Destinations, Weddings

December 20, 2019

Eliza & Ryland // Great American Music Hall Wedding // San Francisco, California

This wedding was brought to us by “the Moms!” What a treat to find out that two ladies’ mothers are responsible for loving our work so much that they encouraged their daughters to book with us. 

Eliza gave us a ring us one day exclaiming, “You photographed my old high school friend Diana’s wedding and her mother and my mother are total besties. Deb (Diana’s mom) is obsessed with your photography. She basically told me if we don’t hire you, we are doing ourselves a disservice. And by all means––don’t want to disappoint the Moms! And from looking at the photos on your website and spying on all your work, we just really like your photography as well.” 

My heart exploded. Just like that, we became pals and began to make plans for their unique wedding day.

There were so many wonderful things about Eliza & Ryland’s wedding! Their wedding happened to be on my birthday, and it happened to be at a great old music venue, so there was excitement all around! I was so happy to share my birthday with these two kind souls.

Eliza and Ryland reside in New York City now, but Eliza grew up here in San Francisco and her parents still live in the house that she grew up in. It’s such an amazing home––very classic SF––and we were very fortunate to start there with our getting ready photos. 

The invitations were hand-drawn by Eliza’s father. The whole family is full of artists, and you could tell by their home that there were a lot of unique art pieces. It was so wonderfully stylized. Their family has an eye for mid-century modern art with classic vintage undertones.

The overall style of this wedding was very nouveau, art deco Hollywood-chic. A little bit of glitz and glam, but also very down to earth. Eliza’s dress was perfectly art deco and her vintage necklace was a family heirloom. 

Their styling nicely complemented the gorgeous and historic Great American Music Hall itself. They had deep red, green, and black accents, with Ryland in a really great cobalt-blue suit. As you can see, he is blessed with some really epic hair––some that gives Conan O’Brien a run for his money!

After we did a very casual first look, we all went up to the Corona Heights Park near the Castro District of the city. We had fun in the San Francisco wind, it was actually a very warm October day for the Bay. Perfect weather, in fact! We were able to work with the wind like a wind machine. A fabulous moment, indeed. 

The most important thing for Eliza and Ryland, as she explained, was to capture them on camera in their natural state. You know, candidly. Although Eliza is a performer and a stage actress, she let us know that she really does not enjoy posing for photos. And neither does Ryland. Which is great! Because neither do we! 

What we do love, however, is to simply put people in the right places, with the right light, in front of the right background, in the prettiest environment, and ask them to hold each other––or walk together, or be together. That’s about as much direction as we like to give. We have found that being kind and allowing our couples to feel safe and relaxed in our presence gives them the chance to be natural with each other.

Don’t get us wrong––we are admittedly really into that editorial fashion, still life, modeling look too. So we try a little of both! But we like to try to capture those editorial-looking moments without giving too much direction. Again. . . if you feel comfortable, it shows!

After capturing a little hilltop romance, it was time to head to the venue. Naturally, we took photos under their custom wedding-day marquee, which might be the raddest part of getting married at the Great American Music Hall! Stars for the day.

The ceremony was absolute hilarity. Their officiant claimed he had never officiated a wedding before––bullsh*t! He had everyone basically falling out of their seats with laughter. It was perfection under the gorgeous chuppah made by Anastasia Andenmatten floral design. The red-pink color pallet complemented the venue wonderfully against the ornate black and gold architecture.

Cocktail hour was upstairs on the balcony. This was a nice way to give people space to sit and visit in groups, rather than the usual standing-room-only cocktail hour. Another fun perk of their venue was being introduced like a king and queen via the balcony above the stage. Epic!

Dinner was family-style on the main floor. For dessert, they had a brownie bar––my absolute favorite. If you know me, you know I can never say no to a brownie. Thanks for that birthday treat!! 

With a family of artists and performers, you can imagine the toast were creative and articulate. Ryland’s father even sat down at the piano and played a song that he wrote just for them. *Cue all the tears.*

After dinner, their first dance was beautiful, and an epic dance party quickly ensued! We were stoked that the DJ Dan from Dart Collective played actual vinyl. A total win! No surprise here that this awesome couple would insist on wax tracks at their wedding. We LOVE listening to music on vinyl. There’s a certain visceral sound quality––just like film photos––that cannot be emulated by digital media.

We wish these two all the best in their new life together. What a special day indeed.


Thank you to our fellow creatives!

Venue & Catering // Great American Music Hall

Floral Design // Anastasia Andenmatten

DJ // Dan G & Dart Collective


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