Our Favorite Weddings of 2021


Every December at APW we like to wrap up the year by rounding up some of the most epic, heartfelt, and delightful weddings we and our vendors had seen all year, in all the shapes and sizes they come in. And, well, it goes without saying that lately, weddings are coming in more shapes and sizes than ever before.

And we are so here for that. We’ve spent a decade preaching that staying true to yourself and celebrating your love with your community (in whatever form that takes) is what matters most. And if there’s one thing the last two years have shown us it’s that when a pandemic blows through and strips everything else away—or mixes it up real good—those two things really are what you are left with.

And that isn’t to say that you can’t have them AND a stunning wedding—quite the opposite. Looking through these photos and hearing the stories behind them, I was blown away by the sheer gorgeousness and epicness that folks pulled off while simultaneously jumping through all the pandemic hoops the planning process threw at them.

And then really should come as no surprise, because that’s what APW couples have long been known for. As longtime APW sponsor Jessica Goldblatt of Dreams on a Dime Events & Weddings says: “Anytime we have a couple come to us through APW, we know from the start what kind of couple they are. They approach their event as a celebration, an opportunity to share a special moment with those closest to them. It’s a chance to get together to enjoy each other’s company, to share the joy the couple feels themselves. They make it a point to have the day really reflect their personalities, even if that means throwing some wedding traditions out the window.”

So without further ado, let’s get into it. Here are some of the most amazing weddings of 2021 brought to you by some of our favorite APW wedding vendors:

WHO: Linzy & Jeffrey | WHERE: LOS ANGELES, CA | PLANNER: Anything But Gray Events [INSTAGRAM] | PHOTOGRAPHY: White Rabbit Photo Boutique

Linzy and Jeff, both teachers, are probably the kindest couple I have ever worked with. Their original wedding was set to be at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel in June 2021. It was going to be a proposal turned surprise wedding with a much larger guest count. Then comes COVID-19 and plans changed dramatically.

Once they knew the wedding was unable to happen on their date and location (because Disney was so longer able to host events at that time), they scrambled to find a way to still have our wedding within our desired month. They hired me and together, along with a rockstar vendor team, managed to plan their wedding in 3 months taking their original, reconfiguring it, but still incorporating Disney magic in all aspects of their special day! There were touches of hidden DL magic, sayings, and references to the famous mouse throughout the entire design. Oh, and did I mention, during the time they actually got engaged during a trip at Disneyland, kept it a secret from their families and duped them into thinking this was an engagement dinner for 30 family members when it really became their surprise wedding day?! Yay, that happened! I have to admit, during their ceremony after the BIG surprise, listening to their vows, I stood in the back of the garden at Redbird, in the middle of DTLA, and cried. I cried so many happy tears because, after such a long year of heartache, and change, and stressors for these two wonderful humans (and the world), they were finally able to have their special moment with the handful of people that meant the most to them in the world. It wasn’t the way they planned it originally, but what in life really it? They embraced the moment and their love and that is what it is all about! It was my first event back as a wedding planner since the pandemic began and it was exactly what I needed to remind me that magic really can happen as long as you believe and a dream is really a wish your heart makes!

WHO: Tara + Cameron | WHERE: YUCCA VALLEY, CA | PHOTOGRAPHy/planning/HAIR + MUA/DESIGN + COORDINATION: BAY AREA-BASED LOVE + WOLVES CO. [INSTAGRAM]

These two made plan after plan that kept getting rejected by the universe, so they finally decided to take matters into their own hands and elope in the high desert with just family (and a vintage Mercedes for the win!)

This was such a labor of love for us at LOVE + WOLVES CO, who helped pick the venue as well as source the car, photo, hair + makeup, styling + design AND coordination.

WHO: CINDY + JEFF | WHERE: Atlanta, GA | PHOTOGRAPHy: RAVEN SHUTLEY STUDIOS [INSTAGRAM]

Cindy & Jeff’s love story enchanted me immediately. It was the most 2020 story I’d ever heard, or likely will ever hear, and I REALLY need someone to make a movie out of it! Cindy was looking for a roommate to move in, Jeff was looking to move in somewhere. They met up to see if they’d be a good fit and it was instant fireworks. Jeff moved in after the initial meeting where they realized they’d make great roommates, and only a few short months later they found themselves quarantining at home together. Their feelings grew stronger and stronger until finally they admitted those feelings and the two became a couple. One year later, in front of an audience of some of their closest friends and family at a lakeside home, they married!

