The Howey Mansion estate is one of the most romantic wedding venues I’ve photographed at, so I was so glad to come back for Melissa and Andrew to capture their special day. Every time that I have photographed at this venue, I would always have such an incredible experience. They’re just so many beautiful backdrops that we can work with and have your couples portraits done as well as for all the wedding guests, bridal party, and family members for their group photos. Some examples are the spiral staircase that you see as you enter the front doors of the Howey Mansion. It’s definitely a beautiful sight to be greeted with as you enter the venue for the first time as a wedding guest.
Another favorite spot of mine at the Howey Mansion is the tall arched windows that lead from the ballroom to the fountain courtyard, where wedding couples can choose to have their ceremony backdrop as. Something that’s very wonderful for wedding photographers and videographers is that if the wedding couple have their ceremony in front of those mirrors in the early evening, then the sun is positioned perfectly to where there is beautiful even lighting for the course of the ceremony. That means you don’t need to worry about possible harsh sun shining down on everybody. No matter what time of year it is, you’ll be shaded away from the heat, which is always a plus, and it just all-around makes for a better ceremony experience for everybody.
On top of that, those reflective arched windows that you see on the back side where ceremoniy can be held serves as a beautiful reflection of the sky, as is the case for Melissa and Andrew‘s private portraits later in this blog. In addition to those gorgeous windows, it looks just as beautiful from within the ballroom as well, especially if you love the look of a very rustic Spanish-style architecture for your wedding day. That same ballroom space can be held for your ceremony, reception, or cocktail hour, which are all wonderful choices.
Something that I would look for as an upcoming wedding couple still searching for a venue is what your Plan B will be if the weather outside isn’t grea. Some venues don’t offer a Plan B, whereas some of those who do don’t have a pretty Plan B. However, with the Howey Mansion, something that I just love so much as a wedding photographer is that their Plan B is featured in front of the fireplace of the ballroom, which is where Melissa and Andrew’s cocktail hour and reception dances were held. The large windows on both sides of the ballroom lets in an incredible amount of natural light from both ends, which makes it absolutely perfect for photos and videos. If you have an extremely large wedding guest count, having your ceremony site may be a tight squeeze if it’s in the ballroom, but luckily, any other parts of the venue serves just as beautiful as the others that I’ve mentioned. (Photo above is from a previous wedding I shot at this venue.)
Going back to some of the gorgeous spots at the Howey Mansion, something that a lot of photographers and videographers would love for every single venue that they capture is having an ideal getting ready space. This consists of a space large and spacious enough for the whole bridal party as well as other vendors, such as the hair/makeup artists, to work in. Good natural light is another important factor. This venue offers a very vintage, rustic, and large open space for both sides of the party to get ready in. The bridal suite features a lot of space for if you have a very large bridal party on one side, so that you can get your hair and make up done in the same space as well as many of the others who are there getting ready with you. Likewise, the Groom’s getting ready suites offers just as nice natural lighting and clean, vintage furniture to adorn the room, which cannot be said for some other venues I photographed before where a lot of times, the Groom’s getting ready space could be crammed and very dark all around. But at the Howey Mansion, there is consistency in the vintage style between both sides of the getting ready suites, making for a comfortable experience for everybody.
Another thing to note is that besides the spiral staircase that you see at the entrance of the Howey Mansion venue, there are other terra-cotta steps winding around the rest of the venue, such as the one wrapping around the exterior of the bridal suite, which gives a view of top of the fountain courtyard.
The Fountain Courtyard is a spot that you may have your reception space, which has string lights hanging and criss-crossing above all your guests as the light dims into the reception. It allows for those dreamy, candlelit reception shots that every romanticist can wish for. There are just so many beautiful spots at this venue with just the right amount of lighting and just the right amount of space to get the types of pictures that you can wish for, and with all the variety that every couple and photographer wishes there could be for every venue. It’s 100% why I love that the Howey mansion offers all of that and more.
If everything I mentioned above hasn’t sold you on the Howey Mansion wedding venue, there is also another cool thing about this place – the hidden prohibition room. It’s such a unique touch to this place because what other venues have the space for this? This underground part of the Howey Mansion isn’t purely decorative or random, however. It has history to it that the owners, when renovating this space, decided to leave as untouched as possible. This small space is a popular spot for an extra mini bar to be set up during the reception as everyone is breaking it onto the dance floor!
