Photos from Anna and Eric’s wedding at Casino San Clemente, which began with the bride getting ready in a suite at Best Western Plus Casablanca Inn. After a romantic first look with her groom in a shaded courtyard at Casino San Clemente, I captured their garden wedding ceremony that incorporated numerous Jewish traditions. This was followed by a sunset portrait session on the beach at San Clemente before they partied with family and friends during a ballroom reception.
ANNA & ERIK
Getting ready: Best Western Plus Casablanca Inn (bride) and Casino San Clemente (groom) in San Clemente, CA
Anna and Eric contacted me in February of this year after they’d been referred by the photography teacher of Eric’s mom. She was taking a class led by Nami – the aunt of another groom I’d worked with previously – and I was honored that she recommended me, particularly considering she’s a photographer herself!
After just a few emails, Anna and Eric decided to book me and I was excited to meet them face-to-face during a Skype meeting around a month before their special day. We chatted about how they met at a Starbucks coffee shop and Eric’s romantic proposal at the Loi Krathong lantern festival in Thailand (an experience that was also special in the hearts of my wife and me). I was very much looking forward to their wedding at Casino San Clemente!
Fast-forward to mid-October and my assistant and I drove down to Orange County to capture the bride’s getting ready moments at Best Western Plus Casablanca Inn, which was just a couple of blocks from their wedding venue at Casino San Clemente.
Getting ready photos at Best Western Plus Casablanca Inn and Casino San Clemente:
I began the getting ready session capturing shots of Anna admiring herself in a hand-held mirror and surrounded by her bridesmaids in their bright pink dressing gowns, as well as grabbing a special moment with her mom. We also got playful with some photos of her bridesmaids admiring her engagement ring and jumping on the hotel suite bed together.
We then headed over to Casino San Clemente where the bride and her entourage were going to finish getting ready in a light-filled suite. I captured some reflective shots of Anna in the bridal suite mirror and admiring her gorgeous gown while wearing her white dressing gown and veil.
As Anna changed into her dress, I headed outside to capture a few getting ready shots of the groom in the courtyard garden. I photographed his best man helping to do up his suit jacket buttons before heading back to Anna’s getting ready room where she was dressed and ready to go.
We captured some more photos with her bridesmaids in their soft pink dresses and a special moment with Eric’s mom and sister, as well as grabbing a shot as her grandma helped to secure her necklace. Eric’s best man then turned up to surprise Anna with a gift from her groom and I photographed her opening the necklace and reading his sweet note.
We used the time available for some portraits of the bride looking radiant in the whitewashed suite before her dad arrived for what was an emotional father-daughter first look. Anna’s mom helped to wipe away the bride’s tears before I grabbed a portrait of Anna with both her parents at her side.
Pre-ceremony portraits at Casino San Clemente:
It was then time for the couple’s first look, which took place in a shaded courtyard area at Casino San Clemente. I photographed Anna walking up towards her groom and their joyous reactions at seeing one another, as well as a spontaneous kiss in this loved-up moment.
I also captured some shots of the couple embracing in the Spanish-inspired courtyard before grabbing some individual portraits of the bride and groom. We also had time for some playful bridal party portraits and tender moments between Anna and her parents, before capturing a creative shot incorporating a picture frame that Eric’s mom had requested.
Ceremony photos at Casino San Clemente:
Anna’s father then escorted her down the aisle at the start of her garden wedding ceremony at Casino San Clemente before lifting the bride’s veil as he gave her away to Eric. While the wedding ceremony was predominantly Western, it also incorporated a few Jewish elements, including the drinking of red wine and “breaking of the glass”.
I tried to capture a range of shots throughout Anna and Eric’s wedding ceremony as they exchanged personalized vows, including the reactions of those closest to them as they watched on. I photographed Anna’s grandma and one of her sisters wiping away tears, as well as the lovingly smiles of the bride and groom as they became “husband and wife”.
After sealing their marriage with a kiss and making their recessional walk down the garden aisle at Casino San Clemente, Anna and Eric were warmly congratulated by their family and friends. I captured a tender embrace between Eric and his mom, as well as a black and white as Anna was hugged by her brother.
Post-ceremony portraits at Casino San Clemente:
After a drink with their wedding guests, we headed back to the gorgeous wedding ceremony site at Casino San Clemente for some portraits of the newly married couple. I photographed Anna and Eric kissing with the bride’s veil flying behind, as well as a shot of them standing hand-in-hand in front of the whitewashed Spanish architecture.
Anna and Eric were so easy-going to work with throughout their special day, which was especially evident when we had to make a quick dash down to the beach to capture the sunset light. They were smiling from ear-to-ear as we made the short walk to the sands, then full of love for one another as I captured tender embraces as the sun set behind them.
Reception photos at Casino San Clemente:
The newlyweds entered their ballroom reception at Casino San Clemente in style, with Eric carrying his bride in. They then launched directly into their impressive, choreographed first dance before honoring their Jewish heritage with a breaking of the bread ceremony. Speeches and toasts from those closest to them followed as I captured the reactions of the couple at their flower-adorned sweetheart table before they were treated to energetic cultural Ukrainian dances.
Anna then took to the dance floor for an emotional father-daughter dance with her dad, which was followed by Eric’s mother-son dance as his father watched on. More speeches and toasts followed, then everyone hit the dance floor to celebrate to the music supplied by a live duo-cum-DJs-cum-MCs who did an incredible job throughout this Casino San Clemente wedding reception.
I tried to capture all the energy of the ballroom dance floor at Casino San Clemente from multiple angles, particularly as Anna was lifted above the heads of her wedding guests to crowd surf. The newlyweds were all smiles during their Jewish Horah chair dance, which was followed by Anna’s bouquet toss and a playful cake cutting ceremony as the couple squashed cake into each other’s faces.
After a conga line around the dance floor complete with maracas, the couple made their grand exit accompanied by their wedding guests holding glow sticks. Eric was ever the gentleman as he assisted Anna into their classic car and I grabbed some final romantic portraits of them cuddling up in the back seat.
Wedding photos at Casino San Clemente:
Anna and Eric were such a wonderful and sweet couple who put a high priority on photography throughout their wedding at Casino San Clemente. It was such a magical day filled with incredible moments and I want to give a big shout out to Nami who made it all possible, as well as wish Anna and Eric all the best for whatever the future holds.