Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Engagement Shoot Love: The Fun

In addition to the romantic photos we took with our fab photographer Kelty, we also took a bunch of fun, crazy pics. I had brought along a few 'props' (if you can call them that), which you can see below: mustache glasses and party blowers. You're pretty much guaranteed super classy engagement photos when you buy your props at a party supply store. Oh well, that's how we do it around here (well, around my house it is).

We also utilized some other 'props' that we had lying around. They're called: the awesome sky. And flocks of seagulls (the birds, not the haircuts [though that would have made for really interesting photos . . .]). Oh. And sand. Can't forget the sand.

We had wandered down to the beach, and Kelty instructed the mister and I to run up behind a bunch of birds. I felt like a kid, trying to scare all the seagulls and get them to fly away. And I was reminded of how hard it was to run in the sand! My thighs would be like steel if I did that every day (alas, I do not, and thus, my thighs are nowhere near steel-state [but perhaps a softer metal, like gold {oh! gold thighs!}]).

We also took a bunch of photos on a huge concrete wall above the beach. It was a foggy day (welcome to San Francisco), but Kelty made it look magical.
Check it out-here's that cool "sky prop" I was telling ya'll about! Looks pretty good, doesn't it!? And free, to boot.

Fake running is scary when there is a 20 foot drop on one side of you.

Here are the noise makers. The mister hated them because they were so loud and obnoxious, but I love them (probably because I can be loud and obnoxious-we're kindred spirits, noise makers and I).

That's us in the mirror at a snack stand by Stow Lake. I used to come here with my family as a kid and get blocks of pink popcorn (did anyone else used to eat that stuff? I think it might actually be dyed styrofoam).

Mr. Pin Cushion got reprimanded by his mom (a ballet dancer and teacher) because of his flexed feet during the leaps! On the other hand, nobody mentioned my awesome jazz hands!

A little belly action . . .

For this shot, Kelty asked some teenagers skating by to do some tricks behind us. She captured it perfectly! Props (I don't think I'm cool enough to say that) and thanks to those skaters.

And I think these pictures below are my favorite. They are just totally ridiculous.
It looks like my nostrils are about a mile wide-that's hot.

The mister and I think we're going to bring back the glasses for some wedding shots. We've already gotten some extra use out of them for my grandma's 92nd birthday:
Doesn't she manage to look graceful in those glasses? I don't know how she does that.

What crazy props are other people using in their engagement shoots? The crazier the better, in my books! I'd love to hear some wacky ideas, and perhaps steal them for our photo booth!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

This Venue is Juuuust Right

After looking at a lot of venues that weren't the perfect bowl of porridge (lumpy with lots of brown sugar [porridge is like cream of wheat, right?]), we found one that fit us just right: Radonich Ranch, which is in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The venue's website wooed us right from the start with these photos:

[Source, by Loren Weltsch Photography]

My parents, the pin-ster and I visited the site (unplanned and unannounced, as per usual) and we were all smitten. It had everything we were looking for: it was outside, we could have the ceremony in the same location and . . . well I guess that was really all we had thought about what we had wanted. But even without a pre-determined set of criteria, we knew the site was awesome. It had a pond! And trees! And cafe lights!

We stopped being venue spies and finally made an actual appointment to meet with the coordinator, Marky. She was a doll, and if we had not already been sold on the site, she would have won us over. We learned that the venue came with catering, the waitstaff, the reception flowers, non-alcohol drinks, the tables, chairs, tableware and linens. Whoopee!! Less stress on The Pin Cushions to figure all of those details out!

We loved the site, we loved the perks and we loved the coordinator. We booked Radonich Ranch for our wedding day and phew, it sure felt good to finally have something pinned down!

Here's the venue at night (I might find myself zoning out on my wedding day staring at the sparking lights . . . shiny . . .):

Now for quick tour around the grounds, with your tour guide, Ms. Pin Cushion (tips are not necessary but always appreciated [I accept coins, cookies and high fives]). Photos by moi, spy style.

Straight ahead, you'll see the main building, which houses the kitchen, and a large room where the buffet will be set up.

Behind the main building is the beverage area, complete with vintage coke ice chests and wine barrel bar.

Further along, you'll find the ceremony site.

Across from the main building is a barn, of sorts (Mr. PC wants everyone to know it doesn't smell like animal [except maybe PARTY animals]), which is the where music and dancing and general merriment will occur.

And lastly, we have a pond. Everyone keep their hands and feet in the vehicle, we don't want any drownings on this tour.

How many places did you visit before finding the venue that felt "just right"? And, out of pure curiosity, how do you take your porridge? Lumpy or non-lumpy?

This Venue's Too . . .

Why must the first wedding decision you have to make --the venue-- be the decision with the most long-term consequences? Your venue dictates the 'feel' of your wedding, if it's going to be outdoors or inside, how many people you can invite, and so many more important issues! It seems that you should be eased into weddings . . . like choosing your cake flavors first!

After the pin-ster and I had been engaged for about 9 months, we decided it was (finally) time to crack down on the venue choice. We scoped out locations online and narrowed our options down from approximately one kajillion to a handful of possible locations. We didn't call ahead, or set up any appointments to meet with coordinators. We just winged it (wung it?) on our own, rogue-style.

Our first stop was Hacienda de las Flores in Moraga (due east of Berkeley). The location was beautiful, flowers were blooming everywhere (I guess the "Flores" part of their name is true), and the grass was Wizard of Oz-technicolor green.

The ceremony site (set up for an upcoming wedding)

Looking good, my man!

