london ella

I'm getting ready to head to Europe for the zero-60 workshop (plus a little vacation fun) next week so I'm buried with things to wrap up from my last trip as well as last minute preparations for the workshop. But I wanted to announce the arrival of little London Ella!

Some of you may remember my assistant Jamie who worked with me for over 2 years until she moved to northern California 6 months ago. Here she is with her cute family last year in case you need a memory jogger:

She second shot weddings with me, worked in the office and became a good friend. Well, this last weekend she welcomed her third baby and boy, does she make cute ones! I'm sure Owen helps a little too. But people like this should really just keep populating the world with cuteness if you know what I mean. Jamie took this photo of London and she's only a few days old. What a beautiful newborn. If you'd like to see more, check out Jamie's blog.

So excited for you Jamie!

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Weddings by MJ

Michelle & Brent

I'm back in Phoenix having some great memories from my two weeks in the Bay area. Michelle and Brent were married Thursday in Half Moon Bay. Brent is a farmer in Iowa and Michelle, originally from Arizona, has moved there to be with him. So this was a destination wedding for them.

This wedding was so special to me and here's why. If I wasn't already born into an amazing family, this is the family I would want to adopt me:

From L to R: David, Becky, Stephen, Martha, Michelle, Brent, Sarah & Aaron. Stephen and Martha have the three girls as daughters and the boys all married into the family. I met Becky and Stephen first on a trip to Israel with APU back in 1998. Becky attended APU as a freshman that year along with David, who she was dating at the time. I was a senior and in choir with David so I got to know them both separately. Besides getting along great we had Arizona in common as our home state. So after college when we all moved back, we continued to hang out and I got to know the whole clan. Becky and Sarah both managed to get married without me as their photographer so I feel blessed that I was able to shoot Michelle's wedding.

I keep telling the girls in this family that they need to start an event planning business. I think of myself as organized and detail-oriented but these guys make me look like a mess. More importantly, they are all super-kind and love each other like crazy. I always feel so blessed in their presence. And to top off this list of amazing qualities, they are the most photo-crazy family I've ever met. So they definitely made my job easy and fun.

Ok, on to the wedding day. Here's Michelle's dress along with four brightly colored sashes that the bridesmaids wore. I loved the bright colors they used:

Getting ready fun:

How cute is Michelle with those dimples?

The bright flowers:

Some sweet moments between Michelle and her mom just before the ceremony:

The ceremony took place at The Hasting's House--this little garden behind a house on Miramar Beach. It was the perfect setting for an intimate wedding--the guests numbered 11-- only Brent and Michelle's immediate families.

I loved how they were holding each others hands:

Michelle and Brent both wrote their own vows and both struggled through them:

This was one of my favorite moments during the ceremony--the family gathered around them and prayed.

After the ceremony we spent some time in the garden getting some great portraits:

Then we headed down to a very windy, cold beach for more portraits. Here's the whole crew:

The girls:

And more with the cute couple:

Next we headed to Pasta Moon for a five course dinner complete with wine, toasts, and cheesecake for dessert:

There are so many more great photos from this day. To see more--click here for a slideshow!

Even though Michelle & Brent included only their families in their weddings, they are still planning to celebrate with all their friends. They have two big receptions planned in Arizona and Iowa. Unfortunately I'm not available to cover the Iowa reception but you will see more from their Arizona reception in September! I think this is such a great way to do things for couples who want the intimacy of a small destination wedding but also want to include their many friends and family as well. Definitely something to think about for you brides to be out there!

Thanks Michelle & Brent! Have so much fun on your honeymoon in Iceland!

Proud to be a member of Wedding Party

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Weddings by MJ

Michelle & Brent's Dinner Cruise

Tomorrow Michelle and Brent are getting married in beautiful Half Moon Bay. I'm SO excited to be a part of their wedding. Michelle and Brent live in Iowa so this is a destination wedding for them and only 11 of their closest family members are here to celebrate with them. Tonight we all enjoyed a wonderful dinner cruise around the San Francisco Bay.

Our sea-faring vessel:

The adorable couple:

Sarah and Aaron--Michelle's sister and brother in law in front of Alcatraz. The wind was crazy!

Brent's sister and brother in law out on the dance floor:

The boat took us right into McCovey Cove during a Giant's game!

Stay tuned for wedding fun!

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happy feet

Last night I accompanied Amy to a local shoe store here in Modesto to help her find some new open-toe black heels. We were not successful with our mission but I -- the person who didn't need any shoes -- walked out with these:

Truth be told, I have been on the look-out for some casual brown shoes and some close-toed black heels for some time. And the green and white ones were only $17!! This is how I rationalized the whole purchase.

Now the challenge is trying to fit them into my luggage that I had to sit on in order to zip up when I left Phoenix....

My mom suggested I make a shoe-necklace for the plane. Anyone have any slightly less humiliating ideas? :)

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Melissa & Martin's Engagement Shoot

Yesterday I met Melissa and Martin in San Francisco for their engagement shoot. They live in Houston but Melissa has spent some time in San Francisco and wanted to introduce Martin to this beautiful city so they thought it would be the perfect place for their engagement shoot. It was fun to spend some time with these two and develop a connection. I'm really looking forward to their wedding in August of '09.

Here are a few of my favorites from our session:

Thanks Melissa & Martin! I really enjoyed hanging out and having dinner with you!

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