As we get ready for what should be an amazing moment in history, we at Next Exit Photography thought we would re post the photography from some of our favorite LGBT weddings that we have had the honor to attend and photograph. Since their lesbian wedding a couple of years ago, the wedding of Hayley and Johanny has been posted on at least 4 wedding blogs and published in 2 wedding magazines. We remember meeting Johanny and Hayley for the first time our studio and thinking to ourselves, “We must book this wedding.” We instantly knew that we wanted to both be at this wedding and to document it. It was everything that we had imagined it would be. Their girlie-girl wedding was uber-gorgeous at the green and lush Calamigos Ranch. The wedding was designed and styled by the incredibly talented Tabitha Johnson of Glitter & Ganache. Everywhere we turned, we were blown away by the magical nature of the details and the love and friendship that surrounded the couple. We were honored to be there and we wish Hayley and Johanny all the best. LGBT wedding photography by Next Exit Photography.
Sometimes our wedding couples decide to forgo a traditional hotel wedding and instead choose a quiet, quaint backyard wedding with a multi course formal dinner. It offers a certain peacefulness that large wedding venues have difficulty replicating. The Wedding of Mark and Nguyen took place at the charming Hollywood Hills home of the grooms’ very close friend, Patricia Montandon. Ms. Montadon is a celebrated American author, California socialite, and humanitarian. She founded a peace group, Children as Teachers for Peace (now Children as the Peacemakers), where she met one of our grooms and they remained friends over the passing decades. Bringing the wedding into a private home often translates into warmth and togetherness, and guests feel like part of the family. This gay wedding was delightfully simple and yet incredibly elegant. It was designed and coordinated by the ever-talented Allyson Levine of Bob Gail Events. Allyson and her team of experts never fail to wow under any circumstance. Next Exit Photography worked very hard to let the photography of this same-sex Hollywood wedding reflect the deep loving relationship of these two men. Another amazing gay wedding. We wish Mark and Nguyen all the best. Congratulations guys! Los Angeles Same Sex Wedding Photography by Next Exit Photography
Paul and Glenn had their most exquisitely designed same sex wedding at the stunningly modern Disney Concert Hall in Downtown Los Angeles. Their love and devotion toward each other was in full view of their all of their adoring guests during their beautiful outdoor ceremony, officiated by KPCC’s host of AirTalk, Larry Mantel. All of the evening’s events, from a tear provoking first dance with a brilliant live wedding band to the amazingly touching toasts that they received from guests and family, to the exquisite cake proudly displayed surrounded by glowy light. We loved every minute of it. What we love most about Disney Hall for wedding photography is its versatility. When the sunlight is perfectly golden as only is can be in Southern California, we whisk our couples down to street level, or up to the perfectly manicured Disney Hall back garden, or even pull them into the architecturally spectacular and curvaceous metal maze that distinguishes Disney Hall from the rest of the urban landscape around it. And, that is just the outside of the venue! The inside reception hall is designed with the wooden mirror of its outside metal counterpart with its stunning lines and amazing textures. Los Angeles Gay Wedding Photography by Next Exit Photography
photos by Next Exit Photography
by Amber Gustafson
After having a break from them over the past few years, in the past few months, I’ve done two weddings at homes. Not a private residence that is rented out for events: but the home of the bride or groom’s family or a close friend. If rented venues are tough, home weddings are three times harder than a normal wedding. It takes a wedding ninja and a team of martial artist vendors to make it all come together smoothly. To pull off a home wedding properly, not only do all of the normal things (Music! Flowers! Invitation! Decor!) have to be dealt with, but all of the items listed below.
Pre-Prep of the Property
Unlike rented spaces, many homes don’t have full time landscapers, painters, electricians, and plumbers to make sure that everything is up to par, so everything has to be checked prior to the wedding. Pianos have to be tuned, ovens have to be serviced, drains have to be snaked, AC units tuned and filters changed. Then you have the organizing around the house has has to be taken care of: furniture that has to be moved out in order to allow 100ish guests in your living room. After all of that above? Then comes the deep cleaning: the window washing, carpet shampooing, molding dusting hell.
Where are your guests going to park? Do you have to bring in valet? Should they be shuttled from the hotel? Is there a parking lot nearby you can rent? All of these questions have to be asked.
