Sheena + Sagar | Indian Wedding Extravaganza

Sagar is a wise man! He began courting Sheena, and for a good fair stretch of time, before Sheena even knew about it.

He was one year ahead of Sheena in dentistry school at NYU. They ran into each other frequently but were just friendly acquaintances. Toward the end of that year while both working the admissions clinic, Sagar gave Sheena patients, patients he himself needed to graduate. Ahh! That was a sweet move!

Fast forward a year. Sagar had graduated and Sheena was in her fourth and final year. They met for dinner to catch up with each other. Sheena was distressed that Sagar insisted on picking up the check. She was a professional woman and had just as much right to pay the bill as he did. Unless, that is, Sagar considered this their first date and Sheena was completely unaware. That’s kind of how it was.

While Sagar’s dental residency was in New York, Sheena’s was in Chicago. They knew they wanted to pursue a relationship and had to start out with a Chicago to New York commute. That wasn’t nearly good enough. Only five months later Sagar picked up and moved to Chicago.

They are both very close to their families. As Sheena’s residency came to a close, they wanted to visit both of their families. Her’s was in Los Altos, California, and his was in Nashville, Tennessee. More flying! They began to plan a visit to her family in California. But there was a fair bit of trouble gathering the family together. Her parents had guests and they planned to be in Yosemite. Sheena’s sister, Malee, planned on traveling to India.

A plan came together to hire a boat for a tour on Lake Michigan. Sagar pretended that he was unhappy about it. They brought along a photographer. Just as some cheesy photos à la Titanic were being taken, Sagar began talking about their wonderful journey together and how much he loved her. Sheena thought to herself, He should save these words for his proposal! Before she knew it he was down on one knee.

They wanted to share happy surprise this with their families, the families who “weren’t available” that weekend. One by one, family members appeared from below decks. It had taken quite a few detours to hide them away but it was worth every bit of trouble, creating an unforgettable proposal for Sheena and Sagar.

And on we go to the wedding. If you like three-day family celebrations, religious ritual as well as just plain fun, have a lot of stamina, and appreciate a grand spectacle, an Indian wedding is in order.

For Sheena’s Mehndi–decorating hands and feet with ornate designs in henna–her parents transformed the foyer of their beautiful home into a dreamy spot fit for a princess. Friends and family got to visit and share in this part of the celebration.

While neither of Sheena nor Sagar are Sikh, the Sindhi people follow Guru Nanak.Sheena’s parents were married in a Gurdwara in India. They chose to have their ceremony at the San Jose Sikh Gurdwara, which is located on the top of a hill and has an amazing view of the Bay Area. On the day of their ceremony they had spectacular weather, nearly 80 degrees warmer than it was in “Chiberia,” also known as Chicago, that day.

Sagar’s Baraat, his entrance procession on a white mare, was extremely fun and unique too. His friends planned it perfectly and made it a charasmatic and one-of-a-kind event. Even the bride’s side joined in on the fun!

After their beautiful ceremony at the Gurdwara in San Jose, the Sangeet–the after party–moved to The San Mateo Marriott. Their beautiful sisters emceed the perfect night of entertainment, raas, decorated food, dessert, and drinks!

And the wedding still wasn’t over! The reception moved across the Bay to Danville at the Blackhawk Auto Museum. Keeping with the theme of the tremendous amount of flying they had undertaken in their relationship, they danced to Michael Bublé’s, “Come Fly With Me.”

Sheena and Sagar are extremely grateful for all of their friends and family, many of whom flew in for their celebration, and all of the wonderful professionals who made their wedding a celebration to remember.

Photography, IQphoto. Videography, IQvideography. Photobooth, Mementostrip.Celebrant, San Jose Sikh Gurdwara. Sangeet, San Mateo Marriott Hotel. Reception, Blackhawk Automotive Museum. Baraat ceremony dhol, Lal Singh Bhatti. Baraat ceremony horse, Buzzards Roost Ranch.

Mehndi by Keyuris, Ravie Kattaura. Mehndi and ceremony hair and makeup, Suniti Chandani. Sangeet and reception hair and makeup, Christal Caladaio.

Sangeet food, Madhuban.Reception food, Tandoori Notes. Reception desserts, Not Just Cheesecakes.

Wedding coordinator, Ajooba Events. Decoration, Ajooba Events and SB Arts. Lighting, Oakland Audio Visual. Sangeet and reception DJ, Bitzy.

