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Hotel Maya Long Beach Wedding | Jake & Alona

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I had been waiting for this Hotel Maya Wedding for over a year. The groom, Jake, is a good friend of mine and he was the best man at Sebastian and Jessica’s wedding a year before. At that time, there was no wedding planned, nor an engagement, but Jake and Alona told me they wanted me there whenever it happened. I can’t thank them enough for this wonderful opportunity to photograph their special day in Long Beach, California.

The day could not have been better. The weather was beautiful and there was not even a breeze of wind. The bridal suite at Hotel Maya had a balcony that overlooked the harbor. It was also directly over the ceremony site which really came in handy later!

The girls were all very stress-free. They helped one another get ready, they laughed and drank champagne which I spilled trying to open, and they all looked beautiful for the wedding.

The guys were ready to party from the very beginning and I couldn’t wait. This was a group of guys that I was very comfortable with. I know them all personally from riding bikes and traveling together for many years. The Groom and his Groomsmen were getting ready in a conference room at Hotel Maya and the first thing they said when they walked in was, “we should play beer pong on this table.” And they did. Jake came to me and said he wanted a shot of him writing his vows while the guys played beer pong. A dark room and two flashes later and I was able to get the above image. This was awesome for him and a big step personally for me in using specialty lighting to better tell a story.

The ceremony was beautiful looking out at the ocean. Jake’s good friend Dustin was the officiant and did a superb job. He received a few laughs with his timely use of “awesome” after the couple said, “I do.” That’s what it is though, they both take each other, and that’s awesome.

The wedding had amazing flowers and details by Lindsey at ‘Peace Love & Flowers’ and Chelsea at ‘Lilac Barn Events.’ Everything complimented the wedding so well.

It was so awesome that the Hotel Maya suite looked over this ceremony because my second shooter, Corie, was able to run up there and grab a couple wide shots. This is very rare to be able to shoot a ceremony from above so I wasn’t going to let that go to waste!

I don’t even know what to say about the wedding party. I just know that I love all these people; and I know that the lighting, along with the pastel colors, blew my mind.

Jake and Alona met in Kansas City one summer. He was from California, and she was from Ukraine. During times of long distance, he traveled there, she traveled here and eventually they moved in together in California. Fast forward to 2019 and they are a living fairytale. I mean just look at them. Jake looked great, and Alona was stunning. The dress, the bouquet, a beautiful hairpiece by SND Accessories, and the genuine happiness in her smile were the perfect recipe.

Alona’s father was unable to make it to Long Beach for the wedding, but she kept a photo of him attached to her bouquet, and this photo of it is one of my favorite detail shots to date.

Time for the reception! Once again I would like praise Lindsey and Chelsea for these details and shout out Rossmore Pastries for the incredible desserts.

Of course, I cannot forget to thank the coordinator Emily at Events by Emily. She was so helpful from weeks before the wedding all the way until the end. She is a pleasure to work with, and I hope I get the chance to work with her again soon.

Entering like champions and dancing on a cloud. Black and White for the win.

I jumped at the opportunity to take Jake and Alona out for photos as the sun was setting. I found a spot that I could position them in order to get the Queen Mary in the background. The Queen Mary is very important to their story. It was the first place the two of them stayed when Alona first visited California and was also the place that Jake proposed.

After some great food, a couple toasts and the cutting of the cake it was time to party. And man did they party! The dancing did not stop for hours; even I danced! I won’t lie though, I think the guys out-danced the girls. Especially the best man Noa, he was on fire! And yes, he’s the one on the floor below.

The DJ, Lil’ Ntertainment, was awesome. Kept the jams pumping, took requests, and was super helpful to me throughout. I highly recommend him!

Bridesmaid Clem got the bouquet, which is funny because Clem and Wesley met while performing in a show called All Wheel Sports. This is the same show that Jake was performing in when he met Alona. To top it off, I met my girlfriend of 3 years doing the same show as well! All 6 of us met doing the same show in different cities and each of us started our relationships living more than 2500 miles away. Interesting right?

Thank you so much to all the wonderful vendors who made this day possible. Thank you to my second shooter Corie, and thank you to Jake and Alona for allowing me to capture your special day! See you guys soon!

Vendors:

Photography- Nic Hilton Venue- Hotel Maya Long Beach Coordination: Events by Emily DJ- Lil’ Ntertainment Florals- Peace Love and Flowers Decorations- Lilac Barn Events Cake- Rossmoor Pastries Hairpiece- SND Accessories

ABOUT ME: Hi! My name is Nic Hilton. I am a destination wedding photographer based in Los Angeles. I shoot many weddings in the Mammoth Lakes area as well as Southern California but I am available to travel worldwide! Contact Me today because I would love to tell your story.