Where do I begin with this wedding? In a nutshell you can describe this wedding as follows: Earth, Air, Fire, Water.
Maeghan and Dan were married at West Park Winery. Earth - for this beautiful location and it's stunning views. This was our second trip to the winery and we hope to work there a lot more in the future. What a beautiful location especially if you want a place where you can have it all; awesome views of the valley, lots of interesting and out of the way nooks for pictures, places to have your ceremony indoors or outdoors, a room where the bridal party can get dressed, and a tent that is pretty, comfortable and can be the canvas for the wedding that you want to create. Air for the air conditioner that made the tent a refreshing shelter from the summer heat. Below is a preview trailer with many of the details and fun moments from their wedding day. Many more details and video stills are below.
This wedding was an all day affair for us, so we arrived at the winery before the bride and groom to do some set up and scenery shots. Mother nature could not make up her mind what type of weather she was going to sling at us (which we tried to show in the clip above). Though it began gloomy, just as Maeghan and the girls arrived at the winery, the sun came out.
Maeghan and Dan are teachers and I can't think of a more perfect way for them to have personalized their wedding day than arriving on school buses! In addition to transporting the bridal party, the buses were used to bring guests to and from the wedding. The buses were also air conditioned, which I'm sure made for a comfortable ride. When we learned about this detail, we were so excited and hoped to get to some great shots using the buses. Below are stills the bride arriving, but you will see more pictures below with the bus from their formal photography.
Maeghan and the girls got dressed at the winery using a room on the second floor above the bar; a unique space with the rustic charm of the winery right down to the barreled ceiling. I just couldn't get enough shots of Maeghan, her dress and the space that she got dressed in. Gorgeous!
Once I saw Maeghan's engagement ring, I went crazy filming it. It is so delicate and detailed. I wanted to make sure that I shot it from every angle possible. When I brought it back to her, she said that it is was Dan's grandmothers. It's classic and elegant. I especially love the tiny diamond chip detail on the sides. What a beautiful ring!
I really try to think outside the box when filming, so I try to use different angles, extreme close-ups and like to place objects in unexpected places. Sometimes it turns out even better than I planned. I thought it would be fun to hang the rings on the vines. I think it turned out pretty cool.
The setting and details were right in keeping with the casual and elegant look that Maeghan and Dan were going for. From the rustic beauty of the winery and the stunning views to the littlest details like the rock candy lollipop escort cards and cotton candy. Below are stills of some of my favorite detail shots that we collected that day. These are smaller in size than the rest, but if you click on the image, it should make a bigger image so you can see any details more closely.
As we made our way outside for pictures, once again the skies were threatening to open up, but Maureen Gates of Sharp Images Photographic, managed to set everyone up and get all the shots done before the next mini shower. Below are some of the stills that I pulled from the video covering the photo sessions. Believe it or not, this post is me showing great restraint in the number of images posted. If I had weeks to just sit and post, I would have included so many more stills from this wedding!
Maeghan and the Girls
Dan and the Guys
Maeghan and Dan had planned on having their ceremony outside on the hill overlooking the valley, but mother nature had other plans in mind. Because of the many mini showers throughout the day, an executive decision was made to bring the ceremony indoors and it was the right decision. There were droplets and light drizzle up until the ceremony started, but as the bridal party lined up for the processional, it was clearing and when Maeghan made her entrance, the sun came out and shown through the windows as if cued. It made for a dramatic entrance.
After the ceremony, we headed for the bus to take us up to the top of the hill for more photos. We had another light drizzle, but without a bit of rain, you have no chance for a rainbow. This is the first one we had at a wedding and we were glad that we were there to catch it!
As you can see, by the time that we reached the top of the hill, the sun was back out. We were all happy that the weather held out and we had the opportunity to take the pictures at the top of the hill. This is a perfect spot for photos and these turned out great. The stunning views, the dramatic cloud cover and two people in love make for phenomenal photographs! As these progress, you'll see the sky get darker and more dramatic (yes, it was going to rain again). Water - for the rain that was present all day, but came and went allowing everyone to enjoy the wedding.
I have these in both black & white and color because I couldn't decide which I liked best. Both are very dramatic in different ways. I think the last of this bunch might be my favorite still (or one with the bus below. I can't decide.).
