Marina + Eugene | Palace Hotel Wedding

Marina and Eugene chose the historic Palace Hotel to host their elegant wedding. A beautiful Chuppah by Miracle Chuppahs adorned the Sunset Court, where the ceremony was held, and the guests held their breath as Marina was escorted down the aisle by her parents. I watched Eugene through the lens of my camera. He was completely fixated on his bride. As the couple stepped up onto the chuppah, Cantor Martin Feldman filled the court with his singing and chanting. He spoke meaningful words from Jewish tradition, and personal words about the couple. While the mood of the ceremony was reverent and joyful, the party really got into full swing once the guests flooded into the gorgeous Garden Court. Between mouthwatering dishes served up by Beli Deli, and rockin’ dance sets by Dima Greenberg and his band, friends upon friends took the microphone and delivered their wishes to the bride and groom. These toasts came in all forms – as songs, as poems, as prose, as games. Later in the evening, a friend of the couple, George Komsky, took the stage and delivered an incredible operatic performance, dedicated to Marina and Eugene. It was at that moment, as the aria rang through the vast atrium of the hotel, that the vision for this wedding film came together in my mind. I provided the photography for Marina and Eugene’s wedding as well, and you can read more about the wedding in that post. But for the moment, please enjoy this Marina and Eugene’s wedding highlight film, and let it be a window into that beautiful night.

Ani + Val | Stewart’s Cove Carmel Wedding

On a warm fall day, with the sand at their feet and the waves behind them, Ani and Val were married by a friend, surrounded by friends. Friendship was the theme of the day. It was the foundation upon which Ani and Val had built their love, and the foundation upon which that love will endure. It was a day for friends to celebrate, to contribute, to toast and to provide support when things didn’t always go according to plan. A long sand staircase led guests down to the beach at Stewart’s Cove, where Ani and Val tied the knot. The legendary and meaningful ceremony was conducted by a close friend. After the ceremony and wedding pictures on the beach, everyone headed back to the Carmel Mission Inn for an awesome party. Ani and Val knocked everyone’s socks off with a surprise first dance performance, and glass after glass of champagne went down as the toasts kept coming. There were some awesome games to keep everyone on their toes, and the dancing continued well into the night. For a comprehensive story of their day, take a look at Ani and Val’s wedding photographs! Congrats, Ani and Val!

Mariel + Jon | Outer Banks North Carolina Wedding

On this day of the winter solstice, I am proud to present the wedding of Mariel and Jon, whose ceremony took place on the day of the fall equinox. Mariel and Jon invited their clans to join them in the Outer Banks (OBX), in North Carolina, and their ceremony was meant to happen on the beach, on that day of the equinox, when Nature would be in perfect balance. There was a very personal reason why the ceremony would have to take place there, but Nature, of course, had other plans, and the entire day toggled between ominous clouds, sunshine and rain. The decision to do the ceremony on the beach was a brave last-minute call, but I think that the universe, at that moment, respected the couple’s audacity, and withheld rain for the duration of the ceremony. Mariel and Jon’s connection was so strong, the energy of their community was so intent, so focused, that the ceremony evoked every ounce of emotion from those present, including myself. After the deed was done, the guests retreated to the beach house from the sudden rainstorm which followed almost immediately. The experience of documenting Mariel and Jon’s wedding day, and the experience of having to re-live it while making this film was intensely spiritual and meaningful for me. One thing I’ve realized this year, is that it seems I’m unable to detach, to distance myself as an observer. Mariel and Jon invited me to North Carolina and gave me the opportunity to be a part of their day, perhaps because they already sensed this in my work. I am honored to create this memory for them. Mariel and Jon saw the film and said:

“Excellent work Sasha! Thank you for making such a beautiful piece.”

Inna + Alex | Osher Marin JCC Wedding

When a couple invites you to document their wedding, you have a choice to make. You can either be an outsider, a fly on the wall, and record the wedding day from its periphery; or, you can find creative ways to get closer to capturing the moments. It’s a balancing act to stay unobtrusive and yet to get close enough to the emotion and capture what it truly feels like. Leading up to their wedding day, Inna and Alex had passionately rehearsed their first dance (and continued to rehearse it beautifully on the day itself, before the reception). They seemed so connected, so effortless, so light on their feet. As I watched them, I immediately sensed the importance of this dance: much like the wedding itself, the couple’s first dance was the culmination of months of effort, and an occasion for their community to come together and admire the elegance, youth, vibrancy and physical connection that radiate from a man and his wife on their wedding day. That wedding day took place at the Osher Jewish Community Center in Marin, where over 200 guests gathered for the ceremony and celebration. Before the ceremony, we traveled to the Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco to get some fun and beautiful footage. We crossed the Golden Gate Bridge to Marin, and just a couple hours later, the couple were standing together beneath the beautiful chuppah, arranged by Jane’s Roses. Inna and Alex exchanged rings, symbolically setting one another aside from the rest of the world. The Rabbi reminded the guests that the breaking of the glass is a way of acknowledging sadness and injustice that existed in the world, despite the happiness of the day. After it passed from his brother, to his father, to him, Alex placed the glass under his foot and shattered it. After this moment, the couple sprinted together down the aisle, and an evening of revelry ensued. Being a Jewish-Russian wedding, the tables were packed full of food, vodka and cognac, and a master of ceremonies kept a lively atmosphere going all night. Numerous toasts were offered to the couple, and when the time came, the lights dimmed as Inna and Alex stepped onto the dance floor. It was a privilege to be there with them, literally dancing with the bride and groom. [Cake provided by Have Your Cake; Wedding Coordination by Miracle Events] Inna and Alex saw the film and said:

“We loved it so much!!! You really captured the feel of our day! We are so excited to share this with our family and friends.”

Chez + Craig | Garre Vineyard, Martinelli Event Center Wedding

Chez and Craig have an easy, relaxed energy about them, and obvious chemistry between them. I felt it right away when I first met them to shoot their engagement session at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. That fun, random, sun-soaked afternoon was a perfect predictor of what the wedding day would be like. Right from the start, there was an easy flow to the day, and their ceremony, conducted by a close friend, was one of the most personal I’ve had the privilege of witnessing. Parents were beaming, and both families were obviously thrilled to be united on this day. Cold beer flowed freely during the cocktail hour, which helped guests stave off the heat. The sun glinted off the cobblestones and reflected off the khaki walls of the Martinelli courtyard, creating some very fascinating ‘natural’ visual effects. At one moment, the sun bounced into the reception room through the open doors, illuminating only Chez and Craig as they at the head table. Needless to say, the wedding photographs at Martinelli Event Center were super fun. As the day cooled into evening, and the reception got underway, the wedding turned into one huge party. Hats of all kinds, peacock feathers and funky glasses were suddenly abundant. The energy could not be contained, and the dance floor spilled out into the greater reception hall. In the middle of this maelstrom, Chez, her arms adorned with glowsticks, and Craig, in pirate headgear, swayed and bounced contentedly to the beat. Love and authenticity ruled the day. Chez and Craig saw the film and said:

“Thank you! It’s amazing! So glad Dave was caught on camera dancing.”

Sasha + Evgeny | Palace Hotel Wedding

San Francisco is, relatively speaking, a young city, since most buildings were reconstructed after the great 1906 earthquake. And yet, to think of it another way, over 100 years – five generations – have elapsed since the landmark Palace Hotel once again stood above Market Street. When it first opened its doors, horse-drawn carriages still ruled the boulevard below! This setting, which grounds our young San Francisco with its old-world opulence, was the perfect choice for Sasha and Evgeny’s wedding, where youthful energy and beauty blended with timeless Jewish and Russian tradition. Sasha and Evgeny carefully hand-picked the right set of vendors to make their vision of the day come to life, and Inna from Any Occasion Event Planning brought it all together. SF Capitol Limos and Nationwide Limousine together comprised the fleet of autos that ferried the bride, groom and their entourage around town. Supinere Floral Couture and 1st Class Linen Productions beautifully adorned the Sunset Court for the ceremony. When Sasha first walked in to appraise the space, she looked around and proclaimed: “It’s Heaven!”  After she walked down the rose petal-covered aisle, she stood together with Evgeny under the beautiful chuppah (created by artist Carol Attia) where Cantor Feldman presided over a personal and meaningful Jewish ceremony. The Gold Ballroom played host to the extravagant reception, where tables were stocked with a cornucopia of Russian food by Beli Deli. The cake, crafted by Palace’s in-house bakers, towered above the celebration. Regina’s All Stars Band and talented performers lit up the sparkling dance floor. In this grand setting, for this one incredible day, Sasha and Evgeny brought their two worlds together. 200 guests came to celebrate the couple’s marriage, offering songs, poems and eloquent speeches well into the night. Here’s what Sasha and Evgeny said after seeing the film:

“We are so excited about the video and the memories we will now have forever. You really did mean it when you said that you capture the feel of the wedding. We couldn’t have imagined a more perfect highlight video with so many great moments rolled into it. The music you chose and the toasts in the background also added so much to it. It has such a great cinematic quality to it that it feels like we’re watching a movie. Every time I watch it, it brings tears to my eyes. Thank you so much!”

