Instead of closing out the year by rounding up wedding trends, at APW we like to round up some awesome actual weddings executed by actual people. These inevitably demonstrate that the main thing it takes to have an awesome wedding is to be cool people. And guys, y’all are the coolest. As longtime APW photographer Jonas Seaman said:
APW readers are just like the best friends from high school that you run into years later and it feels like you never stopped hanging out.
And I mean, based purely on these photos, sign me up to be friends with everyone too. So without further ado, here are some of our favorite 2018 APW reader weddings, brought to you by some of our favorite APW wedding photographers:
Kate and Rishi’s wedding was a hybrid of Western and Indian wedding traditions. All day long the legendary San Francisco fog moved quickly overhead letting sunshine through at a few key moments. I was especially grateful for the glow of the sun during the baraat and just after the ceremony. For the baraat, Rishi was escorted to the front doors of the Golden Gate Club riding high on the back seat of a sweet vintage Pontiac GTO convertible instead of the traditional horse or elephant. One of my favorites photos of the day is of Rishi and a spray of balloons reflected in the car’s glossy paint. I love how the surrounding cypress trees made dramatic appearances all day long, whether through the great wall of windows that looks out onto the San Francisco Bay, or with the blue night sky as a backdrop for the night portraits we made. At the end of the evening, Kate and Rishi’s sweet puppy made an appearance. He couldn’t have known what a momentous occasion he was witnessing.
WHO: Laura AND Berry | WHERE: PHILADELPHIA, PA | PHOTOGRAPHER: Shawnee c.
Laura and Berry are two of the most thoughtful and caring people I have ever met, and together they form this amazing duo. Their wedding day was full of personalized touches, like giving everyone a piece of fresh rosemary at the ceremony to smell and ground themselves in the moment, and having their reception at their favorite restaurant that was just below their old apartment. They are also both writers, so their vows were incredible. Also, this was in their invitation : “Join us in the spirit of queer love, chosen family, being yourself, and respecting everyone’s gender and sexuality.” I mean, if that isn’t a perfect wedding, I don’t know what is. Plus, Berry wore the most epic wedding cape! (Laura’s dress is from ASOS; Berry’s jumpsuit is from Suistudio and their cape is from BHLDN.)
Walking into Moriah and Steve’s backyard wedding was like walking into another world… a much-needed world away from the one we’re currently in. Maybe it’s because this backyard was on an island that could only be reached by boat, and overlooked the water from a clifftop. Maybe this is why their wedding felt so set apart from the worries and cares of everything outside of it. Much more likely, it was the people. The community. Moriah and Steve, along with their family and friends were so warm hearted and full of natural joy, photographing them was like a dream.
Jenny is a teacher who volunteered at the APW fundraiser to end family separation, and volunteered at The Compact Camp thrown by the APW team. Chris is a musician that ran a local record label and played in punk bands for many years. Together they have a sweet little family, where Jenny has two step-babies. They planted a tree together with the kids during the ceremony. Their wedding was casual, and all the vendors involved were local.
When Keri first told me she was planning an elopement-style wedding at 3M Curve in Rocky Mountain National Park, but that there were too few resources for how to pull off a nontraditional wedding, I immediately sent her to APW. It’s an amazing thing to feel supported in your own unique expression and celebration love. The APW community is that support system for so many of my couples, and I am so very grateful!
It’s difficult to put into words just how it felt to be a part of Keri and Scott’s intimate day. My notebook is filled with phrases like these: the warm sun and cool mountain air, the laughter and tears and embraces, the giddiness and awe in my gut, how warm it feels to welcomed. I’m so grateful to these loving two for those memories and these photos. You can read some of Keri’s words about why they chose to elope in Glamour magazine right over here.
WHO: Marissa and Josh | WHERE: Los Angeles, CA | Photographer: Gina Clyne Photography
Marissa is Mexican-American and grew up in Tijuana, Mexico, but now lives in L.A. Her mother, father, and extended family often make the commute and cross the U.S.-Mexican border, and this celebration was no exception. Marissa’s birthday is on the 15th of July and Josh’s birthday is on the 17th of July, so why not get married on the 14th and combine all the celebrating to make one perfect party? (My birthday aligned with these dates, on the 16th, which has got to activate some kind of cosmic power-party mode, right?) Instead of one cake, they had two, and blew out their candles at midnight while holding hands, as their family and friends wore party hats and sang Feliz Cumpleaños. AND OF COURSE there was a piñata, along with other creatively sourced and constructed decorations for their party. This was the quintessential Los Angeles wedding, which meant getting married at the Heritage Square Museum beside a Queen Anne–style Victorian home from a Los Angeles of yesteryear, and having the reception at Marissa’s sister’s artist studio along the L.A. River. Marissa grew up in Tijuana, Mexico, but has a deep affinity for L.A. history, which only leaves me with one question… Marissa and Josh, will you marry me?
