Esmeralda & José || Riverfront CA Wedding


Esmeralda & José’s riverside California wedding kicked off my 2022 wedding season and it was such a special day to be a part of! I had the best time getting to know these two last June when I flew out to CA for their two-part engagement session and I’ve been eagerly awaiting going back for their wedding. This was also my very first West Coast wedding and it was so special to be invited all the way across the country to photograph their wedding day.

Esmeralda & José are high school sweethearts with a mutual love for their Catholic faith, their families, and serving others and every part of the day reflected these three priorities.

The day started at Esmeralda’s parent’s house where she had all her details ready for me to photograph. Esmeralda was so excited I was there that she started to take behind-the-scenes videos of me while I arranged her details. I was blessed to be able to have my sweet friend, Kaitlyn Heacock, come with me and second shoot for me and she captured the most stunning images of Esmeralda finishing up her makeup (love, love, love all the plants and natural light).

One of the many things I love about the Hispanic culture is how family-oriented absolutely everything is. Esmeralda didn’t have bridesmaids but she had her mom and grandmother zip her in her dress, her little sister put her shoes on, her older sister’s help with everything from invitations to dress fluffing, and emotional first looks with both her dad and grandfather. Likewise, José had his father and brother help him get ready in the morning, and later on during the reception, he read letters out loud to each of his parents, his two siblings & his new wife instead of doing the garter toss.

Esmeralda and José opted to do a First Look because they chose to process into the Church together at the beginning of the Mass. If José’s reaction to his bride doesn’t melt you, I don’t know what will. It was such a sweet moment and a delight to witness the love and awe they shared with one another.

After their beautiful Mass, we headed to their reception along a beautiful riverfront tucked away behind the oil fields of Bakersfield. It was a hidden oasis and the perfect spot for their wedding reception! And it made for the most beautiful portrait location! When I say I’m obsessed, I’m really obsessed.

Esmeralda and José, you two have become such sweet friends of mine and I was so honored to document your wedding!

Remember how I mentioned these two love to serve others? After cutting their cake, Esmeralda immediately cut two more slices and handed them to Kaitlyn and me, and then at the very end of the night, as we were leaving, Esmeralda ran back to the cake table and sent us off with another large slice of cake to share. And I will say, it was one of the best weddings cakes I’ve had.

Mary Kate


A huge thank you to all the other vendors who came together to make this day possible!

CHURCH // St. Philip Catholic Church

RECEPTION VENUE // Chapel Events Co

SECOND PHOTOGRAPHER // Kaitlyn Heacock Photography

DJ // SK Entertainment

CAKE // Cornerstone Bakery

CATERER // Casa Royal

DRESS // Gutierrez & Co. in Francisco Sarabia, Mexico

INVITATIONS // created by the bride, her mom, and her sister Magnolia.

SHOES //  Ilkin Bride Shoe Design. Antalya, Turkey

HAIR COMB //  Rosy Stone Inc. Columbus, Ohio

CASHMERE JACKET //  Edelweiss Bride. Moscow, Russia

EARRINGS // Dream Elephant Store. Russia


ollow Along on Instagra







Get the latest posts delivered to your mailbox: