Leanna and Alan’s Wedding at Robert Hall Winery in Paso Robles, CA

Im fortunate to have Leanna and Alan as two of my good friends down here in the South Bay.  When they first approached me about photographing their wedding I can remember them asking, “Would you rather attend the wedding as a guest, or as a photographer… We’d love to have you photograph, but understand if you would rather sit back and enjoy the festivities (i.e. delicious wine) instead of work.”  Ha, as if there was an option in the frist place!  I’d rather photograph any wedding before being a guest.  Having the chance to provide a couple with works of art that they will cherish for the rest of their lives is not an every day opportunity.  I would totally rather be in the middle of everything than lounging on the sides.

About a week before the wedding we were watching the weather forecast and it looked like the temperature was going to start pushing mercury through the tops of thermometers in the area.  105 degrees was on the dial for their Sunday afternoon wedding, and they had originally planned on an outdoor ceremony.  I think even my fingertips started to sweat just thinking about it!  Thankfully Robert Hall winery has an underground cellar lined with oak barrels and concrete walls that keep things at a cool 70 degrees regardless of the fireballs that the sun was throwing down upon us.  So, with just a few days to go before the wedding they switched things up to keep comfort of their guests to a maximum.  Clearly I was thankful for this!

One of my favorite moments from the wedding was when Leanna and Alan had exchanged gifts in the La Quinta hotel as they were getting ready.  After giving Alan a watch that any dude would be proud to sport, Leanna was given a small, inconspicuous, jewelry box.  It was one of those, “good things come in small packages” boxes.  As she opened it, and peeked inside her the expression on her face transformed.  As I peered through the camera I saw a nervous and excited smile, turn into, ahhh, and then into confusion, and then into surprise.  Her bridesmaids and I were all at a loss as to what was going on!  “Is it bigger than you expected!?!?”  “Is it smaller than you expected!?!?!”  “Is it a boulder of gold?!?!”  We all had a million questions as her face lead us on to believe it could be any number of wonderful or possibly not so wonderful things.  She just stood there.  Saying nothing.  Then cringing her face, she said… “He grabbed the wrong box.”

Now, that is not my favorite part.  My favorite part is what happened next.  Obviously Leanna was a little disappointed.  She clearly had an idea of what was intended to be in that box, but it did not show.  In fact, nothing showed.  The box was empty.  She was missing her earrings.  But the part that blew me away was when she said, “Let’s not tell Alan, I dont want to stress him out.”  With four girls in the room, bags started to fly and boxes started to appear.  “I have these ones!’  “Why dont you use these instead?”… and all of a sudden she had something borrowed.  You know the saying… Something borrowed, something blue, something old, something new.  In a sense it was a perfect “mistake” to complete the saying!  For Leanna to have Alan’s emotions at the forefront of her mind, is a testament to her love for the man she married.  She could have so easily said, “uhhh, where is the real one?” and sent everyone on a wild goose chase trying to sort it out.  Which, as she suspected, could have thrown Alan into a loop.

In a relationship I think its not how well you handle the good times, but rather, how well you handle the bad times that determines the strength of two people’s bond.  For these two, I have no doubts that theirs is strong.   Witnessing moments like these make me want to photograph weddings rather than be a guest on the sidelines.  Very. Cool. Stuff.

Getting Ready: La Quinta Hotel – Paso Robles, CA

Ceremony and Reception Venue: Robert Hall Winery

Flowers: Fleur Flowers

Catering: Trumpet Vine Catering

Hair and Makeup: Margaret Hoang

DJ: Escape Entertainment

Big thanks to Patrick Ibarra for helping me photograph this wedding.  Check out his work here: http://www.patrickphotography.net/

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