Wedding Venues: Telling Your Love Story | Casa Romantica | Orange County Photogapher

Casa Romantica beach Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer

Wedding Venues and 3 Ways They Tell Your Love Story

First of all, Happy St. Patty’s Day!  You’re definitely in luck if you were looking for something that is pure gold. Seriously, it is this couple and the wedding venues I was able to capture their photos at over the years: the Casa Romantica and The Parker Palm Springs. I feel like I can’t jump right in without first flashing back to their wedding. Start here if you want to see their beautiful Palm Springs wedding at The Parker hotel that I shot for them a few years ago. Okay, does anyone get the feeling that I’m sending you on a St. Patrick’s Day scavenger hunt like all the kiddos have been raving about? Ha! I guess you can’t get to the pot of gold without chasing the rainbow first.

Cactus and couple Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer The Parker Palm Springs

Like I mentioned, I had the privilege of shooting Chelsey and Kyle’s wedding. When it comes to wedding venues they chose the perfect one, The Parker Palm Springs, a Palm Springs Hotel. By perfect, I mean perfect for their story and for them. Itt has wedding (think photographers pot of gold) written all over it. It is full of gorgeous foliage and colors that give this vibe that mother nature wanted weddings done right, and done there. As I have captured couples on their wedding days at many, many destinations and wedding venues, one thing always rings true, the venue can be a vehicle to tell your love story.

Joshua tree, palms and beaches wedding venue Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer

The Casa Romantica

Let’s fast forward now to the anniversary shoot I did for this same AWESOME couple at the romantic venue, Casa Romantica. I have already known Chelsey for quite a while, even before her wedding. She’s the BEST!  Not only am I lucky to consider her a friend, but I get to call her husband Kyle one too!! When I was asked to meet up again and shoot anniversary shots, I was ecstatic! I loved being a part of capturing their celebration of continued love, adventure, and the destiny that led to them meeting each other in the first place. Between their original wedding venue and then later selecting Casa Romantica in San Clemente as the backdrop for this shoot, I knew they already knew my 3 secrets on choosing a  wedding (or in this case, anniversary) venue.

Red shingled roof and spanish architecture Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer 3 Ways Wedding Venues Tell Your Love Story

Location – First of  you need to be thinking, “Is this a representation of the two of us?” Wedding venues no longer need to be traditional locations. They can be personal and a representative of the two of you. I mean, I’m not talking about walking down the aisle at Taco Bell or anything like that, unless that’s totally your thing then I’ll just have to quesa deal with it. I’m just saying, with as many wonderful options available to you, you should definitely consider finding something that’s just right for the two of you.

Vibe – If you’re hoping for an intimate formal setting with only your closet friends and family than a wedding venue with a grand hall is not going to fit your wedding vibe. Make sure your location also reflects what the two of you are about and what you love. If you love rustic, find something with that overall natural, earthy and intimate vibe. If you want elegant, think about choosing something formal and more grand.

Decor – Take a look at the venue and see what is already available to help tell your story. With Chelsey and Kyle’s wedding venue, The Parker, it was already naturally beautiful and impressive in and of itself. Or for their anniversary shoot, let’s just say, I don’t think the Casa Romantica, is named what it is by accident. It exudes romance while being intimate yet inviting all on it’s own.

kissing at the casa romantica in san clemente Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer Wedding Venues and how to choose Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer

Wedding Venues: Picking Your Perfect Place

Your venue will play a part in shaping the overall ambiance you want on your wedding day. It’s important to develop an idea of what you want to focus on based off of your wedding day vision, and what you want the overall feel to be.  Consider the venue, as let’s say, the third wheel on a romantic date. If it make it’s presence known, you will want it to be in a very complimentary way, never awkward and overbearing. Choose a venue that feels comfortable to you. Make it something that tells the story of you. It should be something that makes you feel like savoring a home cooked meal or your favorite comfort food, not something that feels foreign, and would be found on a menu of food you can’t pronounce nor  have never tasted. Get the picture? Don’t serve up something that isn’t you. Focus on location, the overall vibe, and the decor that is already available to you and you’ll be golden. I hope you enjoy the ideas as much as I love these two and the shoots I’ve been able to share with them.

