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Breakfast on the Lake Engagement

This darling couple spent a quiet morning cozied up at San Marcos Lake for their oh-so-adorable e-sesh. Complete with donuts and J. Crew pajamas, the talented Carmen Santorelli Photography was behind the lens and snapped up plenty of romance. From lakeside kisses to a formal attire stroll in the desert, every picture is dreamier than the last. Cozy on up to the full gallery for more!


From The Bride… Jason and I are San Francisco residents, but our love story began in San Diego. It only made sense for us to incorporate it in a special way, which is why we chose to do our wedding / engagement shoot there. We wanted the shoot to feel fun, playful, and maybe even surprising; thus, pajamas and donuts outdoors was something that was easily agreed on! Carmen, our photographer, is owed the credit for suggesting the dock by the lake. Per her suggestion we chose San Marcos Lake as our location. We also wanted to do something with formal-wear in a contrasting setting and the San Marcos Lake area kindly obliged with its desert-like surroundings. We’re not an overly “cutesy” couple, so I loved the way Carmen was able to capture our not-so-mushy personalities and the less traditional nature of the shoot while still giving them a romantic vibe!

Photography: Carmen Santorelli Photography | Mugs: Anthropologie | Pajamas: J. Crew | Venue: San Marcos Lake

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Urban Zen Wedding Inspiration

M’dears, get ready to feast your eyes on urban zen desert love like no other. It’s organic elements turned wedding perfection, from the lettered name rocks to the watercolored rock-pattern paper goods to the air plants breathing life to the gorgeous pale viridian tablescape topped with blooms by Isari Flower Studio. There’s no question that Francine Ribeau Events killed it with her cohesive design vision. Get your Pin on in the gallery from Joshua Aull Photography and Sarah Kate Photography!


From Francine Ribeau EventsI (Danielle of Francine Ribeau Events) had the pleasure of planning and designing the wedding of a couple very near and dear to my heart. During their ceremony the officiant spent a little time educating all the guests on the political victories of the past year, also stating that it was probably everyone’s first gay wedding. It was mine, too. He said that not only did the couple not know what to expect but neither did we. That was the truth. What is the protocol? Well, the best part of it – is there is none and we get to create it!

The amount of love, admiration and support from their guests inspired the purpose behind this shoot. We also want gay couples out there to have more outlets to find inspiration for their wedding, something a little more masculine, but still celebrating the beauty of their bond.

While the backdrop of Green Acres in San Diego is very urban and industrial, we were inspired by the multitude of colors in the rocks and in the cacti. The colors reminded us of the soft white sand and the circular patterns of a zen garden. Our goal was to take these two very different landscapes and make them work together, sort of a celebration of the unexpected.

With our color palette and vision in mind, Taryn of Twinkle and Toast created her rock-inspired invitations. The watercolor paper goods from Taryn set the scene for the ceremony backdrop we built – acrylic sheets that we spray painted to mimic the design. The design was carried throughout, as Nichole of Nic.Roc.Designs also used this pattern to laser cut coasters out of wood.

We also watercolored rocks with blues, greens, citrus yellows and lavender purples to bring our their natural colors, and used them throughout the space, as escort cards and table decor. For deserts, we stuck to the desert theme and decided to DIY some popsicles. We wanted to keep with the desert sand patterns and was able to layer various flavors to achieve the look.

Tam at Isari Floral Studio is always patient with our crazy ideas. She was eager to do a shoot with us and we thought this was a great shoot to collaborate on. Tam brought in elements of stone, glass and wood, bridging that gap between urban and zen with adding clematis and soft white flowers juxtaposed to various succulents and cactus flowers.

We were lucky enough to be set up by Tam with Joshua Aull Photography and Sarah Kate Photography – both film photographers. Natural light was the perfect complement to this shoot; Joshua and Sarah’s talents gave the photos their own sense of serenity.

Looking back at the last several years and all the progress for same sex couples we have made, we feel honored and excited to be a part of building new traditions and celebrating love of any kind.

Photography: Sarah Kate Photography | Photography: Joshua Aull Photography | Event Design: Francine Ribeau Events | Floral Design: Isari Flower Studio | Hair And Makeup: Kelsey Doonan | Bar Ware / Coasters: Nic.Roc.Designs | Invitations / Calligraphy: Twinkle And Toast | Men's Dress Shirts: Salon De Marcus | Venue: Green Acre Campus Pointe

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(once like a spark) photography + A Discount!

Here at SMP, we get a little bit giddy when we run across a vendor that takes our breath away. Case in point? (once like a spark) photography. Based in San Diego, Los Angeles + Northern California, this boutique-style photography company creates photos that are truly different — timelessly beautiful with a touch of whimsy and a whole lot of charm.

When you work with (once like a spark) photography, you’re not only signing on with an amazing photographer, but also with a team of wedding experts (in-house planner, editor, etc.) that will seamlessly guide you through the process. Knowing that your wedding photos will be some of your most treasured memories, (once like a spark) photography not only captures you and your honey to perfection, but makes sure you’re totally comfortable on your big day, knows how to schedule everything to get the perfect light and edits beautifully to make sure the final product is picture perfect.

For a ton more information and to book your big day with (once like a spark) photography, head over to their website. OH, there’s more! Just for our SMP readers, (once like a spark) photography is offering either $200 off your package or a free engagement session for the month of November! Be sure to mention SMP California when filling out the contact form to redeem discount.