Just south of San Francisco you can find Half Moon Bay, a stunning beachfront town home to miles and miles of golden California coastline. And here you’ll find the Oceano Hotel and Spa, Half Moon Bay’s premier wedding and event venue. Known for its casual coastal elegance and golden Pacific sunsets, the Oceano hotel sits right on the harbor and boasts a serene maritime feel. It’s the ideal place for an intimate family wedding, and that’s exactly what Nicole and James were looking for when they invited us to capture their special day there last September.
Most people think about the ceremony as the most important part of the wedding day - and it is. But there are also many other parts of the day where a lifetime of memories are made. As photographers, it’s our job to not only capture the ceremonial moments, but all the little ones leading up to it as well. For Nicole, we captured some artsy shots of her ring, slippers, and bouquet as she got dressed with her bridesmaids. Simple shots just using the wedding day props can make for some really creative photos. The girls got ready for the day in a beautiful dressing room with marble floors and a mantle over the fireplace. It felt just like a captain’s study, and Nicole looked stunning in her white dress, as did her bridesmaids in their maroon.
Another thing soon to be brides should keep in mind for their big day is the color scheme. It’s not just important for your dresses and suits to complement each other; but also the venue, the bouquets, the decorations, favors, food etc. Complementary color schemes can do alot to add life to your big day. Nicole did a great job choosing a maroon, white, and soft pink scheme that would complement James’ grey suit and also provide a perfect mate to the surrounding ocean front. Oh, and her flower girls looked adorable in their red and white dresses.
James and his men also had their chance at posing in Hotel Oceano’s “captain’s study” before heading out front to take some shots in a sweet orange and black racing mustang. The color scheme didn’t exactly match for this part but, hey, the bride wasn’t around.
The wedding ceremony was an intimate affair and took place right off of Half Moon Bay’s beautiful harbor, with only a few hedgerows separating James and Nicole from the water. A beautiful white Greek-style pagoda lined with roses stood witness over the couple as they said their “I-do’s”.
After the ceremony, we stole the couple away for some intimate moments on a lonely, tree-lined pathway founded on a soft sand and pine ground. Golden hour was setting in and the rays of the sun danced between the old beechwoods to create a heavenly aura around the couple. This brings us to another pro tip. When you are talking to your photographer pre-wedding to plan out your day, we HIGHLY recommend asking them to steal you and your significant other away for a few intimate moments after your ceremony. At the reception, you’ll likely want to greet all of your guests and it can be really hard to get time to connect with just the two of you. So “couple shots” is a good excuse. And while we are giving away tips - golden hour is always always a great time to capture your couple shots, especially at the beach. So if you can plan your ceremony so that you get the chance to capture those moments after - do it!
Oh, and by the way, beach photos are always a must for an oceanfront wedding. The silhouette shot may just be our favorite.
Are you looking for a gorgeous seaside wedding experience? Half Moon Bay may be the place for you!