God I love photobooths! In addition to documenting the fun throughout the day at Jenn and Chris’ Wedding, they wanted a fun way to entertain their guests at the reception. The Greener Visuals Photobooth was the perfect answer. They provided the fun costumes and toys while I set up my remote photobooth so that their guests could take the picture themselves throughout the evening. It’s always a riot editing through them because you never really know what you are going to get. I could only hold out for so long before I hopped in the booth myself. Here are some of my favorites from the reception. Cheers and congrats to the bride and groom!

To see photos from Jenn and Chris’ Wedding Day you can view them here.

Whew what a ride! The last month has been busy with weddings and traveling back and forth to California. It’s great to have a little destination wedding photographer adventure on my weekends and it allows me the challenge of photographing in new places. Northern California never ceases to amaze me with all it’s buried treasures. I just finished up my latest photo story of Jenn and Chris’ Wedding Day that took place two weeks ago at the Ralston White Retreat in Mill Valley, California. These guys were a riot and were an absolute blast to photograph. It was also one of the most unique weddings I’ve ever attended. Jenn and Chris found me through the recommendation of some good friends of mine that saw me in action at a wedding a couple years ago. We talked about what they wanted out of their wedding photos and were looking for my documentary approach. These two were a wise couple who booked me early almost a year in advance and it was exciting to finally get to photograph it. As their website boasts, The Ralston White Retreat, “Is an old 1913 wedding venue for group retreats or special events nestled in the slope of Mt. Tamalpais which is located on 43 acres in beautiful Mill Valley, California.” It was a place of so much old fashioned character. I totally geek out to photographing in places like this. It was a very personable wedding to attend. The two had their ceremony outside in the front lawn which was followed by a relaxing cocktail hour that flowed into a lovely dinner inside the large house. Right away the group had great energy and I give personel props to their friends for their creativity as a pirate/ninja attack skit ensued forcing the groom to fight back “nerf style” for his fair maiden. It was totally random and awesome all at the same time. You got to love a group who still use their imagination and can play like kids. As the evening progressed I documented the guests laughing and playing in the Greener Visuals Photo Booth or get heavy into playing late night Garage Band video games. A great time was had by all and it was a pleasure to be apart of their wedding celebration. Wish you guys all the best. -M

To see all of their wedding photos, you can follow this link here.

I came to know Molly and Brian through a referral from my friend and wedding planner extraordinaire Fearon, of Fearon May Events. The two were looking for a destination wedding photographer who specialized in a candid documentary photographic approach for their wedding photography and Fearon put us in touch. From our very first conversations about their wedding day back in November of 2011, we hit it off right from the get go. I love Midwesterners. Both of them are living in the Chicagoland of my youth working as financial advisory consultants, a job that allows them to travel all over the country. All the traveling has helped to develop their love of fine dining and good wines which they where sure to incorporate into their wedding celebration. Coincidentally, they met at a work happy hour and after dating for the past two years when the time came for them to choose a place to get married, these two foodies had their hearts set on a Sonoma wine country wedding. They could not have picked a prettier spot. So about a month ago, I traveled out from my new home in Bozeman, Montana back to lush, green vineyards of Sonoma, California for a weekend documenting their wedding festivities at the BR Cohn Winery.

Other Vendors:

DJ, Lighting, Officiant: Extreme Productions

Catering: Grapevine Catering

Florist: Sonoma Flowers

Dessert: Sift Cupcake

Rentals: Wine Country Rentals

Limo: Royal Coach Limo

Here are some of my favorite photos from my time with Molly and Brian. I have had so much fun getting to know these two. I wish them all the best! -M

To see all of their wedding photos and more, you can view them here

About a week ago, I left the mountains of Montana to head over to Sonoma, California to photograph the long awaited wedding weekend of Molly and Brian. Back in mid May, I made the same journey to photograph their engagement session. Sonoma is a truly beautiful place. This time of year the famous grapevines are starting to bear their fruit and the surrounding valleys are covered in multi-layered shades of green. Molly and Brian live in Chicago, Illinois, not far from my old stomping grounds of my youth. Rather than soak in the midwest humidity, they decided to have their wedding out west and bring out all of their friends and family out to California for their big day. I met up with them Friday evening at the famous El Dorado Kitchen Restaurant in the heart of downtown Sonoma for their rehearsal dinner with close friends and family members. Here are some of my favorites from the evening. I’ve been busy working on all of their wedding day photos and will post them soon. More goodness to come. -M

To view all of the images from Molly and Brian’s Rehearsal Dinner at El Dorado Kitchen Restaurant go here.

