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Rachael & SamArt-deco picnic wedding in Golden Gate ParkSan Francisco, CA

Where do I even start? I was so honored when Rachael and Sam asked me to photograph their wedding this past July in San Francisco. Rachael and I have been best friends since elementary school and I am so happy she found her person in this world. If you’re around Sam and Rachael for just five minutes, it’s easy to see why these two belong together.

They are both incredibly intelligent bookworms and die-hard Harry Potter fans. They chose Hellman Hollow in Golden Gate Park for their ceremony location because of it’s namesake to “Godric’s Hollow” in the books. They also realized later their wedding date is the birthday of both J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter. Was it reeeally an accident?

I arrived in San Francisco a few days beforehand to explore the city and to attend their rehearsal the evening before in the park. The weather in Northern California is always unpredictable, but expected in a funny way. The wind chill that day crawled through your skin and stung your eyes to tears (maybe some were real too). We huddled in a circle to share our favorite memories of Sam and Rachael, right in front of the massive tree they would exchange their vows under the next day. Then it was time for pizza to warm our bones.

It was cold and drizzly the morning of the wedding, but it didn’t dampen any of our spirits. I spent time with Rachael and Sam in their separate rooms at the quirky Oceanview Motel as they prepared for the day. The anticipation got to them both- it was very sweet to see how nervous, but terribly excited, they were to see each other.

We decided on a crooked Roman-esque monument on the lake above the meadow for their first look. All the nerves and stress of the day immediately disappeared with that small tap on the shoulder. You couldn’t wipe the smile off their faces after that if you tried.

Everyone found a seat or a space in the grass to roll out blankets and watch their ceremony unfold. The celebrations commenced with a fist pump to the air as they walked down the aisle together, hand in hand. Bottles were popped and many hugs were exchanged. The reception consisted of picnicking, dancing in the grass and lawn games- classic Sam and Rachael.

Rachael, Sam, Andrew and I were whisked away in an Uber later that day for some more portraits at the Sutro Bath Ruins at Land’s End. We were exhausted, it was foggy and still chilly, but so worth it. What a magical day.

It was a truly unique experience to capture their special day as it unfolded in front of my lens. Congratulations you two, your joy is contagious and I love you both to pieces!

Catering: Bi-Rite Catering  // Cake: Applebaum Bakery // Florals: Ed Heller // Vocals/Music: Hayley Johnson- The Little Miss // Officiant: Lauren Snead, Rhythm & Light Ceremonies // Party Rentals: Your Party Rental Company // Shoes: Allen Edmonds; Miz Mooz  // Suit: Kipper Clothiers // Rings: Love & Lux // Wedding Coordinator: Tiffany Won // Wedding dress: BHLDN // Venues: Oceanview Motel; Hellman Hollow, Golden Gate Park; Sutro Bath Ruins at Land’s End

Rachael & Sam’s San Francisco wedding is featured on H&H weddings. Check it out here.

  • Lyn Heller-Altona said:

    Paige you are a master story teller with your photos. You captured it all. Stunning.

  • Bonnie Torres said:

    What remarkable photos, Paige! You captured the love between two amazing women whom we so love! Thank you for sharing!
    Sam's Gramps and his wife, Bonnie