Going to an epic location for an engagement shoot isn’t always necessary, sometimes the most simple, minimal sessions can be so intimate and powerful.
Ally + Andy’s Crystal Meadow Wedding
When you have a bride and groom that are blooming with creativity and style and a love for the natural world you might get an event as unforgettable as Ally and Andy’s Wedding. At the end of the Summer Season and fresh from Burning Man, this special couple put together their wedding with a touch of DIY, New Age Magic with a Sierra Nevada backdrop.
With a traditional schedule for the day, no detail went untouched by the bride and groom’s personal style. From the groom’s skater vibes (Vans slip ons and Levis) to gorgeous crystal and geode centerpieces, a hand crafted backdrop, Ally’s PS Kaufman boots and a smashing amount of turquoise jewelry, this wedding was dripping personal style. Even the boutonnieres had crystals and palo santo!
After a tearful ceremony against an incredible natural backdrop, the cocktail hour featured tasty hors d’oevres like savory donuts and tasty cocktails and the bridal party headed to a sunkist meadow for golden hour shots. The late summer light in the Sierra faded quickly but lasted long enough to get some priceless shots of Ally and Andy in their post marital bliss with their dog Rufio! Ally’s gorgeous dress by BHLDN was contrasted by the sandy meadow grass and Andy’s tan, all of which made that Turquoise jewelry Pop!
After dinner was served, the couple was celebrated under the Milky Way to the loving toasts of family and friends and danced the night away under the Sierra stars.
We followed typed directions up a dirt road from Helena to the Black Mountain Lodge, where the bridal party had been staying for a couple of days before the wedding. Far from cell service and surrounded by National Forest stand a group of cabins that belong to the Hannon Family, distant cousins of Cooper’s family. The late Northern light danced on the lilting grass and wildflowers around the cabins.
It felt like stepping back in time. The whole wedding felt like stepping back in time. Or back into the Western imagination. In a cattle pasture outside of Helena, we witnessed a beautiful melding of cultures and families~ the groom- basically cowboy royalty, the bride a California artist. From the “Buddhish” ceremony under a chuppah and the signing of the ketubah to the anvil firing (look it up, it’s crazy), to a performance by a pop star, to dancing the hora on hay bales, we’ve never seen anything so beautiful and so deeply American.
Cooper and Ashley are at the nexus of two incredible families and surrounded by the most amazing group of talented friends, some are Artists and some are Ranchers and all came together for this incredible event. Talk about a Western style wedding? This was Authentic with a capital “A”. From bolo ties to apple pies, this was about as Montana of a Wedding you could get and everything felt so incredibly honest. They even had an assortment of bug spray- from organic to deet.
We could tell you more about how much we love Montana (and we do), but I don’t think we’ll ever get as close to the roots of it as we did with participating in this wedding. Hope you enjoy the photos!
Planning : Off the Beaten Path
Florals : Delisa Hiel
Hair and Makeup : Celeste- Beauty Operator
Like I said in my previous post, Kate and Alex in addition to a home session also wanted a dreamy romantic evening shoot. We decided to head to one of my favorite places, The Sacramento River, a spot about 3 miles from my home. Kate and Alex were such troopers and were game for anything. I LOVE these images, there is something so sacred about rivers, gentle and destructive all at the same time.
When it comes to engagement shoots, home sessions are my favorite. While we're often attracted to beautiful places for engagement sessions, it's not quite as intimate as the couple's home. I love these shoots because they are a bookmark in the couple's lifetime- the house where they lived before their marriage. Alex and Kate have since moved and bought their first house since we took these photos, but they'll always have these images to look back at and remember the really special place they shared at this time. It's the small moments, making coffee, sitting on the couch or porch with the dog that I really love capturing because one day they can look back at this stage and remember how simple love can be.
But... I also love dreamy nature shots and Kate and Alex wanted them too, so we headed to the Sacramento River and made these stunning shots in the river. It definitely helps when your couple is down for anything.