When Cindy and Jeff were each ready, I stole them away for a first look underneath the house’s porch, and then we went exploring. This house had so many amazing spots, like the boatdock with the stunning view of the sky, lake, and mountains and the incredibly cute and cozy little a-frame room on the top floor.

Their ceremony was officiated by a friend of the couple, and the three of them stood at the bottom of the porch while the guests stood at the top. It was kind of a reversal of what you often see at weddings and it worked perfectly! Everyone had a fantastic view from the upper porch but the couple still had a sense of being in a world all their own together. {Plus Max!}

Afterwards came some really chill time while everyone hugged and congratulated the couple, and then eventually came the low boil on the back porch. I love a low boil, it’s such a fantastic and simple meal for a wedding! After everyone had toasted and eaten their fill, we closed the night by releasing memorial lanterns off the boat dock. It was a beautiful and touching ceremony, the perfect way to honor those who are no longer with us.

I’ve been a gleeful member of this community for almost as long as I’ve been a photographer, and my love for it grows stronger every year! Some of my absolute favorite couples have found me via APW and I ALWAYS know we’re going to have a rad time when a couple says they found me here.

WHO: KELLY + WAYNE | WHERE: LOS ANGELES, CA | PHOTOGRAPHy: THE HENDRYS [INSTAGRAM]

Where do we even start with Kelly and Wayne? For starters, they were just downright FUN, chill, hilarious, stunning, lively, interesting, witty, cool AF, and all the other nice adjectives. Like so many other couples, these two had to reschedule their wedding…get this…three times! And we could tell every time they emailed us letting us know these plans that their spirits were completely dampened. This is why when it came to finally having their wedding, they made it the best day they possibly could ever imagine in their very wildest dreams. You could just feel the excitement dripping off of them, and these vibes immediately transferred over to us and we were totally hooked on the day. Capturing folks hanging together who hadn’t been in each other’s presence for so long; excitedly chatting away, laughing, boogying, boozing, hugging, was electric. We didn’t want to leave!!! So, in all, a very magical day that we will never forget <3 (Kelly and Wayne: please hit us up if you wanna do these shenanigans again – you know where to find us!)

WHO: Elizabeth & Jeremiah | WHERE: SEATTLE, WA | PHOTOGRAPHy: JONAS SEAMAN [INSTAGRAM]

Elizabeth and Jeremiah have an infectious energy that you can’t help but fall in love with. They are both a bit nerdy, a bit gorgeous, and a whole lot of soulful. When their wedding day finally came, after being cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic, they let loose… safely… but ecstatically. A sign was put up that declared the days motto, “We waited an extra year for this. Party accordingly.”

WHO: Medelise + Fred | WHERE: RHODE ISLAND | PHOTOGRAPHy: BOSTON-BASED LENSY MICHELLE [INSTAGRAM]

Fred and Medelise’s grandkids call them “Fredelise.” – and I think that is perhaps the most precious thing I’ve ever heard EVER. “Fredelise” met at a singles surf meetup. So it was only fitting that on the morning of their wedding, M+F hit the beach for a surf-themed couples session. (You can find a timeline of my top photos from their day on my IG story highlights under “M+F.”) – I’m a huge fan of wedding photos that happen outside of the timeline of the actual wedding, because then there’s no need to step away from your party!

But this totally rad day didn’t stop here. Not even close! For their intimate backyard wedding ceremony at their home in the surf town of Matunuk, Rhode Island, (again, SO FITTING!) the couple’s grandkids were the flower girls and ring bearers and Medelise’s son walked her down the aisle. M+F even turned their live-in camper van into a photo booth!

This wedding was truly a manifestation of M+F through and through and I think that’s one of the truest marks of a APW couple: when the couple does what they want and what feels right to them above what anyone else thinks a wedding day might look like.

In the words of both me, and the bride – “Keep it quirky!”

