Occidental Union Hotel Wedding

The groom showed up on game day with a black eye

The pre ceremony coverage of the groom for this wedding was shot at "The Tree's" property, which is just one of the many amazing rental houses offered by the Gonella's of the the Occidental Union Hotel.

Fun fact about this wedding, the groom showed up on game day with a black eye. First thing he wanted to know when I walked in the door was if he was going to be totally screwed when the pictures came back. I just laughed and told him that it wouldn't be a problem. I don't think he believed me at the time but I sincerely meant it.  What I decided to do was light him cinematically (which I tend to do anyway) and just put the affected eye in deep shadow. The eye was totally black under his left eye, but because of some makeup, the lighting that I used on him and a little fine tuning in photoshop you'd never have known he had a shiner if I hadn't told you probably.

What if macgyver was a photographer 

Brittany was an awesome easy going bride... Almost too easy going. Originally we planned to start her formal portraits at 12:00. I started shooting my first portrait of her at 2:45 (yikes!). Over the course of two mini sessions for a grand total of maybe 25min I was able to get the following portraits of her. Typically I ask for 2 hrs to capture the bride, her brides maids, and the bride with her family. 25 min with just her was a pretty tight time frame.

Despite the challenges, I like working under the gun sometimes as it really forces me to get creative using just the things around me. Like if MacGyver was a photographer or something, what would he do? Not only that, but Brittany was a really nice lady and I owed her beautiful images of her wedding day. Despite the time table I think her formal portraits turned out fantastic and there are even a couple of shots in there that I'd consider portfolio worthy.

Wedding CEREMONY photojournalistic goodness

Wedding Ceremonies though the Union Hotel are often hosted on the same property as "The Lodge" and "Bungalow" properties. There is a really gorgeous amphitheater that was built by Frank Gonella originally for his daughter to perform piano on once upon a time. Today it is regularly used to host bay area wedding ceremonies for couples looking to get married in the redwoods. I'm jibbed and jabbed occationally by some of my peers that say nothing I do is "real" because I pose so much of my portraits. This sequence is dedicated to them showing that yes, even Jason Guy shoots photo journalistically when the time calls for it. 

Group Photos at "The Lodge"

The entrance of "the lodge" makes for a naturally photogenic background. It was here at the entrance that I chose to do Danny and Brittany's bridal party group photos. 

Formal portraits in under 10 minutes

Once the ceremony was all wrapped up and the family formal portraits were done, I nabbed the bride and groom for a few intimate portraits before we had to head off to the reception. These photos were taken at "The Lodge" property.

Originally we set aside 30-45min to put together some really stunning formal couple photos, but because of the afore mentioned time delay, I had under 10 minutes to capture this set of images. Game on I thought! This is where knowing how to pose people is literally worth it's proverbial weight in gold. Posing Danny and Brittany into some french door light I found, I was able to quickly and effectively create a compelling sequence of formal couple's portraits for them in under 10 minutes.

The Bocce Ballroom 

Union Hotel weddings typically have the reception at... You guessed it, the Occidental Union Hotel. Actually to be more specific they hold the reception in the Bocce Ballroom which is connected to the Union, but it my mind it's all the same place. If you haven't ever been there for a meal you definitely should take the time to drive out there and grab a bite to eat. The food is excellent, the portions are large and the staff is beyond friendly. Now if you are rolling your eyes right now thinking that this is just a puff piece, double check the above statement against their rock solid Trip Adviser rating

Occidental Union Hotel Wedding Reception

With all of the formalities out of the way, the party began with the Prichard's wedding reception. Again switching to photo journalistic capture my assistant and I captured everything sometimes using as many as 3 speed lights to augment reality and boost the production value.

While the guests dined, we worked feverishly to put together a same day slide show for the couple and their guests. Same day slide shows allow the couple to see their wedding day images that same night. I got multiple handshakes from guests telling me how unbelievable everything looked (mostly referring to Danny's black eye) once the slide show was on display. 


Final Artwork

Although Danny and Brittany chose not to get an album as part of their wedding package, (I'm always stunned when couples turn this option down) the owner of the Union Hotel asked that I design a sample album for her, to help show off her gorgeous venues. The final album was a monstrous 10"x15" designed by me and made by the awesome folks over at Finao. The final "ONE" album when opened spans a very wide 10"x30" making it a really impressive album to experience in person! 

Jason Guy is a northern California wedding photographer Serving Sonoma and Marin COUNTIES