This intimate Bay Area backyard wedding was a close gathering of immediate family members in a beautiful setting. Coincidentally, I grew up in this neighborhood. So, I was super excited to be their photographer and be back in a familiar place from my childhood.

Their dog wasn’t officially a “dog ring-bearer.” But he was definitely part of the wedding party and joined us for every important part of the day!

Bride and groom with a dog ring bearer at their Bay Area backyard wedding.

Getting Ready

When I arrived, I met the groom to capture a few candid moments. Since this backyard wedding was at a family home, the vibe was pretty casual. With some help from his family (and dog), he put on his shoes, tie, and jacket outside on the covered porch area.

A groom puts on dressy brown leather wedding shoes.

As he finished the knot on his tie, the bride and groom’s dog was eager to jump up and help. This wouldn’t be the first time he tried to get his paws on the action!

Eager to help with the details, the groom’s mom stepped in and made sure his tie looked just right.

Once the groom was dressed and ready, I met the bride where she was getting ready.

Helping a bride get into her wedding dress with a lace top.

Whenever I photograph a bride or groom getting ready, there is always lots of excitement, anticipation, and emotion. This is where my documentary style excels, capturing beautiful moments like the one below shared between the groom’s sister and mother.

I love the joyous expression when the groom’s mom saw the bride in her wedding dress!

Mother of the groom wearing a navy blue and white dress.
The maid of honor fastens the bride's blue velvet wedding shoes.

When the bride’s parents saw her, they were equally impressed and excited for the big day!

First Look

When it comes to planning a first look, I always offer recommendations for location and lighting. Some wedding venues have an obvious location with a stunning view. At this backyard wedding, I scouted the property when I first arrived. Between a couple spots that I thought included a picturesque background, the couple chose this area in front of their favorite redwood tree.

Their dog couldn’t wait to see the bride!

A brown labrador dog ring bearer and the groom wait for the bride.
Bride and groom first look among redwood trees.
Bride and groom first look with a dog.

This furry guy was so excited to see the bride, he needed a firm reminder to behave himself. Muddy paws and wedding dresses don’t usually go well together!

When I photograph a bride and groom’s first look, I try to capture the excitement and joy of this momentous day. In the photo below, I used a telephoto lens to zoom in on the couple’s natural expressions.

Candid moment of a bride in a lace top wedding dress and a groom wearing a navy blue suit with a red tie.

Their dog wouldn’t take “no!” for an answer. He really wanted to be a part of the action!

Backyard Poolside Ceremony

A shaded poolside patio was a peaceful, natural setting for this backyard ceremony. As the procession began, the dog jumped in the pool!

Father of the bride wearing a blue wedding tie.
Dog ring bearer with a blue bow tie.

During most processionals, I wait for a moment after the bride arrives. This way I can take a photo of any special hugs or handshakes that may occur. At this wedding, I was glad I captured this funny moment as the father of bride shook the groom’s hand.

Unity sand ceremony with blue sand.

This was a beautiful, emotion-filled ceremony. The bride and groom wrote personalized vows, which led to plenty of smiles and even a few tears.

Navy blue suit for grooms with a red tie.

The groom’s sister acted as officiant, which kept the entire ceremony feeling personal and familiar. The family members took turns keeping an eye on the wet dog.

Wide angle view of a poolside Bay Area backyard wedding with immediate family.
Wide angle view of a first kiss at an intimate wedding on a garden patio.
Backyard wedding next to a pool.

As any good photojournalist does, I always follow the action and watch for moments that unfold spontaneously. Like many couples, this bride and groom stole another kiss after the ceremony.

Couple Portraits

After the ceremony we took a stroll around the property to photograph some couple portraits. It was an ideal time to photograph them together in this idyllic setting, lit with the glow of coastal afternoon light. Here are some of my favorite photos from this part of their day. Be sure to scroll all the way down to see the amazing light in the last photo!

Backyard wedding with a dog.
Bay Area backyard wedding with a dog ring-bearer.
Bride and groom share a romantic moment posing on a garden bench.

Wedding Photography

Are you planning a Bay Area backyard wedding? Or perhaps a smaller, more intimate celebration somewhere else? Small weddings like this are so much fun to photograph and I would love to be there! Head over to my contact page to check my availability, or explore more of my wedding photography work on my elopement photography page.

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