OK, I’ll admit it: I’m a wedding traditions junkie.
One of my favorite things about being a wedding photographer is getting to experience the amazing diversity of wedding rituals and cultures. I love learning all about nuptial customs from around the world.
It’s so humbling to see that no matter what unique little twists people put on the conventions of a wedding day -- the hope and love between the couple is universal.
That’s why I jumped at the chance to photograph Lena and Joshua, a beautiful couple with proud Samoan roots. I knew their wedding would be filled with incredible little wedding moments that I’ve never witnessed before, and that turned out to be the case.
In fact, I was so excited to photograph them, I flew all the way across the country -- to California for their wedding!
That was different for me and then things got even more interesting as the night went on. The highlight was when Joshua and his groomsmen came out dressed in the traditional Samoan wrap skirts that men wear in Samoa. The dance they performed to traditional Samoan music with Lena at the center of the group was really exciting and fun. All in all a very good day and one I will remember for a long time
Lena is from Hawaii and Joshua is from the Los Angeles area.
These two are just so sweet with each other. In every shot, you can see that tender, knowing smile between them. They know how to have their fun -- check out that shot of Joshua looking at his beautiful bride through the telescope lens! But they also know how to put their heads together and move forward as one. You can feel their strong bond in each image.
You can’t beat California’s stunning natural scenery. Lena and Joshua wisely selected a venue with breathtaking cliffs, iconic swaying palm trees, and a gorgeous view of the Pacific Ocean.
Inside their wedding venue, they kept things clean and sleek. This allowed the focus to be on the two of them.
As you can see -- by the time the reception rolled around, we were all treated to some top-notch rituals and entertainment from the groomsmen!
These two have the biggest smiles. Lena, especially -- she lit up every room she was in with that beautiful grin. For his part, Josh exudes protectiveness and warmth to his bride whenever they’re together.
I eagerly accepted this assignment because I was excited to experience new cultural traditions.
Little did I know -- my introduction to these traditions would happen right away, and with no warning!
After a touching wedding ceremony, we transitioned into the reception venue. I’ve shot enough weddings that I expect a certain rhythm every time. Usually, the newly wedded couple makes a grand entrance to the reception room, the crowd cheers, and they head immediately into a first dance.
That’s not how Lena and Joshua did it -- they headed immediately for their seats after being announced. I love this efficient approach!
And perhaps the best moment was when Joshua and his groomsmen changed into traditional, wrap style Samoan garb. They proceeded to break into a coordinated dance around Lena that was as hilarious as it was impressive!
I’d be remiss if I didn’t call out some of the amazing little touches that Lena and Joshua put into their wedding day decor. Don’t you love Lena’s eye-popping lily and dendrobium orchid bouquet? WOW. Those midnight-blue flowers really make you stop and stare!
I loved the sharp simplicity of their other style choices. Those navy blue bridesmaid dresses really pop against the California coastline, and the gorgeous traditional Samoan formal wear adds a wonderful touch to the group shots. Those sleek calla lily bouquets for the bridesmaids simply ooze sophistication and class.
Congratulations, Lena & Joshua!