Elegant Simplicity: Malihe & Amine’s Intimate Church + Country Club Wedding

Elegant Simplicity: Malihe & Amine’s Intimate Church + Country Club Wedding

Elegant, sacred, and intimate.

Those three adjectives come to mind when I reminisce about Malihe and Amine’s recent wedding day. These two envisioned an elegant and simple wedding and reception surrounded by the love of their friends and family, and their wedding knocked it out of the park, or should I say, country club.

Over 150 guests joined Malihe and Amine at the St. Therese of Carmel Catholic Church to witness their eloquent wedding ceremony. The two’s exchanging of vows under their faith meant so much more than words can say, to themselves, to their church, and to their loved ones. From the church, guests and the wedding party headed over to the Del Mar Country Club for a tasteful, spark-filled, romantic reception with the bride and groom. The night included unique elements like a drum line entrance, live music, belly dancers, and a sparkler tunnel! Ivory, blush, and notes of gold wedding colors brought an extra warmth and end-of-summer crispness to the aura of the reception, too. It was a sweet close to the day full of connecting with loved ones, dancing, and of course, looking forward to the exciting future ahead for Amine and Malihe.

This wedding had a couple of noteworthy hires that completely blew away the happy couple, their guests, and myself with their phenomenal talent in giving the bride and groom exactly what they asked for. The two’s wedding planner, Gisele Chalhoub, did a second-to-none job of coordinating the timeless and tight-knit wedding that Amine and Malihe dreamed about. Their all-star, award-winning band, Republic of Music, ignited the night and connected with the audience in a way that got everyone dancing and sparked fun and joy for every guest.

To Malihe and Amine: congratulations to you both, I’m so excited for your next chapter of life together, of which I am positive will be filled with love, friends, and family! You are both perfect for each other, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for you two.

Christina and Chris’ San Diego Zoo Safari Park Dream Wedding

Christina and Chris’ San Diego Zoo Safari Park Dream Wedding

The dream wedding of adventurers

Have you ever met a couple that perfectly defines the word “adventure”? Christina and Chris are the modern-day nature heroes we dreamed about being as kids–this dynamic duo has traveled the world researching animals and making exciting discoveries, and they also currently teach future scientists/nature lovers about the intoxicatingly interesting world of snakes and reptiles. Moreover, their movie-worthy love story sparked from venom extraction best practices, and their wedding served as a testament to their wildly amazing personalities.


A love story extracted from venom

Flash back to 2016 in Australia, where Christina was a student gaining as much knowledge as possible, and Chris was known as “Venom Santa” to universities in the area, both passionate about wildlife conservation, met for the first time to go over some pipette-tip extraction techniques on snakes. The two hit it off with out-bush tales, Death Adder deep-dives, and many other adventurous topics, but after the training was concluded, Christina and Chris split ways. Some months later, they met again, where even more sparks flew. This time, the chemistry between them was obvious, where every spare minute was spent getting to know as much about each other as possible.

Then, the look happened: Christina caught Chris looking at her in a new way–one that meant something much deeper than friendship. Since then, their relationship blossomed into an unbreakable bond. And to think that it all started over snake venom: these two invented a new definition for intoxicating!

The wedding of their dreams

I was lucky enough to photograph these two, who flew all the way from Australia to enjoy a one-of-a-kind destination wedding at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. There seemed no better venue than the Safari Park for Christina and Chris, as their big day was surrounded by freely ranging wild animals and gorgeous scenery.

The wedding focused on the fun and intimate relationship between Christina and Chris. Watching their friends and family gather together to celebrate their love was a huge joy for all those that attended, including me! Their light baby blue complimentary colors blended well with the jungle-like greens of the Safari Park. And, of course, there were elements of danger to the wedding, including a majestic cheetah and (VERY) large snake as special guests.


Here’s to changing the world

To Christina and Chris: your career paths, your love story, and yourselves are so inspiring and influential; I’m so honored to have gotten to know you both and and captured your special day. It is a true gift to make people think differently about how we perceive the world around us, and you both share that gift through your work with venom, snakes, and wildlife. I can’t wait to see what comes next for you two, I can easily guess that whatever it is, it will be very exciting!