I’ve been excited to share these photos for a while now. Three weeks ago, I had the pleasure of hanging out with my engaged clients Molly and Brian during our engagement photo session in Sonoma, California at Jack London State Historic Park. Having recently moved back to Montana, the trip was a fun adventure back to sunny California for my first engagement session of the 2012 wedding season. The spring California weather was predictably gorgeous as we ventured out for an afternoon of exploration and portrait making. Molly and Brian, by way of my sweet home Chicago, were looking to have a California wine country wedding and engagement photo session and found me and Greener Visuals Wedding Photography through a recommendation from a local wedding coordinator friend of mine Fearon, of Fearon May Events and Engaged Now What , (an up and coming wedding resource website) when they were looking for a photojournalistic styled wedding photographer in the Sonoma Wine Country. We got in touch and hit it off from the get go. When we met for the first time, I recommended we check out the ruins of the famed American writer Jack London’s mansion and state park just north of Sonoma. It was a pretty surreal place to photograph and it would make a perfect starting place both to avoid the harsh mid day sun and it presented beautiful shade with interesting directions of light shafts. Back in 1913, a fire destroyed the famous writer’s dream house deemed “Wolf House”. The stone walls still stand with an ancient, architectural beauty surrounded by old growth redwood trees. It’s a truly beautiful place. From there we drove south towards Sonoma and explored the sights and sounds of the wine capital’s downtown streets and photographed the gorgeous afternoon golden sunlight illuminated the buildings. These two lovebirds were just awesome. Together we made some creative images that I think turned out great and I am really looking forward to returning to California in June for their wedding day shoot. Congratulations on your engagement you guys! See you at your wedding in June! -Mike Greener

To see more photos from the engagement shoot go here.

The first wedding of the season is always an exciting opportunity for me. After I’ve having had the time to ferment on my previous 2011 wedding season, I always look forward to how I can push my wedding photography to a new level for the next year. In the weeks leading up to my first wedding of the 2012 wedding season, I’ve felt like a thoroughbred race horse at the starting gates. It’s an anticipation and excitement that I’ve come to relish over the years. So after a long year waiting and planning with Michelle and Brian, I finally had the pleasure to document their wedding celebration at the beautiful Cornerstone Gardens in Sonoma, California a couple weekends ago.

Michelle and Brian met each other two years ago while attending a friend’s birthday party near their home in Los Angeles, California and cultivated a relationship with each other through the social media power of Facebook. Michelle is an elementary school teacher by trade and Brian works at SpaceX as a software developer for a company that is venturing into space exploration roles NASA has handed over to the private sector. After two years of dating, they got engaged, got their ball-o-energy Labrador mix puppy “Ali” and decided to venture north to the wine country to celebrate their wedding day. I made the journey from my newfound Graceland of Bozeman, Montana to my old stomping grounds of Sacramento, California and drove over to Sonoma to find friends and family of Michelle and Brian getting things ready for their afternoon wedding ceremony. The Cornerstone Gardens was really fun place to photograph. It was pure, visual eye candy for this photographer. Everywhere you looked, there were colorful artistic installations, sculptures and decorative gardens created by the world’s leading landscape architects surrounded by the famous grapevines of Sonoma County. The place was quite impressive and I had a blast exploring and photographing in it. I loved the energy this couple and their friends and family brought to the wedding day. Their enthusiasm and high spirits created a fun atmosphere to document in photos. Like all successful wedding days, Michelle and Brian had the help of many fine wedding vendors that helped make their union a seamless, gorgeous wedding event. My job was made all the easier with the help of wedding planner Kelly Cloney, of Kelly & Company Events who worked as the conductor/coordinator of the day making sure that everything ran smoothly. Michelle and her bridesmaids looked fantastic throughout the day. They had their hair done by hair stylist Justina Downs and their make up by Julianne Chai, of Pretty by Julianne. During the reception, the wedding party and guests dined on the delicious food from their caterer Amy Meadows, of Alex’s Catering and nibbled the delicious cupcakes made by Stephanie Scheff, of Kara’s Cupcakes. I’d like to thank my photo assistant Kris Holland for all of his help throughout the day. All the hard work and talent given by these vendors helped make Michelle and Brian’s wedding a memorable, fun day. It was the perfect way to start out the 2012 wedding season for Greener Visuals Wedding Photography. Here are some of my favorite photos from my time there. I wish Michelle and Brian all the best! -M

To see all of their wedding images, you can find them in my photo archive here

A couple weeks back I was asked by my friend Catrina, of Catrina Maria Designs and The Venue Vixens, to photograph the social meet up of the Association of Bridal Consultants Sacramento chapter meeting. The quarterly event brings wedding planners from throughout the Sacramento area together for educational and networking and was held at new CAVERNA 57 wine cellar in Sacramento. My job was to document the evening while also photographing the new venue for an upcoming Venue Vixens review. The place was so new that much of it’s landscaping wasn’t finished so I was forced to get creative about how I composed my shots. Once the venue shots were taken care of, I started to document and socialize with the guests. I love these types of events for numerous reasons. It’s a very welcoming educational scene, it allows everyone to experience the different, new concepts of floral displays and venue set ups, it’s a good opportunity to sample the foods and beverages of the local vendors (which can be a good reference when suggesting food vendors to potential wedding clients) and best of all it is a perfect place to network and to meet with like-minded friendly people in the Sacramento wedding industry. Overall the evening was a lot of fun. The CAVERNA 57, when completed, will be a great little venue for small intimate weddings or social events. Definitely worth checking out. -M

