Monday, July 14, 2008

Pearl and Kevin's Wedding. San Francisco

Ceremony at St. Mark's Lutheran Church and reception at Far East Cafe - both in San Francisco.

Pearl and Kevin met at work several years ago and now they are getting married! She arrived at St. Mark's right on time in a classic silver Bentley and made her way out of sight into a private room to put on her dress. Kevin and the guys waited upstairs. The ceremony was made more memorable by the gifts they presented their parents - framed origami hearts made with cranes. Afterwards, Pearl and Kevin made sure we had some time to swing by the Ferry Building and their wedding night hotel (Hotel Vitale) for some pictures.

Asian societies tend to have BIG wedding banquets and this was no exception. Guests occupied the entire second floor at the Far East Cafe - a large restaurant right in the middle of Chinatown. On display was an impressive arrangement of origami cranes which Pearl folded during the engagement - a Japanese tradition. How great will that look hanging on their wall! There was also a certificate of recognition from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors as well as several prominent Chinese political figures in attendance.

It would not be a Chinese wedding without a lion dance! The large dance floor provided plenty of room for 3 lions. Chinatown lion dance troupes always put on a good show and this particular one was performed with minimal substitutions. Impressive, considering the number of lifts they pulled off. They even brought their own large urn of wine as you will note in one of the photographs (that is the Chinese word for alcohol).

Pearl made 3 clothing changes and showed off her final dress, a stunning custom red qi pao. (FYI, Dragon Seed seems to be THE place to have one made). Towards the end of the banquet Remy was flowing as Pearl, Kevin, and their parents toasted each of the 30+ tables. And don't forget those Chinese wedding games. There was to be no dancing so we took our photographic party to the streets and alleys of Chinatown. Virtually deserted, we could walk down the middle of Grant, undisturbed. How very different from the daylight hours. I think we got some great shots, my favorite of which is probably Pearl and Kevin in the back seat of their silver Bentley ready to go back to the hotel. Very 40's-esque.

Pearl was raised in San Francisco but Kevin's family was originally from Honolulu, many of whom still call Hawaii home. They plan on hosting a reception on Oahu as well which is one lucky reason they called on me. I'll be traveling with them next month to photograph the big Tanaka celebration. While there, we will also work our way around the island taking advantage of the beautiful tropical scenery as a backdrop. Can't wait! Can I survive on shaved ice, spam musubi's, Zip Pac's, and malasadas? I'll try! Will I gain weight? Probably :(

Floral Arrangements: Sweetheart Florist
Cake: Schubert's Bakery

Friday, July 11, 2008

Melissa and Ed's Wedding. Palo Alto

Ceremony at Valley Presbyterian Church in Portola Valley and reception at the Garden Court Hotel in Palo Alto.

Many thanks to my friend Angela for introducing me to Melissa and Ed just before she moved back East. Melissa and Ed met in Boston as graduate students. When asked, Ed said he decided to post-doc on the West Coast in order to be closer to Melissa - they were not really dating at the time. The makings of a master plan if you ask me :) The plan was well calculated because now they are getting married!

When we arrived at Melissa's home hair and makeup were already done and everyone was sitting down for a snack. What!!??, you are AHEAD of schedule? The biggest favor you can give your wedding photographer is time. Melissa and Ed made sure I had plenty of it as we stopped to shoot around Central Park in San Mateo and University Ave. in Palo Alto. THANK YOU!

The ceremony and reception were relaxed and uncomplicated punctuated by some humorous toasts taking us from college to present day. Check out the donkey and elephant Pez dispensers Angela is holding. Seems that Ed and Melissa some amusing political differences. Towards the end, I was half expecting the Rebar's to Polka but instead we got a big family sing-a-long. How very unique! I also must admit I never figured Ed for a eurobeat dance-club kind of guy. Surprise, surprise; he requested more songs that night than anyone else and most were easily recognizable "Asian anthems". At least that is what us Asian 30-somethings call them nowadays - Joy Division/New Order, Erasure, Pet Shop Boys, Dead or Alive... That's an easy way to keep me at a wedding - keep playing songs I grew up on.

Catering: Il Fornaio, Garden Court Hotel
Floral Arrangements: Stacey Miller Designs
Cake: Copenhagen Bakery and Cafe