Finally we got to shoot with the bus. I never thought I would be so happy to see a school bus again! These shots were fun. I asked the bridal party to open the windows and peek out at the bride and groom. It surprised Maeghan and Dan to hear the windows open. I loved the look on their faces when they saw the faces poking out of the windows at them. Maureen suggested they stick their hands out and give them the thumbs up for a few shots. Though it's tough to see through the tinted windows, on the bus, the bridal party placed letters in them reading "Just Married" on this side of the bus and "Maeg and Dan" on the other side.
I have been very lucky this year to have couples that are excited to be filmed and are into having a more contemporary looking wedding video. With all the ideas that I had for this wedding video and, in particular, this segment, I could have spent the entire day just filming the two of them, the scenery and the bus. There were no limits except time and weather. Back on the bus, I had Maeghan and Dan pose for a few more shots inspired by high school days. I got an idea to rest her flowers on the seat like a school book. The more shots I had of her beautiful bouquet, the better, especially since Maeghan kept saying how much she loved it. All the flowers and centerpieces were beautiful and different from what you normally see at a wedding. Very refreshing!
I also couldn't resist getting them in the back of the bus like the "cool kids" sneaking kisses.
I loved that the bridal party scattered themselves on the bus just like in school. Once Maeghan and Dan sat down, I asked them to do just one more shot of them kissing behind her bouquet.
We made one last stop for pictures before heading in to the cocktail hour. Maeghan and Dan were asked to take a nice stroll along this peaceful path.
The Reception was filled with fun and surprises. Maeghan and Dan opted not to do many of the traditional things you see at weddings; most notably, no formal introductions of the bridal party or themselves. Though this is not the first time we have seen this, it is still out of the norm and surprises most people when you mention it. I like the idea of just walking into the reception like they did, passing guests and giving them a hello as the make their way to their seats and it suited that casual atmosphere they were going for. They also didn't do a sweetheart or formal head table, instead choosing to sit with a few members of the bridal party. They did have a first dance, toasts and cake cutting and Maeghan shared a dance with her father, so not all tradition was lost.
The dance floor was the place to be at this wedding! Thanks to some great tunes supplied by DJ Bri Swatek, the dance floor was packed all night long. He kept them up them going with every genre of music imaginable and the guests loved every minute. During dinner, he even played November Rain by Guns n Roses (a favorite band of Dan's) in celebration of the torrential downpour that was happening. The sound of the rain was no match for the roar of the crowd on the dance floor! Check out these stills that I pulled from the reception and if you haven't seen the clip above, go back and have a look. There are some really fun moments of dancing at the end of the video. It's going to be hard to edit all this great dance footage down for the final video. There was so much energy on that dance floor! Believe it or not readers, I am still using restraint in posting these stills. I could have done one for just about every frame with this group!
There were many impromptu sing along moments and those who participated were giving it their all! At some point towards the end of the evening, the men started taking their ties off and wearing them around their heads. I don't know who did it first, but within minutes, it seemed like every guy there had a tie on their head, even the fathers of the bride and groom!
My absolute favorite moment of the evening hands down was when Dan took over the dance floor and gave his best Axl Rose impersonation as he danced and sang to Sweet Child of Mine. Now you know why I had to choose that song for the trailer above. If you haven't watched it yet, I suggest going back and having a look. Though there were many great, fun, and never-before-seen moments for us at this wedding, Dan was so entertaining and true to Axl's moves and mannerisms that he takes the most memorable for sure! The crowd loved it! Awesome job! That will be a tough performance for future grooms to beat!
Fire - the fireworks that the winery set off. Even with the rain all day long and the downpour at dinner, Michelle and the staff at the winery managed to put on a grand display for Maeghan, Dan and their guests. There was even a finale! This was a first for us as well. We got many shots and again I had to pick and choose my favorites here. I can't wait to add this footage into their video!
The last thing that I will post are the shot that we waited and waited through drizzle and rain to finally be able to get; the swing. It was one of the shots that Maeghan wanted to get, but with time running out and the rain coming and going, we weren't sure if we would get it in. After the fireworks were over, the there was a lull in the drizzle, so we ran up to the swing and grabbed these shots. Me, Mike and our awesome assistant for the day, Mark, plus Maureen and her assistant all stood around the swing shooting like wild. These are sweet photos to end a beautiful day and a great wedding! Thank you to Maeghan and Dan for letting us take part in your wedding and to all the great people we worked with that day! What a blast!
Bus Company: First Student