St Albert's Priory

Oakland, CA

Cailin & Manuel

September 2018

Bride and groom kissing whilst holding wedding cake

When Cailin and Manuel contacted me earlier this year, I felt immediate kinship with them as they were also in a long-distance relationship at the time. We had a Northern California bride, a groom situated in Germany and a Southern California wedding photographer Skype call, and a great time chatting about their wedding vision (and England’s chances in the World Cup!)

This was a very special wedding for me to be invited to. St Albert’s Priory is not commonly opened up as a wedding venue – Manuel had studied at the Dominican School of Philosophy & Theology and has a close friendship with Fr. Michael Sweeney. It’s not every day one has the opportunity to photograph a ceremony with seven priests in attendance!

After a moving ceremony and the family formals, it was finally time for the newlyweds to spend their first moments together as husband and wife. I always love this part of the day – when it hits them that they are now married. Prompts for poses and direction are never needed – the love just radiates.

The Alumni House at UC Berkeley is a perfect, intimate outdoor space for a reception. With small fairy lights in the trees and strung overhead, the atmosphere was already so romantic. Cailin and Manuel chose to have a slideshow of the two of them during their first dance, combined with stills and the music from the movie ‘Up’. If you have not seen the movie, it features an elderly widower who was very much in love with his wife for many happy years.

After dinner, the couple invited anyone who wanted to give a speech to take the mic. My favourite was definitely Cailin’s father, Tom. And not just because he wore a rabbit hat for half of it! We ended the evening with dancing, and all the guests gathered in a circle and sang Piano Man by Billy Joel. A wedding tradition from South Bend, Indiana apparently!

Less than a week after the wedding, Cailin and Manuel left California to start a new life in Berlin. Please join me in wishing them all the happiness in the world.

Special thanks to some of the wedding vendors that helped make this day possible:

Ceremony: St. Albert’s Priory

Reception: Alumni House, UC Berkeley

Bridal party’s hotel: Berkeley City Club