Lindsay & Mike | “Romantic, Candle-Lit” Hot Dogs

Lindsay and Michael’s first date finished off with some fine dining on the UCLA campus. It’s what they call a “romantic, candlelit dinner” at a campus hot dog stand called U-dogs. A dollar a dog. A student necessity and the location where it all began for Lindsay and Michael.

Their connection to UCLA continues with tailgating for UCLA football games. In addition to UCLA football, Lindsay and Mike share a lot of the same interests. They like traveling, cooking, running, snow-boarding, and hiking. Mike loves Lindsay’s extreme adventures, from bungee jumping escapades to snowboarding trips. This superwoman even competes in triathlons—and finishes them.

They’ve enjoyed an easy-going relationship from the beginning. There were minor adjustments to be made including Mike’s attending law school and studying for the bar. He missed Lindsay while she was studying in Florence, Italy, for four months.

Almost ten years after their first date at U-Dogs, Michael proposed to Lindsay at a famous spot not too far from the UCLA campus: Hotel Bel-Air. Needless to say, hot dogs were not on the menu. A proposal and a ring were though.

Since Lindsay grew up in Northern California, they first thought they would have their wedding in Marin County. It was the V. Sattui winery, however, that won their hearts. The surrounding landscape and the architecture and ambiance were the deciding factors in choosing Sattui for their wedding. Rounding out their fabulous day was the wonderful food and wine. Along with lots of fun and dancing with friends and family, their Napa wedding was everything they wished it would be.


Iris + George | Down the aisle with their Goldendoodle

Even though Iris and George met at a San Francisco nightclub, they prefer to say that they met through a (mysterious?) mutual friend. They hadn’t thought that they would meet their life mate in a nightclub. But they did and they’ve been together ever since that first meeting.

First kisses are so memorable and theirs was not only memorable—it continues to be something they can have a good laugh about. They had not even been on half a dozen dates. One evening she walked him to the door and out of her apartment. Iris knew he wanted to kiss her but she didn’t want to be the first to make the move. Instead, she hugged him and said goodbye. He turned to walk down the stairs, all the time looking back up at her. When he reached the bottom, he came right back up the stairs again.

“I’m just going to do it,” he said. He brushed her hair to the side, put his arms around her waist and kissed her. She describes it as the most perfect kiss!

George put plans into motion for his planned proposal. They were going to vacation on the beautiful island of Boracay (Shangri-La) in the Philippines. George coordinated the proposal with Iris’ best friend, some of their closest friends, and her brother They worked out the arrangement with the hotel manager.

The hotel had prepared a walkway on the beach of candles and rose petals. A waiter led them to the pathway. The sun was just setting. They arrived at the pièce de resistance, more rose petals shaped into a huge heart and a beautiful view of the ocean in the background. It could have been a scene straight out of an episode of “The Bachelor.” George got down on one knee and proposed while their song was playing in the background. Well planned and perfectly executed! Iris says she’ll remember it for the rest of her life.

Since they live in the wine country around Livermore, they decided it would be perfect to get married there. Their ceremony took place at St. Charles Borromeo church in Livermore, their own parish church. There they had a traditional Filipino Catholic wedding with the veil, cords, coins, and all of the traditional parts of the wedding of their shared culture.

They thought that their perfect wedding reception would be at Murrieta’s Well since it is so romantic and complemented their style so well. The rustic look, the dark woods, and the beautiful barrel room and its huge sliding doors made the perfect spot for their friends and family to celebrate.

Although they wanted a traditional wedding, they also wanted it to be stress free. So they let the bridesmaids choose their own dresses in the blush color range, any sort of silver shoes they wanted, and their own hairstyle. The ladies looked gorgeous in mismatched dresses in shades of blush and the men were certainly handsome in their steel grey tuxedos.

It wouldn’t have been their own special wedding without Gigi, their Goldendoodle. She walked down the aisle wearing a sign that read, “Here Comes the Bride” and a “Just Married” sign for the recessional. She perfectly behaved as she watched her momma and dada get married.

They had a butterfly release ceremony in the patio in memory of Iris’ dad and in celebration of the beginning of their new life together.

To make sure they didn’t embarrass themselves for their first dance, they took dance lessons. They dazzled their guests with their first dance that included three of their favorite songs. They wanted their bridal party to be part of the fun so they joined Iris and George toward the end of the dance.

A fabulous five-course dinner by Wente allowed their guests to enjoy all of Iris and George’s favorite dishes at Wente Vineyards. Perfect weather and the grape vines in full bloom all around them was the perfect setting for their perfect day.


