Megan & Chris Sneak Peek! Because they are awesome!

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Megan and Chris had an INCREDIBLE wedding yesterday at David Girard Vineyards in Placerville and holy moly I loved it. It was an Alchemy wedding with my beloved Kate Miller Events and Flourish and Hello Glam and it was BANANAS good. I am so grateful to have been a part of Megan and Chris’ fantastic day and can’t wait to share more!

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Rachel and Blake’s Perfect Spring Wedding at Palm Event Center

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Rachel and Blake were TRULY an incredible way to start off our 2013 wedding season. It was a perfect spring day to get married – blue skies, light breeze, perfect temperature. Seriously, more people need to get married in the spring! It was stunning day for this equally stunning couple. It was our first time at the Palm Event Center in Pleasanton, California and I loved it! I am so excited to shoot again there later this summer. Rachel looked amazing in her dress, and was surrounded by SUCH a fun group of girls. We had a blast photographing them getting ready for the big day.

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Dustin was having a great time with the guys too!

Palm Event Center Wedding _ Sarah Maren Photographers

But as it always is, the REAL magic happens when we get the couple together at last! Rachel and Blake had a first look so there was lots of time for pretty pictures in beautiful light. We had a great time with these two!

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Then it was time for some “I Do’s” in the Estate Room! SUCH a beautiful place to get married!!

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How cute are these two? I mean, seriously! They have so much love for each other, and it just shines through them. I loved photographing them! They had one heck of a party to celebrate their nuptials too. Loads of dancing, great food, touching toasts – it was just one great night!

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Super fun right?! I wouldn’t expect anything else from the delightful Rachel and Blake. This wedding was especially different for me as it was just days after I had broken my hand. The first thought I had when I realized my hand was broken was Rachel and Blake’s wedding. How in the world would I manage it? Well, I happen to have Dustin Whitehead – world’s best husband and second shooter, and my dear friend Lisa Bardot of The Goodness didn’t even hesitate when I asked if she would come shoot with me just to make sure I had all my bases covered. I can’t thank you both enough for your love, help and support through what was a pretty difficult 8 weeks. Lisa, I can’t thank you enough for sacrificing one of your rare free weekends to come shoot a wedding with me. I appreciate it more than you know! As you can see from the pictures below, Lisa was quite literally my right hand gal.

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Rachel and Blake we are so grateful to have been a part of your beautiful day! Thank you so much for blessing us with the opportunity to witness your love and the start of your marriage! Check out more of their beautiful day in their SLIDESHOW HERE or below.

Wedding and Reception Venue and Catering: Palm Event Center – Pleasanton, California
DJ and Videography: Amos Productions
Flowers: Tiffany’s Flowers
Cake: Primrose Bakery
Officiant: Dave Price Rolling Hills Church Danville
Hair: Alysha Andersen Fusion 3 Salon
Makeup Janice Channing
Dress: Maggie Sottero purchased at Trudy’s Bridal

Kortnee and Ted’s AMAZEBALLS Rock n’ Roll Wedding in the Woods

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First off – WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE NEW WEBSITE???? Do you love it? You should! Because it was a labor of love between me and that incredibly handsome man in the picture up there. The delightful, talented and amazing Ted Angel designed this awesome new site for me and I am so excited that his wedding is the first thing I’m going to blog on it. Ted, I can’t thank you enough for giving me such a great site. I love it mucho!

Oh, Kortnee and Ted. I kinda don’t even know where to start because I adore them and they are amazing and they had one of the most incredible weddings EVER. These two had the very definition of fabulous DIY wedding and it was freaking perfect. From its woodsy location to the hundreds of tiny, personal touches throughout the day it was simply incredible. Kortnee and Ted gave us such a gift when they invited us to witness their wedding day. Take a peek at all of the pretty they shared with us.

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Just so you know, Kortnee made her awesome headpiece – because girl is TALENTED! Of course, while I was with the ladies Dustin was hanging with the fellas.

