Photos from Kristina and Hayden’s intimate wedding at La Venta Inn, which began with a romantic first look in the landscaped gardens. This was followed by a morning ceremony overlooking the Pacific Ocean and a brunch reception before heading to Santa Monica Beach for an urban-inspired wedding portrait session.
KRISTINA & HAYDEN
Getting ready: La Venta Inn in Palos Verdes Estates, CA (bride and groom)
Ceremony and reception: La Venta Inn in Palos Verdes Estates, CA
Wedding photos at Palos Verdes Estates:
I heard from Kristina and Hayden last Fall about capturing their intimate wedding in Palos Verdes Estates and after just a few emails, they decided to book me. We hit it off immediately when I invited them to my home studio to hear more about their story and their plans for this wedding at La Venta Inn.
Kristina and Hayden met at grad school at Caltech where they were both doing a PhD in space engineering, and after six years together, they’re both now working at NASA. They were so incredibly sweet during our meeting, so I was excited to connect with them again to capture their special day at what is one of my favorite venues.
Getting ready photos at La Venta Inn:
Kristina and Hayden’s wedding at La Venta Inn was taking place in the morning, with the bride making her final preparations with her bridesmaids in an elegant suite. I captured some portraits of them sharing in this special moment in their floral robes before grabbing some more shots once Kristina had changed into her stunning floral dress. I loved that she’d decided on something a little more unconventional, with her bridesmaids the ones wearing white, and documented an emotional moment as her mom arrived.
As the only photographer capturing this wedding at La Venta Inn, I moved between the couple to document their getting ready moments after the groom and his entourage had arrived. I photographed his best man assisting him into his suit jacket and a casual shot with his groomsmen, before grabbing some portraits of the groom in front of a bamboo forest.
Pre-ceremony portraits at La Venta Inn:
After capturing some shots of Hayden’s mom assisting with his boutonniere, it was time for the couple’s first look, which was taking place on a garden pathway of La Venta Inn. We were really lucky with the cloudy conditions, which made for gorgeous diffuse lighting at a time when the sun can otherwise create quite harsh shadows.
I photographed Kristina walking up behind her groom as he waited patiently, then their emotional reactions at seeing one another for the first time on their special day. I particularly loved that they wore their emotions on their sleeves (not only in this moment but throughout the day), with really genuine embraces and special exchanges to capture as they let it all sink in.
We used the time available for some portraits of the couple in this loved-up moment as they explored the gardens of La Venta Inn and Hayden twirled his bride to showcase her flowing, floral dress. We also grabbed some playful bridal party portraits of Kristina’s bridesmaids covering their faces with their bouquets and one of Hayden being lifted by his groomsmen.
Wedding ceremony photos at La Venta Inn:
Kristina and Hayden’s intimate wedding at La Venta Inn began with the groom being escorted down the aisle by his parents, followed by the flower girls throwing petals. Kristina then arrived on the arm of her dad (who was wearing a Hawaiian shirt in keeping with the floral theme) before the couple exchanged vows overlooking the azure waters of the Pacific Ocean at La Venta Inn’s stunning wedding ceremony venue.
Kristina and Hayden’s wedding at Palos Verdes Estates was filled with love and emotion, with the bride trying to hold back tears as she listened to Hayden read his vows. Their mutual love of space was reflected in the naming of stars in honor of their marriage before they sealed their new status as “husband and wife” with a kiss.
After documenting their recessional walk down the aisle, I captured a special moment as the newlyweds bowed their heads together, then grabbed a playful portrait as they kissed while their flower girls covered their eyes.
Reception photos at La Venta Inn:
With a party planned for later that evening, Kristina and Hayden’s intimate reception brunch was a more laid-back affair, including speeches from those closest to them. I photographed their reactions as they listened in while enjoying a glass of champagne before they fed one another mini donuts from Donut Friends.
We also managed to squeeze in a few more portraits of the couple at the gorgeous La Venta Inn wedding ceremony site as they looked out across the Pacific Ocean together. I captured a portrait of Kristina walking with her bridesmaids through the grounds of this Palos Verdes Estates wedding venue, as well as grabbing a shot as Hayden and his groomsmen did the same.
Post-ceremony portraits at La Venta Inn and Santa Monica Beach:
Kristina, Hayden and I then made the one-hour drive north to Santa Monica Beach where they had planned an urban-inspired wedding portrait session. I captured shots of them walking in front of industrial-style orange doors and kissing in front of the famous Bubba Gump Shrimp Restaurant, as well as some fun shots as they played arcade games together.
We then jumped aboard the Ferris wheel for some romantic portraits of the couple embracing in the carriage before heading back down to ground level for a shot of them kissing in the photo booth. As the sun began sinking towards the horizon, we walked along the Santa Monica Pier where Kristina danced in her flowing dress before heading down onto the beach itself.
I photographed Hayden dipping and kissing his bride and a shot of the couple spinning one another in their bare feet, as well as capturing a portrait as Kristina leaned on his shoulder while being illuminated by the setting sun.
Wedding photos at Palos Verdes Estates:
It was such a privilege to work with this sweet and wonderful couple who treated me like a friend throughout their wedding day at La Venta Inn and had such amazing chemistry in front of the camera. I know they’re off to Machu Picchu and Patagonia later this year for their honeymoon (two of my favorite places in the world), so I wish them an incredible time and hope these photos bring them joy for many years to come.