It Started with a Swipe Right | Danja + Serena Micro Wedding

The Beginning

Danja and Serena met when Serena first swiped right on her! From the moment they matched, they talked NON STOP and eventually met a week after. Their first date consisted of wine flights from the local winery and cheese platters, surrounded by live music and a fireplace. At some point, they had their first kiss and it felt like "we both found home; like we had done it a million times and the universe had finally done something right".

Danja knew she fell in love with Serena when she moved into Serena's - they were both at a crossroads, move in or separate. Danja knew seperating was not an option. That type of sacrifice, she knew she was in love with her. Serena knew the moment she woke up and realized Danja is the only person she wanted to hear from.

While they have has plenty of dates together, Danja's fondest was when they went to Epcot together. Walking around the "world" with food and drinks, having the best times of their lives, ending it with a snuggle under the fireworks. Serena, on the other hand, believes that when they went skydiving together was their best date. Once they were both on the ground, the overwhelming excitement boomed - even more so that they did it together.

Wedding Day

While Danja got ready, Serena and her crew set up the entire ceremony. This included building an entire arch to struggling to figure out which way the seat covers went on the chais. Each chair, partnering with a warm blanket for people to get all cozy with during their ceremony. I was able to decorate + drape the arch with a couple of their friends - overall, I think we did pretty well.

Once set up, the two flower girls tossed flowers down the aisle and Serena was escorted by her mother to the alter. Watching Serena in these moments filled me up with absolute joy- it was like watching someone panic, but in a good way. Like being overwhelmed with excitement and nerves. Tina, the officiant, had her turn her back from Danja walking for as long as possible. Danja, walking with her parents, looked amazing. Her smile lit up, walking towards Serena. Once Serena sees Danja for the first time, everything blossomed.

I mean, c'mon, look at Serena's reaction:

I just want to shoutout to Tina because she is hilarious and a great friend to both of these women. She kept the authenticity in the ceremony and cheered them on throughout the day (as well as being my assistant for veil tosses).

lgbtw wedding ceremony hopkins house nj

Danja's sister read a poem about love and loyalty. Headnods follow in agreement.

Danja said her vows first, opening up her heart and speaking about their love and ending in "Go Phillies". I do want to note, whenever someone talks about Serena, they mention what a beautiful light she is in everyone's lives. Danja phrased it like that, as well. Serena spoke her vows graciously, which is impressive since she was not reading them off of something.

And then they exchanged rings and became wives. Bubbles surrounding the couple, as everyone cheers!

brides wives walk down aisle new jersey wedding

Their Future

Each day they look forward to waking up to one another and experiencing all that life offers them. Danja + Serena enjoys the "every day" things by spending time with each other.

Danja's long term goals consist of being successful and having financial freedom, traveling the world with her wife and (future) children. Serena wants to be the best wife and mother, which includes being active and present. Being present means for every important event in Danja's life, as well as their future children. As a couple, they want to continue to love and respect each other, have + raise children. They want all of this while having the most healthy and loving home for their family. They are both so excited to bring babies into their marriage and see them flourish between both their compatible parenting styles. After witnessing the amount of love and care within their ceremony and between their families, I can only imagine how blessed their children are going to be to have them both as parents.

lgbtq wedding portraits floral veil hopkins house new jersey

Where to Elope on Catalina Island, CA

So, you and your partner have decided to take a plunge into the sometimes-obscure world of elopement. It takes a daring, forward-thinking duo to mark the beginning of the rest of their lives together in such a non-traditional way. That being said, it’s only fitting that the experience should be something that is one-of-a-kind and impossible to forget. But places like Paris, France and Yellowstone National Park are examples of some of the many overrated places where matrimonial-like situations occur; however, there is one alternative location that is by all means a hidden gem – Santa Catalina Island.

Situated off the coast of Southern California, Santa Catalina Island, also known as Catalina Island (or even just Catalina), is a rocky, beachy getaway within the bounds of Los Angeles County that is the perfect choice for just about anybody. Marilyn Monroe lived in the island’s only city, Avalon, with her first husband back in the 1940’s, which accentuates the rustically romantic nature of the spot. It has a rich history originated by Pacific-indigenous peoples which is still felt today, thanks to the efforts of the Catalina Island Conservatory.

See, chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. (ring a bell?) is the mastermind behind the development of Catalina’s booming tourism industry and for good reason; before being tamed, the area was mostly used for smuggling, hunting, and gold-digging. More troubling, the land was in constant struggle, with countries like Mexico and the United States fighting for the land against European invaders. Luckily, today, Santa Catalina stands proudly as wonderfully beautiful and the prime location for lovers looking to lock it in.

