weddingday

First Dance Choreographed to Beauty and the Beast

Kaitlyn and Austin's Wedding

A little romance is always good for the soul!  Six years ago, Kaitlyn and Austin began their love story when they met in high school. Recently they took the next step together on their wedding day exchanging those life long vows. They chose a beautiful wedding venue for their special day at Wood Ranch Golf Club in Simi Valley, California and used rich deep purples in the banquet room which looked so elegant.  

There was a hint of Beauty and the Beast throughout their decor with the rose under a dome at the sign in table, Beauty and the Beast statues, and of course Kaitlyn's beautiful wedding gown that screamed Princess!!  But quietly they kept one surprise under wraps.  They made it even a more magical evening when they surprised their guests with the First Dance choreographed to Beauty and the Beast!

They turned to Pam Rossi at Pam Rossi's Dance Ten in Moorpark, California to help guide them.  Originally meeting with her for their first dance choreography, they turned it into a choreographed dance that included their bridal party.  With only a few hours of lessons, they were ready to show off their skills on the big day.

Gliding beautifully across the dance floor gazing in each other's eyes the whole time, Austin lifted and twirled Kaitlyn like he had done this many times before.  They truly looked like a prince and princess and when their bridal party came out dancing around them in the end, it simply took everyone’s breath away! Many wishes for their beautiful love story to continue forever! The full version of this beautiful First Dance can be watched on YouTube at this link http://youtu.be/EDs4D6X420g?a Enjoy!

How I Became a "First Look" Believer

One of the questions I ask our brides is if they are doing First Look.  Only about 50% of them know what it is, so for those that don’t, let me explain.  First look is a time, pre-wedding ceremony, where your photographer will choose a setting to stage the first time you see each other.  Usually the groom has his back turned as his bride walks up to him from behind and the photographer captures this private moment and he turns and they have the “first look”.

As a traditionalist, I was not so crazy about the idea when I first heard of it either.  Doesn’t the bride want to have the surprise of seeing her husband to be as she is walking down the aisle and vice versa?  Isn’t it more for the convenience of the photographer because with first look they can get all of the photographs out of the way pre-wedding?  As I was soon to find out, this was not necessarily so and as a result I became a convert.

When my own daughter got married, she was totally against First Look having been brought up by me, her very traditional Mother.  However, at the last minute she changed her mind.  I now look back and treasure the decision she made.  When I look back at the private moments caught in time when her groom turned and looked at her in awe for the first time, twirled her, kissed her and cried…those are the most memorable pictures of their wedding day and they make me emotional each and every time I look back at them.  At the time, it made both of them very emotional too and most importantly; it allowed them some private time to be alone to really take in what was happening.  They had a chance to relax and breathe before it all really began and to cherish the step they were about to take.

The First Look created a sense of relaxation for all as well. It allowed the bridal party and all of the parents and close family to take their photos pre-wedding so there was no rushing around.  This allowed for everyone to spend some together time, laugh and it seemed to take some of the pressure off of everyone.  There was even a moment caught where the flower girl and my grandson, a sign bearer, were sweetly conversing with each other while waiting for their picture.  Captured by the photographer, it was one of the sweetest photos of the day!  Taking pictures pre-wedding also allowed the bride, groom and bridal party to enjoy the cocktail hour instead of being absent for photos.  The bride and groom used this time instead to visit and then sneak out 15 minutes before the grand entrance to catch some beautiful sunset shots they may not have had the chance to do.

Taking pictures before the ceremony also allows the bridal party to enjoy the cocktail hour instead of being absent for photos.  The bride and groom can be more relaxed during their portraits and also get to catch some of the cocktail hour too to visit with guests.

Of course, the question is - do the bride and groom lose the surprise of walking down the aisle when they do First Look?  I think not.  While I feel the first look photos captured the essence of their love and are my personal favorites, it did not by any means take away from the traditional “walk down the aisle first time we’ve seen each other” experience either.

 

As with any bride, when they walk down the aisle, she really doesn’t focus on the groom until the very last steps so it’s really more of a one-way view for the groom until the bride is near the end.  She is more nervous about “the walk”, all the people watching, the need to acknowledge them and of course, not getting too emotional while approaching her groom while arm in arm with her Daddy.  But once in her final steps, she still experiences that catch your breath emotion as she heads towards her groom to take his hand.

 

The groom, gazing at her as she walks down the aisle, even though he has already seen her and spent time with her, is still very much surprised, just from a different perspective than First Look.  The reality of the ceremony starting and their life together still creates the beautiful, emotional photo opportunities as in any traditional wedding. 

 

Yes, it is more convenient for your photographer mainly because they are not pressured to get all of the photos done in a short timeframe during cocktail hour.  This allows them the opportunity to take even more shots and also to have more creativity in their work.   The end result is a more full portfolio of pictures for your selection.

 

I think First Look is definitely a combination of the best of both worlds and rather than detracting, it just adds another element of intimacy a bride and groom would not otherwise have. 

 

A BEAUTIFUL LOVE STORY...

