Destination Wedding Photography / The Mint, San Francisco
Ahhhhh Ryan and Tina.. so much to say about these two and this wedding in particular,. I should start from the beginning. You might remember these guys from the super awesome Ace Hotel engagement that I dropped on the wedding blog a few months back. After throwing back booze and laughing our asses off taking those photos, Tina & Ryan really wanted to find a way to get me in the mix for their wedding. Seeing as its damn near impossible for me to say “no” to a good time and these two are my ideal party rockin couple [and totally irresistible] I told em I would, their date was available. Only problem when it came down to the calendar and logistics was that I had a wedding the night before in Palm Springs… and their wedding..? yeah.. it was set to be in San Jose [more on that in a sec] Yeah, it was going to be a mission… but totally doable. So on the heels of kicking serious ass at a Wedding in Palm Springs the night before, I caught a few zzzzzz’s and jumped on the first AM flight to San Jose to rock this wedding in San Francisco at the old historic US Mint… thats right, I said a flight to San Jose. That’s where the wedding was originally supposed to be, however, a last minute venue change sent everyone scrambling. My plane ticket in remained the same, as did a lot of guests [Im sure] that would be making the same jump I was. Rolling with the punches Ryan called me a most excellent driver [Toso] and snapped me up from SJ to get me to SF. So now its mid morning and I’m rolling in on a good 6 hours of rest… and for me, thats plenty. I nailed my plane up but didnt have time to eat breakfast before things got rolling. My bad. Figured I’ll just snap something up before things get going, I was wrong. lol
Serious traffic going into the city had us doing major reroutes but I was fortunate to get a side street tour of SF and got to roll right by Giants Stadium to see a bit of the pre game playoff buzz. I arrived a few minutes later than expected at The Mint with luggage in hand, gear on my back, feeling totally pumped and ready to see familiar face and rock the night. A quick superman change into my wedding clothes in the hotel lobby bathroom across the street and I was ready. I vividly remember walking up the front steps to a VERY impressive building, one suited to once be housing the a huge percentage of the nations currency during the gold rush. And for good reason it also happens to be one of the few large buildings that survived the 1906 quake in SF [ 7.9 magnitude]. The doors to this fortress were chained shut and outside locked doors at the top of the stairs I found myself standing in the “living room” of a bum that had made the grand entrance his camp days before, trash and all his belongings were spread all across the walkway. He was rolling a joint, completely disheveled, and I was clearly over dressed. No words were spoken but his crazy eyes told me I was in the wrong place… almost convincingly enough that I questioned if Toso had let me off at the right building?? How in the hell were they gonna have a wedding here?? Why were the doors chained shut?? This place almost looks abandoned. Well they did.. and I was in the right place. I learned later [as I was let in the side door to the building] that this is SF and that how it goes around here. I had plans to stay in the city for the next 3 days, ya know, make the most of the trip and be a tourist… it was no doubt going to be a good time.
I got buzzed in the side of the building which I guess you could consider the basement of The Mint, also nicknamed “The Granite Lady” … because it sat on a concrete and granite foundation with walls that were solid rock that were a good 3 or 4 ft. thick. It had been designed this way to thwart tunneling into its vaults, which back in 1906 held $300 million dollars which was fully a third of the United States’ gold reserves. Yeah, this place was no joke. A fortress. It has that musty wet basement smell and was super dark, deathly silent but with haunting echoes… Oh and at night?? it’s suuuuuuuuuper creepy… If it fits I will expand on a hair raising experience I had later on in the night walkin the darkness alone… for now Imma skim past and just say that although I have a pretty good imagination, Im pretty damn sure the place is haunted.
Anyhow I made my way through the tunnels and vaults and up a few flights to where I found Tina and the girls, straight stunnin. They were surrounded by white walls, in rooms with 30 ft. ceilings with massive windows that were pouring in the most amazing light. Quite a massive shift from the catacombs I just walked through. Things might have started off a little rough but as soon as I walked into this place, I was relieved and relaxed. Tina gave me a hug, poured me shot and that kicked off a booze fueled evening I’ll never forget.
The day was just perfect: a seriously kickass venue with a beyond amazing couple and their group of friends that took me in and made me a part of the crew. Lots of lughs, tears of joy and the party went all night long. All the details were in place, sushi bar, ice cream station, photo booth!! amazing food, cake and desserts! The Chinese Dragons were an insanely cool surprise too!! The DJing kept the dance floor packed and the booze kept the party goin… I knew it would!! Ryan owns the top bar in San Jose so there was no way they were falling short! By the end of the end I was stumbling back to my hotel room feeling warm n fuzzy inside… partially due to top shelf drinks but mostly do to the fact that I LOVE what I do, especially when I do it with really great people.
I’m writing all this stuff now for me and this got wayyy longer than planned cause the memories came flooding back when looking through all the pics again. It was seriously tough to decide what to keep and what to omit. I shot this one solo but even then a typical single shooter wedding I turn out like 700+ photos… but for a blog post thats just too damn much.. still I find myself more and more having trouble chopping things that make me smile. So of the stuff I did keep [and there are still a lot of photos] just know I struggled in the narrowing of the list.I really could go on n on .. and I’ve definitely gone on a bit… Im actually shocked you are actually still reading this.. lol. so lets move on to the pics.
THAT WAS AWESOME!! but wait!! There is more!! Like I said, you get this Temecula Wedding Photographer out of town with the option to be a tourist for a few days and Im going to make the most of it! So above marks the end of the wedding shoot… but not the end of my journey through the bay. Well for as long as my batteries would hold out, anyway. Continue on and you will see a few street shots as I wandered a bit towards my favorite record store, Amoeba off haight/ ashbury. Then stumbled across a REALLY amazing Stanley Kubrik exhibit. I even caught the most electrifying baseball game later on that night but after wielding the cam for nearly 2 full days it had all it could take.. killed my battery reserves and was forced to rely on mental pictures for the rest of the night. Good Times! Someone wanna hire me to photograph a wedding in San Francisco so I can do it again? If so, you know what to do ;)