Amy + Eric | Married in the same spot as her parents

Imagine a woman making a normal walk across a restaurant floor on her way to the ladies’ room. She runs into someone. They chat a little and he asks for her business card. That’s how Amy and Eric met. This is a great story that we imagine they’ll tell for years to come.

Amy and Eric knew they were soulmates almost from the beginning of their relationship. This was just The One. Eric has said that after their first date he felt as if he had known Amy for his entire life.

They quickly and completely bonded with each other and have also bonded and have a mutual obsession with Game of Thrones. They even included little Games of Thrones details into their wedding day.

Eric pulled off an amazing and utterly charming surprise proposal surprise for Amy. They were at a karaoke bar in San Francisco’s Japantown and Eric was on stage singing Elton John’s “Your Song.” When he finished singing he asked Amy to turn around. There was her sister, beaming. Eric had flown her sister up from Los Angeles. Not only was her sister there, but all of her closest friends too, to share in the joy of the moment.

The stunning Rotunda in San Francisco’s City Hall was the spot where Amy’s parents had married in 1982. In their honor, Amy and Eric also chose to be married in the Rotunda. With its grand staircase, this is the largest and most spectacular area within City Hall. Two hundred beloved family members and friends surrounded them as their spoke their own vows to each other.

As the wedding guests made their way to a lush cocktail hour by the bay, the wedding party went on a photo adventure at the Embarcadero pier. The night closed with an intimate reception full of laughter and tears.

It’s hard to forget the moments when Alex was getting shots of Amy and Eric and their wedding party sitting on the rocks by the marina. He picked his way over the rocks and didn’t get a toe wet. But as he was shooting, a wave came up behind him and completely soaked him. Unfazed, he continued shooting. What’s a little water compared to once-in-a-lifetime chances to photograph a newlywed couple?


Videography by Imperial Productions ( Event coordination by AnyOccasion ( Lighting by JL Imagination ( Flowers by Fiori Design Studio ( Linens by Fine Linen Creations ( Groom’s cake by Inticing Creations ( Bride’s hair and make-up by Aimee Lam ( Bridesmaids hair by JuAn Li ( San Francisco City Hall Wedding Photography – IQphoto,
Lodging at Westin San Francisco Market Street ( Transportation by Limousine Partners Company. Music by Corelli Strings ( Reception at Hong Kong East Ocean, Emeryville. DJ, Army of Harmony ( Furniture rentals by Hartmann Studios (

Sarah + Jackie | Surprising coincidences

Bright and early on a sunny, fall morning, Jackie walked into work and met Sarah for the first time. Jackie was a medical resident and Sarah was an intern. They looked at each other and immediately saw extraordinary similarities. They both had short black hair and thick-rimmed glasses. They were even wearing the same shoes.

Later they spent a lot of time outside work together, discovering even more similarities. They lived in the same apartment complex, Elf was their favorite movie, they had the same degree in public health, their wardrobes included many of the same sweaters and pants, and so much more.  They still frequently walk out of the house and realize that they are wearing the same outfit.

People tell them they are “disgustingly cute” as frequently today as when they first met, and they hope that never changes.

Sarah was ready to propose and secretly bought a ring for Jackie. Snowboarding ended up in a broken wrist and a very swollen hand for Jackie. Jackie’s injury interrupted Sarah’s planned proposal. Sarah is a traditionalist and placing a ring on Jackie’s right hand wasn’t going to work. The ring went into her sock drawer.

Jackie’s wrist healed and she, also secretly, bought a ring for Sarah. Two rings and still no proposal. They were keeping their plans to themselves. They were still operating in tandem, although in secret.

On a beautiful spring evening, Jackie was on the rooftop of their building setting up an elaborate garden with lights, music, and a mini homemade dance floor. At midnight, Jackie took Sarah up to the rooftop and proposed. Jackie didn’t know that her proposal was just sixteen hours before Sarah had planned her own proposal. What are the chances that they would choose the same day to propose?

Then Sarah surprised Jackie with the ring that had been in her sock drawer. They had a good laugh at their shared, secretive plans and the coincidence–another one–of planning to propose on the same day.

They had done a lot of planning for their mutual proposals but didn’t know what to do next. Not having grown up as girls who had been planning their wedding all of their lives, they didn’t have a picture of what their perfect wedding would look like.

They knew a little, though, and that mattered a lot. They knew that they wanted a place where the people they loved could gather, celebrate with them, and enjoy the weekend together.