And a special “roar” (I’m loving the adventurous theme here, everyone!) to the mother of the bride–we took an action shot together; it was an amazing experience to share such a special moment with the family! Get a sneak–no, snake peak, into their gorgeous wedding with some pictures below. Congrats again, Christina and Chris!

The Ultimate loophole to themed weddings, just ask Daniel and Michael

The Ultimate loophole to themed weddings, just ask Daniel and Michael

Themed weddings can be so much fun to photograph, and even more fun to attend. If done right, themes are the fibers of a wedding that connect people to your wedding experience by immersing your guests in a memorable, joyous celebration. But themes can come at a price, both financially and emotionally, for couples when budgets topple or when venues use strict policies that prevent planners from going all out with a desired wedding theme.

Daniel and Michael, our heroes (and the power couple) of this story, found the ultimate loophole of themed weddings: leveraging the wedding venue their theme. By choosing the San Diego Safari Park as their wedding venue, Daniel and Michael not only gave an unforgettable and breathtaking experience to their guests, but also saved big on time, energy, and cash spent pinpointing specific decor and elements that would have been costly to purchase and set up.

So how did they actually pull off this big secret to a flawless themed wedding? It really only took two major considerations.

1. They remembered their biggest moments together.

Michael and Daniel’s first date was at…you guessed it, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. From there, their relationship blossomed into what is now a blissful partnership that will only continue to grow for the rest of their lives. Their story began as a true adventure, surrounded by wild animals and an exotic environment. Their wedding would convey that sense of fun and spark that Michael and Daniel share to this day.

2. Their wedding location was an experience first, venue second.

In selecting a zoo as their wedding venue, Daniel and Michael didn’t need to seek out any extra decor to add to their wedding experience–it was already all around them! From the building architecture to majestic giraffes and rhinos baring witness to their ceremony, this couple had a more authentic and detailed theme than what would have been mocked up at a different venue location. On top of it all, no extra money or effort was spent to recreate what was already embedded within the safari park.

Daniel and Michael pulled off a truly amazing themed wedding. If you’re looking to plan a themed wedding, start looking at the most cherished memories you and your partner share together. From there, find a place that really speaks to you both. It doesn’t need to be a cookie-cutter wedding venue; it just needs to bring a smile and a warm memory to both of you.

And to Daniel and Michael, congratulations to both of you, wishing you many years of love and adventure to come!

Meet Tap Truck, the coolest way to serve drinks at your next big event

Meet Tap Truck, the coolest way to serve drinks at your next big event

Picture this: it’s a casual sparkling San Diegan day, and you’ve got your shades on and your smile wide. The one thing you’re missing is a choice IPA in your hand. Then your sun is blocked, and the roar of a vintage engine cuts to a sputter and stop. Some local surfer dude pops out of a 1965 Chevy Suburban as blue as the waves and grabs a beer mug. Like a laid back mad scientist, he pulls a lever - on the side of the Suburban - to fill the mug with a frothy beer and hands it to you. Sounds like a dream come true.

That’s me with one of the founders of Tap Truck, one of the coolest concepts I’ve seen while photographing for weddings, birthdays and events. It’s the next unique idea that will bring on that “wow” factor you’re dreaming about for your next big thing.

It’s a lifestyle.

Before you read any further, you should know that Tap Truck is not for you if you’re looking for a traditional, by-the-book event or wedding. Tap Truck is for those who enjoy the San Diego way of life: meaningful experiences are the top priority, which includes being surrounded by friends and family, laughter, and an appreciation for the little things that make the day beautiful.


Park, pour, sip. That’s really all that needs to happen for you to enjoy Tap Truck. You just pick the spot, and Tap Truck can wheel in, park it, and start filling up cold beers or chilled wine immediately. With up to five beverage choices to pick from, every guest will find a drink they can truly enjoy, and they can even grab a few refills before the day is up!  

Cool factor.