After I spent the first half of the evening photographing the 2011 Lavish and Fabulous Couture Bridal Event VIP Black Carpet portraits at the Arden Hills Resort Club & Spa, I wandered the venue documenting the fun. The annual event is put on by my wedding planner friend Fearon, of Fearon May Events, in association with Real Weddings Magazine as a chance to show case the top wedding vendors in the Sacramento region to local brides and grooms in numerous themed vignette table top design settings.  Each room within the spacious resort vicinity had a different theme that introduced brides to an assortment of different design possibilities they could apply to their own wedding. Fearon also asked that I photograph two rooms for future publication in the Real Weddings Magazine including the Moroccan Lounge and A walk down the Aisle room. One thing I really liked about the venue setup was that each room was so unique from the others. The Moroccan Lounge offered an outdoor setting where guests could warm themselves by a fire while watching a belly dancing demonstration or enjoy a freshly rolled cigar from Casilla Cigars while being entertained by a Egytian music duo. It had a surreal feel to the place with lots of pink and blue color tones throughout. The Walk down the Aisle room offered a very different feel. It had a more subtle yet elegant feel to it with plenty of candles to light a centered room alter surrounded by flowers and guest chairs. It was a great intimate setting to it that would be perfect for brides considering a small family wedding ceremony. After guests had a chance to wander through all of the decorated rooms and sample the desserts and foods from the selected vendors, the remainder of the evening was spent socializing and dancing to the music of the Mother Mayhem band. Overall the event was a huge success and a lot of fun. I was proud to be apart of it. Until next year. -M

To see of the event photos you can view them on the Lavish and Fabulous website here.

I’ve been excited to show this wedding for a while now. How appropriate that my last wedding shoot of the year was spent documenting the union of an old family friend. Nick and Emily hired me to fly down to greater Los Angeles area to photograph their wedding weekend festivities. I’ve known Nick and his family my entire life. Growing up in Crystal Lake, Illinois, his family and mine were close friends who attended the same church where the kids shared in the same childhood mandate of singing in the church choir. Nick and his brother Matt were partners-in-crime with my brother and I every Sunday as we played games of hide and seek around the church sanctuary often times managing to get into trouble as young boys tend to do. The tradition of mischief continued throughout adolescence through countless celebrations and BBQs together and our families’ annual road trip westward towards the mountains of Colorado for a week of skiing every spring. So, needless to say, when I heard that Nick was getting married and his family asked if I could photograph the celebration, I jumped at the opportunity.

Nick and Emily met on the job. Nick, upon graduating from high school, moved out to Los Angeles to pursue his dream of becoming a Hollywood actor. He was supporting himself at that time by working in numerous positions at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company restaurant from dancing in a shrimp suit to being host. It was there that he met Emily during a work training session three years ago. Emily, a Los Angeles native, has since found her calling as a talented pastry chef working at Rivera Restaurant in Los Angeles. “It wasn’t exactly love at first sight with Nick,” joked Emily when recalling how they first met, “Our relationship started off as friends but he was the persistent type and kept trying to ask me out on a date. I didn’t want to risk losing the friendship.” But thankfully, persistence pays off and after asking her out four times with her answer being no, it was the fifth time that she finally said yes to a date with him and as the saying goes…the rest is history.

When it came time to plan their wedding things got a bit complicated. Nick was cast in a lead role for a new television show and would spend the four months leading up to their wedding filming in Prague within the Czech Republic. Emily was busy trying to finish up her schooling as a pastry chef. Being resourceful, they were able to defy the hurdle of the time zone difference and plan out the wedding through the power of Skype and with the help of their family members. It all came together really well with a good mix of professionalism combined with a do-it-yourself feel. Above all, they were adamant that they wanted candid, high quality photography for their wedding day and that’s where I came in. The wedding festivities were to be held on Saturday around noon. I flew down Friday evening to Burbank where I met the wedding party and watched as the last minute preparations were made. The outdoor ceremony and reception were held in the courtyard of The Castaway Restaurant in Burbank, California. It was a beautiful warm, southern California setting overlooking the De Bell Golf Course and the surrounding Burbank hills. These two families know how to celebrate a union! Their ceremony went off without a hitch and then the celebration began. Like all great receptions, there was plenty of dancing. Food was provided by the venue and when their wedding cake plans fell through a couple days prior, Nick’s grandmother Ann was able to whip up a beautiful homemade cake for the event. All in all it was really great to be apart of and document the celebration for an old family friend. I wish them all the best. -M

