Archives for July 2015

St. Elizabeth Seton Church Wedding in Pleasanton | Michele and Nathan

The evening before the wedding at rehearsal, I noticed Michele looked a little stressed, so I just casually mentioned to her to just not worry too much and enjoy the wedding day — for sure things will go wrong — they always do, but everything doesn’t have to be perfect to make a wedding day perfect.

Fast forward to the next day…  Albert and I ran into Nathan in the lobby of the beautiful Rose Hotel on Main Street in Pleasanton.  He was on his way out to grab something so we headed to Michele’s suite to take some getting-ready shots.  Michele was still at the salon a few blocks away, but her bridesmaids were there to open the door for us, and we thought we’d get some detail shots while we waited.  You can tell Michele has impeccable taste — check out that dress…


And all the jewelry, accessories, and special keepsakes…


As Michele arrived soon after, she slipped into her gown.


Mom and Dad were there to help.  Dad would later play the saxophone at the Church so he was a little anxious.  Who wouldn’t be if you were performing in front of a couple hundred family and friends at your daughter’s wedding, right?


That’s Marian, Michele’s sister and Matron of Honor, and her daughter, Sierra, the flower girl.  I’d love to see them re-enact the shot on the left in 20 years or so…


Several doors down, Nathan and his groomsmen were getting ready and showing their allegiance to the DubNation at the same time.  I can just imagine this bunch chanting W-A-R-R-I-O-R-S   W-A-R-R-I-O-R-S  at Roaracle!


And in true Warriors fashion, the bridesmaids wore yellow.  Bridesmaids.  By the way, where are the rest of the bridesmaids???  Michele was wondering the same thing, so I went out to check, and they were huddled in the bathroom, almost like a team timeout.  Apparently there was a “wardrobe malfunction”.  The zipper was stuck really good on a bridesmaid’s dress, and none of the suggestions from Google or YouTube seemed to be helping…

So Michele’s Dad jumped in…


He somehow managed to free the zipper, but now the zipper wouldn’t zip up.  It was T minus 50 minutes ’til the start of the ceremony.  And we were a good 10 minutes away from the church.  Yikes!

Desperation set in, and ideas were going through everyone’s head.  Sew the dress on permanently?  Find another yellow dress?  Wait, where DO you find another yellow dress?

So as a photographer, mind you a wedding photographer (ahem), we’re professionally trained not to panic, because well, th*ings happen and we have to solve problems on the fly.  So I sat in my virtual Blue’s Clues thinking chair and just “Think Think Think…”

My first thought was “hmmm, gaffer’s tape can fix anything” (gaffer’s tape is similar to duct tape without the mess).  We can certainly tape the dress together!  That’s the most stupid and silly idea said to self, but heck, it might just work — and I do have gaffer’s tape…

Then a little common sense started flowing in my brain.  How about a dry cleaner?  They usually do alterations…  And then something even better struck me.  There’s a bridal shop right on Main Street!  I pass by it all the time.  Who would understand bridesmaid dresses more than a bridal shop!  If anything, they might even have a spare yellow dress!  So I summoned my friend, Yelp! and sure enough, J’aime Bridal was just a block away from the Rose Hotel.  But would they be open on a Saturday?  After what seemed like three very looong rings while everyone held their breaths, a lady picks up and it’s not a recording — YES!!!  I explained what was going on while everyone looked on, and she quickly asked for the color of the dress and told us to come by and she’ll take care of it.  What???!!!  It’s now 45 minutes ’til ceremony, and three bridesmaids jammed out with the dress.

15 minutes later, as we were in the lobby waiting for the limo, I peeked outside the hotel, and lo and behold…


J’aime Bridal had just replaced the yellow broken zipper with supposedly an industrial-strength one, and all within a span of 15 minutes from when I called!  Crisis averted and we are going to have a fine day after all!

With all that going on, I realized we still had not taken a photo of Michele and her full entourage, so right before the girls rushed to the limo to head out to St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church, I had them line up along the stairs and took a shot on the right below.  That would be the only shot I got of all of them together at the beautiful hotel!


As we got to the church, everyone was just starting to get seated.  The church is beautiful and certainly very unique in architecture.

MicheleNathan_Preview_PROOFING_11 MicheleNathan_Preview_PROOFING_12

Just before the ceremony, Ruben (my awesome 2nd shooter), captured the groomsmen making sure Nathan was all prepped for the ceremony.  I’m not sure what’s going on with the 2nd shot, but for the sake of other grooms out there, I sure hope this isn’t a new tradition (hahaha!).


And so, the ceremony began…







Dad with the sax… and he nailed it!


The kiss sealed the deal, and we have the new Mr. and Mrs. Gabriel.  Congratulations!


And a beautiful ceremony it was.

Right afterward, we caravanned the two limos to a small hidden neighborhood park to capture a few quick fun portraits of the bridal party.  Everyone was genuinely awesome, and I wish we had more time before we needed to head out for the reception.


The reception was held at the Blue Agave Club restaurant right next to the fame Pleasanton sign on Main Street.  The building began as a residence some 150 years ago with quite a story in itself as a mainstay in old Pleasanton which, by the way, held a reputation in the 1850’s as “The Most Desperate Town in the West”.  Gunslingers, brothels, you name it — this little sleepy suburb town had it!


Summer outdoor receptions with quaint stringy lights are just so perfect, and Michele and Nathan had the restaurant decorated with a thousand origami cranes.  It’s believe that a thousand cranes will bring a thousand years of happiness and prosperity on the couple.  And the couple’s bright yellow and blue fit beautifully with Blue Agave Club’s bold colors.




And once dinner and formal toasts were over, there was a few backroom toasts with what looked like some strong water…


Nathan put on his white top hat just in time for the first dance on the back patio of the restaurant.


A surprise “Cupid Shuffle” flash mob?  Yes, and you can tell everyone had practiced and were in sync!



And apparently, Nathan wanted to give Michele a lap dance that she’ll remember for the rest of her life!


A beautiful day, a beautiful couple, beautiful family and friends, and a beautiful ending.  What more can you ask for?  Just like I had told Michele, things don’t have to go perfectly to make a wedding day perfect.  And this was no exception.  Simply a perfect wedding day!

Photography: Alex Win Studios (
Church: St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church (
Hotel: The Rose Hotel (
Reception: Blue Agave Club (
DJ: DJ Wreck (
Flowers: Flowerstory (

A special thanks to the wonderful folks at J’aime Bridal who went above and beyond in helping save the day.  You really don’t see this type of service everyday.

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