They decided they wanted a barn wedding with a mountainous landscape, so they googled “barn wedding west coast” and found Brasada Ranch in Bend, Oregon. Neither of them had any connection to Oregon, but Brasada had just what they needed. The ranch had the setting as well as enough housing to lodge everyone for the whole weekend. Brasada also offered a heated pool for a rehearsal pool party, a barn for the reception, and a snow covered mountain range in the distance for the view that they wanted.

Sarah and Jackie had spent a lot of time researching who they wanted to photograph their wedding. They chose IQ photo, from their hometown of San Francisco, and asked them to come to Oregon to shoot the wedding. A couple dresses, some painted Mason jars, and a lot of twine later, they were ready for their wedding day.

Blessed with gorgeous seventy-degree weather in eastern Oregon’s late October, Sarah and Jackie spent three incredible days with sixty of their close family and friends. In the end they got their perfect wedding. It wasn’t the dresses, the cake–which they scrapped in favor of chocolate chip cookies–or the decorations. It was because of their love and the love of the people who were with them that day.

They were nervous to see their wedding photos because they had a memory in their minds of what their wedding felt like to them, and they weren’t sure if the pictures would alter their feelings and the memories.

Their worry was for naught. The photos captured perfectly all of the feelings they remembered. Their wedding photos are a fabulous gift that will allow them to always remember one of the happiest times in their lives.


Reception, accommodations, catering by Brasada Ranch, Bend, Oregon. Flowers by Sara Caron at Blue Daffodil Flowers. DJ, Star Productions. Lighting by O’Brien Events.

Virginia + Donald | SF City Hall

This wonderful pairing began inauspiciously enough. Virginia and Donald were undergraduates at UCLA. At such a huge campus with around 42,000 students, what are the odds that any two people will meet? They did meet and perhaps because of their shared Chinese ancestry, they met in a Chinese language class. Since their meeting in 2004, they have been together all the way up to their wedding day.

After UCLA, Donald moved to New York to attend graduate school. On a trip to visit Donald in New York, Virginia was helping out by doing his laundry. Taking his laundry out of the washer, she was more than a little surprised, to put it mildly, to find women’s undies mixed in with his laundry. Sure, there was a chance that the undergarments were left in the washer when Donald had put his stuff in. But…

Virginia was furious. They had been making all of the usual sacrifices of a long distance relationship. Los Angeles to New York is about as long and tough as it can get. She called Donald and asked if he was seeing someone else. “No! Not at all! Why would you ever think such a thing?”

Obviously concerned about Virginia’s anger over inappropriately located laundry, Donald told his dorm roommate. “You won’t believe what just happened. I have the worst luck!”

A huge bump in the road and a possible deal breaker at the time, they now laugh at the laundry incident.

Virginia’s sister, Vivian, told her she had a video for her to see. It supposedly documented their weight loss competition. It wasn’t that at all. Donald had put together a video documenting their entire courtship. The end of the video showed Donald traveling from New York to Vivian’s home in Los Angeles. Much to Virginia’s surprise, Donald was actually at Vivian’s house and began to play the piano. The gig was up! He stopped playing and got down on his knee and proposed. Kudos to Donald for planning a truly memorable proposal.

Their wedding day was simply amazing. Beginning in the morning, they honored their traditional Chinese and Cantonese customs, especially the groom coming through the door of the parent’s home and then a tea ceremony where they knelt to offer tea to their parents, honoring them. In the afternoon we went outside and photographed them near the Hilton Hotel and Union Square and then around the Embarcadero waterfront. Later, their San Francisco City Hall ceremony was simply beautiful. A beautiful couple with San Francisco City Hall as a backdrop make a stunning combination.

Their wedding day was filled to the brim with wonderful events. Virginia and Donald were full of gratitude for all of their friends and family who came from around the world to share their special day.

Donald and Virginia have left a message for couples who are getting married soon.

“Remember that a wedding symbolizes the beginning of a chapter. What day is more important; the first day of college or graduation? Of course, graduation. In the same way, your wedding is the first day in school where you will learn about love–love for your spouse, love for your families, and love for your friends. Oftentimes, it may seem like the wedding is supposed to be the peak of your love for one another, but just remember to keep your eye on the horizon and to look forward to the many beautiful memories that lie ahead.”

Ceremony and reception at San Francisco City Hall. Videography by Lumitone. Catering by Kenneth Chow Catering. Flowers and cake by S&V Collection. Ceremony musicians from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Lighting by Kool Luu Lighting Service. DJ was Evensteven (Steven Le). Bridal hair and makeup by Cinta Hair Salon. Photo booth by Yoro Kobi Photo Booth, San Francisco City Hall Wedding Photography – IQphoto