The Westin Hotel - Take Two

Patti and John's wedding venue, The Westin San Jose was set up beautifully and only needed family and guests to fill the room to make their day memorable.  This sounds like an elegant start to any wedding, but for this couple their wedding day was even more meaningful because of the unexpected.

As a photographer I began my day as I usually do with a pre wedding walk through and meetings with the wedding planner, her assistants and the other vendors.  All of us vendors on this particular day were banning together a little tighter than usual.  Wedding planner, Chrystal with Amazae Events was her impressive self and had all of the staff and the venue move our schedules around to accommodate our important couple.  Our wonderful client and bride to be Patti had an unexpected attack of debilitating sciatic nerve pain, which almost caused a rescheduling of her wedding altogether.  But after a visit to the doctor Friday night Patti told her soon to be husband in the emergency room, the wedding must go on.  Instead of the wedding beginning Saturday afternoon we simply shifted to Sunday morning without missing a step.

As a result of Patti's strength and determination to keep her wedding weekend in motion the couple and their families were filled with immense gratitude throughout every minute of the day, the appreciation was palpable from my end of the lens.

I began by photographing John along with his son's getting ready in their hotel room, smiles were plentiful, these men were truly enjoying themselves.  Their lapel pins which read "When pigs fly" (as an inside joke) had a double meaning on this day which was absolutley fitting.


With a few instructions on how to pose, our bride was set for pre wedding portraits.  In the images below I matched the same style of photographing the subject backlit into window light.

The Westin San Jose which is located in the heart of the downtown, and across the street from the annual Christmas in the Park, has beautiful backgrounds for photographing portraits.  Furthermore, what was absolutely perfect about this hotel meshing with our couple was the fact there literally was six visually captivating backgrounds which were all connected to each other by no more than 50', formal bride and groom portraits were very much a walk in the park. 


I used off camera lighting equipment in tandem with my assistants help for all but one of the portraits.  I like to created portraits using lighting equipment whenever possible, doing so lends towards a colorful and saturated look. 

Our bride Patti peaked around the corner to see how the guys portrait session was going.

Then it was time for the ceremony to begin, the amount of window light in the ceremony room was amazing!

Here I photographed the couple using a gridded strobe to accent and pull the focus towards them through light control.  Creating this photo was exciting (translation) this is a portfolio shot.

After a quick elevator ride back to the main floor the ceremony room was flipped to become the reception, and I took advantage of the natural light and photographed the couple before the guests entered the room, the entire ceiling was made of glass.

Here I photographed the flowers and cake in my usual style which creates a soft gradient of accent light.  Cake by: Studio Cake in Menlo Park and Flowers by: Nicole Ha  

I had a nostalgic feeling regarding this particular wedding as the day went on, I didn't realize why until John's son spoke about his father and his career as the managing editor at the San Jose Mercury Newspaper.  You see my father was also a newspaper man, I myself used to walk into the San Francisco Chronicle & Examiner as a young boy to see the inner workings of the newsroom lead by my father's hand.  I even began my photography career as a photojournalist at the Palo Alto Daily News before moving on to becoming a wedding and NBA photographer.  I was connected during the speeches and felt very much at home capturing the love and laughter of this group.    


By the end of the wedding it was easy to see that you can make a relatively subtle change in the timeline and know you made every step count with ease.  When you let the day naturally unfold and rely on the people around you to help you through an important day, you'll find going off script gains everybody's understanding of how meaningful this day truly was.