Tag Archives: love

Laurel and Mike’s Zhangjiajie Forest Park Wedding Part 2 – Door Games

After recovering from a rowdy late night Welcome BBQ (see the blog post about that HERE) everyone was up bright and early for the Door Games. I had no idea what to expect from this part of the wedding, but Laurel said it was the part she was most looking forward to, so I was definitely stoked to see it all play out.

Door games are a series of challenges that the bride and her bridesmaids put forth to the groom and groomsmen in order to determine if he is, in fact, worthy of his bride. These can range from physical strength competitions to straight up making him pay cash for his bride, as well as anything in between. With Laurel’s insanely fun friends on the stage, I knew the boys were in for trouble. They did an awesome job completing all the challenges and no one died, so that’s a plus! 😉

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THE PRESENTATION OF THE BRIDE (with bridesmaids in matching onesies, no less!)

CHALLENGE #1

There was an attempt at winning the bridesmaids over with cold hard cash but, unfortunately for the boys, they wouldn’t get off that easy.KEC11182KEC11191

CHALLENGE #2

The bridesmaids tried to get the groomsmen to quit by making them wear saucy little headbands and Kardashian level fake butts, but these boys were in it to win it. The next part of the challenge was for the men to show Laurel how much they love her by creating the word LOVE out of their bodies! While it seems like an easy feat, one of the members also had to be inverted throughout. These boys busted out all the stops to impress the girls and give everyone a laugh.KEH20754007Q0579007Q0599007Q0645007Q0640

GAME #3: BALLOON POP

I’ll go ahead and throw this one in under the category of a humiliation ritual (re: hazing). The groomsmen had to tie balloons around their waist and, without using their hands, pop all of the balloons. Needless to say, there was a lot of hilarious physical contact and attempts at smashing in all the wrong places.

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CHALLENGE #5

This challenge was the physical representation of all the feelings of married life: spicy, sweet, bitter, and sour. These boys had to slam some red chilli peppers, whole sweet mandarin oranges, some icky bitter melon, and a shot of black vinegar!

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CHALLENGE #7

This challenge was sort of a two parter. The bridesmaids asked questions about Laurels life, family, favorite things, etc. and Mike had to answer them. He also had to name 8 countries that Laurel planned to visit in the near future. If he got a question or country wrong, he had to hold a Scorpion inversion yoga pose, meant to open the heart, for 60 seconds. Lucky for him, he was able to also ask a groomsman to step up to the plate. One of them even managed to slam a beer while upside down! (And he’s single, ladies!) 😉

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CHALLENGE #8

Where would the fun be if there wasn’t some element that was actually physically painful? The girls wanted to know how tough these boys were, so they busted out the wax strips for a healthy dose of  ‘beauty is pain’. Each one left the game with a fresh bald patch on their leg. Secretly though, I was hoping they’re go for the chest or armpit!

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CHALLENGE #9

This was one of the most fun challenges, of which the boys had been able to practice ahead of time. They did an amazing dance routine to a 90’s boy band song and got everyone to sing and dance along!

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CHALLENGE #10

Last but not least, FEATS OF STRENGTH! The boys were challenged to a pushup contest and a tug’o’war against Laurel’s chosen team of friends. The push up contest consisted of a team of boys doing push ups at the same time with one of Laurel’s friends resting on their back. Laurel’s team kicked butt, groomsmen… not so much. My all time favorite part of this challenge was when, to many people’s surprise, Laurel’s friend Lucia DEMOLISHED Mike’s brother Rich in an arm wrestling contest. I guess all that acro yoga, rock climbing, and aerial silk training pays off!

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And of course, even though the boys got their butts handed to them (real butts and fake rubber ones), Laurel and her bridesmaids approved of the effort and it was time to get ready for the wedding!

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PART 3 – ZHANGJIAJIE NATIONAL FOREST PARK WEDDING – COMING SOON!

Happy New Year!

The new year is here! While I understand it’s simply another Wednesday and nothing has truly changed since yesterday, it feels like a very transformative time; even more so that years past because of the changing of the decade. It’s time to transcend to the next version of ourselves. Today marks the pinnacle of a time of renewal. A time to affirm goals and envision our brightest future.

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For me, that future includes growing my client base as well as my family. (I’ll settle for a small dog or a small human, they will be equally loved.)

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It includes improving my work, challenging myself, and thinking outside the box more often. (I plan on doing lots of personal creative work this year!)

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It includes finding my ideal client and giving them exactly what they want as an artist. (POWER TO THE PEOPLE!)

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It also includes solidifying my personal relationships as well as professional ones and carving out paths that lead in positive directions I haven’t even figured out yet. (2020 includes a LOT of love and adventure!)

