The Sherman Library and Gardens
Sera and Ben chose to have their wedding at The Sherman Library and Gardens in Corona del Mar, California. It is my new favorite wedding venue to photograph because it is intimate, absolutely bursting with beautiful flowers and plants, historic, and also has a little bridal suite. Not to mention the little pathways leading to tiny individual gardens, and the overhead structures creating gorgeous shadows that are just asking to be photographed.
Each time I visited the Sherman Library and Gardens with Patti and Sera I just wanted to stay for the afternoon with a book and a cup of tea due to the tranquility of the place. Additionally there is even a resident cat called Julius! Could a venue get any better? I found it difficult to choose a favorite area as a result of all the beauty, but at present the cactus garden probably wins it for me.
It was also the perfect place for Sera and Ben to get married in! Sera and Ben are that couple who are very unapologetically themselves and just so sweet and fun. I will definitely say this is the first wedding I have had with dinosaur cake toppers! Both Sera and Ben live in Portland so I initially spent a lot of the planning via Skype and with Sera’s mum Patti who is just delightful. Please adopt me now!
Luna, the couple’s adorable fur baby, was initially invited to the wedding but logistically it wasn’t possible due to travel and the honeymoon after. Sera found the best way to have her there though – a few weeks before the wedding day she had Luna’s face tattooed on her arm. Such a great tattoo, and it went perfectly with her dress.
The big day
A sunny October morning I went to the Marriott to find a very nervous Sera and her bridal party. They are an incredibly sweet group, and cousin Ashley was busy emailing her professor whilst having her hair curled for the zillionth time. Like me, Ashley suffers from unwilling-to-hold-a-style hair!
I popped down to the bar as Sera was in the make up chair to grab her a straw so as not to mess up her lipstick. Oh, and a shot of vodka for the nerves. A bit of bed bouncing, and we were off to the venue. Bizarrely, I discovered that asking the bride and anyone else in the room to have a bounce really helps calm the nerves. Who would have thought? It is now in my MO for every wedding!
To the Gardens!
Did I mention already how much I love this venue? Well, I do! While the girls were settling in to the bridal suite and popping open another bottle, I went to meet Ben. This man was certainly excited to marry Sera! In fact, I think it is one of the very first things he said to me. Take a look at his socks as well – Luna very much being a part of their day!
What happens when you mix a handful of lads (and groomslady Shanie) with an office to get ready in? Yes, they decided to have a mini photo shoot using the office accessories! Consequently I now have these hilarious images. We were also lucky to have Shanie on hand because she tied all the ties! The whole day my cheeks hurt because I was smiling so much.
Meanwhile back in the bridal suite it was also all go. One of the girls managed to rip her spanx – I really want to show a photo as it was hilarious! She also had a tiny tear in her dress earlier which I managed to sew up relatively well. Disclaimer – I am not a seamstress! I just have a bridal emergency kit with my gear that has a sewing kit as a result of previous brides having last-minute dress disasters.
Sera’s nerves seemed to disappear once her dress was on and my goodness she looked amazing, like a garden fairy. I used to read Flower Fairies books as a child and Sera would not look out of place in any of them. The effect was only heightened by the truly fabulous florals from Greenleaf Designs. Proteas and air plants oh my!
Sherman Library and Gardens Wedding
After a short and sweet ceremony performed by Ben’s sister Katie we went off for our photos and the newlyweds were so giddy with happiness. I had to chuckle at the random heads of their friends popping up behind plants during the photos! They goofed around, delighted in their newlywed status, and undeniably had a blast. I think we all wanted a turn in the magnificent pink chair, but there was a reception to attend!
Without a doubt my favorite part of weddings is the people. For instance, at this wedding Aunt Vivian hit the dance floor for the first time in forever; Samara the flower girl took her role very seriously as she carefully placed each petal on the ground; Ben’s sister Katie married the couple (who cried through their vows and I love them for it); Sera’s dad Charlie cried through his speech (again, I loved him for that); one of the guests had just had surgery but was determined to be there to celebrate; another was proudly using his new medium format film camera and I cannot wait to see his photos!
Sherman Library and Gardens had a lovely room for the reception for the reason that it was half inside and half out. Lots of palm trees created a slightly jungle vibe which I was certainly digging. The cake stood pride of place, both dinosaurs with a hungry eye on the kitchen door. Those dinosaurs are undoubtedly the best use I have ever seen for a dinosaur! I’ll admit to crying during the father-daughter dance (which to be frank I usually do because it makes me miss my family, then immediately want to run and call my own dad). Sera chose my favorite Nick Cave song – Into Your Arms. In fact their playlist was so great I asked for a copy!
After dinner the guests were lucky to be able to wander the gardens, sit by the fire pit, or just enjoy the warm evening with all the twinkly lights due to the trees being wrapped in them. Most of them hit the dance floor and stayed there – my kind of people!! When it was time to cut the cake, I stood next to one of the caterers who mentioned that just once she’d like to see someone pick up the whole cake. I believe Sera must have read her mind, because up that cake went!!!!!
DJ Allen must have had a fantastic night because Sera gave him a playlist for the whole reception. There was a great combination of classic hits and obscure songs, all of which meant something to the couple. I have actually spent the last two wedding seasons learning the dance for the Cupid Shuffle and the Cha-cha slide, maybe next time I’ll get to bust out my moves!
Ben also managed to charm the DJ into letting him have a go on the decks, new wife Sera dancing by his side. Speaking of Ben, I’ll end this post by mentioning a little snippet I overheard. Ben was talking to a couple of friends about Sera. He said he brought a branch to their second date because he wanted to impress Sera, and that was also when he knew he wanted to marry her.
Well the branch must have worked because they are married! In fact this couple are so adorably in love, so fun, and I can’t wait to see them again on their next visit to SoCal. I hope you enjoyed reading about their beautiful Sherman Library and Gardens wedding. Please join me in wishing them every happiness for the future.
Photographer: Kate Hampson | Florals: Greenleaf Designs | DJ: DJ A-Dub | Hair: Lolo Hair & Makeup |Make-Up: Glam by Sam | Venue: Sherman Library & Gardens | Cake: Simply Sweet Cakery | Bride’s dress: BHLDN | Groom’s socks: PupSocks | Cake toppers: MiniLifeRings on Etsy