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ALYSSA & IMAN'S SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA WEDDING

Santa Barbara Courthouse Wedding
The sunny coastline and palm trees of Santa Barbara. The rolling foothills of Bakersfield. Alyssa and Iman, introduced to the world as husband and wife. Keep reading for an in-depth look into the Southern California wedding weekend of The Hosseinis, timestamped and told by their trusted photographer.

Thursday, March 21st, 2024
Santa Barbara, California, USA

1:00pm

A SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA WEDDING


Sixty-something degrees and partly cloudy with a definite chance of afternoon sun: The perfect day for a wedding in downtown Santa Barbara.


My assistant and I headed to the Harbor View Inn just across the street from Stearns Wharf and the shores of the Pacific Ocean. After loading up our backpacks and chugging Red Bulls, we headed up to the hotel room to meet our bride, Alyssa.


Seated in a makeup chair near the balcony, Alyssa’s excitement flooded the room as we greeted her, her mother, and her sister for the first time. In between introductory conversations and laughter, you could immediately tell that this was a day Alyssa has waited for all her life – and was ready to seize.




THE WEDDING DETAILS


I gathered initial details to start capturing the day right away. For Alyssa and Iman, I had rings, earrings, bracelets, fragrances, trinkets, wedding invitations, Alyssa’s wedding dress, and the bouquet (arranged by the bride herself) all to get creative with. Once the items were in hand, we went outside to capture the details in true Santa Barbara glory, finally greeted by sunlight peeking through the overcast clouds. 


Santa Barbara is a cinematic photographer’s dream, so taking advantage of any piece of architecture, landscaping, or detailing was a necessity for me. It was no surprise that I was putting Alyssa’s engagement ring on long stalks of plants, hanging her dress from a nearby palm tree, or posing her bouquet on a flight of stairs with intricate Spanish designs. With time to spare, I finished up the details and made my way back inside.




2:00pm

THE GROOM’S PORTRAITS


Before diving into bridal portraits, we got the go-ahead to head downstairs and meet with Iman, the groom, for his initial portraits. Iman greeted us with a calm, eager excitement, nearly ready to head off to the ceremony venue.


I followed his lead while he put on his suit jacket and bowtie, giving little nods of movement direction for a true getting-ready vibe. We then headed out to the patio to capture the whole suit ensemble with generous amounts of flash photography.


Even after struggling with pinning the boutonniere comfortably, the energy radiating off Iman was palpable and obvious: He was ready for today, just like his bride.




2:35pm

THE BRIDAL PORTRAITS


With less than an hour to spare before the start of the ceremony, we made our way back to Alyssa, who was fully snug in her wedding dress. I started easing into capturing the ambiance of the space – hotel bed, balcony views, makeup brushes, and everyone in their final touches.


Adorned in tasteful jewelry, Steve Madden heels, and Gucci Bloom fragrance, Alyssa shined for her bridal portraits. The coastal afternoon sun filled the hotel room generously, giving the bride the most gorgeous glow. As a final send off before departing to the venue, I made sure to photograph Alyssa, her mother, and her sister all together – memorializing the wholesome start of her special day.




3:30pm

THE WEDDING CEREMONY


Keeping a theme of good taste and opulence, Alyssa and Iman chose to have their wedding ceremony at the iconic Santa Barbara Courthouse. Pristine Spanish architecture? Gorgeous landscaped grounds? A feast for the eyes, and my camera lens.


In the center of the grounds stood a beautiful floral arch decked out in white and pink flowers and greenery, where Iman and his best friend-slash-officiant stood. With no more than 20 guests, consisting of the bride and groom’s immediate families, the occasion became all the more special within the grandeur of the courthouse. A solo violinist filled the air with steady, exquisite notes, as everyone – including myself – eagerly waited for Alyssa’s arrival. I took the opportunity to snap photos of the seated guests, the surroundings, and my personal favorite – the groom waiting in anticipation.



A vision of white standing out from the sea of black tie dress code, Alyssa entered arm in arm between her mother and father. Smiling ear to ear, she was led down the aisle to Iman, who was grinning just the same and unable to look away from his bride.