Where you live determines how late you can party or the cops will be on your doorstep in .02 seconds. If you send your invitations out for 7:00 PM but live in Beverly Hills that has a 10:00 PM sound ordinance you’re in for some trouble. Also, if you live in an area like Beverly Hills and put up a tent or a generator, you have to get a permit or risk your party being shut down. And then we have neighbors. If you don’t want your neighbors to have the cops show up at 9:00 PM you better give them a goodie basket with a note and some booze. It’s recommended to invite them, ESPECIALLY the crazy lady that you can’t stand. Every neighborhood has one.
Most of the time homes don’t have perfect nightscaping built for entertaining, so if you’re having any sort of lighting, you will more than likely need a generator or you risk tripping the circuits when the caterers plug in the coffee pot at 9:30 PM.
Good flow is key. Where will the guests enter? Where will they go? Where are the bottlenecks going to happen? Are they going to be cool or warm enough? Will there be enough chairs to sit on? Where will the bars be placed? The dance-floor? If the ceremony and reception are happening in the same space, are the tables going to be pre-set and brought out during cocktail hour? If not, you better have a darn comfortable space for guests to hang for over an hour.
Can your kitchen handle cooking for 100+ people? Where can the caterers set up their prep & scullery area? Can they use your refrigerator or will a rented one have to come in?
Then there are bathrooms. This is one of the most important aspects that people overlook. People need 1 restroom for every 50 people. This includes staff. If you have 100 guests in your home, you’ll have 20 vendors working it. That means you need more than 2 bathrooms or you’re going to have problems. And your plumbing had better be GOOD or your problems are going to be even bigger. A bathroom blowout will kill a party faster than anything.
Often overlooked Logistics
Who is going to be cleaning up the house on the day of the wedding? You need one person dedicated to refilling toilet paper in the bathrooms and making sure that there is still soap.
Who is going to deep clean the property once 120 people have trampled the grass, soiled the carpet, and stained the couch? All of the vendors will take out what they brought in, but they’re not responsible for deep cleaning your house.
On the day
Unless you want a disaster, your caterers had better specialize in coming into homes and cooking with ovens they aren’t used to. And you need a wedding planner who knows all of the above and gets a sick thrill out of the most difficult logistics imaginable in the wedding world.
<em><a title=”Amber Gustafson | Amber Events” href=”http://losangelessamesexweddingphotography.com/contributors/amber-gustafson-amber-events/”>Amber Gustafson</a> is the owner of <a href=”http://amberevents.com”>Amber Events</a>, a premiere wedding and event coordination company based in Southern California.</em>
photo by Next Exit Photography
How To Have A Raging Dance Party
by Amber Gustafson
So you have a great DJ/Band and that you think is going to make your guests tear up the dancefloor, eh? Not so fast, you need a few other key items in place in order to have a truly insane dance party.
Don’t have more than a parent and a best man/maid of honor speak. Seriously. And when you ask that person to speak, tell them they have no more than 3 minutes. Nothing kills a party like like three 8 minute speeches in a row. Don’t you know that’s what the rehearsal dinner is for? Oh, and have said people speak before dinner so after dinner is saved for boogieing .
If you read my blog, you know how important I believe lighting is (more important than flowers, sorry, florists!) and I think that any good reception has two lighting levels: ” romanticaldinnertime” and “sexydanceytime“. Sexydanceytime usually involves me crawling around the room unplugging the uplights if I don’t have a standby guy on hand, but it’s worth it. People like to get their freak on in dim lighting.
Make sure your band/DJ is right on the dance floor with nothing (like tables) to come between their love. They and the dancers feed off each others energy like rock stars and groupies. Also make sure your bar is in the same room. The closer to the dance floor, the better. And if dancing is really your thing don’t dilute your reception with other activities such as photo booths. If you want your guests to be slaves to the beat you have to keep them captive.
Nix the band OR do a band/DJ combo
Bands have to take breaks every 45 minutes. Nuff said.
and last but not least
Cake. That damn cake.
This is my most hated time of the evening: it’s 10:15 PM and the dance floor is rocking. There are 1.75 hours left of this party. The photographer has to end at 10:30 or overtime will ensue. I tell the MC that we’ll be cutting the cake after the next song and the announcement is made. Dance floor fizzles out and never returns to its original glory. My advice? Cut the cake right after dinner or sneak away with your parents & photographers to cut it then get back to the floor to shake what your momma gave ya.