To Venice Beach with Love
With the breathtaking views surrounding the Wayfarers Chapel of the Pacific Ocean and on clear days Catalina Island, as well as the lush trees and garden on the grounds, a grade-A photographer seemed like a no brainer.
When I first inquired about having our wedding ceremony at the Wayfarers Chapel, I was shocked to find out about their restrictions — the 2-hour time limit, instrumental music only, photography and videography only behind the last pew, guests must be instructed that pictures are prohibited during the ceremony. I know exactly what you’re thinking because I was thinking the same thing, too, “What?! Why?” Regardless of the reasons and the restrictions, Josh and I found the site to be beyond beautiful, absolutely worthy, and most importantly meaningful. We just had to make sure we hired a photographer with more than a handful of experience shooting there. Luckily, the Wayfarers had a recommended list of photographers. I visited every single one of their websites to see their portfolios and none were up to my standards. I wanted a photographer with photojournalistic style and whose post-coloration brought out the vibrancy. With the breathtaking views surrounding the Wayfarers Chapel of the Pacific Ocean and on clear days Catalina Island, as well as the lush trees and garden on the grounds, a grade-A photographer seemed like a no brainer.
I had one photographer left on the list and I was left with a feeling of hopelessness. I was thinking, “Well, of course, the photographers aren’t what I want, there are too many restrictions!” But as soon as I pulled up Beautiful Day Photography, the very last on the list, I knew from the opening picture that I had to search no more.
I immediately sent an email to Laura Grier inquiring if she was available — mind you, it was well more than a year from our wedding date. She responded promptly and luckily for me she had not been booked for 12.12.12 yet. I imagined someone would scoop her up as soon as they saw how talented this woman was, so I jumped on it and wrote down her contact information and slapped the Post-it note on the table. Josh came home later that night, saw the note, and said, “Hey, I know her. She does bomb pictures.” I was stoked…it was meant to be!
Nothing progressed from that moment on mostly because the wedding was more than a year away. And in plain fashion, we are procrastinators.
Yes, I know, 12.12.12 is a Wednesday, but people are still going to get hitched on that day because it’s the last of its kind for another 89 years.
Fast forward to 4 months before the wedding…nothing had been booked for any aspect of our wedding other than the ceremony site and the restaurant for the dinner, which I credit to my mom and her persistence. As said in a previous blog post, having the most amazing photographer was #1 on my list and that wasn’t yet solidified. We made contact, again, with Laura and fortunately she was still available. Yes, I know, 12.12.12 is a Wednesday, but people are still going to get hitched on that day because it’s the last of its kind for another 89 years. So I sent the deposit check in the mail and breathed the biggest sigh of relief.
We scheduled our engagement shoot on a Wednesday 7-weeks before the big day and we decided to do it in Venice Beach — the reason Josh wanted to move to Southern California and the home of our favorite Italian restaurant C&O. It’s also where Laura is based, so we knew she’d know exactly where to go. And she didn’t disappoint.
To see a sneak peek of the engagement pictures and to read her blog post of our glorious late afternoon together, here it is! Laura took a ton of amazing photos, so much so that I don’t know what to do with all of them, but here are a few of my favorite shots…+ Read more…
It’s Getting Real
If yesterday was any indicator of how crazy our wedding day is going to be, I better get my rest now.
If yesterday was any indicator of how crazy our wedding day is going to be, I better get my rest now. It started with my makeup and hair trials with Leah and Kristen of Orange County’s own Vanity Belle. Though we had exchanged a few emails in early September, it was already apparent the makeup and hair trials were going to be more fun than just the clear obvious of officially preparing for the actual wedding day. And as it turned out, “fun” was an understatement. Now, I cannot wait to spend the morning of 12.12.12 getting done up and drinking mimosas with the bridal party and the two lovely Vanity Belle ladies, as they promised me they would after applying my eyeliner, of course!
Afterwards, I ran off to get a quick manicure, then got some lipstick to reapply later in the day, and picked up a much needed Venti White Chocolate Mocha for Josh. In all honesty, it was extremely tough for me to go out in public – a nail salon, South Coast Plaza, and Starbucks – with the massive amount of makeup I had on. Mind you, it looked great in pictures as it was intended for the engagement shoot later in the day. But seeing me first hand with the naked eye, I looked like a red cheeked clown. Josh’s descriptor for my photo ready makeup was not as kind, but it did anything but offend me. I could only imagine how thrown off people must have been with the amount of makeup I had on and the perfectly coifed hair before noon.
