June 21, 2020
The threat of COVID-19 can seem like a dark cloud over everyone’s 2020 wedding plans. But as they say, love finds a way. This was evident in the union of Emma and Jake, just like their Laguna Beach engagement shoot. This small, intimate wedding at Pelican Hill in Newport Beach overflowed with elegance and charm.
I showed up early to take getting-ready shots of Emma. Only her sister and mother joined her in the room, which made the moments I captured that much more special. Technically, COVID necessitated this minimalist situation, but this setup made the vibe much more comfortable. It’d be easy to get overwhelmed by the size and spectacle of this place, so approaching it with just immediate family members helped give the beautiful environment a more personal touch.
The architecture at Pelican Hill looks like it came straight out of Greek Mythology, while the gardens remain dense, vibrant and neat. Overlooks the ocean. It’s hard to think of a more picturesque location for a wedding ceremony. Even with less people in attendance, the venue itself expresses the magnitude of the proceedings. This leaves only the benefits of an intimate wedding to enjoy. Having Emma’s father officiate the wedding was particularly touching. Even within such breathtaking backdrop, a simple beauty remains in being surrounded by only one’s closest relations.
Following the ceremony, the shots with the family were easy for me as the photographer and them as the subjects. Setting up choice shots with the family surrounding the new couple proved to be a breeze. More candid shots of the toast proved just as natural—an obvious advantage of limiting the number of attendees limited so much. Every facet of the wedding flowed swimmingly. Emma and Jake’s happiness filled the courtyard as they shared this moment with their family. Still, my favorite fun part became exploring the property with just the two of them.
Pelican Hill is nothing less than a maze of beautiful spots. Every layer of this place remained both pristine and accessible. Going to and from the unique spots became like a walk in the park. With so many beautiful backgrounds to choose form, I was like a kid at Christmas as I following them. Emma and Jake were very much in their element in every environment. I might as well have not been there at all. Walking such a large place with so few people might seem awkward, but it was quite the opposite. They made the beauty of this place their own. Any wedding at Pelican Hill in Newport Beach lends itself to overwhelming beauty. What really blew me away about this ceremony is how easily the few people made the venue the size of their thumb.