To view more of their wedding images you can check out their wedding story here

and to view their entire wedding photo shoot and purchase prints you can see them in the photo archive here

I’m happy to announce that I’ll be one of the featured photographers working at the upcoming 2011 Lavish & Fabulous Bridal event at Arden Hills Resort Club & Spa on November 10th, 2011. The event is being put on by my good friend and talented wedding planner Fearon DeWeese, of Fearon May Events in association with Real Weddings Magazine. The two have teamed up to create an exclusive couture bridal event featuring the top wedding vendors in the Sacramento region. Lavish & Fabulous was designed to take bridal shows to the next level by showcasing all of the vendors in themed vignette table top designs. They pride themselves on only selecting the best professionals in the area and personally invite them to participate in the show. This boutique style soiree allows couples to find wedding resources in a low-key, modern and fun environment. This is an event unlike any other in Sacramento that caters specifically to the couture bride and groom. With fashion, food and fabulous vendors, this is definitely a show you will not want to miss out on. Come see the latest trends from New York to San Francisco for your 2012 wedding. We invite brides and grooms-to-be to this one of a kind luxury showcase at one of the premier wedding venues in Northern California. This is a bridal show that even the groom will enjoy! With a special groom’s lounge, delicious food and no pressure from vendor booths, you can make it a fun night out for the two of you. When you enter Arden Hills Resort Club & Spa you will start your evening by being greeted with a glass of champagne as you walk the red carpet. You will walk through the themed table tops designed by Fearon May Events, be inspired by the breath-taking decor by our amazing professionals, taste delicious hors d’ ouevres & beverages and dance the night away to live entertainment! Inspiration, delicious food, alcoholic beverages and live entertainment for only $15! Tickets are on sale now! By your tickets now before they sell out. We hope to see you at the show! Cocktail attire suggested.

Check out their website for all of the details. http://www.lavishandfabulous.com/

Hope to see you all there! -M

A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of photographing the wedding of new found friends Krysta and Nathan in Chico, California. The two are making a life together down in Irvine, California – Krysta works in the insurance industry and Nathan works as a software company programmer that services the broadcasting industry. After two years of dating, they got engaged and decided to marry at Nathan’s parent’s home in Chico. It always amazes me hearing the different stories of how my clients find each other. The two are southern California natives and I was surprised to learn that these two had both gone to the same high school down in Orange County near Los Angeles but never knew each other. It was only after finding each other on the online dating site match.com years later that they finally connected. Funny how two lives can run so close and parallel to each other but not cross paths until much later in life. When it came time to plan out their wedding, they opted for the homemade, do-it-yourself approach which was assisted by the whole family. They bought organic flowers from California Organic Flowers and made their own cute bouquets, boutonnières and table settings set in old mason jars. Her sisters Rachel & Alyssa along with close friends Robyn, Macy, Mike, Trevor and Mansur scattered the yard and swimming pool with mini electric candles and rubber duckies for the ambiance and helped set up the tables, chairs, linens and plates that were rented from A & J Party Center for the reception. Aunt Arlene made their wedding cake which was decorated with the leftover flowers, Nathan’s father cooked the dinner and the rest of their family and friends helped with the finishing touches like bubbles blowing vials for their married walk back down the isle. Their wedding ceremony and reception took place in the backyard of Nathan’s parents home. In all, everything came together and they pulled off a small, yet lovely wedding day that had the stamp of Krysta and Nathan’s own unique personalities throughout. It turned out great.

Certain things for their wedding day they did leave up to wedding professionals. The girls had their hair spruced up by the talented Costa Mesa hair stylist Ona Zimmerman, of Gods & Heros Hair Stylists, and their makeup done by Sacramento wedding and bridal makeup artist Jill Briggs, of BeautyBox Makeup Artists. We all spent the morning laughing and chatting as Ona and Jill did their styling magic on the girls while they sipped pink cosmopolitans and did the last minute prepping for the wedding ceremony. The other professional task concerned their wedding photography. For this task they reached out to Greener Visuals Wedding Photography to capture and document their big day celebration. The two located me through the power of Google and found a previous wedding I had photographed in Bidwell Park near downtown Chico. I can’t think of a better excuse to visit Chico than to photograph a wedding. I have always had so much fun visiting Chico and their wedding didn’t disappoint. The weather was picture perfect. After the wedding party was all dressed, we headed to the beautiful wooded scenery of Bidwell Park to make some family and bridal party portraits before returning for the ceremony. I had such a great time getting to know their friends and family. With everyone helping out to make this wedding special, it was apparent just how much love Krysta and Nathan have surrounding them. I wish them all the very best. Congratulations you guys! -M

To see all of the wedding images of Krysta and Nathan’s wedding day please click here.

