I love all weddings, but the smaller ones really tug at my heartstrings. Hanns + Alexis chose a shorter, more intimate Bay Area wedding day with less than 100 guests, no wedding party, and close friends who officiated the ceremony and performed all the readings. They even got ready together in a relaxed environment with no over the top hoopla that morning. In a word, it was PERFECT.
When I first spoke to Alexis about her wedding plans, she felt almost bad about not having a bunch of details or designers backing her vision. My heart broke a bit in that moment. So many of my wedding industry colleagues place immense value on making sure the weddings they photograph are fit for publication these days. They stress over bringing styling kits full of velvet ring boxes, silk ribbon, and expensive boards with linen fabric for the perfect backdrop for all the details. While there’s nothing wrong with wanting a wedding picked up by a blog or magazine, I believe our job as photographers is first and foremost to capture all the fleeting moments of our couples’ special day. And for couples’, their job is to focus on the marriage they are forming and the time spent celebrating with their guests. Not the details, not the designers, not the publications. I immediately let Alexis know I was there for HER and Hanns and to faithfully document their day the way it actually unfolded. Nothing more, nothing less.
Now, looking back through their full gallery, I realized their day WAS full of details. Moreover, all the details were significant to them as a couple and their loved ones – not arbitrarily lifted from Pinterest. Like the fact they exchanged vows at the front of a unique semi-circle surrounded by the most important people in their lives. The ceremony itself was in the middle of the Faculty Glade on the University of California Berkeley’s campus where they share a history together. Hanns + Alexis surprised their guests with a performance by Cal’s marching band as they walked back down the aisle a married couple. Children played and climbed trees during the family portraits. Sather Tower’s campanile bell rang in the distance. Strangers congratulated the newlyweds as we walked through the campus. The reception was held in a campus hotel where Hanns + Alexis actually stay when they visit Berkeley. The buffet, drink options, and desserts were a hodgepodge of their favorite eats. Every single detail reflected these two and I absolutely loved being able to photograph it all.
Thank you Hanns + Alexis for reminding me what weddings are all about. Your nuptials helped guide me as both a photographer and a fellow bride and renewed my wedding day focus.
Northern California Wedding Photographer – Elle Golden Photography
Ceremony – Faculty Glade at the University of California Berkeley
Getting Ready + Reception Venue – The Bancroft Hotel
Officiant – Friend of the couple
Catering – The Bancroft Hotel
Hair – DiPietro Todd Salon
Makeup – DIY by the bride
Fleur –Wisteria Rockridge
Cake + Sweets Artist – James and the Giant Cupcake
Honeymoon – Hawaii
Assistant: Linda Tran