Wedding Photography & Cinematography

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Our photographic and cinematic philosophy balances contemporary with traditional, where fashion, fine art, photojournalism, and vintage appeal come together in perfect harmony. When words fail to describe the beauty of a moment, cinematic imagery takes its place. Our expertise and creativity culminate into imagery that captures the whole story and the genuine emotion. We are outside-the-box thinkers who know how to find and capture the magic.

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This Tuesday, Kerry of de Luxe Weddings & Events and I had the privilege to attend a venue tour of a property in Los Angeles, CA. And let me tell you- I fell in love!

I absolutely love old buildings, ones with lots of character and history: this former Archdiocese Cathedral was built in 1876, complete with Baroque inspired interiors. Check!

This venue was designed using a neutral color palette, so that all the colors and elements chosen in your design and decor will truly pop. A style and desinger’s ultimate playground. Check!

Vibiana’s choir loft is a photographer’s dream because it allows us to capture those bird’s eye view, scene setting photographs without having to climb up a tree or into another hotel guest’s balcony. (Although Rob will do those things for the shot though- If that’s what it takes.) Check!

Vibiana’s carefully placed lighting fixtures throughout the Main Hall and the garden area makes adding up lighting or colored lighting a breeze for your DJ or event design team. Check!

As an added bonus, Vibiana provides a bridal lounge and a groom’s lounge for the bride and groom to get ready along with their bridal party. Yes, the groom’s lounge has a flat screen TV. The on premises day of accomodations are a huge plus because everyone can spend the day together and get ready all in one place instead of rushing around town. This is also a treat for us because we can easily move from room to room capturing photos of all the getting ready activities.

If you decide to do a First Look, we have a few romantic spots in mind already 🙂 There are also several modern and also historic buildings located within walking distance if you would like to do a mini bridal shoot before the ceremony.

This is truly a hidden gem in downtown Los Angeles. I purposely chose to include just a few photos because although Vibiana photographs beautifully, an in person visit will truly allow you to experience all of its granduer.


If you are still searching for an amazing venue, take an afternoon and go check it out. And as they say at Vibiana: “Experience the Divine.”

I owe a big thank you to Anika for giving Kerry and I a first class tour of Vibiana!

Vibiana is located at: 411 South Main Street Los Angeles, CA 90012  Phone: (213) 626-1507



Check out the layers of century old marble that adorn the Grand Stage at Vibiana.

These Baroque columns stand 45 feet tall and contain some of the original painting and artwork dating back to the 1800s.

Standing at the center of the Main Hall of the former Cathedral is quite awe inspiring!


This is one of the rooms available as part of the Bridal Lounge. Sweet!
Once you are finished getting ready in your Bridal Lounge, we’d love to take some gorgeous Bridal Portraits here.  Love the light streaming in through the windows!


Check out this beautiful garden area that can be used for your cocktail hour or an outdoor reception.  At night it will be lit by the lovely LA Skyline.

What is the “First Look”? 

To put it simply, the First Look is the first time on the wedding day that the groom sees the bride in her wedding gown, with hair and make-up complete.

But isn’t it bad luck for the bride and groom to see each other before the ceremony?

In present day, this superstition is largely a myth.  The tradition began when arranged marriages were the popular custom.  Often, a bride’s family was trying to marry their daughter into a wealthy/wealthier family to secure a dowry.  The bride’s parents did not want the groom to back out on what was largely a business transaction if the groom saw the bride and found her unattractive.  Thus, the bride was not allowed to see the groom until the veil was lifted at the conclusion of the wedding ceremony.

While many couples find the tradition of not seeing each other until the ceremony romantic, a look at the history of the ritual reveals that it is in fact quite the opposite of romantic.

What are the benefits of a first look?

One of the most important benefits of a First Look is that it allows for a more intimate and romantic experience.  At Jessica Elizabeth Photography, we often tour the wedding venue with the couple prior to the wedding to find the best locations that will allow for privacy during the First Look, so that the couple can enjoy the few moments together without distractions.  This allows the couple to take a time out and just focus on each other with out all the other guests and details interfering.    This helps the couple relax and creates much more genuine expressions which makes for better photos that truly capture who the couple is.

Since there is usually more time available for portraits prior to the ceremony, we often get to spend closer to 25 minutes instead of only 10-15 minutes taking portraits of the bride and groom during a First Look.  This extra time often allows us to take photographs in a variety of settings and backdrops, as well as take not only traditional photos but also the more creative and artistic photos that our clients enjoy.

Based on the other elements of your wedding day timeline, the First Look often allows for time to take the family and bridal party portraits before the ceremony.  This allows you more time to spend with your guests after the ceremony.  This also allows your family and bridal party to spend more time enjoying the cocktail hour and reception.