As I look back at some of the wonderful weddings we were honored to be a part of, I think of Ali and Luke Simon.  A stunning private home of a friend situated on a hilltop above Simi Valley, California was the location site for this beautiful wedding.  A close friend of the bride’s family, the host not only made this spectacular home available to them, she upgraded everything from landscaping to lighting every single tree to make our bride’s fairytale wedding come alive!

Ali and Luke were just destined to be.  Upon attending their first day at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, the first people Ali and her Mom met at the school was Luke and his Mom.  Little did they know that that first acquaintance would end up in marriage 5 years later.  Later at the reception, Ali’s Dad recalled how that day they said how they would love Ali to meet someone like Luke and Luke’s Mom said they had the exact same feeling about Ali.  It was certainly fate that these two were meant to stay in contact and grow their relationship throughout the years to come.

Both Ali and Luke wanted to incorporate their faith in the wedding.  As guests walked through the arch down the aisle to theirs seats, they were greeted by handmade signs with scripture readings.  The rows of rose petals lead you up to the magnificent 7 foot cross that Ali’s Father Steve made for the occasion which was perched on the hill which provided a stunning view of the entire city. 

Ali caught everyone’s eye as she came down the aisle with her Father in her gorgeous lace dress.  Her natural looking makeup by Bliss Bridal Beauty and her long soft curls created by her friend Dana made her look just stunning.

Cocktails followed at the point, as they call it, which is a large area that was filled with seating where guests could enjoy the view while sipping sangria and listening to the easy going music or taking a moment to write their favorite scripture on a card for the Bride and Groom.  An additional lounge area was set up in what normally is a volleyball area.

As guests entered the reception area, a large fountain encircled with candles and florals greeted them.  Blush, ivory and gold accents highlighted various areas and the tablescape incorporated this palette with gold chargers and blush napkins and blush thank you cards with sprigs of olive atop.  The centerpieces by Elizabeth Papadopoulos were perched in gold containers and showed off a blush and ivory mix of florals.

Wanting something unique, they opted for LA Paella Catering.  Ben, the chef, prepared on site three different types of Paella.  Not only did the flavorful fumes waft throughout the air during preparation but the pans of Paella cooking in front of the guests were a colorful addition to the dinner.

From the coffee cart setup on a wagon to the cake set upon an antique dresser, no detail was spared in this wedding.  The three tier cake from Skiff’sof sumptuous buttercream with flowers perched on the top with the bride and groom’s names on the topper looked elegant. 

Away they went in the end with a sparkler send-off offering a perfect ending to what was a perfect wedding and a fairytale that any bride would have loved!  See their love story and all of the details of their wedding in our Galleria!

Event planning/coordination by Karen Marie Events; Photography by Jennifer Jasso Photography; Makeup by Bliss Bridal Beauty; Hair by The Redhead Dana; Catering by LA Paella Catering; Bartending by Gold Star Staffing; Florals by Elizabeth Papadopoulos; DJ by DJSota

 

BEAUTIFUL WEDDING VENUES ABOUND IN VENTURA COUNTY AND SURROUNDING AREAS!

Southern California is the perfect backdrop for a beautiful wedding venue and none more so than the city of Thousand Oaks.  A premiere community recognized as one of the most desirable and safest places in all of California, it is often referred to as the Conejo Valley.  Nestled between the Los Angeles and Ventura county lines, it is a just a short distance to Malibu’s scenic coastline and is surrounded by scenic mountains and rolling hills.  With a Mediterranean climate, it also offers a diversified selection of wedding venues featuring outside areas that you can comfortably enjoy on a year round basis.

Keeping the budget conscious happy, there are many community choices such as the Oak Park and North Ranch Community Centers as well as the historic Stagecoach Inn and the Chumash Indian Museum outdoor area. 

For the country club lover, golf courses abound, both public and private, offering indoor and outdoor venues such as The Gardens @ Los Robles, North Ranch Country Club, Wood Ranch Golf Club,  Sunset Hills Country Club, Lake Lindero Country Club and the elegant Sherwood Country Club, to name a few.

Outdoor venues are endless in the Thousand Oaks and the adjoining cities.  If you are looking for an exquisite 40 acre ranch vineyard estate setting, Epona Estates is the perfect setting.  Within a couple of miles from Thousand Oaks, ranch and barn weddings have multiplied in the Moorpark and Camarillo areas with Quail Ranch, McCormick Home Ranch, Camarillo Ranch, Walnut Grove, Eden Gardens, and Rancho de las Palmas to name a few.

Of course, the traditional hotel settings from the simple Palm Garden Hotel to the more luxurious Four Seasons and Westlake Village Inn also offer indoor and outdoor areas for wedding celebrations.

And if that’s not enough choices you will find many, many more which is why hiring a local wedding planner can help you not only with your venue choice but in assuring you are connected with the best local resources.  Of course, a local wedding planner also knows these venues well which is paramount to making sure your special day runs smoothly and goes off without a hitch!

 

Photo Credit: Lucas Rossi Photography