Not only do you get to choose from several top-rated local breweries/wineries, but you get to drink straight from a historical automobile that symbolizes the sweetest sentiments of the U.S.A. What’s cooler than a vintage American classic that rolls up to your event, stocked full of multiple beverages that you love to drink, with a dedicated bar/car keep that will serve them to you with a smile? Not much else, that’s what.


The Balboa Park Spark: William’s and Richard’s Love Story

The Balboa Park Spark: William’s and Richard’s Love Story

The Balboa Park Spark: William’s and Richard’s Love Story

-On top of being a historical icon of San Diego, Balboa Park means something different to so many people. For William and Richard, Balboa Park means a beautiful future with each other. In honor of pride month, a sweet love story and for everything love stands for, this post is dedicated to finding the right person and never letting go. This is for William and Richard.

-What began as a harmless, albeit boozy brunch in Uptown, Texas, transformed into spark-filled and spontaneous courting for over a year. Thanks to many more brunches and friends urging the two to get together, Richard and William became an official couple in late 2013.

 The two moved to the sparkling, sunny town of San Diego with their eyes set on the beaches everyone seemed to rave about. Yet it was Balboa Park that really caught their attention. It became one of their most cherished spots to spend time together. On an unsuspecting Saturday, Richard and William climbed the Park’s California tower to catch the breathtaking views of the shimmering sea and San Diego’s skyline. William felt something important was coming…and he was right. Richard took a knee and popped the question, in the most perfect setting possible.

The rest is history–their 1916 World’s Fair-themed wedding brought their friends and family together for a day of love and togetherness. And of course the wedding took place at the most memorable spot in their lives, Balboa Park.

On a personal note, working with these two was a blast! They are a great couple that I was lucky enough to work with, and watching them together is a perfect example of what being in love looks like. And a especial thanks to Courtney from Breezy Day Weddings, who ensured Richard and William’s wedding ran smoothly! All the best to Richard and William, and here’s to many more happy years to come!



Honeymoons 101: all you need to know to start planning yours

Honeymoons 101: all you need to know to start planning yours

After a packed wedding planning season this past winter, it’s refreshing to finally take time for focusing on other thrilling life events. One life event that’s extremely fun to dream big with? Honeymoons, and it happens to be one of my favorite topics to talk about with my clients.

It’s always delightful to hear my wedding clients’ love stories, especially when it comes to their honeymoon ideas. Watching couples’ eyes light up as they tell me their plans to visit exotic and exciting honeymoon destinations brings me closer to my clients…and also gives me one-of-a-kind travel ideas as an added bonus! Professional photography and caring for my clients go hand in hand, so I put together some statistics and considerations that will help shape your ideal honeymoon.

Where should you go?

It takes two to tango. A great honeymoon involves you and your bride/groom, so narrow down a setting that both of you can enjoy equally. Generally speaking, the tropics seem to be a win-win. According to U.S. News, top honeymoon destinations included St. Lucia, Hawaii’s Big Island, Bora Bora, Maldives, Bora Bora, and other waterfront locations where relaxation and scenery were key factors. Newlyweds spend, on average, about eight days enjoying their honeymoons, and invest approximately $4,500, or 15% of their wedding budget, towards their dream vacation. Couples also generally book four months before their wedding date.

What should you do?

That depends on where you go, and what brings you and your new husband or wife together! I’d recommend looking up activities in your desired honeymoon location, and decide what stands out to you both as memories you’d love to make during your stay. Keep in mind a lot of honeymoon hotels have all-inclusive honeymoon packages, where your entire trip is pre-planned and structured to be a carefree, luxurious, and thrilling adventure. If you like the planning to be done for you, a honeymoon package may be exactly what you are looking for.

Wrapping up, your honeymoon is all about what brings you two closer. If you both are world explorers with adventure in your veins, find out prices and hotels for siteseeing historical locations that speak to the both of you. Do you love your toes in the sand with the beat of steel drums rippling your tropical drink? Look at all-inclusive resort packages for coastal oases on your bucket list. Whatever destination you choose, make sure it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for you and your S/O. And by the time you two return from your vacation, I’ll be almost done with your wedding album!

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