I had the pleasure of shooting Kale & Mei-Ling’s wedding recently, and I am excited to show you their wedding photos! Once I created this post, I actually realized I hadn’t blogged their engagement session despite it being one of my favorite e-sessions to date. So I’ll have to put those online.
Kale and Mei-Ling got ready at the Hotel Shattuck Plaza in Berkeley. They hadn’t seen each other all day and were getting ready in separate rooms. Both rooms were full of energy and chatter. I was surprised to find Mei-Ling sitting so calmly as she had her hair and makeup done. I should’ve known by now that she’s one to stay cool under pressure, but still, with a huge wedding ahead, I expected a drop of sweat or a furrowed brow. Instead, she was smiling, relaxed, and surrounded by equally sweet ladies.
I adore these shoes, which are soft, feminine, and the perfect lavender.
Her bridesmaids watched on as she got ready.
Mei-Ling’s lace dress glowed as the light shone through the white fabric. I had my assistant hang this dress up for the shot, and only realized later, as Mei-Ling went to take it down that I’d have to help her since it was quite high up and Mei-Ling is a bit petite. After we got the dress down, her mother prepared it for Mei-Ling.
These quiet moments during the wedding day are my absolute favourites—when mothers and daughters can spend time together like this. Also, I saw where Mei-Ling got her genes from!
One of the bridesmaids joked that Mei-Ling’s mom had been training her entire life for this moment, as she laced up her daughter’s wedding dress. There’s something sweet about a dress needing someone else to help you into it—one last moment of dependence on her mother before she starts her own family.
As a gift to her bridesmaids, Mei-Ling gave the ladies TOMS! The lacy white reflected her gorgeous dress. And I guess since TOMS works the way it does, she not only gifted shoes to her bridesmaids, but also to a child in need somewhere in the world. These shoes also guaranteed that her bridesmaids would be able to dance late into the night, not hindered by high heels.
Keeping the party in mind, Kale’s gift to his groomsmen were these awesome mustachioed boxes which contained kickass argyle socks, origami money-suits, a tie for each man, and miniature liquor bottles from Fireball to Glenlivet!
Kale joked around with the guys, but when he got ready, took a moment for himself in front of the mirror.
Finally it was time for the first look! The two hadn’t seen each other all day, and we planned for their first look to be on this giant yellow schoolbus that the couple had rented for the day (bigger and badder than a limo, if you ask me). We used some of the decorations as a blindfold for Kale as Mei-Ling sneaked up behind him.
Giant smiles, nose kisses, and lots of laughter.
Once Mei-Ling and Kale shared their first look, the entire VIP crew got to board the bus and be on their way to the Brazilian Room! If you’ve never driven up the Berkeley Hills towards Tilden Park, you need to know that the roads are TINY and STEEP and CURVY. Sometimes, I get nervous driving my little silver beetle up those roads. So imagine the wedding party’s and my surprise when our bus driver was able to navigate this huge submarine-sized bus up those hills! She was fearless. I’m relieved we survived game after game of tiny-street-chicken. I guess cars do move for giant buses, though.
Here’s some of the party laughter and fun times before we started fearing for our lives as we maneuvered up the Berkeley Hills.
At last, we arrived at Tilden Park and got to see the Brazilian Room! We all rejoiced for having survived the ride up, and we were on time!
I took some final portraits of the bride and groom during their last few moments of being single!
Guests started getting seated. The afternoon light was gorgeous! Then the ceremony began! Everyone’s faces were filled with such joy! I love this image of Kale as he saw his bride walking down the aisle.
I love the image below of Mei-Ling’s mother as she watches people walking down as if she were thinking about her daughter’s future life. Then her father gave her a hug as she reached Kale.
The ceremony site at the Brazilian room has a lovely view of hills and trees in the background.
Kale and Mei-Ling were officially Mr. and Mrs. Jenks!
We took some formal images during the cocktail hour that followed since guests were happily celebrating and buzzed!
Kale and Mei-Ling looked adorable underneath this giant tree. Kale actually carried her here! Those precious lavender heels were NOT getting muddy.
The details were sweet and multi-cultural, with elements of Japanese, Chinese, and American tradition. Japanese cranes were everywhere, including on tables, at the ceremony lining the chairs and near the awning, as well as on the dessert cupcakes!
Mei-Ling’s father gave a hilarious and heartwarming speech about how he knew Kale was the one for Mei-Ling, and also about how Kale’s really been a part of the family many years ago.
The best man and maid of honor gave equally sweet speeches. I couldn’t help but think about my sister and I when Janelle, the MoH gave her speech about her big sister, Mei-Ling.
Finally, it was time for a suave first dance that ended in a dip kiss! I want to take credit for teaching Kale how to dip-kiss, although I’ve never incorporated one into a dance. He must just be awesome.
The reception was a ton of fun with lots of dancing, happy kids, cupcake eating, and a hilarious mother-son dance between Kale and his mama.
One of my favorite moments of the night was the Hora! I could see the hora on their faces (ba-dum-chhhhh) as they were lifted hair above their guests faces. They look like they’re having a blast here but I think I might’ve almost had a heart-attack with Mei-Ling as the chair flew higher and higher into the air with the bride holding on for dear life. But we all survived!
Anyway, super happy to have been a part of this day! There was so much love and laughter—all things that make me love being a wedding photographer.