What an interesting venue for a wedding… And what an interesting history for the wedding photographer.
Wedding at The Majestic Ventura Theater
The Ventura Theatre located at 26 S. Chestnut Street first opened in August of 1928 and was listed with the National Register of Historic Places on December 29, 1986 (Reference number 86003523) The Ventura Theater was San Buenaventura’s only luxurious movie theater during the “movie palace” era and was built by George Washington Smith 02/22/1876 ~ 03/16/1930… He was married to Mary Catherine Greenough he was also the architect of Lobero Theatre #2 in Santa Barbara, CA on 33 East Canon Perdido Street… Oddly I could find all this info, but even searching far and wide there are no historic images to be found of this place…
So here… I made one:
Kaci and Blair are what I would consider the quintessential cute couple and so obviously in love with each other. When I was booked for their wedding I actually (for the first time in a long time) became excited to shoot the event. The Ventura Theatre is one of the places here in my hometown that holds a lot of personal history for me. I mean… Wow… In 1980 I saw Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now from the balcony …, I’ve attended dozens of concerts at the theater, Social Distortion, X, Leon Redbone, The Ramones, Deborah Harry (Blondie) Tom Tom Club, The Meat Puppets… Even shot several bands here … Really…The place is one of the Icons of my misspent youth.
Aside from their chosen venue another interesting aspect of shooting this wedding was their day of wedding coordinator… I happen to be married to her. So because Jennifer (my wife) was attending the wedding rehearsal I did as well (as a photojournalist this is something I rarely do) and it afforded me the opportunity to snap a few shots like the one above. It was kind of strange to watch my wife work, she literally morphs into the Bridal Consultant / Wedding Planner roll, constantly negotiating behind the scenes in order to keep chaos at bay.
Photographing The Wedding
Shooting in this venue is actually an intense chore due to the high contrast and varied colors of the lighting… Much like shooting a Rock Concert, only not as loud. Because it was so dark overall, I shot the entire wedding ceremony and most of the reception with a 50mm f/1.4 lens… Hence I did a lot of running. Being this busy with working the camera I really don’t get to experience the wedding as it’s happening though I can tell you for sure that it was fun I can’t really say I was “having fun” but it is indeed a thrill hunting for the “impossible shots”… Or at the very least Highly improbable shots.
I told them to hold the kiss and they certainly held it… I kind of got to wondering if they were ever going to come up for air.
If I was pressed to characterize Kaci and Blair’s wedding I’d have to say it was a dance, I was told Blair chose all of the music that the DJ played and I must say the man has impeccable taste, though the music moved me I had to force myself into a rigid stance in order to reduce camera shake and concentrate on panning with the couple I could barely see.
Now this was something I’d never seen before, something special… So special in fact It’s changed my definition of sexy. I had a vague notion that I saw hula hoops while at the venue (It was too dark and I was too busy to see there were Hula Hoops all over the place). So Kaci steps to the dance floor and rocks the reception with a Hula Hoop.
Some “Wedding Classics”
And the Last Dance of the Evening…
The night didn’t begin or end here we did a lot of romantic editorial style shots of both Kaci and Blair separately and together… At the end we took a short walk on Ventura’s Main Street and shot a few more… Including a shot of Kaci Dancing on the bar in Winchesters. I’ve just begun the editing process for this wedding and I’m sure many of the images will end up in my regular wedding portfolio but I couldn’t wait to talk about it and share a few. The whole wedding was a raging success, Hitches, Mishaps and all… Congratulations to Kaci and Blair Ferguson – 3 July 2011.
Now someplace in here I have some shots of Blair where his face wasn’t pressed to Kaci but….