WHO: ERIN + PETER | WHERE: Benton Harbor, MI | VENUE: Stonegate Manor & Gardens | PHOTOGRAPHy: Nicole Bates Photography

Erin and Peter actually had their wedding ceremony during last year’s pandemic. This year they had their party! The couple opted to entertain their guests outdoors under a new tent. They wanted their family and friends to still feel safe without compromising on comfort. The entire day was exactly what Erin and Peter had originally hoped for. Surrounded by their extended family and friends who could party with them late into the evening. We couldn’t have been happier to share in their joy and feel so elated to finally celebrate! We love hearing our couples feel safe and stress-free at our venue! It’s the APW vibe we stand by!

WHO: SAM + DANIELA | WHERE: NEW YORK, NY | PHOTOGRAPHy: DE NUEVA PHOTOGRAPHY [INSTAGRAM]

Sam and Daniela got married at sunset at Brooklyn Bridge Park overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge and the downtown Manhattan skyline. They have been together 10 years and knew it was time to make it official with their friends and family. Their wedding was full of joy and community and their faces were lit up with smiles the entire evening. After exchanging vows on the waterfront they headed to a cozy local restaurant for toasts and dinner with a Spanish guitarist providing entertainment for everyone.

WHO: MICHELLE + ENZO | WHERE: ASHEVILLE, NC | DRESS: SEATTLE, WA-BASED WAI-CHING STUDIO [INSTAGRAM] | PHOTOGRAPHy: MAY ISOSOTALUNO

Michelle and Enzo’s wedding was supposed to take place in 2020, but like so many others, got pushed into 2021. The bride and all her bridesmaids were nurses, and were going through so much with the pandemic, but stayed really positive and had a great energy… real heroes! They got married in Asheville NC, which was the perfect location for Michelle’s awesome custom gown!

WHO: KATIE + GLENN | WHERE: HOBOKEN, NJ | PHOTOGRAPHy: STUDIO A IMAGES [INSTAGRAM]

My first wedding of 2021 and it was a beautiful intimate Hoboken wedding. A winter wedding with snow still on the ground and it was cold with a chilling wind. Yet Katie + Glenn braved the elements for outdoor portraits along the Hoboken waterfront. Glenn’s parents and brother live in Australia and while they couldn’t be there in person, were still able to watch and participate thanks to the wonders of technology. With a chance meeting at a hotel bar thanks to a delayed flight and a wedding during a pandemic, Katie + Glenn have quite the story to tell about their romance and I’m so happy I was able to capture a part of it.

WHO: REBECCA + DENNIS | WHERE: SAN FRANCISCO, CA | PLANNER: DREAMS ON A DIME [INSTAGRAM] | PHOTOGRAPHY: Olivia Smartt Photography [INSTAGRAM]

Maneuvering your wedding during a pandemic. I’m sure that’s not anything Rebecca and Dennis had on their radar when they first starting planning their wedding in January 2020. But, maneuvering a pandemic was exactly what they had to do. While it sometimes seemed daunting, the couple handled the ever-changing pandemic guidelines with grace and a cool head. They were one of the lucky couples who only had to change their wedding date once but, with so many guests traveling from all over the country, trying to get a handle on how many people were coming, how things like masks and vaccines were going to be addressed, and having to adjust some of their original plans to roll with the pandemic punches made this couple a dream to work with. Fortunately, the couple was able to keep with their original venues and had a thoroughly entertaining ceremony at San Francisco City Hall followed by authentic Mexican fare at a new outdoor space in Oakland. Guests were thrilled to finally be able to get together, socialize, eat good food, and dance until late in the night. What made this couple special for us was their understanding that a pandemic wedding wasn’t like your normal pre-pandemic event. But, they didn’t let any of that damper the event and had smiles on their faces the entire day.

We’re so grateful to have been part of wedding planning for so many of you IN YET ANOTHER STRANGE AND STRESSFUL year. We’re also SO grateful that we’re able to keep connecting amazing vendors with amazing humans getting married. Doing that keeps so many small wedding businesses up and running—even IN the MIDDLE OF A PANDEMIC. Check out our Vendor Directory for more vendors like THESE. In gratitude for all of you.

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