Holding hands and radiating so much happiness, the couple exchanged rings and “I Dos”. In typical wedding photographer fashion, I hustled around either side of the arch to capture both Alyssa and Iman from each other’s points of view and down the aisle for a multitude of wide shots (again, a feast for the eyes).


Finally, the bride and groom shared their first kiss and walked into the crowd as Alyssa and Iman Hosseini.




4:00pm

After a quick Red Bull hydration break, I went back into the mix and captured the couple mingling with their loved ones. We transitioned into family photos from that point on, simple with only 20 guests looking to you for direction. Everybody got their chance in the spotlight, and it was my chance to engage with their support system up close before the reception. Having an “in” with the family is always an understated element of wedding photography!


Following family time, I stole Alyssa away for solo portraits at her request. An accomplished florist herself, Alyssa wanted all the shots with the floral arch and her bouquet. I happily obliged, witnessing a calm conviction rise in her demeanor while she not only posed for my camera, but took in the scene in full.


After a moment of pause, she mused aloud: “I was that little girl who always dreamed of being a bride. I can’t believe I am here in this moment.




4:15pm

THE COUPLES PORTRAITS


If there is one thing I love about weddings, it’s the intimate moments the couples share away from the crowds. If you’re paying attention to this time-stamped journal entry, you’ll note that Alyssa and Iman didn’t share a first look before the ceremony. A shocker, indeed – I love and appreciate a good first look. 


Instead, they opted for private vows immediately after their ceremony. My Pisces heart could not have been more elated.


We found a beautiful enclosure of plants and palm trees with no one around, perfect for an intimate conversation between Alyssa and Iman. I shot from a distance where no words could be understood, but the gazes, smiles, and laughter between the newlyweds were telling enough: These two were seizing their wedding day like no other.


The segue into their couples portraits after that moment? Effortless.




4:45pm

With the wedding day gods (and a security guard) on our side, we finessed our way inside the courthouse after closing. Given five minutes to secure any shots we needed, I photographed Alyssa and Iman in a frenzy – running through the halls of the courthouse, ascending and descending a winding picturesque staircase, and standing inside a circle of pillars.



Once our five minutes of time was up, we then took our time and explored the courthouse exterior. I took advantage of all the arches, walkways, landscaping, stairs, and corners of the building I could. Determined to take portraits where they stood together an hour earlier, we made our way back to the floral arch in the middle of the grounds.


With evening hours around the corner and crowds dispersing, Alyssa and Iman brought even more main character energy to their portraits. Following their lead, the couple brought loving embraces, celebratory dips in each other arms, and my Pinterest-inspired poses to life with loving ease.


To close out the day, I secured wide shots of Alyssa and Iman with the courthouse’s main archway as a backdrop. The most magical moment, encapsulating a truly majestic wedding day.




Saturday, March 23rd, 2024
Bakersfield, California, USA


5:30pm

THE WEDDING RECEPTION


As Bakersfield natives, Alyssa and Iman wanted their reception to take place close to home, where their family and friends would all celebrate together. They chose a venue that brought the taste and elegance of their wedding day to the foothills of the Central Valley: The Nirvana Estate. Surrounded by vineyards and crafted landscape transporting you to a European villa, these newlyweds had only one wish for their reception: To have the party of a lifetime.


Upon arrival at the reception, the skies brewed with dark rain clouds – a stark contrast to the clear skies and sunshine of the ceremony day. Nevertheless, the weather was a good omen, even if it was a not-so-good sign for tables, chairs, and linens. 


Alyssa was surrounded by a much larger entourage this time – the women in her family, her best friends, and a glam team finishing their hard work. Similar to her wedding day, the scene was full of warmth and good energy from the get-go. I quickly joined in on the party and started capturing behind-the-scenes moments: Alyssa putting on her heels, taking selfies with friends, and embracing Iman.


It was obvious: The Hosseinis were absolutely ready to celebrate their love, rain or shine.


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