CELINA + ANGEL

{ December 9th, 2017 }
San Francisco, CA

Wedding videography often gets forgotten about, for some strange reason, in the planning of a wedding.  

Celina, Angel and I met for coffee in Walnut Creek to discuss making a wedding film, and according to Angel, the choice was between hiring me to film their wedding, or him arriving at the wedding in a Lamborghini.

Luckily, they made the right choice, though a shot of the groom slamming the door to a Lambo behind him as he pulled his shades off would have been cool.

The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco is such a gorgeous wedding ceremony venue, and we were ecstatic that the weather played nice.  It looked less like the foggy city we know and love and more like what SF looks like in the movies and in Full House.

Flying my drone around the city with the Golden Gate bridge in the background was a thrill in itself, as young children and their parents came up to me to ask if they could see the monitor.

The intimate reception was held at the Temescal Beach House, where the real party began.  They projected an animated video that told the story of Celina and Angel meeting and falling in love.

Celina and Angel are an incredibly sweet couple with a bright future ahead of them, and I wish them the very best.

LAURA + NICK

{ December 2nd, 2017 }
Oakland, CA

I specifically remember 16th Street Station from when I was attending film school in Emeryville, and my friends and I went scouting for locations for a hip-hop music video that we never ended up shooting.  Behind a barbed wire fence, and about a hundred yards of empty gravel and probably broken glass, loomed an old building with three distinct windows across the face.  My friend pointed out some of the graffiti as being recognizable as a local Oakland artists handy work.  

16th Street Station, Oakland, CA

If I had to tell you exactly what I pictured the inside of this building looking like, I would use many words like “squatters” and “heroin” and “corpses”.  Never in a million years would I have guessed how hauntingly beautiful, how elegant and at the same time gritty and raw it really was.  I didn’t know Bay Area weddings could take place anywhere with that much history.  

Built in 1912, and designed by a Chicago architect named Jarvis Hunt, the station served as the terminus for the transcontinental railway.  The last stop in the west.  It was severely damaged in the ‘89 earthquake, and finally closed in 1994.  Apparently Mumford & Sons filmed a music video there, and the station was used as a mission location in Watch Dogs 2.  Can you tell I Wikipedia’d it?  

It was a highly unusual venue, and it quickly became a character in Laura and Nicks film.

Laura had only reached out to me about two weeks before the wedding, as they hadn’t planned on hiring a videographer.  In fact, she wanted it to be a surprise for Nick.  

“Should I bust out of a giant cake or something?” I said.

She also mentioned that the venue did not have access to electricity, and I was instantly intrigued.  As a videographer, we generally need a lot of light to film with, so I was a bit worried but not too much.  “This is why I invested in the Sony A7s and a bunch of really fast lenses” I thought to myself.  

The staff was lighting candles everywhere around the building when I arrived, and shafts of sunlight were pouring through the facade.  I dropped all of my gear immediately and started filming.  I was in love.  Everywhere I looked, there were naturally eroded walls and ceilings, candles in rows and a beautiful circular bar right in the middle.

“She got us a wedding videographer, isn’t that neat?” I heard Nick say to his mother as I ran around the room shooting b-roll as the caterers put out hors d’oeuvres.  

I really liked Nick and Laura right away.  I had learned that they were good friends for years before they got together, and I feel like I would’ve been able to guess if they hadn’t told me.  They were such natural partners, taking time to be goofy with each other when other couples might be stressing out.  It’s quite clear, they are quite fond of each other.   

Philippe + Jackie (Surprise Proposal)

Asking someone to marry you is nerve racking enough, but to add a Pre-Alpha build of a homemade V.R. game into the mix takes it to a whole other level!  

I was contacted by a Elie, one of the charming representatives of The Yes Girls®, a marriage proposal planning service based out of Texas.  When she told me the Philippe’s idea, I immediately thought, “I like this guy.”


So we met at an empty, freezing cold loft / studio in the Dogpatch in SF, where I met the lovely florists from Urban Botanica and the amazing Jiyeon from The Allens Photography.

The florists began transforming the cold concrete and white brick into a nerd-love shrine, lit with various sizes of glass candles, water filled canisters, and gorgeous flowers and flower petals.  Two picture frames stood on either side, with depictions of themselves re-imagined as characters from Starcraft, who I am told have a very intense love story in the game.  

When Philippe arrived with Jackie, Jiyeon stopped them at the door and pretended to be the hostess at a strange V.R. experience game room, and instructed Jackie to put on the Google Daydream View headset.  I hid around the corner, patiently waiting for them to emerge with an essentially blindfolded woman.  

