Chrisman Studios https://www.chrismanstudios.com Tue, 10 Jul 2018 13:00:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://www.chrismanstudios.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/cropped-CS-Favicon-32x32.png Chrisman Studios https://www.chrismanstudios.com 32 32 Suzanne&Greg https://www.chrismanstudios.com/blog/weddings/suzanne-and-greg-mexico-wedding-hotel-esencia/ Tue, 10 Jul 2018 13:00:41 +0000 http://www.chrismanstudios.com/?p=34317 Suzanne and Greg marry at one of Mexico's best wedding locations, Hotel Esencia.

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On a routine flight for her job from San Francisco to Chicago, Suzanne settled into her first-class seat, in all her unshowered and yoga-pants glory, hoping to get some sleep. But the guy next to her was just starting his vacation. He was a few drinks in and ready to chat. He asked for her name. She gave him a fake name, and somehow he called her bluff. They began talking nonetheless. And somewhere in there, on that fated route, something magical happened.

Because when Suzanne got home, she called her sister and told her she’d just met the man she was going to marry. The same thing happened on Greg’s end. He started spending a lot of time flying back and forth from San Francisco, where he lived, to Chicago, where she lived. On New Year’s Day last year, they took that same flight from San Francisco to Chicago together, and with the help of the United Airlines flight attendants, Greg officially proposed. 

We loved these two from the moment we first spoke with them. And it wasn’t even their great story that got us. It was them. Suzanne and Greg are hilarious; they are extremely kind and thoughtful; and they love their people so well. Their wedding was at one of the best wedding locations in the world, Hotel Esencia in Mexico’s Riviera Maya. When we got to our room, there was a gift waiting for us. But it wasn’t a generic welcome gift. It was a bottle of champagne in a custom wooden box with our last name engraved on it, with a beautiful, heartfelt note saying they knew it was our anniversary weekend and hoped it would be special for us. This was THEIR wedding weekend, and they were thinking about OUR anniversary. Who does that?! It was too much for me to even process. I had tears in my eyes. 

The whole weekend was a testament to how close these two are with their family and friends. The guest list was kept very small so they could actually spend quality time with the people they love. Instead of dancing, Suzanne and Greg spent most of their wedding reception having meaningful conversations with their guests. The evening ended in a bonfire on the beach.

This was one of those weddings that we live for – a fun couple who know exactly who they are and appreciate what they have, getting married in a beautiful place and taking nothing for granted. We feel very fortunate that Suzanne and Greg shared a bit of their world, and their love, with us. And of course now we stay in touch pretty regularly because, as I told Greg at the rehearsal dinner (as he and his friends were doing tequila shots and laughing hysterically), “what I REALLY want to do is just hang out with you guys!” 

This was our second time photographing here. Our first one was 10 years ago at Lauren and Frank’s Hotel Esencia wedding

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Emily&Luke https://www.chrismanstudios.com/blog/weddings/emily-luke-san-francisco-city-hall-wedding/ Thu, 28 Jun 2018 13:00:04 +0000 http://www.chrismanstudios.com/?p=34595 Emily and Luke marry at San Francisco City Hall with their family beside them.

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Emily and Luke live in San Francisco and originally wanted to elope. But then they thought of their family, and how they didn’t want to miss out on such an important event. 

The easy compromise was the beautiful San Francisco City Hall, where they could get married in a stunning location but still keep it small and intimate. And most importantly, their families could join in the celebration.

After the ceremony, and a few portraits around City Hall, they did more portraits in front of the famous Painted Ladies, the row of Victorian homes featured in the show “Full House.” The Painted Ladies are in Hayes Valley, which also happens to be Emily and Luke’s neighborhood.   

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Erica&Tom https://www.chrismanstudios.com/blog/weddings/erica-tom-charleston-destination-wedding-at-kiawah/ Mon, 11 Jun 2018 13:00:19 +0000 http://www.chrismanstudios.com/?p=34537 Erica and Tom marry at Kiawah Resort on Kiawah Island, SC.

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You would think they are teenagers who just kissed for the first time. But no. They’ve already lived one life before this one, had two children each, and are well into very successful, high-powered careers. When they met, they fell hard and realized right away that this was everything they’d been waiting for – the last piece of their unfinished puzzles. 

Erica and Tom, who split their time between Charleston and Minneapolis, brought their closest family and friends to Kiawah Island for their wedding at Kiawah Resort. It was a sweet, family-focused day where they got ready with their children, walked down the aisle together, and had an intimate dinner by candlelight. 

