anniversary trip to san francisco :: bay area photographer

Coit Tower. Shot with Fuji X100.

Coit Tower. Shot with Fuji X100.

If you follow us on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, you may already know that last month, Josh and I headed to the West Coast to celebrate our five year anniversary. I don't know how it took us so long to take a real vacation - we haven't had more than a long weekend of non-working vacation since 2009 - and it was pure bliss.

Since we'd never been to California and just knew we'd love it, we started planning our trip to San Francisco. We filled our days with beautiful scenery, new adventures, and amazing food. After a 5 a.m. flight across the country, we kicked off our trip with a stroll through Chinatown and a Dim Sum lunch...

San Francisco Chinatown. Shot with Fuji X100.

San Francisco Chinatown. Shot with Fuji X100.

Shot with Fuji X100.

Shot with Fuji X100.

Shot with Fuji X100.

Shot with Fuji X100.

On our second day in SF, we took the ferry to Alcatraz. We're not usually ones for tours and such, but this one was incredibly fascinating.

Alcatraz. Shot with Fuji X100.

Alcatraz. Shot with Fuji X100.

Alcatraz via  Instagram .

Alcatraz via Instagram.

Alcatraz. Shot with Fuji X100.

Alcatraz. Shot with Fuji X100.

... and it had some of the most beautiful views of the city.

View of San Francisco from Alcatraz. Shot with Fuji X100. Processed with VSCO.

View of San Francisco from Alcatraz. Shot with Fuji X100. Processed with VSCO.

Pier 39. Shot with Fuji X100. Processed with VSCO.

Pier 39. Shot with Fuji X100. Processed with VSCO.

Bourbon and Branch via  Instagram .

Bourbon and Branch via Instagram.

Coit Tower and Haight-Ashbury. Shot with Fuji X100. Processed with VSCO.

Coit Tower and Haight-Ashbury. Shot with Fuji X100. Processed with VSCO.

Of course, one of my main goals was to see Rainbow Row from Alamo Park and pay homage to the beloved Tanner family... if this scene isn't forever and fondly engrained in your memory, we might not be friends anymore...

Rainbow Row from the opening credits of Full House. Shot with Fuji X100.

Rainbow Row from the opening credits of Full House. Shot with Fuji X100.

Mural. Shot with Fuji X100.

Mural. Shot with Fuji X100.

The Japanese Tea Gardens in Golden Gate Park were absolutely lovely. So serene and a nice break from the energetic pace of the city.

Japanese Tea Gardens in Golden Gate Park. Shot with Fuji X100.

Japanese Tea Gardens in Golden Gate Park. Shot with Fuji X100.

After spending a couple of days getting acquainted with the city, we rented a car via Getaround and headed up the Pacific Coast Highway to Point Reyes. I've never seen such a stunning ocean view in my life. California - I love you.

Pacific Coast Highway. Shot with Fuji X100.

Pacific Coast Highway. Shot with Fuji X100.

Barbecued Tomales Bay oysters at the Marshall Store via  Instagram .

Barbecued Tomales Bay oysters at the Marshall Store via Instagram.

After a cheese tasting at Cowgirl Creamery and some oysters straight from Tomales Bay at the Marshall Store, we drove through cattle country to get this quaint little lighthouse.

Point Reyes Lighthouse. Shot with Fuji X100.

Point Reyes Lighthouse. Shot with Fuji X100.

Lighthouse at Point Reyes National Seashore. Shot with Fuji X100.

Lighthouse at Point Reyes National Seashore. Shot with Fuji X100.

Shot with Fuji X100.

Shot with Fuji X100.

Thanks to the advice of one of our Uber drivers earlier in the week, we skipped Muir Woods, and instead hiked a bit of the less busy Steep Ravine Trial in Mount Tamalpais to see some of the giant redwoods...

Steep Ravine Trail. Shot with Fuji X100.

Steep Ravine Trail. Shot with Fuji X100.

... and finished a full day with an amazing sushi dinner in Sausalito.

Sausalito. Shot with Fuji X100.

Sausalito. Shot with Fuji X100.

View from the top of Lombard Street. Shot with Fuji X100.

View from the top of Lombard Street. Shot with Fuji X100.

In case you haven't caught on, as with any of our vacations, food was a VERY important part of this trip, and Chile Pies & Ice Cream did not disappoint...

Lemon Buttermilk Pie and Green Chile Apple Pie Milkshake at  Chile Pies & Ice Cream . Via  Instagram .

Lemon Buttermilk Pie and Green Chile Apple Pie Milkshake at Chile Pies & Ice Cream. Via Instagram.

The Golden Gate Bridge. Shot with Fuji X100.

The Golden Gate Bridge. Shot with Fuji X100.

Needless to say, we LOVED our vacation and are already ready to plan our next trip. Follow all of our adventures on Instagram

Ferry Building and Cable Car. Via  Instagram .

Ferry Building and Cable Car. Via Instagram.

All images ©2014 Glessner Photography. Please do not save, copy, edit, or use in any way without Glessner Photography's express written permission. Violators may be prosecuted.

5 things i've learned in 5 years of marriage :: greensboro wedding photographer

Today, Josh and I celebrate another year of being married. By no means have we got it all figured out - marriage is definitely one crazy roller coaster ride - but I'm glad to say that, so far, it only gets better with each passing year. Josh is my best friend, makes me laugh every single day, lets me be me, and loves me at my best and my worst. Obviously, I think he's pretty great ;)

An  Instagram  shot from our anniversary trip to San Francisco last week. Watch out for a photo recap coming soon!

An Instagram shot from our anniversary trip to San Francisco last week. Watch out for a photo recap coming soon!