Melissa and Andrew’s wedding started off like a dream. I arrived early to find Melissa excitedly finishing up her hair and makeup in the bridal getting ready suite. The weeks leading up to their wedding day, just like most couples who experience the stress and chaos that comes with wedding planning, Melissa had been anxiously thinking about this wedding day, so it was wonderful to see that the anxious nerves that she had previous to that day had been replaced with the nerves of true excitement and anticipation to finally get married.
It makes me remember again that my job as the photographer isn’t just to capture the wedding day. It’s also to make your entire wedding experience the best that it can be. That means calming you down when the wedding planning journey gets too stressful or telling you that everything is going to be OK when the actual wedding day itself gets to be too much. Luckily, the excitement that Melissa had matched that of Andrew’s, and you can just see through the photos the love that they have for each other. It shines through all the photos of them two, from the very beginning when they saw each other for the first time during their first look, all the way to their private last dance to end the night.
Melissa had also planned to have a first slept with her father, which we did within the ballroom that has this gorgeous light coming in from those tall arched windows. It was a very sweet moment to capture when her father revealed to Melissa a childhood photo of her sewn into the back of his tie. Moving on from there, the ceremony site that Melissa and Andrew had was beautifully decorated by their super talented florist (BAUGhaus). It was simple and elegant, and it perfectly framed the couple on the terracotta steps during the ceremony. I feel like the cascading white roses and greenery down the steps at their feet were a unique arrangement, compared to the typical wedding arches. For those, sometimes the couple isn’t exactly centered in the middle of the arch, and there’s no good way to let them know without interrupting the ceremony, and you can’t really tell that they’re not centered under the arch unless you’re the person photographing the moment. So in Melissa and Andrew’s case, I find that the floral arrangement was able to have its moments on the wedding day because there was nothing of obscuring it.
After the celebratory moments of Melissa and Andrew finally becoming one, we continued the group photos of the bridal party, sitting together on a vintage velvet couch, which was rented out by Ocean Hawk Rentals, and continued photographing the rest of the group photos of their loved ones outside where the ceremony was. After I was done with that, I went into the reception space, held at the Fountain Courtyard in order to capture all the decor that was set up before people started flooding in. The cake was placed on top of a beautiful vintage cabinet, placed underneath the terra-cotta arch to the right of the sweetheart table. The florals had been recycled to sit by the sweetheart table, and having the hanging candles of their squared, wooden arch hanging above the couple provided for some insanely gorgeous photos.
When the reception finally started, and the sunlight started fading away, it created this incredibly moody, romantic ambience that every candlelit dinner enthusiast could die for. Then as the night continued and the dance floor opened up, everyone retreated back again in the ballroom. We finished off the night with a sparkler exit and a final last dance with just a couple. I find that having a last dance is definitely one of the best things a couple can plan into their timeline, because they’re ending the day with just the two of them in private. Being able to hold all the emotions that they had throughout the wedding day together as the day finally comes to a close and having that intimate moment with no one else around you is an in-the-moment type of feeling that can never be replicated. And it’s a moment that wedding couples look back on with deep sentiment.
Congratulations again, Melissa and Andrew! It’s an incredible honor to not just photograph your special day at a lovely venue, but also a personal honor, because it feels like I’m not just photographing any other couple’s wedding day. It feels like I am capturing two people that I’ve truly come to really care about on a day that means the most to them, and I will always remember this wedding day not just because of the day itself, but because of you two as a couple. I’ve only known you both for a short and brief moment, but I can feel and see just how perfectly you both are together. I love you two, and I will always remember this wedding day. Cheers!!
Photographer – Jasmine Yab Photography
Videographer – Steven Jim Films (FB: @stevenjimfilms, IG: @stevenjimfilms)
Venue – The Howey Mansion wedding venue (@thehoweymansion)
Planner – Deirdre Parks from Blush by Brandee Gaar (IG: @blushbbg)
Violinist – Chris Barbosa @chrisbarbosamusic
Florist – BAUGhaus (FB: @BAUGhausSHOP, IG: @baughausshop)
Hair – Golden Magnolia Studio (IG: @goldenmagnoliastudio)
Makeup – Dana Renee Make Up (IG: @danareneemakeup)
DJ – Sebastian Gomez from iRock Your Party (FB: @irockyourparty, IG: @irockyourparty)
Rental Company – Ocean Hawk Rentals (FB: @OceanHawksRentals, IG: @oceanhawksrentals)
Cake – Crema Cake Studio (IG: @cremacakestudio)
Catering – Arthur’s Catering (FB: @ArthursCateringandEvents IG: @arthurscatering)
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