For my first wedding of 2011, I had the pleasure of documenting the day of Bonnie and Vincent, who bravely endured the cold and drizzle, because while the weather can let you down…love never fails! The day started at a hotel in San Ramon, where Bonnie was getting ready. Because a Chinese wedding involves many traditions, and because we’d be traveling between several locations, I was preparing myself for a challenging day. I was energized by the buzz of anticipation as soon as I walked into Bonnie’s hotel room!
Bonnie was having her makeup done by Chris of Makeup Gourmet when I walked in. She was having a ton of fun! I’ve never seen this particular lipstick selection technique, but it certainly worked!
The First Look is always a very exciting time for me. I’m swirling and dancing to make sure I capture that beautiful moment faithfully. Many couples decide to see each other before the ceremony, which takes some pressure off, and also allows for more opportunities to take portraits together. When Bonnie radiantly emerged from the lobby, Vincent, backed by his posse, was waiting with open arms!
Clearly relieved – now time for a little goofing around!
‘Love never fails’ would follow us throughout the day. Strong and simple words of commitment.
Time for the Chinese tea ceremony. Many honored guests visited Bonnie and Vincent, bringing red envelopes as well as gifts of beautiful jewelry. Vincent’s mother poured the many cups of tea that would be served by the couple to their honored guests in exchange for these gifts. The purpose of the ceremony is to unite the clans: historically, drinking tea symbolized acceptance into one another’s family. As they served the tea, Bonnie and Vincent officially pronounced each recipient’s name. By the time the ceremony was over, they had collected many red envelopes and were both adorned with gold jewelry.
For their floral arrangements, the couple chose the motif of ‘Sunshine in Winter’. The bouquets were beautiful bursts of yellow and red, complemented nicely by silver bows, as well as the bridesmaids’ silver dresses and the gold and silver worn by the groomsmen and Vincent. Bonnie actually designed all the flower arrangements herself, and put them together with the help of her friends and bridesmaids. Definitely a DIY wedding success story. “Everyone told me I was crazy for doing my own flowers,” she told me.
Bonnie and Vincent sang a prayer before the ceremony commenced.
Suddenly, there was a kerfuffle about the rings – the boxes were empty! Although I prepare extensively for the wedding day and try to anticipate any variables, sometimes surprise is the name of the game. After the ring boxes turned out to be empty, there was some commotion in the audience and a remote-controlled car bearing the rings zoomed down the aisle.
The rings – found! Vincent’s brother, who conducted the ceremony, says some powerful words about the meaning of the ring. Behind him is the beautiful stained glass window of the Canyon Creek Church.
After the wedding ceremony, we took some fun portraits in front of the beautiful gates of the Canyon Creek Church in San Ramon.
With the wedding party, we headed out to The Bridges Golf Club, which was just a short drive away. The Bridges Golf Club is a beautiful wedding venue, and one of the things that really appealed to me was the long tunnel that’s accessible from the golf course. By the time we got to there, it was already freezing cold, and the staff were kind enough to lend us a few golf carts. We zoomed towards the tunnels and I worked quickly in fading daylight to capture some iconic shots.
On to Canyon View Dining Hall – a huge space that easily accommodated the 300+ wedding guests. The place was beautifully decorated with floating candle centerpieces, floral arrangements, and elegant chair covers by Seko’s Chair Covers. At Canyon View, the evening was just getting underway: there would be dancing, games, toasts, slideshows and cupcakes!
Bonnie and Vincent relax and watch a beautiful slideshow with photographs from their childhoods, teenage years, college days, and their lives together. A beautiful and sentimental way to slow down the evening before the party kicked back into full gear. Thank you Bonnie and Vincent for a wonderful day!