I have had the privilege to capture so many moments in Jessica and Layshia’s lives, from their engagement to their wedding and Jessica’s maternity photos. Now that Baby Clarendon has arrived, I am looking forward to photographing their little family of three as soon as it is safe to do so. While I excitedly wait for that time to come, it seemed like the perfect time to reminisce on this amazing couple’s wedding day.
Jessica and Layshia met at the University of California, Berkeley, so when it came time to exchange vows in November of 2017, they returned to Berkeley. They started the day together, having their hair and makeup tended to and sipping mimosas with their bridal parties. Once it came time to don their wedding apparel, Jessica and Layshia went their separate ways to get ready for their first look. Jessica wore a timeless a-line gown with a satin spaghetti-strap bodice and flowing tulle skirt. She accented the dress with a champagne-colored satin belt at her waist and topped her bodice with a cap sleeve lace overlay. Layshia wore a crisp white button-down and tailored grey suit with slim leg trousers featuring a higher pant break to show off her tobacco-colored leather brogue oxfords. Layshia’s completed her outfit with a beautiful floral tie by Dazi.
When it was time for their first look, Jessica and Layshia made their way to campus. It was so sweet to capture Jessica and Layshia walking up either side of UC Berkeley’s South Hall steps to share a kiss and some laughs before their ceremony. Jessica and Layshia both held lush bouquets of white blooms and greenery for their photos on campus. After their first look, we finished our time on campus shooting their wedding party and family photos in front of UC Berkeley’s library.
I have been to and worked at many weddings. Still, to this day, Jessica and Layshia’s ceremony stands out in my memory for its authenticity and the emotion it evoked for everyone present. The ceremony took place a little before sunset on the patio at the Shattuck Hotel. The space was decorated with abundant greenery and votive candles. Jessica and Layshia wanted their ceremony to be intimate, so they arranged the ceremony seating in a circle. They stood in the center of the ring, surrounded by their closest family and friends while they wed. Jessica and Layshia exchanged touching personal vows that were incredibly intentional. Their ceremony was a powerful and moving moment to witness. I, along with the rest of their guests, was tearing up the whole time.
Once their vows were exchanged and Jessica and Layshia’s union was sealed with a kiss, Jessica shed her lace overlay top, and Layshia traded her suit jacket for suspenders and rolled up her sleeves; It was time to celebrate. The cocktail hour and dinner were joyful affairs, and the dance party that followed was, in a word, epic.
I absolutely loved being at this wedding.
Jessica and Layshia are the types of people that create joy wherever they go, not just on the dance floor. They are just good people. Layshia is a professional basketball player in the WNBA and uses her platform to raise awareness and speak on marginalized communities’ issues. They are social advocates who fight for the inclusion of LGBTQ+ folx. In place of wedding favors, Jessica and Layshia made charitable donations in their guest’s honor. Like I said, good people. Getting to be part of the big moments in Jessica and Layshia’s lives has been such an honor, and I cannot wait to capture more of their family’s journey.