Kirsty Edwards and I were FB chatting and she sent me a link to view the photos from Samantha and Collin's wedding ... just to *see* if I had any interest in featuring it. I said 'yessssss' and the rest is history! I am so excited about this feature ... the portraits are absolutely stunning!!! I asked Kirsty to share a few words about working with Samantha and Collin (or Sam, as Kirsty calls her) ... I think the story is great and shows how if you choose the *right* photographer it really can become a relationship that lasts beyond the wedding day. Enjoy!
It was August of 2010 when I first received the call from Sam’s dad inquiring about my wedding photography services and of course one of my first questions was the wedding date. We don’t have a wedding date yet, he hasn’t proposed yet!?! We had a wonderful chat and I hung up the phone thinking this future bride to be must be one special girl. We promised to chat again once Collin had popped the question and just after Thanksgiving I received the email ‘Dear Kirsty, Well, he proposed, she said yes, and we all love your style! We would like to reserve your services for June 23rd 2012.’
I met with Sam and Collin a few months later and fell in love with them both. We chatted about their wedding day and got to know each other. As we all left my office after our appointment, I remember looking in my mirror as I drove away to find them smooching against a white picket fence. Young Love! Their wedding day came and I finally got to meet all the family and their dad who I first spoke with! The very special father daughter relationship they share was clearly apparent and it was an absolute pleasure capturing not only Sam and Collin’s love that day but the very special bond they share as a family.
~Kirsty of Kirsty Edwards Photography
Our theme is best described as “vintage chic”. In choosing a theme, we started out by shopping around and seeing what types of styles were most attractive to us. As a couple, we are very traditional in many ways, but we also have a bit of a modern twist, both individually and in our dynamic. So the vintage aspect of the theme was coming from our more traditional sides, while the chic aspect came from our slightly modern twist.
When we were looking for photographers for our big day, we looked through dozens of websites and portfolios. There are plenty of good photographers out there, but we didn’t want a good one – we wanted a perfect one, nothing but the best. We wanted to be able to relive the day through photographs, experience the emotions all over again. Even after setting all of these impossibly high expectations, when we saw Kirsty Edwards’s photo blog, we were stunned. She appeared to be everything we wanted for our wedding. Simply put, her photos tell a story – they evoke laughter, tears, nervousness, joy. They’re indescribable. We knew as soon as we saw her work that she was the one, and meeting her only reaffirmed what we already knew – she was professional while being very friendly and approachable, an absolute joy to work with.
For our ceremony venue, we knew from the start that we wanted to get married in a church. Though again, we wanted there to be meaning behind our decision. My siblings and I all went to Our Lady of Angels in Burlingame for kindergarten through 8th grade, and OLA was our family’s parish. My mother also attended OLA growing up, and my parents were married there as well. OLA was practically a member of our family and is only a few blocks from my parents’ house, and so choosing to get married there was hardly a decision to make at all.
In looking for a reception venue, we wanted something that reflected the two of us as a couple – not just something that was picturesque. I was born and raised in Burlingame, and Collin was born and raised in Menlo Park. Having grown up in Burlingame, downtown Palo Alto was very well-known to me, a place where my family and I spent an inordinate amount of time. Collin grew up not even one mile from University Avenue, so he, too, knew the area quite well. In looking at a few different venues in the area, we came across The Garden Court Hotel, and as soon as we saw it, we knew. The boutique hotel was a great combination of uniqueness and practicality, including the fact that it was only a short drive from the church. It was large enough to hold our guests, yet incredibly intimate. There were both outdoor and indoor components, which was stunning. To top it all off, it being The Garden Court Hotel, there were gorgeous flowers everywhere. A little-known fact about Collin is that he is a flower connoisseur – he knows flowers better than anyone I have ever met – and so this was a neat way to tie in an aspect of Collin’s personality. The hotel has a lovely romantic European feel to it, which was exactly what we were going for, and so, considering all of these factors, we knew that this hotel was absolutely perfect for our wedding reception.