The inside was small (yes, we snuck in . . . the door was open [shh, don't tell])

Though the site was very pretty, as the sun moved overhead, it got hot. Shirt sticking to your back hot. And we just not going for the "very very dewy look" on our wedding day. Moraga can get hot as hades in the summer, so after checking the place out, we decided that . . . this venue's TOO HOT.

We took our dripping selves back to the car to head to the next stop (after re-fueling at Taco Bell for some double decker tacos!). Piedmont Community Hall is a city owned (read: bargain price) location which looked promising.

You can have your ceremony in front of the groovy fountain.

The reception area looked bodacious. Big windows, high ceilings, old chandeliers. (Photo taken spy-style [through the windows], due to the whole not-calling-ahead thing.)

The Pincushions liked the Community Hall, but we didn't like that being city-owned, it was open to the public. That meant that during our wedding, we could have extra 'guests' (strangers) roaming by our ceremony, or peeking their heads into our reception. That was a deal breaker for us. So, this venue's . . . TOO CROWDED.

Lastly, along Highway 1, we visited Cypress Meadows in Half Moon Bay. It looked promising on the website. I'll show you the photos we saw of the site online first:

Fab view during the day

and the night. Wowza! [Source for both]

Now here is what the location looked like when we visited. You might noticed a slight difference between their photos and ours. . .

The view when you drive up to the site. Looked just like a house to us.

And in the back, instead of an awesome view, we found this (after peering over a fence). . .

Lots and lots of fog.

We should have known that with the site being right along the coast, fog could be a big problem. We got there in the early evening and it was frigid already. So, Mr. Pin Cushion and I decided that . . . this venue's too FOGGY!

After a day of "not-quite-right" locations, we were a bit discouraged. Did any of you find sites that you liked, but something was not quite right? What were venue deal breakers for you?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Engagement Photo Love: The Romantic

Last summer, my photographer crush arrived to take me and my main squeeze's engagement photos. We picked Kelty (of Steep Street Photography) up from the airport in the morning (Kelty had lived in San Francisco when we "discovered her", but has since moved to Portland. We had already been lured into her photography lair, and booked her anyway).

Mr. Pin Cushion and I had picked Golden Gate Park as our shooting location. But, as anyone who's been there knows, the park is a big as the ocean is wide. Okay, maybe not that big. But it's big. I had created a photo shoot in my head (on paddle boats at Stow Lake, on the carousel), but had failed to convey my vision to . . . um. . . anyone (oops). And for some reason, when Kelty arrived, I still didn't say much.

We ended up just going with the flow and walking through the park together. When someone saw something that piqued our interest, we'd holler, and head over for some shots. I'm glad we ended up doing the shoot this way. It was very casual, and Kelty has such an amazingly creative eye that we ended up with photos that we NEVER would have if I had tried to dictate the shoot.

I'll stop my jibber-jabbering now and show you the photos from our shoot. These pics are the more romantic of the session. All photos taken by the suberb-fantastic-wonderful Kelty from Steep Street Photography.

Mr. PC and I climbed through some bushes to get the "right in the greenery" look.

Kelty does neat-o things with focus. My eyeball never looked so good!

I provided some smirks while Mr. Pin-ster laughed at me.

Smooches with my honey

I couldn't keep my eyes open when we were on the quilt. The sun was blaring down, and Kelty kept saying, "One. Two. Three. Open" and I'd try to open my eyes for a split second. But they kept tearing up. Which made me start laughing that I was crying. It was a mess. A fun mess.

We danced (which is quite embarrassing when you're in an amphitheater and you don't know what you're doing and someone is snapping photos of you)

We acted sassy (check out my hip bump-whoa nelly!)

Then while wandering around we (fine, it was all Kelty [geesh, you don't have to grill me]) found this awesome tree.

Isn't it gnarly? And gnarled?

Kelty made it even cooler with her mad Photoshop skills!

And of course we couldn't get through the engagement shoot without some smooching.

Doesn't it look like we are standing in front of a green screen and this windmill was added later? (Also, Caution: awkward kissing photo)

Was your engagement shoot well planned out, or did you throw caution to the wind (break for a philosophical question: who ends up with that caution when it lands again?) and let it just go with the flow?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Photographer Crush

Last summer I developed a crush. In fact, it was a bit more than a crush. It was a semi-obsession. But don't worry, it was a love affair that happened online. And Mr. Pin Cushion knew about it. This obsession was (okay, still is) with our photographer. I stumbled across her photography blog one day (after clicking from link to link and not remembering how I got to where I was) and fell in love. I had hardly looked for a wedding photographer, but when I saw this blog, I felt that I didn't need to look any further. (I don't normally 'believe' in love at first sight . . . but perhaps love at first blog-site?)

The blog that I speak of is http://www.steepstreet.blogspot.com/. And my crush is on the fabulous photographer behind the blog, Kelty Luber of Steep Street Photography. Kelty is creative (how I would love to have a few strands of her artsy-craftsy DNA) and has a unique eye. Indulge me by checking out some of her photos (the kind that helped kindle my crush):

All photos from Steep Street Photography
(the second photo is an underwater engagement session-groovy!!)

After oggling her site for quite a while, I contacted Kelty. She was as fabulous as I had anticipated, and we arranged an engagement shoot for a time when I would be home in the Bay Area. After meeting with her for the shoot, my crush only grew deeper (don't tell the mister, he might get jealous). Kelty is a stunning 6 foot tall redhead, she's super-fly and has creativity seeping out of her pores. I want to be her when I grow up (wait, she's only a year older than me? Dag nabbit!).

As a teaser, here are two photos from the engagement session we had with Kelty:

What wedding crushes have you developed throughout your planning (that you have or haven't told your significant other about)?