Jess and Steve got engaged while they were on vacation in France and felt torn about what they wanted to do for their wedding plans. Should they have a big wedding in California? A small wedding near their hometowns in Massachusetts? A combo of both? Or should they elope?? Once COVID-19 hit, a lot of their decisions were made for them since they knew they wanted to get married in 2020. They opted to do a small micro wedding in Topanga Canyon at Inn of the Seventh Ray, but they planned this pre-wedding shoot a couple months beforehand to kick off the celebration!
Jess and Steve also happen to be two of Mike and my very best friends. I’ve known Jess since we met as transfer students at Emerson College in Boston, MA in Fall of 2005. We hit it off immediately! She is incredibly creative, curious, kindhearted, and she has a giggle that instantly brings a smile to my face. I introduced Jess and Steve to Mike at a mutual friend’s birthday party. Mike was instantly intrigued by Steve and knew they had to be friends once Steve belted out karaoke – which, coincidentally, is also how Jess fell for him! Mike and Steve now play music together in The Emerald, and the four of us love spending time together, having game nights, and going on adventures big and small!
We started their pre-wedding portraits at their house in Los Angeles! Shindig Chic created this neutral boho bouquet out of a mix of dried and fresh florals. Jess’ pink diamond rose gold ring looks so pretty with it!
Fun fact: Jess and I once walked across Abbey Road together, and Jess was also barefoot in that photo!
Their kitty, Montana, makes an appearance (their other cat, Frida, was unfortunately camera shy)!
We had a reservation for the LA Arboretum that afternoon. Just as we were heading out, the other dress Jess had ordered from BHLDN for the session arrived in the mail! She threw it on and it was a perfect fit! The Arboretum is such a hidden gem for photography. Their photo permit cost is very reasonable, and the grounds are so diverse! The bamboo forest alone is gigantic!
Mike and I scouted the botanic gardens the week prior – since the Arboretum is 127 acres I wanted to have a solid game plan for where we should go during our session. This blooming bougainvillea was off the beaten path and I knew it was a must!
That light!! This beauty is why I included the gardens on my Best Southern California Garden Venues list, seen here!
Steve looks so dapper in his burgundy suit!
The Arboretum’s hours often change (especially during COVID), and after they closed we still had time left in the day to see the sunset with the LA skyline!
I couldn’t be happier for this sweet couple!! Stay tuned for Jess and Steve’s Topanga Canyon micro wedding!