Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Royal Reception

Long Beach, California
Newlyweds Ashley and Brian held their reception on the gorgeous Queen Mary. I took advantage of the last rays of sunshine to take some photos of the happy couple. Both Ashley and Brian are so much fun. And quite the romantics I might add.

Absence does seem to make the heart grow fonder. Ashley and Brian hadn't seen each other in months and they're super kissy which makes for good photos.

I love the telephone booth!

Steady course, get it?

I love the blue of this night sky.

Introducing the new Mr. & Mrs.

Ashley and Brian chose bright fall colors for their November reception. The centerpieces were yellow, orange and red flowers arranged inside carved-out pumpkins. And the cake was to-die-for!

The reception was in the Verandah Grill, formerly the nightclub for the "ship's elite," which features beautiful hand-painted murals of circus acts and ballerinas. I couldn't resist taking a cake photo with the roaring tiger in the background.

Blessing before the meal is served.

Ashley's dad finishes his toast and Brian's brother, the best man, goes up to the mic.

First dance...

Bella, one of the flowergirls, twirls her way onto the dance floor.

I love this moment between Brian and his mom during the mother-son dance.

The whole bridal party gets into the swing of things.

Now both the flowergirls are dancing with the newlyweds.

DJ Jon Lundgren spins the tunes, from Y.M.C.A...

to get-down music...

and even the macarena!

Ashley and Brian enjoy a quiet moment alone...

and a not-so quiet moment.

Time to say goodnight!

And they lived happily ever after!

Many thanks to Ashley and Brian, Ashley's super nice mom Lynn, and the wonderful staff of the Queen Mary.

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Sailor Takes a Wife

Mission Viejo, California
I'm designing an album for Ashley and Brian. They said their vows at Mount of Olives Church, where they met, in an intimate ceremony surrounded by their closest family and friends. I thought I'd share some of my favorites from their day, like this moment after the ceremony when they didn't know I was looking.

I shot a few getting ready photos. Ashley looks so serious as her sister helps her put on her grandmother's necklace.

The lovely bride holds the flowergirl's hand as they walk into the church.

Ashley and her dad share a laugh before they walk down the aisle.

The groomsmen and bridesmaids all look lost in thought and a bit nervous right before the processional.

Here comes the bride!

Michael took this awesome photo from the balcony.

There was no flash photography allowed during the ceremony, but the church did have spotlights around the altar.

One of the messages I took away from the minister's words on marriage was about service. The Bible talks about serving the Lord. The minister suggested we ask ourselves how to be of service to our spouses.

The Vows...

The Rings...

And of course - The Kiss.

Brian is smiling in every photo. He is one happy groom!

Some of my favorite moments are after the ceremony when everyone wishes the couple well.

Brian gives a smooch to his grandma.

Brian's brother and best man is very wise for his years, but he's still his mom's baby.

The bridal party chat with the bride and groom.

Brian's brother borrowed his sailor hat. It looks like a good fit!

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Our Christmas Dinner

Playa del Rey, California
Michael and I had a quiet Christmas dinner with just the two of us. I decided to decorate the whole corner of the table. In the center is a little green tinsel Christmas tree, adorned simply with a red ribbon and two star ornaments: love and joy. A statue of the Holy Family, a beautiful present we received from one of the teachers at Christ the King School, sits in front of the tree. And all of the cards we received circle the tree, so in a way we had Christmas dinner with all of our family and friends. In the foreground is a plate with oplatek, or wafer. It's Polish Catholic tradition to offer the oplatek to one's family, along with good wishes for the following year, during Wigilia, or Christmas Eve, dinner. Although I can't share the oplatek with all of you, I wish you all a new year full of love, laughter, happiness, peace and prosperity, and may this be the year all of your dreams come true!

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Blessed is the season which engages
the whole world in a conspiracy of love!
~ Hamilton Wright Mabi


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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Everyone Knows It's Windy

Los Angeles, California
Coming from Chicago, one of the first things I noticed about living in LA is that it's never windy. Well almost never. Today is windy. The last time I remember it being this windy was about a year ago when I was living in Leimert Park. It was so windy, a huge tree was knocked over, ripping up the sidewalk as it fell.

That little guy on the left hand side of the tree is Michael, who is really not so little at 6'3".

The entire sidewalk is covered in branches and leaves. It looks like an enchanted forest, hiding magical creatures, maybe elves or Alice in Wonderland's rabbit.

Who says there's no weather here?


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Monday, December 8, 2008

Family Portraits with a View

San Diego, California
I drove down to San Diego to take some family photos of the lovely Liz and Joel and their adorable son Eddie. Eddie was super energetic and not in the mood to sit still for photos. Luckily Kim was assisting and knew what to do to make him laugh.

We found this cool stone building. The grass and the ocean behind it reminds me of Ireland.

The back of the family portrait...

Eddie is amused. That's the Point Loma Lighthouse in the background.

I love their faces in this photo.

The sun set quickly and it was time to go. Thank you Liz, Joel, Eddie and of course Kim for a lovely afternoon!

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