There was a place I used to go as a kid. It was a tiny town nestled in the heart of the Sierra Nevadas. This part of the Sierras holds such magical memories for me. All those summers of running around chasing my imagination, swimming in the Feather River, getting a frosty in Graeagle, and dinners at the lodge or Mount Tomba. The countless winters of sledding and snow mobiling up the Yuba Pass, the sound of the wind blowing in the trees, the crunch of the snow beneath my boots. Yes, those were the days… The freedom, the joy, the outdoors. This place holds a magical place in my heart because it was all those things a kid should do in their childhood.
Imagine how my heart leapt out of my chest when Dallas and Mike asked me to photograph their wedding in this same region! I was just plain giddy. The two of them were tying the knot an intimate wedding at a horse ranch in Quincy. I may or may not have jumped out of my chair and done a happy dance when I received her email. Would I be available to travel to Quincy? Photograph their wedding? Hang out with horses? Yes, yes, and yes!!!! It was not only the location that made me so excited for this wedding, it was also the couple. We first met during their engagement session. Mike and Dallas brought along their dogs, River and Lily. They warned me they were nervous and were feeling awkward about posing in front of the camera. The funny thing was this ended up being one of my favorite sessions. Not only did their love for one another and senses of humor sweep me off my feet, but we just had a great time. They were just so easy to be around, the kind of people where what you see is what you get. It was this ease and their love for one another that made their images some of my favorite and most genuine. I was honored to spend a weekend with them during such an intimate time in their lives.
I arrived on Friday to photograph the rehearsal dinner. A real cowboy cookout, complete with a huge iron triangle they rang when dinner was ready. Mike, Dallas, and their families welcomed me into their fold with open arms. The evening was filled with laughter, good food, and multiple rounds of pool and ping pong. Watching Dallas’ parents battle one another in ping pong left me in stitches.
On Saturday there was so much calm. I observed as Dallas and Mike went over their vows with her dad’s close friend who was ordained for their wedding. River and Lily lounged on the patio of their cabin. Friends and family fished in the pond. The guys played their favorite board game while the girls did hair and makeup. Everyone just calmly went about their day.
The ceremony was lovely, even I grew misty eyed. Something about their love was so genuine and true. Like all of the guests, I was ecstatic to these two lovebirds make the commitment of marriage. The way they looked at one another, the way Mike wiped away Dallas’ tears, and the way their fingers were tightly interlocked through the whole ceremony. It is in these little details that you can see the truth in their love. Then, to add to the excitement of the wedding, as soon as Mike and Dallas kissed a team of horses was released in the background. Absolute magic!
Mike and Dallas, as clichéd as it sounds I wish you a lifetime of happiness. The love you share with each other and your families is just magical. This is such a vital component to the foundation of your marriage. I cannot wait to see what life has in store for you, from your passion for all things Star Wars, to your two fur babies, to your fabulously themed parties I know there will be many joyous times and much laughter. I totally want you two to get married all over again so I can photograph your wedding once more. Much love to you both!