To see Erica and Tom together is to be reminded of the best parts of what love can be: silliness and laughter; constant affection; true connection; the insatiable desire to be as close as possible, all the time; and the deeper appreciation that only those who have been given second chances can understand. That appreciation comes from experience, and knowing by now that happiness is not always guaranteed. But when you find that person who fills in the missing parts, and you realize it’s not possible to be in the same room and not be physically connected in some way, that is when you know the search is over. 

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Cindy&Steve https://www.chrismanstudios.com/blog/weddings/cindy-steve-kentucky-wedding-at-murray-country-club/ Fri, 01 Jun 2018 13:00:55 +0000 http://www.chrismanstudios.com/?p=34377 Cindy and Steve get married at the Murray Country Club in Kentucky.

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This was a day about family – children; grandchildren; a wedding party composed of sons and daughters; cousins meeting for the first time; the bride’s son walking her down the aisle; the bride’s nephew as her photographer; and two people who have been together so many years they were already each other’s family long before they made their way to the altar. 

At the center of it all was Cindy. Or, as we call her, Aunt Cindy. Aunt Cindy, Ben’s father’s little sister, has been a photographer most of her life, and it was she who first inspired Ben to pick up a camera. By the time Ben and I got together, both of his parents had passed away, so I never got to meet them. Cindy is the closest thing to one of Ben’s “parents” that we have. I loved her immediately – her warmth, her smile, her happiness, her quirkiness, her thoughtfulness, her all-consuming love of her family. She checks up on us. She sends gifts and notes and old family photos. She makes sure she is present in our lives. It means more to us than we could ever really explain to her. 

So when Aunt Cindy told us she and Steve were finally getting married, Ben called her and told her we were coming, and that he wanted to photograph it. “What did she say?!” I asked him. “She just kept screaming,” he told me.

Returning to Murray, Kentucky, meant visiting all of Ben’s childhood haunts, the woods and the places he built forts, his favorite taco shop, his beloved grandmother’s house. We took Roxy with us, and it was so wonderful to see her walk hand-in-hand with Ben on roads he ran down as a child. Roxy and I also got to meet family members we’d never met, and friends of Ben’s parents. His uncle Ted regaled us with stories of Ben’s dad as a teenager, and the beautiful, kind-hearted girl who became his wife (Ben’s mother). My heart was so full it was bursting at the seams. 

The wedding itself was a sweet celebration of two pure-hearted people who deserve this beautiful second chapter of their lives. I know it meant the world to Ben to be able to give Aunt Cindy the first photos of that second chapter, after everything she has done for him, and everything she has been to him. As my own mother reminds me all the time… Family is everything.

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Maissa&Craig Engagement https://www.chrismanstudios.com/blog/engagements/maissa-craig-san-francisco-engagement-photos/ Tue, 29 May 2018 13:00:29 +0000 http://www.chrismanstudios.com/?p=34491 Maissa and Craig's engagement session in San Francisco.

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Maissa and Craig fell in love in San Francisco, and that is the place they call home. But Maissa’s family is from France, and Craig’s family is from Philadelphia. And they don’t want to leave anyone or any place out! So there will be a Paris wedding, a San Francisco wedding, and a Philly wedding. 

But first, the engagement session! Ryan met up with Maissa and Craig at the Lyon Street steps by The Presidio, and they continued on to the famous curvy path by Lovers Lane and other favorite spots. These two have a natural, easy chemistry where you see love and friendship seamlessly entwined. They are both fun and romantic, silly and serious, and hopelessly in love.

Maissa and Craig’s first wedding will be this December in Paris. The San Francisco wedding will be a couple months after that (Mauricio and Ryan are photographing that one together). The final celebration will be next summer in Philadelphia. We are so excited to be part of this wedding that will span two states and another country! 

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Allison&Kushal Enagement https://www.chrismanstudios.com/blog/engagements/allison-kushal-sausalito-engagement-session/ Thu, 24 May 2018 13:00:31 +0000 http://www.chrismanstudios.com/?p=34484 Allison and Kushal's engagement photos in San Francisco, CA.

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Allison and Kushal had been on one date, and then their communications kinda fizzled as regular life and work and such took over.

But then, one day when Allison was in the middle of a 24-hour hospital shift, Kushal texted her out of the blue saying he was driving past the hospital with strawberries he’d just bought from a roadside stand. She was not in the headspace of wanting to date anyone at that point, but she decided to meet up with him anyway, and they sat on a bench outside the hospital, eating strawberries and reconnecting. 

Allison realized in that moment that she could be real with him. It was a totally different feeling than she’d ever had before. 

