Photos from Susan and Eugene’s wedding at Casa Del Mar, which began with the couple getting ready in separate suites. After photographing their romantic first look in the courtyard and portrait session at Santa Monica Beach, they said “I do” during a glamorous ceremony in the Grand Ballroom. This was followed by a sunset portrait session and fun-filled ballroom reception with their family and friends.
SUSAN & EUGENE
Getting ready: Casa Del Mar in Santa Monica, CA (bride and groom)
I heard from San Francisco-based couple Susan and Eugene around a year ago after they found me online through Yelp. Eugene told me that they loved my work and were interested in hiring me to capture their glamorous wedding at Casa Del Mar in Santa Monica. After just a few emails, they decided to book me, something that’s always an honor and means a lot to me.
Susan and Eugene met through the dating app Coffee Meets Bagel and went on their first date to a Ramen shop in San Francisco. While Susan grew up in Taiwan, Eugene is actually from Los Angeles, which was why they were planning their special day in Southern California. He had organized a romantic, moonlit proposal on top of a volcano while on vacation in Hawaii but had to abort due to the freezing cold conditions. He managed to convince Susan to return to the volcano a few days later for sunset, giving him the opportunity to pop the question.
I first met up with Susan and Eugene a few months before their wedding when they came to my home studio. It was wonderful to hear about their love story and plans for their wedding day, with everything happening in one place at the gorgeous Casa Del Mar. They were putting a high priority on photography and scheduled in plenty of time for portraits, which is something I never take for granted!
Getting ready photos at Casa Del Mar:
While my second photographer was with Eugene and the guys while they were getting ready in a downstairs conference room, I was with Susan and her bridesmaids in the beautifully-lit bridal suite upstairs. I captured up-close shots as Susan had the final touches applied to her makeup and shared in this special moment with her bridesmaids, as well as grabbing a photo as she admired her engagement ring with her two wedding dresses hanging behind.
Susan’s mom was there to assist in securing her earrings, as was her sister as she stepped into her wedding dress, before the bride gifted bags to her bridesmaids with their initials. Susan’s dad then arrived for what was an emotional father-daughter first look session, with both of them holding back tears as they embraced. I documented this special family moment as her mom and siblings gathered around before capturing some final portraits of Susan in her stunning wedding dress.
Pre-ceremony portraits at Casa Del Mar:
It was then time for the couple’s first look session, which was being held in a garden courtyard adjacent to Casa Del Mar’s pool. I photographed Susan walking up behind Eugene and their reactions at seeing one another, with Eugene wearing a stylish blue velvet suit jacket.
We had plenty of time to capture portraits of the couple in this loved-up moment, utilizing the shaded courtyard and red brick architecture of Casa Del Mar before heading into the elegant lobby. I captured a low-angle portrait of them embracing beneath a colorful chandelier and seated on a white sofa, as well as a shot of Susan standing on the staircase holding her beautiful bouquet.
Susan and Eugene then paid respects to their parents during a short tea ceremony, kneeling in front of them and offering cups of tea. I captured candid photos as their parents sipped from the teacups during this Asian wedding tradition, as well as documenting the humble reactions of the bride and groom.
After some bridal party portraits at Casa Del Mar, we headed onto the sidewalk of Santa Monica Beach for some shots of the couple walking arm-in-arm with their bridesmaids and groomsmen. Although the sun was still quite bright, we found some shaded spots for couple portraits backed by the sands and palm trees, as well as incorporating the whitewashed architecture behind.
Ceremony photos at Casa Del Mar:
Susan’s mom and dad escorted her down the aisle at the start of her wedding ceremony, which was being held in the Grand Ballroom of Casa Del Mar. I documented Eugene’s reaction as he watched his bride approach and the hand-off between him and Susan’s parents, then captured candid shots as they exchanged personalized vows.
In addition to close-up shots of the couple and the reactions of their parents, I also captured a wide-angle shot looking down the aisle of this glamorous Santa Monica wedding venue. After being pronounced “husband and wife”, Susan and Eugene sealed their marriage with a kiss and made their recessional walk as guests threw flower petals and blew bubbles.
Post-ceremony portraits at Casa Del Mar:
With sunset fast approaching, we made a dash down to the beach for a short portrait session of the newlyweds as they embraced in the golden light. We got creative with Susan’s veil in a few shots before heading back to Casa Del Mar where we snuck into their stunning ballroom reception venue. I captured photos of the couple kissing framed by their flower-decorated bridal arch, as well as some photos as they practiced their choreographed first dance one last time.
Reception photos at Casa Del Mar:
Susan and Eugene danced their way into the ballroom reception at Casa Del Mar, then launched straight into what was a really impressive first dance. I captured action shots of their synchronized moves and the groom twirling his bride, as well as the final dip at the end.
This was followed by speeches and toasts from their best man and maid-of-honor as Susan and Eugene listened in from their sweetheart table. The bride then disappeared for an outfit change before returning in an elegant evening gown for her playful cake-cutting ceremony with Eugene.
After a group photo of the couple and their wedding party on the dance floor, Susan and Eugene made their grand exit from the Casa Del Mar ballroom as their guests held giant balloon bubbles. We ended the night with a few romantic portraits of the couple embracing on the sands of Santa Monica Beach with the amusement park illuminated behind, as well as some shots on the interior staircase of Casa Del Mar and in front of their giant LOVE sign.
Wedding photos at Casa Del Mar:
It was such an honor to be the photographer for Susan and Eugene’s wedding at Casa Del Mar and I really appreciate the high priority they put on photography throughout their special day. I hope they love these photos and wish them all the best in their newly married life together.