As a wedding photographer based in SoCal, I have the privilege of photographing dozens of weddings each year, so I compiled a list of my top 20 wedding moments of 2019. Each wedding I photograph is so incredibly special to me, but there are 20 moments in particular that stand out to me. These moments I will never forget, and will always stay with me in the years to come.
My photography journey has been an exciting one. After moving from the Bay Area, I am now a full time Southern California wedding photographer. Living in Long Beach has given me many opportunities to meet new amazing couples, and still connect with all of my Bay Area couples and vendors. Every year I have the privilege of photographing weddings in all different places, getting to know some amazing couples. 2019 was an incredible year, and when I look back on it, I have distinct moments that make up my top 20. These moments aren’t the polished posed photos, they aren’t even the photos that they may print on a canvas. But these moments are real and raw. These moments were those split second, real life, emotional memories that I vividly remember. So let’s get to the countdown!
#20 Shelby + Ben | 02.23.19 | Sally Tomatoes, Rohnert Park, California
Shelby and Ben’s wedding was the first of 2019 for me! It was all the way up in Rohnert Park, and it was truly beautiful. During their reception and parent dances, they went through the typical motions of father daughter, and then mother son. However, after Ben danced with his mom, his Dad jumped out there and finished off the dancing with his son. It was energetic, sweet, and unexpected.
#19 Monique + Casey | 08.17.19 | Winchester Mystery House, San Jose, CA
Monique and Casey had their reception at the Winchester Mystery House, a beautiful and unique venue in the Silicon Valley. During their toasts at their reception, Casey’s step dad stood up and told everyone how proud Casey’s late mother would have been, and shared incredibly sweet sentiments about her. It’s always hard to celebrate your wedding after losing a parent, but this was a beautiful way of incorporating her memory into the day.
#18 Lauren + Derek | 03.15.19 | Old Orange County Courthouse, Santa Ana & Tantalum, Long Beach, CA
Lauren and Derek had a beautiful small and intimate exchanging of vows at the Old Orange County Courthouse. They had their closest friends and family there to witness. After that we drove to Long Beach to do portraits and then have dinner at Tantalum. Lauren wore a beautiful lace jumpsuit compared to the traditional wedding dress. One of the most incredible aspects of this outfit choice, was that it showed off her tiny baby bump. That’s right, Lauren and Derek were expecting! It was so fun to witness all of the beautiful changes happening in their lives together.
#17 Rachel + Brandon | 06.01.19 | Callippe Preserve Golf Course, Pleasanton, CA
Rachel and Brandon said their vows surrounded by friends and family on a golf course. During their ceremony, Rachel couldn’t contain her excitement, love, and joy. So during the ceremony I think she kissed Brandon 3 times before the Officiant announced them husband and wife. Laughter ensued every time, and it really made the entire ceremony so light hearted and fun!
#16 Chelsea + Kevin | 08/03/19 | Jardines De San Juan, San Juan Bautista, CA
Chelsea and Kevin got ready and did their first look at an Airbnb about 30 minutes away from their venue. A party bus came to pick up the couple and wedding party (me included!) and take us all to the venue. They popped some champagne which definitely got a bit more messy than planned! The explosive pop, and trying to pour champagne while in a party bus thats driving down the freeway isn’t the easiest, but sure makes for fun memories. All while singing to some 90s pop music.
#15 Julia + Gary | 09/07/19 |Backyard Wedding, San Martin, CA
Julia and Gary got married in the backyard of the bride’s sister. It was a sweet simple ceremony that involved their family and older kids. The reception was filled with things surrounding their culture like a taco truck, papel picado, and a homemade piñata (that was filled with candy and also *cough*edibles*cough*). Watching everyone take a swing at the piñata and anxiously wait for it bust open, was such a fun way to celebrate their love.
#14 Caroline + Mark | 06/29/19 | Mills College, Oakland, CA
Caroline and Mark got married in one of the prettiest chapels I’ve ever been to. It was nestled in an all women’s college in the East Bay Area. The long lasting love, and devoted emotion to one another gave the ceremony ALL THE FEELS. They laughed, they cried, they shared personal vows. Honestly, it was just such a truly beautiful, intimate ceremony that really reflected Caroline and Mark.
#13 Monica + Chris | 09/14/19 | The Barns at Cooper Molera, Monterey, CA
Monica and Chris had their wedding at a gorgeous venue in downtown Monterey. They’ve been together since high school, and the day was a long time coming. Because of that, there was so many loved ones there for the big day, and so many people in the community that know and love them. While we were outside doing their sunset photos, two separate groups of people called out their names congratulating them and were so excited to see them. This photo shows that excitement seeing those people and honestly it shows the excitement they shared for one another all day too.
#12 Becky + Chris | 10/05/19 | Guglielmo Winery, Morgan Hill, CA
Two Words: Dance. Floor. Becky and Chris’ dance floor was LIT. The wine was flowing, Lizzo was playing, and the party was FUN. Their dance floor was filled with their loved ones and both Becky and Chris were just so excited to cut loose and party after all the wedding planning.
#11 Jessica + Rann | 06.15.19 | Piatti Restaurant, Mill Valley, CA
Jessica and Rann got married in a sweet and intimate setting surrounded by their closest friends and family. What was so special about this ceremony was all of the Jewish traditions. Watching these two step on glass under the Chuppah was a beautiful moment.
#10 Mattie + Abram | 04.05.19 | Avila Beach, CA
These two had a beautiful ceremony on the sand and reception at a hall not too far away. But before everything began, they opted for a first look between the two of them, where Abram broke down and cried the second he saw Mattie. It was such a sweet moment that showed their inevitable love for one another.
