Megan and Richard were referred to me by Megan’s cousin, Rebecca, whose wedding I had the pleasure of photographing and filming at Leoness Winery in February of this year. It was a huge compliment, when literally days after the couple received their gallery, Megan emailed to ask me to be her and Richard’s wedding photographer and videographer. We scheduled an engagement shoot in Laguna Beach, California, were we chatted about life and what the future holds. They were so down to Earth, and we connected so well, I left the shoot feeling like I had known Richard and Megan my whole life.
The Back Story
Megan and Richard’s story began almost a decade ago, when the two found themselves at the same Rush Party at Cal State Northridge, where Megan was a Sophomore. After a night of non-stop talking and playing games, and a few persistent texts from Richard, the two were inseparable. Throughout their college years, Megan and Richard never shared a campus, but took advantage of living in different cities, with weekends spent in Los Angeles, San Diego and traveling together every chance they had. Richard’s professional baseball career led him to the Midwest, when he was drafted first overall to the Frontier League. For the next 3 seasons, the couple kept their long distance love strong, exploring food, museums, baseball fields, breweries and bars up and down Middle America. Their love for adventure and the outdoors led Richard to plan a mountaintop proposal overlooking Laguna Beach. He invited Megan and her sister to a favorite hiking spot one February afternoon. Megan’s sister and her boyfriend, who were in on the surprise, were able to capture some amazing memory shots as Megan said YES!
The couple set out to find the perfect venue right away. They had only a few “musts” in mind: They both wanted a short engagement, Richard wanted to get married in September, and their two ideal locations were San Diego or Los Angeles…Skyline or Ocean. They spent a weekend in each location, visiting a new venue every 3 hours. It was an adventure in itself, checking out a total of 12 options, and loving every minute of it.
With the Intercontinental San Diego, they found the best of both worlds: The Skyline and the Ocean, and knew this was their perfect venue. Only open one year before their big day, everything about the modern building/hotel was new and bold, offering downtown San Diego city reflections off the glass and metal, and gorgeous harbor views.
The only decorations they felt were needed to add to such a beautiful setting would be flowers. Megan’s vision: blues and greys with an accent of dark red-almost black, which she came to describe as “gothic romantic.” Their florist, LaVonne with Adorations perfectly captured this romantic vibe with lush blues and greens, white flowers and that pop of deep red in every last floral detail, from the Chuppah at the ceremony, to the bouquets and boutonnieres.
The pre-wedding photos were taken in their InterContinental suites while their family and bridal parties helped prep the couple for their walks down the rooftop aisle. In my entire career as a Southern California wedding photographer, I have never had the experience of a ceremony setting quite like this. A garden on a rooftop, set in the heart of downtown San Diego, overlooking the ocean. It was a wedding photographer and videographer dream come true!
We shot the first look photos on the rooftop ledge, with a backdrop of the harbor. Megan was radiant in her Bustle Boutique of Del Mar gown and we were able to capture this emotional moment while the guests enjoyed cocktail hour on the patio one floor below. After the first look and bridal party photos, the bride and groom snuck a peek of the party below. With their favorite drink, a Manhattan, in hand, the two looked down on everyone that they love and adore so much, when one of the guests spotted them and soon the entire crowd was hooting and cheering. This was their favorite moment from the entire day.
Their wedding was Non-Denominational, but with hints of both of their religious backgrounds, (Richard: Jewish; Megan: Catholic). Both the bride and groom prepared personal vows and their ceremony was officiated by Richard’s cousin. The ceremony included a hidden Chuppah with Richard’s Tallit, a Wine Ceremony, and a breaking of the glass. Another element to their wedding was a remembrance table for their loved ones that wouldn’t be there, which meant a lot to them, their family and their friends.
The reception that followed was a lively and exciting one, full of dancing and laughter. A lifelong friend of Richard’s family offered to make the wedding cake. It was an awesome story, as she was the baker to make Richard’s 1st Birthday Cake, and had promised the couple a gift of their wedding cake when they started dating, 9 years prior. They decided on a three tiered “naked icing”, chocolate devil’s food cake with Strawberry filling. Amaretto frosting and decorations of figs and berries finished off this stunning dessert.
From the first look to the last song of the night, Megan and Richard’s Month-Of-Coordinaor, Cara North of Luxe Events helped the couple plan what they described as “A wedding weekend that was perfectly and transparently theirs.”
My entire Nicholas Gonzalez Photography crew accompanied me to this San Diego wedding. Sam was shooting photo, Kory was Lead Filmer and Zay was cameraman number two. The day went by very smoothly and we had plenty of time at each portion to get the shots we needed. It was a pleasure to photograph and be a part of such a unique and beautiful union. Megan and Richard are my ideal clients; adventurous, bold, and down to earth. They trusted me every step of the way and let me do what I do best. The results were perfect and I wish them the very best in this beautiful life together!
Florals: adorations.com, @adorationsinc
Hair and Makeup: itsprettyaubrious.com, @beautybyaubreebrooke
Wedding Dress: thebustledelmar.com, @thebustle
Month-Of-Coordinator: Cara North luxespecialevents, @luxeeventssd
Venue: InterContinental San Diego, @intercontinentalsd