A couple weeks ago I had the chance to return to Montana, my favorite place on earth, to photograph the wedding of an old college friend Christina and her new husband Ryan. I got to know Christina during my time tromping around the Big Sky state while attending The University of Montana in my pursuit of my degree in Photojournalism. In between my time fly fishing mountain streams and trying to make it to class on time, I came to know her through mutual friends and her involvement in the Missoula art scene. Christina, a Montana native, is a very talented painter and ended up getting her degree in the Fine Arts. From there, it was off to New York City for her where she eventually met her fiancée Ryan randomly at a friend’s apartment. Oddly enough it turns out that they both were from the same western Montana town of Whitefish located up close to the entrance of Glacier National Park. I’m always amazed at the curveballs of coincidence life can through at people sometimes. Two years apart in age, Christina and Ryan never new one another growing up but found each other in one of the biggest cities on earth. Go figure. As they grew closer in their relationship, the two parted ways with the “Big Apple” and have since made a life together living and working in Portland, Oregon. When it came to plan their summer wedding the location was an obvious choice.

On their wedding day, I awoke early to drive north of Missoula (where I had been visiting my parents) past the cherry orchards along Flathead Lake and eventually made my way northeast towards the entrance of Glacier National Park. Christina and Ryan chose a cute little 40-acre ranch just outside of Coram, Montana called Glacier River Ranch that was bordered by the gin clear blue waters of the Flathead River. There are few things in life more picturesque than a Montana backdrop and that day I couldn’t think of any. I arrived early so I could scout around the area and get a feel for the place. As family members were helping to set up, I decided to walk around the grounds for possible portrait locations. As I came around the side of a big ponderosa pine tree I startled a young black bear (about 30 yards away from me) and he quickly stood up on his hind legs to get a better view of the blond haired photographer that had interrupted his mid morning berry feast. Soon uninterested, it sauntered off until the delicious smells of a wedding reception food brought it closer to the wedding location so much so that the ranch owner had to scare it off with some warning shots of her deer rifle. Only in Montana. Love it. The rest of the day mimicked the visions of a good Norman MacLean novel. The late August weather was perfect and their afternoon streamside reception was stunning as the golden Montana light lit up the trees as it slowly made its decent behind Teakettle Mountain. Like any proper Montana wedding the rest of the evening was spent eating roasted pig, drinking fine wine and Montana microbrews and dancing to live music from a local string band. It was so great to spend the day photographing such a fun couple and an honor to be asked to photograph the wedding of a old friend. I wish them all the best. -M

You can view the very best images from Ryan and Christina’s wedding under my portfolio wedding stories section here.     Or…

To see the entire wedding take you can see them all on my Photo Archive here.

I love shooting the weddings of friends especially one’s I haven’t seen in a while. Last weekend I had the pleasure of traveling to Denver, Colorado to photograph the wedding of an old high school friend Erin who was tying the knot with her college sweetheart Ryan. The two hired me for a full weekend coverage starting with their wedding rehearsal dinner at the beautiful Wine Experience Café & World Cellar in the southeast corner of Aurora, Colorado part of the greater Denver area. I flew out to Denver Friday morning from Sacramento and arrived mid afternoon in the mile high city. Being back Colorado, I had forgotten how much I missed it. While in college, I worked a couple summers at a outdoor summer camp in Estes Park, CO where I quickly fell in love with the front range of the Rocky Mountains. I had not been back much since and was looking forward to a return. Erin and Ryan had met years earlier while attending undergrad studying Marketing at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado and the two now live and work in Palo Alto, California – Erin at Facebook and Ryan for the AGC of California.  Sharing the same love for Colorado as I do, they decided to have their wedding there where they would be closer to family and friends not to mention having a stunning mountain backdrop for their wedding weekend.

Erin and Ryan wanted their rehearsal dinner to be a relaxed evening event before their big day. They brought their wedding guests to the Wine Experience Café & World Cellar for a wine tasting and light dinner hosted by family friends and owners Rita and Eldon Larson. It was a photographer’s dream location. The cafe had a huge large windows that cast a beautiful soft window light across all of the guests, both local and from out of town, as they wined and dined with smiles on their faces. You could feel the excitement from everyone in anticipation of the wedding the next day. One of the things I’ve been seeing a lot at weddings I’ve photographed this wedding season is couples opting for small samples of many different types of foods served in a tapas style format. I like it because it turns the meal experience into an adventure where guest can really get a feel for the food artistry of the chef. It’s a pretty cool concept and the best part is if there is something someone doesn’t like (a rarity) they know they have more delicious samples on deck. The guests (and the lucky photographer) were served in rounds based off the wine that was being served at the time. As people were starting to trickle in, an assortment of small flavorful dishes like Asian Seared Ahi Tuna paired with a San Quirico Vernaccia di San Gimignano or a Tenderloin Bruschetta with horse radish cream paired with a Gundlach Bundschu Mountain Cuvee wine were served as a starter. As we moved into the seated meal, the food changed course and started with a Apple Spinach Salad or Calamari served in a tempura style with jalapenos and french green beans that was then paired with a Sparr Dry Riesling or an Emyael Off Dry Riesling. As the night progressed onward, the main entree’s were served. It was an assortment of awesomeness. Guests had their choice of Seared Sea Scallops paired with a Chateau Ste. Michelle Horse Heaven Sauvignon Blanc, Wild Boar Fettuccini with sauteed mushrooms paired with an Arrowood Chardonnay, a Filet Mignon with garlic mash potatoes paired with a Luigi Bosca DOC Malbec (a personal favorite), or Pan Seared Chicken Breast with smoked ham and broccolini risotto paired with Century Oak Cabernet Sauvignon. In all it was a really nice evening filled with fine wines, good food and great conversation between friends and family. It was a meal memory won’t soon forget.