#09 Sara + Aaron | 03/23/19 | Winchester Mystery House, San Jose, CA
Sara and Aaron had a super sweet ceremony that included both his and hers kids. Immediately after the ceremony, they all walked into a side room where they all started crying and hugging, kids included. All of the emotion leading up to that moment finally hit and they were all just pouring out tears of joy.
#08 Kayla + Kevin | 11.16.19 | Roaring Camp Railroad, Felton, CA
The location of this wedding was incredible. They had everyone take a train ride up into the redwood forest where they had the ceremony space set up. This specific split-second moment is typically one where only I get the privilege of seeing. Looking at the groom’s face over the shoulder of his bride walking towards him. But I love that the bride is looking at her dad, her dad is looking at her, and her mom is looking at them, all while the groom is watching the love of his life walk towards him. It’s such a brief moment that always chokes me up.
#07 Andrea + Ramon | 11.08.19 | Winchester Mystery House, San Jose, CA
What made this first look so incredibly special was that Ramon had NO IDEA that Andrea was in a black wedding dress. The look of pure and honest shock in his face was absolutely adorable to see. He was so excited and was absolutely over the moon with her dress. I mean, they did get married at the Winchester Mystery House, so the dress choice was so so perfect.
#06 Amy + Kyle | 10.12.19 | Skyline Loft, Los Angeles, CA
Hands down my most creative and unique couple of 2019. Every step of the wedding was so personal to them. She wore fairy wings and the bridesmaids wore fairy ears and wings and carried large paper flowers. They had all of their guests dress up in their best costume. They had a bubble girl and a leprechaun instead of a flower girl and ring bearer. And they got married on top of a rooftop in the Fashion District with a rainbow runner. And after they kissed the wedding party shot off color smoke bombs, which truly made for a memorable and colorful way to send these two into marriage.
#05 Kate + Max | 11.23.19 | Courthouse Gardens, Santa Barbara, CA
Yes, that’s me, in a bridesmaids dress, and taking photos. That’s right, I was a bridesmaid in my best friend’s wedding and also their photographer. I’ve known Kate since kindergarten so this day was so incredibly special to me, and being able to document it was one of my greatest honors. I will say though, getting photos in a long dress was rather difficult, lol.
#04 Jessica + Myles | 12.20.19 | The Branch & Vine, Madera, CA
Jessica is a cousin of mine. Both of her parents passed away years ago, so when the DJ announced her father daughter dance, we all waited to see what would happen. That’s when “Dance With My Father” by Luther Vandross started playing. First up, her grandfather started dancing with her, then her brothers, uncles, cousins, and finally her father’s mother each took a turn. They each spent some time dancing with her as everyone watched without a dry eye in the room, including mine. It was beyond powerful, and I have no doubt that both of her parents were looking down with love.
#03 Harley + Tyler | 08.30.19 | The Red Barn at Outlook Farm, South Berwick, Maine
Harley and Tyler were a couple I connected with online, and I flew out to Boston for about a week with a friend of mine. They got ready in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and their wedding was in South Berwick, Maine. Tyler was one of the sweetest, emotional, and most genuine guys I’ve ever met. And when he got to see his bride for the first time, there was nothing but full on tears. He held her tight and just sobbed while holding her, as all of their family stood behind them and watched. The pure and genuine love that was witnessed in that moment will always stick with me.
#02 Aricka + Benny | 04.20.19 | Historic Rengstorff House, Mountain View, CA
This moment. This moment right here is I think what made me want to do this blog post in the first place. I think about this moment often. Aricka and Benny were doing their first dance, and they were moving, twirling, and laughing. And then Benny literally leaped for joy towards Aricka in the sweetest most genuine way. I often think about how much pure happiness Benny must’ve had in their heart to feel this way. How I wish that more people could experience this pure joy that literally causes them to leap into the arms of the person they love. I will always remember this moment.
#01 Ashley + Tasos | 05.19.19 | Porto Palace, Thessaloniki, Greece
Hard to beat spending a week in Greece with your husband as you get to photograph your first international wedding. Pure magic I tell ya. Ashley is from California and Tasos is from Greece, so they decided to have their big ceremony in Thessaloniki where Tasos is from, and they flew me out to document it all. Getting to experience all of the Greek traditions first hand was incredible. There were so many incredible traditions during getting ready that I had no idea about like, putting money in the bride’s shoe “to make them fit,” and writing the single ladies on the bottom of her shoes and seeing which one rubs off at the end of the night (which means they’re next to get married!) Those are just a few of the traditions, and so many more that I will have to write a full blog post on later (keep an eye out for it!) This moment here though was so special. This was right after their traditional Greek Orthodox ceremony, they walked out the doors of the church as all their family tossed the rice in the air. The entire week was life changing, and their wedding was my top wedding photography memory of 2019.
These top 20 wedding photography moments of 2019 are near and dear to my heart, and I’m so looking forward to what 2020 brings me. This will be my 2nd year in Long Beach and I am so excited to see how my business thrives being in Southern California for the long run. If you want to create some badass memories of your wedding, you can find additional info here.
Hi Hailey! I’m just here to tell you that you are one amazing photographer! Your work speaks for itself and I love how you capture genuine emotion in every single photograph, I LOVE IT! 🙂 Good luck to all the contestants!!!
I love it! Thanks so much for sharing.
I did Benny’s hair and makeup for Aricka and Benny’s wedding. I’ll be expanding down to LA soon and would love to connect with you!
#11 rann and jessica and #06 Amy and Kyle!
My two favorites! ❤
#03 Harley + Tyler | 08.30.19 | The Red Barn at Outlook Farm, South Berwick, Maine
It was the most touching, beautiful moment to see the love this man has for his bride……