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Last summer was one of the busiest and warmest summers I think I’ve had in Santa Cruz. Now that it’s colder and I’m not shooting as much, I’m finally getting the chance to review and reflect on so many special weddings I captured. That’s a great thing about photography, you get to relive your memories through photos.

Dream Inn Santa Cruz wedding

Stephanie & Ian chose Santa Cruz for their destination beach wedding for the awesome views, tropical subtleties and fun activities. They started their day at the Dream Inn and then took their custom vintage ride down Beach Street.

santa cruz boardwalk

Next stop, a sweet family ceremony under the light house at Seabright Beach with the brother of the bride as the officiant.

lighthouse wedding photos

 It was a little windy, but the skies were clear, and love was everywhere.

love is everywhere in Santa Cruz

Cake from the Buttery

Keeping with their retro tropical theme, the couple chose Hulas as the perfect place for their wedding reception. Check out that adorable 60′s inspired frosting, courtesy of The Buttery.

tattoo wedding rings

Matching tattoos instead of rings, so cool!

Hulas wedding reception

 Cheers to Stephanie & Ian! I wish you a lifetime of cool breezes, warm hearts and lots of love.

If you are planning a wedding in Santa Cruz or anywhere on the Monterey Bay, give me a call 831-325-4183 or email me for more information.

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In the past year a couple of A-list celebrities tied the knot here in Big Sur. I think they were attracted to the seclusion and beauty of this remote location. I can’t think of a more romantic place to elope than Big Sur, California. It’s equal parts gorgeous, private and magical.

elope kiss

Big Sur has something for everyone. There are wonderful restaurants, high end hotels, camping areas and many unique places to stay. Check out this recent elopement at the historic Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn. David and Renee travelled here from Wisconsin to get married in the ancient Redwood grove and to stay in one of the adorable cabins (above).

wedding couple on beach

The beaches in Big Sur are nothing short of amazing!!  I hear there is even a beach with pink sand! Another reason I must go back soon.

a kiss on the beach

The end to a beautiful day. Congratulations, David & Renee! Other vendors who made this elopement spectacular include Lezlie with Grand Design Floral and Zee with Lyssabeth’s Weddings.

Check out this link to an engagement session I photographed at the Henry Miller Library a couple of years ago.

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I think it’s pretty apparent that I love photographing weddings on the beach! I’ve photographed hundreds of beach weddings all over the Monterey Bay and consider myself very knowledgable on the subject. I was really happy when my sister inlaw, Claire, called to tell me that she and her fiance had decided to make it official and have their wedding here in Santa Cruz! Since they were travelling here from the central valley with their closest friends and family, she wanted my advice on planning the perfect Santa Cruz destination wedding. I was even happier that they listened to my expert opinion!

santa cruz beach wedding

The first thing I suggested is to get married in the late afternoon or at sunset. Weddings on the beach during the middle of the day can be very bright causing people to squint. Not only is the sun bright but there is also reflective light from the sand. Since they wanted to celebrate all weekend the second thing I suggested is that they get married on Friday. This way they could relax and enjoy the weekend with their guests before they went on their honeymoon. I also told her that the best weather here on the Northern Coast is in late Fall and we scored a beautiful weekend on the first Friday in November. Thank you Mother Nature!

Dream Inn Santa Cruz

I also suggested that they stay at the Dream Inn because I love the light and decor at this beachfront hotel. Plus, there is so much to do and see right around the hotel. I also love their restaurant, Aquarius. Awesome food and an amazing view.

pretty flowers for the alter area

 My mother inlaw and sister inlaw are also in the wedding business. For over 20 years their dress shop, Earth Angel, has been catering to brides and weddings. One thing I’ve learned from them is you can’t skimp on flowers! They were very happy with my colleague and good friend Lezlie with Grand Design floral.

santa cruz beach wedding

santa cruz beach wedding

A family portrait on the beach. That’s me standing next to the Groom, Kory, aka my new brother inlaw! Thank you, Celeste, my second shooter, for taking this photo. For some reason I’m always missing from these photo opps!

Shadowbrook wedding reception

The reception was held at Shadowbrook in Capitola. I love to wine and dine here!! I’ve photographed many weddings at this fine establishment. I was happy when Claire chose this venue after visiting a few other places I suggested. We ended the night by launching chinese lanterns. They were completely biodegradable and the perfect way to end the evening.  Click here to see more images.  Click here for information on permits and marriage license in Santa Cruz county. Congratulations Kory & Claire!

If you are planning a beach wedding in Santa Cruz, give me a call 831-325-4183. I can refer you to a local wedding planner or answer any questions you might have. Planning to elope in this area? Check out this link.

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Snuggled in the hills between Salinas and Monterey is the lovely wedding venue Pasadera Country Club. I love the old world charm at this hacienda styled venue. It was the perfect location for Adam & Jessica’s wedding!

monterey wedding photographer

pasadera wedding

happy couple at Pasadera

Pasadera wedding

I really like the gold accents in the diningroom. Red roses and gold charger plates make for a simple and elegant wedding reception.

If you are planning a wedding at Pasadera or another venue in the Monterey Bay area, give me a call! Rebecca Stark 831-325-4183 or email me rebecca@rebeccastarkphotography.com

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I recently photographed the Synergy 2013 Spring collection. (Synergy’s lines of dresses, skirts and yoga wear are just gorgeous, as you can see from the 2012 catalog I helped with last year.) For six days I had the opportunity to work with a group of energetic women just bursting with creative ideas! With Halloween just a few weeks away, they were talking about making costumes from some of the Synergy pieces, and I knew I had to photograph the results. Laurel, the store manager, created the costumes; Lorene with Stylist with a Flair did the hair and makeup and a few of the sales associates were the models.

cemetery photo shootSo on a dark and stormy night we headed over to Evergreen Cemetery near Costco to begin our shoot. I’ve done other sessions at this Civil War-era cemetery, and I love the way the photos turned out. Talk about a dramatic setting!

looking for clues

She’s watching the detectives … or maybe they’re watching her! A black cotton jacket and some accessories complete this stylish detective costume. A black cotton jacket and some accessories complete this detective costume.

lil red riding hood costume

The sun set fast and we ended up at a pumpkin patch on Post Street. Matt, the pumpkin farmer, was kind enough to turn on some floodlights and let us run around his pumpkin patch. If you’re looking for pumpkins, go check out the 15 different pumpkin varieties at Matt’s homegrown pumpkin patch!


  A great fitting little black dress, a cape, some boots and fangs, and Jessica is ready to scare a couple of trick-or-treaters!

Check out Synergy’s 2 Santa Cruz locations or online.

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