Paulina and Chad are a rare breed. Both have that hard-to-find combination of hard working, compassionate, thoughtful, and humility are simultaneously the most hilarious people you’ll ever meet. Oh, and there’s also the fact that they are two of the most stunningly beautiful people on the planet.
I’ve been waiting for this wedding for what seemed like ages. The day began at the Citizen’s Hotel, where both the bride and the groom got ready and had views overlooking Downtown Sacramento. From there, we walked to the ceremony, where they had a traditional Catholic wedding at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament. The Bride and groom saw each other for the first time, said their vows, took communion, and exchanged rings. After the ceremony, we moved over to the reception. For those who’ve never been to the Grand Island Mansion…Well, let me tell you. It’s straight up magical. Right on the delta on the outskirts of Sacramento, it’s a gorgeous four-story Parisian-style mansion that’s the perfect place for holding your reception.
I TRULY couldn’t be happier for the bride and groom! [who are currently honeymooning in the Dominican Republic] A most sincere congratulations to Mr and Mrs. Ratcliffe. Your day was so dang beautiful and I am so honored to have shared it with you.
Ceremony: Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament
Reception: Grand Island Mansion
Dress: Janene’s Bridal Boutique
Florals: Violette Fleurs
Makeup Artist: Teara Bullock
Hair Stylist: Margarita Malinovskiy
The first word that comes to mind when I think back on Lauren and Bryan’s is FUN. It was one of those weddings where, even when I was off the clock, I was sucked in to the the vibrance of their beautiful day. Once the party started, I really didn’t want to leave. They had alive band, Trace Repeat, who KILLED it and added such a lively component to their reception.
One of my favorite things to do is ask couples the story of how they met. Partly because I love seeing the two different perspectives, but mostly because I just really enjoy getting to know my couples and their story.
Lauren: Armadillo Music is where we met back in May 2012. I still remember introducing myself to my new, incredibly handsome co-worker and being instantly nervous around him. This funny, handsome, great-taste-in-music and over-all wonderful guy had me smitten from day one. I knew quickly that I had to get to know him better. Our first date lasted seven hours, and that was the beginning of our journey together. Six years later we are a married couple!
Bryan: When I first saw Lauren, she had green hair, and was wearing a sweater any Grandmother would be proud of. She was many things all at once: fiery, well-spoken, engaging, and genuinely interesting. However, Lauren is wrong. Our first date was nine hours– I know because I timed it. If I could spend nine hours of any day with any person, it would be her. So here we are taking the first of many first steps in our ‘new’ life as the independent but intertwined, slightly unhinged, but lovable couple that we’ve come to be.
Lauren: The engagement happened on the Tower Bridge in Sacramento, CA. After numerous failed attempts to get me to stop taking photos and focus, Bryan managed to “pop the question” on the bridge. I believe my words were “it’s happening?!” rather than yes.
Bryan: I spent a considerable amount of time rehearsing what I was going to say when the time came. To this day, I remember bits and pieces. In my head it was going to be profound, and encapsulate our journey to this point, a grand gesture. Fun fact: she never said ‘yes’ until much later. I like to think that I wooed her speechless, so I’m sticking to that. Under the setting sun of a pleasant but hot Sacramento evening, in the middle of the of the mustard yellow Tower Bridge, we got engaged. Shortly after rising off the concrete, a boat below us playing some truly awful rap song came into view, and we laughed heartily as if I had planned it. We also had the worst champagne hangovers of our lives the next day, we laughed about that, too, but much later. I’m a lucky man.
I asked Lauren if she would be willing to share with me her experience with me as her photographer. To my surprise, Bryan insisted on writing it and I think you’ll love it as much as I did:
Bryan wrote, “I never met the photographer; but I trust my wife. When she came back from meeting Vanessa for the first time, she said “I think I’ve found the one.” Similar words are only spoken at the altar, and rarely with such enthusiasm. So, naturally, I was optimistic. The day of the wedding was a blur, and when I saw commanding red hair descend into my bachelor cave, (and it did have the dinginess of Frank Sinatra’s bomb shelter) first thing she did was assess her environment, and said something along the lines of ‘we can make this work.’ Of course, Lauren chose her. The bachelor room was small, dimly lit, but cool in a very industrial way; with piping lining the walls, painted the same shade of grey as the rest of the interior. This should be a photographer’s nightmare, but it just proved to be a welcomed challenge to Vanessa. When we got the photos back, I was floored with the way she made a drab, dark place, come to life with the excitement a wedding day brings. With the camera, she slinks around like a shutter-fly assassin. You can really see the delicate touch she puts in her photos, and there were so many damn good photos that it was extremely difficult to put a finger on which ones would make the walls in our home – there wouldn’t be adequate space, and people’s eyes would roll into their skulls, and vomit with jealously. She made us feel the moment (even more), and gave us direction, which, to me, life’s a party when I have to be serious, and inexplicably, I turn into Woody Allen without spectacles, and flail about.
