There is nothing about life that we enjoy more than traveling together and the adventure of new places; and there is nothing Koby and I would rather do than photograph the beauty of love in new places. Truly afflicted with a lifelong wanderlust, we structure everything in our business towards destination wedding photography. Koby has wanted to take me to Venice since we started dating back in high school… Italy is one of our favorite countries to visit! Not a week had passed after booking our tickets, that we decided to plan an elopement editorial shoot in Venice, and invited one of our favorite stylists, Valerie of Sapphire Events, to bring the shoot to life. While she worked on styling details, we focused on finding the perfect models – a real couple.
Jeni & Roberto came to us through one of the casting calls we had posted in various places online. What a beautiful relationship they have, and getting to know them through this shoot was magical.
We could not have predicted that out of 137 churches currently standing in Venice, we would scout and pre-pick the very one they were standing in front of when he first told her that he loved her! As we approached it about halfway through the shoot, Jeni turned to me and whispered, “How did you know?!” We didn’t, until that moment. You will see it in their eyes… this kind of love brings a magic that affects everyone around them. Read more about the shoot after the photos!
Venice is a labyrinth of alleys, bridges, and hidden tunnels between buildings. There are no cars in the city – only boats and your own feet to get you where you need to go. Koby and I arrived in Venice on a Friday; the same day as Valerie (who flew in with a wedding cake in cargo for the shoot!). We met for dinner and laid out our plan for prepping and scouting. Saturday began before sunrise, walking to the areas we thought we would want as our backdrops… and hunting for fresh flowers and a few other styling elements along the way. We split up to cover more ground. Each one texting the other when we found something we had been looking for.
By noon, after covering extensive ground, Valerie and I decided to take the train to Padova to shop an antique fair, while Koby stayed in Venice to map out the exact path of the shoot. Upon arriving at said fair, we quickly became aware that in a country as old as Italy, ‘antique’ means something entirely different than it does to us stateside people. Valerie and I walked through elegant displays holding ancient artifacts, while sales reps asked which museum we might be purchasing on behalf of. “Oh this is for a private collector.” was Valerie’s quick response while she held an exquisite golden fork from the Bronze Age. Totally honored to get to touch all the things museums keep behind the velvet ropes, we regrouped, made two purchases and headed out to catch the train back to Venice. We were still on the hunt for fresh greenery and had a tip for a florist that would be closing at 19:00.
We knew we were tight on time, and we were not exactly sure where the florist was located. From the train station, we took a water taxi around to San Marco Square, where Valerie and I rejoined Koby. We had one hour to find the florist shop. After a beeline to where we thought it was located, we began asking locals along the way – each person we asked pointed a different direction. The closer the clock ticked towards 19:00, the faster we walked, until finally, we were running full speed and asking everyone along the way in true ‘Amazing Race’ style. We found the shop at 19:09… just as the owner and his wife were locking the door. Facing a significant language barrier, and with much pantomime to accompany the word ‘matrimonio’ – the wife elbowed her husband to open the shop for us. Valerie made it worth his while by way overbuying on plants :). By the way, the florist was located just a few blocks from the train station… of course.
We enjoyed a celebratory dinner, and then back to the hotel to prep for the sunrise shoot. According to Valerie’s Fitbit, we walked (and ran) 23,230 steps that day, which included 32 flights of stairs – all together equaling 10.53 miles.
Whatever it takes. It’s that simple. Not ever willing to give up, but always willing to adapt without sacrificing the vision.
04:30 wake up call to begin makeup and hair. A magical shoot. An afternoon to soak it all in, then up at sunrise again to catch a flight back to Houston. We would do it again – absolutely – a thousand times over. And in a thousand different cities – we aren’t done yet!
Photography: Koby & Terilyn Brown, Archetype
Styling/Design: Valerie Gernhauser, Sapphire Events
Bespoke Red Gown: Joanne Fleming Design
Floral: Valerie Gernhauser, Sapphire Events
Scans: Richard Photo Lab
Makeup: Valerie Gernhauser
Ribbon/Table Runner: Silk & Willow
Hair: Terilyn Brown
Cake: Melissa’s Fine Pastries
Stationary: Laura Hooper Calligraphy
Shoes: Bella Belle Shoes
Models: Jeni Anton & Roberto Palanca
Location: Venice, Italy
Film: Kodak Portra 400