Groom bow tie Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer Spring bouquet Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer St. Patricks Day Blog Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer Anniversary at Casa romantica Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer
Couple celebrates anniversary Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer Anniversary shoot Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer Pink bouquet Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer Bride bouquet Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer Simple wedding dress Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer Shades of pink bouquet Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer
Groom's suit for wedding Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer Navy Blue Men's Suit Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer Suit for wedding Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer White formal gown Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer
Casa Romantica | Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer Aloe and Casa Romantica Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer White gown Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer Sand and succulents Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer walking along the beach Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer Formal wear at the beach Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer Talking a walk along the beach Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer Husband and wife on the beach Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer San Clemente beach Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer

Outside along the beach Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer Casa Romantica beach Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer Talking a walk along the beach Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer Palm trees and beach Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer Groom with bouquet Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer Palm trees, palm springs wedding, anniversary Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer Casa romantica foliage Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer Anniversary shoot with Brooke Bakken at the Casa Romantica Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer Greenery at Casa romantica wedding venue Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer Men's navy blue suit Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer Husband and wife celebrate anniversary together Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer
San Clemente Wedding Venue Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer Walking away from casa romantica Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer outside doors of casa romantica Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer Groom outside wedding venue Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer
Groom suit Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer
Bride outside wedding venue in california san clemente Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer Southern California wedding venue Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer San Clemente Wedding Venue Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer Casa Romantica Wedding Venue Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer Casa Romantica Wedding Venue Brooke Bakken | Orange County Photographer

Want to tell your loves story with the help of your wedding venue? Contact me today!

 

XOXOX – Brooke

 

 

 

9 Valentine Ideas and how to make it more meaningful

Valentine floral bouquet

We all know that tomorrow is February 14th, of course, but do you know what to do for your special someone? I thought I would share with you a list of 9 Valentine ideas to make this year’s a little more meaningful. Not saying, I don’t LOVE flowers, jewelry and chocolate but sometimes it’s less about the gift and more about the thought that goes in to it.

Sure, it’s a holiday for all you beautiful couples in love, but guess what? I’m here to share ideas on how to make it so much more than just that aisle at the grocery store full of flowers and a variety of heart shaped goodies. You’ll find fun ideas on how you can make this a day to celebrate all those that you love, or if it’s just the two of you, how to make it a more meaningful day for your ONE and ONLY.

Valentine Ideas shared by Utah photographer Brooke Bakken Valentine Bouquet | Brooke Bakken | Utah Wedding and Engagment Photographer

1. Make Valentine’s Day a Family Event

This is one valentine idea that I would love to incorporate in to my day – having a special family feast that night. What better way to celebrate than to switch the focus from fighting to find a baby-sitter and waiting at an overcrowded restaurant, to a quiet night in with all of our favorite people. Even if it is just the two of  you as newly weds or celebrating as a couple, sharing a nice well-planned and prepared meal together has romance written all over it.

Blush gown with bouquet | Brooke Bakken | Utah Wedding and Engagment Photographer Beautiful individual portrait | Brooke Bakken | Utah Wedding and Engagment Photographer

2. Share love notes

During the week of Valentine’s write cards to each other (even the kids can get in on this). Post them on the mirror in the morning, hide them in the car, or cover the door to the bedroom in heart shaped notes – a heart attack if you will. If you decide to stay in and do a nice meal, this would be the perfect time to share them with each other. You can encourage siblings to write some to each other throughout the week and hide them for each other if you have kids that want to join in on the fun.

3. Write a heartfelt card

Do you want to be part of the huddled masses surrounding the Valentine cards on the day of? That’s not my kind of valentine idea. Here’s an alternative to go along with number 2. Write a personal card that includes all the reasons you first fell in love. What if you included some of the biggest reasons you love them now? Put something on paper that means more than anything Hallmark could come up with.

Close up of floral of shoulder | Brooke Bakken | Utah Wedding and Engagment Photographer Shades of pink bouquet | Brooke Bakken | Utah Wedding and Engagment Photographer

4. Get away from work and meet up for a day date or lunch

This one doesn’t need a lot of explaining. If you usually go out at night then switching things up for a mid day meal together can mean more than flowers anytime. Better yet, bring flowers with you to your day date. Time together to me says more than eating my weight in See’s chocolates.

5. Remember the little things they say

The best way to be prepared for V-day is to, you guessed it,  prepare. This may seem like a simple concept but it is so easy to let the day sneak up on you. You don’t want to be scrambling for something the day before or even the day of. Nothing says you mean the world to me like a gift you picked out at the supermarket 2 hours ago. I’d love to say this doesn’t happen but if you’ve been to the grocery store on Valentine’s Day, you know what I’m talking about. Is there a specific restaurant they’ve been wanting to try that they mentioned to you? Or maybe a small item they’ve wanted but haven’t taken the time to go get for themselves. It is easy to forget the little things that are casually mentioned but if you do remember them, you’ll be showing not only that you care but that you listen.

6. Serve each other

This may sound elementary and cheesy but remember those little hand made coupon books that littered your parents drawers as a kid?  Maybe that was just at my house. Anyway, how about giving the gift of service.  How nice would a night off from the bedtime negotiations that take place every night be? Or even waking up to breakfast?  Service can go a long way and bring plenty of smiles along the way.