These are some of my favorite photographs from their rehearsal dinner. You can view and purchase all of the photos from the evening here. Now onto editing down and toning close to 6000 images I made from the wedding day. I have my work cut out for me. So many great images to choose from. I’ll post them as soon as I finish. Until then, -M

 



The second part of my duties as the NACE event photographer focused more on the hard work of the other vendors. Like I mentioned in my last post, the monthly events are a time for the vendors to educate on topics but also show off their strengths in what that particular vendor does. Here are some of the scenery images I made of the green layout and concepts from Catrina Maria Designs. I asked Catrina, who specializes in sustainable event planning to explain a bit about what she was striving to accomplish with her beautiful green table inspirations pictured above.

“The table inspirations where done in a variety of four looks. We were inspired by the traditional and expected ‘green’ look that we called ‘hippy/earthy.’ We dressed each table up a bit from there to cover your softer and more elaborate side of the earthy look, your urban look, and finally, a soft, more romantic feel that many brides can relate to.
1. Earthy table-woods and touch of kiwi green. All eco-friendly elements on the reclaimed wood tables. Recycled pots with succulents, and herbs.
2. Rustic table-woods, pewter, clay (brunt orange) and kiwi
Clay pots nestled in grapevine heart. Mix of organic flowers in burnt orange and cream with herbs and succulent accents.
3. Urban Square table- Grey and kiwi patterned linen, other natural elements in a modern feel (wicker, glass…). Gray cinderblock “vases” filled with organic flowers and organic greenery.
4. Romantic oval tables- Natural ekru and ivory hemstitch, rustic metals, glass Tablescape of Burnt orange recycled glass containers and metal accent containers. Ivory flowers and green accents. Add recycled ribbon accents.
5. Cocktail Tables – recycled paper flowers by Beatnik Artist. Made from old books that have recycled into art. Soy candles throughout
Lounge furniture through Classic party Rentals. Their eco line is made from recycled stuffing/padding and flax exterior in burnt orange and kiwi green.”

As the saying goes…the devil lies within the details. It was great to see all of the clever, sustainable concepts that everyone brought to the event. There were the staple green items like using organic produce but also the not so common items like bowls and plates made from compostable bamboo. It’s those little things that make the difference. I was impressed.  So much creativity and so many great ideas to build off of. Again, thanks to all of the vendors who went all out with the May NACE Green event including Ambience Floral Designs, Jackson Catering & Events, Sugar & Spice Specialty Deserts, Classic Party Rentals, Pamela Pamperin, Harpist and Extreme Productions for all of their hard work. -M

 

Last Tuesday was the annual monthly meet up of the Sacramento chapter of the National Association of Catering Professionals. The group is a hodgepodge of wedding planners, florists, DJ’s, photographers and all of the other types of vendors that cater to couples getting married. It has been a great place to network and establish relationships with other wedding vendors throughout the Sacramento area. I feel like I’ve learned so much already. I am brand new to the organization but I have quickly made connections and have met some great people in the organization.

Every monthly meeting is used to help the member vendors get to see a select few vendors to their thing. Each NACE meeting is a professional catered event complete with the goal of educating NACE members on the latest trends, styles and cuisine. It’s like a competition and participating vendors go all out to showcase what they do best. It works two fold. First, it allows you to show others what services you can provide for your mutual clients and second it lets them learn more about you as a person. In business, it’s all about who you know and the system NACE has laid out is perfect for this by creating business friendships. Everyone from all corners of the wedding market working together towards the same goal of having satisfied wedding clients. Brilliant.

