Located in Healdsburg, Northern Ca.
Documenting wedding days throughout wine country, the Bay Area and worldwide.


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Erica & Aaron // Cliff Estate Big Sur Wedding

March 25, 2020

Gretchen Gause Photography | San Francisco, Bodega, Sonoma County, Los Angeles Wedding Photographer #weddingphotographer #BigSurWeddingphotographer #Big SurWedding #sonomaweddingphotographer #sfweddingphotographer

Erica and Aaron were married on the most perfect Big Sur day ever. I mean, the wind was minimal (and if you know Big Sur, you know it can be insane), it was warm, clear and had the most gorgeous sunset ever… What else could you wish for?

What else could you wish for?… That’s a rhetorical question that sits in the space of gratitude. Sometimes it’s hard to straddle gratitude and the longing for someone to be there to witness your wedding day that can’t. Maybe that person is living too far away, or has had a life shift that prevents them from joining. Sometimes a person is ill or sometime a person isn’t living anymore. As a personal piece of my participation in anyone’s wedding day I take particular care with this aspect.

Joy and jubilance can sit right next to grief and longing. They can co-exist and it’s easy to sometimes think that one or the other has left the car when in reality it’s just right there in the backseat, still a passenger, still very present. Sometimes within a day I see joy and grief take turns driving and in those split second moments I’m courageously aware that my support, my silence, my setting down of the camera or picking it up to document is a split second and ever so delicate decision that matters. It really matters. I matter. The moment matters. Every person in the room matters just as much as why we’re all collected matters. It’s our humanity that brought us all together at and the end of the day it’s our humanity that will hug our goodnights knowing that the day was a journey with many different drivers on the road trip; Each of them loved.

Be well, hug your folks, call your friends. Say “I love you” often.

The brilliant team:

Venue: Cliff Estate

Planning: Seastar Catering

Catering: Seastar Catering

Bartending: Vanessa Share

MUA: Face Forward Bridal

DJ: Hanif Wondir

Rentals: Stardust Rentals

Shuttle: Barefoot Adam

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In my house I print everything. I have stacks of prints that have yet to make it into albums but to me, the organization isn't what's important, it's having the prints to spread out on the floor and talk about with my two children. We've been doing that since they were tiny and the stacks just grow and we share more about what they remind us of and laugh together and sometimes cry a little too.

My son Dorian is 16 and my daughter Hazel is 18 and when they were 3 & 5 their father, my husband Igor, died of suicide. I hesitate to share this with you all because it's kind of heavy but I want you to know where my value in photographs comes from. My prints, those ones that we spread out on the floor, are the stories that they have left and are what keeps my memory fresh. We get to see his happy grin, his dance folly and the hugs he gave his loved ones. There are no possessions I treasure more than those images and there is no gift greater for Hazel and Dorian.

As we print new photographs of our lives, our story unfolds before us. We can map our journey as a family now of three. We can see where the images that include him stop and where our smaller team began and we have hand held evidence of our joys and our adventures reminding us always of the meaning and humor, regardless of loss, in life. 
Wedding days are such precious crowns of tenderness and hope. They bring people together that might otherwise never see one another. They can build bridges and mend broken hearts. I want the experience for you, of spreading out your images, picking each up and being reminded of that moment's joy and the people you shared it with over and over again. 

I photograph weddings because when memories fade, as they eventually do, what you have left are the photographs; physical, celebratory and lasting evidence of what was a magnificent coming together. Wedding days are for laughter and promises and gathering and they are an example of all things good in the world. If that's not worth documenting with full heart I don't know what is.

I'm eager to learn about you, your journey here & your wedding day dreams.


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