Having dated and lived with Josh, I have grown accustomed to the way he functions, and instead of getting mad or being frustrated, I’ve worked the system.
As usual, Josh was anything but prepared for the day’s engagement shoot and was picking out his outfits shortly before leaving for L.A. I anticipated things turning out that way, so it wasn’t anything out of Katrina’s master plan for the day. Having dated and lived with Josh, I have grown accustomed to the way he functions, and instead of getting mad or being frustrated, I’ve worked the system. Instead of telling him we had to be out the door by 1:30pm, I told him 12:30 and sure enough we were on our way when we needed to be.
…it was nerve racking for me to actually confront the final decision about keeping my last name, taking his, or hyphenating.
Before the engagement shoot, we made a quick stop at the LAX Courthouse to pick up our confidential marriage license. Having filled out the paperwork online expedited the process exponentially, but it was nerve racking for me to actually confront the final decision about keeping my last name, taking his, or hyphenating. As to what I decided, I will leave it up to your imagination…for now.
I rented a couple dresses from Rent the Runway for the shoot in Venice Beach with Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography. One was a lacy, vibrant blue dress by Nicole Miller and the other was a LBD by Pencey. I also brought along a white dress my big brother bought for me and I was fortunate enough to change into all three for the shoot. Josh got to wear three typical Josh outfits – a shirt and tie, a relaxed button up, and a tee with a great graphic design. I don’t want to give away too much about the shoot until we get the pictures in a few days, but I will say it was a wonderful success with a handful of fortunate occurrences. As soon as we receive the pics, you’ll be the first to see it!
Essentially, yesterday was the day it all began to feel real and the feeling was a mix of peace, excitement, calm, and elation. And just as several people have told me, “It’ll come faster than you know it,” I cannot believe 12.12.12 is right around the corner. But for now, I’ll rest up and take each day as it comes because it is only going to get crazier.+ Read more…
#1 ON MY LIST
Even as a little girl, I must have known a marriage is much different from a wedding.
Ask anyone who knew me as a kid and they will tell you I was a girly girl. In spite of my tiny, flowery outfits and my love of Disney fairytale movies, I don’t ever recall being the kind of little girl who dreamed of her perfect wedding from the dress down to the flowers. That just wasn’t, and still isn’t, my style. Perhaps that is because the most influential couple in my life didn’t do it big. After 8 months of dating and my dad’s suggestion rather than a proposal, my parents got married on October 3, 1980, in the Los Angeles County Courthouse. According to my mom, it seemed like the next thing to do. Now, 32 years later, they are still happily married with 3 grown-up kids and 1 granddaughter. Even as a little girl, I must have known a marriage is much different from a wedding.
My parents did not mull over any details. My dad applied for the marriage license. My mom wore a dress in her closet that she never used. There were 8 guests and afterwards they went to a famous Filipino restaurant of that time to eat and celebrate. They brought a camera with them to make sure they had keepsakes of the day and my mom even laid out both my dad’s and her outfits on a bed for that traditional shot, but it didn’t dawn on them to take a post-ceremony picture of just them two. Fortunately, there was an amateur photographer outside the courthouse who asked to take their picture. She didn’t charge them anything, but was sweet enough to mail them the 8×10 photograph. To this day, my parents have no idea who the photographer was. You can say I haven’t dreamt big about my impending wedding because my parents did it in the most simple way, but I see it quite the opposite.
I don’t deny taking notes from my parents’ playbook. In fact, Josh and I still want to go to the courthouse! But every time we see pictures of the Wayfarers Chapel, we feel the same exact way we did when we initially visited — “THIS is it.” We have been fortunate enough to be surrounded by such supportive family and friends that we couldn’t imagine them not being a part of our joint happiness. Just those two details have been the defining aspects of what we want of 12/12/12. Everything else is just the cherry on top. But there has always been something that tops the list and it was to have the most stunning pictures to immortalize the day. And believe you me, I landed exactly the photographer I wanted. Beyond that, I have just upped my parents’ big day by a notch.
It just seemed like the next thing to do.
judy ferrer tolentino
If you ask my mom, she will tell you she never really made an over-thought decision when it came to her and her family’s lives. “It just seemed like the next thing to do,” she says. My life with Josh has always seemed to be that way. And although there are things I want for the big day, there is nothing more important to us than a loyal and honest relationship, and a loving and laughter-filled marriage.+ Read more…