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Then it was time to get these two seeing each other and take some pictures with their incredible wedding party. Honestly, I can tell a lot about a couple by the people they surround themselves with on their wedding day and Kortnee and Ted surrounded themselves with REAL, TRUE friends who were just incredible people. I loved every single one of them!

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Then it was wedding time! My favorite part of the day. Kortnee and Ted had a beautifully personal wedding officiated by dear friends that included two of my favorite ceremony events – a ring warming and hand fastening. There were tears and laughter and you had to swat the love away from your eyes it was so thick. It was one of those wedding ceremony’s where I kept looking at my own husband out of the corner of one eye and sending him lots of silent love because all the things these two were saying I feel for that guy. I am consistently amazed at how other peoples love magnifies our own. And, oh, there was so much magnification going on while these two became husband and wife.

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Don’t you just want to be best friends with them until the end of time? I do! Once the ceremony and some pictures were done we headed over to the lodge for their ROCKIN’ reception – literally, it was ROCKIN’. They had two bands: one made up of their awesomely talented friends and then the incredible The Alkali Flats. But it gets even better because Kortnee and Ted took the stage and sang together too! It was like they were making all my wedding dreams come true by just being themselves. And look at this reception space! Every bit of that awesome was DIY. The amazing design work was done by the groom, the bride crafted LOADS of awesome stuff (like those marquee lights!) and it was just perfectly THEM. I loved it! It was the perfect space for a non-stop party celebrating these two lovelies.

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Kortnee and Ted I can’t thank you enough for having us be a part of your beautiful wedding! You two are incredible and we feel SO very grateful to have met you. I know this post is getting long already, but I wanted to share a review Kortnee left for us – it brought tears of joy to my eyes knowing that we were able to be an important part of their incredible day. Here’s what she had to say about their SMP experience:

My husband and I hired Sarah to photograph our super DIY wedding in the woods of Nevada City, and we could not be any happier with our choice. From the very first moment we met her to the last second she and Dustin left the celebration we were 100 percent confident that she would turn out the best photos possible, and she did….cause she’s rad. They are beautiful and the style of her photos matched perfectly with our own. Sarah was very professional but still very fun and easy going. Her and Dustin’s dynamic makes you feel as though you are just hanging out with old friends. The are totally worth every penny.

But not only are Sarah and Dustin amazing photographers with love for their craft, they also went above and beyond for us. As I mentioned, our wedding was very DIY and I hadn’t seemed to allow myself much time to get ready, what with all the set up and decorating that had to be done. Sarah showed up to take some photos of my lady friends and I when I panicked and declared that the false eyelashes I planned on wearing were getting scrapped. I really wanted to wear them but the thought of struggling to apply them myself made me hot in the face. Sarah calmly looked at me and said “You are going to wear these lashes if I have to put them on you myself.” And she did – and it was awesome.

Meanwhile, my husband-to-be caught a little case of the pre-wedding jitters and blanked on how to tie the double windsor knot he had been practicing for the past two weeks. Dustin, a true tie wearing veteran stepped up and saved the day, tying not only the groom’s skinny tie but that of one of the groomsmen as well. It was these little things that we will always remember the most.

So yeah, we love Sarah and Dustin. They are super awesome photographers, but even MORE awesome people!!!

Seriously, reading that again just makes tears spring to my eyes. Thank you again beloved Kortnee and Ted for being FANTASTIC. We adore you. Check out even more of their sensational DIY wedding in their SLIDESHOW HERE or below.

Listen To Your Mother: Table Read One

When my Best Friend Jill told me she was auditioning for something called “Listen to Your Mother” I was like, “Good for you! You’ll be great.” I had no idea what the hell she was talking about, but I was going to be supportive nonetheless. Then she sent me the piece she had written, and well, I know she’s my best friend and everything but it was really, truly amazing. The kind of amazing where you just sit back in your chair and breathe deep and let the tears roll down your face. All I knew about Listen to Your Mother at that point was what Jill had written about being a mom and it was incredible and I wanted, somehow to be a part of this thing I knew almost nothing about. I emailed her back, told her I loved what she had written and to please let the powers that be know that I wanted to photograph this thing, whatever the hell it was.

