A Bride's Story // Jenna + Ryan

We love hearing about our client's wedding day from their perspective. It's so fun to tell a complete story with their words and our images. Here are some snippets from a past bride, Jenna, who married her soulmate at St. Brigid Church in Pacific Beach followed by a reception at Scripps Seaside forum. 

"Our wedding was truly the best day. I am still smiling just writing and thinking about it and wish so bad we could go back and be guests at our own wedding! It felt personal and felt genuine to me and Ryan.  I loved the traditional aspect of getting married in the church and the moment of being on my dad’s arm and looking into Ryan’s eyes; they are two best men I know. I loved reading our vows and professing our love to each other in front of our best family and friends. I loved taking photos at the beach with everyone and having FUN! That was awesome. I loved that in every direction I looked all day there were family, friends and people from all different seasons of our lives. I loved just being with Ryan and looking at each other exclaiming, 'You are my husband!' and 'You are my wife!' " - Jenna

Describe the wedding, what was the style of the day? 
It was simple, natural and stunning. The weather was beautiful in the morning with a gorgeous golden sunrise and then became more overcast during photos and some light sprinkles of good luck rain in the afternoon. It was overwhelming, exciting, JOYOUS, loving - it felt like US. 

What did people wear? 
Girls wore pretty bright dresses with sweaters. Some dresses too short, some just right, some long and flowing. Navy,gray, or black suits for the guys.

Did you have a coordinator?  Was it rad?  Or if you didn't was there any moments you wish you did? 
I did everything leading up to the wedding, but having a day-of coordinator was a huge lifesaver. I didn’t have to think or worry about anything and we floated on a cloud all day.

Honeymoon?  Right away or you've got a year to do it? 
We went to Sedona, AZ for three days after the wedding. It was so nice to relax and unwind amidst the beautiful red rocks! We stayed at L’Auberge which was the perfect spot with little cottages and a creek side restaurant. We went to New Zealand for a full honeymoon a few months later which was EPIC. 

What was your first dance song? 
It was a mash-up of  "Forever and Ever, Amen" by Randy Travis and "Whatever It Is" by Zac Brown Band. Our DJ/Musician Michael Tiernan was unforgettable. 

Who did your florals and what were they?  What was your favorite part of the florals? 
Plenty of Petals. They were free-flowing and natural looking, but stunning. They were pastel colored with pops of bright colors. I loved my bouquet and also the long garland of eucalyptus and bunches of flowers on our sweetheart table.

Did you do a first look or wait to meet at the end of the aisle? 
We met at the end of the isle. I could see Ryan's face when I peered through the window right before my dad and I walked down the isle. We were both so nervous, but so excited to see each other. He accidentally tried to take me away from my dad before I could hug my dad or mom!

Where did you get your shoes? 
My mom found them on sale from Nordstrom’s and I was in love with them. My favorite color is green. They had to be green.

Did you do the chicken dance? 
No, but we did a conga line to locomotion!

Did you toss the bouquet?  Any funny stories there? 
I did! My sisters friend Cassie who came from Texas caught it. She literally didn’t put it down all night, took it with her on the plane home, and then framed it. She was pretty excited.

What song got everyone dancing? 
"Uptown Funk" by Bruno Mars. 

Did the flower girl/ring bearer make it down the aisle? 
Yes, but there is a baptismal font in the middle of the isle (a small barrier to getting down) and when they got to it they didn’t know what to do and started doing loops around it! Finally someone from the front called them to walk the rest of the way down. 

What is the funniest story from your day? 
One of my favorite moments was right after the Best Man’s speech. Mark (best man) had talked about how him and Ryan (groom) were pretty nerdy in high school. He mentioned a time in the car on the way home from a football game that they made up hand motions to the Tom Petty song "Running Down a Dream". Right when Mark put the mic down to end his speech, the DJ in perfect timing cued up the song and everyone cheered for them to do the hand motions! It was hilarious and totally impromptu which made it even better.

I also forgot my veil at the Crystal Pier Cottages (where we stayed) and right before it was time to get everyone together to start walking down the aisle I realized it! My sister’s husband bolted to the car, to the pier and had the veil back to the church in less than seven minutes flat. We made it.

Lastly, I got food poisoning on Thursday night before our wedding and was in the ER getting IV’s on Friday morning. The doctor told me it was his mission to get me to the church on time! Haha it was not ideal but Ryan really had to prove his vows in those last 48 hours (in sickness and in health!).

Chelsea and Alex : A Mount Woodson Wedding

“I think we ought to live happily ever after.” ― Diana Wynne Jones

Congratulations Chelsea and Alex.  It's been a wild ride.  I'm so grateful for the two of you.  

I met Chelsea at a wedding.  She was Christine Ahn and Michael's coordinator at San Diego Museum of Art.  I was bowled over.  She is such a pro and her commitment intrigued me.  I knew this was a girl I wanted to spend time with.  Over the years I followed her career and loved staying in touch.  I was thrilled with her boyfriend Alex reached out to me when he was ready to propose.  I'll never forget Alex proposing and the way Chelsea just nodded her head up and down with tears in her eyes while holding her breath.  All day long I thought of this moment when their wedding journey started.  It's humbling.  I am in awe of these two and wildy happy for them.

xoxo Suzanne

Coordinator: Lavish Wed

Hotel: Hilton Doubletree Golf Resort

Ceremony/Reception Venue: Mt. Woodson Castle 

Caterer/Bar Service/Rentals/Linens: Personal Touch Dining

Florist: Grand Floral

Cake: Michele Coulon

DJ: Party People San Diego

Makeup: Makeup By Olivia

Hair: SoCal Hair & Makeup

Photographer: SheWanders Photography

One Pic : Tori

Dear friend,

I'm going to your celebration of life.  I did not imagine this is somewhere I'd go.

