I had such an exciting and awesome opportunity to photograph Gene Simmons and Shannon Tweed’s wedding for the A&E Series Gene Simmons Family Jewels. (Tuesday nights, check your local listings!) I got to attend the rehearsal dinner and celebrity wedding of rocker, Gene Simmons to playboy playmate, Shannon Tweed. I was there to capture all the events of the day and see the happy couple exchange vows in front of their kids, families, and 400 of their closest friends – which just happened to include Hugh Hefner, Bill Maher, Dog the Bounty Hunter, and all the members of KISS – Paul Stanley, Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer! I know, I know. Name dropping.
Before the ceremony, Gene and Shannon had their first look in the hotel garden. The family and bridal party were all there and it was a great moment. The wedding ceremony took place at the Beverly Hills Hotel just after sunset and it was beautiful. Chandeliers hung from the trees and rose petals lined the aisle. Even just walking around the ceremony, there was an aroma of fresh flowers. It smelled so good! Shannon’s mother escorted her down the aisle in her ivory Priscilla of Boston gown with a long flowy veil and a bouquet of white garden roses. The whole ensemble was offset by her killer engagement ring and a diamond bracelet, necklace and earrings. Sparkly from head to toe!
As the couple exchanged vows, Sophie Simmons watched with tears in her eyes, by her mom’s side as the Maid of Honor. The bridesmaids all wore ivory dresses of different styles and I loved that! The neutral pallet was so simple yet stunning. And nobody ever talks about what the men wore, but they all cleaned up good too! Especially Gene and Shannon’s son, Nick Simmons, who was the best man. When the officiant asked Gene and Shannon to say “I Do”, she paused for a moment to give Gene a little scare. But they sealed it all with a kiss and a standing ovation from the crowd. The whole family looked so happy.
The reception started shortly after, with Sophie singing “At Last” while her parents danced their first dance as man and wife. Grins from ear to ear, I’m telling you! And Sophie has a beautiful voice. I didn’t even realize it was her singing until halfway through the song. And she blew me away. Other performances included Nick singing an awesome rendition of “Sway”, Gene singing solo, and KISS performing 3 songs at the end of the night (sans make-up). The big band was incredible and everyone seemed to have a great time. They had the bouquet toss and cake cutting, but that was probably the only traditional thing about this spectacular wedding!
I felt very lucky to be there. The family was so nice, the crew for the reality show was great, and – let’s be honest – it was pretty awesome to be THEE photographer snapping away during all the action. What a great and crazy and amazing day all wrapped into one! An experience I’ll for remember the rest of my life!