This all reads as hyperbole, but good wedding photographers (like really good) are hard to come across, and there are even fewer who will take the photos that you revisit time and again. Just thinking about the overload of emotions, and awe when moving from one to the next, sitting next to my Wife, is a ride worth more than the price of admission. We were in very good hands, and I can’t recommend Vanessa enough!”
Venue: The Maples Woodland
Wedding Planning and Day of Coordination: Jessica of Joyeux Events
Hair Stylist: Liz Cordis
Makeup Artist: Jen Hooker
Florist: Katie Koch of Flower Mama
Wedding Dress: Maggie Sottero
Live Band: Trace Repeat
Videographer: Captain and Cat
Dorothyrose’s first words to me were, “interested in photographing a tiny June wedding on Kehoe Beach?” UM YES, Dorothyrose. I AM interested. “Interested” is the understatement of the year.
Together, She and Josh live in Arizona, but both grew up in California. Josh spent much of his childhood on Kehoe Beach so it was a no brainer to have their ceremony somewhere with such history. A 15 minute walk to the beach from we had the shoreline almost all to ourselves. Vows were shared, applauses were made, and Josh + Dorothyrose became husband and wife.
Well, folks. Grab your tissues.
Kelly approached me a few months ago with a photographer’s dream of an idea. His ten year anniversary with wife, Kayla, was approaching, and he wanted to somehow surprise her with a secret renewal of vows. I was on board before he could even finish his first sentence and let me tell ya, these wheels were a’turning. We hatched a secret plan as the big day approached and all of the details fell into place by showtime.
Just in case she had had any suspicions of our plan, we made several unnecessary stops to drive in the point that they were just doing a styled shoot for purely selfish reasons on my behalf (I told her I wanted her to model for a stylized bridal session in a gorgeous white, flowy dress on a cliff for my ‘portfolio’). The last stop was an ocean-side cliff where we spent enough time to get breathtaking shots while allowing our secret guests and Kayla and Kelly’s two young sons to set up a “ceremony site” on the beach below the cliff. After shooting for quite sometime, we descended the cliff and Kayla’s realization set in when we finally made it to the sand.
As a wedding photographer, I get to witness many beautiful moments. None, however, had me prepared for this one. Kelly walked his wife down the aisle, got down on his knee (once more), and asked her if she’d marry him for another ten years. I think it’s safe to say she responded (as did we all) with a giant, resounding YES.
—> P.S. Make sure you scroll all the way to the bottom to hear Kelly’s story.
In Kelly’s words…
“It all started ten years ago at our wedding, when I learned the importance of a good photographer who knows how to use the equipment they carry. Our wedding day was wonderful, like it should be; friends and family gathering, laughing, making and sharing memories. Although the memories will last a lifetime in our minds, the photos however, lacked incredibly.
The lady who took them meant well and had great intentions. What she lacked was good equipment and a good eye behind the lens. It has always been a point of contention for my wife, who loved to talk about the wedding day, but the conversations would inevitably turn to the photography and the product of it. The photos lacked precision, timing, proper lighting, and over all quality.
Enter Vanessa Lynne Photography, ten years after our wedding, and none too late. We had seen the quality of Vanessa’s work first hand, and knew that she could deliver a product anyone would be proud to showcase. I had a plan to do a surprise renewal of vows for our ten year anniversary, and I knew Vanessa HAD to be the one to capture our (2nd) special day in a way that only she could accomplish. We put our heads together and devised a plan to surprise my wife in a way she would never expect. I had the vision, but Vanessa being the professional that she is, gave life to my vision in a way that I never could have. We decided that Vanessa was to “find someone who was adventurous and wanted to do an outdoor beach/wedding themed shoot, on the beautiful coast of California.” Of course my wife was more than happy to oblige and went for it immediately.
The plan coalesced from there and became a master piece. I, as the “indulging husband” played along dutifully, drove them to the beach, dressed as I was told, stood where I was directed and held the shoes, camera bags and two ladies as we all stumbled our way through the breath taking views that only the California coast line can offer. The day was simply amazing, with the views being out of the world, the “bride” was equally stunning as the emerald green vegetation covered hillside and azure skyline perfectly contrasted and complimented her ivory skin and the creamy chiffon beach gown she was wearing. The afternoon could not have been more perfect as the sun followed it natural tendencies and slowly made its descent towards the skyline, illuminating and accentuating masterfully.
After an hour or more of Vanessa shouting over the wind and directing us with such natural talent, skill, and ease, we slowly made our way back down the cliffside towards the beach, where our friends and two sons were gathered below, waiting with an aisle of lace, candles and rose petals for us to walk down once more, so that we could be together once again in front of close friends and exchange our “I love you’s,” all in front of a camera, with an eye behind it who knows her equipment, knows her goals and what is best, and who is truly chasing her passion.
Thank you, Vanessa.”