We’re going to the West Coast for this week’s #WeddingWednesday! What an honor to be asked to photograph Lauren and A.J.’s wedding in Napa Valley at the exclusive Calistoga Ranch.
Our weekend of festivities hit its’ peak on Friday, but first we prep…
Hair and makeup was perfected by Amber Johnston of Salon Bijou and the fabulous April Lopes. We planned a comfortable timeline for the day so we were able to relax while we moved through the afternoon’s activities.
Even had time for a champagne toast!
Lauren has an incredible relationship with her mom, it’s like you can hear what she’s thinking… “it feels like yesterday I held you in my arms”.
We made sure all of her bridesmaids played a special part in Lauren’s wedding day as they’ve all played a special part in her life.
We had to share A.J.’s super sweet DIY, these little “message in a bottle” moments happened throughout the morning and afternoon leading up to the ceremony…each time receiving an audible sigh and “awwwwww” from the audience. How unique and original, right?!?!?
We had one last photo op of just the girls before the “i do”…strike a pose ladies!
Meanwhile, down at the men’s lodge, A.J. was involved in his version of prep…ties, toasts and a few tears.
Something we notice trending here on the East Coast is the dark blue suits and brown shoes… we brought it to the West Coast and the look is flawless, it fit so well with the setting!
We had a couple good laughs as the guys did their best getting A.J. to relax before the much anticipated walk down the aisle.
Calistoga Ranch in Calistoga, California has a Vineyard on property as well, it was the backdrop for their ceremony…there’s nothing quite like an aisle created by grape vines leading the way.
The ceremony was beautiful and was so unique to Lauren and A.J. They both wrote their own vows, and I’m pretty sure there was not a dry eye among the guests. It was perfect.
Our portrait session started the moment they walked off the aisle, there was just so much opportunity for photographs we couldn’t waste a single moment!
We walked through the vineyard with the bridal party and stopped in a few locations, making sure we had stunning mountains in the distance as well as those iconic rows of grape vines.
As much as we love photographing the bridal party as a group, it’s the portraits of the newlyweds that get us super excited. Once the audience was gone, we could really get into posing Lauren and A.J…we easily could have spent hours with these two!
The sun was going down and the light was landing just perfectly…every photographers dream!
Calistoga Ranch has so many beautiful places to photograph, the opportunities are endless…guess that means we just have to go back!
Lauren and A.J.’s vision for their wedding included the key element of surprise. Their guests were ushered to new to locations for each part of the day, the concept was perfectly executed, wow’s all around at every turn…how about that King Arthur table!
After all the guests were seated, our bride and groom were introduced for the first time as Mr. & Mrs. …don’t you just love the guest reaction!
Dinner was perfect and it ended flawlessly with the couples choreographed first dance.
For their final reveal, The Cave at Calistoga Ranch housed the party, and it was AMAZING!
The Lucky Devils Band kept the dance floor packed from the moment the doors opened. The play list had everyone singing and their talent is top notch.
Finally, a bubble send off…absolutely one for the record books! How magical does this look?!?!?!
Congratulations Lauren & A.J.! I’m so honored to have photographed your wedding weekend. I’m thrilled with the images we created together, and I hope #DestinationDuca was everything you ever dreamed.