From Botany to Bliss: A Berkeley Wedding in a Tea Garden

Recently I photographed the wedding of Minh and Britton on a warm July day in the East Bay.  I began shooting at the historical Berkeley City Club, a fitting place to gather a bride-to-be and her feminine entourage, as the hotel was originally designed by Julia Morgan in 1927 as a gathering place exclusively for women.  I was blown away by Minh’s inherent poise and calm as I photographed her in the outdoor courtyard at the City Club between palm fronds, cast iron and grand gothic columns. We traveled to the Berkeley Botanical Garden to meet the groom, Britton, for a loving first look amidst redwoods.  During the ceremony, the symbolic act of tying the couple’s hands together with red ribbon quite captured me.  Although it’s a very old gesture, with numerous variations in many cultures, I hadn’t yet seen it before, and found it very moving.  Minh and Britton held their reception and dinner at the Piedmont Community Hall, a gorgeous indoor ballroom space surrounded by gardens. Cocktail hour was held under swooning tree branches on the deck of the traditional Japanese Tea House on the site.  Midway through the evening, Minh and Britton donned traditional Vietnamese wedding garments in a shock of bright color and smiles.  A nine course meal was served and a bevy of toasts were expressed until it was time to dance and celebrate.  Although it’s certainly more challenging shooting across so many different locations, all day I was surrounded by enthusiastic, warm and wonderful people, both the couple and their communities, which made my job a pleasure.  Congratulations, you two!  Enjoy the pictures!

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