havana, cuba wedding | suzie and max

OH MY GOODNESS!!!! Talk about a wedding of the year! My baby sis got married in a city that holds so much history for our family, Havana , Cuba! I can go on and on about our week spent in a city virtually untouched by tourism, the amazing people and the fabulous time we had celebrating suzie and max, but ill let my sister do the talking and my pics do the walking… yes I wore a couple hats that day!!!;-)(sorry in advance for the extra long blog post)
Our wedding felt like a dream from the minute my ladies arrived at our penthouse overlooking the Atlantic for our hair and make-up session.  My Dad, looking dapper in a custom made tuxedo from Hong Kong, arrived shortly after to take me to the church in a 1955, Tiffany-blue, classic American car.  My something blue!  The church was built at the end of the sixteenth century and was the perfect setting for our ceremony.  The aisle to my groom, who looked very “1950s Havana” in his white tuxedo jacket, was decorated with rose petals and bunches of babies breath on tall glass vases for a mystical feel.  We lit our unity candle from Lourdes, France and were blessed with holy water from the region as well, both of which my Grandmother gathered from her recent pilgrimage.  The organist, soprano and harpist created the most captivating music throughout the ceremony and the most beautiful version of Ave Maria was sung, lifting our spirits!

A wedding in Havana wouldn’t be complete without a fleet of classic American cars to take you from the church to the reception.  So off we went in 27 vintage cars to the San Carlos de la Cabaña Fortress, an eighteenth century fortress complex, located on the eastern side of the harbor entrance of Havana.
Chandeliers sparkled over white modern furniture on a grassy area by the water for the cocktail hour and salsa dancers started to teach the guests some dance moves.  Mojitos, cava and Cuban-inspired canapés were enjoyed by our 103 guests from 39 different countries as the sun set over the dynamic city of Havana Vieja.  Skilled fire dancers then captured our attention before the guests collected their seating cards from cigar boxes filled with coffee beans.  The dinner tables were decorated with candelabras of cascading white roses and glowed under strings of fairy lights brought from Hong Kong.  Speeches were given, tears of joy were shed and we danced the night away to sounds from the incredibly talented Jazz Quintet, as well as Luna Manzanares, Cuba’s soul diva, and DjoydeCuba, Cuba’s best house DJ.  We couldn’t have asked for more from the city that holds so much history for my family.

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Dress: Annasul y
Shoes:Christian Louboutin
Jewelry: Jenny Packhman
Getting Ready:Plum Pretty Sugar
Veil: Parisienne Luxe
Tuxedo: William Cheng & Son Tailors, Hong Kong
Flowers: Aire de Fiesta Cuba
Tea Set: Anthropologie
Hair Piece: Anothropologie BHLDN
Videographer: Producciones Almendares
Cake: Kiro Cakes
Church Music: Moises Santiesteban, Johanna Simon and Mayte Rodriguez
Reception Music: Serenata Cubana, Jazz Quintet, Luna Manzanares, DjoydeCuba
Fire & Light Dancers: Giganteria Cuba
Reception Venue: La Divina Pastora, Havana, Cuba
Ceremony: Iglesia de San Francisco de Asis El Nuevo in Old Havana

 

 

Chan and J | Laguna Beach Engagement Session

these two hold a especially special spot in my heart… i was a bit unsure when chan came back from vegas telling me she met a  boy… haha…you did what??? i believe my exact words were “ruuun”…  buuut i met him days later, and i knew he was a keeper! I’ve never seen my friend so school girl happy!  i couldn’t be more honored to stand by them and support their journey down the isle. seattle here we come!

love you guys!!

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Natalie + Pete | Olive Farm Engagement | Olivina, Livermore CA

All my couples are amazing, really they are. i don’t know how i get so lucky! Natalie and Pete found me on the interwebs… from our first email exchange i knew they would be so fun. I’m just bummed i won’t be able to capture their wedding. it is going to be beautiful!!! i mean look at them… love.
so how they met…

Connecticut College – October 5th, 2007

The night was electric, as students all over Connecticut College (Conn) performed their pre-game rituals.  Twas the first night of the harvest, and livers were being sacrificed to the gods of college.

Both Pete Musser (face off guy) and Natalie Oliva (poofy hair girl) had heard of each other, but tonight was the night that they would finally meet.  The two were introduced by one Harold Vincent Garrity IV, who could not be reached for comment.

In true Musser fashion, the first thing Pete did when presented with the beautiful, young Natalie was yell “NAAAAAAAABS!!!”, and then run away.  After she and Hal exchanged a brief and confused glance, Natalie bound off after the boy.

Since Then…

The two have been inseparable.  After spending a summer in Watch Hill together after Pete’s graduation, the two continued to date during individual travels.  Throughout their illustrious 7 year relationship, Pete and Natalie have ventured to Melbourne, Paris, Biarritz, Bordeaux, The Bahamas, Manhattan, Burlington, Thomasville, Naples, Austin, and Healdsburg.

 

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The proposal, as told by Natalie: 

Pete and I go on hikes every week around the bay with our dog Loki. Usually it’s on one of our local trails, like Lime Ridge or Briones Regional Park, both of which have significant hills. So when I asked what to expect from this 7th anniversary hike, I wasn’t worried when he said that I’d be “totally fine!” “But definitely bring your hiking boots,” he added casually.

October 5th was a warmer than average day at 96 degrees in San Ramon. We began up the very steep hill, which provided no shade, aside from a small area at the beginning of the hike.

Pete hadn’t adequately warned me how tough the hike was going to be. I was cursing him as I took my 4th water break only halfway up the ridge.

“Let me carry you to the top!” 

“No, no, I’ll be fine. (chugs water) Just give me a minute… (labored breathing)”

(repeat this conversation ten more times)

When we finally made it to the top, the view was absolutely breathtaking. We could see miles in all directions. As I was enjoying the spectacular view and catching my breath, Pete knelt next to me with a small wooden box in his hand.

After 7 years together, I had a feeling this was coming, but nothing could have prepared me for that moment. Pete said some wonderful things, but my mind was swimming. I remember him quoting The Naked Gun as he opened the box “It’s not much, but it’s pretty good for an honest policeman’s salary.” I blurted “yes” before he could even say the words.

We practically floated down the hill together, already talking wedding plans. When we got to the bottom, I checked my FitBit. We had gone up the equivalent of 98 flights of stairs! It is now and will forever be the greatest hike of my life.

That night, we celebrated over dinner at The French Laundry. It truly was the perfect day.