After 9 years together and 5 years as hubby and wife behind us (where did the time go???), these are a few of my words of wisdom for the soon-to-be-weds and newlyweds out there:

1. Be on the same team. Marriage is the two of you against the world. Of course you aren't always going to agree on everything, but try to fight only the battles that really matter. People and circumstances will try to pull you apart. Stand up for your partner and speak kindly of them - at the end of the day, you've only got each other.

2. Figure out finances early. Very early on in our relationship, it became clear that Josh and I had two very different financial philosophies - he's a spender (honestly, we should own stock in Apple) and I'm a saver (all those years of my dad yelling at me to turn lights off when I leave a room finally sunk in). In the early years, this resulted in what felt like endless arguments. A couple of years ago, I started following Dave Ramsey, and Josh and I got on the same page with where we'd like to be financially. We're still a work in progress, but being a team when it comes to money has taken a huge burden off of us.

3. It's okay to go to bed angry. Whoever said you should never go to bed angry, in my humble opinion, was just wrong. Sometimes, you just need to shut up and get a good night's sleep (or if you're like me, eat a sandwich... I get grumpy if I'm tired or hungry). Don't pick fights just because you're tired. You'll be thinking more clearly after a few zzz's and your morning coffee and might avoid a senseless argument.

4. But don't bottle it up. On the flip side, it's not good to suppress your emotions all the time either. I know, I know... people say it all. the. time, but it's only because it's true: communication is key. Bottling up your feelings over a prolonged period of time will only result in resentment or an explosive argument or both in the long run (speaking from experience). Just try to communicate calmly and effectively, and think about your words before speaking them. 

5. Change isn't always a bad thing. In our first couple of years of marriage, I had a bad habit of comparing our current relationship to the way things were when we were dating... when we'd write letters or emails to each other once a week because we lived 600 miles apart or when we'd surprise each others with little gifts or we'd spend hours talking on the phone without a single lapse in conversation. It was all new and exciting and not filled with mortgages and careers and chores, but I've finally realized that change can be good. The truth is, I kinda love the comfort and easiness that being together for so long brings. Now, instead of learning about each other's childhoods and past adventures by telling one another the stories, we're just creating our own stories. I look forward to 100 more years of change and new adventures together!

Read more anniversary recaps here:
Four Years Married
Three Years Married
Six Years Dating

spence+claire :: married :: nashville wedding photographer

Our last wedding of the year was one for the record books, as my dear friend Claire married her sweetheart, Spence, the weekend before Christmas at Nashville Event Space's aVenue in downtown Nashville (you may remember them from their engagement session in the fall of 2012 - it's one of my all-time favorites). To say it was a crazy wedding day would be an understatement - it was an unusual 70-degrees in December with a 90% chance of rain (and possibly the windiest day ever), I was as sick as I've been in 3+ years with a fever (purposefully unbeknownst to the bride - no need for unnecessary stress!) and getting through the day with the help of Dayquil and cough drops, and during the reception, everyone was sent down to the basement of the building due to tornado warnings (that was definitely a first for Glessner Photography). But in spite of the craziness, or perhaps because of it, the day was absolute perfection. Claire looked gorgeous, Spence wore a grin from ear-to-ear all day, the guests had fantastic fun, and tears of joy flowed freely.

The day began at Claire's brother and sister-in-law's home in Franklin, which was full of beautiful spaces to photograph the bride's attire...

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While I was with the girls, Josh joined the guys at a hotel downtown to capture their getting ready rituals...

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How awesome is this groomsmen gift?! Festive holiday socks, an awesome plaid tie, and most importantly, a little Jack and Coke to start the day off right.

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Claire headed to aVenue to finish getting ready with the girls...

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Claire's gift to her bridesmaids was a lovely gold and ivory scarf and a pair of earrings for each lady, presented beautifully.

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It's no secret that a First Look is one of my favorite parts of a wedding day, and Spence and Claire's was an absolutely lovely moment on the Shelby Street Bridge downtown.

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Isn't Claire absolutely stunning?!? I swear, she's one of the most beautiful people I know.

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I can't help but be a bit emotional when a daddy walks his little girl down the aisle, and this one certainly resulted in a few tears...

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I always think the first dance results in some of the best photos of the day, filled with pure joy. It's usually one of the first events of the reception, after the most stressful parts of the day are over, and the bride and groom are able to relax and reflect on the day thus far... so sweet!

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We stepped outside after dark to photograph some of the best Nashville scenery that can't be seen during daylight hours...

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Claire's dad was loving the camera during the father/daughter dance - the image below is definitely one of my favorites!

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Claire+Spence :: We love you guys to pieces and wish you all the very best for a long and happy marriage that feels like Christmas every day! 

Venue :: aVenue
Accommodations :: DoubleTree by Hilton Nashville Downtown
Coordinator :: Natalie Finley of Randi Events
Videographer :: Bruce Karcher
Caterer and Cake Artist :: Chef's Market
Reception Band :: Party of 5
Makeup Artist :: Kaley Schwab Consulting
Hair Stylist :: Shay Hart of Troubadour Salon
Wedding Gown :: The Bride Room by designer Augusta Jones
Bridesmaids' Dresses :: Nordstrom
Men's Attire :: Jos. A. Bank
Stationer :: ChampagnePress via Etsy
Rings :: Genesis Diamonds
Officiant :: Dean Barnham of Woodmont Hills Family of God
Photographer :: Glessner Photography

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All images ©2013 Glessner Photography. Please do not save, copy, edit, or use in any way without Glessner Photography's express written permission. Violators may be prosecuted.