Kushal and Allison both acted on a gut feeling, a whim. Or… really what they did was follow their hearts. And now here we are, showing you their engagement photos, taken around Sausalito and Marin, with their faithful German Shepherd, Simba, along for the ride. Simba is a big part of their little family, and my favorite photos here are the ones with him!

Allison and Kushal are getting married this fall in a combination Jewish-Indian wedding in Cloverdale, CA.  

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Parnaz&Payam https://www.chrismanstudios.com/blog/weddings/parnaz-payam-persian-wedding-finest-resort-playa-mujeres/ Wed, 16 May 2018 13:24:56 +0000 http://www.chrismanstudios.com/?p=34439 Parnaz and Payam marry at Finest Playa Mujeres in Mexico.

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Parnaz likes haunted houses. Payam does not. So it says a lot about Payam, and his love for Parnaz, that when it came time to propose to her, he went to the haunted house he knew she was headed to that night and had them help him with a plan. 

He borrowed a mask and stationed himself in one of the rooms. When she entered the room, he removed the mask and proposed! 

Parnaz knew from their very first date that he was the one she was going to marry. She loved that he was family-oriented, that he was thoughtful, that he was a little nerdy. Parnaz is a thrill-seeker (hence the haunted houses), and part of that means traveling to interesting places. Their destination wedding at Finest Playa Mujeres was an adventure and a celebration of their own love, as well as the love they have for their closest family and friends. 

Parnaz and Payam, who are from Vancouver, treated their guests to a welcome dinner, a stunningly beautiful traditional Persian wedding by the water, a party that they’re all probably still talking about, and a brunch the next day, all at Finest Playa Mujeres. 

Many months before their wedding, Parnaz told us she hoped to truly feel the experience of marrying her best friend in one of the most beautiful places in the world, surrounded by love. Judging by the wild and wonderful moments we witnessed, we know she got her wish. 

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Natalie&Boots https://www.chrismanstudios.com/blog/weddings/natalie-and-boots-natchez-wedding-at-longwood/ Mon, 30 Apr 2018 15:44:24 +0000 http://www.chrismanstudios.com/?p=34072 Natalie and Boots' Natchez wedding at the antebellum mansion Longwood.

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The morning of their wedding, Natalie and Boots sat around the breakfast table at her parents’ home trying to decide whether they should say their vows to one another privately, before the ceremony. They were worried they would not be able to get through them in front of everyone, being the highly emotional people they are. And Natalie realized there was also a benefit to saying their vows twice. “Then we’ll be double-married,” she said. “I want to be as married to you as I can possibly be.”

They ended up heeding everyone’s advice and waiting until the ceremony to say the words they’d written themselves. Boots’ vows began with “You saved me.” In Natalie’s vows, she said she never thought it was possible to love someone so much, and to have that love be returned to her equally. 

You see, these two walked through some raging fires to get to one another. They had been badly hurt by others, and they had been tested. They had spent a little time at the proverbial “rock bottom” before figuring out how to swim back up. On the surface, they laid eyes on one another and it was like the universe breathed a sigh of relief. Its job was done. “He was put on this Earth for me to find,” Natalie told me.

Natalie and Boots married at the grand antebellum mansion Longwood in Natchez, Mississippi. Natalie grew up in Natchez, which is a very special town of unparalleled Civil War-era homes and Southern beauty. It has become a special town to us as well. Ben photographed Natalie’s sister Vicki’s antebellum church wedding there 10 years ago, and that led to several more Natchez weddings

Natalie and Boots did get through their vows in front of everyone, and, as expected, there were tears and sniffles coming from every direction – the bride and groom, the wedding party, their parents, their guests. OK, fine, even from us. 

There’s just something extremely beautiful and moving about watching two people join their lives together, when everyone present knows it’s the right thing, the right path. It makes the celebration afterward that much more joyous. And yes, there was some good dancing, and some good feasting, but my favorite part of the reception was watching Natalie and Boots go around and spend time with the people they love. That’s just who they are. They like to have a good time, but more important to them are friendships and family. 

Natalie and Boots are back home in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, where Natalie is a wedding coordinator with It’s A Shore Thing and Boots is getting his degree in architecture. They spend their evenings cuddled up on the couch with their dogs, decompressing and refocusing on their true priorities – loving one another unconditionally and pushing one another to be the best versions of themselves that they can be.

Natalie and Boots, it’s nothing but up from here! We love you guys and cannot wait to see the beauty and wonder that you create in the world around you. 

