Joy + Caesar : San Diego : A Starfish Wedding

It was one of those weddings we dream of as little girls. To the tiniest details – the dress, the cake, and the theme. Light colored shells peeking out of brown sugar sand sprinkled around centerpieces. Silver starfish hair ornaments and jewelry. Personalized seashells that led their guests to their seats. Sparkling blue lights and table covers. I felt like I was Ariel, swimming under the sea.

Overlooking the San Diego skyline, the reception was held at the Soledad Club. It was an intimate and beautiful venue, and as mentioned in her thank you speech, they chose to be here with their closest family and friends. And it was just that. Intimate. Close. Perfect.

After some time of mingling with her guests during cocktail hour, I found Joy and asked her how she was doing. Her exact words were “I feel like a princess.” Ah… smiles. It was exactly what I wanted to hear. It can be so easy to forget to take that step back and enjoy the moment, it can be a dream that happens so quickly and we wake up realizing it’s already over. She took it in, her big day, she was with the most important people in her life. This – this made me smile.

They capped the evening with thank you’s and a speech that brought tears.. tears with an “s” to my eyes. I usually don’t cry until after I sit down and go through the images, but this time, while the camera was held to my eye and I was looking at her, looking at him… and I listened to his speech. He hesitated at first as Joy turned to him with the mic, but began his speech with his thank you’s … thankful for this day, thankful to have found Joy. He glanced at their guests, then to the ground and said, he did have one wish. One wish that could have made this day even more special than it already was. His one wish, that his mom could have been there, for his mom to have met the most beautiful woman he was marrying today…

But we all know that somehow she was a part this magical day. That she did meet his beautiful bride. And that she had blessed them with her love, her happiness, and with Joy. His wish, I am sure, came true that magical day.

Now, let’s bow our heads and dance.

Thank you Orn, for the beautiful images of the church and of the wedding. Thank you for being my right hand woman.

Congratulations many many times Joy and Caesar, I so much enjoyed working with you, photographing you and getting to know you and your family and friends. Lots, and lots of LOVE!


Of course, lots of thanks to the vendors that help put this beautiful day together. It was a pleasure working with each every one of you once again.

Orn Thang for the much needed help and beautiful images.

Manny De Leon of Sound Illusions Ph: (619) 462-7750 Office

Lea Eleccion Bridal Consultant of Celebrations By Design

Gerald Labrador Videography

And kudos to:
Wedding invitations designed by Blue Ribbon Design

Ceremony at St. Joseph Cathedral

Wedding Gown and Bridesmaid DressesTour of Elegance

Ranch Catering, Inc.
3560 Mt. Acadia Blvd.
San Diego CA 92111
Phone: (858) 492 9100

R + M : San Diego : Wedding

So it happened, the union happened and I couldn’t be more happier.

MaryAnne: When I received your email, I was literally jumping up and down, no questions to ask just completely ecstatic, thrilled, I just didn’t fall to the ground (wink, wink. Don’t worry, your secret is safe with me… I will not utter a word).

You two worked so hard at getting everyone to arrive on time, to make sure no one had on their phillipino watch, however,  you did  set them back about an hour but it all worked and paid off.

Rey and MaryAnne – you two make the perfect team.

Here is a look at your smiley and happy faces.

Who doesn’t like to jumping photos? Especially Rey, who wouldn’t stop when everyone else did. I must say, you are an A+ jumper.

MaryAnne… on the other hand…

I know, I know you said this is usual thing for you, but I must say sorry once again. You are so cute MaryAnne. This makes a great action shot with blurred movements. 🙂

Why iphones are the greatest inventions.

By the way, please thank your mom for making me try that piece of cake. It was Deee-lish!!! She watched me eat it to the very last bite. Now thats true love.

Family + Friends: Permission to copy, paste, or use the images above to share with your family and friends.  Who wouldn’t want to share Love. Plus, weddings = big smiles. And I love big smiles!

Linda + Hiep Hoang : San Diego : Wedding

When I first met Linda & Hiep, it was an instant connection. It felt like we were old friends getting together once again but it was the first time we had just met. They lit up the room with their presence and their welcoming big SMILES; Hiep has a permanent smile and Linda has that million dollar one. We talked wedding and non wedding topics, the conversation just flowed. They were just happy, happy to settle down and one day call each husband and wife. It is when you know you found your perfect match and I was lucky enough to be a part of their special day… and new found friends of mine.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Here are a series of photos worth a million, in fact, it tells a story. A love story. You can almost hear Colbie Callait singing in the background.

