Where is your dream location for a wedding? Is it Hawaii? How about Aruba? Alaska? Florida? All lovely locations. However, I was asked to photograph a wedding a couple of weekends ago for a couple whose dream location was Mendocino, CA. Mendocino is located in Northern California on the wild Northern California Coastline. It was a dream of a wedding to photograph. The couple, Morten and Wendy Aronsen, were two of the nicest people I have ever had the pleasure of photographing. They were so much in love that it made my job a breeze and a joy.
Although this was not the wedding venue, you can see the type of scenery that we were all treated to while experiencing the wedding weekend.
We were fortunate to be able to stay in the Light Keepers House on Point Cabrillo where we could see the Lighthouse from our lodging. We stayed in the restored home with two other families. One person was my second shooter for the pre-wedding activities and then he and his wife were invited to the wedding as family members. The bride and groom decided to have a “First Look” photo shoot (which is when the bride and groom see each other prior to the wedding in a private moment, which is photographed.) We decided that this would be a good place for the bride and groom to have that moment with the view of the lighthouse and the Pacific Ocean in the background.
The above photos were taken the day before the wedding when the weather was cloudy, gray and windy…pretty typical weather for March on the Northern Coast of California.
The next morning my husband and I had some coffee on the enclosed porch with this view.
Not a cloud in the sky and the weather was cool, but not cold. I was glad to see that the gray overcast had cleared, but I wished that we had a few clouds to add some interest to the sky for the wedding. As you can see from the top photo, the clouds rolled in just as we were taking photos of the bride and groom. Amazing.
We also decided that the bride and her maids could get ready in the lovely bedroom that my husband and I were occupying.
The room added a perfect backdrop to this wedding day and the preparations of the bride.
While my bride was getting ready in one location, her groom and groomsmen were getting ready in another gorgeous location several minutes away. I took the bride downstairs in the Light keepers house to have a few more photos taken with her bridesmaids and some bridal portraits.
While the second shooter took some great photos of the groom, his groomsmen and several of his grandchildren, who would also be in the wedding. Then the groom and the photographer headed down the road where we were waiting with the bride.
When the groom arrived at the house for the First Look, we had him sit on the edge of the bench with his back to the bride. She walked up behind him and tapped him on the shoulder. When he turned around and saw his beautiful bride for the first time, it was magic.
We gave them a few minutes together and then took them down to the point by the lighthouse to finish up the shoot. Here are just a few of the many great shots we got of them. They are so much in love.
After all this excitement, it was time to get them off to the wedding ceremony. They chose a wonderful old church in the town of Mendocino with another killer view.
The bride had a black and white polka dot theme for the wedding.
The ceremony went off beautifully with emotions running the gambit. There was the touching moment when the father of the bride handed over his daughter to the groom. There was the moment when the groomsmen stood guard over the ring delivery. The rings were delivered in a locked safety box, handcuffed to the ring bearer. And, of course, it is always a happy moment when the bride walks down the aisle and sees her groom.
At the end of the ceremony, the groom kissed his bride and the grandchildren of the groom rang the large bell (with a little help.)
And then they were off to the reception, which was in the nearby town of Caspar. The polka dot theme was carried through in the decorations at the reception and the cake.
(The engagement photo, on the gift table, was taken by Steve Batz, a wonderful photographer, who also served as my second shooter before the wedding.)
It was a wonderful reception with lots of food, dancing and merriment. It was one of the happiest, most joyful weddings that I have had the pleasure of attending. Thank you so much, Morten and Wendy, for letting me be a part of your wonderful wedding in such a beautiful area. Congratulations and many happy returns.