Won’t the first look make the ceremony “less special”?

During the ceremony, you are getting MARRIED.  There is nothing that could possibly make the significance of that particular moment less special.  You may have seen each other earlier in the day if you chose to go with the option of a First Look, but this time you, the bride, are walking toward your groom for the last time as a single person.  You look at each other in an entirely different light at that moment and know that shortly you will be husband and wife. 

When is it essential to do a First Look?

Well, if you are not doing a first look, then by default that means that all of your formal portraits as well as all the group portraits with the family and the bridal party must be taken AFTER the ceremony.  We like to allow 30 minutes for the portraits of the bride and groom and at least 15 minutes each for the family portraits and the bridal party portraits.  So, if the sunset occurs within one hour of the time your ceremony ends, it is essential to have a First Look. 

Here in Southern California, we are blessed with plenty of sunshine, but the sunset time is of particular concern for weddings in the Fall and Winter (September-March).

Do you require us to do the First Look?

We don’t require it.  Like all other aspects of Jessica Elizabeth Photography, the experience is designed uniquely for each of our couples.  The First Look is largely a personal preference.  But honestly, you’d be kinda silly not to do it 🙂

Did you and Robert do the First Look at your wedding?

Of Course!!!  And I can tell you right now that it didn’t make the walk down the aisle any “less special.”  If anything, those 15 minutes during the First Look are some of my most favorite moments of my wedding day.  We were able to escape from all the hustle and bustle that is a wedding day and spend just a few minutes together reflecting on the significance of the day and each other.  

If you didn’t get the hint by now, we highly recommend it!

Here is a peek at Ashleigh and Luke’s first look.  We had the entire rooftop pool deck at the Shade Hotel to ourselves for their First Look.  

Shade_Hotel_JEssica_Elizabeth_Wedding_Photography-10.jpgAfter a brief session on the rooftop, we had some time to take photos by the Shade Hotel’s fountain, one of Ashleigh and Luke’s favorite areas of the hotel.


We also had the opportunity, to spend some time at their ceremony site before all the guests arrived…so romantic!


And we even had a few minutes left to take some fun photos with the bridesmaids 🙂


Special thanks to their wedding coordinator Kerry Pulverman of de Luxe Weddings & Events who was instrumental in developing a photographic timeline with us and overseeing it on wedding day, so that we could fit in all these photos.

Shade Hotel:

1221 N Valley Drive

Manhattan Beach, CA 90266


Contact Jessica Elizabeth:

Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club is a lovely venue, that honestly,
until a couple of weeks ago Robert and I did not even know existed.  We didn’t want you to miss out on this
place, so we thought we would share it with you here on our blog.

If you are
still looking for that perfect Southern California wedding venue, this is one
place you should seriously consider checking out. 

Kerry Pulverman of de Luxe Weddings and Events invited us to
Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club Bridal Show, and we fell in love with this venue.  Here are just a few of the photos we
captured during our visit. Hopefully, you’ll get some floral inspiration here too!


The Wedding Garden:

Arroyo_Trabuco_Wedding_Photography_Wedding_Garden.jpgThe 2,500 square foot Wedding Garden at Arroyo Trabuco is simply breathtaking!  I love the large tree that hangs over the ceremony site.  So romantic 🙂



Arroyo_Trabuco_Wedding_Ceremony_Floral_Decor_Jessica_Elizabeth_Photography.jpg Arroyo_Trabuco_Ceremony_Site_Decor_Jessica_Elizabeth_Photography.jpg Arroyo_Trabuco_Ballroom_Exterior_Jessica_Elizabeth_Photography.jpg

The Arroyo Trabuco Ballroom is 5,600 square feet and can comfortably seat up to 240 guests.  The Ballroom also has a cozy patio looking out to the canyon hillside and lake area- perfect for a cocktail reception.
This lovely White, Pink, and Green Centerpiece was created by Holly-Hill floral design.
I thought this display with the bird and the books was just adorable.  This display was created by Green Leaf Designs.  So was the Yellow and White Centerpiece below.
These elegant Purple and Green florals were also designed by Green Leaf Designs.
In case you hadn’t noticed, Purple and Green is quite the trendy combo this year.  This fun and vibrant design was created by Elegant by Design.
Now that’s one HOT Candle!
These beachy florals were also created by Elegant by Design.

Arroyo Trabuco Country Club is located at:
26772 Avery Parkway
Mission Viejo, CA 92692

A big thanks to Alyson Gabaldon, the Catering, Sales, & Event Manager for showing us around!