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As cheesy as it sounds, today is the first day of the rest of our lives! I strive to remember that this year and treated every waking moment with the respect and focus it deserves. Cheers to a ridiculous growth spurt in 2020!

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Rafael: The Real Life Superman

The Palacios family came into my life for a Give Back Session in the early Fall of 2018 and I am so incredibly grateful to have met them and captured a small part of their journey.View More: https://katherineelysephotography.pass.us/super-familyWhen Jackie first reach out, we spoke candidly about the fact that her strong, hard working, smart, loving husband had just been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. She explained that all the members of their family were scrambling to wrap their minds around it, but that one thing was certain: they wanted to take photos with the entire family right now to commemorate their tight knit bond before treatment started, “just in case”. When someone says “just in case” in a conversation like this, you don’t even have to think. You hold back the tears stinging your own eyes and say, “absolutely I can fit you in, are you free Saturday morning?”.View More: https://katherineelysephotography.pass.us/super-family

When we met that morning I was blown away by the smiling and laughing faces before me. There was no moping and no sadness, just endless love and appreciation for their patriarch and everything he’s done for their family. Jackie and Raphael have 4 amazing kids and a whole gaggle of adorable grand kids. He was very recently blessed with an additional granddaughter that he was able to meet and enjoy. I relished the experience of seeing Raphael interact and draw strength from all the joy he was surrounded by. He was definitely a fighter, and his whole family would be the team he needed to get him through this. They constantly assured me they’d be right there with him every step of the way. View More: https://katherineelysephotography.pass.us/super-familyIt came as no surprise to me that Rafael is affectionately nicknamed “Superman” by many of his friends and family. Even before his diagnosis he was working out, giving back to his community, and overall living life to the fullest. It is with a heavy heart and tremendous sadness to have learned of his passing over the past weekend. He was in hospice at home, surrounded by his beautiful family, and I know he felt loved and treasured in his last moments with them.View More: https://katherineelysephotography.pass.us/super-familyIn hindsight, the nickname Superman seems to have come with a purpose; to be a reminder of his strength in all of life’s challenges. Rafael was Superman and Superdad and no one will ever forget that. If you’re wondering what you can do to celebrate Rafael’s life, take some time to give to The American Cancer Society and/or attend their fundraiser, Relay for Life, this coming Saturday. Please also send all of our thoughts and love to the Palacios family during this incredibly difficult time. Rest in Peace Superman.View More: https://katherineelysephotography.pass.us/super-family

Lauren and Clayton: A Vintage Inspired Wedding at the Hotel Shattuck Plaza

I met Lauren and Clayton at a bridal fair in 2018. We hit it off after Clayton and I discovered we both had a deep love of true crime. We talked shows, movies, and podcasts before finally moving on to chat about their wedding. Lauren described her style as vintage with a heavy dose of rock and roll and said they were more interested in candid shots of them enjoying their day with their friends and family than formal photos. I felt like we instantly got each other’s vibe and I was thrilled when their wedding day finally came.

The Hotel Shattuck Plaza was the perfect venue for this quirky couple. The decor screams unique vintage, with colorful wall paper and monochrome tiles throughout. Lauren fit right in with her fit and flare wedding dress and Marilyn red lips. Clayton was channeling some serious Mad Men vibes as he sipped whiskey and got into his dapper 3-piece suit. These two are a match made in old school heaven!

Everything from their ceremony to their wild reception went off without a hitch. Some favorite moments of my time with them include: a massive bridal party photo straight off the pages of Vogue magazine, their grand entrance to “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins (drum solo acted out perfectly), a hysterical reading of Clayton’s old OK Cupid dating profile by Lauren during toasts, a serious mosh pit in the middle of the reception, the most ridiculous rendition of the shoe game I’ve ever witnessed, and everyone dancing to “The Time Warp”. I am so stoked I was able to be a part of their day and I’m happy to say that I’ve made yet another set of lifelong friends in this couple.

CHEERS TO THE TRAYLOR’S!

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Lauren sprinkled bits of tiki vibes throughout her day, bringing a pop of rich jungle colors to each event.

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No one was more excited for Lauren than her gaggle of gorgeous bridesmaids. She looked like an absolute vintage vision!

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Clayton was throwing off some serious Don Draper vibes while getting ready. Of course, not every moment can be a serious one when you’re surrounded by 8 of your best friends drinking whiskey.

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The ceremony took place inside Hotel Shattuck’s newly updated bar/ceremony space. The full white draping gave it a dreamy and intimate feel.

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Everyone deserves a high five when “I give you this wing… RING” is uttered by BOTH the bride and groom during their vows!

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What do you do when you have a bridal party of 16 plus the bride and groom? You out on your best impression of a Vogue cover shoot and hope for the best!