I know we haven't seen each other as often since the kiddos but I thought like all our friends with kids we would lose you for awhile and eventually find our way back.  Mike and I have struggled for so long to get pregnant.  I loved how easy it was for you and Austin.  I looked up to you and how you were able to spend so much time with the babes, travel, design, and create a life that you loved with Austin.  These are my dreams for mike and I.  I want them so badly for you.  For Austin. For your sister.  For your mom and dad.  For all of your fun friends.  For Lucca and Golden.

We will remember you.  We will keep your name on our lips.  We will make sure Golden and Lucca know their mom was a visionary, fun, and wildly compassionate.

Thank you for being my friend.  Thank you for sharing your life with us.  I so wished we pestered you a little more and didn't wait patiently for the kids to get a little older.

I'm so glad you took the world by storm.  I'm so glad you shine so bright.

We love you and your family Tori.  You are in our hearts.


Kenzie and Colin's Rehearsal Dinner

I love meeting my friends at Herringbone for amazing cocktails. Naturally, I was so excited when Kenzie mentioned it was their rehearsal dinner location and also the spot where Colin had proposed a few months back.  How special is that?!  I was really excited to get to know Kenzie and Colin's family - they were so friendly and kind to me. The speeches were incredibly heartfelt and I loved the challenge of shooting in a happening restaurant.  This definitely set the tone for an epic three-day event.

xoxo Suzanne


Inside Out :: Shewanders Wedding Season

Dear Wanderers,

Stamped in your memory may be an image of us climbing on top of furniture, ducking around 150 of your closest friends and family and doing pretty much anything we can to capture ‘the’ moment.

Yikes, that made us sound more like FBI agents than photographers.

Anyways, we wanted to give you a sneak peak into what it’s like behind the Shewanders lens during our wild, emotional, exhausting, unforgettable time of the year…wedding season.

This year we shot 29 weddings,
snapped over 80,000 images,
and clocked over 300 hours of editing.

We captured everything from a three-day destination wedding in Newport Rhode Island, a gorgeous engagement session at a lighthouse in Maine, underwater diving adventures in Bali, the ever ubiquitous tops of mountains that Mike finds himself upon and epic weddings all throughout beautiful San Diego and Malibu.

Phew. I’m tired.

When you see us working at a wedding, we are undoubtedly in the passion zone. Many people who know me outside of work think of me as this sweet, laid back gal (which I am most of the time), but when it comes to wedding day, all bets are off. We stick to the schedule, kindly boss people around and are serious about capturing every possible moment for our bride and groom.

The night before a wedding is my time to get prepared. You can find me resting quietly and calmly in my thoughts. I eat a big dinner, read or watch something really easy going, take a walk with my husband Mike, and triple check that everything is ready to go.

On my way to weddings, I love listening to The Beatles, Mom Jeans Jams playlist and “Here Comes the Sun”. I am crazy about being on time, so I have plenty of extra minutes to pump up with some feel good lyrics.

I love everything about the wedding day, but my favorite moment, hands down, is the ceremony. It is so magical because everyone’s emotions are bursting at the seams. It’s humbling and beautiful.

In order to create our natural and organic Shewanders vibe, I am most interested in capturing people’s faces and the natural movement and interaction between them. I love light and the way it can pour into a lens. I use open shade, back lighting, side lighting and rembrandt lighting to add joy to the day.

From start to finish, we shoot about 2,500 images and end up delivering about 800 perfect shots after removing all duplicates and imperfections. We also use 3-6 different lenses depending on the day.

Some post-wedding nights feel like Christmas eve and I will stay up all night pouring through them because I am too excited to wait! Other times, I have given it everything possible during the day and will wait until the morning to see the beauty come to life all over again.

With the high demands of being ‘on’, it’s important for me to refresh and take some down time. I am able to recharge with my morning page journaling, lunch by the sea, staring at the movement of the ocean, body surfing, playing with my nephew, painting and goofing around in Photoshop and a cold IPA with Mike in North Park.

Some other wedding season remedies include vitamins, comedies, yoga, swimming, laughing with Gaiden who keeps me on my toes and Sunday football with my family.

Lastly, my trick to staying creative throughout the year: gratitude. I feel so blessed that incredible people hire us every season to witness and document their wedding days. It’s such a joy. I also do a lot of personal work and photograph my own family as well. It keeps me experimenting and sharp at my craft.

Wedding season 2015, that’s a wrap.

XOXO and some Z's,

Write here...

Ayisha and Matt : A New Children's Museum Wedding

“How do you spell 'love'?" - Piglet"You don't spell it...you feel it." - Pooh”― A.A. Milne

Venue: New Children's Museum

Florist: Isari 

Rentals: Farm Tables and More & Classic & Raphaels

Photographer: Shewanders

DJ: Still Listening 

Coordinator: Luxe Events

Designer: Luxe Events

Caterer: Root Cellar 

Bar: SD Culinary Center

Dessert: Donut Bar