Four Locations To Elope on Catalina Island:

Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Garden

1400 Avalon Can Rd, Avalon, CA 90704

When you enter, you are surrounded by cactus and tropical dessert plants in every direction you walk in, yet when you go straight back, you are able clim up a stairway that transports you into older world with mosaic tiles and a view unlike any other.

You can view their pricing and permit related info here.

Catalina Casino

1 Casino Way, Avalon, CA 90704

When you first get off your ferry to Catalina, this is the first building you see - or if you've been to the infamous Catalina Wine Mixer, you'll definitely recognize it. It is perfect to have your ceremony, get pictures downtown and on the beach! The casino has plenty of space to hold a large wedding party, or even a large reception after you elope intimately.

You can locate their website here to find out their availability!

Cliffside Elopement

This requires a photographer who knows of this hidden gem.

This is one of the most beautiful outlooks of the entire bay. While this may not fit an entire wedding, it is perfect for just the two of you. This spot is definitely a "first come, first serve" location. You could have your florist set up your arrangement, set up any other little details (we did area rugs), and then do your ceremony. It was intimate, and perfect, and it focused solely on the couple and their love./

Backside of Shark Harbor

Shark Harbor, California 90704

To reach the backside of Catalina Island, you will have to purchase the annual permit - and lord, I am glad we did! This involves a long windy road (which you may get to see some bison!) and some climbing to get to the perfect location here, but it was all worth it in the end. This offers you a private beach and rock formations to climb on and get the coolest of pictures.

So, South Catalina Island, if you haven’t figured it out, is a standout setting for any elopement. The eloping experience is so much more sentimental than a standard, traditional wedding and SCI captures that concept in full. Just take a look at the photos and you won’t be able to deny it!

Looking for other elopements? Check below:

To hire Christina Hernandez Artistry for your elopement, packages (including travel) start at $5000. Submit an inquiry here.

All Photographs were taken by Christina Hernandez Artistry.

Lush Floral Extravagant Brooklyn Elopement | Adam + Adam.

What happens when two Adams fall in love? They run away to The Pink Moon in Brooklyn, NY, to have a lavish elopement. The Pink Moon (insta@/thepinkmoonbk) is a gorgeous venue in the heart of Brooklyn (located at 478 3RD AVENUE) - its brick wall, the greenery, the murals bring a uniqueness to this intimate venue. The owner, renowned florist, Rebecca Shepherd, created this venue after spending a decade in the wedding floral business, to offer a special, intimate place for events, weddings, and collaborations.

Gay Couple Rings and Invitation detail shot

Their Love Story.

They met through the Philadelphia theatre community and over the years, they became friends. But what really pushed it to the next level? We can thank everyone's favorite Prince Charming, Shrek, for that. They both became involved in the production of "Shrek: The Musical" at the Walnut Street Theatre that their friendship blossomed and they even took it a step further. The Pandemic approached and this gave the ultimate test to their relationship. But they prevailed, able to grow further as friends and as individuals. "Having Adam by my side through all matters of uncertainty has been a lifesaver...I wake up every morning, look over and see his face, and I smile.I don't think there's been a day in the past three years that I haven't woke up smiling because of him. I consider myself lucky. Very very lucky." They have such a beautiful, authentic connection that blows others away.

The Details

Eloping does not mean you cannot have a gorgeous celebration for the beginning of your marriage. Elopement means the wedding is focused on the couple versus all the guests/the party. Often when picturing elopements, you envision running away into the mountains (I literally did this), but that is not always the case. Adam + Adam decided to go all out with their closest friends and family at this chic venue. The conundrum is often thinking elopements are just the couple, but often it just has to be some sort of intimate number less than twenty five.

Shoutout to some local vendors:

Dolce and Gelato Catering
Rebecca Shepherd Floral Design
Film Cars NY
Julissa Beauty

The Moments Leading Up

When I showed my husband the photos of this elopement, he said, "those are the two best looking guys". I mean - c'mon, do you see them? They both look incredible. They both went with very natural looks with just some concealer for the lack of sleep they got leading up to this moment.

groom getting makeup done by makeup artist

First Look

gay couple first look wedding


gay couple greet guests at reception

gay couple Brooklyn New York City taxi

gay couple run across Brooklyn New York City street

A Sweet End to the Day

They did get a gelato cart to celebrate with more than just a cake! Not only was it a cute detail of their day but it was absolutely delicious.

Cheers to both Adams on eloping, and thank you so much for letting me document it. It was such a beautiful day to witness.

ice cream wedding vendor