Our florist was Blossoms, located in Hillsdale Mall in San Mateo, CA. We had an absolutely wonderful experience working with Denise and Regina, to say the least! When looking for florists, we knew that we wanted a romantic ethereal look, something that appeared almost more relaxed on the flower side. As soon as we saw Blossoms, we knew that they were it. We started working with them well over a year before the wedding, which means that they were with us through several renditions of the décor. We didn't just have Blossoms as a florist though – we grew to love spending time with Denise and Regina, and we truly valued their input. Ultimately, the flowers were one of our favorite parts of the day. They were absolutely jaw-dropping and, to be honest, they made the décor. Denise and Regina were creative while still respecting our requests, incredibly fun while still being professional, and the end result was beyond our wildest dreams. We cannot thank them enough.
Il Fornaio catered our event! During the cocktail hour, we had passed hors d’oeuvres, including (but not limited to) scallops wrapped in bacon, stuffed mushrooms, bruschetta, and cheesy focaccia bread with caramelized onions and other toppings. Dinner started with a green salad and was a choice of filet mignon, chicken breast with a white chardonnay sauce, sundried tomatoes, and artichoke hearts, or a cheese cannelloni with spinach and mushrooms. After dinner and while guests were dancing, mini pizzas were passed. The food was some of the most delicious we have ever had – we absolutely loved everything about the food and wish we could eat that way all the time!
We got our wedding cake at The Cakery in Burlingame, which is actually the same place my parents bought theirs years ago! Again, we wanted to go more traditional, and so we opted for a five-tiered wedding cake. However, that was five tiers of cake – between each tier of cake, we had white roses forming another tier, so the cake was nine tiers total! We wanted to keep to our elegant theme which is why we opted for an off-white/ivory cake with white roses. One subtle detail that was unnoticed by many, though it was one of our favorite parts, was that the detail on each tier of cake matched the embroidery on my dress perfectly!
Choosing flavors was one of the more difficult parts. After sampling about eight different combinations of cakes and fillings, we narrowed it down to three. We went in with my parents to order the cake, and we were planning all along to have three different flavors so that people could have options. Each of us had said, independently from each other, that there was one that we felt surpassed them all – alternating layers of chocolate and vanilla cake with a chocolate hazelnut mousse filling. When we went in to finalize the order, the woman asked us about the flavors. We all said that we’d like three, until Collin started hesitating and getting a bit nervous. He was envisioning everyone wanting that one flavor, and he was nervous about the possibility that we might not get it, or some guests would be disappointed if they didn’t have that flavor. He was having a bit of a panic attack! We decided at that point to set his fears aside and have the cake be entirely that one flavor, which proved to be an excellent decision! Not only was it one of the most beautiful cakes we have ever seen, but it was the most delicious as well – endless props to The Cakery!
In addition to the cake, we had an extensive dessert bar with smaller cakes and cookies, also from The Cakery. We had a total of 8 6-inch fruit cakes and 1200 cookies of varying types, to name a few. The dessert bar was one of the most popular things at the wedding! It also gave people a chance to mix and mingle a bit while choosing desserts at the bar, which was great.
For entertainment, we hired DJ Turner Hayes from Elite Entertainment in San Jose. Our experience with him was fantastic. We were looking for a DJ who was lively enough to keep the crowd excited and on the floor, yet not someone who would try to steal the limelight. DJ Turner was this and more – absolute perfection!
Our biggest piece of advice for brides and grooms planning their big day is to make your wedding a reflection of the two of you as a couple. It’s not difficult to plan a beautiful wedding, but it does take effort to plan a wedding that is more than just beautiful – something that is perfectly fitting to your personalities and your dynamic as a couple. Your wedding is about the two of you starting the rest of forever together, and we think it should reflect that.
Also, wedding planning should be fun! People try to make it much more stressful than it needs to be. You’re planning your wedding, your official kickoff to spending the rest of your lives together – enjoy every minute of it!
Photographer: Kirsty Edwards Photography
Wedding Coordinator: Elizabeth Smiley
Reception Venue: The Garden Court Hotel
Ceremony Venue: Our Lady of Angels Church
Catering: Il Fornaio
Wedding Cake: The Cakery
Transportation: 1963 navy blue Rolls Royce
Bride's Dress: Jinza
Bridesmaid Dresses: Betsey Johnson
Wedding Stationery: Monika Natius
Linen Rentals: La Tavola
Ceremony Music: Entire Productions
Reception Music: DJ Turner Hayes from Elite Entertainment