She had an enormous smile on what was the only visible part of her face, “Wow!” she said as she looked around the virtual room, and the actual room she had just entered.  

Philippe walked her to her mark, while she continued to believe she was there to play the latest V.R. experience.  She played through the game filled with call-outs to their favorite games, inside jokes, and beverages of choice (coke), and more, laughing through her amazement at what was happening inside her headset, when the game prompted her to remove the headset.  And there was Philippe, ready to propose.  How dope is that?

And #shesaidyes.

Planners: The Yes Girls®
Florists: Urban Botanica
Photography: The Allens Photography

JACKIE + SAM

{ October 28th, 2017 }
Marin, CA

It was a Saturday, as it often is, but it wasn’t a normal Saturday for me.  Unknown to Jackie and Sam, all week I had been dealing with the impending phone call from my doctor.  I’ll spare you the details, but there was a coin-flip in the air as to whether I’ll be cashing in my wedding videographer life insurance policy for the wife and kiddies sometime soon.  Speaking of which, I had also recently learned that we were expecting a new child, so needless to say I had a lot on my mind at the time.

That is, until I arrived at the Marin Art & Garden Center.  Suddenly, surrounded by the good people of the Burbank & Moore clans, I felt calm, happy, and optimistic about the future.  A lot of times you meet people and have a sense about them, and I sensed that these were people who treated each other well, cared about each other deeply, and weren’t afraid to show that.  Jackie and Sam magnificently illustrative of those traits.

Having the honor to witness this moment in their lives, I was reminded of what’s important, and for the whole day I felt happy and positive about all that contemplative crap we think about in moments like that.

In the end, my Doctor called and told me I was not dying, so that’s good.

Jackie and Sam, Instagram stars in their own right, were beautiful in their wedding dresses which they hid from each other, and somehow still looked like they belonged in the same dress-theme.  I had never filmed a wedding at the Marin Art & Garden Center but I loved it, a small but gorgeous venue.  A fall wedding, late October, could easily have ran into tricky weather but we hit a 75 degree Northern California sweet spot that made everyone breathe a sigh of relief.  

Another reason I love this time of year is that the sun gets low in the sky so early.  The shafts of light bursting through the hillside made the DJI Mavic Pro drone footage look dope as hell, and the girls killed it in their sunset portraits.

Everything from the ceremony, the speeches, to even the dances had at least one person in happy tears.

A great night, punctuated with a classic sparkler send-off, followed by a trip around the world, subsequently followed by an amazing life together forever.

Love is love.

Photographers: Aubrey & Blake from Jerry Yoon Photographers
DJ: Heart of Gold DJ’s

Florist: Acme Floral
Venue: Marin Art & Garden

NICOLE + IAN

{ July 22nd, 2017 }
Santa Cruz, CA

When Nicole first contacted me, we were only a couple weeks away from the wedding.  She told me that her father-in-law, Ian’s father Johnny, had passed away a week before, and that now they were trying to quickly get back into wedding planning mode and get everything locked in.  I am generally not good at handling loss, and without ever having met these folks, I was extremely saddened and distraught by the passing of Johnny just weeks before their wedding day.  Luckily, I was available and jumped at the opportunity to help them tick one thing off their planning checklist, and make sure they capture and eternalize this time in their lives.

As I drove through the Santa Cruz hills I was anticipating a heavy, emotionally charged wedding and hoped I could capture that story without missing a beat.

Arriving at the townhouse to meet Nicole, I heard laughter, and champagne being uncorked.   I tried to decipher all the relationships between all the people running around, they all seemed like family to me.  We were clearly in UC Santa Cruz territory, and everyone there seemed to speak multiple languages, including a small child who was smarter than me.

A beautiful vegetable farm surrounded the Hay Barn, which was buzzing with vendor activity.  Bright red tractors, decorated hay stacks and old school irrigation rigs served as accents in a lush agricultural setting.  The bouquet had artichokes and other delicious looking produce, hidden among fall color blooms.  

I have to admit, I had to try extremely hard to remain professional and hold back tears every time they mentioned Johnny in the ceremony.  The words spoken into the microphone by everyone at the top of that hill could not have been more poignant, artful, and cathartic.  

All in one ceremony, we saw them jump the broom, break the glass, and tie the knot.  

And when the sun went down, and the DJ started bumping vintage soul, hip hop, and R&B, there were no shy people in the back, everyone was on the dance floor, stopping only for an occasional gin cocktail or an It’s-It ice cream sandwich from the cooler.  

