Love Across Continents: Rachel & Ben's Joyous Wedding Adventure

Join us on an unforgettable journey as we celebrate the love story of Rachel and Ben, a tale that spans continents and overcomes every obstacle in its path. From chance encounters in Michigan to romantic proposals among the redwood trees of California, theirs is a love that knows no bounds.

Rachel and Ben's love story blossomed amidst the whirlwind of a rotational program. They embarked on a journey of discovery, both professionally and personally. From their first official date in Nashville, TN to weekends spent exploring Jacksonville, FL, their bond only grew stronger with each passing day. Despite the challenges of long-distance and a global pandemic, their love endured, culminating in a heartfelt proposal among the towering redwoods of Henry Cowell State Park.

palm tree viewed from sidewalk
cathedral towers viewed from signia hotel in San Jose, california
airplane getting ready to land reflected in San Jose, California building at sunset


The anticipation built as Rachel and her closest friends and family gathered at Signia by Hilton San Jose, while Ben and his friends prepared in another room. As the excitement grew, I captured precious moments from both sides, from the collected anticipation of the groom to the laughter and camaraderie of the bridal party. The entire time everyone was calm, collected, and present. It was beautiful to watch unfold of my eyes.

A VERY Special "First Look"

Before the hustle and bustle of the day's events began, Rachel shared a heartfelt "first look" moment with her two brothers, father, and grandfather. Gathered on a quiet rooftop balcony, emotions ran high as they beheld Rachel in her stunning bridal attire for the first time. Tears of joy flowed freely, accompanied by loving embraces and words of encouragement. I absolutely LOVED watching Rachel's bridal party peaking out the door enjoying it all. It was a deeply meaningful moment, filled with love and gratitude. This intimate exchange set the tone for the day, reminding Rachel of the unwavering support and love that surrounded her as she embarked on this new chapter of her life.

signia hotel by Hilton entrance in San Jose, california
wedding rings atop glass table
wedding shoes stylized photograph next to dress
wedding veil detail shot sitting on bed
wedding dress details up close
wedding dress hung in front of hotel window
bride smiles reading notes from friends while getting ready
bride's hand pointing at details in special notebook
bride smiles looking at notes written by friends before wedding
bride and friends smile while getting ready for wedding
mom softly smiles while looking at her daughter getting ready for wedding
mother buttons up wedding dress for her daughter
detailed photograph of wedding dress flowing about
mother of bride smiles while spreading out wedding dress for daughter
bridal party smiles peaking around corner at bride
bride softly smiles for camera while wearing wedding dress
bride's family is shocked and happy during first look
bridal party smiles peaking around corner during first look
bride is lovingly embraced by her family
bride shows grandfather detail about wedding bouquet
groom standing in front of hotel window
broom blowdrying hair getting ready for wedding
groom puts on wedding coat
groom buttons up wedding coat
groom poses for photograph while looking out window
groomsmen joke around with groom in hotel room
groomsmen walk down hallway of signia hotel by Hilton in San Jose, California

Fun Photos Around San Jose

After the guys were ready, we enjoyed a stroll around the town photographing. I also took some special time to photograph Ben's mom seeing him for the first time. It was time to turn my attention back to Rachel and her friends as we strolled around San Jose taking fun photographs together. One of the highlights was that the city of San Jose was hosting a Veterans Day parade that ran right in front of the hotel... we quickly hopped in the parade and had a blast with the ladies waving to the crowd and smiling from ear-to-ear. It was such a blast capturing creative shots with all of them.

Groom smiles while wedding boutonniere is pinned to his coat
groom and his friends smile and laugh while walking around San Jose, California
groomsmen pose for photograph in front of textured wall
groom and friend joke around before wedding
groomsmen pose in walkway surrounded by trees
groomsmen and groom joke around before wedding
father of groom jokingly chokes him all in fun
mother of groom turns around to see son for first time before his wedding
mother of groom kisses her son on his cheek
bride and her bridesmaids pose in the middle of a San Jose, California street
bridesmaids and bride smile while holding flowers
mother of bride and bride bump hips
mother of bride and daughter lovingly embrace
bride smiles while veil blows in the wind
bride and bridesmaids walk in Veterans Day Parade in San Jose, California
bride and friends joke around and dance before wedding
bride and bridesmaids pose on a walkway surrounded by trees
Stylized photograph of bridesmaids and bride smiling

Ceremony at Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph provided a majestic backdrop for Rachel and Ben's traditional Catholic ceremony. With its soaring arches and ornate details, the venue exuded timeless elegance, setting the stage for heartfelt moments of love and commitment. Surrounded by family and friends, Rachel and Ben exchanged vows, their love shining bright amidst the grandeur of this sacred space.

Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph front entrance in San Jose, California
iron gate detail in front of cathedral
Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph tower from street level
bride and father walk down aisle during wedding at Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph
groom and father of bride hug each other during wedding ceremony
wedding at Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph
bride and groom smile at wedding guests in church
detailed photograph of bride and groom holding hands
bride's family during wedding at Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph
bride and groom kiss to celebrate the union of their marriage
bride and groom kiss while walking down wedding aisle
family portrait at Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph after wedding

INTIMATE Portrait Session

Upon arrival at Saratoga Springs Events and Weddings, Rachel and Ben were greeted with cheers and applause from their eagerly awaiting guests. Before joining the festivities, the newlyweds took a moment to steal away for a private portrait session, capturing the magic of their love amidst the stunning backdrop of the venue's picturesque forest. As they strolled and smiled, their joy radiated, creating timeless memories that I feel so blessed to have captured and know they'll be able to cherish for a lifetime.

bride and groom kiss in front of wedding mirror
Saratoga Springs woods tower over bride and groom standing on bridge
bride and groom sale as they touch head-to-head in the woods
bride softly smiles while being kissed by groom on cheek
groom dip-kisses bride on bridge in woods at Saratoga Springs
bride and groom kiss in the woods at Saratoga Springs
bride softly smiles while leaning her head onto groom's chest
bride grabs groom by necktie and brings him in for a kiss
bride and groom hold wedding rings up into the air above their heads
groom softly kisses bride on forehead
bride and groom are close to a kiss while they smile under bridal veil
bride and groom kiss under bridal veil
wedding floral bouquet styled photo
details of wedding floral bouquet
bride and groom celebrate standing on wooden bridge over water

Reception at Saratoga Springs Events and Weddings

With the portrait session complete, Rachel and Ben joined their guests for an evening of celebration! From heartfelt speeches that caused ear-to-ear smiles and laughter-inducing toasts, every moment was filled with love and laughter. The air was filled with the aroma of delicious catering by Mendocino Farms, and the dance floor beckoned with irresistible rhythms courtesy of Linh Ngo from SF Deejays. As the night progressed, the atmosphere grew more electric, with guests dancing and reveling in the joyous occasion. From the first dance to the final farewell, Rachel and Ben's reception was a night to remember, a celebration of their love surrounded by cherished family and friends.

wedding reception table arrangement details
champaign tower on display at wedding at Saratoga Springs
champaign glasses detailed photograph
bride laughs and smiles while being kissed on cheek by husband
wedding party jokes around for a group photo
groomsmen and bridesmaids hold groom and bride in arms for kiss
groomsmen toss groom into air
groom and bridesmaids pose for photograph
bride and groomsmen pose for stylized photograph
bride laughs on husband's shoulder during speeches
bride and groom kiss in front of wedding guests at reception
bride and groom enjoy dinner with their guests at wedding reception
bride and groom enjoy first dance together
groom dip-kisses bride during first dance
bride and her father enjoy their dance at wedding
wedding guests party during Saratoga Springs wedding reception
groomsmen drinks beer during wedding reception at Saratoga Springs
husband and wife enjoy their first dance in front of wedding guests
wedding guests party while enjoying music at reception
bride and groom enjoy a moment with a wedding guest during reception party
DJ plays music for wedding guests at Saratoga Springs
wedding guest strikes a pose on the dance floor during reception
bride hugs her two brothers after wedding
wedding party surrounds photographer for a fun photograph


As the night drew to a close, I reflected on the incredible journey of Rachel and Ben's wedding day. From the emotional moments shared with family to the joyous celebration with friends, it was an honor to capture every smile, tear, and embrace. Their love story served as a reminder that love knows no bounds and that true love will always find its way.

little piece of wood with carved details about wedding bride and groom set atop a log

Vendor Links


Signia by Hilton, San Jose

ADDRESS: 170 S Market St, San Jose, California, 95113, USA



Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph

ADDRESS: 80 S Market St, San Jose, CA 95113



Saratoga Springs Events and Weddings


Instagram: @saratogaspringsweddings

Dress Shop:

The Wedding Shoppe

Instagram: @weddingshoppemi


Beauty by Thao

Instagram: @beauty_by_thao


Laura Coleman

Instagram: @lauracoleman_12


Mendocino Farms

Instagram: @mendocinofarms


Gal in the Glen

Instagram: @galintheglen


Linh Ngo, SF Deejays

Instagram: @djlinhngo