It is officially my busy season and I couldn’t be happier. Matt and Ashley got married at the historical Stanford Memorial Church last Saturday.
While I don’t normally get into history on my blogs - this one warrants it. Since its inception, it has always been a nondenominational church. They were the first church on the West Coast to offer LGBTQ weddings - dating all the way back to 1993. However, since it was illegal at the time they simply had to wait until it was legalized before the ceremonies could be official. On November 1st, 2008, they had their first LGBTQ wedding. The couple that got married there had to wait anxiously until 3 days later when Prop 8 passed. This devastated the first gay couple that got married there because it invalidated their marriage. Stanford fought back and still gave them their marriage license. They have recently renewed their vows in this same church - and their marriage is now recognized. It was also rare for me to shoot a church wedding. I get maybe one a year out of the 25 weddings I do annually. It was quite refreshing!
Secondly, unless you attended Stanford or are the descendent of an alumni - you are not allowed to get married there. This is a very interesting rule which really makes the venue special and historical to the couple. They might have been playing on the quad a few years earlier not knowing they would be married in the church they walk by every day to get to class only a few years later. So, sorry to break this news but if you love this venue - I hope you are a direct descendent of an alumni or went to Stanford yourself!
On that note - that’s almost exactly how Matt and Ashley met; on campus. From the beautiful couple themselves:
The church is simply stunning. Obviously I’ve documented a lot of weddings but out of every church I’ve ever worked in - this one takes the cake. From intricate carvings on the stone pillars to hand painted murals and antique stained glass windows - it had it all.
Matt and Ashley opted for a very unique “first look”. That’s what they called it but yeah, it was the opposite.
Instead of a traditional first look where they see each other - they wanted photos together without actually seeing each other. I had my assistant scour the church for the perfect door to create this romantic and anticipatory moment before they walked down the aisle. If you’ve been following my blog for a while you’ll know it is VERY rare for me to use black and white photos. But this moment called for it.
With tones of pale pink, peach, light greens, and white it was a classic wedding by all definitions. Imbuing soft pastels and natural colors is always a guaranteed success because they soften the mood and provide a create a quiet authority.
Ashley picked out her stunning dress from David’s Bridal and had intricate lace on the 3/4 length sleeves and extremely detailed backing with buttons going down the entire length. Doesn’t she look absolutely perfect?
I would definitely categorize this wedding more as an elopement though. No reception! I left after couples photos and Matt and Ashley went out to dinner with their friends and family to finish off the night.
My absolute best wishes to this beautiful couple and wishing them the happiest of lives together.