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Caitlin&Walid https://www.chrismanstudios.com/blog/weddings/caitlin-walid-florida-wedding-on-merritt-island/ Wed, 18 Apr 2018 16:00:30 +0000 http://www.chrismanstudios.com/?p=34256 Caitlin and Walid blend their two cultures and marry in her parents' backyard in Florida.

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This wedding was a beautiful representation of everything good that can happen when longtime friends realize they are falling in love with one another; when two cultures come together and embrace one another without hesitation; when a girl’s lifelong dream of getting married at the house she grew up in actually comes true. But there were moments when all of those things were doubted and worried about. 

When Caitlin and Walid, who had been friends for 10 years, held hands and later kissed while she was on a trip to his home country of Jordan, she immediately thought, “What have I done?! I’ve just kissed my good friend!” But then, one week later they were making plans for the long term and talking about commitment.

Caitlin was nervous whether Walid’s Muslim family would approve of him marrying a Catholic, American girl. But a few days after she met his family, Walid’s grandmother, who is very traditional, turned to the whole family and proclaimed, “This is going to be Walid’s wife.”

And then there was the wedding itself. Caitlin’s vision of the perfect, sunny Florida wedding day, in her childhood backyard by the river, was met with the reality of a crazy storm that passed through, dumping rain and blasting wind throughout most of the day up until…. the ceremony itself. We scrambled and had to do formal photos in various spots inside the house and under shelter, but the rain stopped long enough for Caitlin to get married where she always wanted to – in her yard, by the water, the very place where she had played as a child, barefoot most days, the spot that meant more to her than anywhere else in the world. They were married by an imam on Friday, and by a priest on Saturday. 

They laughed, they cried, they celebrated. The party that night felt like one huge outpouring of joy combined with one huge sigh of relief – that these two friends found their way back to one another, that their families adore each other, and that Mother Nature showed a little mercy in the end. Because once you’re good and married, all those brief worries fade into a distant memory, and what rises to the top is what went right. 

 

 

 

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Lee Ann&Steve https://www.chrismanstudios.com/blog/weddings/leeann-steve-diablo-wedding/ Tue, 10 Apr 2018 13:00:08 +0000 http://www.chrismanstudios.com/?p=34182 Lee Ann and Steve marry at her family's home in Diablo.

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You owned the dance floor in Jamaica at Russell’s wedding. You did the Humpty Dance on stage at your parents’ country club at Bobby’s wedding. You kept the parties going at your friends’ weddings.

We have watched you love so hard on your family and friends at their weddings – hugging, celebrating, and toasting them with everything you had, making sure the party stayed lively and the dance floor packed. And each time, you came without a date. You didn’t need one. You were that enviable, independent woman whose huge smile and infectious energy were enough to fill a room on her own. 

Everyone knows that about you. Everyone knows how loved they feel by you. Everyone knows how lucky they are to have you in their lives, on their side. So you can imagine how utterly awesome it was for everyone to celebrate YOU this time. 

I think we were all waiting to see who would finally get your attention and win your heart. And what a delight that it was Steve, with his quiet quirkiness, his fierce intelligence, his complete adoration of you, and his ability to somehow make you smile even bigger than you did before.

Lee Ann and Steve… you fell hard, and you fell all the way in. Seeing the way you love one another with such a purity and wholeness has been a joy to witness. Your wedding, in the exact place you always imagined it – on the lawn at your parents’ home in Diablo – had it all: a giddy bride who was crazy in love, a groom who was absolutely mesmerized by her, extremely proud and emotional families, wild and happy friends, heavenly California light, a sabered champagne toast, and a reception that was so much fun everyone literally collapsed in exhaustion at the end.

This was the last of the Frahm Family weddings, and it felt emotional and full-circle for us (and also for Vlad, who filmed all three!) But the great thing is, with this family, the party doesn’t stop here. There will always be more raucous gatherings at the famous Hacienda Frahm; we’ll still stop in to see the NYC contingent when we’re there; and we’ll be here in Charleston waiting with open arms to host all of you and make sure you eat and drink well (although we’ll let Steve pick the wine). 

You all have enriched our lives, and we treasure your friendship. Thank you for trusting us many times over. As several guests said to us at Lee Ann and Steve’s wedding – “You’re family now!” – we walked away feeling like maybe that was at least a tiny bit true. If so, man are we lucky. 

** See all the happiness and love in Vlad’s 3-minute teaser film from Lee Ann and Steve’s wedding here. And, if you feel like seeing more, including helpful footage on how to photograph a reception while dancing and holding a wine glass, see the longer highlight film here.

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