Joy Marie Photography | Destination Wedding Photographers » Photography by Joy Marie

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  • Joy Marie Smallwood is a celebrity & destination wedding photographer who splits her time between Los Angeles, California and Nashville, Tennessee. Turning life’s moments into works of art is second nature to Joy Marie. Whether it’s a bashful glance or a passionate embrace, a time of reverence or a heartfelt celebration, Joy Marie captures the beauty that is inherent in everything she photographs. Working with only twenty clients each year, Joy Marie maintains a boutique approach to her work, allowing her to build trusted, collaborative relationships with her clients. With a natural ability to blend fine art, photojournalism and fashion, Joy Marie is a distinct, award-winning photographer whose work has been published in People, US Weekly, Hello!, and several other bridal & lifestyle publications worldwide. When not shooting, Joy Marie enjoys traveling & spending time with her husband, David, and their three sons Elon, Jaden & Micah.

I had the complete and total honor of shooting Tanya and Arvin’s wedding at Bacara Resort in Santa Barbara, California. With dramatic cliffs, beautiful ocean views complete with haze and fog that made the day dreamy, this ceremony was truly gorgeous. The bride and groom are so drop dead gorgeous, you might wonder if we just pulled some models in off the street.  But they’re real, their love is real, and they are just as beautiful inside as they are out!  I had an instant connection with these two and all day could really feel  how much they love each other!  Here’s a little peek into their magical day…

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Onto all the beautiful wedding details, the prep, they had the dream team of vendors (see below) that made their vision for this day a beautiful reality!  Tanya wanted simplicity with a touch of grandness, and got just that! She chose creams, whites, and greenery for florals. At the reception, the two wooden long tables running on each side of the dance floor were covered by a lace runner and had a line of gorgeous, tall, crystal candelabras that gave the room so much romance and grandness.  The cake was inspired by her Vera Wang dress which like the dress was spectacular! We loved the champagne glasses as escort cards and all the other fun little details.

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A big thanks to an incredible team of vendors, only a few of which are listed here:  Venue:  Bacara Resort and Spa, California.  Dress: Vera Wang. Shoes: Gucci. Hair: Minoo Bahri. Makeup: Jorge Monro.y Cake Designer: Rafi’s Pastry. Videographer: White Rose Productions. Invitations and Paper Styling: Creative Works Designs

A huge thank you to: Sofreh Design by: Pretty Please Design.

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To say that I feel  incredibly honored to be able to travel the world to  photograph weddings is such an understatement.  It is so inspiring to be surrounded by such beautiful diverse backdrops and different cultures…it’s what really gets me excited and passionate about wedding photography.  I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Bali, Indonesia (yes…BALI!)  to capture the spectacular details and pure love of Maiko + Arthur. It was a wedding so rich in culture, so thick in family tradition, and so many beautiful details. This spectacular two day event was filled with personal and unique touches.  This was actually Maiko and Arthur’s second wedding celebration. You might remember their first wedding for their American friends and family at Kunde Winery in Sonoma, CA! I just adore these two and loved being a part of both of their beyond spectacular weddings. Maiko’s family lives in Indonesia and actually own this beautiful property, The Ayana Resort and Spa. If you happen to be looking for a destination wedding location, there is something truly magical about this property and this enchanting island Bali…one of my top all time favorite places in the world!

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A two day event, the first night was at the Rock Bar….a restaurant literally carved into a rock…what a stunning view! There’s just nothing like it. The reception itself took place at the AYANA Resort and Spa. It holds a special place to Maiko because she was involved in the rebranding of the hotel (from the Ritz Carlton in 2009.) She always wanted to hold her wedding in Bali, surrounded by the special friends she worked with. The incredible entrance included 50+ Balinese dancers performing a traditional dance and street performers. The exit included a circus. Yes, a circus!  In the design of the wedding, they used gold, light pink and ivory. There were many natural tresses at the venue, so they hung chandeliers from the trees to help create the mood. Each guests name was printed on the laser cut butterfly, so it looked like there were 400 butterflies flying around the reception. While I could go on forever, I will just let you peek at a few of my favorites…impossible to get these all in one post!

