Joelle and Chris, Valencia Hall, Aptos, and Shadowbrook, Capitola

(click the photo above to see the slideshow)

Joelle and Chris were married in the Santa Cruz area, at Valencia Hall in Aptos, with the reception at Shadowbrook in Capitola. I have grown to love the Santa Cruz area since my in laws moved there in the past years, so it is always a treat to be able to photograph there! Joelle and Chris were so sweet, planning lots of simple but beautiful details to add color and joy to their wedding day. In addition, my mom’s name Joelle (making me feel instantly connected to this beautiful bride!), which is quite rare. And when Joelle, Chris and I met earlier this year to talk wedding photography, I think we ended up chatting for almost 2 hours, which might be a new record. These two are easy to get along with!

They got ready at a B&B in Aptos, where they were able to stay with their families. The weather was perfect and there were lots of flowers in the gardens – October is such a pretty month to get married in Northern California!

I had a tough time narrowing down the photos – there were just so many I wanted to share! We had lots of time to play during the “formal” couple shots, and these two had such a quietly retro look that I had lots of fun making many of my favorites black and white.

Here’s Chris greeting me:

Joelle’s dress has stunning details in sort of a pinkish brown shade, which perfectly complemented the colors of the invitation, the flowers, and the other details they put together. When they showed me the invitations that they handmade, I was floored. They’re the kind of people who can just pick up things like screen printing when they want to learn it… so creative!

I love this almost scandalous shot of Joelle’s garter while she gets ready!

And the beautiful bridesmaids helping this stunning bride get ready:

Valencia Hall is a lovely little clapboard building that was obviously built in the 1960s. It has these warm hardwood floors and walls, and is right across from the cute Valencia Post Office. You can see a bit of the era in that sign – so retro and cute!

The ceremony was short and sweet, performed by Chris’s uncle who is a tattooed minister. They decorated the hall with simple, beautiful puffs of tissue paper, and I just adored how of one design aesthetic the whole thing felt.

Afterward we had everyone out on the porch for a big group photo – hard to wrangle but always a great shot.

I am a summer girl overall (not being a big fan of being cold), but since autumn here in the Bay Area is warm and clear, and with all of the beautiful colors that I’m seeing in nature and design lately, it’s hard to resist the pull of snuggly fall weather. Anyway, pumpkins and autumn leaves at a wedding just put a huge smile on my face!

Then on to Shadowbrook, where they are totally set up to take care of your guests and romance the newlyweds with the restaurant overlooking the Soquel Creek. They have a little cable car elevator and a meandering garden path where we took lots more photos.

Cake echoing their palette of browns, pinks, and oranges.

Joelle and Chris were all about simple yet chic handmade details – in this case, bright orange dahlias in each hand-stamped vase/ favor with pink placecards for each guest. They even made one each for my assistant and myself!

Obligatory fabulous shoe shot, and cute bridesmaids (with, once again, handmade bouquets!):

(Getting up to go to the floral market and make your own floral arrangements isn’t for everyone, but Joelle and Chris and their families did an amazing job!)

Then I had some fun time with the bride and groom to wander the grounds and photograph them cuddling together. Isn’t Joelle just stunning?! Chris couldn’t keep from snuggling up to her and kissing her, which I always love to see.

Loved the rainbow of colored drinks available!

The reception was mostly a mellow sit down dinner, with a bit of impromptu dancing and mingling when everyone was done.

But you can’t forget of course… the Dean Martin impersonator!! I loved that they had added this random and quirky entertainment to their reception. I am all about the quirk!

As we were getting packed up to go, Joelle asked if I would take a few night shots of the two of them outside. They were so encouraging and patient in letting me just experiment and play all day (and night), and it really led to some creative collaborations, like this dreamy (high ISO, intense grain) black and white shot:

Joelle and Chris, thank you for everything! It has been so fabulous getting to know the two of you, and your cheerful smiles and spirits made shooting your wedding so lovely. I appreciate your trust in me to play and get some unique photos, and I can’t wait for you to see them all!

Edited to add feedback. I think I’m going to try to add the client feedback to the end of each post so I can keep track of it, and so you can read what my clients are thinking…

From Joelle: “Hi Jessamyn,
I meant to write to you earlier, but got caught up forwarding the picture links to everyone else! The pictures you took were amazing! Thank you so much! I have had so much fun looking at them the last few days, and was really excited to see the rest of them tonight. Everyone thinks they are so beautiful. They made my mom get all choked up, she couldn’t believe how well they turned out. You really did such a great job, and I just wanted to thank you for all of your hard work. I am so thrilled to have these great pictures to remember this special day forever.
talk to you soon,
Joelle”

And from my dear photographer friend, Meagan:
“I’m CRAZY for your old shots!
They absolutely take my breath away!!!!!!!

What an amazing wedding!
I’ve said this before and the compliment is starting to sound old, but this just might be your best wedding yet!

Amazing!
The dress/window shot is one of the best I’ve EVER seen – be sure to submit it for something.
And how do I get those cute brown velvet? peeptoe shoes!? =)

And what a dream to have that porch for the group shot. So fun!!!

I’m gushing – I love them all!”

I can always count on Megan to make me feel like a superstar! Thank you both, I am so happy these wedding photos are well received. I think we might have to make Joelle and Chris famous! : )

3 thoughts on “Joelle and Chris, Valencia Hall, Aptos, and Shadowbrook, Capitola

  1. KILLER first image …. and the photo of the dress … niiiiiiiiiiice!