First look photos bride California wedding
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First look photos bride California wedding

The story of the photo ... 

This image of the couple during a magical moment in their big day preserves that time before the groom sees his bride for the first time in her wedding dress, completely ready for the ceremony.

You can see from the face of the bride the serenity and the joy in her heart, knowing that she will be reciting her vows to the man she chooses to marry moments after she walks down the aisle. She will vow to be beside the man she loves all the days of her life; that she will be there for him through thick and thin; and that she will submit to him as the head of the family.

You can only imagine how the groom will react when he finally sees the love of his life looking so gorgeous in that mermaid wedding dress, holding an equally sophisticated bouquet. Her makeup just looks so natural, enhancing the beauty she already has. Her hair that frames that angelic face so perfectly makes her look even more grand and elegant. She’s a sight to behold! Even the ladies behind the bride are so excited for the moments that will come after this scene. They know very well that this is the time the couple has been waiting for - to see each other at their best and present their love to The One above.

The story of the bigger picture ... Do you believe that everything happens for a reason?  I do!  Here's one reason why:  About seven years ago I met a fabulous brunette (Shauna) in some random airport (we can't really remember which one) as I was coming home from an amazing photography workshop in Bend, OR.  I had been inspired that week to find renewed creativity through setting up photo shoots with models, just to "play."  It turned out that she was seated next to me on the plane and we immediately started talking.  We were like long lost friends talking and laughing all the way home as we found that we actually had a lot in common.  Among which, we had both lived in Santa Barbara (she for longer than me), and that while I was going to the Brooks Institute of Photography, she was modeling for some of the students there at the same time.  By the time the flight landed in Denver we had exchanged numbers and were already talking about doing some shoots together just for fun....which we did.  The photos were gorgeous and I used them in my portfolio for years.  I always remembered her fondly, though we did not stay in touch.

Fast forward to about 8 or 9 months ago.  Shauna was engaged and shopping for wedding dresses at the Little White Dress Shop where she saw my name on the preferred photographer list there and remembered me!  We set up a meeting where I was able to meet her gorgeous and incredibly sweet fiance, David.  We had the same instantaneous connection that we did seven years ago and they immediately signed a contract with me for their destination wedding on Friday, Sept. 13, 2013 (for good luck!) in Santa Barbara at The Four Seasons Resort, Biltmore Hotel.

It was so special being back in the place that fired my artistic passions in the first place-Santa Barbara!  It felt like my career had finally come full circle.  I remember being on the same beach in front of the Biltmore when I was first getting started as a wedding photographer dreaming about "some day" photographing an amazing wedding there.  I guess dreams do come true... We had an fantastic engagement shoot on the beach right before the wedding rehearsal.  Then it was on to the Santa Barbara Yacht Club (a restaurant Shauna had worked at for four years while she was in school and always dreamed of having her wedding at) for the rehearsal dinner; a delicious Mexican buffet, complete with churros.  YUM!

The wedding day was a dream come true with absolutely perfect weather and two of the most gorgeous subjects my lens has ever laid it's glass on: Shauna and David!  Their energy was contagious and everyone had the most amazing time together.  From the model couple, to the gorgeous wedding party, to the delicious CA light, to the intimate and sweet ceremony, to the vintage romantic dinner set up family style, to the belly dancer, to the rocking DJ... it was one of the most fantastic wedding days I have ever been lucky enough to be a part of.  I had a blast getting to know their family and friends and by the end of the weekend, I knew I would stay fast friends with Shauna and David, except this time, for life!

Major props to Lindsey Hartsough, the executive Event Producer at Magnolia Event Design & co-maid of Honor to Shauna, for planning a flawless and gorgeous wedding while also being IN it.  I hope that I am able to work with you and your team again in the future.  You are amazing!

To Shuana and David, I wish you a lifetime of spontaneous dance parties in your living room; all the happiness in the world; and the same kind of friendship, adventure, trust and inspiration that you have for each other today multiplied by each and every day of your lives together.  THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for including me in a wedding I will never, ever, ever, forget... for as long as I live.

Location: 1260 Channel Dr.

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