Some of you may know I was born and raised in Northern California, so it may not be that surprising that I shot a wedding there. What IS surprising is my upbringing had ZERO to do with me booking this wedding – so how did it happen? I’ve known Vanessa’s dad Derek since I was just a couple of years into my photography career, we met because he was a photographer too. I even did his headshot about 7 or 8 years ago. A few years later, we shared an obsession with long distance running – we even ran the same marathon in Sacramento the weekend before the wedding (and yes, we made sure to stop and give sweaty hugs when we passed each other on the course!). So when he mentioned Vanessa’s wedding, I was happy to do it, but I admit it it made me a little nervous. Shooting the wedding of a photographer’s daughter? No pressure there, right? Then I found out that not only is Vanessa his only daughter, she’s his only child. Did I mention Derek is also a retired cop??? 😮
Vanessa is a big fan of Disney and DIY, so naturally, the wedding had plenty of both. Hidden Mickeys were everywhere – in tiny rhinestones in her veil, and in the bouquets (which she made herself using flowers from Costco!). Disney may be the happiest place on Earth, but I think Vanessa’s suite at Feather Falls Lodge was a close second when a rather large box from Jared arrived containing several gifts for Vanessa, including a pair of crystal-studded Gucci shoes and a black beaded Ralph Lauren dress to wear during their honeymoon.
Vanessa and Jared decided not to see each other before their ceremony, but Vanessa did want to have a first look with her dad once the Allure Bridals ballgown was on. Derek arrived (with the help of mom Teresa) decked out in a throwback tie pin and a Disney wedding appropriate set of “Father of the Bride” cufflinks.
Meanwhile, Jared was busy putting on some cufflinks of his own (Mickey heads, of course). When Derek first met him, he said his first thought was, “Who is this freakishly tall guy?” My first impression was the same, though that’s not saying much since I’m short and everyone is tall to me! Don’t let his size fool you though, it didn’t take long for me to figure out the freakishly tall guy is also a freakishly nice guy. He seems like the type of friend who would offer to help you do the most heinous of chores, like helping you move. *shudder*
The Disney love continued at the Calvary Baptist Church ceremony, where the wedding programs were a perfect knockoff of a Disney park map, guests signed in on a poster of Mickey balloons, and more Mickey heads lined the aisle.
After the ceremony, the bridal party and I headed to the Oroville Chinese Temple for pictures, where the bridesmaids demonstrated their dedication – the dye from the ribbon on their bouquets had slowly started to stain their hands pink!
The reception at Lake Oroville Golf & Event Center was a Disney wonderland, with decor inspired by Arendelle, the kingdom in Frozen. Paper lanterns formed Mickey heads over the dance floor, escort cards looked like retro Disneyland tickets, tables were named for Disney attractions, and vials of glittery pixie dust served as favors.
During his toast, Derek mentioned that Jared had asked him and Teresa for permission to marry Vanessa. Teresa immediately said, “We’d be honored!” – Derek joked that she had stolen his chance to jerk Jared around a bit and make him sweat. Then in an unexpected turn of events, one of the groomsmen (who happens to be a legit auctioneer) stood up to give a toast and started auctioning off a centerpiece to get the newlyweds some spending money for their honeymoon. Seriously, when you think of what a stereotypical auctioneer sounds like withalltheirwordsrunningtogethersoyoureallyhavetopayattention, that’s what he sounded like. No one expected it, so when he started it was fun to watch everyone’s eyes start to get big, looking at each other like, “Are you hearing what I’m hearing???” Another groomsman won the auction, which I think ended at about $400!
Thanks Vanessa and Jared for trusting some tiny weirdo your dad recommended to shoot your wedding, and thanks to Derek and Teresa for trusting me with your baby’s big day. And just for giggles, here’s that headshot I took of Derek a hundred years ago. 🙂