Valentine jewelry and ideas | Brooke Bakken | Utah Wedding and Engagment Photographer

Close up of pink bouquet | Brooke Bakken | Utah Wedding and Engagment Photographer

7. Plan an activity together

Again, Valentine’s doesn’t have to mean a fancy dinner out on the town.  Is there something you enjoy going out and doing together?  If so, plan a time to do it!  Even if it isn’t on Valentine’s, or during this week, taking the time to plan an awesome activity gives you both something to look forward to doing together. Now that’s a valentine idea I can get behind.

8. Think of others

I bet you’re wondering why a holiday for couples and love would include an item like this.  One thing I have heard of others doing, is sending out love notes and candy and surprising someone with a Valentine that may be feeling a bit lonely this holiday.

9. Make good use of technology

Sure, everybody loves a good hand written love note on Valentine’s, or really any day for that matter, but with text and email access in the palm of your hand why don’t you go ahead and spam that loved one of yours! With this valentine idea, try to incorporate their favorite things into the day or send some photos from your wedding day, engagement, or any of your firsts together that you’ve captured. I know I’d smile if my husband sent me a picture of anything he knew I loved, even if it was a screenshot of my celebrity crush. No pun inteded, but it sends a message that he knows me and was thinking of me.  It’s a simple way to show you know and care for each other, even down to the littlest quirks.

Bouquet photos | Brooke Bakken | Utah Wedding and Engagment Photographer

 

I hope you enjoy these Valentine ideas. It’s the simple and small things that mean the most. The details from your time together, memories you’ve made, moments you’ve captured along the way and the magic that made you fall in love in the first place. Take the time to remember them all with a more meaningful approach to Valentine’s. But remember that doesn’t mean that we don’t all LOVE chocolate and flowers, too. Wink, wink.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

XOXO,

Brooke

Mission San Juan Capistrano Vow Renewal | Jaime + Ryan

Romantic bride and groom at their Mission San Juan Capistrano wedding by photographer Brooke Bakken

Today’s post is near and dear to my heart. Words can’t express how much I LOVE these people and how blessed I am to have them in my lives! Jaime & Ryan’s Mission San Juan Capistrano vow renewal was  a complete dream for me to be a part of. The old mission plus cameos at the Hamilton Oaks Winery…perfection!

Mission San Juan Capistrano vow renewals by Orange County wedding photographer Brooke Bakken

Mission San Juan Capistrano

The Mission San Juan Capistrano is one of Southern California’s most picturesque wedding venue. Founded 230 years ago, the place is just REEKING of history and romance! Jaime & Ryan couldn’t have picked a better place for their intimate vow renewal in my mind.  When Jaime told me what she envisioned for this day, the details kept getting better and better! The vendors she would be using {Flowers: SWD Floral, Dress: Mary Me Bridal, HMUA: Flawless Faces } were some of my absolute favorite people and all incredibly talented at what they do!

I knew the day would be perfect as long as her husband didn’t get called into work last minute. We had a back up date on the calendar but crossed our fingers that all would go smoothly and it went better than imagined. It’s no secret that wedding vows always make me tear up ESPECIALLY when each party writes their own, but to be included in something so special, and hear two people who continue to choose love and continue to choose each other despite knowing the flaws and short comings they each have was something I will never forget.

This was my first vow renewal I have been apart of and now I am thirsty for more! They didn’t need a huge crowd, or a hundred guests to hear their continued promises, just each other and someone to document it. And document it we did! Jaime and Ryan, thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing me into your lives and allowing me to be part of something so special. I feel like the luckiest girl to call you friends and I can’t wait to see where the years take you!

Wedding photos at Mission San Juan Capistrano by SoCal photographer Brooke Bakken

Their Love Story

In 2005, Ryan send Jaime a message on (wait for it)…MYSPACE! He said “Hey, want to get to know each other?” She took one look at his blond afro and blue eyes and swooned on the spot. The first time they met in person was at the Balboa Ferry where he worked. They rode the ferry back and forth the rest of the night, just talking and laughing the evening away!

From the moment Jaime met Ryan on the ferry, she knew it wasn’t going to be a few months-long fling…he might just be the ONE! The night they said “I love you” for the first time, he made his famous dish that they both LOVE to pieces (but funny enough, they haven’t had it for 8 years now)!

Vow renewals at Hamilton Oaks Winery by Orange County wedding photographer Brooke Bakken

How He Asked

The couple went to San Francisco for their 5 year dating anniversary. While they were driving around the city, Ryan had Jaime get out of the car and take photos in front of various buildings. Little did she know, in each photo there was a different word above her head! This was the day before their actual anniversary, but at the last minute, Ryan decided to celebrate early by taking her to the Golden Gate Bridge to give her her surprise. She was SO excited but had no idea what to expect! He was so excited to get there, Ryan got a speeding ticket HA! Once they got to the bridge and started walking, Ryan remembered he had “forgot” something in the car. The walked over and sat on the wall and he said, “Let’s look through the photos we took today!” When she saw the first photo, she knew what was happening. She of course said YES and he actually recorded the full audio on his phone!

