Leslie & Brendan’s San Francisco City Hall wedding

Leslie & Brendan's San Francisco City Hall wedding

When I first met with Leslie and Brendan to discuss their San Francisco City Hall wedding, we chatted over Mexican food and beers about what they wanted photographically. After a few ideas were thrown around, Leslie described her ideal wedding photography scenario: Someone to document the day, every step, from when they start getting ready to when they leave city hall, purely photojournalistically.

Music to my ears.

This kind of approach isn’t for everybody. But Leslie is a documentary filmmaker, and she wanted a photojournalist to capture their wedding as a true documentary.

(And to be fair, we had a good amount of time for creative portraits of the two of them, which isn’t technically strictly documentary, but was undeniably awesome, especially since they are such snappy dressers.)

Anyway, on the morning of Leslie & Brendan’s wedding, we started early in a small room in a funky hotel in the Tenderloin, just the three of us. They got dressed for their marriage, I photographed the process, we all stepped around each other in the small space. It was intimate and charming and a little awkward for a minute, but mostly it felt real.

There’s a closeness to the relationship between a wedding photographer and the couple getting married — we’re together all day through some fairly emotionally charged events. Most of the time, there are lots of other people around: a wedding party, family, friends. For most of Leslie & Brendan’s wedding day, it was just me, and that felt like a real privilege, and made the whole thing seem a lot more close.

Good thing I really like these two.

After they got ready, and after Brendan decorated the car, we slapped my GoPro onto the hood and headed to city hall. I shot photos of them pulling away from the hotel, then ran to catch up and jumped into the back. It felt very Dukes of Hazzard; I was having a lot of fun.

At city hall we met up with their families, checked in at the appropriate time, signed the marriage license. At the ceremony in the rotunda, their family members surrounded them, the judge started the ceremony, vows were exchanged and tears were shed and the whole thing continued to feel very intimate. At the end, the judge pulled them aside for a few private words and a couple heartfelt hugs, a nice touch in a place that has probably seen tens of thousands of people get married.

After that it was family photos, portraits of the newlyweds and on to lunch. Leslie & Brendan had their reception a week later, and it was awesome too, and I’ll have photos of it soon. But for now, check out my favorite photos of their San Francisco City Hall wedding in the gallery below.

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