Nikki and Eric have been together since high school (yes, they even went to prom together), and their love for one another is as strong as ever. Their first look epitomized their relationship with one another—Nikki having a huge smile on her face and laughing, and Eric trying to hold back his emotions (which were on full display when he sees her for the first time). This was a couple up for anything, and playing in the cornfield next to their venue was an easy yes for all of us!
Debbie and Angela made it a point early on to hire only women/POC/queer wedding vendors, and being a part of such a dynamic team was a breath of fresh air, and really made me feel like I was an important part of their wedding vision. For the traditional Filipino money dance, they chose to donate the money to two local charities close to their heart. Instead of only focusing on themselves, APW couples throw weddings that honor, include, and give back to their community.
WHO: Camille and Adam | WHERE: Catskill Mountains, NY | Photographer: Evangeline Lane
Camille and Adam are the best! As always, APW brings me the clients who end up becoming friends because they are always just so awesome. I love that they had a HUGE wedding party that wasn’t gender specific and they brought the house down with their speeches. A surprise belly dancer, who was insanely amazing by the way, started one of the most epic dance parties of the year. The best part for me though was seeing how much love, openness, and generosity that surrounded them in their community.
WHO: Daniella and Deborah | WHERE: Mexico | Photographer: Studio XIII Photography
The couples that find me through this community are always aligned with my values and dedicated to making their wedding intentional, feminist, queer, and so unique. This Jewish-Mexican destination wedding was one of my most memorable from 2018! To be able to combine so many different aspects of culture from both sides of the family and then dance the night (and morning) away in one of the most beautiful places in Mexico with so many queers was one of the most moving moments of my year. I’m so grateful!
WHO: Michael and Katherine | WHERE: DULUTH, MN | Photographer: Onona
Michael and Katherine had a lemon-themed wedding at a motel on the North Shore. I know right?! The lemon theme came about quite accidentally, but they ran with it, and so did their guests. Guests showed up with lemon purses, lemon dresses, lemon ties, and lemon hats. It was amazing. Michael and Katherine made it seem so effortless when it came to putting together a day that was a hundred percent reflection of themselves. Their reception was impressively filled with one of a kind game stations, such as making mini butter sculpture where guest were asked to do their best rendition of Michael and Katherine, a lemon toss game, and many others. Michael and Katherine’s vision was so unique, and it was such a success.
Sarah and Brooke unified at a heartfelt and spiritual ceremony at Cama Beach on Camano Island. They had a processional through a stone labyrinth (which was my favorite part of the whole wedding) met in the center, and took a walk together along the beach. Sarah and Brooke are so in tune with each other, this was something so special to be apart of. We had a blast checking out the boats and taking their couples photos in the golden sunset.
Laura and Martin are a super soulful couple who live in the Bay Area but got married in Princeton, which is near where Laura grew up. They had a ceremony officiated by a close friend that included breathing exercises and a chanted mantra, so the overall feeling was deeply spiritual. But the interesting thing is… they also have an awesome sense of humor! So after this incredibly meaningful ceremony, they then surprised their guests with the most memorable and unusual first dance we had ever seen. They danced an eighteenth century “Allemande” (a social dance similar to a minuet), dressed up in period costumes with wigs and hoop skirt—the whole nine yards!! Needless to say, everyone was dumbstruck and then whooping it up and enjoying every moment of the dance. To us, Laura and Martin are emblematic of the type of people we love working with in the APW community: people who are thoughtful, creative, nontraditional, soulful, and adventurous. Not to mention funny and sharp!
BUT REALLY, ALL OF YOU WHO GOT MARRIED THIS YEAR HAD THE BEST WEDDINGS OF THE YEAR. SO IT’S THAT TIME. SHARE YOUR PICTURES IN THE COMMENTS!