Emily & Patrick's Chic Intimate Monterey Wedding: A Celebration of Authenticity and Love

March 12, 2024 Real Weddings

Emily and Patrick’s wedding was a heartfelt ode to individuality, intimacy, and the art of savoring each moment. With just their immediate family gathered, the day was a beautiful testament to what small weddings do best—highlighting unique personal touches and creating a space for genuine connections. This couple stayed true to themselves, from their attire to the anime-topped cake, their day was undeniably them. As a photographer who adores the close-knit vibe of intimate celebrations, I was in my element, documenting the laughter, the tears, and the unscripted joy that naturally unfolds when you're fully present in the celebration of love.

Photographing bridal details is always a treat, especially when the bride brings her own flair to the day. Her choice of blue suede shoes and a distinctive two-piece wedding dress showcased her unique style. Capturing the dress was a creative challenge, but displaying it in front of a stunning painting in Emily's suite highlighted its beauty. Her statement piece earings completed her Vogue Bride look.

The intimate setting, with everyone doing their own hair and makeup, created a relaxed atmosphere filled with camaraderie, reminiscent of a casual girls' get-together. A memorable moment was when Emily's sister-in-law prepared for her role in the ceremony while sitting in the tub, notes in hand.

Emily's personality shone throughout the morning. Not only is she incredibly stylish, but her humor and spontaneity added a vibrant energy to the day. It's clear she inherited some of her comedic flair from her mom, who brought laughter and lightness, especially when she appeared with a bottle of tequila during Emily's portrait session. Of which they each had a shot before the ceremony.

The Hacienda House at De Terra Events was a joy to shoot in, offering endless possibilities with its intriguing details and abundant natural light—a dream for any photographer. While Emily was preparing upstairs, I ventured downstairs to capture Patrick in his element. True to form, he radiated excitement and warmth, mirroring the bubbly spirit of his bride-to-be. It's evident these two are a perfect match. With some assistance from his new father-in-law, Patrick's bowtie dilemma was swiftly resolved.

Amy of Kiss Me in Carmel Vintage Rentals and Michael from Valley Flores Designs truly outdid themselves. They transformed the green archway into an enchanting setting for an intimate wedding ceremony. The vivid colors of the flowers and carpets popped against the lush greenery, creating a mesmerizing scene. Every detail was meticulously perfected, showcasing their remarkable talent and vision.

The ceremony, with its mere nine guests, was the epitome of intimacy. The moment Patrick caught sight of Emily, an expression of pure joy spread across his face. The natural arches of greenery not only framed this intimate gathering beautifully but also provided much-needed shade on the warm Monterey day. With Emily's sister-in-law officiating, the ceremony was incredibly personal. Having someone close to the couple lead the ceremony adds a profound layer of emotion to the ceremony and makes it just that bit more special.

Patrick visibly moved from the moment Emily appeared, wasn't the only one reaching for tissues. His heartfelt vows soon had everyone else doing the same. Patrick holding Emily's bouquet as she read her vows, is a delightful quirk that I adore. After their first kiss as a married couple, they made two joyous walks down the aisle — the second time with confetti, which turned out to be a fabulous idea. Those confetti poppers brought out everyone's inner child, adding to the celebration's joy.

Emily and Patrick's ability to be unapologetically themselves was the day's highlight. The photo capturing them in a quirky pose at the aisle's end is a personal favorite, perfectly encapsulating the essence of #Pemily.

Cocktail hour began with the ambitious endeavor of constructing a champagne tower, a task that's much trickier than it appears. This part of the day often holds a special place in my heart. Observing the guests mingling and capturing the candid moments as they naturally unfold is always a highlight.

As the guests indulged in the exquisite canapes prepared by Chef Jacques, I whisked Emily and Patrick away for a quick portrait session. In just 20 minutes, we captured some stunning photos. They had made it clear that spending time with their loved ones was their priority, rather than dedicating hours to photography.

It might sound strange coming from a photographer, but I admire this approach wholeheartedly. Not only does it result in more genuine and joyful pictures, but it also reinforces the idea that a wedding is about the celebration, not just the photos. While I adore taking portraits, the truth is, you only need about 20 minutes to an hour for that part of the day.

If your wedding is more about crafting Instagram content than the actual commitment, we might not be the best match. But for those who value the beauty of the moment and genuine joy, that's where I thrive.

If the ceremony setup caught your eye, the boho-chic style of the reception will absolutely enchant you. Have I mentioned how much I cherish intimate weddings? The magic of such gatherings was fully captured in this reception design. From the elegantly draped flowers and glowing lanterns that seemed to float above to the luxurious velvet tablecloths and the warm glow of vibrant candles, every detail was thoughtfully curated. Kiss Me in Carmel Vintage Rentals and Valley Flores Designs transformed this backyard space into something you'd expect to see in the pages of a wedding magazine.

The dinner was nothing short of spectacular, with heartfelt toasts from Emily and Patrick's family. Laughter mingled with tears, highlighting the close-knit nature of this celebration. The beauty of a small wedding is in details like these toasts—so personal and touching. Being there to capture these moments felt like a privilege, witnessing the collective joy and celebration of two people's love.

A delightful surprise wedding cake adorned with the couple's favorite Anime characters, Catbus and Totoro, had everyone laughing. Emily and Patrick's reaction to the custom cake was priceless—they were absolutely thrilled. This thoughtful touch not only added a unique element to their day but also underscored the deep connections and shared joys that make such occasions unforgettable.

We also had to take a few photos with the neon Pemily sign of course!

An intimate wedding doesn't mean you skip the grand moments—Emily and Patrick's first dance, which ended with a bold dip, was proof of that. And what better way to cap off such a beautiful day than with sparklers? It was a dazzling finale to a night filled with joy.

As the stars twinkled above a day filled with irreplaceable moments, Emily and Patrick's intimate wedding journey reminds us that at the heart of every celebration is love and authenticity. Surrounded by the closest of family, their day wasn’t just about the beautiful details or the place settings—it was about the shared looks, the inside jokes, and the kind of joy that only comes when you're truly in the moment. It's weddings like these, brimming with personality and heart, that resonate long after the last sparkler burns out. To Emily and Patrick, thank you for letting me capture the essence of your day—here’s to countless years of laughter and love, just as vibrant and spirited as your wedding day.

A huge shout-out to the talented group of vendors who brought Emily and Patrick’s wedding vision to life. The serene De Tierra Events provided the perfect canvas for this intimate celebration. Valley Flores Designs adorned the venue with stunning floral artistry, while Kiss Me in Carmel Vintage Rentals added layers of charm with their curated pieces. The bride's elegant steps were courtesy of Sam Edelman, leading to an aisle graced by the exquisite design of KYHA Studios. Adornments from Cult Gaia added a hint of sparkle, as did the groom, tailored to the nines by Yaly Couture. And the culinary delights crafted by Chef Jacques Zagouri rounded out the sensory experience. Each of you played a pivotal role in weaving this magical day, and I am grateful for your dedication and artistry.