Laguna Beach Hotel Seven4one Boutique Wedding
This was my first time photographing a wedding in Laguna Beach at the Hotel Seven4one. It is a small boutique hotel, fit for a boutique wedding, as it a very cute and stylish place. We arrived an hour early to scope out the location and traffic flow, and meet with the rest of the bridal party and families. As a Santa Monica based Los Angeles wedding photographer, I love shooting at new locations and discovering the hidden gems for different angles and lighting. Not only it’s helpful to get a sense of the location, especially since weddings tend to bring up a few unpredictable moments, most importantly, it provides new inspirations and excitement.
Hotel Seven4one had two staircases from both sides of the building. The staircases allowed for direct entrance from the main ceremony courtyard to the second floor. This was great for the bride and groom, as they were able to get ready on the second floor without being disturbed by early guests.
The second floor of the hotel also came with a small balcony, which would be a great location for a “First Look” session, especially if a wedding couple didn’t want to be seen prior to the ceremony. However for this particular wedding, the couple wanted all the guests to participate and witness the special moments, so we decided to take the “First Look” session to the courtyard while everyone stood on the second floor to watch.
The bridal suite was large and spacious, which allowed us to maneuver around more freely and be more creative with the photo. It also had large windows, which provided beautiful soft light that complemented the bride’s beautiful skin. The hotel seven4one didn’t have a lot of open space besides the courtyard, but we were able to walk down to a nearby beach and finished the bridal party group photo session there.
The Shining Wedding
During the wedding, at noon, the sun was high and harsh. As a Santa Monica based Los Angeles wedding photographer I often tell my clients that it is part of a photographer’s job to deal with challenging lighting situations.
In this case, the tall walls of the hotel tightly boxed the courtyard, the location of the wedding ceremony, which made the area split into light and shade and we were starting to get a bit worried. Luckily the light shifted right on time and we had a beautiful and successful wedding ceremony. Nowadays, I always consult with the venue coordinator and we plan to make sure this type of situation is avoided.
Needless to say, the ceremony was beautiful, intimate and touching.. The groom was extremely nervous, with some joking and encouragement from all of us, he was able to smile and get ready. During the speech, the bride was often acknowledged as the backbone of her family, which was heartwarming way to recognize such an enduring personality! My favorite moment had to be when the bride walked down the aisle, with her mother by her side. As they walked side by side, and made their way to the end of the aisle, the bride gently kissed her mom’s hand to say thank you before she was being given away.
Venue: Hotel Seven4One