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Congratulations Santy & Ernesto!

Bloomingdale, Illinois
I flew back to Chicago for Santy and Ernesto’s wedding. This was my first time meeting both of them, although I had spoken with Santy on the phone quite a few times so I felt like I already knew her. She managed to impress me anyway. I would officially like to present Santy with The Most Patient Bride Award. It was a very busy day to say the least.

I meet Santy and her bridal party at a hotel lobby. When her sister goes to check-in, the room isn’t ready. It won’t be ready until the start of the ceremony!

Plan B goes into effect. While waiting for the room to hopefully be ready early, all of the bridesmaids, aka Santy’s sisters, sisters-in-law, daughter and niece, and her mother-in-law go the lobby restroom to change into their beautiful dresses. Santy helps them get ready with all of the finishing touches. Not once does the bride break a sweat. She tells me she knew something was going to go wrong and shrugs it off.

Finally the room is ready and we all hustle upstairs. Santy’s bridesmaids help her into the dress and we take a few more photos.

After the ceremony we take some photos in Cantigny Park in Wheaton. I love this one of the bride and groom. It looks like a vintage photo.

We take some more photos by this rustic gazebo. Santy and Ernesto are naturals!

This was the last photo of the day. Congratulations again!!!!


Speaking of Castles…

I recently had the privilege of touring the Rubel Castle in Glendora. The Castle is a cross between Hearst Castle and House on the Rock, with a dash of Watts Towers. The Castle was built over a twenty-year period by Michael Clarke Rubel who constructed the towers from river rock, bottles, concrete, salvaged wood, metal, and “junk” he collected.

The main house is more like a museum and is often used for filming. Among the eclectic design elements is a steamer trunk belonging to Sally Rand. It’s not too unusual as the silent screen actress and fan dancer often attended parties here hosted by Michael Rubel’s mother Dorothy.

The grounds house a few antique cars…

And a Santa Fe Railroad caboose…

Thank you to the Los Angeles Conservancy and the Glendora Historical Society for the tour.


Mi Casa es Su Casa

The Mission Inn in Riverside is holding an open house this Sunday Aug. 5. I took these photos at their last open house. It’s a pretty cool place to explore.

The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa began as a 12-room boarding house in 1876. It’s reminiscent of European castles, with its many courtyards and magnificent spiraling staircases, turrets and towers, fountains and fine art.

This is St. Cecilia Chapel, which is the smallest of the chapels accommodating 15 people.

The main chapel is St. Francis of Assisi (aren’t these doors beautiful?) which has a gold leaf Rayas Altar and Tiffany designed stained glass windows.

The Inn also has a Buddhist temple and many reception rooms such as this one.

I loved looking at all the details.

There will also be food and cake samples if you need another reason to go! I’m offering a free engagement portait session and an 11 X 14 print to the next couple that books me for a full day wedding package at the Mission Inn.


kim - i noticed you mention they have a buddhist temple there but i did not see any mention of that on their website. do you know of any more information like how many people it can fit? thanks for any info!

Polka Photos - Hmmm I’m not sure. Let me see what I can find out.

Polka Photos - The Buddhist Temple holds up to 170 people. For more info, please contact Tiffany or Jennifer at 800-344-4225. They’re the fabulous wedding coordinators at The Mission Inn. And tell them Polka Photos sent you 😉

City Slickers 7-7-7 Polka Photos goes to Wyoming

Howdy y’all! I’m back from a short vacation in southeastern Wyoming. My husband Michael & I met up with my Mama & sister Alicja in Denver and drove to Brush Creek Ranch near Saratoga. It rained on the way, which was fun for us LA residents as it rarely rains here.

We got to the ranch late but the cook had dinner waiting for us (a yummy Cornish hen with glazed sweet potatoes and chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting!!!) I should’ve taken more photos of the food but I was too busy eating – it was all so delicious! We finished off the night at the local hot springs. We slept very well in our quiet log cabin. Quite a change of pace from bustling city life.

We were up early the next morning for our first ride.

We met all the ranch dogs, including a new stray named Dog who was skilled at herding horses.

All of us were well matched to our horses. My horse was Wally and he was such a good boy. I’ve ridden a few times before and I either got the slowpoke horse or the ornery one that doesn’t listen.

Wally’s ears would swivel and perk up every time I clicked my camera. Wally indulged me when I stopped a few times to take a photo and when I asked him to hustle he would quickly trot to catch up. Taking photos while riding was a bit of a challenge. I shot in manual mode so I guessed the aperture and shutter speed and tried to bracket. I also took some photos without looking in the viewfinder so the results were a bit unpredictable.

My sister’s horse Stomper was laid back and in no hurry, ever. He greeted us with sleepy eyes in the morning. I guess neither he nor my sister are morning people.

Michael’s horse was a beautiful black horse named Afrika. On the first ride out he got a cell phone call — Michael may have grown up in Wyoming, but he is so LA now! I mean, who takes a cell phone on a horseback ride in the middle of Wyoming??? Not surprisingly, he was nicknamed Billy Crystal by the staff.

Although all the horses were well-behaved, they did like to stop and eat the roses, or thistles, or whatever this plant is called.

Friday night we all went to a barn dance. We joined in some country line dancing with the guests and staff and later danced some cha-cha to country swing music.

Saturday was 7-7-7 and we convinced my mom to go riding with us.

We made shirts with our cowboy names — Righty, Tidy, Lefty, and Lucy.

Sunday we went on one last ride. And then it was time to say goodbye.

Thank you to Kinta, Kayla, Billie, Karine, Karlene, Saskia, Kristo, Thomas and to everyone at Brush Creek Ranch who made our stay wonderful! We really do feel like part of your family and plan on coming back soon!


Michael - I miss the horses and clean air! We have to go back soon!