February kinda sucked, I thought, as I excitedly made my way to Ashley & Willie's civil ceremony in Oakland. I've never been to the Oakland County Clerk's Office in Madison except for the time we got our marriage license. I never saw the ceremony room and nothing stood out from my memory.

I'm used to covering civil weddings in San Francisco. I know the SF City Hall by heart and looking for a perfect spot comes easy.

Coming here, I knew this was going to pose as a challenge, and I was psyched to charge into it.

I was early, wanting to look around and plan our short itinerary.

Hurdle number one. The ceremony room was on the second floor and I can't go there without the couple and the commissioner.

Hurdle number two. I looked around the lobby and outside the front doors. Not much there. Zero greenery. Concrete everywhere.

Time to up ze ante.

I meet Ashley and instantly admire her elegant casual green paisley maxi dress. She was gorgeous. Creamy complexion, long dark hair, flawless makeup, a beautiful face, a stunning smile showing off perfect white pearls. She struck a resemblance with Liv Tyler. But with more sex appeal.

She will make this easy. Can't go wrong with a beautiful lady.

I then met Willie, their daughter and their guests. It was a small and quirky entourage that made every shot effortless. This group knew how to have fun.

After processing the images, I thought it was a tight set. And after reading Ashley's happy and grateful email, I knew that challenge turned out to be a good one.

* Their storybook photo slideshow may be viewed here and the complete photo set here.

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