Our plan was to find a place, and set the scene. We were on a very tight schedule and we needed to find a secluded spot for them to see each other for the “first time.” The wedding party watched and waited below as she slowly came up on the escalator and he was waiting…

Here is a look at their first look.

I cried. And to make it worse, I had Faith Hill “Love is a Sweet Thing” playing in the background.

Again, many congrats to you two. Lots of love… Love is a sweeet thing.

Family, friends, vendors:  Please free to copy and use the images above to share with others.

*Many many THANKS to Nicole Rork for being by my side and assisting me with this wedding. Everyone needs a sweet Ninja in their life. You were mine and theirs. Thank you so MUCH!

Lee Lee + Nathaniel : Engagement Session : Orange County

She is my best friend.  Growing up, we would chat on the phone for hours running up our parent’s phone bills ($100/month just for our calls), but we had middle school issues to discuss. It was serious business. Today, she is still that person – the person I would confide in, laugh with, get all excited to see – like we haven’t seen each other in years even though it was just yesterday, someone I could tell all problems to (knowing she would never pass judgement)… she’s my best friend.

The news… my beautiful cousin is getting married and I am ecstatic. I am so happy for her, for the both of them. Darn, my eyes are already getting a bit watery. I know, I’m such a sap!   She is a wonderful and beautiful person inside and out.   And I love seeing how happy and giddy she gets when she is around him.   They really are the perfect duo. They are like icing on cake, like chocolate and peanut butter, like the malt in whoppers. (There was a whole lot of cheese in this sentence.)

How they met…

She had just finished culinary school specializing in pastry and was given the opportunity to pursue her dreams in Vegas. They met at work, working at the Ritz-Calton, both were at the start of their career in pastry. He was the night pastry cook (now a pastry chef) and she was the morning pastry cook, doing half the prep for him (they were each other’s half then).

I believe when she first walked in through the kitchen door, with hair blowing, lights and fog around her, you can almost hear the swoosh (okay so I exaggerated a bit) when he noticed her. It was love at first sight plus their common love for pastries and Star Trek?.. (one day Nathaniel, this trekky fan will make you one too) they could not get enough of each other…

Well, I need to stop writing, I have to save some for my speech. I promise not to embarrass anyone, muahahahaha (that was suppose to an evil cackle.)

And I get to be a huge part of their day…

I am so honored. Truly honored.
Warning: Cookie not so good after waiting a few weeks to eat it.

Warming up in front of the camera. Doing good. baby steps, baby steps.

I had located the perfect spot to photograph Lee Lee’s solo, sat her down, posed her and right when I was about to snap her photo –  Nathaniel received a call from her mechanic and plops down right in front of her.    Now I know why we are not allowed to talk on the cell phone while operating a vehicle. I love it.

This scene reminds me “Pretty Woman” Richard Gere and Julia Roberts.

Nathaniel, I am so glad she found you. I am glad you found her. I love you both very much. oh dear the tears.

Of course we ended our shoot at Watson Drug & Soda Fountain known for their malts and shakes. I also like to thank Orn of Orn Thang Photography for coming out and shooting the last bit of their session.

These photos were taken in Old Towne Orange County.

Just a little side note: Lee Lee came down with one outfit while Nathaniel had 5 different collared shirts to change into along a sport jacket. Divo!

Another side note: Congrats to Nathaniel on your many promotions and winning the The Pastry Competition in New York.

Baja Trek

A 3 day weekend getaway into good ‘ole Baja.

Away from electronic devices. Placed into a bus full of perfect strangers. Coolers filled with Tecate and gallons of tequila. It was the perfect weekend getaway.

As soon as I approached the gates of the Tijuana border, instantly the smell of car exhaust filled my nostrils and I knew I was on vacation. We all met at the border, jumped onto Gus the Bus, traveled to Ensenada for the best fish & shrimp tacos and beers. And back onto the bus to our surprise destination – a secluded getaway into Erendira, a hostel and campground called Coyote Cal’s which sits on top of the cliff, overlooking Barney’s Cove.

There were 17 of us, some paired up and some that trekked alone – from Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Pomona, San Francisco and San Diego. We were our own little community, a family that sat together for breakfast, lunch and dinner.. and shots!

Thanks Lulu for perfect tasting waffles. Beccah and Liam for being such a wonderful host, and playing a darn good game of poker. Nicco, what can I say? You are awesome!

Sand Dollars for Luck!

Check out Baja Trek for an inexpensive, quick weekend getaway to meet wonderful people and for a much needed stress relief, its recommended over tylenol and aspirin.

Here is a look at our little vacay!