown Laguna's famous red phone boothI love love love LOVE Rachel's haircut. SUCH A CUTE LITTLE BOB!!I know, right??Couldn't resist. Gorgeous shot by Matt.Joel is a big sweetie pie. I think he liked the "Blue Steel" poses better, though. =)Silly bridal party...and this is pre-champagne!Love this one by Matt.One of my all-time favoritesAnother fave of mineRachel making her way down the aisle with her paTrue tears of joy!I think Tivoli Too is my favorite Tivoli location.Pretty svelte dress, no?Dancing with dadOne of Rachel's three older brothers getting beckoned to the dance floor!My folks were invited, too ;-)

Emily & Vic, part 2

Continued! Ceremony and Reception images from Emily & Vic's harbor wedding on the 21st:

I gave this image a little cross-processing love, and I think it suits it quite well!

Vic (and Best Man Greg) watching Emily come down the aisle!Emily's mother watching the ceremony.Kelly the flower girl!Man and wife!...With the rings to prove it!At their reception table of honor :)MmmMMMMMMMM!!!Here's a tip for aspiring wedding photographers: After feeding each other cake, a bride and groom's natural reaction is to kiss, even if they haven't made much of a mess. Be ready for it. If they don't move to kiss (a shy couple, eh?), then prompt them! If they care about their photography, then they'll do whatever you direct them to do.Emily signing the marraige certificate....And heaves her bouquet! LoL, I love her face xDVic goes for it.Of all the First Dance photos I took, I actually like this one the best, which was taken by my assistant Mark B. He really got a great moment.By the end of the night, Natalie has had enough!

AND...The new business cards are in, and they look splendid, if I do say so myself :D

Emily & Vic, part 1

I photographed Emily and Vic's wedding on Saturday, and I must say they totally lucked out; they got married on the only day of the weekend that was sunny and bright! It rained on Friday and Sunday, but there was STUPENDOUS weather on Saturday.I was pretty lucky, too. I had a really good-looking couple deeply in love, two talented assistant photographers, and a beautiful day for shooting! Who could ask for anything more?

We met at the Montage Resort in Laguna Beach for some pre-ceremony portraits. It went great, and I'm delighted with the pics...even more fortuitous, we were there the day BEFORE the two fatal shootings that happened there this morning. I am floored by the news. Rack up one more lucky point for Emily and Vic for not staying at the Montage last night for their wedding night!

Did I mention how sunny and beautiful it was? California coast, baby!I love this picture of Emily with her neice Kelly and daughter Natalie, both flower girls...Natalie seems to have struck gold! It makes me laugh every time I look at it.This is one of my favorite shots, completely unposed. This is what a couple in love looks like :DSoCal babes!SoCal dudes!Emily truly is a stunning bride. You would never think she's a mommy, 'cause she looks like a model!Vic already knows that though, I'm sure!Vic cleans up pretty nice, too!

The ceremony and reception was aboard the Newport Beach yacht "Just Dreamin'." in Newport harbor.Kelly, waiting for the boat to leave the dock, and looking fabulous!The ring bearers used abalone shells instead of pillows, it was really innovative!Natalie...what a CUTIE!!

Ceremony and Reception photos coming soon!

Carrie Zeller headshots

Happiness, thy name is 85mm f/1.4!If anyone wants to get me a birthday present, this is it.My friend Carrie Zeller wanted to get some headshots done for professional purposes and since I don't have many headshots in my portfolio, I was happy to oblige. We were down in Laguna, and the lighting was fantastic....we swapped and she took some of me, too, but we'll save those for later. I hear lots of great things about the 85mm f/1.4, and I am considering buying one, so I rented one for this shoot to test it out.I have to say, I completely understand now why everyone loves it so much. You can't get this magnificent of bokeh* but with the very best:

Tell me that's not sheer gorgeousness. I want it sooooooo bad now.*"Bokeh": the out-of-focus area in a photograph

Emily + Vic engagement shoot

I did an engagement shoot a couple weeks ago for a couple whose wedding I'm shooting in April. These are the results, the most surprising of which involves a very chill cormorant who we found on a rock at the beach we were using...it didn't mind us getting REALLY close!

This is totally a one-of-a-kind shot.

It was an insanely windy day, and the water looked pretty hairy, with waves breaking way out where you don't normally see them, and spray whipping everywhere. Luckily the cove is a little sheltered, and everything worked out well. They're happy. I'm happy. Everyone happy!