Flood Mansion had always been a dream venue for us.
We have worked with Glow Event Design in the past on corporate events or weddings with other photographers, and they have seen us grow our company over the years. In fact, Christina of Glow Events was one of the first planners we reached out to when we started our company here in the Bay Area, way back in 2013.
Needless to say, it truly was a special vendor collaboration and a lot of excitement leading up to the big weekend.
Our journey with Natalie and Matt began through booking their engagement session. It was unique for us to have been booked by Natalie before they even had solidified a date or venue for their wedding day. This type of booking will occasionally occur when we are photographing a dear friend or family, but not as often are we the very first of a wedding team to be chosen. Naturally, we felt incredibly honored that we were their first big-day-decision, even before a planner or venue.
The Wednesday before their wedding, we received an email from their planner Heather, saying that Matt had been in the hospital the previous weekend and could only stand using a walker.
Holy sh!t––we were shocked beyond belief. Could you imagine not being able to stand or walk on your wedding day? Turns out Matt had contracted an inner ear virus that left him bedridden with bouts of extreme vertigo, so standing for long periods of time and opening his eyes was difficult. Only the key ingredients to getting married right? According to his doctors, every day his recovery was exponentially better. Cheers to Natalie and all the family as they took this news in such a positive stride, and had very high hopes for him to at least be in rallying mode on that Saturday next.
Come Friday night for their rehearsal, our groom did not attend the flood mansion rehearsal, but he was at the rehearsal dinner. He was seated like Stevie Wonder, wearing Neon ray bans, shaking hands and chatting with all of his closest family and friends––What a gem of a human.
We had also scheduled a mini boudoir session previous to the ceremony on their wedding day. She was cracking me up and referring to it as her “awkward boudoir session“ where it was even dubbed as such on the timeline. We all had a great and less-awkward-than-expected time at Hotel Drisco––a gorgeous boutique SF hotel. Her sister-in-law was there to help her get ready as well as her dear friend Emily (the same Emily from the wedding we photographed, the same Emily that is one of our brides!)
Tim had a great time at their home where Matt was getting ready with the boys. He was in high spirits and able to get dressed with a little help from his pals who were helping to make light of the situation.
That day it was decided to eliminate all of the traditional family and couples portraits, and to try and limit any additional photographs other than the core events of the day. Matt was not to walk down the aisle, so brilliantly the venue put out some gorgeous chairs for the couple to sit on during the ceremony.
We all arrived at Flood Mansion where the two had decided they wanted to do a first look, but inside as opposed to at Lovers Lane where we had originally scheduled. It was still a very intimate and beautiful moment.
During the ceremony, Matt was able to stand up out of his chair and watch his bride walked down the aisle. If he struggled at all to do so, the beautiful look on his face showed no signs of inner ear virus.
Post-ceremony, we managed to pack all 150+ guests on the steps in front of the Flood Mansion to create a pretty spectacular group photo with the couple sitting in front.
Dinner was very heartfelt with incredible speeches made by friends and family. It was also Natalie‘s father‘s birthday, so there was a shout out to him and a birthday cake the night before at the rehearsal dinner at Salt House.
After dinner, it was decided not to hold a cake-cutting ceremony or to do any special dances, and to go straight into party mode (always a good call).
Matt took his time greeting each of his guests and stayed much longer than we all anticipated. The two were glowing from ear-to-ear, and we even got a great shot of Matthew‘s father and then his graduating class of 1960 Princeton graduates.
We had already decided that we would reschedule a couple’s shoot for a later date as we knew it would be a very overwhelming day for Matt. Truth be told, it seemed like a more overwhelming day for Natalie as she had to step up and take the reins on all the attention. And she did it like a champ. A CHAMP! She was nothing short of grace and laughter in spite of a less than perfect situation.
Let me explain to you what a champion Natalie is… She told us that a great many of their wedding guests would be related to Matt––his extended family, friends from college, and the amazing community that he has developed through operating a nonprofit––long story short being, he knows a lot of folks. With Matt under the weather, Natalie gracefully took on the responsibility of making all of their guests feel comfortable and seen, she did it with flying colors.
There was an after-party at the Starlight Room (now unfortunately under renovation) for a classic San Francisco good time. We would’ve loved to have gone and attended, but with all of our gear, it’s really tricky to be mobile in downtown San Francisco as the theft rate is extremely high and we just can’t risk it. That situation is another journal entry post… At this point, we bid the beautiful couple ado and let them enjoy the rest of their special day.
We rescheduled our couple’s shoot for Columbus Day. We met in Lover’s Lane to recreate the first look that we wanted in the beginning and to Marshall Beach for some quintessential Golden Gate Bridge photos. Despite being a re-run of their first look, the emotion was real and raw as if it were their wedding day all over again.
We even ended our session back at Flood Mansion for the iconic sunset photos on the balcony. Sweet Jessica from Flood Mansion even came in on her day off to open it up for us. It was awesome enough that she suggested us doing a re-shoot, and then to be ok coming in on the day that the Mansion is closed was an amazing example of going above and beyond with hospitality. Simply incredible.
The Flood Mansion is truly a special place. If you don’t know anything about it, check it out! It’s a very unique and wholesome environment––very classic, iconic San Francisco soul. The photos from their ceremony are absolutely divine (if we do say so ourselves), given the perfect light paired with their black-tie style and the amazing floral design. Did I mention the String Quartet sitting on the balcony with them?
Needless to say, it was one of our favorite weddings to capture to date.
Hair + Make Up Artist // @chantellestudio