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When I met Christina and James I knew instantly that they were going to be fun to photograph. Super smart (they met while interviewing for Neurosurgery residency programs at Georgetown!l) , but so witty, funny, and laid back — their “first look” photo says it all. They never took this whole wedding planning process too seriously!  Christina stayed calm, cool and collected the day of her wedding and she looked absolutely stunning while taking it all in with the love of her life and her incredible family and friends from all over the world.  Their love was easy to capture — it’s clear their connection is SO strong and SO special!

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They were married in the backyard of a one of their closest family friends’ home — also the site of where her grandparents held their 50th anniversary party.  They wanted an informal, backyard style wedding, and had one of friends perform the wedding vows and other talented friends provide acapella music and beat boxing…yes and it was amazing!  Their family friends generously planted thousands of flower bulbs in their wedding color scheme, whitewashed their beautiful farm style home, and redesigned their home to make it just perfect for their wedding.  Their wedding planner designed a wedding that was informal, whimsical, lighthearted, and integrated into the beauty of the home and gardens that Christina and her family truly loved.  It’s full of burlap and lace details that are just so…pretty.  Just a peek of all the beautiful details…

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To fit the rustic nature of the grounds, they chose wooden farmhouse benches and chairs for the wedding ceremony, wanting simple baby’s breath for decor and letting the surrounding beauty set the tone for the ceremony.

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For the reception, Christina and James chose a sugarplum fair tent in order to let guests enjoy the sunset, the stars as they came out and the twinkling lights on the pond behind the reception area. I loved the little, fun carnival type details and informality the Photo Booth, fire pit, outdoor chaise lounges along the pond, humorous advice cards, a scrapbook station, a Hawaiian shave ice truck, dozens of Hawaiian Haupia cakes, a dessert buffet.  With one of the best bands I’ve heard, the entire crowd was dancing into the night!

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This one was truly FUN to be a part of and I am so happy for this amazing couple!

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I had the complete and total honor of shooting Kelly + Adam’s wedding at California Club a short while back and there are so many details and personal touches I wanted to share with you.  After getting to know both amazing families and hearing about a horrific accident that almost took Kelly’s Dad’s life, this was a wedding that shook me to my core.  This year has really reminded me…life is so precious! Weddings are all about family — family is what is truly important — and this wedding was no exception.  Adams’ identical twin brother was deployed just days before the wedding, so you’ll see how he “took part” in the ceremony and reception through Skype and also “appeared” in formal photos with a life-sized cardboard cut out.  So hard not to have your close family present but this group had such a positive spirit and found away to keep him close.

Kelly and Adam wanted a formal, classic and elegant reception and they sure got it!  It was warm and inviting and the guests had an incredible time! Kelly’s adorable Mom made her fabulous banana walnut blueberry bread for EACH guest. They were packaged so beautifully and placed on the table.  Kelly’s Lazaro dress was stunning…straight out of the pages of Vogue.   Note the old Cadillac, which Adam’s parents also got married in and was restored by his Dad!  All of the personal touches made this wedding SO personal and SO incredibly special.  Here’s a look back on some of my favorite shots and a peek at the details.

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Pour over all the beautiful details here!

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The reception was SO, SO classy! From the gold chavari chairs to the dramatic ballroom of California club — it was pure style and class.  All the details were exactly how Kelly wanted them (and the ice sculptures that Adam really wanted!)

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Such a celebration of love and family for Kelly and Adam!

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After a very sad and emotional weekend, I’m headed back to LA from spending time in Washington this weekend celebrating the life of my cousin, Mari. Mari Lynn McKinstry Lazur passed away on August 28, 2014 after a courageous battle with brain cancer. After seven surgeries, three chemotherapy agents and two clinical trials, her fight ended. She passed away peacefully in the arms of her beloved husband Nathan with her mother close by.

She was 31.

Mari was charismatic and lived in the moment. She had been a star athlete and personal trainer who would push herself and those around her to be their best. She loved laughing in the sunshine and the smell of the ocean. Four months ago she married the love of her life in her dream wedding in St. John. Along with her mother, Nathan took care of her until the very end. These two share a love that many won’t find in their entire lifetime. Here’s their wedding slideshow.

RIP my beautiful cousin…I know you are dancing in heaven with your dad!

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