This past Tuesday had a green wedding theme and a wedding planner friend Catrina, of Catrina Maria Designs, asked me a month back if I would not only photograph the event but also talk about green wedding photography practices. I accepted her invite and spent the better part of the month researching how I could make my business more green. I wanted to share some of the photos I made from the members that were there. I’ll post my green photography methods in another blog post. It was a fun filled evening at the Beatnik Studios in Sacramento. I loved it. Plenty of big windows, great light and a overall cool space for an event. Thanks to all of the vendors including Ambience Floral Designs, Jackson Catering & Events, Sugar & Spice Specialty Deserts, Classic Party Rentals, Pamela Pamperin, Harpist and Extreme Productions for all of their hard work. Congrats on a beautiful fun May NACE event. I was proud to be apart of it. I’m looking forward to the next one. -M

The first weekend in May I had the pleasure of photographing Gillian and Jeff’s wedding day at the beautiful Firehouse Restaurant in Old Town Sacramento. You could not have asked for a nicer day. The comfortable mid day California sunshine warmed down on their outdoor wedding where big oak trees gave a lovely cool shade over the festivities. I met Gillian and Jeff back in February through a wonderful wedding planner I’ve been working with named Catrina Arcularius of Catrina Maria Designs. Right from the get go of our first meeting in Sacramento, we hit it off. We talked for a solid hour and I learned all about their story. Gillian through the encouragement of her good friend Bianca (who would eventually be her maid of honor) and Jeff upon the suggestion of some friends met through the online dating site called JDate, a jewish community online for dating jewish singles. Neither of them had ever used the online dating service before yet on their first date back on July 9th, 2009, they found an instant attraction to each other and have been dating ever since. The two have made a life together in the San Francisco Bay Area Gillian as a lawyer and Jeff as an entrepreneur while sharing a love for each other and dogs. They were quick to tell me all about the antics of their two border collie/chow mix dogs Lila and Maggie. The way these two talked, joked and looked at one another during our meet up it was apparent that they are just crazy for each other. I had no doubts that they would be a great fun couple to photograph on their wedding day.

And they did not disappoint. It was the first time I had ever photographed a Jewish wedding ceremony. It was great to see how other faiths celebrate the union of two individuals. The wedding was beautiful. Between my assistant Brad Zweerink and I we ended up talking over 6300 photographs from the wedding. With so many smiling faces, great finger foods, friendly guests and plenty of dancing that kept everyone entertained throughout the afternoon, it was hard to stop photographing all the great moments in front of me. Catrina along with Shannon and The Firehouse Restaurant staff created a beautiful outdoor atmosphere and layout across the brick patio while flower arrangements from florist Cheryl Sage of Accents by Sage added just the right amount of spring colors to the mix. Subtle yet elegant. To see more photos from their Sacramento wedding you can seeing their wedding story here and their entire photo take here.

Yet another fun day celebrating with and photographing some new friends. I wish Gillian and Jeff all the best. -M

The California wedding season has begun! A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of seeing two of my oldest friends tie the knot at a small vineyard-surrounded property outside of Hopland, California. I met Ashley and Trevor back back in 1994 when I was in sixth grader at North Junior High School in my hometown of Crystal Lake, Illinois. It was a big time of transition at that point in my young life. Junior High meant attending a new bigger school with new kids and multiple teachers, all of a sudden girls started being topics of interests for me and the other boys, we no longer had recess at school (a huge disappointment) and instead, we got our daily fun through games in gym class. It was gym class where I first met Ashley. She was this pretty, firecracker red head who had grown up playing softball and now was a lethal force against anyone playing gym class dodge ball. For all the other pubescent boys and myself it was an immediate infatuation. This girl could throw a ball better than most of us. I’ve been luckily to call her a friend ever since that day.

Now all grown up, I have long since left my Illinois roots and I’ve found that there are not many people from my hometown that have ventured out west of the Mississippi. Ashley and Trevor were some of the few who did. It’s funny to me how as you grow older in your life you never really know what friends will continue to be apart of your journey. Thankfully somehow, some way Ashley and I have remained in contact and have stayed friends throughout. I have had numerous opportunities to meet up her and Trevor (once they started dating) over the years. Their wedding day was a long time coming. These two are perfect for each other and I’ve always been impressed with their shared passion for the flavor of life both in cuisine and culture. Fast forward 16 years since the 6th grade, the two have made a life together working in the fine dining industry of San Francisco and many times they have offered up their apartment couch to me during weekend visits to the city by the bay. Trevor has quickly turned into one of the top up and coming chefs in the San Francisco bay area. I had the opportunity to photograph (and sample) some of his first restaurant dishes as he was starting out. I still dream about them. He graduated from California Culinary Academy in 2005 and quickly became the executive sous chef at Umami Restaurant and has since moved on to become the executive chef at Mission Beach Cafe over the last year. Trevor’s big news is that he just recently signed on to this new project, which will be called Chambers located in the Phoenix Hotel, a notorious destination for famous “rock n’ roll” musicians staying in the city. The restaurant is slated to open the first week of May and the food will be California cuisine with a focus on locally sourced ingredients. If it’s anything like his previous restaurants gigs that I have dined in, I have no doubts it will be a huge success. Ashley is balancing her time between being a head server and wine guru at the Betelnut Restaurant in Marina District of San Francisco while finishing up a major in Business Management with a minor in Economics at the San Francisco City College. I would not be surprised at all if these two opened their own fancy restaurant down the road. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed.