Ashika + Cesar | Wedding at the Bently Reserve

For their San Francisco wedding, Ashika and Cesar were looking for elegance, grandeur, style. They found it at the Bently Reserve. The former home of San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank, the building now plays host to weddings and events, where the guests can take advantage of the old-world feel of this monumental space. Ashika and Cesar’s wedding day itinerary would take guests all over the city of San Francisco, and my team and I were there to capture it all. You can see the wedding photography from Ashika and Cesar’s wedding on Sasha Photography’s blog. The gentlemen got ready at Le Meridien in the heart of San Francisco’s financial district, while the ladies prepped at the couple’s SOMA condo. Old St. Mary’s Cathedral played host to a Catholic mass and a ceremony imbued with meaning. The guests boarded a classic San Francisco trolley, while Ashika and Cesar took the Rolls Royce for a spin, and together we traveled all the way to the  Palace of Fine Arts and the Golden Gate Bridge for our wedding photoshoot. Returning to downtown, we entered the stunning Bently Reserve event center. By itself, the Bently Reserve is an imposing building, but simply a space is nothing without the efforts of all the wonderful vendors who made this day come true for Ash and Cesar. As they made their grand entrance, the atrium was awash in striking orange and purple colors – lighting provided by MEGA Event Production. Enveloped by that gorgeous glow, guests took their places among impeccably decorated tables and stunning centerpieces – all made possible by Jane Hammond Events. The couple and their guests were treated to not one, not two, but three dance performances by a top-notch Indian dance troupe. And if that weren’t enough, at some point in the night, burlesque dancers descended the staircase to kick off the party! With the Catholic ceremony and the abundance of beautiful sari’s and Indian dance, the wedding really struck a balance between Cesar’s Filipino and Ashika’s Indian roots. My own photography and videography teams stayed at the top of their game throughout the day to ensure uninterrupted coverage as we transitioned from place to place. After the guests enjoyed the performances and a delicious meal, DJ Vadim, from DJ Jeremy Productions kept the Bently Reserve dance floor packed and rocking all night! When Ashika and Cesar saw the film, they simply said:

“Thank you Sasha we loved it! You made it look so great!!!!!!!!!”

Derek + Michelle | Wedding at Mountain Winery, Saratoga

If you want to get married at the top of the world, but you just happen to reside in Silicon Valley, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more perfect location than The Mountain Winery in Saratoga. Derek and Michelle found it, and it was perfect. They couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day: a warm November afternoon hung around just long enough to host the couple’s intimate ceremony on the Chateau Deck, and then gave way to a stunning sunset. A warm, clear evening, and the twinkling lights in the valley below made a perfect setting for a lively reception that lasted well into the night. The Mountain Winery is such a fertile location for a wedding film! For a lot more detail about a wedding at The Mountain Winery, check out this helpful article on Sasha Photography’s Blog.

Andy + Jen | Wedding at Casa de Flores

Andy and Jen’s wedding was truly magical. They were married at an intimate place in Sebastopol (near Sonoma) called Casa de Flores. The most positive energy was flowing from the space, from the guests, and most of all, from Andy and Jen themselves. The ceremony was conducted by close friend Tom Kramer, and was overflowing with joy and tears, profound words, singing, and perfect music. It was impossible not to get swept up in the waves of emotion. There was plenty of laughter as well, most memorably while the couple cut into their wedding cake (a gift from a friend). Ultimately, every wedding has its own unique energy. Here’s what Andy had to say when he saw the film for the first time:

“No words I could come up with can do justice to how well this is put together.  It is so rare to give something that will touch the recipient forever, and you have succeeded.  It is the catalyst I’ve been longing for to bring me back to the feeling of that day (me sobbing at my desk just now is a good testament to just how well it worked), and now we can show our loved ones who could not be there just how the day felt with full authenticity.  That’s it, really – you have authentically captured the emotion of the day.  No small feat.”

Elizabeth + Chris | deLorimier Winery Wedding

Elizabeth (Biz) and Chris chose deLorimier Winery for their wedding. Challenging to spell, deLorimier is a vast space nestled in Geyserville (near Sonoma), and the architects of this winery sure knew what they were doing. There are a number of perfect spots at this place: a cottage for the bride to get ready (with a cozy rear garden that opens up into the vineyards), a huge oak tree, where the bride and groom chose to conduct their ceremony, an intimate tasting room and reception area, and of course, endless rows of grapes. It’s clear that from the start, Biz and Chris had spared no details for the enjoyment of their guests, and everyone had a wonderful time. Biz and Chris couldn’t take their eyes off each other, and they almost literally floated around together. The only other thing that was up in the air was the weather. Until almost the very last minute, bride, groom, guests and even the filmmaker trembled under the threat of rain. And then, suddenly, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and the day was perfect.

Here’s what Elizabeth had to say about the film when she saw it for the first time:

“LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! Thank you! Thank you!”