Real Elopements

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After much going back and forth, these two international kids decided it was time to get married. So although we were planning a big Los Angeles wedding last year, it never happened. But I am their Los Angeles wedding photographer, so I offered to do an elopement announcement session instead! I’m so glad they took me up on it! We went down to the beach and caught one of the most spectacular sunsets I’ve seen in quite awhile.

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I don’t believe in structured meetups and forced relationships. I believe God puts people in your path. If you’re in the right place, you slip towards each other, encourage each other, and make each other stronger. Maybe that means I believe in falling in love with friends. Somebody at the wedding asked how Tiffany and I met. I couldn’t at first think of it. We had cheered each other on via social media before I even came to be an LA wedding photographer. I had never met her until the wedding, but she’s one of those people that shines a beacon of pure light that is pretty irresistible and hard to miss. So when she asked if I could photograph her Mount Baldy wedding, I never hesitated.

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Smitha and Arjun got married at the Malibu Hindu Temple in Los Angeles. It was a beautiful venue. Despite coronavirus, these two got together a group of their closest local friends and tied the knot. My husband and I lived in India for several years after we first got married, so Indian tradition and Indian wedding photography in LA is something I’ve really enjoyed. 

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I was in a sleepy haze as I drove down the deserted highway. It was the pre-dawn quiet of a city that doesn’t wake up until it’s time to go to work. I gathered together my backpack of gear. For intimate sunrise elopement at El Matador Beach, I typically carry a prime 35mm, some OCF, a trigger, a stand, and a long lens, along with my trusty, beautiful Canon 5D Mark III.

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When these two decided to get married, they had a choice: spend a huge chunk of money on a traditional wedding, or put that money towards home improvements and have a smaller backyard wedding. Especially when Covid hit, their decision was made for them. But look!!! Needless to say, they made the right decision. If you’ve followed my work for any period of time, you know that backyard wedding photography is near and dear to my heart. I love the simplicity of a smaller wedding (having had one myself). I love photographing them, especially. That’s the only thing I regret skimping on for my own backyard wedding, and I love that these two took the time and planned for good backyard wedding photography.

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This year has been crazy. It’s 2020. When Covid-19 first hit, it severely limited or cancelled dozens of planned weddings. Most couples decided to wait and see what would happen. After a few months, more and more couples were faced with a choice: cut the guest list severely, elope, or put your wedding on hold indefinitely. Indoor weddings were almost impossible altogether. As a wedding and Yosemite elopement photographer, I started seeing couples look around for alternatives.

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C contacted me on FaceBook a little while ago asking if I’d be up for a short-notice mini, backyard wedding in Santa Clarita. I have a huge soft spot for backyard weddings, I had one myself. And C’s sweet conversation convinced me this would be a wedding of dreams. C and E loved each other so much. It was obvious from the first moment. I peeked into C’s getting ready room and found E had slipped a note under her door, saying that he loved her to infinity. These little moments are reasons I love photographing backyard weddings. When the production is stripped away, you get to the bare-bones love of the day. The entire family pitched in, decorated the whole house, and invited me to sit down for delicious food. It was amazing perfection.

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I love marriage. I think marriage is valuable, regardless of how the wedding has to happen. Simple or complex, the wedding doesn’t matter as much as the two people entering into the marriage together. Which is one reason I was so excited when Quique and Sahana asked me to photograph their Covid-19 elopement at the Honda Center. Because this will be a day and a time we will tell our kids about. And when there are photos, it’s so much more of a story.

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As with almost all the weddings this summer, Masha and Nate’s was put on hold due to Coronavirus. However, they couldn’t wait, and decided to hold a tiny backyard celebration anyway. They picked up the pieces of their original wedding, did a lot of DIY, made masks, and invited the people closest to them who weren’t as vulnerable. I love photographing backyard weddings. They are near and dear to my heart, since I had one, too.

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Quite awhile ago, Liba and Sasha contacted me about doing photography for their grand Los Angeles wedding. Then, 2020 hit, and nobody was sure what to do. These two decided to get married anyway, and needless to say, it was a good choice. I loved photographing for their backyard microwedding. I’m so proud they decided to get married anyway. Maybe that’s a weird response, but I’m a huge fan of love, and finding your spouse, and marrying them, regardless of how much money you have. That’s one reason I love offering affordable wedding packages and alternatives.

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