Bells at Mission San Juan Capistrano by Orange County wedding photographer Brooke Bakken

Married Life

Jaime and Ryan love married life. They both have extremely busy schedules, so they LOVE when they just get to spend the day together without work and cell phones! They are hysterical together and have TONS of inside jokes they have accumulated throughout their 12 years together. One thing Jaime has learned about Ryan since getting married is what a marshmallow he is…He is such a softie! He loves their fur-babies with all his heart and would do anything for their little family!

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Wadley Farms Anniversary | Karlie + Wes

Utah Wedding Photographer Brooke Bakken captures gorgeous fall wedding at Wadley Farm

Bride and groom at Wadley Farms by Utah County wedding photographer Brooke Bakken

I LOVE the idea of celebrating your anniversary with a photo shoot, and that is exactly what Karlie and Wes decided to do to commemorate one year! Their Wadley Farms anniversary session was a dream, and I loved seeing the two of them more in love than EVER! That first year of marriage can be tough. Getting to know each other’s quirks, and learning to adore those quirks as part of your partner’s personality is not an easy task. But these two have really managed to make it look effortless. Some people just HAVE IT, know what I mean?

The Details

Karlie wore her same wedding dress and Katie Livingston with KL Artistry did her make up. Adrienne with Love Blooms Floral did her gorgeous bouquet in blush and burgundy tones for fall. They chose to have their session at Utah County wedding venue Wadley Farms. They wanted to celebrate their first anniversary with something special and they REALLY wanted fall colors because they were totally lacking last year when they got hitched!

The Session

Karlie & Wes met all because they both swipe right on a little app called TINDER! They immediately hit it off and dated until Wes took her home and they both knew this was the real deal! They were married on the same date as their first date one year earlier! And you know what?  They are the sweetest and super genuine and totally still MADLY in love. The way he looked at her was like he had tunnel vision for her and only her. The whole session was basically a breeze because they seemed to be connected and in their own little world. I rarely had to pose them as they just melted into one another and let me just click away! It was such a special treat to be able to celebrate with them on surviving what everyone tells you will be one of the hardest years in marriage. They seem to fly through it with ease!
Thank you again for letting me share your first anniversary guys. I just adore you both! Happy One Year…let’s do it again for FIVE!
XOXO
Groomals in Utah County by Brooke Bakken Photography Utah County bridals by Brooke Bakken Photography Bride in a modest lace wedding dress at an LDS wedding in Utah County Gorgeous fall bouquet in blush and burgundyUtah wedding venue, Wadley Farms hosts gorgeous LDS wedding by Brooke Bakken Photography Groom playing with his ring at Wadley Farms in Utah CountyUtah County wedding photography by Brooke Bakken
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Merlot + Fall | Inspiration Shoot
Merlot Fall Utah Anniversary Session

Every once in a while, it’s good for the creative soul to just get out and shoot! Shoot something fun, meet beautiful new people, and feel something so incredibly genuine. For me, meeting Braelynn and her man was such a fun, breath of fresh air! No expectations, just casually hanging out and laughing together and occasionally taking pictures in between! 🙂 I enlisted the help of my talented friend Whitney who is a new florist on the scene here in Utah and when this stunner showed up on my doorstep, my jaw dropped! Beside the obvious huge SIZE, the color pallet was beyond beautiful and I loved the mixture of fall leaves, flowers and texture. For those looking for someone for wedding day, Whitney is where it’s at! I also knew that every girl feels beautiful in front of the camera when she gets pampered, so I had the talented Maddi of Mad Luvv help me out and do Braelynn’s make up! As always, it was flawless (but then again Brae gave her an incredible canvas to work with!). So happy with how this little “Love Session” turned out and I am already wishing fall would stay longer!

 

 


Kylee + Nate | Anniversary {Southern California Wedding Photographer}

Who says you need to have kids to take “family pictures??” These two just celebrated their ONE year anniversary and I was so lucky to be with them to celebrate! We were in Palm Springs and couldn’t pass up the chance to have a session with them at the coolest hotel there…the Parker!! We had so much fun roaming the gorgeous grounds and really they are pros at being in front of the camera! We did a stylized winter shoot last year together where I made them freeze in 9 degree weather, so really it was only fitting to heat things up a bit in Palm Springs! These two are literally the perfect match for one another and I am so incredibly lucky to call them my friends! Continue reading “Kylee + Nate | Anniversary {Southern California Wedding Photographer}”