Monthly Archives: May 2010

Jillian & Dax’s Romantic Handmade Everything California Mountain Elopement

05 | 27 | 2010


Seeing two of your beloved friends marry is its own particular joy, and although I might be (therefore) biased in saying so, Jillian & Dax’s super-secret informal mountain wedding celebration was just about perfect: romantic, personal, and really laid-back.  Everything was handmade. Everything. And everyone who came pitched in to make the wedding happen.  One friend made the cake, another painted the wooden cake-toppers.  One friend did Jillian’s makeup (actually, the same friend who painted the cake toppers); another did Jillian’s hair.  Of course, I took the photographs.  My husband Matt was making fruit salad until just before he started taking pictures himself. Their friend, Kelly, who married them also barbequed the meat for dinner.  Lots of folks pitched in to make dinner … and the tissue paper pom poms you can just barely see in the few reception photos.  I was “off-duty” at the reception; we just set up a photo booth and let people snap pictures of themselves which are too, too hilarious to share on this blog.

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Jillian made her own wedding gown, including the pattern for it.  She deconstructed a vintage dress to make the pattern for the bodice, sewed it, and then began to work on the doilies.  It took three weeks and over two miles of crochet yarn to complete the effect.  I am still marveling at all the detail.  Nobody I know can envision a wildly ambitious project and then pull it off like Jillian can.

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If you look closely at those little cake-toppers, you’ll see that they’re “dressed” just as Jillian, Dax, and their daughter Phi were, right down to the tiniest details (even Dax’s ascot—Jillian made the real life version from the lining of her dress!).  After the cake-cutting, Jillian changed into a custom-made safari suit to match Dax’s. How cute is that?

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photographs: Gia Canali; hair, Angelina Yuge, 562.686.6200 (she is actually a makeup artist!); makeup, Nicole Burg, 818.970.9582; cake topper forms, Goose Grease Undone (she also makes custom-painted ones, here); Dax and Jillian’s custom safari suits,; flowers, LA Flower Mart, arranged by the bride.  We’re thrilled and honored that Jillian & Dax’s wedding is being featured over on {100 Layer Cake} today!


Jillian & Dax’s DIY Secret Wedding Invitations

05 | 27 | 2010

Wedding invitations always serve as a memento, but that is even more obvious with handmade wedding invitations to a secret wedding/elopement that all the (very few) guests already know about.  With most of the invite’s practical purpose stripped away, getting this invite in the mail seemed somehow so extravagant!  Jillian made these by hand with her cricut machine.

{click any image to enlarge}


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photos: Gia Canali


What Wedding Photography Has In Common With Taking Photographs on Your Cell Phone

05 | 22 | 2010

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What I have come to love most* about taking photographs on my various cell phones is its (my) almost unconscious reaction to a moment or a scene. Point and shoot (nearly without thinking)! These are not relatively technologically advanced—or even competent—camera-machines. Serendipity prevails. Instinct prevails. My ability to make great photographs on my phone is proportionate to my ability to make great photographs period. And so, come to think of it, is yours. (These levelings-of-the-playing-field are good for the art; only when anyone can do it—not just those of us who can afford cameras—will photography become about those who can see … and about how they see the world).

One’s readiness to take a photo (on a cell phone or at a wedding) is essential. And like the world at large, a wedding is a now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t kind of place. Wedding photographers are hired for their readiness, an eagerness to see the picture and take it before the moment has flown away.  Cell phones make recording that everyday magic accessible to all of us. Obviously we choose to use sophisticated cameras—for the most part anyway**—to record people’s officially magical moments. But that instinctive reaction to life, to the world—just as in taking photographs on your cell phone—is what sets a good photographer apart, whether or not the person is a “pro,” and whether or not they photograph weddings from time to time.

The other thing I love about taking photos on the phone is that they are inherently and undeniably personal. ***Look at your phone—look at mine—it is filled with the daily joys: my doggy, my husband, my garden, the nieces and nephews, and the lovely bits of the world I take in as I go about my life and work.  Sometimes, however, I get the impression from folks  that wedding photos are supposed to be somehow not-personal (like: not as though they could be from my cell phone). But how is that even possible, much less desirable?

Of course the wedding photos I take are particular and personal to me, almost like they came straight from my phone, if decidedly a little fancier. It is my perfectly subjective point of view, my various passions and excitements that are represented in the photographs I take wherever I take them, on the job or in my back yard.  And that’s what you want!  You hire us wedding photographers for our empathy, for our sensitivity to your beauty, happiness, and love!  (Otherwise, we’d all save the money and have surveillance cameras or robots take our wedding photos, right?)


* Of course, before you can love it, you have to make peace with the vast and charming/maddening limitations of the camera phones.

** Those of you who know me well know that I have a devoted love of sh—— toy cameras. I can’t help myself.  Memories sort of flicker.  A lot like toy cam pictures.

*** Strong inspiration for this post came a few months ago, when I saw photojournalist David Guttenfelder’s iPhone photographs from the war in Afghanistan.  News photos seem so much less personal than cell phone photos from the news photographer.   I’m not sure why that is, but I was taken aback to realize it …

photos: Gia Canali


Looking For Signs of Enthusiasm?

05 | 20 | 2010


This is just to say that I’m still here.  I’d offer a sneak peek except that I haven’t decided which real wedding is coming up next (like: should I work backwards from the end of last season or just jump headlong into this one?).   Helpful articles (the real reason I started this blog) are another story altogether. We have those in spades if I can just get around to posting them.    If I can just get a moment to sit down at my desk.  In the ever-lengthening meantime, however, let’s enjoy a little vicarious enthusiasm.  Because weddings are exhilarating.

photo: Gia Canali