Billy is a talented musician whose band Gravy’s Drop played at our rock’n’roll wedding several years ago. Imagine our delight when he and his lovely fiancée Valerie asked us to photograph their own rock’n’roll wedding later this year!
An Arizona native, Valerie really wanted a desert landscape for their engagement session. In the East Bay? No problem! We knew just the spot: the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden. With its diverse collection of plant life from practically every continent, it has a truly spectacular array of cacti and succulents—some so tall and thorny that we winced at the mere thought of accidentally colliding with them or, worse yet, them falling on us. Happily, we explored the grounds unpunctured and were even spared the garden’s usual onslaught of desertlike sun by a thick layer of clouds, which broke just enough for a clear view of San Francisco and the bay.
Afterward, we headed across town with our stylish couple for drinks at the Starline Social Club, a multiuse space in Oakland that boasts a bar/restaurant downstairs and a ballroom/performance space upstairs. It’s also where Valerie and Billy will be getting married! With its long wooden bar and stools, leather booths, and assortment of cacti and succulents, it has a vintage Western vibe that was a great complement to our day. It was also the perfect place for Valerie to show off her fabulous Elvis-inspired cape, featuring an intricately embroidered peacock. What a find!