Photos from Sondra-Kay and Gonzalo’s wedding at The Estate On Second, which began with the couple getting ready in separate suites at Avenue Of The Arts Costa Mesa. They said “I do” during a traditional ceremony at Saint Joseph Catholic Church before celebrating with their family and friends at The Estate On Second, a rustic-inspired wedding venue in Santa Ana.
Louisiana-based couple Sondra-Kay and Gonzalo were referred to me by one of their close family-friends, Nami, who’s actually referred several different couples to me in the space of 1+ years (big shout out to Nami!) They hired me strictly online (without any phone meeting) after inquiring back in May of last year.
The couple met at a bar in California a few years ago while watching a basketball match before having their first official date at an Angels game. It was during a family vacation to Puerto Vallarta that Gonzalo officially popped the question, with the blessing of Sondra-Kay’s dad and brother.
They were planning a traditional Catholic wedding in Santa Ana at Saint Joseph Catholic Church, followed by a rustic-style reception wedding at The Estate On Second. But the day all started at Avenue Of The Arts Costa Mesa where Sondra-Kay and Gonzalo were getting ready in separate suites.
Getting ready photos at Avenue Of The Arts Costa Mesa:
My assistant and I turned up early to Avenue Of The Arts Costa Mesa to capture all the getting ready action and it was wonderful to finally meet Sondra-Kay and Gonzalo in person. I began photographing the bride as she had the final touches applied to her makeup and hair, as well as some special moments with her bridesmaids and cute flower girls in their soft pink robes.
We then headed over to Gonzalo’s room where he was making his last-minute preparations with his best man, brother, and dad, so I grabbed some candid shots as they assisted the groom into his suit. I then captured a casual shot of Gonzalo relaxing against a wall in his suite and checking his watch while looking out from the balcony.
Once Sondra-Kay was in her dress, I returned to the girls’ suite to photograph the bride as she secured her earrings and her bridesmaids assisted her into her shoes. We then documented a special moment with her mother-in-law before some final portraits of the bride looking absolutely radiant in her lace-inspired dress.
Ceremony photos at Saint Joseph Catholic Church:
It was around 15 minutes’ drive from Costa Mesa to Saint Joseph Catholic Church in Santa Ana where Sondra-Kay and Gonzalo were having their abbreviated Mass. I documented the groom being escorted down the aisle by his parents, followed by the bride on the arm of her dad, then captured all the rites and rituals throughout their ceremony.
While churches are often quite strict about photography, Saint Joseph Catholic Church permits photographers to access the front, which enabled me to capture the couples’ faces throughout the ceremony. I documented their reactions as they were blessed by the priest and knelt before the altar, as well as their joyous recessional walk down the aisle as “husband and wife”.
Portraits at Saint Joseph Catholic Church and The Estate On Second:
After being congratulated by their family and friends along a receiving line, we had time for family formals, bridal party portraits and couple portraits outside Saint Joseph Catholic Church. I grabbed a playful shot of the newlyweds kissing as their flower girls covered their eyes and one of their bridal party celebrating around them.
We then made the short drive over to The Estate On Second to continue the portrait session, utilizing a wrought iron gate and rustic wooden fence as our backdrop. I captured a creative shot of Gonzalo checking his watch while Sondra-Kay admired her lily bouquet and a fun one as the bride peeked out from behind her groom.
As the light began to fade, we headed to the upstairs cocktail hour area of The Estate On Second for some portraits in front of the exposed brick walls. I grabbed a shot of Sondra-Kay spinning in her gorgeous wedding dress and another as she relaxed on an elegant blue sofa with Gonzalo standing behind.
We also snuck into their wedding reception venue at The Estate On Second for some romantic portraits amidst the golden decor, with gorgeous chandeliers hanging above. The venue also had a huge LOVE sign on display, so we couldn’t help but incorporate this into some loved-up shots as the newlyweds embraced.
Reception photos at The Estate On Second:
Sondra-Kay and Gonzalo danced their way into their wedding reception at The Estate On Second before launching straight into their romantic first dance. This was followed by a “thank you” speech from the couple and a surprise “flash mob” dance from their family and friends to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”.
As dinner was served, there were speeches from both the maid-of-honor, best man and Sondra’s godfather, so I captured the couple’s reactions as they listened in from their golden sweetheart table. These were followed by two very emotional parental dances, with both Sondra-Kay’s brother and Gonzalo’s dad holding back tears.
Things then lightened up as everyone hit the dance floor and I tried to document all the energy as the bride and groom celebrated with those closest to them. The dance floor action was interspersed with a playful cake cutting ceremony and garter removal before we ended the night with a group photo of Sondra-Kay and Gonzalo’s wedding party from above.
Wedding photos at The Estate On Second:
I can’t thank the bride and groom enough for trusting me and hiring me well before meeting in person and I want to give another shout out to Nami for making it all possible. I wish them safe travels as they return to Louisiana and a lifetime of love and happiness as they embark on this new chapter together.