Classic Bay Area Wedding // Historical Stanford Memorial Church Wedding

Bay Area wedding inspo foothills preserve

It is officially my busy season and I couldn’t be happier. Matt and Ashley got married at the historical Stanford Memorial Church last Saturday.

bridal portrait Bay Area

While I don’t normally get into history on my blogs – this one warrants it. Since its inception, it has always been a nondenominational church. They were the first church on the West Coast to offer LGBTQ weddings – dating all the way back to 1993. However, since it was illegal at the time they simply had to wait until it was legalized before the ceremonies could be official. On November 1st, 2008, they had their first LGBTQ wedding. The couple that got married there had to wait anxiously until 3 days later when Prop 8 passed. This devastated the first gay couple that got married there because it invalidated their marriage. Stanford fought back and still gave them their marriage license. They have recently renewed their vows in this same church – and their marriage is now recognized. It was also rare for me to shoot a church wedding. I get maybe one a year out of the 25 weddings I do annually. It was quite refreshing!

bubble exit wedding

Secondly, unless you attended Stanford or are the descendent of an alumni – you are not allowed to get married there. This is a very interesting rule which really makes the venue special and historical to the couple. They might have been playing on the quad a few years earlier not knowing they would be married in the church they walk by every day to get to class only a few years later. So, sorry to break this news but if you love this venue – I hope you are a direct descendent of an alumni or went to Stanford yourself!

stanford campus photos

On that note – that’s almost exactly how Matt and Ashley met; on campus. From the beautiful couple themselves:

Bay Area engaged

We met in our freshman year of college, living in neighboring dorm buildings. In fact, we met during
orientation, before first day of classes even started! We knew about each other, but didn’t start dating until a whole long month into the school year, when Ashley came to Matt’s orchestra concert and Matt later asked Ashley to the fall formal dance.

We both enjoy good food, movies and TV shows, and experiencing things in and around the city,
whether it’s an art museum or checking out a local bookstore or hiking in the woods
Matt is quiet and thoughtful, while Ashley is passionate and extroverted. We really balance and bring out the best in each other!

— Matt and Ashley

stanford memorial church

The church is simply stunning. Obviously I’ve documented a lot of weddings but out of every church I’ve ever worked in – this one takes the cake. From intricate carvings on the stone pillars to hand painted murals and antique stained glass windows – it had it all.


stanford wedding photos

Matt and Ashley opted for a very unique “first look”. That’s what they called it but yeah, it was the opposite.

Instead of a traditional first look where they see each other – they wanted photos together without actually seeing each other. I had my assistant scour the church for the perfect door to create this romantic and anticipatory moment before they walked down the aisle. If you’ve been following my blog for a while you’ll know it is VERY rare for me to use black and white photos. But this moment called for it.

unique wedding ideas

unique wedding photos

With tones of pale pink, peach, light greens, and white it was a classic wedding by all definitions. Imbuing soft pastels and natural colors is always a guaranteed success because they soften the mood and provide a create a quiet authority.

blush wedding bouquet

Ashley picked out her stunning dress from David’s Bridal and had intricate lace on the 3/4 length sleeves and extremely detailed backing with buttons going down the entire length. Doesn’t she look absolutely perfect?

wedding dress Bay Area

Bay Area bridal portrait

I would definitely categorize this wedding more as an elopement though. No reception! I left after couples photos and Matt and Ashley went out to dinner with their friends and family to finish off the night.

fine art wedding Bay Area

My absolute best wishes to this beautiful couple and wishing them the happiest of lives together.

fine art photography Bay Area

fine art photographer Bay Area


  1. Wow! What a beautiful church and gorgeous images!

  2. BreeAnna Lasher says:


  3. Sara says:

    Wow! now that’s what I call an elite venue, these are so pretty.

  4. Skyler says:

    This venue is AMAZING!!! And they look adorable together 🙂

  5. Kestrel Bailey says:

    Whoa, what a place! I love your tones, the blush hint really shows and brings such a cool elegance to the photos on top of the venue. You really highlighted it well!

  6. These are so pretty! They must have really loved receiving this gorgeous gallery from you 🙂

  7. Mollie says:

    Oh my gosh this is AWESOME! I lovehow you captured the day and all the in-between moments. So so good my friend!

  8. Brogan says:

    Beautiful venue! I love their grand exit! Great job!

  9. Callie Travels says:

    Beautiful photos, you did such a sweet job capturing this couple! And that church is ammaaaazing.

  10. Sydney says:

    Lovely photos! You captured their wedding day perfectly!

  11. traci says:

    This look like a lovely wedding!

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