Now, as taking pictures is my job this might not seem like that big of a deal to have me volunteer to photograph something. But friends, it was a REALLY big deal because I was smack-dab in the middle of a monumental, all-consuming photography burn out. The past few years have been difficult on various levels, but my work had become a wildly draining thing. The love I had for creating images was waning – to put it lightly. My heart for this work was in trouble – deep, dark trouble. I kept reading articles about how to avoid burn out and each and every one said, “Have a personal photography project.” Sadly, my view of “personal project” was pretty narrow and I couldn’t imagine finding something that would make me want to put my camera up to my face. The very idea of adding one more thing to my over flowing plate made me sick to my stomach. And then, out of no where, my best friend told me about this production and my view of “personal project” cracked wide open. THIS was it. THIS is what I had been looking for.

I didn’t hear back right away once I volunteered my services, so OF COURSE the voice in my head that tells me how horrible and awful I am kept telling me how horrible and awful I was and how I wasn’t a good enough photographer and I should probably start looking for other work soon. I not so politely told the voice to bug off and carried on with my life. Then the email came inviting me to be the photographer for this years event and my heart almost burst with joy. I didn’t know a single member of that cast except Jill but I knew, deep down in my guts, THIS was going to be something special. What I didn’t understand at the time, and really what I’m still learning with each day, is that this event is saving me and reinventing my love for my craft.

When I walked into the first table read I knew I was on holy ground and my heart was bursting with gratitude. I looked at the faces of the women gathered around the table and saw so much vulnerability, fear and excitement. This was a BIG DEAL for these women just as it was for me. I know how hard being photographed is, especially when you’re feeling raw and emotional. I have stared down the barrel of a gun and the barrel of a lens – to me they evoke a pretty similar fear. I could see the women sneaking glances as I unpacked my camera. “Holy shit, she is going to take pictures of me while I’m crying or ugly or scared or vulnerable,” hung in thought bubbles over their heads. I asked Nicole and Margaret, the amazing producers of the show, if I could speak to the group before things got started. In all of their wisdom they agreed. I talked to these women for a moment to let them know they were safe with me. It was okay to cry and be ugly and happy or sad or whatever emotion was brought up by their reading. It was okay. I would do my very, very best to honor them. “Forget I’m here,” I told them. “You are safe with me.” And here is the MOST miraculous thing – THEY DID! They let themselves be open and honest and raw. It was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life to hear them read; to witness them opening hearts and wounds. But even MORE beautiful was the reaction of their cast mates who took care with those open hearts and salved those opened wounds. Tears spilled, hands were held, hugs given, laughter rang out and words like, “Me too…that’s my story too,” whispered across the table. For the first time in a long time I was profoundly grateful I had ever picked up a camera. This is why I did.

I don’t even know how to express my gratitude for cracking my heart open and for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this amazing experience. These women have changed me for the better. I have fallen in love with them and their passion for motherhood and the stories they have so bravely shared. I can’t encourage you enough to join us on Sunday, May 12th at The Crest Theater at 7pm for an AMAZING evening filled with so much love and heart and awesome. You can purchase tickets online HERE or at the Crest box office. (I highly suggest buying at the box office to avoid service fees.) Please join us! We can’t wait to see you there.

You can view a slideshow of the first table read by CLICKING HERE or below.

A Sneak Peek of Summer and Greg’s AMAZING Miner’s Foundry Wedding!

Summer and Greg had an AMAZING wedding on Friday night at The Miner’s Foundry in Nevada City, California. We love them loads and are SO grateful to have been a part of such an incredible day! Thank you wonderful Summer and Greg for being so dang awesome and having some of the most amazing family and friends ever! Have a great time in Italy!!! XOXOXO!