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These two were just so in love… wandering around the hotel for couples photos was an absolute delight.

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Lauren loves everything rose gold and shiny, so their reception decor was tricked out in pink sequins. Their bar was tiki inspired, with signature cocktails to match the theme. Their dessert table was something out of every sweet lover’s dream and their awesome guestbook was a mish-mosh of polaroids and signed records.

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If you’re not acting out a drum solo during your grand entrance, you’re doing it wrong!

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The toasts were hilarious through and through. We found ourselves laughing along with them throughout!

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There’s nothing like first dances. Lauren mixed things up by dancing with her mom as well as her dad. These two ladies really turned on the waterworks.

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The shoe game is a fun was to interact with your guests and friends during the reception. Both a bride and groom hold one of each persons shoe. Questions are asked about their relationship (i.e. – who is the better cook or who talks more?) and the couple raises the shoe of the person they think fits the questions best. Sometimes they’re in agreement, but sometimes they hilariously disagree and everyone involved has a good laugh. Lucky for these two love birds, there was very little disagreement.

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There’s nothing like cake in your face to get the party started!

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Rowdy doesn’t even begin to describe this incredible dance party!

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Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Traylor! ❤

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Lisa and Sean: Swedenborgian Church Wedding + Hotel Kabuki Reception

Lisa and Sean are a quirky and fun couple who put on all the stops for their amazing San Francisco wedding in September. Lovers of both culture and architecture, their ceremony was held at the stunning Swedenborgian Church in San Francisco and their reception was held at Japan Town in SF at The Hotel Kabuki. The church is over 120 years old and provides a rustic and enchanting backdrop for weddings of around 80 people. The Hotel Kabuki is in juxtaposition to the old world church, with plenty of modern pop art and colorful decor. The combination provided the best of both worlds and made for a stunning day from beginning to end.

Some of my favorite moments of Lisa and Sean’s day include her adoring aunt doing a live stream on behalf of her family who couldn’t attend for nearly the entire day, their adorable dog sprinting down the aisle in the church, a rad wall of records at the entrance of the hotel reception where they popped a bottle of champagne, and all the swaggy ridiculous dance moves them and their guests busted out all evening long. Their day was full of goofiness, laughter, joy, and LOTS of dancing; I feel so incredibly lucky to have been a part of it! For your convenience, a vendor list can be found at the end of this blog post.

CONGRATULATIONS LISA AND SEAN!

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HUGE THANKS TO

Photography: Katherine Elyse Photography​ // @LoveKEphoto

Coordination: Avida Bridal ​// @​AvidaBridal

Ceremony: Swedenborgian Church​ // @SfSwedenborgianEvents

Reception: Hotel Kabuki​ // @HotelKabuki

Florist: Natalini Flowers​ // @natalini.flowers

Cake: The Cake Maker

Band: The Lucky Devils​ // @LuckyDevilsBand

Transportation: SF Limo Express

Sarah, Ryan, & Baby Jackson

A little over a year ago I was sitting in my apartment crying with absolute joy as Sarah and Ryan sent me photo after photos of their perfect little rainbow baby Jackson. He was such a long time coming and instantly SO loved. I’ve never seen a happier couple than them on that day.

This summer, our little cuddle bunny celebrates turning one year old. No one-year birthday would be complete without ALL the Disney toys, tons of family snuggles, and (of course) a whole cake for the king himself.

We all just love you to bits Jackson! Thank you for the hugs and snuggs during our session and for making your mama and daddy’s life so very complete. You were worth the wait. 

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Oh, They Call it that Good Old Sugarloaf Station!

I’ve been going to Sugarloaf since 2001, making this my 18th year there. I started as a camper, graduated up to a counselor, and somehow weaseled my way into an amazing staff position with a crew of boundlessly talented individuals. Sugarloaf is better than Christmas. It’s a haven of love, art, and creativity that comes every summer to sweep me off my feet and remind me who I want to be. It’s essentially New Years Eve/Golden Birthday/Right of Passage all rolled into one amazing experience. We teach some truly fantastic kids about everything from theatre arts to photography to textiles and watch as they grow and shine over the course of our week together. It may sound a bit short, it may be dusty and dirty, it may not even sound like much of an experience from the perspective of the outside world, but to all of us it’s just like coming home.

If you’re inspired or curious about camp, feel free to visit our Sugarloaf Fine Arts Camp homepage to learn all about what we do. If you happen to have a couple bucks free, you can be a part of camp directly by donating to the Sugarloaf Station Foundation (the non-profit that funds the camp) and/or joining us at the Sugarloaf Station Foundation’s 16th Annual Fundraiser in September so we can raise money for these awesome kids to continue to experience this magical creative week in the woods! 

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