Planning: An Everlasting Moment
Venue: The Cowell Ranch Hay Barn Project
Photos: Rob Eves

BEATRIZ + KEITH

{ September 29th, 2016 }
Slane, Ireland

After a sleepless ten hour flight with my wife, one-year-old-son, and my in-laws, we arrived in Dublin tired, hungry, and thirsty for an enormous tub of Guinness to bathe in.  I’d never filmed a wedding for a family member, and I was ecstatic to shoot in the Irish countryside.

My sister, Beatriz, and my future brother-in-law greeted us at the rehearsal dinner at The Ferryman, an old Irish pub along the Liffey.  We had such an amazing time seeing family from California & Chile, and meeting my soon to be Irish extended family, that the whole night ends up a sleep-deprived blur.  But the one big memory that stands out is my Sister cutting the Celtic band for a moment to give a speech, to thank everyone for coming.  It was then that she stopped mid sentence and gave the microphone to Keith, who picked up where she couldn’t go without getting too emotional.  

“To Virgilio”, Keith said.  Virgilio is Beatriz and my father who was unable to make the trip to Ireland, due to the recent loss of his right leg.  From California, Virgilio had still made sure to pay for the food and drinks at the Ferryman that evening.  

The music kicked back on, and we all partied until we could not party no more.

Fast forward a few days.  Bright and early, we all met at The Gravediggers, an incredibly authentic Irish pub that sat outside an old, old graveyard, filled with historical tombstones and Irish Constitutional signatories.  We hopped on a charter bus to Slane, and I was drooling at the sites while trying to keep my son entertained.  We arrived at The Millhouse, and everyone (me) couldn’t stop with The Simpsons references.  “Everything’s comin’ up Millhouse.”

From there on, the Guinness flowed, the whiskey… also flowed, and the gin and vodka and rum and tequila, also flowed.  A stream flowed past the old mill.  Lot’s of flowing going on.  

After the ceremony, we went out for a portrait session along the creek, which is where I got the final shot in the video and almost killed myself doing it.  Sprinting with my Ronin stabilizer behind a golf cart, I said to myself, “if this shot turns out of focus, I’m going to have to take a bottle of Jameson to the face.”  Fortunately, I nailed the focus and only drank half the bottle.

The live band played classic American rock & roll, lots of Elvis.  My uncle Hector showed everyone how to dance the “cueca”, a Chilean dance involving a handkerchief and 1000% confidence.

The night was far from over.

Venue: The Millhouse, Slane, Ireland

ZOHREH + MITCH

{ October 28th, 2017 }
San Francisco, CA

I was tending bar in Walnut Creek, when Zohreh and Mitch sat at the counter at the early stages of an epic-busy night.  I was telling my friend about an amazing wedding I had just shot with another company, when Zohreh and Mitch cut me off and asked me if I was a wedding videographer.

“Wedding cinematographer” I said jokingly (but also a little seriously) as I poured shots of Fireball for college kids.  
As I continued to muddle, shake, strain and clean for the rest of the night we chatted about their upcoming wedding, and their plans to have a Persian Wedding “sofreh” during the ceremony.  I had never seen or heard of a sofreh, despite growing up with multiple Iranian close friends. 

We hit it off and made plans to make a wedding film.  

One of the first things I noticed about Zohreh and Mitch, was how they constantly looked each other in the eyes and you could tell that there was a wealth of information-transfer in those looks.  

While the Bentley Reserve is a huge piece of wedding venue eye-candy, it was almost outdone by the sofreh.  This rich layout of silver, mirrors, eggs and other heavily symbolic items was like nothing I’d ever seen before.

The ceremony proceeded with Mitch and Zohreh facing the audience, as the officiant beautifully read poetry in Farsi (and kindly translated to english as well).  The Kalleh Ghand ritual was my highlight: a happily married woman rubs two sugar cones together, over the Tureh Ghand (sugar cloth) while held over the couple’s head to shower their life and marriage with sweetness.

For days after the wedding, I had about three different Lana Del Ray songs stuck in my head, as Zohreh was a huge fan and I am not ashamed to admit I am as well.

“Mitch,” said Mitch’s brother during his speech.  “Gramps would be proud of the man you’ve become.”

“And Zohreh, you’re getting a great guy.  And I can tell you he will love you and cherish you like Gramps did Granny.”

Venue: The Bentley Reserve
Photographer: Abbie Leigh