When I got their wedding invitation in the mail, I knew it would be a mini Crystal Lake reunion. They had their intimately small wedding outside of Hopland, California at the Mendocino Hill Event Center. It was really a beautiful ceremony filled with great friends and warm familiar faces. I attended this wedding as a guest but I decided to bring along my camera for fun. It provided a good opportunity for me to experiment and try out different approaches to shooting. Between catching up with old friends, laughing and telling stories over local wine and eating an assortment of fine cheeses and roasted duck, I managed to snap a couple pictures. Here are some of my favorite images I made of their wedding day. You can find more photos from Ashley and Trevor’s wedding here. It was so great to be apart of their special day. I wish them all the best. -M

Yesterday evening, I had the privilege of attending my first Sacramento Swop Meet attended by of all of the local wedding vendors from around the Sacramento area. The event, a bi-monthly social mix-up, was hosted by the editorial staff of Sacramento Bride and Groom magazine at the beautiful Lake Natoma Inn in Folsom, CA. I saw the gathering as the perfect opportunity to introduce myself and my business, Greener Visuals Wedding Photography, to all of the wedding planners, florists, DJs, venue managers and other photographers in my area. I’m quickly learning that so much of what makes a business great is who you know and your willingness to help out others. I found the whole experience a really inviting one. From the moment I walked in the door, SacBride.com publisher Tami Miller and saleswoman Lisa Duncan took turns showing me around and introducing me to the other vendors. I spent the evening mingling, enjoying the complimentary drinks and appetizers while learning about my fellow wedding vendors. I met a lot of great, friendly people who were anxious to tell me about their businesses. I was struck by the stories they related to me about how they became involved in the wedding industry. No two people had the same story as to how they got involved in weddings, but it was clear that each was passionate about their specialized area. Everyone I spoke with was so generous with their time and knowledge. For a young up-and-coming wedding photographer like myself, I was very impressed with the sense of community the event provided. How great is it that these professionals gather together to network, make friends, all sharing the common goal of creating a better experience for potential wedding couples. It was immediately apparent that everyone was on the same page. I’m already looking forward to the next meet-up.

Yay for weddings! Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to travel back to sweet home Chicago for an old friend’s wedding. Adam and his new bride April called me a couple months ago and asked if I would help document their wedding day. I always feel very lucky to be apart of the wedding day of old friends. This one was no exception. From the moment I arrived, it was literally a blast from the past and quickly turned into a high school reunion. After so many years away, living out in Montana and now California, I don’t get as many chances to make it back to home to visit. Adam and I played football together at Prairie Ridge High School and April attended school with my younger brother Eric. Despite a threatening Midwest thunderstorm, the wedding went off without a hitch. It was so great to see so many familiar faces all grown up. I had an absolute great time documenting these guys. Crazy, summer humidity and all.

Here are some of my favorite images from the day. I’m anxious to hear what you all think. This is a mere small sampling of the 4000 images I made that day. I suppose that is to be expected when you have so many old friends around dancing the night away. There are too many good people to take photos of. To see all of the photos from their wedding day go here. I wish these guys all the best. -M

Last weekend I had the pleasure of photographing an old friend and colleague’s wedding in Chico, California. I worked with Lauren when I was a staff photographer at the Record Searchlight newspaper in Redding, California. At the time, she was a reporter and for over a year, we would accompany each other to assignments around the town. You really get to know your colleagues well at a newspaper because you are all working together to put out the newspaper everyday. Often times while waiting for an assignment to begin, conversations turn to personal stories and day-to-day ramblings in your life. For me it was always about my latest fishing trip. For Lauren it was her boyfriend in Chico. For as long as I’ve known Lauren, she was living in Chico and then would commute up to Redding for work. An hour drive on a good day. I could never understand why anyone would willingly put themselves through that kind of inconvenience. And during our assignments together, I would constantly let her know I thought she was crazy. Looking back on it, I don’t think I was seeing the big picture. Her reasoning was always the same. She kept talking about her wonderful boyfriend turned fiancée now husband Richard and the life they were living together in Chico. When Lauren called me up a couple months ago asking me to shoot their wedding, I just had to smile. It was a long time coming. Last weekend I finally got to meet Richard and from the very moment I saw them together, it was clear that they were head over heals for each other. I realize now that her driving commute was small sacrifice compared to the overall happiness that these two shared together as a couple. To Lauren it was well worth it. Ah, the things you do for love. It’s good to see.

The wedding was a lot of fun to shoot. A beautiful outdoor ceremony in Bidwell Park then the wedding party walked through downtown to the reception. You couldn’t ask for a nicer day. I love watching friends get married through my lens. Here is a sampling of photographs from the wedding. To view more wedding photos you can find them here.