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  • Sara James

Updated: Sep 22, 2022

Let me preface this with I am NOT a morning person, but I am a hardcore sunrise person. Makes sense, right? :)

So when Ayeh first reached out to me on Instagram and said she and Darren wanted to elope at Griffith Park at 8 am, to avoid the crowds, I was all for it. And after going back and forth and checking when the sun would rise, we ended up meeting even earlier than planned, to really make sure we avoided the crowds and to also get that beautiful sunrise light.

So yes I will wake up for any kind of sunrise shoot you have in mind because avoiding the crowds and getting that early morning light and fresher air is so worth it. I will admit it was quite nippy at 6 am, but Ayeh was a trooper. And Darren made sure to keep her warm with kisses and hugs and so much love during all the pictures.

I also loved that they drove together in their wedding attire. I remember Ayeh saying to me “I don’t believe in this whole bad luck thing” and I loved that about these two. They did their own thing, they didn’t care for an entrance.They were just SO EXCITED to say I DO and start their journey as husband and wife and hopefully you can feel that emotion through their photos.

Conclusion: when you elope, your day is really about you. No feeling guilty for making other people wake up early, no stressing about guest's arrival or anyone running late. No having to follow any rules. Just saying I do to your forever partner.

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  • Sara James

Updated: Sep 22, 2022

When I flew to South Dakota for Rona and Jose’s elopement, these two basically became instant friends. We got some bagels after I landed and basically drove around all afternoon all around SpearFish Canyon, chatting about how much we loved nature and travel.

These two first met in high school. They were just friends. But if you ask Jose, his version is that Rona secretly was in love with him then and was waiting for her turn to be his girlfriend.

The reality (sorry Jose) was that Rona had grown up not being allowed to date and the older she got, the more she realized she wanted to just have just one boyfriend and that he would be the one.

Jose knew that, so he made sure to stay in the friend zone, “on purpose” and slowly waited for their friendship to evolve as a love story and let me tell you, these two are true love story and so sweet to each other. The whole session was a dream. From the location they picked to how free-spirited they were.

Even when it rained, and then hailed, they were still smiling. And the way Jose would always run back to the car to get the comforter in between shots, to make sure Rona wasn’t too cold, was adorable. And of course I had to take one shot of them cutely wrapped in the comforter.

Luckily the hail didn't last long and we ended the day on this beautiful bridge>

If you haven't been to South Dakota, you are missing out. I cannot wait to go back. It is just as beautiful as other famous states and much less crowded.

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  • Photos By Sara James

Updated: Sep 22, 2022

I met Yaya through the neighborhood gym I used to go to in California. She was my instructor for Barre and Pound - and it turns out she was also the owner, but you know the kind of cool owner who is super laid-back. And I believe the first time I met her husband, he was dressed up in a dinosaur costume :) that’s how cool these two human beings are.

They met super young, practically grew up together, going on family vacations, going to the same high school. But the timing was never quite right. Randall liked her, but she wasn't into him. Then, she liked him, but he wasn’t ready to be “tied down.”

It wasn't until years later, after college, that life or fate, brought them back together. It was Randall’s step brother's wedding. He was the best man, and Yaya was the photographer. She is a Jill of all trades - and if you don’t know what that means, like I didn’t, it’s the female version of the expression Jack of all trades.

They reconnected that evening, became friends again, and then, like “most people,” they took a trip to Japan to hike Mount Fuji. And when they got to the summit, that’s when Randall knew he had to marry his best friend.

Yaya and Randall eloped during a random lunch break - SPONTANEOUS, or what? And then we got to take pictures for their anniversary and it was a blast.

Sometimes you get married in jeans on a lunch break, and take fancy photos later on. There are no rules. Marriage is about finding your person and making that commitment, attire doesn't matter at all.

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